Shorter Clive James

Shorter Clive James on Queensland floods:

I get my climate science from poems.

'Shorter' concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™ Acknowledgement copied from Sadly, No!.

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Shorter Tim Lambert on climate science.

âI get my climate science from a NZ truffle farmerâ

I could get used to debate-by-prose:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

James says:

the theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW, to borrow the unlovely acronym) was ceasing to exercise unquestioned thrall in the minds of Australia's progressive voters.

I don't know which progressive voters James is talking about but I suppose he must mean that he himself is a progressive voter and thus progressive voters generally think like him. Nice attitude if you can get it.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 06 Mar 2011 #permalink

JC does it trouble you that New Zealand truffle farmer can trump climate denialists by citing real climate science?

If you work as hard as Tim and Gareth you too could learn about climate science.

Wasn't JC banned from here after his psychotic episode?

Clive who?

Tim,

You're missing James' central points. These are:

1. It's a much better poem than people realise.

2. Dorothea Mackellar lived quite a long time.

3. Wordsworth.

By Ezzthetic (not verified) on 06 Mar 2011 #permalink

Hey anyone remember when Clive was relevant? No, me either. Better ask the "wrinklies".

This is really quite sad.

I used to enjoy Clive James' work, but know that I've read this (and another earlier piece along similar lines) I just can't take him seriously any more.

I mean, the guy has a reputation as an intellectual, but that piece shows no evidence of any sort of intellectual rigour at all. It's just recycled talking points from the bullshit industry.

I haven't felt this bad since Martha Stewart got busted for insider trading.

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via #1; "...50 year bushfires are happening every 5 years now..."

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Another Kiwi, whats a "50 year bush fire" ???

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 06 Mar 2011 #permalink

It's interesting how these ancient characters of the media, re-invent themselves these days by making dumb comments about climate science.

The last thing that Clive James did in the UK was a Sunday morning opinion piece slot before the Archers I think.
I used to like his dry humour, but one moves on. It appears Clive is incapable of moving on.

> I get my climate science from poems.

Well, that's probably a step up from CA or WUWT, so perhaps we shouldn't knock it.

James was given 2 opportunities to voice his denial of AGW on Radio 4's 'A Point of View' a couple of years ago. The first broadcast was bad ([golf ball potato crisp](http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00n9lm3/A_Point_of_View_The_Golf_…)), by the second it had become embarrassing (I think he cited Morano's list of 450+ scientists that includes such scientific luminaries as TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh).

I used to quite admire Clive James and was so vexed when I heard his 'gold ball potato crisp' broadcast that I took the trouble of emailing him. I cited Plimer as an example of a scientist twisting and fabricating facts to fit his theory as this is what James seemed to be accusing Climate scientists of doing. I got a polite reply from his assistant thanking me and telling me that James was flattered that so many people had taken the trouble to contact him, some disagreeing and some agreeing. Shortly after this his second item was broadcast on R4.

I haven't heard much of James recently. I suspect he will pop up in future to do a Johnny Ball/David Bellamy and claim his career in broadcasting was wrecked because he dared to voice AGW 'scepticism'.

By lord_sidcup (not verified) on 06 Mar 2011 #permalink

Did Chris Mitchell really say that the Australian's editorials on climate change "would make it clear that for several years the paper has accepted man-made climate change as fact".

It is certainly just a dog whistle above moronic in today's editorial. Quotes include 'we love a sunburnt elder" 'scaremongers seem afraid of memory' tempered by 'this newspaper gives the planet the benefit of the doubt on global warming'. I was gobsmacked by the statement 'common to scientific and literary method is respect for history' followed up with 'ask an octogenarian surfer or two and discover that over the decades not much has changed on our beaches'.

Well thats the scientific method according to the Australian.

Thankfully I FINALLY got a response on how to cancel my subscription to The Oz as the homophobia exploded across the front pages last week. It's even more encouraging to know that one of my very last issues will contain the monument to idiotic lunacy that is that editorial.

The shark has, almost certainly, never been quite so comprehensively jumped before that editorial.

If Mackellar wrote her poem today she's probably pen:

...Of droughts and flooding rains
and droughts and flooding rains...

Give it another 50 years or so and it'd probably be:

...Of droughts and flooding rains
and droughts and flooding rains
and droughts and flooding rains...

The thing that bemuses me is that the Clive James brigade are squarking about how scientists do not seem to have memories (or statistics), and yet is is these same people who are currently saying that the floods mean that we do not now need to reform water over-allocation in the Murray-Darling basin.

Remind me again who it is exactly that suffers from short term memory issues (and from scientific illiteracy)...?

And Flapping Twinkie, we all know that you're an ill-educated idiot cast in the Sunpot mould, but remember that it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to [open it and remove all doubt](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…).

Just... grow a brain.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 06 Mar 2011 #permalink

..and another thing..

You would think that a supposed man of letters would avoid crass, meaningless clichés like âCatastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warmingâ and âWarmistsâ that have no value beyond propaganda. I draw 2 conclusions from this. Firstly, James has spent too much time loitering at crank websites and their language has become deeply embedded in his psyche. Secondly, he knows so little about the science of climate change that he can only express it using those very crude and rudimentary terms. A science fail and a language fail.

By lord_sidcup (not verified) on 06 Mar 2011 #permalink

CAGW and "warmist" are bandwagons.

Those who are becoming C-list celebrities and accelerating toward Z-list can use it to get attention and even, if they're lucky, a seat on the lecture circuit to Very Important People.

This is so disappointing. Clive is one of my literary heroes. I have a collection of his TV critiques for The Observer in the late 1970's. So much insight and wit. This is the man who described Arnold Schwarzenegger as 'like a condom full of walnuts', surely one of the language's perfect similes. Forty years on he's a lazy old man, still writing with aplomb, but talking through his hat. I wish I could sit down with him and go through it, silly point by silly point. I wonder how he feels sharing a brainspace with Andrew Bolt and Piers Ackerman.

>I wonder how he feels sharing a brainspace with Andrew Bolt and Piers Ackerman.

Probably flattered.

As for The Australian's presumably satirical editorial, I wonder if their penchant for wisdom from our elders pertains to those who *have* noticed changes in the climate? Oh who am I kidding. Of course not.

Only Philistines could have posted and endorsed Lambert's attack on Clive James. Shame on you all!

By Fred Knell (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

Congratulations Fred, that's the longest bow that's ever been drawn here.

James' first serious politico-intellectual brain-fart was his belief in the glorious justification of Iraq II, and that it only lasted one week, with a beneficial peace decending across the country afterward.

For an avowed leftie, he seems to have jumped the rails somewhere along the line. Perhaps he has spent too many years in a field where opinion without evidence was, nevertheless, profitable. The trouble is, with so much undirected opinion-momentum, when the derailment occurs it can be ugly, and irretrievable.

Old Clive should tear himself away from the Arts trenches and visit a scientist. There may not be much call for his literary hopscotch in that context, but such an excursion might at least open up a wing in his brain that doesn't seen to have been aired for decades.

Of course, if Monckton is any example, one might lead a linguistic horse to water, but that doesn't mean that he'll drink from the fount of objective knowledge.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is my humble Philistinian opinion.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

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via Another Kiwi #11; "...A 50 year bushfire is a huge bushfire that is so large that it is usually said to arise only once every 50 years..."

Another Kiwi As a farmer involved in annual burn-offs and fire fighting fer over forty years a "50 year bushfire" an entirely new concept to me.

Another Kiwi, perhaps yer can provide some links to articles/research outlining the concept ?

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

#14

I suspect he will pop up in future to do a Johnny Ball/David Bellamy and claim his career in broadcasting was wrecked because he dared to voice AGW 'scepticism'.

Clive James has been boasting for years about how the internet is loads better than mainstream broadcasting. He can't very well claim he's been pushed out because of his views, he's said too much about how it is his own choice.

It is a shame to see him joining the ranks of the deniers though. Always a sharp and wry view of the world. Now he's given up on reality. Too hard to understand? Too much effort? Or just assuming that he can't add to the vast amount of knowledge he acquired 30+ years ago?

By hinschelwood (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

@Flying Binghi. Oh I love this. I use of a phrase that is not in common use and it becomes a arguing point. I am supposed to get on my high horse and go off in some vastly convuluted defence so that the brilliant Flying Binghi can smash my point and thus disprove Global Warming.
Sorry, as a fire fighter you must be aware that bigger fire events are becoming more common. Call them what you will

Flying Binghi: [This](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actuary) is a profession known as an actuary. The definition of what they do (assess likelihood of events for risk assessment purposes) might help you with understanding concepts like "an increase in 1-in-50-year events".

I also presume they have those big Fire Danger signs near your town, where they move the little swinger to tell you things like today is an Extreme Fire Danger day. This is done because some weather conditions make fires WORSE and some days it's NOT THAT BAD if a fire starts because it probably won't spread far. Maybe you should talk to people in your fire brigade about how weather conditions can make fires worse. Otherwise I feel a bit sorry for people around you if you just set fires any day you feel like it. But if the climate changes in one way (so it's more often hot and dry and the fire index goes off the scale more often) then big fires will happen more often. If things like have been determined as having a specific insurance risk of "one in 50 years" start happening every 10 years instead, probability generally means this is a REALLY BAD THING. Because probability is multiplicative.

Good luck with the above. I've tried to keep it to one syllable words, but "weather conditions" is a bit hard to get down to one syllable. As is multiplicative. If anyone can help with that for Flying Binghi's comprehension, I'd be grateful.

I'm wondering how much longer until Flying Binghi gets his/her own thread. It's already gotten to be rather repetitive.

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Heh, looks like Zetetic is starting to panic...

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

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via Another Kiwi #28; "...I use of a phrase that is not in common use and it becomes a arguing point. I am supposed to get on my high horse and go off in some vastly convoluted defence so that the brilliant Flying Binghi can smash my point and thus disprove Global Warming..."

Another Kiwi, before ah made much comment on the subject i asked the question - "...perhaps yer can provide some links to articles/research outlining the concept ?..."

Another Kiwi, If you were actually referencing an article or research that had a definition for a "50 year bushfire" then i might critique the reference if appropriate. From reading your reply i'm guessing there is no such research or article so the term "50 year bushfire" is yer own invention - would my guess be correct ?

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

@ Flying Binghi #31:

Nope...as usual you seem to forget that I'm the one on the side of the scientific evidence while your side still can't find any even after having had decades to acquire some. Instead you just keep repeating the same old long discredited lies, nonsensical arguments, and making excuses for your refusal to accept the scientific evidence. I did find the way you kept quoting "The Climate Caper" to be amusing, rather like a young earth creationist quoting Bible verses as "evidence" in a discussion about the age of the Earth. All while nations such as Australia (and especially the USA) keep falling further and further behind in the energy race.

You've clearly run "out of material" at this point and have now been reduced to boring repetition since you don't actually have any credible positively supporting evidence for your position. My question was really more of case of mildly bored curiosity, like watching a malfunctioning toy running out of control and wondering when it will finally run into a wall and be knocked over.

Easy on Clive, please. My pet budgie doesn't believe climate science either, but she sings delightfully.

By Jim Birch (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

@ Flying Binghi Call them what you will. You know what I meant. amandaS explained it for you.
Now, are you going to comment on the thread topic or not?

Flying Binghi: the source of your confusion is unclear. Are you saying that you are unfamiliar with the term "_x_-year event" (as in "[hundred-year flood](http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100-year_flood)") used as short-hand for "a once in _x_ year event"? Or are you simply arguing that the phrase "_x_-year" is never used in connection with forest fires? If the latter, I am afraid you are mistaken; for example, the phrase "1:50 year forest fire" is used on the first page of this document ([pdf](http://www.royalcommission.vic.gov.au/getdoc/527c2500-f67d-42dc-92ae-57…)) from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission:

>The WMO identifies areas where there is the potential for loss of life and property
in a 1:50 year forest fire scenario. Under this fire scenario, development requires
special protection to help withstand the passage of the fire.

via Another Kiwi #1; "...the hundred year floods and the 50 year bushfires are happening every 5 years now, but that means nothing..."

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via Another Kiwi #35; "...Call them what you will. You know what I meant. amandaS explained it for you. Now, are you going to comment on the thread topic or not?..."

Heh, took a bit to drag it out of yer Another Kiwi.

...anyway, ...So, Another Kiwi, am i to understand that the term "50 year bushfire" is purely an insurance company term and nothing to do with the actual Australian bush conditions ?

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

FB, instead of sharing your ignorance with us, why don't you do some research before assuming something you don't know is made up?

Google "1 in 50 year" bushfire and the first two hits are from the NSW Rural fire service (a web tool for bushfire risk assessment) and the NSW Parliament (reviewing building standards in bushfire prone areas).

So no, like all your other guesses - incorrect.

Terms like 50 year event come, loosely, from statistics.

+-2 standard deviations is normal variation. 3 standard deviations: 2.1 in 100. 4 standard deviations: 13 in 1000. 5 standard deviations: 1 in 32000 or so(?) 6 standard deviations: 1 in 3,500,000(?) [memory is weak at the 5 and 6]

That's from high school stats and Psych 101 ~45 years ago.

The European heat wave of a few years ago was at around the 4 standard deviation level. How they calibrate that stuff in a time of change is a mystery, Like Arctic ice loss in 2007: it was so strange and severe that it has produced really weird numbers subsequent to it.

By Jeffrey Davis (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

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From the #36 "50 year bushfire" reference link -

Warning: Do not print and store a hard copy of this Practice Note.

Reading the document dont tell us just what is a "50 year bushfire" event...

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

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I'se a Troll. I'se always been a Troll. I'se will always be a Troll.

Hur. Hur.

I only has points to use up space.

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Posted by: Flaying Blowfly | March 7, 1911 7:08 PM

Oh bugger. Speak of blowflies and the fat man turns up. This thread is starting to smell.

Gosh Clive has turned into a tedious old bore. I tried reading the article but my eyes just glazed over. Just like they did when I tried reading "The Meaning of Recognition".

Clive had a brief flowering of talent, or perhaps just a good editor when he wrote "The Kogarah Kid" and "Falling Towards England", but since then he's become increasingly unreadable.

In his early years as a self-proclaimed intellectual Clive once had a whole Pseud's Corner in Private Eye devoted to him. Looks like in his later years he's returning to his roots.

At 26. The concept seems more to come from floods and storms at least in my part of the Northern Hemisphere. (Eastern Canada).

We get forest fires not bush fires and I don't think I've ever heard the term used even for the huge Québec fires a few years ago.

The thing is that it does not mean that you have a 100 years before you get a similar storm or flood, it just means that based on past history the 'experts' don't expect more than one similar storm in the next 100 years. And since the probability in independent of the last storm you could get any number of 100 year storms in one year, it just is not all that likely

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/100yearflood.html discusses this.

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

Actually I think you all have a slightly mistaken idea of what a "x year event" is (apoligies if you know this allready). A '50 year event' has a 1 in 50 chance of happening in a givin year. A '100 year event' has a 1 in 100 chance of happening in a givin year. So, a '50 year brushfire' is a brushfire that has a 1 in 50 chance of happening in a particular year. Obviousily, a '1 in 50 year' event happens much less frequently than a '1 in 5 year,' and as such is usually much more extreme.

However, if say, global warming changes that probility of '50 year event' so that the actual chance is 1 in 15, that event now has a much better chance of happening, and is just as bad as it was before, but now happens more often.

So if a '50 year brushfire' becomes a '10 year brushfire,' then those distructive fires will happen more often, and that is a Bad Thing.

Hope I've explained it clearly.

By BraselC5048 (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

It's a shame they don't do NAPLAN tests for adults. Flying Binghi's results would be fascinating. Literacy - well, he'd lose some points for punctuation and grammar but let's say 50th percentile at least. Reading comprehension - nil from about 136 so far. It must be fascinating to live in a world where you can read words and yet are completely unable to assign meaning to them.

Which makes this pointless for FB but for someone else who may be reading: Practice Note is a term used to mean Guideline or Policy Guideline or Procedural Instruction or How To Do This Thing. You never print out or store Practice Notes or Guidelines or similar because they are updated regularly and the online version will be the updated version. If you print or store them you may be using outdated procedures.

I decided to treat the inanity of FB's appearances as a challenge to see if it was actually possible to dumb anything down enough for FB to comprehend it. The Practice Note proves that it's actually impossible to write anything simple enough for FB to comprehend. Now I have to go back to being bored with his drivel again.

Forgot to state this above: a 'x year event' has a 1 in x chance of happening each year. Sorry!

By BraselC5048 (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

Flying Binghi,

What Another Kiwi and AmandaS have been trying to explain is known as a "Return Period". It's an estimate of the length of time that occurs between natural "events"; bush fires, category X cyclones, wind gusts above 150 km/h, etc.... Return periods are calculated by using probability and statistical theory along with observations of the "event" you're interested in. For a lot of "events", the stronger it is, the less frequently it occurs (take an Earthquake: Richter scale 2 events happen all the time, Richter scale 9... rarely).

Here's the [wiki page](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_period).

I'll try to give you an example. When I used to work as an engineer, we would design a structure to stay up for (say) 30 years. We needed to know, given the local environment, what would be the strongest wind that we would see over the life of the structure, so we could make it strong enough to withstand the wind gust. The design codes specified for a structure that would hang around for 30 years, we needed to design it for the strongest wind gust LIKELY over 50 years.

We'd work this out, by looking at a bunch of weather station data, and finding out how frequent strong winds were. We'd find a relationship between the gust Strength and it's frequency and use that to work out what would be the strongest wind over 50 years.

For bushfires, weather forecasters use an index called a "Forest Fire Danger Index" (FFDI) that takes into account wind, temperature, humidity, vegetation type and dryness. In summer in (say) Victoria, Australia, the FFDI gets above 12 (High) often, above 50 (severe) less often, and, thankfully, above 100 (catastrophic) very rarely. The FFDI of over 170 on Black Saturday (7th Feb, 2009) had never been observed before. According to [this report](http://www.clw.csiro.au/publications/science/2010/CAF-extreme-heatwave-…), the heatwave observed prior to and on Black Saturday was around a 1 in 500 year event.

Hope this helps.

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via AmandaS #48; "...The Practice Note proves that it's actually impossible to write anything simple enough for FB to comprehend..."

Hmmm... AmandaS, i'll put it again - Reading the document dont tell us just what is a "50 year bushfire" event.

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

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via ChrisC #50; "...Hope this helps..."

Thanks for that ChrisC, i'll have a read.

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

Shorter Flying Binghi

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Longer Flying Binghi

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Random talk

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Dodge, change subject.

Seriously folks, get Killfile for Grease Monkey. All you'll have to deal with is:

Comment by Flying Binghi blocked. [unkill]â[show comment]

Clive James is entitled to exercise his democratic right to express an opinion despite the fact that is contrary to AGW theory. Clive James has accomplished much in his life and criticism from a bunch of intellectual pygmies will not effect his place in history.

By allen mcmahon (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

And we are exercising our democratic right to call him a wrongheaded old fool who wouldn't recognise scientific evidence if it gave him a handjob.

We won't affect Clive's place in history. He's doing a perfectly good job at destroying it on his own.

Allen, where in our constitution does it say ex-pats who live in London have a democratic right to publish utter shite in the Australian press?

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

Allen, where in the Australian constitution does it say that London-resident authors of execrable poetry have a right to publish utter shite in the Australian press?

Isn't it funny how easy it is to catch science-deniers making false assertions? Like shooting fish in a barrel.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 07 Mar 2011 #permalink

>*Clive James has accomplished much in his life and criticism from a bunch of intellectual pygmies will not effect his place in history.*

Record your prediction and ask your grandchildren to play it back in 40 years when a hundred million refugees are fleeing starvation and civil unrest.

Using stupid arguments to support delayers of carbon mitigation may well end up being his most significant contribution in history. That is unless he rectifies this idiotic step and reversed direct to assist mitigation and hence lessen our rate of emissions.

I agree with James, Tim Flannery makes the most ridiculous statements about cities running out of water and Perth becoming uninhabitable and we give him loads of media attention and make him Australian of the year. Anyone with a more moderate view is treated with derision or no media attention at all. Hell if Flannery stated tommorrow that Adelaide was about to be submerged under the ocean we would probably award him the nobel peace prize or make him queen of England.

By ohnoherewego (not verified) on 08 Mar 2011 #permalink

John;your eloquence is truly amazing do you work hard at it or is it just natural talent.
Vince; at least get your facts straight its not his poem.Clive is best known for his essays although as they are based in logic and reason and delivered with clarity they will probably be over your head.
jakerman; fact is mitigation will not happen so the future is looking somewhat bleak for you, I on the other hand am an optimist and find enjoyment in each and every day.

By allen mcmahon (not verified) on 08 Mar 2011 #permalink

Good for you allen, I'll listen to the weight of evidence I keep pushing for mitigation. Some of us are prepared to carry your dead weight.

Your grand kids can thank mine.

No Allen, I think Vince means Clive is the author of execrable poetry of his own, not 'Core of My Heart'.

From Clive's 'Fashion Statement'

*I see it now, the truth of what we were*

*Back then when we were young and Sydney shone*

*Like a classic silver milk-shake canister*

*Trapping the sunlight in a cyclotron*

*Of dented brilliance. In our student kit*

*We were dandies. We just didnât look like it.*

Yes, I've often remarked on Sydney shining like a milk shake canister. Nailed it.

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Heh, looks like zoot @55 don't like the intrusion of reality to the debate.

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 08 Mar 2011 #permalink

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ChrisC @50, i've had a read of the link you provided to the CSIRO preliminary study on heatwave events. Doing a search of the report don't bring up any references to bushfire's.
The report also fails to mention any reference to urban heat island effects. IMO, a faulty report. As it is a preliminary report perhaps they will look at UHI in the final report...

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via ChrisC #50 "...For bushfire's, weather forecasters use an index called a "Forest Fire Danger Index" (FFDI) that takes into account wind, temperature, humidity, vegetation type and dryness..."

ChrisC, IMO the FFDI you reference there is still not a scale that can be used to get the claimed "50 year bushfire" event. The variables in the FFDI that you quote can have many different outcomes.

For example, my own personal experience of the worst fire event on my little farm were during a mild conditions controlled burn-off of a paddock that had not been fired for 15 odd years. Most of the parameters were considered - "...wind, temperature, humidity, ... and dryness..." My inexperience with 'vegetation type' and terrain caught me out though. I ended up with a nice little raging crown fire going.

The opposite to the crown fire experience were very hot conditions wind driven wild fires that i have fought over the years which were easy to control because the paddocks had been burnt off in preceding years, had minimal 'bulk' to sustain an intense wild fire, and were easily controlled via breaks.

IMO, due to all the variables affecting bush fires, attempting to make claims of a "50 year bushfire" is not correct.

As to the biggest baddest bush fire in Australia's written history that prize goes to the 1851 Victorian fire.

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By Flying Binghi (not verified) on 08 Mar 2011 #permalink

@Crispy, Oh god no, you just made me read it again.

@Allen, I have a good selection of Clive James in my bookcase and I used to very much enjoy reading it. His latest essay is, however, quite clearly not founded on logic and reason but on glib nonsense he's gleaned from moronic denialist bloggers.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 08 Mar 2011 #permalink

McCrann and the great big new tax on dirty bits of grit

âAstonishingly,â says Herald Sun columnist Terry McCrann, âthe PM, the Cabinet and members of the Canberra Press Gallery don't know the difference between carbon and carbon dioxide.â

Apparently it has to do with nomenclature, because the Gillard Government wants to put a price on carbon, rather than carbon dioxide. McCrann seems to believe that carbon comes in only one form, namely âdirty bits of grit.â

The reason the term is used by Gillard is an exercise of quite deliberate despicable dishonesty. It is the modern political form of those subliminal advertisements that are banned.

To suggest that it is about stopping dirty bits of grit -- the very real carbon pollution of yesterday's coal-burning home fires which gave London its sooty smog and killed thousands every year.

Most people are familiar with the term âcarbon sinkâ, which has been around for decades, but perhaps only a very few including McCrann believe it refers to something that absorbs dirty bits of grit.

McCrann also excoriates the Gillard Government for âpeddlingâ another lie, that âputting a price on carbon is the 21st century equivalent of the tariff reforms of the 1980s.â

This lie has been peddled not just by the government but also by Treasury. Be afraid, be really afraid that we have a Treasury which is that incompetent.

Iâll indeed switch from being mildly amused if McCrann or somebody can refer me to exactly where Treasury said that.

Thereâs no doubt, however, that McCrannâs niche readership of the habitually afraid will find his exposition really, really frightening. Theyâll indeed find confirmation that the guvâment wants to tax human respiration.

The last word on this belongs to a commenter on an online forum, who seems to be precisely on McCrannâs wavelength:

Remember if they could kill you they would.

It saddens me to see such bickering and ad hominem attacks in discussions of this important subject, AGW.

We get nowhere with such an approach.

I used to just accept the science-backed theory that mankind was in danger of causing catastrophic climate change, until I began investigating the issue for myself on the internet.

I have a general understanding of (and great respect for) the scientific method and the fact that all data have to be interpreted, checked and rechecked, and all alternative theories thoroughly examined and tested.

What I have discovered on the internet, regarding this subject, is an appalling inability of scientists to communicate with the public and present convincing arguments that give credibility to the theory that our emissions of CO2 (as opposed to particulate carbon, sulphur dioxide and other nasties emitted from coal-fired power stations) are a serious threat to our well-being.

Time and again I hear the same old political spiel which gives me the clear impression of an appalling ignorance on the subject. Back and forth insults are the norm, as on this site, with little progress on understanding the issue.

When attempts are made through media interviews with notable scientists who support the AGW hypothesis, the explanations from such experts always seem biased and politically motivated to me. Their explanations simply do not address the concerns of the doubtful and the skeptical, and we end up going round in circles.

Take the term, 'Climate Change Denier', for example. Anyone who knows anything at all about climate change must surely know that climate is always changing. A few million years ago, Uluru in the centre of Australia was battered by an inland sea. A few thousand years ago, about 20,000 years ago, sea levels were so low that the first settlers in Australia were able to walk across, from what is now Indonesia, to Northern Australia, and walk across mainland Australia to Tasmania.

A couple of centuries before the birth of Christ we had a warming period at least as warm as the current warming period, known as the Roman Warming Period. This was followed by a cooling period, which in turn was followed by another warming period known as the Medieval Warming Period, which was followed by another cooling period known as the Little Ice Age.

We are now out of the LIA, thank God, and luxuriating in another warm period. I actually prefer warmth to cold. I think most people do.

Whenever I hear on the news, or during an interview, the appellation 'Climate Change Denier', or hear Julia Gillard declaring that climate change is 'real', I feel weak in the knees that our destiny might be in the hands of such people with apparently such little understanding.

As a skeptic, I can list some of my concerns as follows. I wish someone would convincingly address them.

(1) How can such a small percentages of CO2 in the atmosphere be a major concern? In pre-industrial times the atmosphere contained about 1/4th of 1/10th of 1 percent of CO2.
As a result of our CO2 emissions, the atmosphere now contains a bit more than 1/3rd of 1/10th of 1 percent, ie. 380ppm as opposed to 250ppm.

Considering all the major influences on climate, the sun in particular, as well as other radiation from outer space, changes in the earth's orbit, earthquakes, volcanoes and a million undersea fissures emitting CO2 which we simply do not monitor, how can anyone accurately and credibly quantify the effect on climate of mankind's CO2 emissions?

(2) If we really could convincingly demonstrate that the current warming period is significantly exacerbated by our CO2 emission, and other GHGs, how do we demonstrate that this is a bad thing?

The argument that weather extremes become more severe and more frequent is certainly frightening, but I see no evidence of this so far. The recent floods in Queensland, according to my research, are not quite as severe as similar floods in the 1890's when we had a similar cluster of La Nina weather patterns.

Again I see a tendency for politicians to excuse their own incompetence by using the word 'unprecedented'. This is a great 'face saver'. If something is unprecedented, we can't be held responsible.

The fact is, none of these natural disasters are unprecedented. This is the point that Clive James was making. Those who are unable to see this point really should do everyone a favour and desist from posting if you really want to further the cause of AGW, because your arguments so far, in this thread at least, are greatly lacking in scientific rationality.

VincentR "....volcanoes and a million undersea fissures emitting CO2 which we simply do not monitor, how can anyone accurately and credibly quantify the effect on climate of mankind's CO2 emissions?"

Hours of happy reading following up all the references in the comments on this thread. (Sorting the 'direct heating' from the 'CO2 released' items is a job in itself.)

http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm

As for the 1890's floods being higher or worse than 2011 remember two things. One, the Somerset and Wivenhoe dams had not yet been built (and nor had the extensive drainage system that Brisbane now boasts). Two, and more importantly, all **major** previous Brisbane floods were associated with cyclones. 2011 wasn't.

Quite a simple mental exercise for the 2011 flood. If we presume that water content of the air in January in the SE Queensland area held 4% more water than 100 years ago (the standard relationship for 0.7 degrees warmer air holding more water vapour). Then we subtract 4% from the volume of water flowing into the Wivenhoe dam alone in those 3 crucial days, would there or wouldn't there have been a major flood?

As a whole cubic kilometre of water flowed in on at least 2 of those 3 days, I tend to think probably not. Taking out 4% of 2.7 cubic kilometres of water from the flow into Brisbane takes the flood right back into the routine, not-so-bad, we-can-cope category.

[b]As for the 1890's floods being higher or worse than 2011 remember two things. One, the Somerset and Wivenhoe dams had not yet been built (and nor had the extensive drainage system that Brisbane now boasts). Two, and more importantly, all major previous Brisbane floods were associated with cyclones. 2011 wasn't.[/b]

That may be so, but is it not reasonable to suppose that the far greater amount of forestation and landcover in and around the catchment areas in the 1890's would be at least as effective in containing water as a couple of dams near full capacity?

As for better drainage, you certainly need it with the greater urbanisation that has taken place since the 1890's.

I understand also that the amount of rainfall that caused the flash flooding in Toowoomba was not unprecedented, although the extent of the damage may have been.

"forestation and landcover"?

Absolutely terrific - until the soil is saturated, then it might as well be concrete.

Oh how reasonable VincentR sounds, except if he really had read widely and been able and or/willing to distinguish between actual science and outrageous lies he would already have all the answers he is looking for...

But what the hell, throw a few crumbs under the bridge. Why is human caused planetary warming at an unprecedented rate bad? Because everything is kind of set up for the climate we have (or used to have). And because humans don't have gills..

Vinny, if there is a massive source of CO2 that we aren't measuring, where is the CO2 it's producing supposed to go?

We already pump out enough to explain the atmospheric and ocean increases from human processes. If there is a much larger source, where is it putting the CO2?

Antivolcanoes?

I call "Bingo!" on VincentR's collection of well-known denialist talking points!

I especially like the deeply ironic charge that the "arguments so far...are greatly lacking in scientific rationality". Psychological projection is truly amazing.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 14 Mar 2011 #permalink

Further to your points in your previous post, Adelady, I believe that a Brisbane flood in 1841 was also worse than the 1974 flood when, of course, the Wivenhoe dam had not been built.

The following site contains graphs for flooding of the Brisbane and Bremer rivers going back to 1840. I believe the source is the BOM.

One major issue which people tend to confuse, perhaps understandably when they are emotionally impacted by a flood, is the extent of the damage caused by the flood, and the degree of rainfall which caused the flood.

Whilst the degree of property damage and loss of life may be unprecedented, the rainfall and weather patterns which caused it may not be.

I find it alarming that the number of properties damaged in Brisbane as a result of the 2011 flood is greater than the number damaged during the 1974 floods, despite the fact that flood levels were about 1 metre lower than 1974.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11483&page=1

Well that article sure is brimming with "scientific rationality"

There was another flood of about the same dimensions in 1974. There was no peak of CO2 at that time.

Speechless.

Well that article sure is brimming with "scientific rationality"
There was another flood of about the same dimensions in 1974. There was no peak of CO2 at that time.
Speechless.

How about the graphs? Are they speechless too?

Considering the general context and point of the article, I would say that the reference to there being no peak of CO2 at the time of the 1974 flood is an editing error.

It's clear to me at least, that the article is making the point that the 1841 and 1893 floods appear to have been greater than the 1974 and 2011 floods despite the quantities of human CO2 emissions during the 19th century being less than they are today.

I'm surprised you missed that point.

The earlier floods may 'appear' to have been worse than 2011.

This list shows what the flood height would have been if Somerset **and** Wivenhoe Dams had both been operating at the time of big flood events.

17/2/1893 at 3.31 meters,
4/2/1893 at 3.36 meters,
14/1/1841 at 3.43 meters,
27/1/1974 at 3.48 meters, and
13/1/2011 at 4.46 meters.

Lots more good information and analysis at
http://bybrisbanewaters.blogspot.com/2011/02/2011-and-history-how-big-w…

Well, it's certainly an interesting comparison to make, what the flood levels might have been in 1841 and 1893 if the Somerset and Wivenhoe dams had been built at that time.

It would be interesting to see what data was used to get these probable and estimated heights.

In general terms, it seems clear to me that during the 170 years between 1841 and 2011 we have laid hundreds of square kilometres of tar, concrete and roof tops in Brisbane and surrounding areas. Whilst modern drainage is no doubt an improvement over those early settlements, drainage in urbanised area does not help riverine flooding one bit, unless such drainage has its own route through concrete pipes directly into the sea.

As I understand, most drainage in areas that are not on the coast flows into inland creeks, rivers, swamps and other catchment areas. Such drainage must inevitably contribute towards riverine flood levels.

In addition to these large areas of land that have been made impervious to water, we also have even larger areas that have been deforested and turned into pastures or used for crops. A rainforst can hold an enormous amount of water on its leaves and in the rich humus and litter on the ground. I believe the extensive root system of a rain forest also allows for greater penetration of water into the ground.

However, clearly it is true as you mentioned earlier, when a forest has been subjected to prolonged, heavy rainfall and the ground and vegetation is fully saturated, the water will run off as easily as it runs off a concrete surface, or flows out of a full dam.

But have you considered what happens when flash flooding flows from one area, that has experienced heavy rain, across other areas that have not had such heavy rain?

If the moving bank of water has to pass through forests which are not yet saturated, the extent of riverine flooding will be significantly mitigated.

If it's flowing through urbanised areas and grassland, then what do you expect!

"If the moving bank of water has to pass through forests which are not yet saturated, the extent of riverine flooding will be significantly mitigated."

Maybe so. But irrelevant to the situation of SE Queensland in January 2011.

How about the graphs? Are they speechless too?

Most certainly not. It's the discussion around them that rendered me speechless. Making the perfectly legitimate point that single extreme events cannot be simply and directly attributed to anthropogenic climate change doesn't require "skepticism" of the mainstream science. It simply requires reading the mainstream science. You could have made the point by linking to the BoM and the IPCC reports rather than an article littered with misrepresentation and absurdities.

Considering the general context and point of the article, I would say that the reference to there being no peak of CO2 at the time of the 1974 flood is an editing error.

It's not an editing error. It's a rhetorical flourish - and a straw man, just like the article taken as a whole.

"Considering the general context and point of the article, I would say that the reference to there being no peak of CO2 at the time of the 1974 flood is an editing error."

"It's not an editing error. It's a rhetorical flourish - and a straw man, just like the article taken as a whole.
Posted by: foram | March 16, 2011 9:42 PM"
------------------------------------------------------------

I think the most blatant and extreme example of a 'straw man' argument I've ever come across is when a believer in the alarming consequences of human induced CO2 emissions, such as yourself apparently, calls a person who is skeptical about the severity of the threat and the degree of possible harmful consequences of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, such as myself, a Climate Change Denier.

I recall Phillip Adams goes even further and equates AGW skeptics to Holocaust Deniers.

This is a great pity because there are many intelligent members of the general public who are not convinced by the arguments put forward by AGW believers, but who do have a respect for the scientific method.

We would like our doubts addressed clearly and intelligibly, without bias and without conveniently glossing over historical facts and geological records that do suggest that the climate, which is always in a process of change, is currently changing due to natural causes, in the main.

Since no-one is doubting that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it's quite reasonable to suppose that increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, as a result of our emissions, will affect climate to some degree.

Having spoken to a number of scientists on this issue, some of whom I don't know and just happen to have met briefly by chance, and having read of the way certain scientists employed in organisations related to Climate Change have been treated when they object to the interpretation of the data which they think is often biased in favour of the AGW hypothesis, I tend to think there are probably lots of scientists employed in the field of Climatology, who are privately very doubtful about the way their data and results are being interpreted and presented, but are reluctant to speak out for two main reasons;

(1) They need the employment to feed their families.

(2) It's easy to rationalise their personal doubts with the argument that no harm is done if the AGW hypothesis is eventually proved to be a great exaggeration, because it's clear we are gradually running out of fossil fuels, particularly oil, and we can only benefit in the long term from the development of efficient, alternative energy supplies.

This second point is very seductive and one that Tim Flannery often makes.

Unfortunately, it is a deeply flawed argument. Every business manager knows that one needs accurate and reliable information to properly assess risk factors, not exaggerated scenarios.

I find it deeply ironic, and frankly disturbing, that there are plans to handicap our most efficient energy producers in some vain attempt to control the climate by reducing CO2 emissions, whilst at the same time we continue to build houses in flood plains, that are not protected by riverine flooding insurance and would continue to be damaged by the levels of natural flooding that we could expect irrespective of any increases in human induced CO2 emissions.

This is a great pity because there are many intelligent members of the general public who are not convinced by the arguments put forward by AGW believers, but who do have a respect for the scientific method.

Have you any appreciation of the stupidity displayed in this statement?

> ...there are many intelligent members of the general public who are not convinced by the arguments put forward by AGW believers, but who do have a respect for the scientific method.

Really? So they can express their lack of conviction on this issue by mounting scientific arguments that (a) fairly represent the scientific case for AGW, and (b) present a scientifically plausible alternative to that case and the evidence that supports it? Care to name any of these people or their arguments? Bear in mind that this particular audience is more familiar than the average newspaper reader with both the science and with the reasons why most of the arguments for "doubt" in this space do not hold water...

> ...without conveniently glossing over historical facts and geological records that do suggest that the climate, which is always in a process of change, is currently changing due to natural causes, in the main.

And yet the scientific method that you imply you respect (a) is not glossed over by climate scientists, who spend a great deal of time and effort to understand the forces acting to change the climate and - both natural and anthropogenic - and their relative magnitudes, and (b) does not show what you claim it does. It is true that a superficial look at a certain subset of the facts might lead one to think as you claim, and certain parties promote carefully selected sets of facts, apparently for this purpose. However a deeper scientific understanding clearly indicates this is very unlikely to be the case. Anyone who actually has a respect for the scientific method must agree that a deeper understanding consistent with all the evidence trumps a more superficial one that is inconsistent with significant chunks of that evidence.

> They need the employment to feed their families.

And yet it's objectively clear that there's a lot more money for those who are prepared to produce work that supports conclusions that big business would prefer to hear, so this motivation looks unconvincing.

Never mind that anyone who debunked AGW would most certainly receive a Nobel Prize, great professional acclaim, significant financial reward and enviable future career prospects - and yet no-one, not a single scientist, has stepped up to claim these kinds of rewards. Odd, that.

> Every business manager knows that one needs accurate and reliable information to properly assess risk factors, not exaggerated scenarios.

And yet (for example) the IPCC scenarios made in past reports have proved to be the opposite of exaggeration in many respects - things are worse than anticipated, not better.

> I find it deeply ironic, and frankly disturbing, that there are plans to handicap our most efficient energy producers in some vain attempt to control the climate by reducing CO2 emissions, ...

Your use of "vain attempt to control the climate" suggests that you don't understand the science that you claim to respect...

> ...whilst at the same time we continue to build houses in flood plains, that are not protected by riverine flooding insurance and would continue to be damaged by the levels of natural flooding that we could expect irrespective of any increases in human induced CO2 emissions.

Which is indeed a valid concern, but also a red herring for the debate about what to do about AGW - and it's certainly not an either-or proposition as you seem to position it to be.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 17 Mar 2011 #permalink

VincentR the troll:

We would like our doubts addressed clearly and intelligibly

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

I tend to think there are probably lots of scientists employed in the field of Climatology, who are privately very doubtful

So your real reason for commenting here is to push your personal barrow. Spare us, please.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 17 Mar 2011 #permalink

>*I tend to think there are probably lots of scientists employed in the field of Climatology, who are privately very doubtful about the way their data and results are being interpreted and presented, but are reluctant to speak out*

Opinion with a distinct lack of supporting evidence.

Roy Spencer aint affraid to speak out, its [just his bad science](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/roy_spencer_fitting_an_elephan…) that keeps people from accepting his calims.

Same [for Lindzen](http://www.skepticalscience.com/a-case-study-of-a-climate-scientist-ske…). Same [for Christy](http://www.skepticalscience.com/christy-testimony.html).

I tend to think there are probably lots of scientists employed in the field of Climatology, who are privately very doubtful about the way their data and results are being interpreted and presented, but are reluctant to speak out for two main reasons;

(1) They need the employment to feed their families.

You clearly have no idea about the work of a scientist.

If there was any "doubt" about the validity of the consensus, scientists would be bending over backwards to demonstrate this to the world, because it would guarantee a sky-rocketing of their careers, exactly as Lothasson has already told you.

Your "tend[ency] to think" would appear, based upon objective critical analysis, to be a greatly exaggerated reflection of the reality of your capacities.

As to your comment about climatologists needing employment to "feed their families", once again you have no idea about the operation of science. If climatology were suddenly demoted in the funding scheme of things, there would be work for the same people in other disciplines. Having lived for decades on 12-, 24- and 36-month grants I can attest to the perambulatory nature of scientific employment.

Science funding is a competitive process - the requirement for a particular number of individual scientists in a particular discipline might change, but the overall funding for science doesn't (except when science-phobic conservatives have their ways).

In fact, if climatology was to be pushed down the list of disciplines to be funded, there would probably be more overall funding for scientists in other areas, because a large part of the cost of climatology is swallowed by expensive equipment such as satellites and rockets. For the price of one climatological group a government could probably employ an army of ecologists, or at least an overall excess of physicists/chemists working on alternative fuels. "Doubting" climate scientists should be screaming their concerns from the rooftops, so that they can open up new fields of work and secure more overall scientific employment.

Of course, the demise of satellite-based climatology might worry the techies and the aerospace companies, because their services would no longer be as much in demand, but that's the free market for you.

...it's clear we are gradually running out of fossil fuels, particularly oil, and we can only benefit in the long term from the development of efficient, alternative energy supplies.

This second point is very seductive and one that Tim Flannery often makes.

That second point is also inescapably true, and is not solved by trying to insinuate that it is an attempt at seduction. Seriously, what is the "seduction"? What is your implied version of the truth, if Flannery's points are not valid and centrally relevant?

The longer that we do not address Peak Oil (or global warming) the harder it will hit our societies economically. Those who might have to pay tax now, or find new jobs now, will have to pay more later or search harder for new employment in the future, if we do not address the issues now. It's no different to spending on credit: not addressing Peak Oil/climate change/general resource overuse is simply a matter of increasing the credit limit on the card, without ever paying off the debt.

The trouble is that sooner or later the natural environment will call the debt, and there will be nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 17 Mar 2011 #permalink

> I tend to think there are probably lots of scientists employed in the field of Climatology, who are privately very doubtful about the way their data and results are being interpreted and presented, but are reluctant to speak out for two main reasons;

And David Ike tends to think that lizard aliens have taken over the planet and are made up to look like humans.

This doesn't mean he's right. It DOES mean he's probably a paranoid nut.

And just because you tend to think that doesn't mean you're right. But it DOES tell us a lot about you.

Well, Bernard, thanks for at least attempting a sensible rebuttal, instead of the usual personal insults.

When the subject is exceptionally complex with so many variables which can be chaotic and unpredictable, bending over backwards may not be sufficient. Even massive amounts of funding for research may not be sufficient.

As I understand (but correct me if I'm wrong) the scientific method is essentially based upon experiment, observation, deduction, hypothesis, falsification.

A consensus that results before all of those stages are complete cannot be a true and meaningful scientific consensus. It can only be a concocted, political consensus.

Reading the arguments from the AGW protagonists on a number of sites, whether from scientists, members of the public, or politicians, I get a strong sense that there's an extraordinarily simplistic and naive notion prevalent, that we can control our climate by controlling our levels of CO2 emissions.

The illusion of having control can be very powerful. The CO2 control knob. Wow!

We can control the rate of economic growth by reducing, or increasing interest rates. Can we do the same with our climate by reducing or increasing our CO2 emissions?

Don't kid yourselves! Climate is far too complex, variable and unpredictable for such a simplistic approach.

I notice that some commentators on my previous points have implied that I'm sometimes not relevant. I often get a sense from the AGW protagonists that they suffer in general from an inability to appreciate in practical human terms the broader picture and the significance of the price of energy.

We don't prevent another flood, like those that occurred in Pakistan and Australia recently, by reducing our CO2 emissions.

We prevent a recurrence of such disasters by spending lots of money (energy) in flood mitigation dams, reforestation of surrounding areas, and new house designs that resist flooding better, such as elevated houses on solid piers.

Of course, I doubt very much that that's going to happen. It seems that for most of us, most of the time, the economic pressures of the moment outweigh the lessons of history.

As someone who is a resident in the general Brisbane area, although outside the city and unaffected by the recent floods, I'm amazed that the same mistakes that occurred in 1974 have been repeated in 2011.

We had a devastating flood in 1974, attributed to inadequate dam capacity and too much clearing and deforestation of surrounding areas, so we build a massive flood-mitigation dam to prevent a recurrence.

But it now seems we have had a recurrence, not because it was unavoidable as a result of massively unprecedented rainfall (although the rainfall may have been greater for reasons which cannot be directly attributed to CO2 increases), but because we repeated the same mistakes we made in 1974.

The latest Weekend Australian has a report from an engineer who has done the calculations. He's not engaging in psychological distraction. It's very easy to quote the cliche, 'You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't'', or, "It's easy to be wise in hindsight", but the fact is, it now seems, Wivenhoe was not fully used as a flood mitigation dam. Someone wants to have their cake and eat it.

After the emotional trauma of a previous long drought that many attributed to AGW, the economic flow-on of a harvest of full dams that might tide us over the next drought without too much expenditure on more desalination plants, seems to have won the day.

It now seems clear to me, to put it in the simplest terms, that the recent floods in Brisbane and Ipswich resulted because we had a flood mitigation dam which wasn't being fully or competently used for flood mitigation purposes.

The lesson here is that we should pay more attention to the practical basics, learn from past mistakes and not let economic greed cloud our judgement.

It simply makes no sense to me to act foolishly by building houses in flood plains, which are uninsured because the insurance is either too expensive or not available, then kid ourselves that we might solve the problem by spending twice, or three times as much reducing CO2 emissions as it would take to protect such dwellings from future floods or cyclones using well known and tested procedures with reference to past events.

The number of house damaged by this flood this year, in Brisbane, exceeded the number of dwellings damaged in 1974. Is this because the 2011 flood was higher? No. It was about 1 metre lower.

Can any of you guys understand that I'm a little skeptical about the claims of any group of people (scientists or politicians) that they can control our climate, in theory or in practice, by reducing CO2 emissions?

We can't control wars. We can't control poverty. We can't control floods, even in the best of circumstances with a flood mitigation dam that holds 2.5x as much water as the Sydney harbour, yet some people think we can control our climate with a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.

My mind truly and honestly boggles at such foolishness.

Get real, for Christ's sake!

> As I understand (but correct me if I'm wrong) the scientific method is essentially based upon experiment, observation, deduction, hypothesis, falsification.

As your "essentially" means "in broad strokes", yes.

> A consensus that results before all of those stages are complete cannot be a true and meaningful scientific consensus.

You seem to forget that your essentially doesn't mean "essential".

> It can only be a concocted, political consensus.

Absolutely false.

It could be just mistaken. You're writing in on the thoughts of others the thoughts you yourself entertain. It's called projection. It's supposed to make you feel better for being a heel since everyone else is one, therefore you're not a bad person.

> Reading the arguments from the AGW protagonists on a number of sites,... I get a strong sense that there's an extraordinarily simplistic and naive notion prevalent, that we can control our climate by controlling our levels of CO2 emissions.

It isn't naive. Just because you don't like it and don't believe it doesn't mean you get to jedi-wave it away with "this is not the notion we are looking for".

Why do you think it is not possible to change the temperature markedly with CO2, the single biggest forcing parameter we have control over?

Or do you think that nature will notice us not burning fossil fuels and decide to throw out a few CO2 volcanoes to keep the numbers up?

> Don't kid yourselves! Climate is far too complex, variable and unpredictable for such a simplistic approach.

Really? How do you know this? It's a fairly simple process.

Heat goes in. Heat goes out. The sun produces what it produces.
We can change the CO2 we pump out. Why is this false? Because you don't like it?

> We don't prevent another flood, like those that occurred in Pakistan and Australia recently, by reducing our CO2 emissions.

Indeed not. However we can reduce the number of them by reducing CO2 emissions.

Or do you not believe that water evaporates?

> although the rainfall may have been greater for reasons which cannot be directly attributed to CO2 increases

It CAN be attributed to higher sea surface temperatures.

You DO know that heating something that is in contact with something else will warm that something else too, don't you?

> Can any of you guys understand that I'm a little skeptical about the claims of any group of people (scientists or politicians) that they can control our climate, in theory or in practice, by reducing CO2 emissions?

We understand it isn't skepticism. You seem absolutely sure it's wrong for a start.

That's not skepticism.

We also understand your denial. You don't like it.

> We can't control wars. We can't control poverty.

We can control the amount of CO2 we produce that exceeds the natural capacity to take up the pollution.

Funny how you think we can control wars and poverty when you think it's impossible to control CO2 emissions.

Show me where we've controlled either poverty or wars. But emissions of CFCs were controlled. Emission of sulphur was controlled.

> My mind truly and honestly boggles at such foolishness.

Your inability to get past your dogma is causing your mind to boggle. It has nothing to do with AGW science being foolish.

> Get real, for Christ's sake!

A demand you should be looking to start on yourself.

How old are you Wow? 10 or 11?

May I suggest that you do not opt for a career in science. You don't appear to have the sense of logic and rationality required.

Debating for the sake of debating is probably your forte. A career in the Entertainment industry might be appropriate.

I would hesitate to recommend politics. We already have too many scientific illiterates in politics, people who think that 4,000 scientists can't be wrong, and people who think that life-giving CO2 is a pollutant in the miniscule percentages that currently exist in the atmosphere.

No hard feelings I hope.

Bye!

We already have too many scientific illiterates in politics, people who think that 4,000 scientists can't be wrong

Chris, before you get him started - I think he was referring to the IPCC.

So vinny, you can't respond to the meat of the argument since you have none, just religious dogma.

You're unable to show why I'm wrong, so you play the man, not the ball.

I'm guessing you'll start with the "you're ad homming me!" complaint any minute now.

> > Don't kid yourselves! Climate is far too complex, variable and unpredictable for such a simplistic approach.

> Really? How do you know this? It's a fairly simple process.

You never answered, did you.

Because YOU DON'T KNOW THIS. You just hope it's true because your worldview won't let you believe there's anything wrong with rampant capitalism.

Not at all. A few years ago I used to accept that AGW was a serious problem and worried why more positive action was not being taken.

I then began doing my own research on the internet, on climate matters, and discovered the skeptical arguments about the significance of AGW simply made more sense to me. No dogma involved. Just plain enquiry and reflection upon the matter.

I also got the impression that those promoting the AGW alarmist view are far too sensitive to criticism and tend to censor posts.

I can understand the owner of a site censoring abusive remarks, like calling someone an idiot or a moron. However, when a rational argument in opposition to the AGW hypothesis is censored on a site that promotes the AGW scare, like this one, I'm sure you can understand that my skepticism is increased.

"I then began doing my own research on the internet"

See, there's your mistake right there. Try libraries for research, you can find anything you want on the internet, including proof that the sky is yellow & there are little green men in your toilet.

Or that AGW is a scam (as long as you don't look too closely at the actual research - hey look over there, Al Gore is fat!)

By Quiet Waters (not verified) on 25 Mar 2011 #permalink

However, when a rational argument in opposition to the AGW hypothesis is censored on a site that promotes the AGW scare, like this one, ...

Sorry VinceR, you'll need to provide a link to back up that gross slur.

Which particular rational argument has been censored?

>*I then began doing my own research on the internet, on climate matters, and discovered the skeptical arguments about the significance of AGW simply made more sense to me.*

Funny, I would be leading with those really convincing arguments instead the of the [unsupported opinion](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…) you've been pushing.

Why do so called 'skeptics' keep their real arguments in the closet? Why not give it an airing?

> I also got the impression that those promoting the AGW alarmist view are far too sensitive to criticism and tend to censor posts.

http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2006/02/whats-wrong-with-warm-wea…

will likewise be an eye opener.

But you do a good impression.

Like soft wax.

And still you dodge answering:

> > > Don't kid yourselves! Climate is far too complex, variable and unpredictable for such a simplistic approach.

> > Really? How do you know this? It's a fairly simple process.

> You never answered, did you.

You're the artless dodger.

Really?
So the rebuttals here:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
should be an eye opener for you.
Posted by: Wow | March 25, 2011 9:13 AM
........................................................

My very first comment on that site about a year ago, in response to some point made by another poster who supported the AGW hypothesis, appeared briefly then was deleted. Oddly enough, the post I was commenting on was also deleted. No explanation was offered.

I don't believe in any scientific process that censors opposing views. You may, but I don't.

> I don't believe in any scientific process that censors opposing views. You may, but I don't.

But you haven't given evidence of any scientific process that censors opposing views.

And if you think a website explaining the science is the scientific process, then you're harbouring a delusional belief.

The scientific process takes place in research institutions and the literature.

(And no, just in case you want to head down that path - pre-publication peer-review is not "censorship of opposing views".)

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 26 Mar 2011 #permalink

Vincent, you keep referring your arguments that are so convincing that they need to be censored, yet you are still keeping these gems in the closet. You seem really attached to that narrative. Only problem is you keep failing to produce anything but stories of how your arguments are censored.

There is a gap in your story though, why would the censors let you tell your censorship story? Why don't you just give us your killer science? Unless you're bluffing?

>Oddly enough, the post I was commenting on was also deleted. No explanation was offered.

How fortuitous.

> I also got the impression that those promoting the AGW alarmist view are far too sensitive to criticism and tend to censor posts.

Unlike, say, WUWT, which not only censors posts (and rabidly hounds anonymous posters for their real identity if they are at all critical of the WUWT party line), but also revises earlier posts that are subsequently shown to be wrong, along with all criticism pointing out their errors, not to mention abusing the DMCA to silence criticism.

Or like Climate Etc, where offensive hate speech from AGW proponents is censored, but not from "skeptics".

The reason you have this impression is that the ones who *complain* about it loudly and vociferously are those from the anti-AGW bloc, for whom this is yet more vindication for their victim mentality - proof that they are a growing movement that has been cruelly supressed until now etc etc... Oh the self-righteous sense of entitlement that one has the unalienable *right* to spew one's own half-baked opinion across any message board with complete impunity, and any censorship *just proves that you have them on the run!*

Posts like yours (The scales fell from my eyes! I saw the light!) read like religious conversions - and each one I read is hollower and less convincing than the last.

I deal only in facts. If anyone has been censored on any science-oriented site for making a reasoned and polite comment opposing the prevailing opinion, then that is deplorable and serves no good purpose. Two wrongs don't make a right.

However, hearsay about certain sites that may have censored unknown statements or opinions expressed by unknown individuals, is another matter.

A few years ago, the argument used to be made by the pro-AGW lobby that those who expressed skepticism about the significance of human induced CO2 emissions were often in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry; that they either owned shares in such companies or were on the payroll.

When this was the case, or is the case, and sometimes it no doubt was and still is the case, then this is also deplorable. Such a situation presents a conflict of interest. I think everyone understands this.

However, some time ago it was revealed that one of the most vocal advocates of the alarmist view on AGW, Al Gore, profits from government subsidies for green technologies.

The BBC has also appeared to be biased in its coverage of the issue of AGW, so when it was revealed some time ago that the BBC Pension Fund is heavily invested in renewable energy technologies and that every BBC employee subscribes to the fund, is this not cause for concern? Is there not a clear conflict of interest here?

The notion that Dr Pachuari, head of the IPCC, also appeared to have a conflict of interest as a result of his directorships on various renewable energy companies, was very alarming, but I see this now appears now to be incorrect. An audit has cleared him of any corrupt financial dealings.

The point I'm making is that censorship is censorship, and financial conflicts of interest are just that, from whatever side of the argument the accusations are made.

If someone is perceived as having a financial conflict of interest on matters of science, then that's clearly of some concern and reduces any confidence one may have in the accuracy of any promotion of the scientific theories from such individuals. Likewise, if any organisation that reports on science matters and invites opinions, censors opposing views, then that's also of concern whether it's the WUWT or Skepticalscience that's doing the censoring.

There's one major point which I think many of you guys on this site have failed to grasp. There's no killer application in such a complex issue as climate change that can settle the issue one way or the other. Some of you guys have been spending too much time on your iPhone.

The science of climate involves about 20 or more major disciplines, each with its own areas of uncertainty. Data always have to be interpreted. They don't interpret themselves.

Sometimes the interpretation seems clear-cut. Sometimes the interpretation is ambiguous or uncertain. Sometimes interpretations that were made confidently at the time are revisited years later and re-examined in the light of new discoveries and with new techniques, and are found to have been wrong.

The Earth Sciences in general tend to suffer more from uncertainty than other disciplines such as physics and chemistry. One can't put the earth's atmospheric system into a laboratory.
One can dertmine with reasonable certainty in the laboratory that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. One can examine the increased rate of evaporation of water with rising temperature. But it's difficult to be certain, for example, about the increasing role of the albedo effect as increasing cloud cover, that may result from an increase in warming, shields the earth's surface from the heat of the sun, thus counteracting the warming to some degree.

And of course, as every schoolboy knows, evaporation causes cooling. But of course, water vapour is itself a GHG which exists in far greater quantities than CO2, a fact which causes me to suspect that the role of such small increases of CO2 in any warming cycle may have been been exaggerated.

It's no wonder that meteorologists as a group tend to have a higher rate of scepticism about CAGW than other disciplines. Geologists as a group also have a high rate of skepticism.

I get the impression from reading comments on sites such as this, that there are broadly 3 types of opinion on AGW.

There are those who are certain that AGW will be catastrophic if we don't reduce our CO2 emission significantly and quickly. This group seems to think the science is settled.

There are those who don't believe a word of it; who think it's all a conspiracy and a fraud. I wouldn't call them climate change deniers. They believe in natural, continuous climate change.Rather I'd call them CAGW deniers. (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming deniers). But this term appears to be too difficult for the first group who thinks the science is settled.

The third group, of which I am a member, are the true skeptics. This group has the nous to appreciate the uncertain nature of the science and to see through the grandstanding, political motivations and exaggerated claims of the first two groups.

Shorter VincentR
I deal only in facts but do not expect me to provide any.

Vincent R writes:

>*I deal only in facts*

You may want to only deal with facts. But reality shows you deal in [unsupported opinion](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…).

>*the most vocal advocates of the alarmist view on AGW, Al Gore, profits from government subsidies for green technologies.*

Gore's an unashamed advocate of Green tech. He'd be slammed by his critics if he didn't put his money into such investment.

>*The BBC has also appeared to be biased in its coverage of the issue of AGW*

Biased towards what? Towards science? Towards credible sources? Towards fact checking?

>*so when it was revealed some time ago that the BBC Pension Fund is heavily invested in renewable energy technologies and that every BBC employee subscribes to the fund, is this not cause for concern? Is there not a clear conflict of interest here?*

Just like you've failed to define bias you failed to define "heavily invested". As a media organisation what can the BBC's pension fund invest in that could not be a construed by its critics as a conflict of interest? Given huge fractions of the Government revenue came via North Sea oil the BBC in more indebted to fossil fuel than renewables.

>* The notion that Dr Pachuari, head of the IPCC, also appeared to have a conflict of interest as a result of his directorships on various renewable energy companies, was very alarming, but I see this now appears now to be incorrect. An audit has cleared him of any corrupt financial dealings.*

But that doesnât give you pause in the allegations you push?

>*The third group, of which I am a member, are the true skeptics.*

The hubris of the same person who thinks that the cumulative effects of GHG forcing is overestimated due to evaporation:

>* And of course, as every schoolboy knows, evaporation causes cooling. But of course, water vapour is itself a GHG which exists in far greater quantities than CO2, a fact which causes me to suspect that the role of such small increases of CO2 in any warming cycle may have been been [sic] exaggerated.

And

>* It's no wonder that meteorologists as a group tend to have a higher rate of scepticism about CAGW than other disciplines. Geologists as a group also have a high rate of skepticism.*

From someone who states he can *see through the grandstanding, political motivations* of people its surprising that he canât the motivations of TV grandstanders and mining geologists.

> I deal only in facts.

I doubt that the evidence fully supports that assertion. Even your most recent comment suggests otherwise...read on.

> However, some time ago it was revealed that one of the most vocal advocates of the alarmist view on AGW, Al Gore, profits from government subsidies for green technologies.

It was also - IIRC - reported that Gore's "profits" from said green technologies were donated to various charities, but my memory on this point is not clear so verify. If this is true your argument is moot. In fact it's worse than moot, because Gore puts his money where his mouth is without personal gain, when he could easily (say) have put his money into fossil fuel industries (that benefit enormously from annual government subsidies in the billions) and kept the gains for himself.

Furthermore the concern here stands on the science, regardless of anything Gore says or does, up to and including whether he directs his investments to take advantage of the state of the science, and/or how the profits from said investments are used.

> The BBC has also appeared to be biased in its coverage of the issue of AGW...

A determination of bias on scientific issues requires assessing how well the coverage aligns with the known facts. I doubt your assertion here is robustly supported by the evidence.

> ...so when it was revealed some time ago that the BBC Pension Fund is heavily invested in renewable energy technologies and that every BBC employee subscribes to the fund, is this not cause for concern?

Only if you're silly enough to decide that what the BBC says or doesn't say has any bearing on the state of the science.

> Is there not a clear conflict of interest here?

Of course, but (a) it's on a vastly different scale than the fossil fuel industries, and (b) there are processes in place for public broadcasters to monitor and limit any negative effects.

Furthermore what matters is not that there be no conflict of interest for anyone who has anything to say on the matter - if only because I don't see you applying that principle universally to other matters of public policy, and if you did you'd very quickly find it untenable. What matters is whether actions and messages are in accordance with the science or not. And that's why people point to the conflict of interest in the fossil fuel industry - not because there's a conflict of interest, but because there's unsupported disagreement with the science coupled with clear and massive conflict of interest.

> Sometimes the interpretation seems clear-cut. Sometimes the interpretation is ambiguous or uncertain.

Of course. That's why the IPCC spends a great deal of time analysing and discussing confidence levels.

> Sometimes interpretations that were made confidently at the time are revisited years later and re-examined in the light of new discoveries and with new techniques, and are found to have been wrong.

But most often they turn out to be right. And you can't decide you'll wait for near certainty - and you don't do it in many other areas where science impacts on your life either.

> One can dertmine with reasonable certainty in the laboratory that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

Oh, please! That's a completely idiotic and IMHO rather revealing statement! One can determine with complete certainty in the laboratory that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. If you can't even admit that much then you're in some kind of denial.

> One can examine the increased rate of evaporation of water with rising temperature. But it's difficult to be certain, for example, about the increasing role of the albedo effect as increasing cloud cover, that may result from an increase in warming, shields the earth's surface from the heat of the sun, thus counteracting the warming to some degree.

You're hanging your hat once more on "difficult to be certain", which is the wrong question - especially for setting public policy. The right question is what is the confidence interval for the effect given the evidence we currently have, and does that lead one to conclude that there's minimal risk?

> And of course, as every schoolboy knows, evaporation causes cooling.

And many schoolboys will laugh and tell you that evaporative cooling only works if there's somewhere else for the energy to go, and merely evaporating some water into the atmosphere cannot in and of itself cool the climate system which by definition includes the atmosphere. Thus they would point out that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and easily leads one to draw silly conclusions as you appear to have, or as indicated by:

> It's no wonder that meteorologists as a group tend to have a higher rate of scepticism about CAGW than other disciplines. Geologists as a group also have a high rate of skepticism.

Yes, and both are basing their skepticism on incompetence in that particular scientific realm where they inaccurately believe that their existing knowledge makes them competent in a related but different (and generally more complex) field. Go check out the curriculum at any reputable university for meteorologists vs any decent climate science degree. Feel free to report back on how far a meteorology qualification will get you towards a climate science degree.

> But of course, water vapour is itself a GHG which exists in far greater quantities than CO2, a fact which causes me to suspect that the role of such small increases of CO2 in any warming cycle may have been been exaggerated.

Your level of scientific knowledge might lead you to "suspect", but scientists with far greater knowledge have examined the question in quite some detail. Have you any idea what they determined, and why?

And have you ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect?

> There are those who are certain that AGW will be catastrophic if we don't reduce our CO2 emission significantly and quickly. This group seems to think the science is settled.

This is a bit of a caricature, because:

(a) the word "catastrophic" is rarely used by those who ground their beliefs in the science; it's almost always used as a caricature by those arguing against the science.

(b) similarly the use of "the science is settled" has mostly been to claim that various pro-science groups don't tolerate dissent or questions. Unfortunately it's more nuanced than that. What most believe is that on the key questions the science is strong enough to be quite confident that things are most likely to get very bad. They're open to new evidence that might change that conclusion, but don't rate the chances of any turning up as more than slim. And that's a reasonable position to take because there is now a lot of evidence from several different lines of enquiry that support that conclusion, and a lot of effort to find comforting evidence to the contrary has turned up very little. Sometimes that nuance might be reported as "the science is settled", but even so it doesn't mean what you most likely claim it to mean.

> There are those who don't believe a word of it; who think it's all a conspiracy and a fraud. I wouldn't call them climate change deniers. They believe in natural, continuous climate change. Rather I'd call them CAGW deniers. (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming deniers). But this term appears to be too difficult for the first group who thinks the science is settled.

As pointed out above, it's not that the term is too difficult; it's that it embeds a false characterisation in the very term itself.

In addition the entirety of the first group believe in natural climate change too, so the very basis of your partition is flawed in the first place.

> The third group, of which I am a member, are the true skeptics.

Bollocks! Saying it does not make it so. A true skeptic goes where the evidence leads, and you clearly do not. Perhaps that's because you have a very limited understanding of the science (see above), and perhaps there are other reasons.

> This group has the nous to appreciate the uncertain nature of the science...

Well, many of them have the belief that they understand the science, but as you have just demonstrated that may not be accurate.

> ...and to see through the grandstanding, political motivations and exaggerated claims of the first two groups

LOL! Astonishingly your partition of the world left out another group - the actual skeptical scientists. Guess what beliefs they have formed based on the evidence, and regardless of any political or cultural grandstanding?

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 28 Mar 2011 #permalink

Excellent rebuttals folks, and a total waste of energy if you hope to stimulate some sceptical thought in what passes for VincentR's intellect. He is incapable of the objectivity required for true scepticism, preferring instead his comforting delusions.

And VincentR, before you accuse me of ad hom, I'm casting aspersions, not making an argument.

What zoot said.

VincentR, if you have a point of rebuttal against the physics underpinning AGW, can you explain it in a paragraph or two?

If there is a problem with the science, it should be easy to explain it in just a few paragraphs, given your obvious belief in your own scientific competence.

So let's see the actual detail of your refutation, and work from that.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 28 Mar 2011 #permalink

> My very first comment on that site about a year ago, in response to some point made by another poster who supported the AGW hypothesis, appeared briefly then was deleted.

And Anthony deletes posts. As I showed in another link.

Yet you haven't accused watts or the denialists of murky deeds.

Indeed your post could have been off topic, against house rules, spam, libellous or just insane. You haven't either shown anything of substance that would inform us of anything about this (conveniently) deleted post. Therefore your post could have been any of the above.

I'm afraid you're going to have to prove your position rather than just allude to surreptitious smothering.

> Or like Climate Etc, where offensive hate speech from AGW proponents is censored, but not from "skeptics".

the BBC forums do this to quite an extensive degree, despite all the squeals of the swines about how the BBC is biased toward the government and toe the party line over AGW.

Apparently it's OK to smear the IPCC or Pachura or any other climate scientist, but if you dare to smear Bishop Hill, then you're going to get thrown out.

Maybe because the virulent hatred and heavy unaccounted bankrolling means that the parasites like BH and Monkton have ample space to threaten legal consequence unavailable to the working scientists whose cash is limited and heavily accounted for, and BBC timidity ensures that they back down lest they get told off.

> And of course, as every schoolboy knows, evaporation causes cooling.

Not if they've been living in Washington without AC or holidayed in a tropical rainforest.

Ask a Pakistan shcoolboy, he'll gainsay that trite and overbroad generalisation.

> (b) similarly the use of "the science is settled" has mostly been to claim that various pro-science groups don't tolerate dissent or questions.

Indeed, the only person of note who has EVER said "the science is settled" is Lord Monckton.

Oddly enough this evidence that the self-defined skeptics do not tolerate dissent or questions (see again wuwt) hasn't caused any ripple of concern on the limpid tranquility of Vinny's denial.

VincentR could overturn AGW theory forever right here in this comment thread but Al Gore, who controls the internet, would just censor him.

Evaporative coolers have been a mainstay of life in dry, hot Adelaide for a long time.

Very, very irritating now to have cyclonic systems from Broome, or even Queensland this year, now directing ghastly humidity towards us most years, ruining our preferred "nice, dry heat". And wrecking the chance of cooling down with our previously sensible evaporative cooling systems.

Evaporation will give you moisture. It certainly won't cool things down unless everything's hot and dry in the first place.

"Evaporative coolers have been a mainstay of life in dry, hot Adelaide for a long time.
Very, very irritating now to have cyclonic systems from Broome, or even Queensland this year, now directing ghastly humidity towards us most years, ruining our preferred "nice, dry heat". And wrecking the chance of cooling down with our previously sensible evaporative cooling systems.
Evaporation will give you moisture. It certainly won't cool things down unless everything's hot and dry in the first place."
Posted by: adelady | March 29, 2011 10:10 AM
........................................................................................................................

You seem to be one of the more reasonable posters on this site so I don't mind spending a bit of time trying to explain some basics, although I'm not sure how much of this will pass the monitoring process. My past few posts have all been subjected to review by the owner/operator of the site and their appearance has been delayed, although not so far censored.

But I think I may probably be wasting my time on this site.

Whenever evaporation takes place there is a cooling effect that is a direct consequence of the change from a liquid state to a gaseous state. The heat absorbed remains absorbed until such a time that the gas, or water vapour, condenses back to a liquid. At such a time the heat previously absorbed is returned to the environment.

The home air-conditioner or refrigerator is a fine example of the process because there's a continuous cycle of evaporation and condensation taking place which produces cooling in one area (inside the house or inside the fridge) and a corresponding heating in another area (outside the house or at the back of the fridge). The heat absorbed in one area is nicely balanced by the heat generated in another area.

A similar process takes place in the atmosphere whenever water evaporates. There is a cooling effect and the heat absorbed remains absorbed until such time as it rains.

However, in the extremely complex systems in the atmosphere, there are other effects that take place that don't take place in the home fridge.

The basic operation of a GHG such as CO2 is that it allows certain high frequencies of heat radiation from the sun to pass through more easily than other lower frequencies. The frequencies of infra-red radiation emitted from the surface of the earth are mostly lower frequencies that tend to be blocked, or partially blocked by CO2 and other GHGs.

As a consequence of increased GHGs in the atmosphere, the concern is that the earth will gradually warm up because it cannot re-radiate as much heat back into outer space as it used to when CO2 levels were lower.

Furthermore, as a consequence of some initial warming, greater evaporation will take place causing an increase in water vapour which is also a GHG, which in turn will cause further warming.

Another consequence of this further warming is that areas of ice at the poles, and glaciers in Greenland etc, will begin to melt and lose their albedo effect, thus losing their capacity to reflect the sun's radiation at higher frequencies that can pass through the GHGs back into space, and as a result contribute yet more to the warming effect.

This does sound alarming, doesn't it? Unless we can reduce this tiny percentags of CO2 in the atmosphere (currently about two fifths of one tenth of one percent, or less) we are all doomed.

Well, I personally think that mother nature is a bit smarter than this and far more resilient than many namby pamby, office-bound or lab-bound, second-rate scientists seem to think.

Let's just consider the effects of increased evaporation due to some initial warming, to keep things simple.

The warming results in evaporation which causes cooling. (A nice counter-balance from mother nature). The increased water vapour in the atmosphere causes further warming, which causes further evaporation. If this were to continue we'd be in deep trouble.

But it doesn't continue. Mother nature has got more nous than these faint-hearted nervous nellies who call themselves scientists.

The water vapour tends to form clouds over large areas of the earth's surface. The clouds have an albedo effect just like ice-covered land, and reflect the sun's heat back into space. Much of the heat from the sun never reaches the earth's surface in these conditions.

But what happens when it rains, I hear you ask. Isn't that additional heat from the greenhouse effect then released back into the atmosphere?

Sure it is. However, those of you who are perceptive will surely have noticed that the sun don't shine when it rains (with rare exception).

Whilst the heat from previous warming is being released into the upper atmosphere above the cloud level (because we all know it tends to be cool when it rains), the area of earth upon which it is raining is protected from heat absorption from the sun, which would normally take place if it weren't raining or if the sky were not covered in clouds.

Now my point is not that that such negative feed-back processes can completely counteract any effects from increased CO2 levels. How would I know? I mention it because there is an area of significant uncertainty here.

I don't have time to address every rebuttal of my previous points, but I recall that some poster by the name Lotharsson, accused me of being idiotic because I described the fact that CO2 is a GHG as being reasonably certain.
Lotharsson thinks it is completely certain that CO2 is a GHG, thus demonstrating that he is not aware that nothing in science is completely certain.

If he had criticised me for my use of the term 'reasonably certain' as opposed to 'highly certain', because 'reasonably certain' has connotations of 'moderately certain', as well as connotations of certainty derived through a process of reasoning, which is part of the scientific process, then, being a reasonable person myself, I would have understood his objections.

However, the combination of implying I am an idiot, with his demonstration that he is not aware that nothing in science is completely certain, leads me to deduce that Lotharsson may be a religious zealot as far as AGW is concerned.

Notice that I don't declare that he certainly is a religious zealot. He may just be confused about the nature of science.

Wasn't there talk of a D-K of The Week Award some time back?

I'd like to nominate VinceR's post above as a stunning example.

> although I'm not sure how much of this will pass the monitoring process.

See how martyred vinny is? JUST LIKE GALILEO! If his martyrdom doesn't prove his case, nothing will!

> Now my point is not that that such negative feed-back processes can completely counteract any effects from increased CO2 levels. How would I know? I mention it because there is an area of significant uncertainty here.

Nope, no significant uncertainty.

This is like looking at the height measured of your youngest son and wondering about the effect of the sunlight on the reading of his height on the doorframe.

> I don't have time to address every rebuttal of my previous points,

No, you don't have the ammunition.

> However, the combination of implying I am an idiot

Here you go: you ARE an idiot.

Feel better?

> He may just be confused about the nature of science.

How can you tell when you've illustrated absolutely no scientific rigour AT ALL?

> The warming results in evaporation which causes cooling.

Taking it from the ocean over which the air is driving. Which them puts that heat in the atmosphere. Which, being next to the ground, keeps it warmer than it was before. Additionally, H2O is a GHG as well, therefore more evaporation causes more insulation of the earth atmosphere, just like adding an extra blanket on your bed in wintertime keeps YOU warmer.

A little thing that shows that Mother Nature, as well as the IPCC scientists and nearly everyone else here has more nouse than you.

Now my point is not that that such negative feed-back processes can completely counteract any effects from increased CO2 levels.

You are making a huge assumption there, see[ Feedback on Cloud Feedback](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/12/feedback-on-cloud…) where Desler states:

I find that, as the climate warms, clouds trap an additional 0.54±0.74W/m2 for every degree of warming. Thus, the cloud feedback is likely positive, but I cannot rule out a slight negative feedback.

You will also be aware of the affect clouds have on nighttime temperatures.

I mention it because there is an area of significant uncertainty here.

Uncertainty cuts both ways. All too often âscepticsâ use the term uncertainty when actually they mean wishful thinking.

By lord_sidcup (not verified) on 29 Mar 2011 #permalink

>*Well, I personally think that mother nature is a bit smarter than this and far more resilient than many namby pamby, office-bound or lab-bound, second-rate scientists seem to think.*

Vincent's hubris matches well with his earlier claim that he *"deal only in facts"* and that he is a member on an elite group he terms "*the true skeptics"*

I've a question for you Vincent Hubris, how did the PETM get so hot? And how is it that the change between glacial periods and interglacial happen in radical steps from one state to another? Why didn't clouds changes compensate to smooth away this Milankovitch forcing?

VincentR

There is a name for your ravings - it is called "Post Normal Science" - the half-wit sibling of postmodernism.

I am certain that the earth is round, not flat.

What about you?

Are you not certain, reasonably certain, moderately certain or highly certain. You cannot be certain because in your view science is never certain.

So you must allow the possibility that the earth is flat - which is what I suspected all along.

I have just realised that I misunderstood VincentR. He actually said that his point "is not that that such negative feed-back processes can completely counteract any effects from increased CO2 levels" when I took it to mean the opposite (D'oh). However, I am now left wondering what VincentR's point is - it seems to be "we don't know". Not much science in "don't know".

By lord_sidcup (not verified) on 30 Mar 2011 #permalink

Vincent, you mean to suggest that of all the atmospheric physicists, meteorologists, geochemists, biologists, ecologists, geologists, geophysicists, glaciologists, hydrologists, and oceanographers working on climate change, not one - not one - remembered that evaporation causes cooling. Really?

Well, I personally think that mother nature is a bit smarter than this and far more resilient than many namby pamby, office-bound or lab-bound, second-rate scientists seem to think.

If this piece of twaddle had been at the start of your comment instead of in the middle I wouldn't have bothered reading any further. It has the hallmarks of a loon.

'Mother nature' doesn't care about human discomfort, or anything else for that matter. You are just indulging in wishful thinking, a recurring theme through all your comments.

Have you ever met a climatologist? What was the point of that childish string of insults?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 30 Mar 2011 #permalink

"I personally think that mother nature is a bit smarter than this and far more resilient than many namby pamby, office-bound or lab-bound, second-rate scientists seem to think."

Oh lordy. Gaia will save us. All is well.

Spare me.

I'm probably wasting my time, but...

> ...so I don't mind spending a bit of time trying to explain some basics.

I'm guessing you haven't spent much time on this site. Many of the commenters know a hell of a lot more than the basics - and clearly a lot more than you.

> The heat absorbed in one area is nicely balanced by the heat generated in another area.

Except for those pesky Laws of Thermodynamics, which explain why you can't cool down your house by opening your fridge door...

But disregarding that, you've just explained why you were originally wrong to imply that evaporation on its own has any direct cooling impact on the climate system. Do you see that now?

Oh, wait, the rest of your comment indicates that you do not.

> ... Lotharsson, accused me of being idiotic because I described the fact that CO2 is a GHG as being reasonably certain. Lotharsson thinks it is completely certain that CO2 is a GHG, thus demonstrating that he is not aware that nothing in science is completely certain.

And you demonstrate that you do not understand how mild approximations are used outside of the scientific literature.

But fair enough. If you want to use the term "certain" and related terms for uncertainty in the sense that scientists do, go right ahead - but do it throughout your comments. You are not using this kind of precision elsewhere - which may explain why your thinking is muddled.

So, given the experiments that have taken place over the last 150 years, what level of uncertainty would you place on the hypothesis "that CO2 is a greenhouse gas"? Feel free to define your terms.

> Well, I personally think that mother nature is a bit smarter than this and far more resilient than many namby pamby, office-bound or lab-bound, second-rate scientists seem to think.

Er...what level of certainty - in the precise scientific sense - would you ascribe to this remarkable proposition?

For bonus points please break it down into the level of certainty of each component - that scientists are "namby pamby" (define your terms) and what percentage are so, similarly that they are "office-bound or lab-bound" (defining certainty here means assessing the amount of field work in climate science), and particularly "second-rate scientists" (define your scale - and most importantly, your self-assessed position on it).

And for bonus self-realisation, please analyse whether the adjectives you chose have any bearing on the scientific argument - and what your answer says about you.

Finally, perhaps you should ponder what you mean by "mother nature is more resilient". No scientist thinks that Mother Nature will end - and they would agree that the ecosystem is resilient. They would however point out that conditions that develop as part of that resilience response may not be very much to humanity's liking - a concern that seems to have escaped you.

> The basic operation of a GHG such as CO2 is that it allows certain high frequencies of heat radiation from the sun to pass through more easily than other lower frequencies. The frequencies of infra-red radiation emitted from the surface of the earth are mostly lower frequencies that tend to be blocked, or partially blocked by CO2 and other GHGs.

Kind-of. The GHGs absorb certain bands of radiation, but it's a bit like evaporation taking energy from one source and re-emitting it later. The absorbed energy is returned to the system as radiation - and for any individual CO2 molecule this generally happens quite quickly. But because this happens for many many CO2 molecules in the atmosphere, the net effect is that more CO2 leads to a reduced rate of radiation of infrared energy to space. One can think of it a bit like a tap running into a bath at a constant rate with no plug in place for a while until the system stabilises, and then someone partly blocks the plug hole - but don't push analogies too far.

> As a consequence of increased GHGs in the atmosphere, the concern is that the earth will gradually warm up because it cannot re-radiate as much heat back into outer space as it used to when CO2 levels were lower.

Kind-of, and kind-of not.

As one example, the concern is that the earth will gradually warm up until it radiates heat back out into outer space at the same rate as it used to (assuming all other factors are held constant). In fact, it's not a "concern" (implying a possibility that may not eventuate), the climate must do so, at a macro scale, because of conservation of energy - draw a sphere around the earth and its atmosphere, assume for the sake of understanding that incoming energy is at a constant annual rate, and figure out what happens when you reduce the rate of outgoing infrared radiation.

Or if analogies are easier to start with, consider what happens when someone partly blocks the plug hole in the previous example. What happens to the water level? Assuming the bath is sufficiently deep not to overflow under the particular experimental conditions, how high does it get? And most importantly why doesn't it get any higher?

> Let's just consider the effects of increased evaporation due to some initial warming, to keep things simple.

There's your problem!

You cite complexity of the whole when you want to invoke uncertainty as a reason for believing that we don't know enough to make useful decisions, but you cite simplicity of a part when you want to argue that you know enough to draw reasonably firm conclusions. (And how wonderfully ironic that it's a part where the science is least developed that you're certain - in the everyday English sense - supports your case that the level of certainty - in the scientific sense - for climate sensitivity as determined by the scientists is erroneous.)

You are not applying uncertainty consistently, especially not to the question of what is the response of the entire climate system rather than just one process.

> The warming results in evaporation which causes cooling. (A nice counter-balance from mother nature).

No, that's idiotic, for reasons you yourself just explained.

Evaporation transports heat across time and space, but it does not directly "cause cooling" in the climate system as a whole - and thus is not the "nice counter-balance" that you think it is. Yes, there are complex second (and higher) order effects...but those are outside of the bounds of your "keeping it simple" analysis.

You're not properly thinking about the problem. Firstly, you need to define your system boundary. (Think about that imaginary sphere surrounding the earth and its atmosphere, i.e. one that contains the complete climate system, and is essentially driven externally by only incoming radiation.)

Secondly you need to ask yourself what change the warming causes. Evaporation already happens, so you need to start thinking in terms of what change to that process warming brings.

And then you really need to think what other changes to other processes happen as a result of those changes...but wait, that means you're not keeping it simple any more. So maybe a more complex analysis is needed? So why don't you go the whole hog and apply all the evidence to come up with our best answer and associated confidence interval?

I think with a reasonable level of certainty that we all know the answer to that one.

> Mother nature has got more nous than these faint-hearted nervous nellies who call themselves scientists.

Wow, you're really determined to portray yourself as a classic Dunning-Kruger case, aren't you?

Particularly note how ... certain ... this statement is, without any supporting evidence; and yet you use the whole story about cloud feedbacks as a basis for being uncertain of the determination of scientists that - even considering reasonably unlikely levels of cloud feedbacks - the climate sensitivity is large enough to be a concern. Do you see the fallacy there?

> How would I know?

Ah, finally a self-aware statement - that invalidates most of the propositions you are advancing with rather a lot of apparent certainty.

> I mention it because there is an area of significant uncertainty here.

There is some uncertainty here.

But not significant enough, given that we have about a dozen lines of evidence for climate sensitivity, and when taking into account all of the evidence complete with the kinds of ... well, you know, like, actual measurements and stuff made by those namby-pamby office-bound scientists ... the kinds of data that are completely missing from your nice little story about how maybe if we all wish hard enough maybe cloud feedbacks will negate CO2 warming, they come up with confidence intervals that indicate we're very likely to have a problem.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 30 Mar 2011 #permalink

Such a detailed reply from Lotharsson requires a response. I haven't been able to attend to this until now because I've been trekking in the Himalayas, in Nepal, where AGW is a non-issue.

Over here at this time of year there are constant power cuts every day due to the lack of dams to provide sufficient hydro-electricity. Most people in the country live at a subsistence level, as they do in many other undeveloped countries, so it should be no surprise that such people have more urgent concerns than a possible threat from AGW.

I don't have the time to address every point made by Lotharsson, but there seems to be a couple of glaring misconceptions I'd like to comment on.

1. "I'm guessing you haven't spent much time on this site. Many of the commenters know a hell of a lot more than the basics - and clearly a lot more than you".

This is a very fallacious argument, but it is used constantly by AGW believers under the guise of 'consensus of opinion'. 4,000 scientists can't be wrong, as Kevin Rudd said.

We all sometimes fall into this trap. 4,000 scientist may know a hell of a lot. But it's not quantity that counts but quality. That is, quality of science, not just brilliance of mind.

Aristotle had a brilliant mind but we now know that much of what he thought he knew was sheer bunkum.

Einstein got some things terribly wrong and was rather slow to accept that the universe is expanding.

After many decades of a strong consensus of scientific opinion that the universe is expanding and will gradually slow down then begin contracting, it is now realised that the universe is expanding much faster than it should.

In order to explain the rate of expansion, we have to presume that there exist large quantities of invisible matter. Think about it. Our theories of the observed rate of expansion of the universe hinge upon the supposition that 95% of the matter and energy in the universe is totally invisible. We can speculate on its composition, but we've never encountered, caught, trapped or examined a single atom or photon or particle of dark matter or dark energy. It's as invisible as HG Wells' "The Invisible Man" without clothes.

I'm suggesting here that Climate Science is in a similar position. A computer projection is not proof. It's no-one's fault, of course. It's the nature of the subject. Climate is too complex to lend itself to the usual, strict, verifiable and falsifiable processes of the scientific method, as are many of the earth sciences.

Since you take exception to the term 'reasonable certainty', I'll use 'confidence'. We can be confident that CO2 is a GHG because we can repeatedly test the matter in the laboratory.

However, I cringe when I hear AGW proponents declare that the climate must inevitably get warmer as a result of CO2 increases because it is proved that CO2 is a GHG.

This would apply only in a situation when everything else about the climate remains the same. Surely we can all agree, with a high degree of certainty, that the climate is never static. It's in a continuous state of flux and subject to numerous forces.

2. "Finally, perhaps you should ponder what you mean by "mother nature is more resilient". No scientist thinks that Mother Nature will end - and they would agree that the ecosystem is resilient. They would however point out that conditions that develop as part of that resilience response may not be very much to humanity's liking - a concern that seems to have escaped you."

It has certainly not escaped me. You talk as though there is a God-ordained, benign climate specifically designed for mankind and that any disruption to such a climate through mankind's activities must be harmful.

What seems to have escaped you is that the climate has always been bloody awful for much of the evolution of Homo Sapiens. Our ancestors had to contend with the last Ice Age, huddling in caves to keep warm. Sometimes floods were so great and extensive, the local inhabitants imagined that the flood covered the whole world and built a religious mythology out of the event.

Fortunately, Mankind is now in a position, with its abundant energy supplies and advanced technology, to protect itself from such natural disasters, simply by applying a bit of common sense, ie. 'Don't build houses in flood plains unless they are fully insured against that one-in-30 or one-in-a-hundred year event of a disastrous flood occuring.'

'Don't build nuclear power plants on fault lines unless you're prepared to employ the extra energy in construction costs to ensure such power plants can withstand the strongest earthquake'.

'Don't build houses in areas subject to cyclones or hurricanes unless they are built to withstand cyclones greater than has ever been experienced before or reported in history.

Such sensible policies require lots of cheap energy. I've no objection at all to expanding our energy sources by developing alternative methods to fossil fuel, such as nuclear, wind, solar, tidal, hydro, geothermal. etc. We can't have too much energy. The world is starving of energy. There's so much to be done in the world that requires massive amounts of energy.

However, I do require, whatever energy sources we employ, that the sources be relatively clean regarding the impact on human health and the environment. Old-fashioned coal-powered plants that spew significant amounts of SO2, NO2 and particulate carbon into the atmosphere, should be replaced as soon as possible by either the new breed of Ultra-Supercritical coal-fired power plants which are not only more efficient but emit virtually no pollution, or nuclear, or solar and wind in countries that are wealthy and can afford the luxury, bearing in mind that it is a luxury like fashionable and expensive designer clothes or luxury cars.

Any policy directed at spending trillions of dollars to substitute cheap but CO2 emitting energy, with expensive alternative energy is bound to fail. We have more than enough clear and present problems to tackle, which require cheap energy.

A man whose house can withstand no greater than a category 2 cyclone, will get no joy from the news that his government is spending huge sums on CO2 mitigation schemes in the uncertain hope there will be fewer category 5 cyclones in the future.

Such a detailed reply from Lotharsson requires a response. I haven't been able to attend to this until now because I've been trekking in the Himalayas, in Nepal, where AGW is a non-issue.

Over here at this time of year there are constant power cuts every day due to the lack of dams to provide sufficient hydro-electricity. Most people in the country live at a subsistence level, as they do in many other undeveloped countries, so it should be no surprise that such people have more urgent concerns than a possible threat from AGW.

I don't have the time to address every point made by Lotharsson, but there seems to be a couple of glaring misconceptions I'd like to comment on.

1. "I'm guessing you haven't spent much time on this site. Many of the commenters know a hell of a lot more than the basics - and clearly a lot more than you".

This is a very fallacious argument, but it is used constantly by AGW believers under the guise of 'consensus of opinion'. 4,000 scientists can't be wrong, as Kevin Rudd said.

We all sometimes fall into this trap. 4,000 scientist may know a hell of a lot. But it's not quantity that counts but quality. That is, quality of science, not just brilliance of mind.

Aristotle had a brilliant mind but we now know that much of what he thought he knew was sheer bunkum.

Einstein got some things terribly wrong and was rather slow to accept that the universe is expanding.

After many decades of a strong consensus of scientific opinion that the universe is expanding and will gradually slow down then begin contracting, it is now realised that the universe is expanding much faster than it should.

In order to explain the rate of expansion, we have to presume that there exist large quantities of invisible matter. Think about it. Our theories of the observed rate of expansion of the universe hinge upon the supposition that 95% of the matter and energy in the universe is totally invisible. We can speculate on its composition, but we've never encountered, caught, trapped or examined a single atom or photon or particle of dark matter or dark energy. It's as invisible as HG Wells' "The Invisible Man" without clothes.

I'm suggesting here that Climate Science is in a similar position. A computer projection is not proof. It's no-one's fault, of course. It's the nature of the subject. Climate is too complex to lend itself to the usual, strict, verifiable and falsifiable processes of the scientific method, as are many of the earth sciences.

Since you take exception to the term 'reasonable certainty', I'll use 'confidence'. We can be confident that CO2 is a GHG because we can repeatedly test the matter in the laboratory.

However, I cringe when I hear AGW proponents declare that the climate must inevitably get warmer as a result of CO2 increases because it is proved that CO2 is a GHG.

This would apply only in a situation when everything else about the climate remains the same. Surely we can all agree, with a high degree of certainty, that the climate is never static. It's in a continuous state of flux and subject to numerous forces.

2. "Finally, perhaps you should ponder what you mean by "mother nature is more resilient". No scientist thinks that Mother Nature will end - and they would agree that the ecosystem is resilient. They would however point out that conditions that develop as part of that resilience response may not be very much to humanity's liking - a concern that seems to have escaped you."

It has certainly not escaped me. You talk as though there is a God-ordained, benign climate specifically designed for mankind and that any disruption to such a climate through mankind's activities must be harmful.

What seems to have escaped you is that the climate has always been bloody awful for much of the evolution of Homo Sapiens. Our ancestors had to contend with the last Ice Age, huddling in caves to keep warm. Sometimes floods were so great and extensive, the local inhabitants imagined that the flood covered the whole world and built a religious mythology out of the event.

Fortunately, Mankind is now in a position, with its abundant energy supplies and advanced technology, to protect itself from such natural disasters, simply by applying a bit of common sense, ie. 'Don't build houses in flood plains unless they are fully insured against that one-in-30 or one-in-a-hundred year event of a disastrous flood occuring.'

'Don't build nuclear power plants on fault lines unless you're prepared to employ the extra energy in construction costs to ensure such power plants can withstand the strongest earthquake'.

'Don't build houses in areas subject to cyclones or hurricanes unless they are built to withstand cyclones greater than has ever been experienced before or reported in history.

Such sensible policies require lots of cheap energy. I've no objection at all to expanding our energy sources by developing alternative methods to fossil fuel, such as nuclear, wind, solar, tidal, hydro, geothermal. etc. We can't have too much energy. The world is starving of energy. There's so much to be done in the world that requires massive amounts of energy.

However, I do require, whatever energy sources we employ, that the sources be relatively clean regarding the impact on human health and the environment. Old-fashioned coal-powered plants that spew significant amounts of SO2, NO2 and particulate carbon into the atmosphere, should be replaced as soon as possible by either the new breed of Ultra-Supercritical coal-fired power plants which are not only more efficient but emit virtually no pollution, or nuclear, or solar and wind in countries that are wealthy and can afford the luxury, bearing in mind that it is a luxury like fashionable and expensive designer clothes or luxury cars.

Any policy directed at spending trillions of dollars to substitute cheap but CO2 emitting energy, with expensive alternative energy is bound to fail. We have more than enough clear and present problems to tackle, which require cheap energy.

A man whose house can withstand no greater than a category 2 cyclone, will get no joy from the news that his government is spending huge sums on CO2 mitigation schemes in the uncertain hope there will be fewer category 5 cyclones in the future.

> Most people in the country live at a subsistence level, as they do in many other undeveloped countries, so it should be no surprise that such people have more urgent concerns than a possible threat from AGW.

Ironically and to a first order approximation, it's those at subsistence level who'll be the most heavily impacted by global warming - and in very large numbers :-(

Subsistence crop yields - such as rice - are already threatened more frequently because of vulnerability of some species to high minimum temperatures during the few days of pollination, and due to changing precipitation patterns. The European wheat crop (amongst others) looks like having a terrible year due to poor precipitation - which can certainly happen every now and then without global warming. But there's very good reason - even if you deny it - to believe that global warming will exacerbate these impacts in many parts of the world.

> This is a very fallacious argument, but it is used constantly by AGW believers under the guise of 'consensus of opinion'.

Double fail.

1) you've completely misrepresented my point!

That point was not about "consensus". It was about the - in your terms - quality of the expertise and understanding of many of the commenters here, which clearly outstrips yours.

2) The "consensus" argument is not even "4000 scientists can't be wrong"! It is "strong consensus has developed from the masses of evidence, and despite a lot of clever attempts and hard work to try and come up with better explanations, no-one has succeeded - so unless and until they do, we have to go with the evidence-driven consensus".

> A computer projection is not proof.

This is why people tell you that your expertise in the subject is lacking.

There is a shitload of evidence and logic in climate science that that relies not one whit on computer models - never mind that dismissing computer models out of hand is fallacious in and of itself - and that non-computer-model evidence strongly points to human influences causing global warming.

Your lack of awareness or denial of this is the kind of thing that leads me to conclude that the quality of your personal understanding of the science is quite limited, and is significantly exceeded by many of the commenters here.

> This would apply only in a situation when everything else about the climate remains the same.

No! That's far too naive a model, and definitely not the one scientists have that leads to such concern.

More CO2 would also lead to global warming if the warming impact of the change in CO2 - perhaps we could coin a term here such as positive "radiative forcing" - were not countered by an even greater aggregate cooling impact - negative radiative forcing - of the changes in all the other factors. And I suspect you'll find that this concept is taken for granted by most people who understand the science, so much so that they probably don't both spelling it out to you.

Then note that climate scientists have done a shitload of work to quantify the radiative forcing of all the factors they can, and how they have changed in the past, and how they might change in the future. Once more you seem blissfully unaware of this, which is why your conclusions are unjustified - they only seem to be justified if you first rule out a whole bunch of evidence and logic.

> You talk as though there is a God-ordained, benign climate specifically designed for mankind and that any disruption to such a climate through mankind's activities must be harmful.

No, I talk as though there is an ecosystem that we cannot live in such large numbers without that is well-adapted to the current climate, and can adapt to other climates but only if the transition is very slow. And the indications are that we're likely to experience much faster change than large portions of the ecosystem can handle, which would spell very big trouble.

Remember rice and wheat above? We could expect them to evolve to suit dryer/wetter/warmer/cooler climates given long enough to do so, but not if the change is too fast.

You could try to argue that the grains will geographically migrate (with human help) to regions that are newly experiencing appropriate climates...but they rely on local conditions in other ways too. Soil composition may be suitable where they were but not where you're trying to grow them now. Different people may already be there and not keen on helping if a horde turn up and try and take over farmland. There may be physically no land where the suitable climate has moved to - it could be over the sea. Or there could be land but at a vastly different and unsuitable altitude. There are also a bunch of ecosystem actors that help make the crop a success and geologically rapid climate change can kill off many actors because they don't all evolve to suit the new conditions at the same rate, and the food web can unravel or reproduction can be seriously impacted.

Again you seem oblivious to all of this and its impact on your argument.

(Never mind the studies that point out that humans can only tolerate hot temperatures up to a certain level and time period before getting into serious medical distress and even dying...and that when temperatures get too hot air-conditioning gets to the point where it's not effective and thus cannot be used to reliably prevent medical distress and death. Furthermore, we cannot rule out these kinds of high temperature episodes becoming more than infrequent in significant parts of the world if we follow an emissions-as-usual policy.)

> Any policy directed at spending trillions of dollars to substitute cheap but CO2 emitting energy, with expensive alternative energy is bound to fail.

Traditional energy is only "cheap" if you externalise significant parts of the costs, i.e. don't include the effects on the climate (or of pollution) - which again undercuts your argument.

> We have more than enough clear and present problems to tackle, which require cheap energy.

This is like the parent driving their kids to school saying they don't need to keep their eyes on the road because they have to stop the kids in the back seat fighting. Your whole argument seems to be predicated on the foolish idea that governments should do one thing or the other rather than both - and probably pay far more attention to the greater danger, even if they're not 100% confident that the most dangerous challenges will eventuate.

> A man whose house can withstand no greater than a category 2 cyclone, will get no joy from the news that his government is spending huge sums on CO2 mitigation schemes in the uncertain hope there will be fewer category 5 cyclones in the future.

Sheesh, that is plain bollocks! No government is planning to "spend huge sums...in the uncertain hope there will be fewer category 5 cyclones in the future"!

That claim doesn't even hold if "cyclones" are used as an analogy...for starters, because it relies on your persistent false characterisation of the science!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

> ...the new breed of Ultra-Supercritical coal-fired power plants which are not only more efficient but emit virtually no pollution...

They're still pumping out CO2 in large quantities, just not quite as large as before. One industry source said reduction may reach 25%, which [could reduce global CO2 emissions by about 6%](http://www.worldcoal.org/coal-the-environment/coal-use-the-environment/…).

Trouble is, over the 2000-2009 decade it is reported that emissions grew by about 3% per year. Whilst emissions reductions (and generating efficiencies) are a good thing, buying two years (of emissions growth mitigation) doesn't change the long-term issue :-(

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

"Ironically and to a first order approximation, it's those at subsistence level who'll be the most heavily impacted by global warming - and in very large numbers".

Wow! That is ironic indeed! So we're really so concerned about climate change because of it's impact upon the poor. How noble of us.

At present, an average tsunami, flood, earthquake or cyclone has a devastating effect on poor countries, resulting in tremendous loss of life.

By tackling human induced climate change, we might prevent that tremendous loss of life from becoming a staggering loss of life. Is that your point? Whoopee for CO2 mitigation!

"Subsistence crop yields - such as rice - are already threatened more frequently because of vulnerability of some species to high minimum temperatures during the few days of pollination, and due to changing precipitation patterns. The European wheat crop (amongst others) looks like having a terrible year due to poor precipitation - which can certainly happen every now and then without global warming. But there's very good reason - even if you deny it - to believe that global warming will exacerbate these impacts in many parts of the world."

I don't deny it. Climate is always changing. Our survival as a species has always been dependent on our ability to adapt. Never before in the history of mankind has our ability to adapt been greater. This is the fact that AGW alarmists seem to be denying.

It would be foolish to spend trillions of dollars trying to keep the climate from changing because some traditional growers of rice refuse to change their main crop to another crop that is more appropriate.

Do you not accept the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest? Those who fail to adapt, do not and should not survive. What's your problem? You want a society where everyone is mollycoddled?

" you've completely misrepresented my point!
That point was not about "consensus". It was about the - in your terms - quality of the expertise and understanding of many of the commenters here, which clearly outstrips yours."

You've completely misunderstood my point. I'm not setting myself up as a climate expert who knows better than others in the field who are clearly more qualified.

I'm merely observing that there is contention in the field amongst the experts. There are highly qualified scientists who disagree with the 'fake' consensus presented in support of AGW, and their reasons for disagreement happen to gel with my own understanding of the scientific method and my readings on the philosophy of science.

In short, the skeptical view on AGW seems more reasonable to me, more objective and more believable. The AGW alarmist view seems biased and a corruption, or politicisation, of the scientific method. I don't trust it.

I'm an honest person. I can only go along with what makes sense.

"Traditional energy is only "cheap" if you externalise significant parts of the costs, i.e. don't include the effects on the climate (or of pollution) - which again undercuts your argument".

I don't consider CO2 to be a pollution. I've already mentioned that I'm against real pollution that affects human health, such as SO2 and NO2, and of course pollution of our rivers and seas with sewage, industrial chemicals and plastic bags etc.

"No, I talk as though there is an ecosystem that we cannot live in such large numbers without that is well-adapted to the current climate, and can adapt to other climates but only if the transition is very slow. And the indications are that we're likely to experience much faster change than large portions of the ecosystem can handle, which would spell very big trouble."

I see no good reason why modern humans cannot adapt quickly to any changes. We adapt quickly to economic changes. If there's predicted to be a surplus of wheat on the market in the coming season, most farmers are able to make a decision whether or not to plant wheat or another crop they think will be more profitable.

Your point is complete alarmism born of this namby, pamby, impractical, office-bound, theoretical concern divorced from reality.

"Sheesh, that is plain bollocks! No government is planning to "spend huge sums...in the uncertain hope there will be fewer category 5 cyclones in the future"!
That claim doesn't even hold if "cyclones" are used as an analogy...for starters, because it relies on your persistent false characterisation of the science!"

Thank God for that! So the claims that AGW will result in more extreme weather patterns characterised by greater floods, more persistent droughts and more frequent category 5 cyclones is a mischaracterisation, then?

Well, that's good news, isn't it!

VincentR @140:

There are highly qualified scientists who disagree with the 'fake' consensus presented in support of AGW, and their reasons for disagreement happen to gel with my own understanding of the scientific method and my readings on the philosophy of science.

I find this interesting as I've never seen a clear statement from any highly qualified scientist who disagrees with the consensus opinion. All I have seen seems to be based purely on wishful thinking. Please could you give a concise summary of the reasons why AGW is unlikely to be happening.

Never before in the history of mankind has our ability to adapt been greater.

I think this is only the case if you are looking at minor disruptions. Remember, US car plants recently closed production lines because of an earthquake in Japan. Would this have happened even 50 years ago? If oil supplies were cut off tomorrow, how many cities could even last a month without a major crisis?

It would be foolish to spend trillions of dollars trying to keep the climate from changing because some traditional growers of rice refuse to change their main crop to another crop that is more appropriate.

Which crop do you suggest as an alternative? If the main wheat area of the US becomes too hot and dry for wheat, what would you suggest as an alternative? As you expect humans to have no difficulty in adapting, I gather you have ready answers to these questions.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR, your ability to misinterpret and misrepresent is profound!

> So we're really so concerned about climate change because of it's impact upon the poor.

Yes. And for many other reasons. You never seem to be able to keep more than one in your head/argument at a time though.

> By tackling human induced climate change, we might prevent that tremendous loss of life from becoming a staggering loss of life. Is that your point? Whoopee for CO2 mitigation!

That's one of my points. If you're concerned for the poor...which you claimed to be, but now appear to be disparaging that concern...then this has to be one of your biggest issues. The kinds of "tremendous" loss of life you cite will pale in comparison if serious climate change occurs.

> Climate is always changing.

...say the deniers, as if that makes the impact of the rate on the ecosystem go away. That's just a quiet form of denial.

> Never before in the history of mankind has our ability to adapt been greater.

I do not deny it. Feel free to quote me if I'm wrong on that claim.

But never before in human history has the rate of change been this great. I pointed to rice because I hoped talking about it, and the ecosystem in which it exists, and the food webs within that ecosystem, and the strong challenge climate change is likely to have on those food webs...would give you a glimpse of understanding. Clearly I failed.

> It would be foolish to spend trillions of dollars trying to keep the climate from changing because some traditional growers of rice refuse to change their main crop to another crop that is more appropriate.

It would indeed. But - sigh - once more, that's not the argument in question. Strawman much?

And who is planning to spend the "trillions of dollars" that you keep bandying about? On what exactly? (Never mind that you haven't even established one of your central axioms - that this spending you haven't specified changes the spending that governments do on the types of improvements and disaster mitigation efforts that currently get your goat.)

> Do you not accept the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest? Those who fail to adapt, do not and should not survive.

So...your previously cited concern for the subsistence farmers and the poor and the like was merely an act, and you think they should adapt or die? How many millions are you happy for this to occur to? 10s, 100s, 1000s?

> I'm not setting myself up as a climate expert who knows better than others in the field who are clearly more qualified.

Bollocks! That's the most insidious denial of all.

You keep making arguments that you base on your "understanding" of the science, even after others have pointed out where and why your "science" is wrong. That's exactly setting yourself up as a climate expert who knows better than others etc.

Even your selection of whether to cite the consensus or the "skeptical scientists" involves you asserting that your judgement on the scientific credibility of their respective positions is better than the vast majority of publishing climate scientists and all of the national science bodies.

> There are highly qualified scientists who disagree with the 'fake' consensus presented in support of AGW, and their reasons for disagreement happen to gel with my own understanding of the scientific method and my readings on the philosophy of science.

Who? On what grounds? Have they been able to publish papers that show they have a better explanation than the consensus and have those papers withstand post-publication peer review? Please tell, because that would be huge and the press must be totally suppressing this great news! Or are they the few usual suspects who make a lot of noise about confidence and uncertainty and clouds and stuff...but can't back it up with robust research?

> In short, the skeptical view on AGW seems more reasonable to me, more objective and more believable.

If by skeptical you mean "skeptical", rather than the truely scientifically skeptical, which means going where the evidence leads, not hoping against hope that where the evidence leads is wrong.

> The AGW alarmist view seems biased and a corruption, or politicisation, of the scientific method. I don't trust it.

You don't even understand it, so this judgement is merely pissing in the wind.

> I'm an honest person. I can only go along with what makes sense.

One can be both honest and deeply misguided. One can also judge that something "does not make sense" because one is not sufficiently competent to make that judgement.

> I don't consider CO2 to be a pollution.

That would be right, and it's a classic denial. But leaving aside that, you only looked at half of my point. I also mentioned "costs", of which the CO2-driven climate impact is one, even if there's significant uncertainty about how much. And a lot of that uncertainty is on the high side of costs.

> I see no good reason why modern humans cannot adapt quickly to any changes.

I tried to give you a taste of the reasons why this agricultural challenge is different from "economic changes that we adapt quickly to" - including that it's not just humans that have to adapt to these changes -
and you pretend they are solved by simply changing crop choices. That's really unintelligent.

> Your point is complete alarmism born of this namby, pamby, impractical, office-bound, theoretical concern divorced from reality.

How stupid - and biased, which IIRC was pointed out right at the start - of you. I've been relating the results of scientific work which is anything but the adjectives you chose. You haven't learnt a thing from the entire exchange. Seems like you really really don't want to acknowledge that it's real and foreshadows heavy consequences.

> So the claims that AGW will result in more extreme weather patterns characterised by greater floods, more persistent droughts and more frequent category 5 cyclones is a mischaracterisation, then?

No, that's (once more) fallacious. Once more you're failing to grok basic logic. It's a pattern you have - cite one area of concern about climate change, and then characterise the whole concern as just being about that and then ridicule it (typically in concert with some unspecified "trillion dollar expenditure"). Surely you realise that's fallacious logic? Nah, probably not - several examples have been explained to you by now and you still don't get it. And your lack of understanding of logic would help to explain why you think the "skeptical" position is correct.

You appear to be angling to be cited as a Dunning Kruger poster case.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

Please could you give a concise summary of the reasons why AGW is unlikely to be happening.

Vincent: To help you answer, here is a summary of why it is likely to be occurring.
1. CO2 is essentially transparent to high energy radiation arriving at Earth from the sun, but absorbs lower energy radiation leaving Earth.
2. This (together with a positive feedback mechanism involving water vapour) results in Earth being about 33C warmer than would otherwise be the case. These two points have been known for about 150 years.
3. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing by rather more than 1 ppm per year (known for 50 years).
4. The increase in atmospheric CO2 can be atributed to human activity (several lines of evidence, known for about 50 years).
5. In the absence of a suitably large negative feedback mechanism, this can be expected to increase Earth's average temperature (first estimated over 100 years ago).
6. There is no evidence of any large, negative feedback mechanism.
7. There are multiple lines of evidence demonstrating that Earth's temperature is increasing approximately as anticipated.
Which of the first 6 points do your 'highly qualified scientists' take issue with and what is their supporting evidence? How do they explain point 7?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

Troll VincentR:

However, I cringe when I hear AGW proponents declare that the climate must inevitably get warmer as a result of CO2 increases because it is proved that CO2 is a GHG. This would apply only in a situation when everything else about the climate remains the same.

So you tell us what forcing is going to become more negative. Forcings:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/RadF.gif

Is the Sun going to get weaker? Are volcanoes going to become more active? Your comment makes me cringe. You're living in a fools paradise if you think some negative forcing is going to rescue us.

Surely we can all agree, with a high degree of certainty, that the climate is never static.

Your statement is meaningless without quantities. In the past 10,000 years, it's unlikely that global temperature has increased by 0.8K in a century except in the past century. So the climate, as far as global temperature goes, used to be much more static than it has been over the last 100 years.

It's in a continuous state of flux and subject to numerous forces.

So which one of these "numerous forces" are going to contradict greenhouse gas forcing, or are you nothing more than a blustering troll?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

You guys are out of this world. It's not my job to attempt to counter every bit of scientific evidence which suggests AGW is occurring. That's what the scientists who are experts in the field do, and clearly some of them are opposed to the alarmism generated on this topic.

However, what should be clear to everyone who has taken an interest in this debate is that the expenditure of many trillions of dollars world-wide, on much more expensive alternative energy supplies, would be needed if we expect to reduce CO2 emissions by a degree that matters.

I'm not arguing that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have zero effect on climate. I'm arguing that there's a risk-management situation and that there are many more sensible ways to spend those trillions of dollars world-wide to protect our lifestyles from the ravages of the elements.

Get your heads out of the sand.

Sure, VincentR. Just as soon as you get your head out of the Koch's rectum. How many lives of others are you prepared to spend "to protect your lifestyle from the ravages of the elements"?

> That's what the scientists who are experts in the field do, and clearly some of them are opposed to the alarmism generated on this topic.

How many ways can you be wrong in one sentence?

1) Clearly most of the scientists who are experts in this field disagree with you;

2) Clearly the ones who disagree with you have way more evidence on their side than the ones you're pinning your hopes on;

3) Clearly, based on the last few years of evidence the scientists reporting the developed consensus have not been alarmist because the effects are proceeding more rapidly than had been predicted for the level of omissions;

4) Clearly, you are not competent to judge whether the consensus or the dissenters are more likely to be correct or not because your understanding of the science has been shown to be significantly lacking.

And yet still you continue to assert that there's good reason to think that the "skeptics" who can't mount a robust case will be proven right - except that you can't produce one. That's denialism, Vincent. There's no other word for it.

> ...the expenditure of many trillions of dollars world-wide, on much more expensive alternative energy supplies, would be needed if we expect to reduce CO2 emissions by a degree that matters.

It's not anywhere near as clear as you make it out to be.

How much more expensive will it be compared to the expenditure that would be undertaken anyway to replace existing plants as they reach end of life? What economies of scale does your mental model suggest will be achieved for each of the alternative sources that you can think of over (say) the next 20, 30, 50 years? How will the extra expenditure contribute to the growth the economies of the world - normally considered a good thing by political conservatives, let alone a significant proportion of "lefties" (all other things being equal) - and how much will that extra growth mitigate the costs?

Or are you just pulling big numbers out of your arse to distract the uninformed from the lack of substance to your argument?

> I'm arguing that there's a risk-management situation and that there are many more sensible ways to spend those trillions of dollars world-wide to protect our lifestyles from the ravages of the elements.

I know that's what you're arguing. I've known it from very soon after you showed up. I've also known - and shown - that you apparently don't have anywhere near a solid basis in reality for your preference in risk management strategies which hinges on your unsupported assertions that the consensus on the science is likely to be wrong - and on your thus far unsupported "trillions of dollars" claim. And yet still you claim your strategy is the best. Curiouser and curiouser.

Would you at least concede that if the scientific consensus is more or less correct, then greenhouse gas mitigation is deeply important, and soon? Or are you denying that as well?

> How many lives of others are you prepared to spend "to protect your lifestyle from the ravages of the elements"?

I note that he didn't answer that [when I asked for numbers](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…).

> Get your heads out of the sand.

As on the sunspot thread, the unintentional humour just keeps on coming...

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

*I'm not arguing that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have zero effect on climate. I'm arguing that there's a risk-management situation and that there are many more sensible ways to spend those trillions of dollars world-wide to protect our lifestyles from the ravages of the elements*

What an utterly stupid remark. It reflects the state-of-the-art mentality of laypeople who do not have a clue what the possible outcomes of climate change will be on natural or managed ecosystems, or, more importantly, on a wide range of ecological services that emerge from them and upon which human society is dependent. Instead, its the kind if flippant remark I'd expect from someone lacking any basic understanding of the physical world who thinks that humans are exempt from the laws of nature.

The phrase, "Protecting our lifestyles" could have been plucked straight from the campaign speech of George W. Bush. Given the fact that 16% of the world's population control >80% of the world's resources, it appears that "protecting our lifestyles" requires that the trillions of dollars be spent- as is currently the case - on maintaining a military-industrial complex aimed at economic coercion or outright aggression, ensuring that the flow of capital and resources remains largely unidirectional.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

Troll VincentR:

You guys are out of this world.

When he realizes he can't play the ball and win, he plays the man.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 07 May 2011 #permalink

You do seem a confused lot. Look, I'll spell it out for you; make it as easy as possible for you to understand.

We have limited energy resources. Nothing moves, nothing happens, nothing is created and nothing is manufactured in our society without the expenditure of energy.

What we use our energy supplies for is an economical, political and social decision. If any country decides to decommision existing power plants (or ensure that happens by taxing them out of existence) and encourage the building of new, less efficient but non-CO2 emitting power stations, then such a country has less energy to spend on other things, other projects.

I have no objection at all to rich people foregoing their expensive designer clothes, luxury cars and weekend villas by the beach, in order to donate a few million dollars each for the construction of expensive solar voltaic, base-load power stations, or base-load windmill farms.

Such power stations could certainly compete with coal-fired power stations because their construction cost would be essentially free. However, the manufacturers of luxury cars, and the designers of ridiculously expensive fashion items, and the builders of luxury beach houses, etc etc, might not be too happy at the downturn in their businesses.

On the other hand, the increased supply of energy from the additional, 'clean', alternative power sources could enable the creation of new jobs in other areas.

Replacing existing power stations that still have many years of useful life, with more expensive forms of energy, will simply plunge us into recession. That's what expensive energy tends to do.

I get a very strong sense that you guys have simply not grasped what is a very basic economic consideration, and that is that our economic prosperity is directly related to the cost of energy. It's why I believe you have your heads in the sand.

No matter how smart you think you are with regard to a particular scientific discipline; no matter how much data you have collected and analysed to support your theory, if you fail to take into consideration a very simple and obvious fact such as the fact that the cost of energy unerpins everyone's prosperity, then you'll fall flat on your face like Einstein did when he assumed the universe was static.

Whilst it's true that increases in the efficiency with which we use energy, and a reduction in wasteful practices, can sometimes at least partially compensate for increased energy costs, such increased efficiency in tandem with reduced energy costs will clearly enable us to achieve more, construct more of the essential projects which otherwise would be too expensive, and build more flood mitigation dams etc, etc.

Got it?

> You do seem a confused lot.

LOL! As I said, the unintentional humour keeps on coming...

> If any country decides to decommision existing power plants (or ensure that happens by taxing them out of existence) and encourage the building of new, less efficient but non-CO2 emitting power stations, then such a country has less energy to spend on other things, other projects.

Er, no!

Once you can figure out where the fallacy in that argument lies, come back and try again.

> ...because their construction cost would be essentially free.

Methinks you surely didn't mean to claim that. But given some of your other silly claims, you may have. Feel free to restate.

> ...our economic prosperity is directly related to the cost of energy.

I get that, and I'm pretty sure most commenters do too - but I note that:

1) Various economists have looked at the risks and costs of dealing with climate change and found that the costs are far smaller than is usually claimed by "cost alarmists" such as yourself - and the costs of not dealing with it grow and grow as action is delayed. Never mind the risk analysis side of the equation which motivates action...

2) Economic prosperity also depends on ecological healthiness, and I get the very strong sense that you don't grasp that despite repeated attempts to drum it into your thick skull. Do you argue this is not true? Come on, 'fess up - how much ecological degradation would you think we can handle before it begins to seriously impact "everyone's prosperity"? And how many have to be seriously impacted before you say "everyone" is affected - or do you truly not give a shit about (say) the subsistence farmers who are already on the edge? If we lose a billion or so is that OK as long as you maintain your own "economic prosperity"? Or do you start to get worried at hundreds of millions, or merely tens? Or does it not matter how many?

> Replacing existing power stations that still have many years of useful life, with more expensive forms of energy, will simply plunge us into recession.

Cite please. Or is this another fantasy you conjured up to buttress your support-free argument? I've heard suggestions that new power stations be held to higher emissions standards and that old ones be upgraded. But I haven't heard any mass movement to shut down power stations "that still have many years of useful life". Which governments, how many power stations, what is the aggregate of useful station life years that is being foregone? Bet you don't answer that challenge either.

> ... build more flood mitigation dams...

Cite please - which governments claim that flood mitigation dams are being considered that will not be built if we tackle climate change? Which dams? How much climate change mitigation is enough to stop the dam? Or is this more fantasy from your fundament?

Ever noticed, Vincent, that when asked to back up your various and sundry claims, that you completely dodge the question?

You claim some highly qualified scientists are skeptical of the climate science consensus, yet when asked you present no names - and heavens forbid that you present actual science that suggests they might be right and the consensus wrong.

You claim "trillions of dollars" is going to be spent on various mitigation efforts, but you don't show where you got the figure from when asked. And that's not even probing your claims about how expensive alternative energy sources will be if there's a widespread move towards them; claims which are as far as I'm aware not supported by major economic analyses. You do realise Europe has had emissions trading schemes for years before the GFC, right, and it took the GFC to plunge them into recession?

Vincent, ever wondered why you dodge and dodge requests for supporting evidence? If you wondered, would you consider that maybe you don't actually have any? I reckon just about everyone else reading this thread thinks so.

Feel free to surprise us with some - but realise that means dealing with the totality of the actual evidence rather than unsubstantiated claims, which is a whole different game than you've been playing to date.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 08 May 2011 #permalink

Vincent makes the fundamental assumption of his ilk: that it's all about him.

He is defending his self-perceived place in the economic firmament - firmly on top. He's a capitalist, an "owner" of energy. Not a producer (too grubby) or a synthesiser of new ideas or processes (too sciency), but one of the many who worship and feed off the flows of money and commodities (which he terms energy). Since he can usually insulate himself from responsibility for others by simply ignoring them, or sucking up Uncle Rupert's Propaganda Sauce, he gets terribly insecure when those awful science types start saying things that look horribly real and non-abstract. So he comes along and tells us that we're threatening "prosperity", that he will give us plebeian scientist's a jolly good talking to, and that if we don't stop making fun of his adolescent Randianism, he'll...he'll...he'll...Go Galt! And then we'll be sorry. Cause the world needs all the self-absorbed apologists for capitalist exploitation it can get. Otherwise he wouldn't be important. Or real. And, anyway, nothing really happens unless it happens to him. Got it.

Just for the record, because I see some of you are still very confused, I live a relatively humble lifestyle on 5 acres of mainly forested land in the Scenic Rim shire in Queensland.

As I sit here in Thailand, writing this, my 1.5KWH solar voltaic panel is feeding electricity into the grid, so after I return to Australia my next quarterly bill will be very low or even zero.

All the water that enters my property never leaves the land. The water that falls on my roof fills tanks that are connected to the washing machine and the toilet. The town water that enters my property, from Lake Moogerah or underground bores, that is used in the shower and the kitchen sink, flows into an HSTP (Home Sewage Treatment Plant) and after processing, irrigates trees that consequently grow, absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Why am I doing this when I don't believe that AGW is a significant threat? I'm doing it because it's sensible practice. I abhor waste and inefficiency.

Nevertheless, I will admit if that solar voltaic panel had not been a virtual gift, I would not have had a bar of it. But I'm not one who looks a gift horse in the mouth.

If one is really worried about the consequences of increased CO2 levels, which I'm not, there are many ways of addressing the problem simply through normal, sensible and efficient practices.

Trees, plants and vegetation love CO2. A combination of extra fertiliser plus water, plus a significant increase in CO2 can produce miraculous growth, which of course sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere.

There are scores of ways we can use that increased CO2 level to provide increased plant growth, generate whole new forests using processed sewage from the cities.

What really pisses me off about the bleating AGW alarmists is their blinkered approach to reality. They are so obsessed with their CO2 control knob, they've lost the plot.

Get real, for Christ's sake! Expand your horizons. Try a bit of lateral thinking.

> ...and that if we don't stop making fun of his adolescent Randianism...

I was thinking earlier this evening his spiel does sound a bit libertarian in the US-political sense. There was one on the recent [Pharyngula thread](http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/everything_you_need_to_know_…) (search for Punksta) who was roundly dissected by all and sundry and kept coming back to make the same arguments with an apparent complete inability to learn anything and utter disregard for the evidence that his assumptions were ill-founded.

But that could just be coincidental.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 08 May 2011 #permalink

Kudos to all here who are confronting VincentR and his nonsense.

I seem to have lost the taste for engaging with trolls of his stripe - they are the ontological train-wreck of epistemology as it applies to science.

These people's astonishing inability to comprehend the nature, volume and self-reinforcing complexity of the evidence to support anthropogenic gloabl warming recalls for me [the Silence in Dr Who](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silence_%28Doctor_Who%29). The difference is that in this instance it science, rather than an alien species, that is editted from a denialist's mind that as soon as he or she hears, reads, or is otherwise informed of climatological/physical fact.

Having said that, on reflection science is basically alien to denialists, so perhaps the difference is slight in the end...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 08 May 2011 #permalink

@Vincent: "our economic prosperity is directly related to the cost of energy".

Vincent thinks that the cost of fossil fuel energy is lower because the price he pays is lower. Persumably he thinks this is because he has either never heard of ["externality"](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality) or chooses to delude himself that it is not relevant to the price he pays.

In fact, Vincent pays a lower price for fossil fuel energy than renewable energy because my descendents are subsidising his thoughtless consumption. My descendents in contrast, will pay a higher price for energy as well as bearing the price for environmental effects of Vincent's ill-considered usage. Vincent, though, is happy to purchase his current comfort at whatever price my descendents can pay.

So Vincent, while I have enjoyed your pretentious and condescending lectures in elementary-school economics, I have a message from my great-great grandchildren: "Fuck off, you longwinded arsehat."

> A combination of extra fertiliser plus water, plus a significant increase in CO2 can produce miraculous growth, which of course sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Instead of blindly pontificating, how about doing some back of the envelope calculations about how much biomass you'd need to absorb the ongoing emissions at the rate we're currently seeing? What happens to the CO2 if the biomass is harvested? How much biomass-sequestered-CO2 does humanity consume annually at the moment; how much further is it likely to be feasible to increase this and how does that level compare to our annual emissions? For bonus marks, in what year (approximately) do you calculate that all the agricultural land on earth would be dedicated to CO2-sequestration?

Based on your non-response to all the previous challenges for supporting calculations or evidence, I am betting you don't take this one up either - or if you do you'll pretend you haven't because you won't like the answer. A whole bunch of much smarter and more educated people than you have looked at the sequestration problem, and have pointedly not found that "there are many ways of addressing the problem simply through normal, sensible and efficient practices" such as growing stuff.

> What really pisses me off about the bleating AGW alarmists is their blinkered approach to reality.

Oh, the irony! Ever used a mirror?

> Get real, for Christ's sake!

Your Dunning Kruger Effect is once more showing. And it's getting beyond funny to really quite sad.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 08 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR @145:

It's not my job to attempt to counter every bit of scientific evidence which suggests AGW is occurring. That's what the scientists who are experts in the field do, . . .

Yet you have been unable to present one iota of evidence to back up this claim. Which is not surprising, as to the best of my knowledge it all exists purely in your imagination.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 08 May 2011 #permalink

To add insult to injury, Vincent's pontifications on cosmology, back in #136, are as wrong as those on climate science, and for essentially the same reasons. The existence of dark matter in particular is very well supported, based as it is on several convergent lines of evidence. Consilience seems to be the one concept cranks always have trouble with.

Richard Simons @141,

"Which crop do you suggest as an alternative? If the main wheat area of the US becomes too hot and dry for wheat, what would you suggest as an alternative?"

Let them eat Peyote.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 08 May 2011 #permalink

Vincent @ : You get worse with every post. So you have invested in a little green figleaf in Queensland, while posting from Thailand about your recent trek in the Nepal Himalaya? You steaming hypocrite. You flew to both exotic locations, and I'll bet you weren't living like a subsistence farmer in either. Calculate your actual CO2-e footprint - as Loth points out, you are either arithmetically illiterate, or hypocritically self-deluded. Given your Queensland home, "CO2 as plant food"canard (...hello Tim Curtin!), and desperate beatings about the "importance" of cheap energy, I suspect it's the latter, and that the source of both your wealth and your guilt is coal. Invested heavily, have you?

I've worked in the Solu-Khumbu region in Nepal as part of a AHF Health Initiative. Below Pheriche the energy needs have been supplied by an Austrian-funded small-scale-hydro scheme as a (very successful) deforestation mitigation scheme, but above Pheriche, it's still yak-dung and portered kerosine. The inhabitants of this region still occupy a far smaller footprint than any of the rich western tourists who throng there. They are very aware of the cost of fuel.

I have come to know several of those involved in the UN-funded studies of the effects of climate change on the region - specifically on the catastrophic potential effects of the glacial retreats and ice-mass loss on the Tibetan plateau littoral. This is real and dramatic, despite the Gotcha canard attributed to the IPCC report. Their conclusions are that it is not a matter of whether some of the large glacial lake systems will collapse, devastating communities all the way down the Ganges system, but when. If Nepal, India & Bangla Desh can all understand the significance of not doing anything about CO2-e and global climate change, why can't Vincent? Maybe it's because he's a selfish old arsehole who is desperate to "buy indulgences". That he gets caned here probably won't change him, but it might dissuade other pathetic trolls.

Terrible news - Clive James has been diagnosed with "leukaemia, kidney failure and several lung diseases".

Fear not! With his life imperiled James has resorted to scientific and medical consensus to deal with his various ailments.

Although I do wish Clive the best, it is funny how those who deny science are quick to embrace it when their own lives are threatened.

Troll VincentR:

Replacing existing power stations that still have many years of useful life, with more expensive forms of energy, will simply plunge us into recession. That's what expensive energy tends to do.
I get a very strong sense that you guys have simply not grasped what is a very basic economic consideration

I get a very strong sense that you have no idea what a strawman argument is, because that is what you are making. No-one with any standing is proposing closing down existing power stations that still have many years of useful life. The issue is what they will be replaced with WHEN they reach the end of their useful life.

Got it?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 May 2011 #permalink

Well, you do seem to be a bunch of witless nitpickers. I guess it's only because of my great sense of compassion, to help the blind and those who are unable to see the big picture, that I continue writing here in the hope that at least a little bit of common sense will prevail.

Some of you keep asking me to provide evidence for my views. I've been through this process before many times and found it a fruitless exercise because clearly religion is involved here.

Imagine if it were possible to provide a definitive and flawless proof that God did not and could not exist, do you imagine that all those who currently believe in the existence of God would see the error of their ways and desist from believing in God?

Of course not! A few might, but they would be a small minority. Most would continue with their belief because it's an emotional phenomenon that they have little control over. No matter how flawless the argument presented, they would wriggle and squirm in every direction to avoid confronting the undeniable facts.

So it is with AGW believers. If I were to produce a list of 4,000 scientists who are of the opinion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are either a much exaggerated threat or no threat at all, some AGW believer is sure to find a name on that list that shouldn't be there because the qualifications are bogus, or because the scientist is found to have worked in the past for one of the tobacco companies.

Having thus discovered a couple of names on the list that shouldn't be there, or even half a dozen out of 4,000, the AGW believer will then contratulate himself for having discredited the entire list despite the fact that the vast majority of scientists on the list are highly qualified and reputable without any connections to the fossil fuel industries.

The same applies to naming individual scientists. I remember well the first time I mentioned Dr Roy Spencer on a forum such as this, as an example of a highly qualified scientist actually working in the field of climatology who had an opposing view to that imagined and concocted consensus expressed in the IPCC reports.

What do you think the response was from the AGW believers? "Ooh! You don't believe what he says, do you? He thinks that Intelligent Design is a better explanation than Darwin's Theory of Evolution... blah, blah, blah..."

Whatever the scientist's name, whatever his credentials and experience, he will be vilified and subject to personal abuse by AGW believers whenever his name is used in support of a view which is different from the IPCC conclusions on AGW.

So what's the point? One might as well try to argue with a Muslim fundamentalist that their particular brand of belief is not the only true belief.

Rather that go endlessly round in circles, I would rather address the practical and sensible things that can realistically be done, just in case there is a problem.

It would be very uncharacteristic to expect all, or even most nations, to agree on such a crucial matter as production of energy supplies which are so directly related to our material prosperity, considering the vast disparity of income and wealth amongst the peoples of the world

I sometimes wonder if most of you guys who believe so passionately in the threat of AGW are actually Idiot Savants (with a strong emphasis on the idiot component) or at least sufferers from Asperger's Syndrome.

Perhaps you are so involved in the search for data, and their interpretation, to reinforce your fears for the future of the planet, that you have no time to read a bit of history, or watch the news on TV.

You appear to be clueless about what's politically and socially feasible. Consider, on the one hand, in an advanced country like Australia, we had a government recently that couldn't even organise successfully the installation of pink batts under peoples' roofs.

A while later, we had the blatant example of an Administration in Brisbane which failed to prevent massive flooding, despite having at its disposal a massive flood-mitigation dam built for the specific purpose of preventing future flooding after the 1974 disaster.

On the other hand, we have madmen like Gadhafi, with his head more firmly in the sand than any AGW believer, fighting for his life and killing thousands of his fellow countrymen in the process.

Even if a miracle occurred and we were able to get world unity and agreement on immediate and effective action to reduce CO2 emissions, do you think the nations of the world have the competence to manage effectively such an unprecented agreement, with the emphasis on 'effective'? ...Don't kid yourselves!

Now despite your characterisation of me as being arrogant, I really don't pretend to know what the degree of certainty might be regarding the real threat of human induced CO2 emissions. I'm not that smart. There are 20-odd major scientific disciplines involved in climate science, and no one individual, it seems reasonable to state, has complete understanding of the science and methodology of all those disciplines.

However, I am aware that even amongst AGW believers, there are differences of opinion as to the immediate seriousness of the threat.

Some of you are more moderate and claim that a reasonable effort to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% or 30% during the next few years will be worthwhile.

Others, and I'm thinking of James Lovelock in particular, think it's already too late and that nothing short of a complete cessation of CO2 emissions world-wide, by switching to Nuclear Power as quickly as possible, will serve any useful purpose to avert catastrophe.

So let's analyse the consequences of this extreme view. James Lovelock might be right for all I know. Probably not, but one can't be sure. He might even be right for reasons which he doesn't understand himself.

What I will now try to get across to you guys afflicted with Aspergers' Syndrome, is that it doesn't really matter whether James Lovelock is right or not, because we have, at the global level, an incapacity to deal with the situation directly, by ceasing CO2 emissions, whether the situation is serious or not.

We certainly can't rely upon the competence of governments (world-wide). We can't rely upon people doing the right thing simply because it's the right thing according to any consensus of opinion, scientific or not.

So what are we left with? We are left with the application of common sense. Those that apply it will survive. Those that don't will flounder.

Don't rely upon governments to save you. If James Lovelock is right, only the fittest will survive.

Because I have such compassion for the muddle-headed, I'm prepared to give you my recipe for survival, should James Lovelock be right.

Nothing esoteric or difficult to understand here. Just plain common sense.

(1) Don't build your house in a flood plain. If your work necessitates that you live in a flood plain, rent a place if possible.

If you really like life in the flood plain and wish to settle there, make sure that your house is fully insured against all types of flooding, particularly riverine flooding. If that's not possible, because the insurance is too expensive or not available because the Insurance Companies are aware of the extreme risk, then don't buy.

If you still insist on living there and want your own house, then make sure you build a house on tall piers. It would help to attach a dinghy or small boat under the floor of the house, in case you need to row to some high ground during the next flood to get supplies.

(2) If your work or your preferences lead you to live in an area subject to cyclones, the advice is similar to the first situation. If you insist on building your own house and the building code specifies a resistance to category 4 cyclones (as I believe it does in Darwin), then make sure your new house meets category 5 standards. Pay the extra money. Don't take the risk.

(3) If you live in an area affected by droughts, build the largest water tank your property can reasonably hold. The 2, 3, 4 and 5 thousand litres tanks that most people install on their urban properties are pathetic. Think big.

(4) If you have a garden around your house, don't waste resources growing pretty flowers. Study a bit of permaculture and grow a bit of real food. You must have heard about the potential shortage of food in the world.

(5) In general, don't waste resources on frivolous things, like bottled drinking water that is no better than tap water, expensive shirts or dresses that are no more serviceable than items costing 1/10th the price, luxury cars that don't get you to your destination any more quickly than very much cheaper cars.

(6) In summary, get your head out of the sand and act sensibly. The price of fun may be the James Lovelock Armageddon.

Here endeth the sermon.

> Of course not! A few might, but they would be a small minority. Most would continue with their belief because it's an emotional phenomenon that they have little control over. No matter how flawless the argument presented, they would wriggle and squirm in every direction to avoid confronting the undeniable facts.

> So it is with AGW deniers

Fixed your typo.

Look, there is masses of evidence. Yet you insist it HAS to be "belief" and there "must" be a pony in there somewhere.

Why?

Lets go through this bit by bit.

1) Is CO2 a greehnouse gas?

2) Will thicker insulation insulate more?

3) Is the combustion of a hydrocarbon in an oxygen rich atmosphere going to cause CO2?

4) Has the global average temperature increased by about 0.8C in the past 100 years?

5) Are the poles getting warmer quicker than the tropics?

6) Are the nights getting warmer quicker than the days?

> ...because clearly religion is involved here.

ROFLMAO!

Do you realise the immense irony of you declining to provide evidence to support your claims because you say your evidence will be rejected on "religious" grounds? The unintentional humour just keeps on coming! I've got to wonder whether you're a highly successful Poe or not.

But since you're speculating that other commenters might be Aspbergers (no, but thanks for asking) have you ever heard of psychological projection? The Dunning-Kruger effect?

> What do you think the response was from the AGW believers? ... whatever his credentials and experience, ...

It's rather telling that you left out the most trenchant response - "do you realise that he hasn't been able to substantiate his claims in the literature?"

Note that that response has nothing to do with his credentials and experience because they are merely the qualifications to enter the game. Those who cite people like Spencer frequently assume that credentials are enough - but as soon as you assume credentials confer correctness or even high likelihood of correctness, then you have to concede to the consensus view. There's no other defensible logical position.

So, those with appropriate credentials have to be able to defend their ideas in the literature or their ideas do not prove what those quoting them think they prove. Spencer is a lovely example of this. He keeps saying that he thinks maybe humans aren't causing much of the warming (although he at least admits the greenhouse gas effect is real, which explodes the heads of some of his more science-challenged followers), but he hasn't been able to provide robust evidence to support his belief. It's excellent that he's trying - that's a key part of science - but the scientifically naive cite his papers as if they weren't convincingly rebutted in the post-publication review phase.

> I would rather address the practical and sensible things that can realistically be done, just in case there is a problem.

That most palpably has not been the case. To date you've expressed a strong preference to address what can be done about other issues by assuming there is not an AGW problem. Either you're shifting goalposts - or making small amounts of progress.

> Now despite your characterisation of me as being arrogant, I really don't pretend to know what the degree of certainty might be regarding the real threat of human induced CO2 emissions.

Bollocks! Saying it does not make it so.

You earlier claimed that a "don't do anything much about emissions" solution to the "risk management" problem was appropriate. That involves a judgement about the level of risk associated with emissions, even if you can't see that it does.

So now you're shifting the goalposts from "we know enough not to worry" to "even if we should worry, we can't do anything collectively":

> So what are we left with? We are left with the application of common sense.

What a load of tosh. IIRC the same was said about the ozone hole, about acid rain, and any number of other international issues. The politics are slow and messy, but it can be done.

And then you follow up with this nugget of unsubstantiated bullshit:

> Those that apply it will survive.

Really?! You seem to have no idea what the problems may be. Remarkably ignorant for someone so certain.

Those subsistence farmers - and their next generation or two - that you earlier faked concern for - how exactly should they "apply common sense" in order to "survive"? You realise they don't have the resources to engage in any of your "common sense" suggestions that they don't already achieve (e.g. by non-consumption)? You realise that significant ecological collapse could seriously impact even rich Westerners (we all are by world standards), and the kind of "common sense" you advocate won't mitigate that?

I have no problem with common sense. But you have your head in the sand arguing that the kinds of thing you advocate will be enough to deal with climate change - which in and of itself involves a counter-consensus judgement about the level of certainty that scientists have about the likely range of effects of climate change.

> Here endeth the sermon.

Indeed. It consisted almost entirely of rhetoric and evidence-free advocacy, plus (ill-informed) swipes at perceived religious competition, so "sermon" seems quite appropriate.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 09 May 2011 #permalink

Your argument about finding 4,000 scientists to support the view that climate change is not a risk is a particularly stupid one.

Scientists are giving us the facts on climate change. This is all collected together by the IPCC and published on a regular basis.

Most people on here form their opinions on climate change based around the information collated by the IPCC.

Others choose to invent, distort, lie, and otherwise deny the information that is available. The Denier will choose to hang his hat on the contrarian views of a single person, instead of considering the breadth of information available. The Denier typically has a malfunctioning bullshit-detector which makes them prone to swallowing nonsense from creationidiots like Roy Spencer and lunatic fabulists like Christopher Monckton.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 09 May 2011 #permalink

> What do you think the response was from the AGW believers? "Ooh! You don't believe what he says, do you? He thinks that Intelligent Design is a better explanation than Darwin's Theory of Evolution... blah, blah, blah..."

Well if someone thinks that Genesis (which version of the creation myth he's thinking of remains unsaid) is a better scientific explanation of the creation of the solar system and the biology on it, what do you think his rigour in applying evidence to theory is like?

Why do you think that?

> We certainly can't rely upon the competence of governments (world-wide).

Why? Are they not humans, or are they lizard aliens that want a warmer, wetter planet to invade?

In any case, we don't. We rely upon the many eyes looking at the evidence and confirming or refuting theories.

Here's now the trick is going so far:

1) It's the sun: False, solar output down, temperature up

2) It's lensing: No mechanism and no appearance of any lens. False again.

3) It's GCR's: CLOUD experiment has seen no effect that could be discerned from the effects of a chamber smaller than the earth. False again

4) It's CO2: Nights warmer, poles warmer, stratosphere cooling, evidence and model show 3C per doubling best guess sensitivity which also accords with the 0.8C warming seen so far. Not shown false.

Why then must we see "both sides"? We don't see both sides about the flat earth. We don't see both sides about kiddie fiddling. We don't see both sides about totalitarian oppressive government or genocide.

Maybe, just maybe, we've heard about both sides but only one side has managed to survive the test against evidence.

And that you refuse to believe that the test has been done therefore construct a fantasy that these sides are being suppressed.

Maybe they're not being suppressed, they're just wrong.

VincentR:

I guess it's only because of my great sense of compassion

What an arrogant jerk. Get lost.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 May 2011 #permalink

"Your argument about finding 4,000 scientists to support the view that climate change is not a risk is a particularly stupid one.
Scientists are giving us the facts on climate change. This is all collected together by the IPCC and published on a regular basis.
Most people on here form their opinions on climate change based around the information collated by the IPCC.
Others choose to invent, distort, lie, and otherwise deny the information that is available. The Denier will choose to hang his hat on the contrarian views of a single person, instead of considering the breadth of information available. The Denier typically has a malfunctioning bullshit-detector which makes them prone to swallowing nonsense from creationidiots like Roy Spencer and lunatic fabulists like Christopher Monckton.
Posted by: Vince whirlwind | May 10, 2011 5:35 AM"

--------------------------------------------------

Look! There are no stupid arguments, only stupid people. If you think I am stupid, then do yourself the favour of not replying.

Judging by your post, you appear to be a clueless teenager. The role of the IPCC is not to present the scientific facts, which would be unintellible to most of us, but to present a carefully worded summary of a particular interpretation of the facts, which can hopefully be understood and used by politicians.

All facts, or gathered data, have to be interpreted in relation to some existing theory.

All government organisations that are funded for the purpose of assessing the risk of human CO2 emissions, will tend to be biased in favour of confirming that such risk is real. Any tendency to confirm that the risk is minimal or insignificant would of course result in the cessation of funding and the redundancy of a number of climatologists and supporting staff.

Taxpayers rightly do not want their taxes wasted.

This will be my last post. I've said my piece because I feel I have a duty to express my views, in the hope it might clarify the issue for at least a few people.

As someone who actually is autistic, I have absolutely no idea what point Vincent thinks he's trying to make. Add the capabilities of autistic individuals to the list of things he knows nothing about, I suppose.

Still, we already knew he was woefully ill-informed, pompous, and just a bit dim. Now we know that he's a prejudiced berk, too.

> Look! There are no stupid arguments, only stupid people.

Indeed, and you can count yourself in that number.

> If you think I am stupid, then do yourself the favour of not replying.

You don't seem to feel that constraint.

> The role of the IPCC is not to present the scientific facts,

Yes it is.

> present a carefully worded summary ... of the facts, which can hopefully be understood and used by politicians.

That too. That would be the Summary for Policy Makers. I got rid of your conspiracy nut insertion.

> All facts, or gathered data, have to be interpreted in relation to some existing theory.

Yes.

> All government organisations that are funded for the purpose of assessing the risk of human CO2 emissions, will tend to be biased in favour of confirming that such risk is real.

No they won't.

> Taxpayers rightly do not want their taxes wasted.

Deniers do, insisting that more evidence is needed all the time and that all the data be given away for free rather than monetized and that the FOIA be abused by people who don't pay taxes to the government responding.

I note Vinny wants to avoid addressing any facts, mind.

> There are no stupid arguments...

A self-evidently self-refuting argument - VincentR is taking lessons from sunspot!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 10 May 2011 #permalink

> All facts, or gathered data, have to be interpreted in relation to some existing theory.

You've got the IPCC's role arse-backwards.

Their role is to interpret and summarise the science, which (simplifying here) consists of various competing theories which seek to best explain the facts and data.

(Where do you think the theories come from in the first place, and how exactly do you think they are tested against the evidence to determine which ones do the best job of explaining the evidence?)

There's no evidence the IPCC summaries are being deliberately massaged to fit the data worse in order to achieve some ideologically or organisational goal. Your conspiracy theorising, just like your science claims, is evidence-free. Given the enormous non-governmental-body scrutiny that the IPCC reports get (you don't even seem to realise that most of the people who work on it are unpaid scientists, and that it gets huge scrutiny from an army of amateur and professional "skeptics"), any attempt to falsify what the science says is the best explanation would be highly to hit the front pages within weeks.

You're not only presenting crap speculations about science, but piss-poor conspiracy theories.

> ...in the hope it might clarify the issue for at least a few people.

Well, it probably has helped clarify some issues for at least a few people - mostly by showing how a bunch of stupid arguments that people make with a straight face are stupid.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 10 May 2011 #permalink

...and brave Sir Vincent ran away...

This will be my last post. I've said my piece because I feel I have a duty to express my views, in the hope it might clarify the issue for at least a few people.

You never did get around to telling us why you hold your views, but continually played coy and danced around the point.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 10 May 2011 #permalink

This is the official position on the role of the IPCC as I understand it, quoted from Wikipedia.

"The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself. A main activity of the IPCC is publishing special reports on topics relevant to the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty that acknowledges the possibility of harmful climate change.
The IPCC is only open to member states of the WMO and UNEP."

I think there's a strong hint here of possible bias. The following article elaborates on this factor. Perhaps the author has gone overboard and exaggerated the situation. I'm not an insider, so I can't be certain. I'm just using my nous when I express my own opinion that there's probably a degree of bias.

http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/02/05/how-does-the-ipcc-safeguard-a…

And here's another comment from an IPCC author:

"The UNâs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and IPCC insider. The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was âonly a few dozen experts,â he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography, co-authored with student Martin Mahony.

âClaims such as â2,500 of the worldâs leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climateâ are disingenuous,â the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered âthe IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.â

Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia â the university of Climategate fame â is the founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of the UKâs most prominent climate scientists. Among his many roles in the climate change establishment, Hulme was the IPCCâs co-ordinating Lead Author for its chapter on âClimate scenario developmentâ for its Third Assessment Report and a contributing author of several other chapters."

And here's yet another site which discusses the meaning and significance of 'consensus', according to Mike Hulme.

http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/mike-hulme-consensus-scienc…

I should point out that I'm not a believer in conspiracy theories. But I do recognise, as the late professor Stephen Schneider did, that even scientists are human and therefore prone to exaggeration in accordance with their own personal beliefs and motives.

What professor Schneider did not admit, of course, was that such motives could be ulterior. He presented the scientists as being heroes, who would only exaggerate in order to save the planet.

Considerations of promotion prospects and fitting in with the ethos of the working environment, which might cause someone to hold his tongue, were not addressed by Stephen Schneider, although his comments inevitably had such connotation.

Even I, as a skeptic, will concede that my skepticism has a subjective component. I tend towards an elitist view on many matters, not all matters of course, and therefore have a tendency to be skeptical of the validity and truth of any common consensus on any complex issue.

My previous post was supposed to me my last, but my great compassion for the deluded has overwhelmed me.

"The UNâs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Mike Hulme..."

Actually, according to Hulme, the above is a fabrication.
http://mikehulme.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Correcting-reports-of-t…

"Even I, as a skeptic..."

BWAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

(5) We know already, with an absolute certainty that transcends any theory of AGW, that our administrations and regulations have been unable to protect us from natural disasters that have occurred for centuries, uninfluenced by human CO2 emissions.

Lots of bad things happen that are mostly out of our control- earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, and so on. An asteroid could smack into the Earth, decimating a large percentage of the planet's life. A gamma ray burst could do similar damage. Likely? No, but heh, it's a possibility. As of now there is nothing we can do to prevent any of the above from happening, though we can get better at prediction and planning ahead for the inevitable but unstoppable catastrophe.

Then there things we can have an effect on, like how much CO2 is in the atmosphere, and consequently how much warming we can expect. You would have us wait until we stop those things we have no control over first before we tackle that which we do have control over. That's insane.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

> (1) The causes of changes in climate appear extraorindary complex, and are not fully understood

Climate is a boundary problem. We understand enough to guide our actions, just as we don't fully understand social interactions between humans, yet can devise laws to shape our society and keep us safer than without laws.

You're projecting your lack of knowledge to everyone else.

> the significance of the effect of the relatively tiny percentages of CO2 in the atmosphere, of the order of 1/3rd of one tenth of one percent

See, this is how we know you're stupid or a liar. Since 98% of the atmosphere doesn't have a greenhouse effect, the 1/3 of 1% is a complete and utter red herring designed to deceive.

23-25% of the heating effect of the planet above the moon's climate (at the same distance from the sun on average as we are) is due to CO2.

We've increased the CO2 concentrations 40%.

This is NOT insignificant.

> it does not seem certain that a little warming is a bad thing, on the whole.

It's certain that more than a little warming is a bad thing on the whole. Since we've already seen half the change needed to presage a move out of a glacial cycle, this can hardly be called a little warming for much longer.

And again this is based on what? Your hope?

> The way the science in support of AGW has been presented does not inspire confidence in me. It seems very biased.

Yes, reality does have a well known liberal bias. It's biased because you want to think yourself moderate and centrist, balanced. However you're well over on the lunatic fringe. Therefore the centrist POV will seem biased.

Again you argue based on faith and unsupported opinion.

> I get a sense of a sales pitch

Your bias again.

> but he fails to mention that the atmosphere of Venus is 96.5% CO2 and that of the Earth just 1/3rd of 1/10th of 1%

Which is how many doublings? 11. Not many doublings at all.

And that would take us to the melting point of lead. Which is more than a little warming.

> I'm not inspired with confidence when I hear alarmists

Hmm. Your bias again. Do you mean alarmists like those proclaiming the end of western capitalism if we change our ways to mitigate AGW?

Maybe you can give some examples of alarmists and what they've said.

> 8.14 is a long way from 7 which represents neutrality, neither acidic nor alkaline.

However, moving from 8.25 to 8.14 is acidification. It seems you don't know or want to lie about chemistry. The problem is one of your own fabrication to justify the faith you wish to cherish and keep hold of.

> I'm also not confident when such alarmists talk only about the negative impact of increased levels of dissolved CO2 in the oceans and fail to mention any positives.

What positives?

> like their claim that the MWP and LIA were regional events

They were.

> affecting only the North Atlantic regions

Now YOU'RE lying. I guess that makes YOU the alarmist.

> they should more properly be stating that the studies undertaken and the evidence collected from other parts of the world,

Except in the period where one region is experiencing a warm period, another has seen it end.

The North Pole has regions seeing 6.2C warming over the baseline, beating any peak seen from the medieval period proxies.

But again you forget to mention that.

> There's a study of tree rings near Angkor Wat in Cambodia that suggest that that great civilization was a victim of climate change around the time of the beginning of the LIA.

So tree rings are good proxies then?

And since Celt civilisation didn't sink at that time, then it wasn't global.

AGW: Anthropogenic GLOBAL warming. A free hint to you.

> I also find dishonest the calculations of external costs when comparing solar power with coal power

So do I, so why do you make dishonest calculations vinnie?

> To attempt to include externalities such as climate change in such cost comparisons is very, very uncertain

Which is an example of the dishonesty you show. Why do you refuse to add in any such externality for a product where that is a massive externality? Oh, it's to refuse to allow renewables and continue with fossil fuels.

Gotcha.

> our administrations and regulations have been unable to protect us from natural disasters that have occurred for centuries, uninfluenced by human CO2 emissions.

So why should we add other disasters to the mix? Do you hate other humans so much?

> What sort of imbecilic mentality would propose that we solve this situation by spending lots of money

Your bias again. Prove it will cost lots of money. Prove that this cost is over and above the cost of BAU where old stations are retired and replaced and more stations built up to cover demand. Prove that this cost is lots.

It's been done. Read the Stern report.

> fix the situation first regarding ongoing non-AGW disasters that have occurred periodically for hundreds of years

You've just said we've been unable for hundreds of years. So why waste time doing that and instead decide to stop producing an unnatural disaster instead.

> Is it only me who is able to grasp such logic?

Well, yes, because it's only the mentally deranged who would see what you've written as logical as opposed to feelings-driven drivel.

> I think there's a strong hint here of possible bias.

Yes. Yours. You just can't believe that capitalism has broken the planet and needs fixing.

> Perhaps you can appreciate how difficult it is for a skeptic to explain his position to people who appear not to even understand the difference between skepticism and denialism.

How droll of you! Especially since we've been demonstrating actual skepticism for your claims all along while you have been demonstrating denialism, and you haven't realised it yet. Your skepticism and denialism detectors are both broken.

For your points (1) - (5), I give you the shorter VincentR:

I'm merely repeating the denialist [playbook](http://www.denialism.com/Deckofcards/deck.html).

Slightly less short version:

(1) Argue without evidence that we are too uncertain to draw any conclusions.

(2) Argue without evidence that the factors under our control are likely insignificant.

(3) Argue without evidence that the effects will be not that bad studiously ignoring any number of effects that you can't pretend away.

(4) Argue that truth is political and scientists are lying to the public - or at least to themselves. Bonus points for trying to get the reader to join an elite club of people who "see through" the "sales pitch". Double bonus points for getting basic science wrong; triple for making false claims of your own; quadruple for calling out accurate claims made by your opponents as false.

(5) LOOK OVER THERE! SCARY MONSTERS!!!!!!

I think we have enough data now to declare that you're unable or unwilling to perceive your own lack of competence and logic here, despite a great deal of attempted help. You're either a most effective Poe, or in near Curtin-delusion territory.

Thank you for playing.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

Oh, and:

> Is it only me who is able to grasp such logic?

Yes. And that does not reflect well on your logical abilities.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

the significance of the effect of the relatively tiny percentages of CO2 in the atmosphere, of the order of 1/3rd of one tenth of one percent, may be small in relation to the totality of influences on climate.

Concentration of a substance is only part of the equation. For example, only 0.0000000001% botulinum toxin in your body is enough to kill you.

So where is this evidence that crop yields have been increased by 10% due to higher CO2 levels that you were going to show me so that I could grovel before your wisdom?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

Wait for the ad hom comeback guys.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

> Wait for the ad hom comeback guys.

It can't be far off ;-) I wonder if it will be from the Joanne Nova school of deployment of the term?

> He presented the scientists as being heroes, who would only exaggerate in order to save the planet.

I wonder if VincentR has fallen gullibly entirely skeptically, of course, for the [Schneider meme](http://crookedtimber.org/2005/11/14/google-and-the-quote-doctors/)(read comment 6 by Marc for a good explanation for those that don't understand what Schneider was talking about - the difficulty in communicating effectively to the non-scientist public using science-speak which includes all the caveats and uncertainties another scientist needs to know, but which the uneducated wrongly interpret to mean "we don't know much")?

That meme was floating around denialist circles a while back, and Vincent's certainly quoting other denialist sources for the accuracy-challenged now.

I wonder...heck, no I don't, I'm fairly confident that VincentR is not at all aware that climate change predictions have generally been conservative and that the observed effects are worse than generally predicted.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

The other thing I find interesting about Vincent is the evidence-free claim that IPCC might have "possible bias". It's certainly a claim that could be entertained and even tested, although Vincent apparently hasn't done that. That could be because he doesn't care to know the answer, or because he has no way of testing it himself, or both.

Vincent, do you realise that the IPCC provides copious references to actual research papers? Have you found any claims in the IPCC summaries that are not supported by the science? Have you even looked at any of the references to see?

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

(5) We know already, with an absolute certainty that transcends any theory
of AGW, that our administrations and regulations have been unable to protect us
from natural disasters that have occurred for centuries, uninfluenced by human
CO2 emissions.
Lots of bad things happen that are mostly out of our control- earthquakes,
tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, and so on. An asteroid could smack into the
Earth, decimating a large percentage of the planet's life. A gamma ray burst
could do similar damage. Likely? No, but heh, it's a possibility. As of now
there is nothing we can do to prevent any of the above from happening, though we
can get better at prediction and planning ahead for the inevitable but
unstoppable catastrophe.
Then there things we can have an effect on, like how much CO2 is in the
atmosphere, and consequently how much warming we can expect. You would have us
wait until we stop those things we have no control over first before we tackle
that which we do have control over. That's insane.
Posted by: Robert Murphy | May
12, 2011 11:21 AM

----------------------------------------------------

I think you have missed my point here. The natural disasters I'm referring to happen on a fairly regular basis. Whist we have no control over the causes of the events, there are always measures we can take to protect ourselves against the consequences of such disasters, if we are prepared to spend the money, provided we have the energy supplies, and of course provided we have the nous and intelligence to learn from history and be aware of the risks.

Unfortunately, what tends to occur is a type of denialism in relation to the chances of a repetition of a particular type of disaster, such as flood, earthquake, tsunami or cyclone.

To protect ourselves against such disasters often requires more money than we are prepared to spend, or involves too much inconvenience, so we tend to kid ourselves that the risk of a repetition is too small to be a concern.

You probably heard the story of the wise villagers of Aneyoshi in Japan who survived the recent tsunami because they paid attention to a warning carved into a four-foot high stone, "Do not build your houses below this point."

The stone was a marker of a previous tsunami. Apparently there are quite a few such markers along the coast in Japan, but most villagers tend to ignore the warnings, considering them relics of a bygone age.

The recents floods in Brisbane are a fine example of an inability to learn from history. The flood levels in the city were actually about 1 metre lower than the previous major flood in 1974, yet a greater number of houses were damaged in the city area by this latest flood event.

To illustrate the point I'm trying to get across, let's consider the situation where a particular region, like Brisbane which is subject to periodic floods every 30, or 40, or 50 years, needs a new power station to meet rising electricity demand and/or to replace older power stations.

It wants to do its bit to reduce CO2 emissions and is therefore considering combinations of wind farms and solar power with supplementary back up generators.

Now let's suppose that the additional cost of the alternative energy plants, compared with the latest generation of Ultra-supercritical power plants, would be sufficient to build a massive flood mitigation dam. In other words, we can have a relatively clean, modern, coal-fired plant, which unfortunately still emits CO2, plus a new dam which will protect the city from future floods even if they are greater than any recorded in the past.... or, we can have a clean, green, alternative, but more expensive method of generating power, and no new flood mitigation dam, leaving the city at risk of another flood crisis in the future.

Now which do you choose in a situation where there are insufficient funds to build both the new alternative-energy plants and the flood-mitigation dam?

By the way, NASA is keeping a close watch on any asteroids that are heading towards the Earth. Should it become clear that any is on a direct collision course with our planet, the plan is to send up a rocket to deflect its trajectory with a nuclear explosion.

> To protect ourselves against such disasters often requires more money than we are prepared to spend, or involves too much inconvenience, so we tend to kid ourselves that the risk of a repetition is too small to be a concern.

Yes, indeed. But you've just undermined your own argument by pointing out that before climate change issues were widely understood, these kinds of partly mitigatable disasters were not being mitigated much. Thus it's blatantly NOT the immense cost you claim - without any references or justification - that emissions mitigation will incur that is preventing the kinds of investments you are advocating.

Mind you, that point has been made to you several times and still you don't get it, so I bet you continue to repeat it...

> Now let's suppose that the additional cost of the alternative energy plants, compared with the latest generation of Ultra-supercritical power plants, would be sufficient to build a massive flood mitigation dam.

Are you setting up false dichotomies by pulling numbers - well, actually, not even numbers - out of your fundament again? Tut tut.

As I said before, you're like the parent driving the car who decides to turn around and lecture their kids for a couple of minutes because they're fighting. Parents know you have to deal with both the kids fighting, and the far more serious issue of driving safely. One may be more immediately apparent, but the other is far more serious.

And any serious risk manager will understand this too, and advocate a mix of actions to address the mix of risks based on the combination of their seriousness likelihood. What they will not advocate is focusing on one risk to the exclusion of another - which is what you are doing.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 12 May 2011 #permalink

Again with the nice, clean, cheap coal propaganda Vinnie. You really are transparently thick. Then again, this is a troll-goring thread, so keep it up. BTW Clive Palmer is fat.

> Whist we have no control over the causes of the events, there are always measures we can take to protect ourselves against the consequences of such disasters, if we are prepared to spend the money,

Indeed. So why are you fighting spending money on avoiding disruptive and expensive climate change?

We reduce the warming and we protect ourselves against the consequence of such disasters.

> So where is this evidence that crop yields have been increased by 10% due to higher CO2 levels

And how can a trace gas that can't have any effect on the climate cause such a massive change in the massive biotic presence of the earth?

To protect ourselves against such disasters often requires more money than we are prepared to spend, or involves too much inconvenience, so we tend to kid ourselves that the risk of a repetition is too small to be a concern.

> To protect ourselves against such disasters often requires more money than we are prepared to spend

Sorry, you've just gainsaid yourself. You just said "we can avoid these disasters by spending money if we're prepared to".

But go ahead, read the Stern Report. In there the cost of hard mitigation of AGW costs very little. A few years delay in growth tops.

What are these other regular disasters then and how much do they cost and why should we be prepared to spend that amount on them? What is the cost of AGW mitigation and why shouldn't we be prepared to spend that?

Or are you running another "Flying monkeys!" gambit. You WERE asked for this before. Several times.

I guess you're taking the cost on FAITH.

> If it's not the immense cost that's causing a general world-wide reluctance to tackle CO2 emissions, then what's the problem?

You appear to be attempting to change the subject of your own quote. Do you care to try again?

And are you that clueless that you can't think of any other reason why there's reluctance in some quarters?

Really?

And yet you expect us to take your "logic" on this topic seriously?

Sheesh.

> We're all aware in principle that there is a limit to the supply of fossil fuels.

Many of us are aware of it in practice, at least for oil, and likely quite soon.

> You talk as though you've never heard of Opportunity Cost.

Oh, I've heard of it, and I understand it. But you have to demonstrate that it applies, not assert that it does. Especially when you're talking about a risk management problem - when you appear to be ignorant of basic principles of risk management which include managing the entire portfolio of risks, not just the one that looks easiest.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 13 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR (192):
"I think you have missed my point here."

No, I understood it perfectly. That's why I already said the only thing we can do to protect ourselves against those unstoppable natural catastrophes was to learn to better deal with the consequences.

Your argument, such that it is, is that there are a lot of really bad things that happen naturally, so we should not worry about those things that we can actually stop (AGW), until we have fully protected ourselves against that which happens beyond our control and without much warning (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and so on).

As has already been mentioned up-thread, there is no reason to not deal with both sets of issues. It's not either or.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 13 May 2011 #permalink

Whist we have no control over the causes of the events, there are always measures we can take to protect ourselves against the consequences of such disasters, if we are prepared to spend the money,

Indeed. So why are you fighting spending money on avoiding disruptive and expensive climate change?
We reduce the warming and we protect ourselves against the consequence of such disasters.
Posted by: Wow | May 13, 2011 6:11 AM

Some of you guys also have a problem with logical thinking, don't you!

There are many places, in many countries, that are subject to periodic flooding, cyclones and hurricanes.

In underdeveloped countries there's usually massive loss of life when such disasters occur, as in Pakistan not so long ago.

Is your message to such people, "Look! We can't afford to protect you from the next flood by building a few dams and helping you to construct more flood resistant homes, but we can advise you that such events will probably not get worse as a result of any climate change caused by our CO2 emissions, because we're spending all our spare resources on alternative, clean energy supplies."?

If so, that's a very bleak message.

Yes, you do have a problem with logic, vinny, since it would be devastating to your faith.

Yes, there are places subject to that and have been. We've spent the money on them.

Now you want us to let it get worse.

This is illogical.

But then your personal comfort requires that nothing be changed.

Is your message "I don't care if your lives get worse, as long as I live well, screw you"?

It is the result of what you want done. Maybe you're just too cowardly to face it.

As has already been mentioned up-thread, there is no reason to not deal with both sets of issues. It's not either or.
Posted by: Robert Murphy | May 13, 2011 6:27 AM

Are you another of those who think that money grows on trees?

Of course you can tackle both issues, by dividing your available resources between them. That means you spend less on a flood mitigation dam, and less on CO2 reductions.

If James Lovelock is right, spending less on CO2 reductions will not pass muster. We're already doomed.

As regards the inhabitants of the flood prone areas, the smaller amount of money spent on a flood mitigation dam may also not be enough to prevent further loss of life during the next flood.

I think it's not only more sensible, but also more humane to adequately tackle existing problems that have already resulted in much damage and loss of life, in order to prevent a repetition of such damage and loss of life the next time round, if it's reasonably possible and technically feasible to do so.

Building homes that can withstand cyclones, and dams or dikes that can contain flooding, is clearly something that is technically feasible, given adequate funding and resources.

> Some of you guys also have a problem with logical thinking, don't you!

Pot. Kettle. Black.

As has been amply demonstrated over and over.

> Is your message to such people, "Look! We can't afford to protect you from the next flood by building a few dams and helping you to construct more flood resistant homes, but we can advise you that such events will probably not get worse as a result of any climate change caused by our CO2 emissions, because we're spending all our spare resources on alternative, clean energy supplies."?

No, as has been discussed before.

Your argument appears to illogically presumes that flood-resistant homes are the most important thing to a subsistence farmer, and will save zillions of lives as opposed to (say) getting people out of fragile subsistence.

Yes, many of those events will get worse with climate change, but your average subsistence farmer won't particularly care because they will pale in comparison if the ecosystem they depend on to eke out survival takes a significant hit - which we cannot rule out with any degree of confidence.

You also continue to presume without evidence that the Western world is spending a lot of money on these kinds of projects or would be, but will stop or has stopped to tackle climate change instead. Both parts of that claim appear unsubstantiated.

Ever noticed that almost your entire argument is devoid of actual figures or estimates or references or examples - and the ones you supply are from denialist websites that have been repeatedly refuted? Ever wondered why?

> I think it's not only more sensible, but also more humane to adequately tackle existing problems that have already resulted in much damage and loss of life, in order to prevent a repetition of such damage and loss of life the next time round, if it's reasonably possible and technically feasible to do so.

You can only argue this is more sensible by:

(a) burying your head in the sand and pretending that climate change externalities don't exist and thus the costs of tackling climate change are extra costs to business as usual, when they are costs everyone already pays in one form or another;

(b) presuming without evidence that opportunity costs apply ONLY to a choice between the kinds of disaster mitigation projects you are kind-of advocating and dealing with climate change;

(c) but most egregious of all, by completely and utterly ignoring the likely scale of the problems caused by climate change - especially to the deeply poor people you are trying to use as pawns in your cost shifting game.

In other words, now you're the parent driving the car who is ignoring the oncoming semi-trailed in their lane because the kids are hitting each other and one of them might get hurt.

Your entire argument is based on selective (and that's being generous) ignorance.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 13 May 2011 #permalink

It's also based on a callous disregard for the safety of others, Lotharsson.

Vinny wants nothing to change that affects his life and is willing to gamble the security and safety of your (and his) children to continue to live fat and happy.

> Are you another of those who think that money grows on trees?

Paper money *does*.

So where is your evidence for the cost of AGW mitigation?

> Vinny wants nothing to change that affects his life...

...and still can't think of any reason other than unspecified and unquantified alleged massive costs why there's resistance to climate change action.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 13 May 2011 #permalink

Which you notice he's now left open the opportunity to say "No, that's too expensive" when those other "pressing needs" are to be funded.

Given he doesn't want to pay for AGW mitigation and that there are still, according to vinny, many other things solvable by spending ongoing still unsolved, this would indicate he hasn't given enough money to reduce those causes, if he's indeed given ANY money to them at all, it's left fairly solidly open that vinny would fail to cough up for anything to help someone else.

"There are many places, in many countries, that are subject to periodic flooding, cyclones and hurricanes.
In underdeveloped countries there's usually massive loss of life when such disasters occur, as in Pakistan not so long ago."

And those issues will be worse in a warming climate.

"Is your message to such people, "Look! We can't afford to protect you from the next flood by building a few dams and helping you to construct more flood resistant homes, but we can advise you that such events will probably not get worse as a result of any climate change caused by our CO2 emissions, because we're spending all our spare resources on alternative, clean energy supplies."?"

No, that would be a lie. Climate change will most likely cause such events to be worse (and more frequent) in the future. You want to lie to them and tell them it's all one thing or another. That's insane "logic".

"Of course you can tackle both issues, by dividing your available resources between them. That means you spend less on a flood mitigation dam, and less on CO2 reductions."

They are connected. You just want to distract people with anything that will keep them from confronting AGW, even if your anything is a red herring. There are a lot of bad things that threaten us, some are local issues, some are regional, and some are global. I'm not just talking about environmental issues either. We have to deal with all of them, or they will deal with us.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 13 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR.

Others are pulling the wings from your flies of illogic, but I would like to focus on just one aspect of your ramblings... You appear to think that floods in the Brisbane valley can be prevented if only enough money was spent on the issue, and not on climate change mitigation.

Please, can you explain exactly where the dam would go that will flood-proof the areas inundated earlier this year against any and all deluges that will occur in a future affected by global warming, as predicted by the best science? How much will this dam cost, what would it look like, and what would the ecological and other negative consequences of its construction be?

What is the final cost-benefit ratio?

Applying your idea of not spending money to mitagate against human-caused global warming, I assume that you will also want to spend money instead on projects to avoid the consequences of other infrequent but disasterous events, such as tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, severe droughts and so on. You will of course have detailed engineering blueprints, EIAs and financial costings for such projects, so I am looking forward to your insights into these strategies too.

If it please you.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 13 May 2011 #permalink

"Is your message to such people, "Look! We can't afford to protect you from the next flood by building a few dams and helping you to construct more flood resistant homes, but we can advise you that such events will probably not get worse as a result of any climate change caused by our CO2 emissions, because we're spending all our spare resources on alternative, clean energy supplies."?"

No, that would be a lie. Climate change will most likely cause such events to be worse (and more frequent) in the future. You want to lie to them and tell them it's all one thing or another. That's insane "logic".

Posted by: Robert Murphy | May 13, 2011 8:35 AM

Wow! What a massive failure in communication! Is there something wrong with your reading comprehension?

If climate change will likely cause such events to be worse and more frequent in the future DESPITE OUR SPENDING ALL OUR SPARE RESOURCES ON ALTERNATIVE, CLEAN, ENERGY SUPPLIES, then that surely must strengthen the argument for using those resources for flood mitigation purposes to prevent loss of life and property, and infrastructure damage, the next time round.

Others are pulling the wings from your flies of illogic, but I would like to focus on just one aspect of your ramblings... You appear to think that floods in the Brisbane valley can be prevented if only enough money was spent on the issue, and not on climate change mitigation.

Please, can you explain exactly where the dam would go that will flood-proof the areas inundated earlier this year against any and all deluges that will occur in a future affected by global warming, as predicted by the best science? How much will this dam cost, what would it look like, and what would the ecological and other negative consequences of its construction be?
Posted by: Bernard J. | May 13, 2011 11:31 AM

Bernard, I can tell you exactly where such a dam could go that will largely prevent future flooding of at least the scale that has already occurred a few times over the last 150 years. Of course there are no guarantees. There can sometimes be flooding events that are truly unprecedented, that truly are, say, one-in-500-year events, like the succession of droughts and floods that brought that great Khmer civilization at Angkor Wat to its knees and allowed it to be conquered by the Thais in the 15th century. I think you would agree that rising CO2 levels were not responsible for those extreme events.

The dam would go exactly where the current Wivenhoe dam sits. All that would be required is that the dam be fully used as a flood mitigation dam, instead of half used.
As you probably know, there is an ongoing enquiry into 'what went wrong' with the management of Wivenhoe that resulted in a repetition of the 1974 disaster that the dam was built to prevent.

My own view is, there's a shortage of dams in SE Queensland in general. Every time there's a proposal to build a new dam, the proposal is knocked on its head because of some concern about protecting some rare species of fish, or the concern of the locals about losing their farms, despite generous government buyback schemes

As a consequences of a failure to build more dams, it has been decided that only half the capacity of the Wivenhoe dam should be used for flood-mitigation purposes. The other half (slightly less) is used to store drinking water. The following is an extract from the enquiry.

"Wivenhoe Dam can hold a total of 2.6 million megalitres but is deemed to be âfullâ of drinking water when it reaches 1.15 million megalitres, with the remaining space used as a flood mitigation buffer.

The inquiry's first witness, Water Utilities Minister Stephen Robertson, was also asked about Bureau of Meteorology forecasts, specifically what action he took after dire warnings in October last year of a bigger than normal wet season.

Mr Robertson said the government did consider lowering the Wivenhoe Dam (drinking water) level by five per cent but shelved it because such a move would be âpointlessâ in avoiding major floods."

There are no prizes for guessing why the Government did not consider lowering the drinking water level by a lot more than 5%. Sheer economics! Having experienced severe shortages of water during the last drought, and having failed to build new dams to meet the increased needs of a rising population, the Government felt unable to take the precautionary measure of using the full capacity of the Wivenhoe for flood mitigation purposes.

You might want to read the following articles.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/flood-inquiry-hears-call-…

http://www.mannkal.org/downloads/environment/thewolfdenedam.pdf

http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/story/2011/01/26/future-flood-miti…

Cheers!

VincentR:

Now which do you choose in a situation where there are insufficient funds to build both the new alternative-energy plants and the flood-mitigation dam?

It would be enormously expensive to build a dam that could prevent any flood in Brisbane but the dam they already have could have prevented the last flood if not for human stupidity. The prime reason it failed to prevent a major flood in Brisbane in January was because a lot of its flood capacity was wasted keeping the bridges just below the dam open. It wasn't just the obvious 15% capacity that is dedicated to keeping these bridges open, it was also the time it takes to close these bridges before flood releases can commence. It took nearly 12 hours from when the dam operators ordered the bridges to be closed until they were able to flood the first one.

It didn't need a dam costing billions more to prevent Brisbane's last major flood. All it needed was several millions for bridges that didn't interfere with flood operations.

Also Vincent, no matter how many billions you spend on dams for flood mitigation, you're not going to stop large areas in Brisbane from being vulnerable to rising sea-level. Global warming is going to put Brisbane in more trouble from both directions. More water will come down the river in floods and more water will come up the river from rising sea level.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 13 May 2011 #permalink

@BernardJ: Please, can you explain exactly where the dam would go that will flood-proof the areas inundated earlier this year against any and all deluges that will occur in a future affected by global warming, as predicted by the best science?

@VincentR: Bernard, I can tell you exactly where such a dam could go that will largely prevent future flooding of at least the scale that has already occurred a few times over the last 150 years...The dam would go exactly where the current Wivenhoe dam sits.

I for one am waiting for our latest graduate from the Lomborg School of Econoideawhathestalkingabout to explain how different use of Wivenhoe's capacity would have mitigated flooding in Theodore, Emerald, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Gayndah, Mundubbera, Dalby, Condamine, Maryborough, Gympie, Toowoomba, Withcott or Grantham.

What, it wouldn't? Because there are multiple river basins that would need flood mitigation dams...who'da thunk it? When he talks about "a dam", he really means six dams.

Of course fudging by a factor of six pretty small beer compared to his distortions so far. He's yet to explain, what building codes should apply to banana plants to stop them being destroyed by the next Cat 5...

Dunning and Kruger had sized up Vincent, even before he clicked post on his first tl;dr way back at 71.

"Wow! What a massive failure in communication! Is there something wrong with your reading comprehension?"

No, I just see through your evasions.

"If climate change will likely cause such events to be worse and more frequent in the future DESPITE OUR SPENDING ALL OUR SPARE RESOURCES ON ALTERNATIVE, CLEAN, ENERGY SUPPLIES..."

WTF? The less CO2 we release, the less warming and other climate change we will have, and the less frequent and severe some of those events will be. There is no way to make those bad events go away completely, or to protect ourselves against the (mostly local/regional) effects of those unstoppable events.

You're just playing a game here Vinnie; you point to local/regional natural disasters that have always happened and always will, and say we must spend all our money on the diminishing returns of mitigation against them. At the same time we should do nothing about the artificial global disaster we are actually responsible for, AGW, because you just don't want to accept the science. That's why you posted that fabricated quote that was supposed to have been from Mike Hulme on consensus. All the talk about floods and and such are red herrings, and not very subtle ones either.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 14 May 2011 #permalink

"or to protect ourselves against the (mostly local/regional) effects of those unstoppable events."

That should have been "or to protect ourselves completely..."

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 14 May 2011 #permalink

> ...DESPITE OUR SPENDING ALL OUR SPARE RESOURCES ON ALTERNATIVE, CLEAN, ENERGY SUPPLIES,...

Epic logic fail!

The entire assumption underlining your position is false. If they're being spent on something valid, they're NOT SPARE in the first place.

I presume that you're talking about government spending since you focus heavily on dams.

There is a pool of government resources - which can be expanded a bit, e.g. by increasing taxes - and a set of desirable investments - even if it's merely "saving for future needs or unanticipated setbacks" or "bribing voters with tax cuts or goods & services so they will vote us back in". Even super-rich countries like Norway are investing in a massive sovereign wealth fund for when the oil revenue dries up; they don't have cash lying around that they can't think of any way to employ!

So, there's NO SPARE RESOURCES, ever.

Instead, given the resource pool and investment desires, the government of the day makes ongoing resource allocation decisions across the ENTIRE PORTFOLIO of desirable investments. And that means that a new and high priority investment (such as dealing with climate change) does NOT compete for resources with another high priority investment (such as dams), but with the LOWEST priority investments that are lucky enough to be currently allocated some resources.

And yes, it's a little more complex than that - governments can prefer cutting back on a low priority program rather than eliminating it altogether - but the core point still stands. Resources for new high priority investments are generally obtained by a mix of yanking back resources from low priority investments and increasing government revenue. They are not typically obtained by deciding to keep the low priority investments unchanged and kill off another high priority investment (except for the unusual case where both high priority investments solve precisely the same problem making one redundant).

Hence your strenuously repeated assertion that dealing with climate change means not dealing with disaster preparedness has no basis in logic or portfolio management, nor have you provided any evidence to support it. All you have is repeated unjustified assertion - whilst complaining that only you are being logical.

Oh, and what's more - resource allocation decisions take into account other factors such as the time-varying risk-cost-reward profile, which is particularly nasty if we choose to NOT deal with climate change. Deferral does not avoid the consequences - they get significantly and possibly even dramatically worse - and the future costs rise rapidly the longer we wait.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 14 May 2011 #permalink

"So, there's NO SPARE RESOURCES, ever."
Posted by: Lotharsson | May 14, 2011 9:28 AM

If you are right, there's little hope of ever successfully tackling either flood mitagation or any threat to our security from AGW. What a bleak picture you paint!

Perhaps we are just arguing about definitions. My definition of a spare resource is any resource, of any description, that has not been allocated for a specific project, with emphasis on specific.

I'll give you just a few examples of what I would define as a spare resource.

(1) A thousand barrels of oil sitting in a warehouse, waiting to be sold to any buyer at the right price.

(2) Personal (or corporate) savings in a bank account that are not ear-marked for a specific purpose such as putting a deposit on a home, but have the general purpose of a reserve.

(3) New, or second-hand cars, tractors, earth-moving equipment etc, sitting in yards waiting to be sold.

(4) Unemployed or under-employed people.

(5) Any factory, industrial machine, commercial appliance, truck, bulldozer or crane etc etc that is not being fully utilised.

(6) Any Government budget surplus whether described as a Future Fund or something less grand.

Those of us who have worked in the Public Service may have experienced what used to happen when a particular department found it had surplus funds towards the end of the financial year. It would start wasting the spare money on non-essential items in order to ensure it received the same level of funding the following year.

(7) Any resource in the ground, whether oil, coal, gas or mineral that is not being extracted, but is extractable.

(8) Any arable land suitable for growing food which is not being used to grow food, provided it is not covered with forest or needed for some other essential purpose.

(9) A vacant taxi with driver waiting for the next customer. Even if a spare resource may appear trivial, it's still a spare resource.

Got it?

> If you are right, there's little hope of ever successfully tackling either flood mitagation or any threat to our security from AGW. What a bleak picture you paint!

No, if you understood what I wrote you would understand that the alleged "bleak picture" does not follow.

And your list of spare resources are generally not what the government has at hand, although some examples may be found every now and then. The Future Fund is not a spare resource, even if you try to shoehorn it in. The closest you have is government departments spending resources on less important priorities - which fits quite closely with my definition.

But the main point is that they are not generally suitable to be "SPENT" on "ALTERNATIVE, CLEAN ENERGY SUPPLIES", nor largely can they even be spent on your preferred choice of disaster mitigation.

In other words, your latest comment does not appear to help your argument that spending on climate change will crowd out spending on disaster mitigation.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 15 May 2011 #permalink

"I for one am waiting for our latest graduate from the Lomborg School of Econoideawhathestalkingabout to explain how different use of Wivenhoe's capacity would have mitigated flooding in Theodore, Emerald, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Gayndah, Mundubbera, Dalby, Condamine, Maryborough, Gympie, Toowoomba, Withcott or Grantham."

Posted by: FrankD | May 14, 2011 6:31 AM

Well, EXCUSE ME! Frank. I wasn't aware that places like Emerald, Rockhampton and Gympie are in the Brisbane valley.

Bernard began his question as follows:

"You appear to think that floods in the Brisbane valley can be prevented if only enough money was spent on the issue, and not on climate change mitigation.
Please, can you explain exactly where the dam would go that will flood-proof the areas inundated earlier this year.............. "

Surely it is clear that I was specifically addressing the flooding situation in the Brisbane area. You accuse me of fudging the situation because you claim I'm implying that the Wivenhoe dam could protect areas such as Gympie and Rockhampton from flooding. Why would any reasonable person draw such a conclusion?

If about 6 additional dams would be required to protect these other flood-prone areas such as Gympie and Maryborough etc, then so be it. I admit I'm not an expert on each of these areas. But I am reasonably familiar with the Brisbane area and was personally caught up in those recent floods in Brisbane.

OF COURSE the same solution will not apply to all areas.

As I understand, Rockhampton is in a particularly difficult situation because there appears to be no suitable location for a dam. There have been various studies and proposals to construct levees to protect the most important areas of the city, and proposals for the local Government to buy back all the uninsurable homes in the most flood-prone parts of the city (uninsurable against riverine flooding, that is, just in case I get accused of fudging the issue) so that the owners can relocate.

But this of course costs money, and as I understand, little action has been taken to date. Amazingly the council is still considering the proposals made after the 1991 major flood.

Equally amazing is the historical frequency of the flooding of Rockhampton, if the following information is correct, which I quote below.

"The Fitzroy River at Rockhampton has a long history of flooding. Since 1860 Rockhampton has had nine floods very close to or above the âmajorâ category and about 20 were classed as âmoderateâ. About one metre in river height separates major (8.5 metres) from moderate (7.5 metres). The worst recorded flood was in 1918 (10.1 metres), and Cyclone Joy in 1991 produced a river peak of 9.3 metres. Other bad years have been 1929 and 1954.

In early January 2011, heavy rain during December began a slow rise in the Fitzroy River which peaked at 9.2 metres on 6 January. The water began receding on 16 January, and lay about for days afterwards. Depot Hill and Port Curtis were inundated, and West Rockhampton and the airport were severely flooded. (Other suburbs included Berserker, Lake Creek, Park Avenue and Wandal.) Rockhampton was encircled by floodwater for as far as the eye could see."

Now consider the implications of the above. In approximately the past 150 years, Rockhampton has suffered lots of property and infrastructure damage, and often loss of lives, on 29 occasions. It's had a flood of at least moderate proportions every 5-6 years on average, and a major flood every 17 years on average.

And in case anyone whishes to make the point that CO2 rises are responsible for such frequent flooding, there were 4 major floods in the latter part of the 19th century, since 1859 when record-keeping began, ie. 1864, 1875, 1890 and 1896.

> Now consider the implications of the above.

Well, one of the clear implications is that climate change mitigation spending is not crowding out flood mitigation spending in Rockhampton, because funds were not allocated over the last 150+ years, well before climate change reached public or political consciousness.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 15 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR.

You said:

Surely it is clear that I was specifically addressing the flooding situation in the Brisbane area. You accuse me of fudging the situation because you claim I'm implying that the Wivenhoe dam could protect areas such as Gympie and Rockhampton from flooding. Why would any reasonable person draw such a conclusion?

If about 6 additional dams would be required to protect these other flood-prone areas such as Gympie and Maryborough etc, then so be it. I admit I'm not an expert on each of these areas. But I am reasonably familiar with the Brisbane area and was personally caught up in those recent floods in Brisbane.

plus a lot of other blah blah blah, but you never really address the point.

Let me remind you of what I asked:

Please, can you explain exactly where the dam would go that will flood-proof the areas inundated earlier this year against any and all deluges that will occur in a future affected by global warming, as predicted by the best science? How much will this dam cost, what would it look like, and what would the ecological and other negative consequences of its construction be?

Note my latter emphasis. There where many areas that were flooded that are not below the Wivenhoe catchment, so building a megadam at Wivehhoe will not help one iota the folk who live in those areas. And the catchment behind the Wivenhoe dam represents an area of [7,000 square kilometres](http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/brochures/brisbane_upper/brisbane…), which is [less than half of the catchment area behind Brisbane](http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/brochures/brisbane_lower/brisbane…):

The Brisbane River catchment covers an area of approximately 15,000 square kilometres of which about half is below Wivenhoe Dam. The Lockyer-Laidley Valley drains into the Brisbane River just downstream of Wivenhoe Dam near Lowood. The second major tributary, the Bremer River, flows into the Brisbane River at Moggill. Heavy rains in these areas can cause severe flooding of rural districts in the Lockyer and Bremer Valleys and along the Brisbane River. Severe flooding of the Cities of Ipswich (refer to brochure for the Bremer River) and Brisbane has occurred on several occasions. Although Wivenhoe Dam significantly reduces the frequency of flooding in Brisbane City, major flooding can still occur.

Flooding in the Brisbane City area can also be caused by local creeks including Oxley and Bulimba Creeks on the southside, and Kedron Brook, Moggill and Enoggera Creeks in the northern and western suburbs. During intense rainfalls, the suburban creeks rise very quickly and can cause significant flooding of streets and houses

so enlarging Wivenhoe will do nothing to stop flooding that originates from other parts of the catchment. If you are having difficulty understanding this, look at [a map of the catchment](http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/brochures/brisbane_upper/map.shtml).

And if that doesn't help, play with [the widget here](http://www.seqcatchments.com.au/our_region.html) to see what I mean... The Stanley catchment drains into the Wivenhoe catchment above the dam, but the Lockyer, Bremer, Mid-Brisbane, Lower Brisbane, and Pine River catchments do not.

Enlarging Wivenhoe to prevent all flood water above it from affecting the regions below it will do nothing to prevent floods originating elsewhere. Remember, a lot of the January flood pulse came from the Lockyer and Bremer catchments.

So, you are fixated on Wivehoe, but you have not explained the actual cost of expanding it, nor the engineering feasibility, nor the environmental impacts, as I originally asked you to do. To this I will now ask what the cost would be of those extra six dams to which you refer, and thus what the cost/benefit ratio of the whole damming exercise would be. What would be the additional cost to circumvent the dynamic tension between water catchment and flood control?

And remember, you still haven't flood-proofed the rest of the Queensland catchments. Or the rest of the east coast of Australia. Nor have you fire-proofed Australia yet, or tsunami-proofed it, or drought-proofed it...

So, what cost?

And once you've accomplished your grand vision, how resilient would your infrastructure be to the climate change that you failed to address? How much of your magnificent infrastructure would actually protect Brisbane, and the rest of Australia, against the many impacts of global warming/climate change?

And are all countries supposed to similarly protect themselves against extreme events by following your prescription? At what cost would such be done?

And what of the global ecosystems? What dams and other infrastructure will protect the planet's biodiversity and ecological functionings? What of the inexorably acidifying oceans? What of warming to tipping points resulting in new quasi-steady states (consider for example mass clathrate release), that you have failed to address?

And once your infrastructure has reached the end of its lifespan, and requires replacement in a world absent cheap and extensive fossil energy, how will this be done? Remember, you haven't done anything to address climate change itself, so that's now galloping along apace and calls for responses far greater than you are proposing for present-day protection against extreme weather. How will this all be acheived in the future that you want to manufacture?

You seem completely oblivious to the aphorisms of "a stitch in time saves nine", and "a tile in time saves a hundred".

You're not a systematic thinker, are you? In fact, I can't resist musing that you're not much of a thinker at all...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 15 May 2011 #permalink

"Well, one of the clear implications is that climate change mitigation spending is not crowding out flood mitigation spending in Rockhampton, because funds were not allocated over the last 150+ years, well before climate change reached public or political consciousness.

Posted by: Lotharsson | May 15, 2011 8:05 AM"

Indeed! Very perceptive of you! But I'm curious as to why you think there's more than 'a snowball's chance in hell' of any global agreement to tackle CO2 emissions when there has been such blatant inaction in many areas to protect peoples' lives and property from natural disasters unconnected with CO2 rises.

Clearly, if we do our best to reduce, and in circumstances where it is possible to completely prevent, serious damage from ongoing natural disasters in areas subject to them, then any augmentation of such disasters that may result from anthropogenic increases in CO2 levels will be experienced as minor flooding, or minor storm damage in the case of stronger cyclones.

If we exaggerate the dangers of rising CO2 levels and try to create the impression that such disasters (floods, droughts and cyclones) can be prevented simply by reducing CO2 levels, as though it's a 'control knob' similar to interest rates in relation to an overheated economy, then politicians and administrators in charge of budgets, who make the decisions as to which projects to fund or encourage, are likely to make the wrong decisions and get us all into even deeper trouble.

Let me use an analogy of a sick person suffering from some incurable genetic disorder which results in periodic bouts of disabling pain and suffering every few years. Let's imagine this sick person is healthy most of the time, but never knows when the next disabling bout will occur.

When it does occur, he's unable to work for many months. The amount of sick leave he accrues in his job is completely inadequate, and full medical insurance is not available because he has a pre-existing medical condition.

Sometimes the bouts are so severe he thinks he may die and worries that perhaps the next one will kill him.

Now let's say that eventually, after half a lifetime of bearing such an affliction, some smart doctors and scientists offer him a choice of a couple of very expensive cures which they've developed through genetic engineering.

The first cure promises to prevent any repetition of the problem in terms of its historical intensity, but doesn't guarantee there will not be any minor recurrence which may be a bit uncomfortable now and again, but not seriously debilitating.

The second cure promises there will be no increase in the severity of the disorder, and that the patient need not fear he will die from a particularly severe bout. However, this cure does not address the ongoing, incapacitating bouts the sufferer has endured for half a lifetime, which he will have to continue to endure if he chooses this second option.

Now let's suppose that both cures are equally very expensive. Which do you choose if you are not particularly wealthy?

If you ARE wealthy, the choice is easy. You buy both procedures for a total cure.

However, if you can't afford to buy both procedures, I suggest you would be crazy to go for the second option. Agreed?

The first option, of course, is analagous to our options for flood mitigation, new dams for more water storage, and more stringent building codes in areas subject to cyclones.

The second option is analagous to our trying to control such natural events, and their possible worsening, through reduction in our CO2 emissions.

Are you able to understand such analogies? I wonder because so many of you have demonstrated that you have difficulty with English Comprehension and logical thinking.

> But I'm curious as to why you think there's more than 'a snowball's chance in hell' of any global agreement to tackle CO2 emissions when there has been such blatant inaction in many areas to protect peoples' lives and property from natural disasters unconnected with CO2 rises.

Because of the inequity of anthropogenic actions, which is the key difference between "natural disasters unconnected with CO2" and climate change.

This should be obvious.

> Clearly, if we do our best to reduce, and in circumstances where it is possible to completely prevent, serious damage from ongoing natural disasters in areas subject to them...

Bernard and others have pointed out that you're advocating unicorns for everyone, unless they prefer a pink pony instead. You're simply not in the real world. You have underestimated the scale of investment required by probably several orders of magnitude...and you've underestimated the scale of problem climate change can and probably will cause by orders of magnitude as well.

This will lead directly to "making wrong decisions" and "getting into trouble".

> If we ... try to create the impression that such disasters (floods, droughts and cyclones) can be prevented simply by reducing CO2 levels,...

You are uninformed and credulous if you think this is the case. But there is by now quite a trail of evidence to support that hypothesis.

> Let's imagine this sick person is healthy most of the time, but never knows when the next disabling bout will occur.

If by "healthy" I presume you actually mean "sick, but asymptomatic".

> Are you able to understand such analogies?

Of course!

Are you able to understand how they fail to correspond to reality regarding climate change and natural disaster prevention?

Of course not!

You argue with an apparently straight face:

> The first option, of course, is analagous to our options for flood mitigation, new dams for more water storage, and more stringent building codes in areas subject to cyclones.

...which Bernard J. has helpfully explained is definitely not the case.

You're not interested in how the real world operates, you're interested in pushing your preconceived position. Or perhaps you just have trouble comprehending new information. And amusingly you continue to accuse *everyone else* of having comprehension and logic problems.

That being the case, I'll leave you to waffle on about how your fallacious assumptions mean we should make certain decisions and anything else would be a grievous mistake, because you clearly cannot learn a damn thing.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 17 May 2011 #permalink

Enlarging Wivenhoe to prevent all flood water above it from affecting the regions below it will do nothing to prevent floods originating elsewhere. Remember, a lot of the January flood pulse came from the Lockyer and Bremer catchments.
So, you are fixated on Wivehoe, but you have not explained the actual cost of expanding it, nor the engineering feasibility, nor the environmental impacts, as I originally asked you to do. To this I will now ask what the cost would be of those extra six dams to which you refer, and thus what the cost/benefit ratio of the whole damming exercise would be. What would be the additional cost to circumvent the dynamic tension between water catchment and flood control?
And remember, you still haven't flood-proofed the rest of the Queensland catchments. Or the rest of the east coast of Australia. Nor have you fire-proofed Australia yet, or tsunami-proofed it, or drought-proofed it...
So, what cost?
Posted by: Bernard J. | May 15, 2011 11:20 AM

Bernard,
You should know that any costings that I could provide for any proposals to mitigate flooding in the areas you have mentioned would be obtained from the internet, if available. You are just as able as I am to search the internet for such information.

It's not that I'm fixated on Wivenhoe. It's just that Brisbane is a place where I've lived and Wivenhoe is a place I've sometimes taken visitors to see. I'm familiar with the place. I know very little about Laidley and Toowoomba, but I think we all understand that each flood mitigation scheme has a limit to its effective area of protection, and different areas have different problems that need different solutions.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that making Wivenhoe a more effective flood mitigation dam will do NOTHING to reduce flooding of the Bremer River and Lockyer Creek. Both of these rivers flow into the Brisbane River. If the Brisbane river is itself at record levels due to inadequate flood mitigation, then the flooding of all creeks and tributaries that flow into it will be exacerbated.

However, as regards costings I have come across an interesting private assessment from a Civil Engineer who has done his own research. Here's a link to the pdf.

http://www.floodcommission.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/file/0003/1848/Land…

Here is an extract:

"Brisbane, despite being built on a flood-plane, can absolutely be made âflood-proofâ

Brisbane can absolutely be provided with 100% water security for both its current and predicted future population growth

By way of example, a single additional dam for Brisbane of 2M ML for drinking water supply (being almost twice Wivenhoeâs water supply capacity), has been estimated by GHD Engineering consultants to require an investment of $1.4B an additional $0.5B for reticulation, pipeline and grid integration works. This is a modest investment indeed."

In other words, an expenditure of $2B on the Wolfdene dam would have made the decision to use the entire Wivenhoe capacity for flood mitigation purposes much easier, and could have saved a flood damage bill in the Brisbane area estimated at $8B. That's not a bad return on an investment of $2B.

Here's another extract which highlights the paucity of information regarding studies and costings.

"Unfortunately, the website for the Australia Flood Studies Database17 does not provide access to downloadable copies of each of these studies. As a result, the author was unable to obtain or review these documents, or make any comment about them in time for this submission.

A notable absence from the flood studies listed on the Australia Flood Studies Database was any study done on the Lockyer Creek system.

The DERM website contains very little reference material on specific Flood Mitigation Strategies or studies conducted into any catchment in Queensland. The only substantial documents which exist on DERMâs webâsite is DS 5.118â Flood Mitigation Manual for a Dam, being an outline of the generic process undertaken for assessing a flood mitigation manual for a dam."

Another extract here highlights a few proposals to address future flooding in some of the areas you've mentioned.

"A full range of potential flood mitigation strategies need to be considered for the nominated Moreton subâcatchment areas, in particular Lockyer Creek and the Bremer Systems (as this paper has already analysed, a more strategic solution to dramatically increasing Wivenhoeâs Flood Mitigation capacity). Hybrid solutions have proven to be very effective; no one solution will be a âsilverâbulletâ answer.

For example, a cursory review of these 2 specific catchments highlights some potential flood mitigation solutions, being:
·
Bremer River:
o
Add 2â3 Flood Mitigation Dam/s in Upper Bremer System e.g. East of Laidley South, upstream of Grandchester
o
Provide substantial increase to Moogerah Damâs capacity by damming between adjoining mountain ranges
o
Excavate / construct a series of downstream detention basins
·
Lockyer Creek:
o
Add flash flood / diversion channel control to divert flash flood occurrences from Toowoomba / Upper Lockyer to offline detention basis
o
Add upstream flood mitigation dam above Helidon/ Murphyâs Creek
o
Add Flood Mitigation (controlled) Dam capability in or around Atkinson Dam, Clarendon Dam and Bill Gunn Dams to augment /replace the water supply roles for these 3 dams.
o
Excavate / construct a series of downstream detention/ retardant basins
o
Selective levy bank construction."

Of course all proposals will likely be expensive. However, if we raise the price of energy by attempting CO2 reductions, such projects will be even more expensive.

Can't you see that?

You're not interested in how the real world operates, you're interested in pushing your preconceived position. Or perhaps you just have trouble comprehending new information. And amusingly you continue to accuse everyone else of having comprehension and logic problems.
That being the case, I'll leave you to waffle on about how your fallacious assumptions mean we should make certain decisions and anything else would be a grievous mistake, because you clearly cannot learn a damn thing.
Posted by: Lotharsson | May 17, 2011 10:44 AM

What an absurd comment to make. What a laugh! I'm certainly capable of learning that building a low-set house on a flood plain is not a sensible thing to do.

About 15 years ago I helped a friend select a vacant block of land on the Brisbane river to build her dream home. Not once did the solicitor employed to do the conveyancing raise the issue of potential flood risk. However, because I was aware that a serious flood had occurred in Brisbane in 1974, I made sure that my friend did not buy a block of land that had been inundated during that flood.

After extensive enquiries, we were confident there was no potential flood risk, so she bought the vacant block and built her house. During these latest floods, the river height at its maximum was still a good 4 to 5 metres below the top of the bank where the house sits.

Needless to say, my own house is free of any risk of riverine flooding.

Are you aware that I used to believe in the AGW scare a few years ago? I admired James Lovelock's no-nonsense approach. Whilst I am now skeptical about the magnitude of the threat from our CO2 emissions, as a result of making my own enquiries instead of following the so-called consensus view like a flock of sheep (baa! baa! baa!), I still think James Lovelock is 'spot on' when he insists that the only realistic way of reducing CO2 levels by a degree that will make a worthwhile difference, (assuming of course there is a problem in the first instance, which of course I'm skeptical about) is to turn to nuclear power as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately for AGW believers, the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan has made the nuclear option far less attractive, so I guess you're stuffed.

But don't worry. All is not lost if you follow my advice, which I repeat.

(1) Don't build your house on a flood plain unless it's elevated on high piers so that it is above historical flood levels, or unless you are confident that the council or appropriate authority has put in place adequate flood mitigation schemes since the previous major flood.

(2) If you are building in an area subject to cyclonic winds, make sure the buiding contractor does not skimp on the solidity of the structure. If the building code specifies a resistance to category 4 cyclones, pay the extra money to make it resistant to category 5 cyclones.

(3) Make sure there are no large trees close to the house. A house which is resistant to category 5 cyclones is not necessarily resistant to damage from a large, heavy tree collapsing on the roof.

In short, learn from history and act sensibly. The issue is not that storm intensity might increase as a result of climate warming, irrespective of whether such warming is human induced or not, but that storm intensity might increase for other reasons not fully understood.

I find it interesting that in the following thread from 'skepticalsciene' (a site which claims to be skeptical about the skeptics, such as myself) it is acknowledged there is considerable doubt amongst the experts about any connection between the current, mild, global warming and increased frequency or intensity of hurricanes.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/hurricanes-global-warming.htm

"Are you aware that I used to believe in the AGW scare a few years ago?"

I used to believe in a good deal of the denialist crap up to about 5 years ago. Then I did some research and found out I was being lied to. If I were you I wouldn't brag about becoming more ignorant as you got older. Though I doubt very seriously you ever did accept the evidence for AGW, unless you've had some kind of a brain injury in between?

"The issue is not that storm intensity might increase as a result of climate warming, irrespective of whether such warming is human induced or not, but that storm intensity might increase for other reasons not fully understood."

Well, no, one issue IS that storm intensity is expected to increase in the next century as temperatures increase, regardless of whatever natural variability there is in storm intensity. The effects from AGW will be on top of those.

"...it is acknowledged there is considerable doubt amongst the experts about any connection between the current, mild, global warming and increased frequency or intensity of hurricanes."

From the link you provided:

So far, all weâve managed is to document here is what we donât know for sure yet. But we do know there is extra energy in the system now, so could it have any other effects on tropical storms? Here, the science is far less equivocal, and there is a broad consensus that storms are increasing in strength, or severity. This attribute, called the Power Dissipation Index, measures the duration and intensity (wind speed) of storms, and research has found that since the mid-1970s, there has been an increase in the energy of storms.

Recent research has shown that we are experiencing more storms with higher wind speeds, and these storms will be more destructive, last longer and make landfall more frequently than in the past. Because this phenomenon is strongly associated with sea surface temperatures, it is reasonable to suggest a strong probability that the increase in storm intensity and climate change are linked.

Your link doesn't support your contention. And of course the problem is what storm intensities will be in a world 2-3C or so warmer than now.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 18 May 2011 #permalink

Vincent R. makes these absurd remarks:

*We are now out of the LIA, thank God, and luxuriating in another warm period. I actually prefer warmth to cold. I think most people do*.

*Whilst I am now skeptical about the magnitude of the threat from our CO2 emissions, as a result of making my own enquiries*

The LIA? What has that got to do with the temporal scale of the current climate change? Or of the effects on natural systems, and the species that make them up, on landscapes that have been greatly fragmented by humans? And enquiries with whom? Where? What scientific acumen do you inherently possess to be able to separate sound from shoddy science? I do find it amusing that Dunning-Kruger acolytes like our VR here somehow think they possess the innate wisdom to be able to comprehend complexity and fields of endeavor well outside of their own competence. I have read, with considerable alacrity, some - though not all thankfully - of the vapid comments made by VR here. Some are just plain simple, whilst others are so abysmally stupid that its hard to know where to begin dismantling them.

The first thing I noticed is that VR seems to dispense with the natural economy in his estimations of climate change effects on the material economy. Earlier, VR argued that, if agricultural production did not meet human needs (let's ignore the equity question which lies at the heart of this question) and suggested that humans only needed to cut more forests to generate more land available for growing crops. He also stated that if certain resources appear to be in decline, we should just dig deeper to find more. These statements alone reflect a profoundly staggering level of ignorance on the potential effects on forest loss on the functioning of ecosystems across the biosphere, and more importantly on a suite of conditions and services that permit humans to exist, persist and survive. VR appears to be one of those computer-geek types who is so insulated in his concrete world that any notion of human dependence on nature is to be swiftly dispensed with. In other words, he is just another example of someone who has been conditioned to believe that humans are exempt from any natural laws, and that whatever we destroy can be replaced by technology. He talks about simple actions that deal with symptoms but he avoids any discussion about the disease - the very scale of the human enterprise. What about fraying food webs, mass extinctions, dramatic changes in biogeochemical and hydrological cycles, hyper-eutropication, collapsing ecosystems and the inevitable loss of critical services that freely emerge from them?

My first reaction was the usual one - here we have another novice whose understanding of the relationship between human welfare and a vast array of conditions and supporting services emerging from natural systems is non-existent. By services I mean nutrient cycling, water purification, detoxification of wastes, pollination, seed dispersal, pest control, climate and flood control, stabilization of coastlines, the maintenance of a large genetic library, and many other examples that are not captured in economic pricing and which have few, if any technological substitutes. If these services were valued, they would be worth many trillions of dollars to the global economy, and we might realize just how vitally important they are in supporting the material economy. And of course I am ignoring the consumptive and aesthetic values here, which would bolster the value many times over.

Also elusive in VRs musings is any notion that our continued slash-and-burn mentality will - in fact already is - rebounding on us. By pursuing the current course, whereby every country in the developed world fosters a large (and growing) ecological deficit, we are accruing (ecological) debts that will be incurred on systems in terms of entropy. In other words, natural systems are characterized by an enormous amount of functional redundancy, which reinforces their resilience. But as we continue to nickel and dime these systems, we push them towards a point beyond which they will be unable to sustain themselves in a manner that we take for granted. I can give a number of examples if you like of valued services and of ecological processes that are already in decline, with potentially severe consequences for man.

There is most definitely a human fingerprint over the recent climate warming, irrespective as to the nature of VRs ' enquiries' (which I do not take, speaking a senior scientist, at all seriously). Moreover, along with a wide range of other anthropogenic assaults, we are certain to see many of the consequences I allude to above borne out. We are entering a period of consequences, and these will impact the quality of life for humanity in a profoundly negative way. Simply, our dependence on the natural world is close to absolute. No wishful thinking or crossing of fingers will change that reality. Vincent, your view of the world is a profoundly simple one. Your responses here reflect a complete inability to grasp physical reality. Your limited intellectual resource base - for that is clearly evident in your lengthy posts - appears to be gleaned from a number of contrarian and denial web sites and certainly not from the primary literature. You should be flattered that so many here have taken the time to respond to your nonsense.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 18 May 2011 #permalink

I used to believe in a good deal of the denialist crap up to about 5 years ago. Then I did some research and found out I was being lied to. If I were you I wouldn't brag about becoming more ignorant as you got older. Though I doubt very seriously you ever did accept the evidence for AGW, unless you've had some kind of a brain injury in between?

Posted by: Robert Murphy | May 18, 2011 2:43 PM

Really! That is very revealing. Whenever I am in a position of ignorance on any matter, I first turn to the known experts. If I am sick, I will seee a fully qualified doctor. If the doctor doesn't inspire confidence, I will likely get a second and third opinion and so on.

But you seem to have sought enlightenment on the issue first from people you now consider as purveyors of crap. Do you think perhaps you might be lacking in judgement?

From my position of ignorance on climate matters I thought it more likely that the well-known experts in the field, such as James Hansen and James Lovelock, would know what they were talking about. In fact, I used to wonder why a more positive action was not being taken by governments to reduce our CO2 emissions.

The only explanation I could think of was an economic one. That is, if clean energy is more expensive energy, the consequences of substituting cheap fossil fuel energy with more expensive 'clean' energy are a lowering of our material prosperity.

I then began to notice, as I've mentioned before, a distinct bias in the reporting on the dangers of CO2 emissions. For example, during the last prolonged drought in Australia, there was great alarm that the length of the drought was due to AGW and that we could expect more of such droughts in the future and droughts of increasing length and severity.

However, I also read reports of new research into core samples of deep drilling which suggested that Australia was in a 20,000 year cycle of droughts and floods of varying intensity, and that during the past 1,000 years there had been droughts at least as long as that last one, which has now ended.

As a result of my enquiries on the internet, I learned, for example, that the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is around 385 parts per million, as opposed to 260 ppm prior to the industrial revolution; that the pH of the sea surface is around 8.14, which is distinctly alkaline; that the Roman Warming Period, between 200 BC and 400 AD was a period at least as warm as our current period according to some research; that the Medieval Warming Period started 2 or 3 centuries later and was followed by a Little Ice Age beginning in the early 15th century; that the CO2 content of the atmosphere of Venus is about 96%, and that with increased acidification of the oceans there will be both winners and losers, to mention just a few rather relevant facts that the promoters of the AGW scare usually fail to mention during their talks and interviews on this subject.

I was rather amused that some poster earlier, in response to the 96% CO2 level in the atmosphere of Venus, replied that is only an 11 times doubling of the current levels on earth. He's approximately correct, but an 11x doubling is a huge increase. If you're on a very modest monthly salary which were doubled 11 times, you'd be a multi-millionaire after one month.

http://www.thegwpf.org/the-observatory/653-new-technique-shows-roman-wa…

#229:
"But you seem to have sought enlightenment on the issue first from people you now consider as purveyors of crap. Do you think perhaps you might be lacking in judgement?"

No, I trusted what the deniers were saying. Then I read what the actual scientists said, and I changed my mind. The deniers were full of crap, and the scientists were right.

"From my position of ignorance on climate matters I thought it more likely that the well-known experts in the field, such as James Hansen and James Lovelock,..."

Or a few hundred other people...

"I learned, for example, that the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is around 385 parts per million, as opposed to 260 ppm prior to the industrial revolution"

And? (The numbers are more like 280ppm and 390pmm, but that's close enough). That's about a 40% increase. And it's going to be a lot higher before it's done rising.

"that the pH of the sea surface is around 8.14, which is distinctly alkaline"

Nobody ever claimed it was acidic. The claim (which is true) is that the ocean's are acidifying. They are not at all the same thing. You know that, right?

"that the Roman Warming Period, between 200 BC and 400 AD was a period at least as warm as our current period according to some research;"

Yeah, crap research.

"that the Medieval Warming Period started 2 or 3 centuries later and was followed by a Little Ice Age beginning in the early 15th century"

Actually, try about 950-1250 for the MWP. And nobody has denied the existence of those events.

"that the CO2 content of the atmosphere of Venus is about 96%"

And the surface temp is over 450 degrees C. Did you learn that?

"and that with increased acidification of the oceans there will be both winners and losers"

Hint: we won't be one of the winners.

"to mention just a few rather relevant facts that the promoters of the AGW scare usually fail to mention during their talks and interviews on this subject."

Bullshit.

So, where's the thing that goes against AGW? Nothing you posted (even the erroneous stuff about the RWP) is evidence against AGW. Nor is the other stuff unknown to climate scientists or hidden by them. Since you have named nothing scientific that caused you allegedly stop accepting the evidence for AGW, one must assume your reasons were extra-scientific.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 21 May 2011 #permalink

*As a result of my enquiries on the internet*

There you go. Old Vince doesn't read the primary literature. Moreover, his ' enquiries' are mostly restricted to denialist sites. Thanks heavens science is not conducted by D-K acolytes over the internet. This is sunspot's method, and other contrarians who write in here generally use the same method.

This isn't how science proceeds, Vince. That is why IMHO your posts are comically simple and why my advice to others is to avoid them. I did until some of your quips became so appalling that I felt *compelled* to respond.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 21 May 2011 #permalink

Profoundly ignorant VincentR:

I was rather amused that some poster earlier, in response to the 96% CO2 level in the atmosphere of Venus, replied that is only an 11 times doubling of the current levels on earth. He's approximately correct, but an 11x doubling is a huge increase.

Yes and 18 doublings of CO2 causes an expected warming of 18 x 3 = 54 deg C with feedback from water vapour which Venus does not have. Do you not have the slightest idea that Venus is way more than 54 deg C hotter than Earth? Greenhouse warming is easily accounted for in the additional temperature of Venus.

The basis of your denial is profound ignorance. Where is your amusement now?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 21 May 2011 #permalink

As a result of my enquiries on the internet

There you go. Old Vince doesn't read the primary literature. Moreover, his ' enquiries' are mostly restricted to denialist sites. Thanks heavens science is not conducted by D-K acolytes over the internet. This is sunspot's method, and other contrarians who write in here generally use the same method.

This isn't how science proceeds, Vince. That is why IMHO your posts are comically simple and why my advice to others is to avoid them. I did until some of your quips became so appalling that I felt compelled to respond.
Posted by: Jeff Harvey | May 22, 2011 2:55 AM

Not at all, Jeff. I have the highest respect for the scientific method and its successes in providing a better living standard for much of humanity, and its further potential for helping us solve all our problems, whatever they may be. There is no other period in human history I would rather be living than in the present.

Didn't I mention that I used to accept the AGW alarmist view? I didn't reach that position by reading denialist literature. I now read all sides of the argument, and what I see is that there is considerable doubt about the impact that our CO2 emissions may have on the climate.

Didn't I recently post a link to a discussion on the 'skepticalscience' site on the subject of increased storm activity due to global warming, and correctly conclude, I believe, that there was an acknowledgement of doubt on the matter expressed in that discussion? That is, the case that hurricane numbers and/or intensity had increased in recent decades was not by any means settled. The jury is still out.

Here's another report confirming such doubt, by Professor Les Hatton of Kingston university who has concluded, by examining the actual data from the National Hurricane Center, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and also the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, that there has been no GLOBAL increase in hurricane numbers or intensity during the past decade, but that there HAS been an increase in some regions of the North Atlantic.

Here's an extract from: http://www.leshatton.org/Documents/Hurricanes-are-not-getting-stronger… Try reading the full report.

"Data for the years 1999-2009 are analysed and tested against long term data for the North Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, Western Pacific, Northern and Southern Indian oceans. It is concluded that Hurricane intensity and frequency is significantly higher in this period in
the North Atlantic.

However in the Eastern Pacific, Western Pacific,
Northern and Southern Indian oceans, there is no evidence of significant change. Taken together, there appears to be no significant difference in either frequency or intensity of hurricanes globally.

Repeating the analysis for 1999-2007 gives the same result and this conflicts with statements made in the IPCC 2007 report."

I suppose you will now inform me that Les Hatton, with a doctorate on the topic of tornadoes, is a well-known AGW denialist.

VincentR, you forgot to mention where your amusement at accounting for the Greenhouse effect on Venus is now.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 23 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR, you forgot to mention where your amusement at accounting for the Greenhouse effect on Venus is now.
Posted by: Chris O'Neill | May 23, 2011 6:26 PM

Some of you guys really do have an English comprehension problem, don't you! My amusement related to the word 'ONLY', as in 'the 96% CO2 levels of CO2 on Venus are ONLY an 11x doubling of the current '1/3rd of 1/10th of 1 percent' CO2 levels on Earth', as one poster expressed it.

I find the same lack of subtlety on this forum in appreciating many other criticisms I've made of the way the science supporting the case for AGW alarmism has been presented.

In general, the presentation of the science that might support the case that human-induced CO2 emissions could be a serious threat to our well-being has been absolutely appalling.

The presentation has been dishonest, biased and misleading. In other words, it has been a 'snow job'.

We've now got to the stage where the Prime Minister of our country, Julia Guillard, has repeated many times that climate change is real. Of course it's real! Has anyone ever said or implied that it isn't? Climate is always changing whether humanity influences it or not.

I happen to believe when a scientist gives a talk related to his/her area of expertise, there's an obligation to educate. I don't expect the scientist to behave like a second-hand car salesman.

If a Climatologist (a loose description, I know) makes the case for AGW alarmism, perhaps during an interview, and talks about unprecedented and unnatural warming but fails to mention that during the past few thousand years there have been other warming periods similar to our current one, although perhaps not quite as rapid in his opinion, then I can only conclude that such scientist is engaged in a snow job, as any intelligent person would conclude.

Science is thus dragged into the mud by such blatant bias, as it is with other blatant omissions when such scientists are addressing laypersons who may not know that the sea is actually alkaline, or that any climate comparison between Mercury and the Earth is as extreme as any science fiction novel.

Have you got my point now?

VincentR: "You bloody scientists and your facts! Well, I select facts to suit my opinion, so you must be doing it too, so I'll close my eyes and stamp my little feet and shout nananananana loudly with my fingers in my ears, just so I don't see the moron in the mirror. So there.

> I happen to believe when a scientist gives a talk related to his/her area of expertise, there's an obligation to educate

It requires the audience to actually want to be educated.

> If a Climatologist (a loose description, I know) makes the case for AGW

The only alarmists are the deniers insisting that it's all a scam for a New World Order.

> but fails to mention that during the past few thousand years there have been other warming periods similar to our current one, although perhaps not quite as rapid in his opinion

There's nothing wrong with that.

When forest fires are reported, or arson attacks, no mention is made of how lightning has caused many fires in the past.

Except for a denier trying to make up his mind to support his preconception.

Vinny, whenever the denial industry say things like "No warming for the past 15 years!!!", they don't mention that it has been warming, it's just too short to preclude either cooling or the warming predicted by climate science.

But, apparently, this doesn't make that a snow job.

Your credulity when the "evidence" supports your preconception is why YOU are a DENIER.

> ...the Prime Minister of our country, Julia Guillard, has repeated many times that climate change is real.

You are a credulous idiot if you don't understand from the context that she's referring to anthropogenic influences on climate change - or that this idiom is widely used in the media now.

> If a Climatologist ... makes the case for AGW alarmism, perhaps during an interview...

And you accuse scientists of bias! Alarmism is generally understood - by definition - to mean unjustified levels of concern. Your biases are showing because you assert facts not in evidence; there is considerable evidence by now to suggest that on the whole climate science has underplayed the concerns.

> ...and talks about unprecedented and unnatural warming but fails to mention that during the past few thousand years there have been other warming periods similar to our current one, although perhaps not quite as rapid in his opinion...

More bias; scientists opinions are generally derived from evidence and your "case" for dismissing what you see as "alarmism" depends on you failing to mention there's quite a lot of evidence to support the contention and instead framing it as an apparently evidence-free opinion...so, at a minimum - Pot. Kettle. Black.

> ...then I can only conclude that such scientist is engaged in a snow job, as any intelligent person would conclude.

Bollocks. To conclude that you'd have to actually understand where the weight of the scientific evidence lies, and you clearly do not. And you're a credulous idiot if you don't realise that the fallacy in your last clause does not generally persuade - especially the actually intelligent people.

And furthermore you are also a credulous idiot if you believe that the scientist in question controls how the interview is sliced, diced, edited and reframed by the media.

You are furthermore a credulous idiot if - as Wow has pointed out - you don't apply the same standards to the denialist memes that you happily swallow. If you think scientists are doing a "snow job", what do you call the veritable avalanche of bullshit that comes from the denialist sources?

> ...as it is with other blatant omissions when such scientists are addressing laypersons who may not know that the sea is actually alkaline...

Shorter Vincent: "I find correct scientific terminology misleading. So I assume it is deliberate deception."

And what an idiotic argument that is from you - especially after you've been [taken to task on this fallacy already the first time you tried it](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…) - and apparently learnt nothing.

So scratch all that - the evidence demonstrates that you are a credulous idiot when it comes to climate science. But I'll give you credit for your continued determination to reinforce that perception, way beyond the bounds of duty. I'm almost persuaded that you actually believe your professed level of competence and your assessments of the science are both accurate, regardless of the mass of evidence to the contrary!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 24 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR:

My amusement related to the word 'ONLY', as in 'the 96% CO2 levels of CO2 on Venus are ONLY an 11x doubling of the current '1/3rd of 1/10th of 1 percent' CO2 levels on Earth', as one poster expressed it.

You just don't get it, do you? The term "Not many doublings at all" which you changed to ONLY was referring to the relative smallness of the Greenhouse effect on Venus compared with Venus's temperature. Your babbling about doubling salary 11 times completely misses the point. Another 11 doublings of CO2 would increase the earth's temperature by around 33 deg C BUT we've already got 33 C of Greenhouse effect from the "small" amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere. We've already got a "huge increase" in Greenhouse effect just from this much according to your ramblings. You happen to think Hansen made a serious omission by not mentioning Venus's CO2 at one point but that just indicates that you have absolutely no idea or understanding of the processes he was talking about.

I find the same lack of subtlety on this forum in appreciating

If there's one person here who has a total lack of understanding of subtlety then it's VincentR. What a hypocrite.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 24 May 2011 #permalink

Your credulity when the "evidence" supports your preconception is why YOU are a DENIER.
Posted by: Wow | May 24, 2011 7:16 AM

I keep telling you, I have no preconceptions on this issue. 10 years ago I was almost a complete ignoramus on recent changes in climate. I was only vaguely aware that the era of Shakespeare was colder than present because Shakespeare penned the phrase 'the darling buds of May' in one of his sonnets, and everyone knows that in England all buds are in complete leaf in May. If Shakespeare was writing today, he'd be talking about the 'Darling buds of April'.

I was of course generally aware through my readings of the massive changes in climate that have taken place over the 4 billion years or so that our planet has existed, and the massive extinctions of life that have taken place many times. I've read of theories that life may have started several times and become extinct several times before it got firmly established.

Probably most lay persons have no preconceptions about climate change, except perhaps deeply religious people who might believe our present climate was created by God for our benefit.

For the record, I'm an atheist. I was brought up in an atheistic family and that's the only preconception I confess to having. At the age of 6 or 7, I used to get into trouble as a result of my attempting to explain to my play mates that Santa Claus could not possibly fly through the sky and climb down every chimney to deliver Christmas presents in a stocking at the foot of the bed.

I guess I'm still trying to do something similar by trying to explain to religious fantaics and sufferers of Asperger's Syndrome on this forum that it is unreasonable to expect that humanity can control the Earth's climate by altering miniscule percenteages of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Do any of you guys have any conception of the disaster that would have taken place during the recent Brisbane floods if Brisbane had been a shanty town in a third world country?

We wouldn't be talking about an $8 billion property damage bill, but possibly a loss of 100,000 lives or more.

Can you imagine the outrage if it were revealed that such loss of life occurred principally because a flood mitigation dam was only being half used for flood mitigation purposes because there was a desperate need for drinking water storage because a couple of dam projects had recently been cancelled in order to help a couple of species of fish survive?

Can you imagine the reaction of a Government in charge of an undeveloped country that has seen countless loss of lives due to floods and cyclones, being asked to contribute to CO2 reductions on the basis that their loss of lives may be even greater if they don't?

It seems obvious to me that the priority should be to first put in place measures to prevent future loss of life on the scale that has occurred in the past and is expected to occur in the future, irrespective of CO2 issues.

Is it not obvious that the 'stitch in time' concept, suggested by Bernard I think, doesn't apply in this situation?

Are you guys really so stark, raving mad?

> I keep telling you, I have no preconceptions on this issue.

Yes you do.

Denial at two levels deep... Rather like inception.

> 10 years ago I was almost a complete ignoramus on recent changes in climate.

And you haven't changed a bit. Aaaw.

> the massive changes in climate that have taken place over the 4 billion years or so that our planet has existed

Which has what to do with climate? There wasn't even an atmosphere for a couple of billion years. And the current atmosphere is much newer than that, never mind the oceans and landmasses in their current configuration.

> Do any of you guys have any conception of the disaster that would have taken place during the recent Brisbane floods if Brisbane had been a shanty town in a third world country?

Let me guess: very few people would have died and the repair bill would be miniscule.

But again, nothing to do with climate science.

> but possibly a loss of 100,000 lives or more.

Not if there were only 10 people living there. Or all the people could build outside the flood plain. Or they could swim. Or any number of other reasons.

Again, though, nothing to do with climate.

Seems like you want us to buy you a pink unicorn before you'll do anything else, princess.

Sorry, all your post there had EFF ALL to do with climate.

What if it was found out that a billion people died because Vinny didn't want to stop belching CO2 from his car?

...the Prime Minister of our country, Julia Guillard, has repeated many times that climate change is real.

You are a credulous idiot if you don't understand from the context that she's referring to anthropogenic influences on climate change - or that this idiom is widely used in the media now.

Posted by: Lotharsson | May 24, 2011 8:36 AM

I wonder if we might be getting somewhere here. You are quite right, I would be a credulous idiot if I wasn't able to deduce from the context, considering that the Labour Party is in favour of action to reduce CO2 emissions, that Julia Gillard is referring to anthropogenic influences.

Furthermore, I don't think this is just an idiom, nor is it just sloppy expression. It's a well-considered phrase, recommended no doubt by her advisers, to avoid confrontation and to avoid provoking any thought amongst the many who do not understand the distinction between human induced climate change and natural climate change.

But what really surprises me about much of your post is your attitude that people who do not understand such issues are incredulous idiots. I understand such issues because I'm prepared to inform myself, but lots of people are too busy attending to other matters, or simply too apathetic.

I deplore in general sloppy language and deceptive language, especially on such an important issue as climate change. However, I'm pleased that much of the media has eventually caught on to the deception.

"I deplore in general sloppy language and deceptive language."

Coolit story, bro...

it is unreasonable to expect that humanity can control the Earth's climate by altering miniscule percenteages of CO2 in the atmosphere.

This seems to be your sticking point. What is your justification for thinking that Arrhenius was wrong?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 24 May 2011 #permalink

More deception from VincentR.

There is no ambiguity. There is no current issue or interest in natural climate variations. The entire focus is on the unprecedented changes to the climate being currently wrought by human activity.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 24 May 2011 #permalink

What if it was found out that a billion people died because Vinny didn't want to stop belching CO2 from his car?

Posted by: Wow | May 24, 2011 1:59 PM

Or more likely, what if it were found in a hundred years' time that a billion people had died needlessly from disasters with natural causes unrelated to CO2 emissions, because a few religious zealots had persuaded governments around the world to squander valuable resources in an attempt to reduce CO2 emissions instead of protecting their citizens from the consequences of normal and expected disasters?

I'm afraid I'm going to have to let the media boys continue with this saga and try to knock some sense into ya all before the world collapses into a muddled heap of confusion like most of the arguments in this thread.

> ...trying to explain to religious fantaics and sufferers of Asperger's Syndrome on this forum...because a few religious zealots...

It's most amusing to see you shoot yourself in the foot like that. Again.

> I understand such issues because I'm prepared to inform myself...

ROFL!

> I don't think this is just an idiom, nor is it just sloppy expression. It's a well-considered phrase, recommended no doubt by her advisers, to avoid confrontation and to avoid provoking any thought amongst the many who do not understand the distinction between human induced climate change and natural climate change.

You credulous idiot. What does the "CC" in "IPCC" stand for, why was "CC" chosen instead of (say) "GW", and when was the IPCC given its name?

And what term did Republican pollster Frank Luntz advise the Bush administration to use when talking about climate science and AGW? And what year was this, and what year did Gillard become PM?

(And I bet you don't man up and acknowledge your false preconceptions on this matter. You haven't on anything else.)

And wait, wait, I know this one! People who don't bother informing themselves will still get the - accurate - message that there's a climate change problem that humans need to deal with - even if they've managed to miss ALL of the extensive coverage in the media over the last decade or two about humans affecting the climate.

And people who do inform themselves will know that she's referring to anthropogenic climate change, so they won't be misled by foolish arguments you seem to cling to such as "but the climate has always changed without human intervention".

But there's one last category - people who inform themselves but still argue that, despite knowing what she's talking about, that somehow the verbal formulation renders the science invalid or unconvincing or even a "snow job". We could call them deniers, or concern trolls, or credulous idiots - or in some cases all three.

> I deplore in general sloppy language and deceptive language, especially on such an important issue as climate change.

Riiiiiiight. You're just fine with sloppy logic based on a very selective subset of the available evidence that you embrace instead as long as the language is precise...

> But what really surprises me about much of your post is your attitude that people who do not understand such issues are incredulous idiots.

Comprehension fail. Twice.

1) Credulous != incredulous.

2) I did not generalise to "people who do not understand such issues". I both addressed and specified you, specifically on the basis of your arguments, and in most cases even more specifically on your failure to comprehend the solid reasons given over and over why they do not hold water.

> Seems like you want us to buy you a pink unicorn before you'll do anything else, princess.

Wow FTW!

That really captures it.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 24 May 2011 #permalink

Apart from Vincent clinging for dear life to his false dichotomy, I do find it amazing that he's so willing to bandy about the term "religious" in this context. Religious true believers display an unwillingness to consider evidence that weighs against their religious beliefs (generally because they believe despite the evidence, not because of it).

Vincent also tells the world over and over again that he is both intelligent and informed on climate science.

The trouble is an informed intelligent person not engaged in promoting religious-style belief, who was informed by a couple of commenters who are professional scientists with deep knowledge of their respective fields, that said person was uninformed about a number of key areas...would ask themselves what it is that they are underinformed about, and go get much more informed. The same would be likely to occur even if a non-scientist provided the same information, providing that the claims checked out.

And generally speaking, intelligent non-religious people in that situation would rapidly come to realise that their current level of informedness is quite small compared to the competent scientists in the field, and would think twice - or more - before declaring on the basis of their own self-assessed informedness and competence that the scientists were misguided or delusional - or even publicly deceptive.

Not Vincent. One can advance some hypotheses that attempt to explain this anomaly...

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 24 May 2011 #permalink

> Or more likely,

Prove it is more likely.

Or are you operating on faith there?

> what if it were found in a hundred years' time that a billion people had died needlessly from disasters with natural causes unrelated to CO2

People have done, will do and will continue to do so.

But CO2 will add more deaths on top of that.

And YOU Vincent are the cause of it.

YOU.

YOU are the one consigning these people to a death they wouldn't have faced because YOU don't want to stop burning fossil fuels in your car, lose 0.1% off your stock portfolio or even admit maybe you've been polluting and need to change your habits.

YOU.

YOU are going to cause these extra deaths.

There will be earthquakes in the future and CO2 doesn't have an effect on those, and temperatures only a very small one.

But there will be as well as earthquakes famine, brought on by the climate changing because YOU, Vincent are selfish and self-centred and will not pay for the clean up of the mess you have been part of.

YOU, Vincent.

YOU will have killed billions.

Because you don't want anything done.

Tell me, do you have a computer at home? It's not needed, you know.

So you can go off and sell your computer and donate the money to the earthquake monitoring centre to reduce the deaths by earthquakes.

If you haven't done so, then YOU are the cause of those deaths not avoided and you haven't yet even started paying for the mitigation of AGW, so you can't use that excuse that you were putting all your money in that.

YOU are a killer Vincent.

A selfish and self-centred misanthrope.

"what if it were found in a hundred years' time that a billion people had died needlessly from disasters with natural causes unrelated to CO2"

"People have done, will do and will continue to do so.
But CO2 will add more deaths on top of that.
And YOU Vincent are the cause of it."

Posted by: Wow | May 25, 2011 6:30 AM

Wow! I don't believe I've ever come across such a confused bunch of people before.

I'm advocating that governments use their resources to reduce the CURRENT rate of deaths that result from natural disasters.

I'm advocating that every dollar that might be spent on reducing CO2 emissions would be better spent on flood mitigation dams and structurally stronger homes in areas prone to cyclones.

It is not acceptable to me that thousands of people continue to die and/or lose their homes every year for reasons that are preventable, given sufficient resources.

I would consider it absolutely immoral and irresponsible to accept that there's nothing that can be done to protect people from the existing state of extreme but natural weather patterns, and instead advocate the use of resources to reduce CO2 emissions on the grounds that there's a possibility that such extreme events MIGHT get worse if we don't reduce our CO2 emissions.

What a miserable and hopeless solution you are offering those underpriviliged people. There's a possibility that cyclones and floods might get worse in the future for reasons unrelated to CO2 emissions.

For God's sake, Wow, don't ever try to con yourself into a job with responsibility. With your level of reasoning capacity you're bound to add to the world's troubles. Please stay at home and attend to the housework.

Look in a mirror, vinnie.

Look in a mirror.

Got any dosh in your pocket? Saved up? Then you're killing kids because they need money to stop earthquakes.

You're a sad pathetic excuse for a human being. Please stop giving the whole genus a bad name.

> I'm advocating that every dollar that might be spent on reducing CO2 emissions would be better spent on flood mitigation dams and structurally stronger homes in areas prone to cyclones.

No, you're insisting that nobody can spend money on AGW mitigation until we've solved all the other problems like earthquakes.

That isn't advocation, that's equivocation: DON'T STOP MY SUV.

AGW will cause floods. Ice melts, you know. Therefore a dollar spent on AGW is spent on flood mitigation.

> I would consider it absolutely immoral and irresponsible to accept that there's nothing that can be done to protect people from the existing state of extreme but natural weather patterns, and instead advocate the use of resources to reduce CO2 emissions on the grounds that there's a possibility that such extreme events MIGHT get worse if we don't reduce our CO2 emissions.

The falseness of your false dichotomy - and the strawman that you embed in it - have been explained several times, and still you repeat it.

Do you seriously think if you whine and stamp your feet enough someone will buy you that pink unicorn?

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 26 May 2011 #permalink

Vince,

Your posts are only getting sillier. Even some of the other comic denialists who wade into Deltoid now and then appear to grasp basic science better than you do. You write,

*I didn't reach that position by reading denialist literature. I now read all sides of the argument, and what I see is that there is considerable doubt about the impact that our CO2 emissions may have on the climate.*

You have given no indication of reading - let alone understanding - ANY of the primary scientific literature. The problem quite clearly as far as I see it is that you have no scientific qualifications whatsoever, yet you try and give the impression that having the requisite knowledge is not a necessary condition in understanding the forces at work in climate control and the relevance of scale.

The other point is that you, like the denialati, are a well-honed cherry-picker. For every scientist you can cite who disagrees with the idea of a human fingerprint on the current warming, there are many hundreds of scientists on the other side. How do I know that? Because I have met many of them at conferences and workshops. And one just has to look for the peer-reviewed literature in rigid journals and pretty well all of the empirical and theoretical studies broadly agree that human activities are playing a major role in the warming underway. For their part, the denialists are mostly restricted to web sites, where they do little or no research of their own but instead, like creationists, spend most of their time trying to poke holes in existing theory and data on climate change.

Moreover, as I have said before, there are countless biotic indicators showing that it is currently warming and warming at rates beyond which, in an already ecologically simplified world, many species and critical ecological interactions will be seriously harmed. As I explained in my earlier, lengthy post (one which was clearly way over your head, as i feared it would be), humans are simplifying natural systems in a wide range if ways, of which climate change may be the final nail. I emphasize the point about adaptation - the question is not the extent to which Homo sapiens can adapt, but the extent to which natural systems that sustain us can adapt. You must get this through your head, although thus far you have given little indication of being able to do so.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 26 May 2011 #permalink

Vinny wants to play the "look! Flying Monkeys!" whilst he runs off with the money.

If he can play for time, he can raid the old lady's purse for a little more spare change.

But if you DARE try to stop him, he'll whine "But there's a bank robbery in some other town, and that's FAR worse! Go get them and leave me alone!".

VincentR.

You've been told before to learn to quote properly. It staggers me that you are incapable of doing so, when the shortcut is even waved under your nose every time that you comment. If you can't learn to do this, how do you expect anyone to take you seriously in any other capacity that requires a modicum of learning?

On the matter of adaptation versus mitigation, this false dichotomy has been thoroughly explored before, so it's telling that you feel the need to plough this ground again. Perhaps you are privy to some new knowledge that has escaped ecologists and economists the world over? If you feel that all that is required is that we devote funding to infrastructure now, and none to mitigation of warming, you must have a very solid case indeed that demonstrates the insignificant limit of the consequences of unfettered anthropogenic warming.

Please detail and reference your case for this. I expect that such a detailing will include a listing of all of the ackowledged and putative consequences of warming, and the cumulative and emergent costs of each consequence over time.

I am sure that you will also be able to directly compare this with the cost of the extra infrastructure that you so desperately want to see built... although I recall that [you fell over when last I questioned you on this matter](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…).

You can use as many pages as you require.

Meanwhile, as a counterpoint to your call for infrastructure, you mifght ponder [the photos here](http://www.popsci.com/science/gallery/2011-05/gallery-mississippi-flood…). Photo 8 in particular is a metaphor for your approach, although I seriously doubt that its import will filter through your ideological ramparts.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 27 May 2011 #permalink

"On the matter of adaptation versus mitigation, this false dichotomy has been thoroughly explored before, so it's telling that you feel the need to plough this ground again. Perhaps you are privy to some new knowledge that has escaped ecologists and economists the world over? If you feel that all that is required is that we devote funding to infrastructure now, and none to mitigation of warming, you must have a very solid case indeed that demonstrates the insignificant limit of the consequences of unfettered anthropogenic warming.

Please detail and reference your case for this. I expect that such a detailing will include a listing of all of the ackowledged and putative consequences of warming, and the cumulative and emergent costs of each consequence over time.

Posted by: Bernard J. | May 27, 2011 8:25 AM"

Thoroughly explored by whom, Bernard? Are you implying that all economist and ecologists in the world are in agreement on the issue of this so-called false dichotomy of adaption versus mitigation, as you put it? Is this another consensus? Please elaborate.

There can be no reliable costings of the consequences of future uncertainty of climate. There can only be costings related to imagined and computer projections of various scenarios.

There can, however, be reliable costings of measures to prevent recurrences of known past events of similar severity. For example, if the Wolfdene dam project, at a cost of about $2B, had not been cancelled by the Rudd government, it could have held as much drinking water as the Wivenhoe, thus allowing the Wivenhoe to be used fully for flood mitigation purposes during this year's wet season, and saving a flood damage bill of around $8B.

But I've already provided you with such information. I don't know why you insist on being so unreasonable as to request I provide you with information that either does not exist, or if it is readily available on the internet, is also available to you.

I continue to be amazed at the capacity of some apparently intelligent people to be so blinkered and myopic, and at their incapacity to see the the bleeding obvious.

I can only assume that many of you guys really are 'idiot-savants'. I'm reminded of that scene in the movie, 'Rain Man,' where Dustin Hoffman playing the role of an idiot-savant refuses to be persuaded by his brother to take a domestic flight within America because Qantas flights are not available on their chosen route.

Now it's true that Qantas was considered to be the safest airline in the world at that time, and one can understand why an emotionally unbalanced person with a fear of flying might insist he would fly with no airline other than Qantas.

But what was ironic is that the idiot-savant character, Raymond, later agreed to travel by car with his brother, instead of flying, apparently oblivious to the fact that road travel is far less safe than any airline, per passenger mile.

I imagine if Raymond were also into climate science, he'd be able to quote all the scientific reports available that imply our CO2 emissions MIGHT present a problem for us in the future, and he'd be neurotically insisting that we reduce our CO2 emissions immediately whatever the cost, just like you lot.

However, just like you lot, he would probably be oblivious to the overwhelming certainty and incontrovertibility of the evidence that natural climatic disasters have without doubt occurred in the past, resulting in great loss of life, and that they are extremely likely to recur in the future.

I'm not aware of any group of scientists, or laypersons, who would argue that such events as the Pakistani floods last year, or the Brisbane floods and Mississippi floods this year, never really happened and that they were a hoax or a media conspiracy, or even an exaggeration.

Here's an article from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, relating to last year's floods in Pakistan, which you might care to read.

http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/mlk-2010-pakistan-f…

Here's the conclusion for the benefit of those who are too lazy to read it.

âA rapid transition of the ENSO phase from El Niño to La Niña between spring and summer of 2010 appears to be the key element in triggering a vigorous monsoon of 2010 over the Indian subcontinentâ¦â¦.the 2010 Pakistan floods, although seemingly unprecedented, were well within natural variability of monsoonal climate over the Indian subcontinent.â

Now I admit, because I'm a rational person with an appreciation of the fundamental uncertainty at the basis of all science, that simply because events have occurred repeatedly in the past does not necessarily mean they will inevitably continue to occur in the future.

There may be a very high probability they will continue to occur in the future, but no absolute certainty. We can't even be absolutely certain that the sun will rise tomorrow, but I wouldn't advise anyone to worry about that. If anyone is worrying that the sun may not rise tomorrow, I can recommend a lunatic asylum for you.

For those of us who are intelligent, practical and sane, I think it is fairly obvious that the degree of certainty with regard to the recurrence at some time in the future of the above-mentioned floods, is greater than the degree of certainty regarding the effects of our CO2 emissions.

However, if someone would like to provide scientific evidence that the likelihood of increased intensity and frequency of natural and destructive weather patterns, as a result of increased CO2 emissions, is greater than the likelihood of such natural weather patterns recurring at all in the first instance, then I'll at least consider such evidence, if only to amuse myself with another example of Alice-in-Wonderland logic.

Now I'm not for one moment arguing that nothing should be done to prepare ourselves for a future when fossil fuels will be in short supply. The fact that anyone reading my posts could draw such a conclusion simply reinforces my impression that many of you have very poor English comprehension. OF COURSE, we should continue with research into more viable solar voltaic systems, electric vehicles and so on.

As the price of oil steadily rises and other resources become scarce, the market will provide the incentive to develop alternative fuels.

Listen, princess, if you want a pink unicorn, BUY ONE.

But if you have ANY savings whatsoever, WHY? You're letting people die because they don't have adequate buildings to survive an earthquake!

PS why the faith in the market yet you REFUSE to allow externalities to be included (e.g. as a carbon tax)? Hmm?

So the only "paper" vince can find to support his denier views is one written by a well known denier. So well known he is listed as a "scientific adviser" to the Fiends of Science, a scurrilous bunch of lying, distorting, cherry picking, dishonest so called scientists.

Shows exactly how much science vince actually knows.

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 27 May 2011 #permalink

Futile hint to intransigent Vincent the deeply self-deluded:

You simply cannot do risk management unless you assess both likelihood of AND the impact of undesirable events. In the real world, especially in the commercial world where real money is at stake, these assessments are made by looking at the best estimate of the probability distribution of impacts that can be made with the data we have, even though there is inherent uncertainty. The real world is uncertain - deal with it!

Likelihood and the measure of impact for an event are used to calculate a mathematical quantity called "expectatation" of impact or "expected impact", which doesn't mean what you might think it means if you treat the words as plain English.

Vincent, only the massively incompetent ignore or discount the high impact events because (as you say) they merely "MIGHT present a problem for us in the future". High impact events that are not very likely can have a far greater expectation of impact than routine (high probability) lower impact events - so they may even dominate the risk management response.

You, on the other hand, in your cartoonish fantasy world where you imagine that you are competent to make risk assessment decisions by ignoring most of the aspects that competent risk managers focus on, you, Vincent, decide to focus almost purely on likelihood with hardly a thought given to relative impacts.

Worse still, Vincent, in a mental train wreck the likes of which has rarely been seen even on this board (which attracts some truly irrational people) you idiotically rule out of consideration events that you attach some degree of uncertainty to, whilst ruling in others that have significant uncertainty about timing, location and impact.

Vincent, you haven't even understood the very basic framework of risk management that underpins (although in far more sophisticated and complicated forms) every insurance business in the entire world - and I'm fairly sure this has been pointed out to you before - and yet you persist in fantasising that the people who point this out to you are somehow missing the point.

So when you bring up Rain Man, Vincent, it is you who is playing the role of the guy who thinks his risk assessment is valid and competent and important - but totally fails to see that he's made a serious error by leaving out (in your case well over) half the picture.

You, Vincent.

And when competent risk assessment is performed, Vincent, we find that we cannot rule out with any reasonable certainty that climate change won't have an impact like thousands upon thousands of those natural disasters you are so mesmerised by.

And we also find that bad consequences are far more likely than you have declined to quantify. You prefer instead to indulge in a childlike black-and-white dualistic framework where you can pretend that certain selected things that "might not happen" simply will not happen or won't have too much impact if they do, and thus the possibility simply doesn't need to be dealt with.

I've known primary school kids who understand risk better than you do.

In short, Vincent, you're the Dunning-Kruger poster child, the virtuoso idiot sans savant in this particular arena - and you're too stupid or proud or something else to take on board the useful information that several far more well-informed commenters than yourself have helpfully provided.

Your competence assessment meter is broken.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 27 May 2011 #permalink

My three-year old learns more quickly than this...

VincentR.

Let's go back to the beginning.

1) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.

2) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived understanding of the biotic and abiotic responses to such temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Discuss.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 27 May 2011 #permalink

Is Vinnie actually Gilles?

He's certainly as big a d--k.

I note a resemblance to Tim Curtin.

VincentR:

it is unreasonable to expect that humanity can control the Earth's climate by altering miniscule percenteages of CO2 in the atmosphere.

You claim to have a good understanding of the issues affecting climate, yet you are apparently unable to answer my question. What is your justification for thinking that Arrhenius was wrong?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 27 May 2011 #permalink

My three-year old learns more quickly than this...

VincentR.
Let's go back to the beginning.
1) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.
2) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived understanding of the biotic and abiotic responses to such temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.
Discuss.
Posted by: Bernard J. | May 27, 2011 12:52 PM

What do the following two statements have in common?

(1) Climate change is real.

(2) A three-year-old learns more quickly than I do.

Answer: They are both completely true statements that no-one could sensibly argue against.

Whether you believe that human induced climate change is a serious threat or a complete hoax, it's difficult to argue that climate change is not real.

Likewise, a three-year-old toddler's brain is about twice as active as any adult's. There's a tremendous amount of learning going on at that age resulting in the formation of new syapses between the neurons.

This type of arguing by innuendo I find is typical of the AGW believers. They'll use any technique of deception they can think of to promote their cause.

Do I need to remind you of that famous remark from the late Professor Stephen Schneider who noted that Climate Scientists may be prepared to exaggerate if the truth isn't scary enough?

In answer to your 2 questions, Bernard, the scientifically derived evidence is clearly inadequate to justify any massive, world-wide expenditure to reduce CO2 emissions.

To recap, the many influences and forcings that affect our climate, and their extremely complex and sometimes chaotic interactions, are not fully understood, in the opinion of many reasonable and highly qualified scientists, with whom I agree because I have a predisposition to be receptive to reason.

The nature of the subject, which incorporates about 30 major disciplines, does not lend itself to the rigorous process of scientific verification that, in other disciplines, has produced the benefits we now enjoy, such as miracle drugs and HD Plasma TV sets.

I repeat, the only intelligent and sane approach to our climatic problems is to look at the history of past events and to plan our developments to withstand at least a bit more than any repitition of the worst of such events that have occurred in the recent past, say the last 150 years, or longer if we have evidence.

Having done that, if we then see incontrovertible evidence that increases in human induced CO2 levels really are increasing the intensity of extreme weather patterns, and that our dikes, levees, dams and stringent building codes are no longer up to the job, then that's the time we should embark on a serious, world-wide program to reduce our CO2 emissions.

Another concern that is perhaps the real worry, is our competence to effectively deal with the issue if the climate change threat from human induced CO2 emissions were eventual proved to be serious and real. Considering the present state of the world, it's extremely doubtful that at a global level we have the administrative competence to successfully tackle the problem.

Consider the situation of Rockhampton which is hit by a major flood every 20 years or so. The council was still pondering over (or had perhaps already shelved) a report on the 1991 floods when it was hit by the latest flood this year, 20 years later.

Such inaction and dithering in a developed, western-style economy such as Australia is mind-boggling. How could anyone seriously imagine we are capable of significantly reducing our CO2 emissions globally by an amount that's going to make a noticeable difference to the climate?

Step right up to the Cirque du Folie des Vincent!

> ...it's difficult to argue that climate change is not real.

See Vincent use his nifty cardboard sword to flamboyantly attack a strawman! Watch Vincent attack with such manly vim and vigour! What is this? Vincent does not see the knight in full armour right in front of him! Vincent does not attack the knight?! Oh, my, what an astonishing post-modern reinterpretation of the hero's battle!

> They'll use any technique of deception they can think of to promote their cause.

See Vincent imply that even posing the questions is a form of deception! How bold, how daring, how utterly elite!

> Do I need to remind you of that famous remark from the late Professor Stephen Schneider who noted that Climate Scientists may be prepared to exaggerate if the truth isn't scary enough?

See Vincent engage in the sort of innuendo he claims is deceptive! Ironic Vincent is funny!

> In answer to your 2 questions, Bernard, the scientifically derived evidence is clearly inadequate to justify any massive, world-wide expenditure to reduce CO2 emissions.

See Vincent cleverly lie! See Vincent claim to have answered questions he did not answer! Watch his hands very closely - and still you'll never figure out how he makes the answers disappear!

> The nature of the subject...does not lend itself to the rigorous process of scientific verification that...

See strongman Vincent shift many goalposts to "prove" he doesn't have to answer the question! Who could imagine one person could shift such large heavy posts! Strong Vincent is also silent Vincent on inconvenient questions!

And finally, see Vincent tragicomically beg once more for a pink unicorn, in a redux of his world-famous imprecation!

My, my, it's the greatest Folie on Earth, coming soon to a browser near you!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

>Do I need to remind you of that famous remark from the late Professor Stephen Schneider who noted that Climate Scientists may be prepared to exaggerate if the truth isn't scary enough?

You mean this remark:

>Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. __I hope that means being both__.

For VincentR, honesty is not an option when it comes to exaggerating Schneider's remarks.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

>...the scientifically derived evidence is clearly inadequate to justify any massive, world-wide expenditure to reduce CO2 emissions.

So wrong in so many ways.

The expenditure to replace current non-renewable energy infrastructure with a renewable one is more than offset by the cost of replacing current non-renewable energy with an economic lifetime of 25-35 years with more of the same. Fixed costs of non-renewable energy sources are going up while fixed costs of renewable energy are going down. Variable costs of renewable energy are already a fraction of those for non-renewable energy. Variable costs of renewable energy as technology matures are most likely to go down, whereas those of non-renewable energy are bound to rise as fuel prices climb due to their being non-renewable.

Mitigating the worst effects of climate change is a by-product of infrastructure changes that will have to made eventually by necessity. Recognizing the risk of climate disruption is a motivation toward foresight that unregulated markets cannot make because they are unable to respond until a crisis is upon them.

Win/win.

>To recap, the many influences and forcings that affect our climate quantum dynamics and biochemistry, and their extremely complex and sometimes chaotic interactions, are not fully understood, in the opinion of many reasonable and highly qualified scientists, blah, blah blah.

And yet we have miracle drugs and HD plasma TVs.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

Pontificator VincentR:

How could anyone seriously imagine we are capable of significantly reducing our CO2 emissions globally by an amount that's going to make a noticeable difference to the climate?

VincentR is an example of a defeatist who is also a science denialist. Perhaps being a science denialist requires one to be a defeatist. As long as there aren't too many defeatists in the world like VincentR, humanity should be able to stop making global warming worse.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

Do I need to remind you of that famous remark from the late Professor Stephen Schneider who noted that Climate Scientists may be prepared to exaggerate if the truth isn't scary enough?

"Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both."

For VincentR, honesty is not an option when it comes to exaggerating Schneider's remarks.
Posted by: luminous beauty | May 30, 2011 2:11 PM

Yes. That's part of his revealing statement. I see no harm in hoping, but hope has more to do with religion than science.

If I had been in Professor Schneider's shoes, I would have said something along the lines of the following.

"I've noticed there has been a tendency amongst some of my colleagues to exaggerate the case for AGW.

Whilst I understand their concern for the future environment of our planet and that they may have a natural (all-too-human) tendency to exaggerate the evidence in order to get political action on the matter, I strongly advise them against doing this.

Scientists should strive to be as impartial and objective as possible. As soon as they start exaggerating or misrepresenting the evidence, however honourable they may consider their motives for doing so, they will inevitably be caught out, and as a consequencen the reputation of their disciplines, and perhaps even science in general, will suffer.

Deliberately creating a scary scenario is no basis for successful action on any matter, whatever it is. In fact, action based upon fear almost guarantees that wrong decisions will be made."

You claim to have a good understanding of the issues affecting climate, yet you are apparently unable to answer my question. What is your justification for thinking that Arrhenius was wrong?

Posted by: Richard Simons | May 27, 2011 10:36 PM

Like many others, you have misinterpreted my remarks.

I was NOT trying to make the point that the pH of the sea is NOT moving towards the acidic end of the spectrum, scientifically described as acidification.

I was trying to make the point that any lecturer or spokesperson on the subject of AGW, addressing the general public who may not be aware of the pH of the sea, would be presenting a biased interpretation of the evidence if they failed to mention that the seas, currently, are moderately alkaline with a pH of 8.14, and that any change in the pH will disadvantage some forms of life in the oceans, but ADVANTAGE other forms of life.

Precisely which forms of life will benefit, or be disadvantaged, by increasing acidification is another area of considerable uncertainty.

Most gardeners know that the pH of their soils affect the growth of their plants. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic or neutral soil because most soils are slightly acidic or neutral.

If we were living on a planet in which most soils were slightly alkaline, you can be sure that most plants would be of the type that favour alkaline soils.

As it is, there are a large number of plants, trees and agricultural crops that thrive in slightly alkaline soils. Amongst the edible crops are the cabbage family, carrots, potatoes and a large variety of fodder crops to feed our cattle and provide beef, or kangaroo meat if you prefer.

In other words, if there were some other impending disaster that were claimed to turn all our soils alkaline, we could adapt.

As I've mentioned before, there's a long way to go before our oceans become even neutral, never mind acidic.

*any change in the pH will disadvantage some forms of life in the oceans, but ADVANTAGE other forms of life*

Bullshit. Pure and utter. Like other abiotic parameters, the effects of changing pH levels in marine ecosystems depends critically on the *rate of change* - in other words on how quickly the pH lowers and acidity increases. The same is true of the effects of warming on terrestrial ecosystems - species occur within well define physiological 'envelopes' and their ability to respond to changes in temperature regimes hinges on the spatial and temporal rate at which changes in temperature occur, relative to the genetic constitution of the species involved. At the saqme time, it is important to note that intra- and inter- trophic interactions reinforce the strength of interaction network webs meaning that there is likely to be a cascading negative effewct of acidification or warming on larger scale community-level interactions if a 'keystone' (driving) species declines rapidly in response to anthropogenic changes in the abiotic environment. And we must not fool ourselves into believeing that the current changes humans are inflicting on the abiotic and biotic environments are slow - on the contrary, they are probably unprecendented in number and scale in many millions of years, and our species has thus already greatly reduced the genetic diversity of populations that is a necessary pre-requisite to their adapation.

Given that the scientific community is in complete agreement that humans have greatly reduced biological diversity across the biopshere through the combined effects of a variety of processes, Vince's latest comic-book level contribution should be dismissed completely. I would like to ask Vince what his day job is. I make this request because it is clear to me that he knows virtually nothing about any field of science relevant to this discussion.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR.

Let me preface my post by observing that you are a fuckwit.

Just in case it's not obvious to one and all.

Let's consider the evidence...

1) Basic straight-forward quoting escapes you, even after repeated exhortations to you to learn the very simple protocol that is placed immediately above the comments box.

If you can't get this correct after having your nose rubbed in it more than once, why should anyone think that you can get anything else correct?

2) Your question:

What do the following two statements have in common?

(1) Climate change is real.

(2) A three-year-old learns more quickly than I do.

misdirects, to an irrelevant dead-end, the reader from [my questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…):

1) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.

2) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived understanding of the biotic and abiotic responses to such temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Discuss.

In so doing you subsequently proceeded on a ramble of complete idiocy. You start by saying:

This type of arguing by innuendo I find is typical of the AGW believers. They'll use any technique of deception they can think of to promote their cause.

Eh?!

You're the one arguing by innuendo - or more specifically in this case by straw man. You dodge off on a diatribe that completely avoids the fundamental points I put to you.

Idiot. At the least...

3) You mendaciously misrepresent Stephen Schneider, but [Luminous Beauty has promptly knocked the stuffing out of you](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…) on that.

4) According to you:

In answer to your 2 questions, Bernard, the scientifically derived evidence is clearly inadequate to justify any massive, world-wide expenditure to reduce CO2 emissions.

Again - "eh?!"

If you'd properly answered [my two questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…) you might understand why your claim is a load of bunkum.

Or maybe you wouldn't, as it is patently apparent that the "scientifically derived evidence" is completely and irredeemably inaccessible to you. If you think that science does not support action to prevent CO2-induced global warming, please address the work that indicates:

  1. that extreme weather events will become much more frequent, with consequent impacts on human living conditions and water access
  2. that phenologies will change, with serious consequences
  3. that bioclimatic envelopes for biodiversity will shift faster than ecosystems can adapt
  4. that bioclimatic envelopes for agriculture and for horticulture will shift to regions where other parameters will prevent them from being re-established
  5. that marine ecosystems (including global fisheries) will collapse both from increasing temperatures and from increasing acidity
  6. that none of the above warrants any action "adequate to justify any massive, world-wide expenditure to reduce CO2 emissions".

5) You then say:

The nature of the subject, which incorporates about 30 major disciplines, does not lend itself to the rigorous process of scientific verification that, in other disciplines, has produced the benefits we now enjoy, such as miracle drugs and HD Plasma TV sets.

Once again - "eh?!!" Are you serious?

Can you support this stupidity with any evidence?

You have to completely ignore the output of each of those multiple disciplines of science in order to imagine that a statement as silly as yours could be true.

6) You go on to say:

I repeat, the only intelligent and sane approach to our climatic problems is to look at the history of past events and to plan our developments to withstand at least a bit more than any repitition [sic] of the worst of such events that have occurred in the recent past, say the last 150 years, or longer if we have evidence.

Having done that, if we then see incontrovertible evidence that increases in human induced CO2 levels really are increasing the intensity of extreme weather patterns, and that our dikes, levees, dams and stringent building codes are no longer up to the job, then that's the time we should embark on a serious, world-wide program to reduce our CO2 emissions.

It seems to escape your comprehension, so understand this:

  1. The consequences of the warming that humans are instigating are far worst than "the worst of such events that have occurred in the recent past, say the last 150 years, or longer if we have evidence". We already have that evidence, and if you were in any way familiar with the scientific literature you would know this.
  2. Waiting for the physical evidence of the consequences of human carbon emissions to manifest will be far too late a point at which to decide to take further any action to reduce carbon emissions.
  3. Attempting to improve "dikes, levees, dams and stringent building codes are no longer up to the job" is a pipe dream, an exercise in catching smoke with a net, for all of the reasons I've previously attempted to press upon you. If you disagree, I would ask you yet again to explain how such adaptation can occur, and how it would be resourced.

7) You also say:

Another concern that is perhaps the real worry, is our competence to effectively deal with the issue if the climate change threat from human induced CO2 emissions were eventual proved to be serious and real. Considering the present state of the world, it's extremely doubtful that at a global level we have the administrative competence to successfully tackle the problem.

Understand this: "the issue if the climate change threat from human induced CO2 emissions" is serious and it is real - you a simply too foolish to fathom this.

And if your obtuseness is an indication of humanity in general, then yes, we will not as a species be able to address the matter. It is exactly people such as you who are the problem in all of this.

8) And finally:

Such inaction and dithering in a developed, western-style economy such as Australia is mind-boggling. How could anyone seriously imagine we are capable of significantly reducing our CO2 emissions globally by an amount that's going to make a noticeable difference to the climate?

So, what you're saying is that because some agencies have subscribed to your own state of non compos mentis, there is no possibility that humans might still be able to address the graveness of the situation?

It is lucky for Britain that you were not the Prime Minister at the start of World War II, because Hilter would have been sitting in White Hall within the week.

As I noted at the beginning of this post, I can conclude that you are nothing but a fuckwit.

If you disagree with this assessment, start by providing verifiable evidence that contradicts my long list of points.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

> Let me preface my post by observing that you are a fuckwit.

Bernard FTW!

(And what Jeff Harvey said while we're at it...)

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

I was trying to make the point that any lecturer or spokesperson on the subject of AGW, addressing the general public who may not be aware of the pH of the sea, would be presenting a biased interpretation of the evidence if they failed to mention that the seas, currently, are moderately alkaline with a pH of 8.14, and that any change in the pH will disadvantage some forms of life in the oceans, but ADVANTAGE other forms of life.

"[M]oderate alkalin[ity]" is what permits calciferous life forms, including coral-based reefs and a significant proportion of plankton, to properly contruct their carbonate skeletons and shells. These life forms provide a huge base for global marine productivity and biodiversity, and it's not only an ecological imperative to protect them, but a human one, because there will be no "advantage" that will in any appreciable way compensate for the staggeringly serious loss of these taxa.

Precisely which forms of life will benefit, or be disadvantaged, by increasing acidification is another area of considerable uncertainty.

It is only of uncertainty to people such as you, who are ignorant of the science.

Most gardeners know that the pH of their soils affect the growth of their plants. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic or neutral soil because most soils are slightly acidic or neutral.

If we were living on a planet in which most soils were slightly alkaline, you can be sure that most plants would be of the type that favour alkaline soils.

As both a gardener and an ecologist who dives and has maintained large marine aquaria, I can tell you that comparing terrestrial plants to marine ecosystems is constitutes the logical fallacy of [false analogy](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_analogy).

Read these words slowly:

The vastly overwhelming proportion of marine species are adapted to an alkaline pH.

Do you require them to be repeated? Just in case...

The vastly overwhelming proportion of marine species are adapted to an alkaline pH.

And for what it's worth, a pH of 8.14 is a reduction from the pre-Industrial pH of around 8.2, and it represents an increase in acidity of 15%. For many species such a change in hydronium ion concentration represents a serious alteration in their chemical milieu. If the increase in acidity continues as a business-as-usual emissions scenario for several more decades dictates, many species will be unable to maintain their skeletal integrity, or their cellular chemi-osmotic balances.

On ocean pH, you are speaking shit.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

Oops, I made a minor error...

On ocean pH, y [Y]ou are speaking shit.

That's better.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

> On ocean pH, y [Y]ou are speaking shit.

Bernard FTW^2!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 30 May 2011 #permalink

Read these words slowly:
The vastly overwhelming proportion of marine species are adapted to an alkaline pH.
Do you require them to be repeated? Just in case...
The vastly overwhelming proportion of marine species are adapted to an alkaline pH.
And for what it's worth, a pH of 8.14 is a reduction from the pre-Industrial pH of around 8.2, and it represents an increase in acidity of 15%. For many species such a change in hydronium ion concentration represents a serious alteration in their chemical milieu. If the increase in acidity continues as a business-as-usual emissions scenario for several more decades dictates, many species will be unable to maintain their skeletal integrity, or their cellular chemi-osmotic balances.
On ocean pH, you are speaking shit.
Posted by: Bernard J. | May 31, 2011 4:48 AM

Bernard,
I see you also have poor English comprehension.

Where have I denied that the majority of marine species are adapted to an alkaline environment?

Where have I denied that the majority of plant life is adapted to a slightly acidic or neutral soil?

What I've implied is, just as we know that some plant life can thrive in slightly alkaline soils, we also know, but with less certainty, that some marine life will thrive in less alkaline water.

Of course with any change, whether it be climate or anything else, adjustments of balance will result.

But why do people fear change so much? To me, change seems to be the natural state of affairs. No-one can prevent change. You can't prevent a change in the weather, the climate, your age, your economic circumstances, your health, the number of species on the planet etc etc.

The real F**kwits are those who think we can prevent change. They are out of this world, in a state of total delusion. Continual change is reality. Adapt to it if you want to survive.

And Vincent FTL - still hasn't got a clue when he has been spoon-fed several...

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 31 May 2011 #permalink

vincentr - gardeners and soils? You're overlooking Jeff Harvey's repeated information about biological diversity and ecological richness.

Adapt? OK. I'm pretty sure we could adapt to a world that would grow only cranberries, conifers and rhododendrons. Equally, we might adapt to a world that would grow none of these but plenty of oregano and thyme which favour alkaline soils - a world of only pink mophead hydrangeas - or only blue in the rhododendron+conifer world.

But why should we? We have the power to avoid the worst of what the warming world has in store for us. We have the power to maintain a lot of the biological diversity we've been blessed with.

I am not a diving, fishing, boating enthusiast. But I'd like to think that my greatgrandchildren and their children would be able to enjoy such activities in rich coral reef environments long after I'm gone if that's what they want. Sure we could adapt (which would include some communities starving and then moving to other food sources) to a world of sea grasses and jellyfish rather than reefs and real fish. Why would we choose this when better, richer, healthier choices are within our power? (Adaptation is easy to say. In reality, it is neither easy nor benign.)

Make no mistake. It is a choice. Whatever you prefer, make good choices to give yourself and everyone else the best chance of achieving that result.

Vincent writes, *The real F**kwits are those who think we can prevent change. They are out of this world, in a state of total delusion. Continual change is reality. Adapt to it if you want to survive*.

No wonder old Vincey doesn't tell us what his day job is, when he writes such utterly vacuous bilge.

AGAIN, to reiterate, species are adapted within certain physiological 'envelopes' to a suite of abiotic conditions. These conditions, over longer periods of time, generally fall within certain boundries, beyond which the species is less well adapted. Individual species have distributions within which conditions are suitable for their survival and reproduction. Within their ranges most occupy distinct habitats and at smaller scales, niches, determined to a large extent by a combination of abiotic and biotic conditions at local scales. Outside these boundries, however, conditions become increasingly sub-optimal, until at some threshold too much metabolic energy must be expended and thus mortality exceeds natality. Here, populations do not persist or are transient.

Of course change is the norm, but large scale systems are highly determinisitc, thus changes that occur within them are generally gradual within an evolutionary time frame. Perterbations cerainly occur, and these challenge species to adapt locally and globally, but these perterbations rarely encompass the kinds of large scale changes that humans are currently inflicting on biomes across the biosphere. This explains why 10-40% of well known species (vascular plants, mammals, amphibians, birds, fish) are in demographic free-fall, and why if this continues we are likely to see large scale collapses of marine and terrestrial food webs.

Changes in the surface temperatures of the Earth, as well as in marine pH levels, are occurring at rates not experienced by natural systems in hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Against this background humans have reduced tropical forest cover of the planet by more than 40% in the past century, we have profoundly fragmented most of the temperate biomes, and we have altered the chemical composition of the airt and water, through a wide range of processes. We co-opt 40% of net primary production and 50% of freshwater flows. In simple terms, our species and nature are on a collision course.

Vince, you are way, way out of your intellectual depth here. Its clear to me, writing as a senior scientist in population ecology, that your posts are full of gibberish. What I don't understand, in the face of your ignorance, is why you persist.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 31 May 2011 #permalink

Vince, you are way, way out of your intellectual depth here. Its clear to me, writing as a senior scientist in population ecology, that your posts are full of gibberish. What I don't understand, in the face of your ignorance, is why you persist.
Posted by: Jeff Harvey | May 31, 2011 9:25 AM

Perhaps I'm persisting, Jeff, because I see so clearly the fallacies in the arguments you present and the dangers for humanity if they believe and act upon such arguments.

Take for example the following statement from your previous post:

"Changes in the surface temperatures of the Earth, as well as in marine pH levels, are occurring at rates not experienced by natural systems in hundreds of thousands or millions of years."

Are you serious? Our current warming is very similar to the warming known as the Roman Warming Period over 2,000 years ago, and the Medieval Warming Period about 1000 years ago.

Our current warming period has been going for just a couple of hundred years, off and on, up and down.

Do you seriously expect us to believe that our record of past warming periods going back millions of years is of such high resolution and so detailed that we can determine precisely the rate of warming that took place during any 200 year period?

If so, just as an exercise, please tell me the rate of warming (or cooling) that took place during the 200 year period between 2,403,230 BC and 2,403,030 BC.

I don't expect you to know such information off the top of your head, but as a senior scientist you should be able to acess such information in order to substantiate your claim that the current warming is unprecedented.

VincentR :

I asked you to justify your claim that "it is unreasonable to expect that humanity can control the Earth's climate by altering miniscule percenteages of CO2 in the atmosphere." You responded in #272 with

Like many others, you have misinterpreted my remarks.

I was NOT trying to make the point that the pH of the sea is NOT moving towards the acidic end of the spectrum, scientifically described as acidification.

How about reading the question before accusing others of misunderstanding?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 31 May 2011 #permalink

*Our current warming is very similar to the warming known as the Roman Warming Period over 2,000 years ago, and the Medieval Warming Period about 1000 years ago*

According to who? A few web sites operated by contrarian shills? Where is the empirical support to back up this remark? Its amazing how the denial lobby has switched from calling climate change a 'doomsday myth' to the current trick that its either (a) due to natural forcings or (b) unexceptional in terms of recent gelogical history. The denialists don't publish anything in peer-reviewed journals on this subject, but instead rely on spewing out this kind of nonsense over the internet. IN 5 or 10 years time, when it becomes impossible to deny human effects on the climate, watch this space: Vince and his ilk will say that it's too late to do anything about it except adapt (he's onto that argument now). In every scenario I have described above, nothing changes. The song remains the same, as far as avoiding mitigation is concerned.

There is no evidence that the periods you refer to were as warm as today over vast expanses of the biosphere; moreover, given that atmsopheric levels of C02 are higher now than in hundreds of thousands of years at the very least, and that there are temporal lags in the effects of increasing greenhouse gases on surface temperatures, we can certainly expect temperatures to increase at rates far exceeding those caused by natural forcings in the coming decades.

Your posts are a joke, Vince. You have now adopted the typical contrarian tactic of claiming that ignorance is bliss: that without 100% complete proof of a process then there is no problem. Well done. Debating with someone like you is like trying to win a pissing match with a skunk. Those anxious to promote business-as-usual in denying a wide range of anthropogenic threats to the environment - acid rain, loss of biodiversity, pesticide use, and now, climate change - frequently resort to this corner. By the time the proof is fully in, its usually much too late to do anything.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 31 May 2011 #permalink

Our current warming is very similar to the warming known as the Roman Warming Period over 2,000 years ago, and the Medieval Warming Period about 1000 years ago.

Poppycock. You can start by telling us just when the 'Medieval Warming Period' took place (hint: it was at different times in different places).

Your suggestions for adapting to climate change remind me of Timing Toast:
   "There's an art of knowing when.
   Never try to guess.
   Toast until it smokes and then
   twenty seconds less."
      (Piet Hein)

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 31 May 2011 #permalink

Come on, vincent -
"...Our current warming period has been going for just a couple of hundred years, off and on, up and down."

I don't see any 'down' for the last 30+ years. Unless you're referring to the squiggly bits along the upward trending line. Is that what you mean?

Of course! You're not talking about temperature at all. You mean the TSI, that's certainly been down for a good while. Do you know what that means for temperature when it turns upward?

any change in the pH will disadvantage some forms of life in the oceans, but ADVANTAGE other forms of life
Bullshit. Pure and utter. Like other abiotic parameters, the effects of changing pH levels in marine ecosystems depends critically on the rate of change - in other words on how quickly the pH lowers and acidity increases...............................
Posted by: Jeff Harvey | May 31, 2011 4:07 AM

Of course the rate of change is important as well as the degree of change. I understand the pH of the oceans has changed from about 8.25 to 8.14 over a 200 year period, Oooh! That IS scary. My knees are quivering as I sit at my computer.

It's no wonder these sorts of details are rarely mentioned by climatologist when they address the public.

281
vincentr - gardeners and soils? You're overlooking Jeff Harvey's repeated information about biological diversity and ecological richness.
Adapt? OK. I'm pretty sure we could adapt to a world that would grow only cranberries, conifers and rhododendrons. Equally, we might adapt to a world that would grow none of these but plenty of oregano and thyme which favour alkaline soils - a world of only pink mophead hydrangeas - or only blue in the rhododendron+conifer world.
But why should we? We have the power to avoid the worst of what the warming world has in store for us. We have the power to maintain a lot of the biological diversity we've been blessed with.
I am not a diving, fishing, boating enthusiast. But I'd like to think that my greatgrandchildren and their children would be able to enjoy such activities in rich coral reef environments long after I'm gone if that's what they want. Sure we could adapt (which would include some communities starving and then moving to other food sources) to a world of sea grasses and jellyfish rather than reefs and real fish. Why would we choose this when better, richer, healthier choices are within our power? (Adaptation is easy to say. In reality, it is neither easy nor benign.)
Make no mistake. It is a choice. Whatever you prefer, make good choices to give yourself and everyone else the best chance of achieving that result.
Posted by: adelady | May 31, 2011 7:51 AM

If the pH is changed slightly in our soils or in the oceans what would tend to happen is that certain forms of life that were once abundant would become less abundant, or even rare, and confined to niche environments where condtions are optimal for their growth.

Likewise, other forms of life that were previously rare would tend to become abundant as a result of a pH which is more favourable to their growth.

Species don't necessarily become extinct unless the changes are extreme.

As regards your claim that we have the power to avoid the worst of whatever warming has in store for us, I agree to some extent, provided the worst of such warming can be attributed to our CO2 emissions, which is not at all certain.

There's quite a lot of evidence and opinion that warm periods in the past have been more beneficial than cold periods.

However, I agree we have at least the technological power to replace all our fossil energy supplies with more expensive, alternative energy supplies. But I don't believe we have the political power for the simple reason that expensive energy reduces people's material prosperity, and people naturally object to that.

The move towards any net global reduction in CO2 emissions will therefore be a slow process consisting of lip-servie and political deception to create the impression that something effective is being done when in reality little is being done except wasting money.

Your concern for your grandchildren is admirable, but I can't help having a hunch that your grandchildren, and/or maybe their children, will find themselves in a world which is descending into another Little Ice Age, and they'll be reading in the history books at school how a bunch of second-rate scientists in collaboration with scientifically illiterate politicicians conned the world into reducing CO2 emissions which would have been much appreciated in that future era in helping alleviate the cold weather.

There is no evidence that the periods you refer to were as warm as today over vast expanses of the biosphere; moreover, given that atmsopheric levels of C02 are higher now than in hundreds of thousands of years at the very least, and that there are temporal lags in the effects of increasing greenhouse gases on surface temperatures, we can certainly expect temperatures to increase at rates far exceeding those caused by natural forcings in the coming decades.

Posted by: Jeff Harvey | May 31, 2011 11:22 AM

Well of course there's no evidence that recent warm periods were at least as warm as our current warming period, that could be recognised as evidence by a religious supporter of AGW.

Any scientist, or any team of scientists however qualified, is automatically branded as a climate change denier, by people on this site, if he produces evidence that even hints that our current warming period is not unprecedented.

I understand that Jeff. But can you understand that a true skeptic, such as myself, is not only persuaded by evidence but by reasonable and unbiased interpretation of such evidence.

Now you are quite right that I am not personally able to delve into the raw data that has been collected during a particular research project and examine the methodology used to interpret such data.

I'm not able, for example, to comment on the quality of the research into levels of oxygen isotopes in the shells of Bivalve Mollusks which have been studied by scientists at the Universities of Saskatchewan, Canada and Durham, England, in order to get a more accurate assessment of the temperatures during the Roman Warm Period.

I don't know for certain that their conclusions that the Roman Warm Period had temperatures that were higher in that region than they are today, is reliable. Maybe the number of mollusks that were sampled was too small for a definite conclusion.

And of course, as you've alluded to above, we don't necessarily know what the temperature was globally at the time of the Roman Warm Period.

Your statement that there's no evidence that such warm periods extended over vast regions of the biosphere may be true, but it may also be true that there's no evidence that they DIDN'T extend over vast regions. No evidence is no evidence, and that cuts both ways.

However, from my perspective of reason, I find that there is some evidence that these previous warm periods did exist in other parts of the globe. Here's an extract from the following site:

http://www.co2science.org/subject/r/summaries/rwpasia.php

but for God's sake don't read the full report. Who knows what may happen to your brain!

"In a much broader-based study, Yang et al. (2002) used nine separate proxy climate records derived from peat, lake sediment, ice core, tree ring and other proxy sources to compile a single weighted temperature history for all of China that spanned the past two thousand years. This composite record revealed five distinct climate epochs: a warm stage from AD 0 to 240 (the tail-end of the Roman Warm Period), a cold interval between AD 240 and 800 (the Dark Ages Cold Period), a return to warm conditions from AD 800-1400 (which included the Medieval Warm Period between AD 800 and 1100), a cool interval between 1400 and 1820 (the Little Ice Age), and -- last of all -- the most recent warm regime (the Current Warm Period), which followed the increase in temperature that began in the early 1800s. Of greatest significance, however, was the fact that Yang et al.'s study indicated that the warmest temperatures of the past two millennia were observed in the second and third centuries AD, during the latter stages of the Roman Warm Period."

On the other hand, I think it's quite safe for you to read the following scientific study on climate change during the past 4,000 years in China, through the examination of stalgmites in just 3 caves. The report concludes that other warming periods such as the MWP also had an impact on China but also concludes that the current warming period is greater than any of the others during the 4,000 year period.

I guess there will be no danger of any change to your current state of neuronal pathways and synaptic connections resulting from the reading this report linked below.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002AGUFMPP71C..09L

However, I would not consider the following sites totally safe. They could be hazardous for an AGW believer.

http://notrickszone.com/2011/01/14/new-esper-study-confirms-warm-period…

"From 9000 pieces of wood from old post and beam homes and trees, scientists Ulf Büntgen of the Swiss WSL Environmental Research Institute and Jan Esper of the University of Mainz read off the climate story â a unique global historical archive was created.â

http://www.thegwpf.org/the-observatory/653-new-technique-shows-roman-wa…

"A promising new technique to reconstruct past temperatures has been developed by scientists at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada and Durham University, England, using the shells of bivalve mollusks. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science the scientists say that oxygen isotopes in their shells are a good proxy measurement of temperature and may provide the most detailed record yet of global climate change."

http://www.thegwpf.org/who-we-are/history-and-mission.html

"Jeff Kuhn, a rising star at the University of Hawaiiâs Institute for Astronomy, is one of the most recent scientists to go public, revealing in press releases this month that solar scientists worldwide are on a mission to show that the Sun drives Earthâs climate. âAs a scientist who knows the data, I simply canât accept [the claim that man plays a dominant role in Earthâs climate],â he states."

I understand the pH of the oceans has changed from about 8.25 to 8.14 over a 200 year period, Oooh! That IS scary. My knees are quivering as I sit at my computer.

See, this is why I unhesitatingly identify you as a fuckwit.

You obviously have no inkling of an understanding of the nature of chemical buffering, or of the simple vastness of the volume of the global marine environment, or you would not make such silly comment.

Nor do you have any comprehension of what such a change actually means in ecophysiological terms.

Nor do you understand why such an increase in acidity is scary - if you did, you wouldn't be strutting about like a pouter pigeon pretending that all is fine and dandy.

Seriously, do you have any comprehension what happened the last time ocean acidity changed at the contemporary rate?! I'll give you a hint - the phrase "mass extinction" could be usefully used in an answer... Your knees would be "quivering" if you possessed an operative understanding of the biological significance of this increasing rate of ocean acidity.

Mate, you're a fuckwit.

If the pH is changed slightly in our soils or in the oceans what would tend to happen is that certain forms of life that were once abundant would become less abundant, or even rare, and confined to niche environments where condtions are optimal for their growth.

Likewise, other forms of life that were previously rare would tend to become abundant as a result of a pH which is more favourable to their growth.

Species don't necessarily become extinct unless the changes are extreme.

Boy, don't pretend to tell Jeff, SteveC, myself, or other professionals here what might happen when environmental parameters are altered. We have a much better understanding of the consequent impacts than do you: in fact, I would suggest that you have no functional understanding of the subject at all.

With a continuance of the profound pulse-change in ocean pH that we have initiated, there would be widespread extinction that would greatly affect human use of the oceans, let alone the biodiversity of such ecosystems. Much of the initial quick-response colonisation of acidified oceans would be by species that are economically undesirable and/or biologically undesirable in the context of present ecosystems. Books could be written on this subject, but rest assured that the oceans at pH 7.8 or less would be oceans that most humans today would not want at any cost... and it's a travesty of comprehension that most humans do not understand that this is exactly where the oceans are heading.

You obviously do not comprehend this, because you are floundering under the hindance of being a fuckwit. The contemporary pH change in ocean IS extreme. It's just that this simple fact has not yet permeated the thickness of your skull.

There's quite a lot of evidence and opinion that warm periods in the past have been more beneficial than cold periods.

What evidence? Produce by whom? Beneficial to which species? At what comparative difference in temperature? Compared to what climate in which human civilisation evolved?

Do you even know what you're saying?

Your concern for your grandchildren is admirable, but I can't help having a hunch that your grandchildren, and/or maybe their children, will find themselves in a world which is descending into another Little Ice Age...

Oh, you have a "hunch", do you? Based upon what evidence? After all, it much be first-rate science, if you can pontificate:

...and they'll be reading in the history books at school how a bunch of second-rate scientists in collaboration with scientifically illiterate politicicians conned the world into reducing CO2 emissions which would have been much appreciated in that future era in helping alleviate the cold weather.

Just which of the world's thousands of physicists and climatologists are you categorising as "second-rate "? On what basis? What is your evidence to support your alternative contention?

VincentR, in case it hasn't dawned on you yet, you're speaking shit and you're a fuckwit. I don't usually resort to profanity in describing someone, but you're obviously refractory to intelligent analysis and rational learning, so there is no alternative but to call a spade a spade.

Or, as the truth is in this case, a fuckwit.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 31 May 2011 #permalink

VincentR doesn't have a day job. He lives on the profits of his 'investments' in the coal industry. That's why he has the time and incentive to blog the bullshit that he posts here. He's a revenant denial Troll. I wonder if he's a sockpuppet for the late unlamented Flying Binghi?

I'm not worried about climate change in the slightest degree. Of far more concern to me is the inability of people to behave rationaly, politely and harmoniously. That inability is of far greater threat to our security than any slight changes in atmospheric CO2 or the pH of the oceans.

Greed, corruption, incompetence, ignorance and religious bigotry are likely to cause far greater damage to our security and well-being, in my opinion.

Incidentally, my last post addressed to Jeff has been censored, or is in the process of being reviewed, as one might put it.

This has happened to me a few times on this site.

"Of far more concern to me is the inability of people to behave rationaly, politely and harmoniously..."
Me too, Vincent.

One thing we know about people in any society, when things go badly they're much more likely to become a baying mob than a peaceful cooperative neighbourhood. Queue forming is a very rare cultural feature. Have you *seen* what happens around aid trucks in disaster zones and refugee camps?

My view is that we need to ensure the basics to survive, preferably thrive, for the whole of the biosphere. Because? That's the basis for human groups and whole civilisations to survive and thrive.

I really don't care much about little slimy critters in jungles and mangroves - but I *do* care that whatever it is that they do for the ecological system continues to get done. I leave it to the Jeff Harveys of the world to understand the importance of smelly, thorny, ugly, inedible plants and animals to the rest of the world.

What I don't want, and neither do you, is to find out too late that whole forests, grasslands, crops, seashores or orchard fruits are on the way out because we were too stubborn to acknowledge that we *could have acted* to benefit them (and ourselves) rather than damage them (and ourselves).

If only ...

292
VincentR doesn't have a day job. He lives on the profits of his 'investments' in the coal industry. That's why he has the time and incentive to blog the bullshit that he posts here. He's a revenant denial Troll. I wonder if he's a sockpuppet for the late unlamented Flying Binghi?
Posted by: rhwombat | June 1, 2011 4:54 AM

It's rather ironic really. I'm a retiree who leads a lifestyle which could be considered very 'green', economical energy-wise, and very environmentally responsible.

That is, I live on 5 acres of originally fairly poor soil, practicing permaculture, improving my soil gradually, sequestering carbon into the soil with organic farming, recycling all the water that enters my property whether through rainfall on the various roofs of sheds and house, or town water supply from the local dam, including grey and black water after use in the house. I waste nothing.

I have a 1.5kWh solar voltaic panel on my roof, and my electricity bill is usually very low. In fact, having just returned from a 2 month holiday in Nepal and Thailand, I expect my next quarterly electricity bill to be zero because of the credits I've generated whilst on holiday.

I have no personal investments in the coal industry, but I do have fixed term investments in the bank, and I cannot guarantee that some of my money has not been invested by my bank in the coal industry.

Okay?

Vincent, if you NEED to quote well-known denialist websites (cough, CO2-science, cough, thegwpf, cough...) then you should probably wonder whether you're being deceived, and whether your argument actually holds water.

There is a WEALTH of analysis - much of which you can do yourself if you have the skills (which you clearly don't, but many non-scientists do) - that shows those websites are prone to making claims ranging from disingenuous to blatantly false. What they do NOT generally provide, despite your apparent claim that they do, is "...reasonable and unbiased interpretation of such evidence."

> Your statement that there's no evidence that such warm periods extended over vast regions of the biosphere may be true, but it may also be true that there's no evidence that they DIDN'T extend over vast regions.

So...you admit that you don't actually know whether it's "true that there's no evidence that they DIDN'T", which indicates that you haven't bothered to check what the best global or hemispherical reconstructions show, but you're making an argument that relies on your unskeptical assertion anyway, even as you pat yourself on the back for exercising "skepticism"?

Oh, wait, you think this is evidence of a global or hemispherical warm period:

> "...a single weighted temperature history for all of China that spanned the past two thousand years."

Do you not see the disjunction between your claim and the evidence? (And have you checked the citation index to find out how Yang's paper fared in post-publication peer review, and whether any improved studies have been published?)

And then you link to "http://www.thegwpf.org/the-observatory/653-new-technique-shows-roman-wa…".

Did you not bother to read it before you claimed it supported your concept of previous global/large scale warm periods? You know, including this bit:

> The study used 26 shells obtained from sediment cores taken from an Icelandic inlet.

Still not see why your claim is a non sequitur on the evidence you provided? (Don't bother answering that - we can all see that you have no clue.)

Apparently you just blindly believe the interpretations put on them by denialist websites that just happen to agree with your preconceptions.

And while you're propagating this piece of blatant sophistry, you're calling yourself an "actual skeptic" and castigating actual scientists for not being skeptical?

You're a Dunning-Kruger poster child with a poor grasp of logic.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 31 May 2011 #permalink

Apparently you just blindly believe the interpretations put on them by denialist websites that just happen to agree with your preconceptions.
And while you're propagating this piece of blatant sophistry, you're calling yourself an "actual skeptic" and castigating actual scientists for not being skeptical?
You're a Dunning-Kruger poster child with a poor grasp of logic.
Posted by: Lotharsson | June 1, 2011 5:37 AM

No. You've got it absolutely wrong. You couldn't be more wrong. I have absolutely no belief on the matter of AGW either one way or the other.
It's YOU who appears to have the belief.

I merely note that there is a disagreement on the issue amongst people whom I would admit know more than I do, on the subject.

In such a situation I would tend to go along with the majority consensus view from the experts in the field, rather than a minority of dissenters. And this is in fact what I did, initially, as I've already mentioned in this thread.

The reason I've recently become more skeptical on the issue, during the past 2 or 3 years, is because it has become very apparent to me that there has been deception and exaggeration from those who have been promoting the AGW case, and I have consequently lost confidence in such people.

The general rudeness and fanaticism I find on this site also tends to reinforce that loss of confidence.

"The reason I've recently become more skeptical on the issue, during the past 2 or 3 years, is because it has become very apparent to me that there has been deception and exaggeration from those who have been promoting the AGW case, and I have consequently lost confidence in such people."

You've provided no evidence for this alleged deception. Earlier in the thread you told me why you changed your mind about AGW, but all you did was post some facts that no climate scientists have denied or failed to state, and that do not in any way go against AGW. (You also posted a few bogus *facts*, like the RWP being as warm or warmer than now, with the MWP started a few centuries later). How did finding out that pre-industrial CO2 levels were about 280 ppm and that they are about 390 ppm now move you away from AGW? Where was the deception or exaggeration? How did your discovery that the oceans were alkaline (a fact nobody has ever stated to be otherwise) make you less confident in AGW? Where was the deception and exaggeration? Your ignorance of what the word acidification means is not an excuse to accuse others of wrongdoing. How did finding out that Venus' atmosphere is 96% CO2 cause you to think you were being deceived? The claim isn't that we will be turning the Earth into another Venus (with temps over 750C), it's that we will be raising global temps by about 3C with a doubling of CO2.

"The general rudeness and fanaticism I find on this site also tends to reinforce that loss of confidence."

Your concern is noted, troll. Of course, I do not believe for a second you ever accepted AGW. There was no "confidence" to lose.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 01 Jun 2011 #permalink

What I don't want, and neither do you, is to find out too late that whole forests, grasslands, crops, seashores or orchard fruits are on the way out because we were too stubborn to acknowledge that we could have acted to benefit them (and ourselves) rather than damage them (and ourselves).
If only ...
Posted by: adelady | June 1, 2011 5:24 AM

I'm sure you understand that reducing our CO2 emissions will not result in the re-establishment of whole forests, grasslands and orchard fruits.

I see a terrible confusion of issues that become associated with the CO2 phenomenon, deliberately encouraged by the AGW believers.

Forests, grasslands and plants in general love CO2. If you want to encourage the regrowth of forests, keep the atmospheric CO2 levels high.

There are two major areas of doubt regarding the real effects of our CO2 emissions.

One is the uncertainty regarding the significance of the relatively small increases in CO2 from human activity, and the other is a general uncertainty about future events that may make such increases totally irrelevant anyway, whether or not they would have been significant.

Such events may be an unpredicted period of massive volcanic activity that completely dwarfs any action we might take in an attempt to control our climate by reducing CO2 emissions, or it may be unpredicted behaviour of the sun that changes the climate dramatically towards cooling.

I feel very comfortable, very sane and very confident in the wisdom of my advice that we should exercise more common sense by refraining from building houses in flood plains, and by ensuring they are built to withstand unexpected storms.

Loth! Tag me in!

While you were wasting your time chasing his stupid gwpf link, I spend five minutes enjoying the usual facepalmery of CO2 "Science."

>"but for God's sake don't read the full report"

Vincent should follow his own advice, instead of getting the Cliff Notes from serial purveyors of horseshit. Had he actually read the paper himself, he'd have found that Yang's two reconstructions show that current temps are higher than either Medieval or Roman Warm Periods, despite the reconstructions stopping in 1975 and 1995 respectively (since when temps have risen a further 0.5 and 0.15 degrees respectively).

Which just confirms that Vincent would rather waffle than learn. Because, as Bernard calls, he's an utter fuckwit.

>"I have absolutely no belief on the matter of AGW either one way or the other."

I call bullshit. Just five hours earlier, he said this:

>...your grandchildren, and/or maybe their children, will find themselves in a world which is descending into another Little Ice Age.

Vincent is a denier, pure and simple.

>In such a situation I would tend to go along with the majority consensus view from the experts in the field, rather than a minority of dissenters.

Bullshit. My descendents have again asked me to pass on [their message](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…) to you.

> One is the uncertainty regarding the significance of the relatively small increases in CO2 from human activity

A 35% increase is "relatively small"????

Nutcase. I call nutcase, here.

As to it being one of "two major areas of doubt", that's bollocks. We know it's at least 2.7C per doubling because that's what we've had.

But I suppose that you're thinking "it could be twice as much!" which would be a large uncertainty in the sensitivity.

However, that's not a large uncertainty in whether it's bad or not.

> and the other is a general uncertainty about future events that may make such increases totally irrelevant anyway

You're going to die, Vinny. But just because this is INEVITABLE, we don't bother scrapping food regulation so you will die from food poisoning, safety laws so you'll die from unmaintained buildings, or the various laws against murder and assault in case you die instead by mugger or murderer.

Why?

Why do you insist that your safety should be considered in any way whatsoever since it is INEVITABLE that you will die in the future.

Of course, the sane part of the planet knows that you may die from heart attack and it's better to avoid getting obese and eating fatty foods. The sane majority know that despite it being possible to die from spoon related incidents, laws against murder are a Good Thing (tm). And, also, the non-nutcase portion of society want to avoid those human caused elements of suffering so that whatever disaster happens to people, we did our best.

It's vinny-the-nutcase who thinks that trying not to kill people is worth doing even if they may end up dying from an earthquake.

FrankD, tag me back in!

> You couldn't be more wrong. I have absolutely no belief on the matter of AGW either one way or the other. It's YOU who appears to have the belief.

Ah, Vincent the bullshitter now turns his considerable talents to himself. The comedy hits never stop coming! Do you normally shoot your own (rhetorical) foot off like this, or do you only bring out that party trick on special occasions?

Let's see if we can make it clear enough for even you to understand.

1) You argue that AGW is nothing to worry about;
2) You argue that it is more important to spend money on other things instead;
3) IIRC you ALSO argue that adaptation is better than mitigation;
4) These points can only be argued from a belief on the matter.

So let us conclude, since you argue that you have no belief on AGW, that your extensively repeated assertions that we shouldn't spend any money on it are merely unjustified bluster and can be ignored based on your own claims.

Feel free to stop posting that bullshit argument any time you like.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 01 Jun 2011 #permalink

> ...because it has become very apparent to me that there has been deception and exaggeration from those who have been promoting the AGW case, and I have consequently lost confidence in such people.

And yet you get your viewpoint on the matter - the one you deny actually having - from sources that have been well-documented as engaging in massive and in many cases deliberate deception and exaggeration, far exceeding anything you've been (un-)able to substantiate here from the scientific world.

Well done, Vincent! You've just demonstrated precisely why your judgement on the science is worthless.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 01 Jun 2011 #permalink

So Vincent, despite all your bluster, you haven't seriously addressed Bernard's questions:

> 1) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.

> 2) Tell us what you believe is the best scientifically-derived understanding of the biotic and abiotic responses to such temperature sensitivity of the global climate, in response to a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric CO2 concentration.

To be fair, you've kind of touched on a part of (2) by asserting that things will basically be alright in the biosphere, no biggie, nothing for humans to worry about. To also be fair, this assertion does NOT answer Bernard's question in any way because you haven't demonstrated any derivation of this assertion from the science.

So really you're 0 for 2 thus far.

Since three year olds are alleged to learn faster than you do, let's try and make it a bit easier and use multiple choice.

Is your failure to answer because:

a) You don't know?

b) If you answered correctly it would completely undermine your core argument?

c) You didn't understand the question?

d) Your favourite denialist websites don't have answers?

e) Look over there, flying monkeys!?

Multiple selections are allowed.

Or you could actually attempt to answer Bernard's questions - that would be a change.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 01 Jun 2011 #permalink

> Such events may be an unpredicted period of massive volcanic activity that completely dwarfs any action we might take in an attempt to control our climate by reducing CO2 emissions, or it may be unpredicted behaviour of the sun that changes the climate dramatically towards cooling.

Vincent, I'm not even going to bother addressing the chances of your wild fantasies coming true.

Vincent, when you're driving and the cars in front are stopped at a level crossing waiting for an enormous train to pass, do you keep driving and hope for an unexpected stopping force such as a giant pile of foam mattresses falling out of the sky and landing on the road in front of you, or do you anticipate the most likely set of outcomes of your (in-)action and apply the brakes?

Because right now you're arguing for keeping on driving fingers crossed, which makes you look like:

> I call nutcase, here.

So seconded.

The "nutcase" reference to "relatively small amount" is a standard denialist meme, which Vincent will probably deny is denialist, or that he got it FROM denialists: paint the amount as small to fool people into thinking the effect must also be small. Funnily enought, they never seem to take up the challenge to put a small amount of arsenic in their coffee because its effect must be small...

Vincent seems like he's been taking clowntrolling lessons from sunspot though - he's taken to posting self-refuting references now!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 01 Jun 2011 #permalink

"I'm sure you understand that reducing our CO2 emissions **will not result in the re-establishment** of whole forests, grasslands and orchard fruits."

Come on. If you read what I wrote, I want to avoid getting to that point. We're already replanting vineyards with different grape varieties to cope with changing climate. And that's about as far as I'd like things to go.

The idea that we'd have the resources to spare for *re-establishing* species lost in defunct forests or vineyards or grasslands is silly. If things were that bad, all our funds would be fully committed - to fun activities like adaptation, re-location, migration, food scavenging, second jobs to pay insurance premiums and other delightful, useful pastimes.

To rephrase my point of view so that it can't be misread as before. We need to control, slow down, remove the burdens we have already imposed on our life support systems and avoid imposing any further such burdens. Why?

Because we know we have caused damage and are now causing further damage. What we don't know is which particular straw will break important camel's backs. (By important I mean grain crops, fisheries (or their nursery reefs and mangroves), forests.)

I hope that's clearer.

Vincent should follow his own advice, instead of getting the Cliff Notes from serial purveyors of horseshit. Had he actually read the paper himself, he'd have found that Yang's two reconstructions show that current temps are higher than either Medieval or Roman Warm Periods, despite the reconstructions stopping in 1975 and 1995 respectively (since when temps have risen a further 0.5 and 0.15 degrees respectively).

Posted by: FrankD | June 1, 2011 8:07 AM

Which graphs are ypou referring to, Frank? Surely you must know by now that I'm a reasonable person. If there's some conflict between a summary of a scientists report and what a graph in that report clearly states, then the matter is worthy of investigation.

If the site commenting on the report is deceitfully misrepresenting the conclusions, then of course I would not approve.

Here is the comment below which I show again.

"In a much broader-based study, Yang et al. (2002) used nine separate proxy climate records derived from peat, lake sediment, ice core, tree ring and other proxy sources to compile a single weighted temperature history for all of China that spanned the past two thousand years. This composite record revealed five distinct climate epochs: a warm stage from AD 0 to 240 (the tail-end of the Roman Warm Period), a cold interval between AD 240 and 800 (the Dark Ages Cold Period), a return to warm conditions from AD 800-1400 (which included the Medieval Warm Period between AD 800 and 1100), a cool interval between 1400 and 1820 (the Little Ice Age), and -- last of all -- the most recent warm regime (the Current Warm Period), which followed the increase in temperature that began in the early 1800s. Of greatest significance, however, was the fact that Yang et al.'s study indicated that the warmest temperatures of the past two millennia were observed in the second and third centuries AD, during the latter stages of the Roman Warm Period."

Here is a link to the main report which I didn't provide in my previous post.

http://jpkc.ecnu.edu.cn/sy0701/upload/%E6%B0%94%E5%80%99%E5%8F%98%E5%8C…

....and you are quite right that towards the end of that report there is a temperature graph that shows the temperature around the end of the 20th century as being about 0.2 degrees higher than the next highest point around 850AD and about 0.4 degrees higher than the third highest point around 220 AD.

So what's going on? Of course, I understand that you AGW believers will immediately conclude that the person who wrote the summary stating that the RWP was the warmest is a climate change denier. Say no more.

But a skeptic, such as myself, will tend to look for further explanations. By clicking on the link to the 'hi res' graph below what I presume is the graph you are referring to in the following report at

http://jpkc.ecnu.edu.cn/sy0701/upload/%E6%B0%94%E5%80%99%E5%8F%98%E5%8C… I find that there are three variations of that graph.

(1) a 'weighted China'

(2) a 'Hi Res' China

(3) a 'Complete China'

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/yang2002/yang2002.html

It is only the weighted graph which shows the RWP temperature as being the highest in the 2,000 year period.

Following is what the report says on the 'weighting'.

"The âWeightedâ composite reconstruction was formed by combining area weighted regional proxy records. Wang and Gong [2000] used this method to establish an annual mean temperature series of China for the period 1880 to 1998. They divided the Chinese territory into ten regions according to inter-correlations among gridded 1° à 1° latitude à longitude mean temperature records. According to Wang and Gong [2000], the area weights of Eastern China, Dunde ice core, Guliya ice core, southern TP tree-rings and Jinchuan peat are 0.329, 0.198, 0.149, 0.182 and 0.131, respectively. The data of Great Ghost Lake and Jiaming Lake in Taiwan were considered with an area weight of 0.011."

Now, is that clear? Or does it need repeating?

VincentR.

OK, you are so obviously incapable of comprehending clues when your nose is rubbed in them that I will, just this once, spell it out for you.

If you need to quote someone, you can use the method given in the [markdown](http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/dingus) link in the text immediately above the comment box. To wit, one places a '>' sign immediately before each of the paragraphs one wants to quote.

If this is too difficult for you to figure out, an alternative is to use HTML tags of the type described all over the internet, such as [here](http://www.web-source.net/html_codes_chart.htm). Two wit, one places '< blockquote>' in front of the body of text, with the space before the 'b' and the inverted commas removed, and '< /blockquote>' after the body of text, again with the space and inverted commas removed.

Practise it - it would demonstrate that you actually are capable of elementary learning.

And on the matter of learning, Jeff Harvey, myself, and many others have, over the years, repeatedly explained to numpties such as yourself why elevated CO2 is not automatically beneficial for plant growth, as you like to imagine:

Forests, grasslands and plants in general love CO2. If you want to encourage the regrowth of forests, keep the atmospheric CO2 levels high.

How about you run along and see whether you can acquire some learnin'...

Alternatively, you could ponder the significance of this paper, which, if you don't have institutional access, is summarised here. It's a very interesting paper, especially when one considers the authors' remarks:

Caveats and future work. There are at least two important caveats to our results. First, we only consider average growing season conditions, which ignores potential changes in within season variation. For example, the frequency of extreme rainfall events has been increasing in some regions, and this likely has a negative impact on crops that we do not capture here. Second, the study looks at weather changes over a fixed area for each crop-country combination, namely the areas where crops were growing circa 2000. If the location of crops has been changing significantly within countries since 1980, either as a response to warming trends or for other regions [sic], the study would fail to capture the effects of these changes. Current work is focused on understanding the types of shifts that are occurring in rapidly warming regions, both in where and how different crops are grown.

[Italics mine]

Note the italicised text, because it is an important consideration when considering their results for rice, which is well understood to suffer from increased temperature, especially at night.

Of course, I expect that you will use the Tim Curtin rice gambit and repetitively insist that CO2 enhances plant growth, whilst frantically ignoring, proverbially ostrich-like, the facts of:

  1. Sprengel's insight,and
  2. CO2's irrefutable effect on atmospheric warming

Doing so might make you feel all correct and superior, but it won't change the overall fact of your ignorance and nonsensical claims in just about every matter relating to climatology.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 01 Jun 2011 #permalink

> Now, is that clear?

Nope, still 100% opaque bullshit.

> Or does it need repeating?

Nope, no matter how often you polish that turd, it ain't gonna go transparent.

You're in deep denial. "We can't do anything about AGW and shouldn't because earthquakes happen" is about all you've got.

Vincent - congratulations on endorsing multi-proxy temperature reconstructions!

Now that you've got that far, you'll be able to explain how to choose the best set of reconstructions when making assertions about historical and current temperatures over (say) global or hemispherical regions. You could start by telling us whether one should choose a reconstruction that covers said globe or hemisphere, or one (or more) that covers a much smaller region.

With that out the way, you can tell us what the best available global or hemispherical reconstructions say about the RWP or MWP!

And then you can tell us why one should believe the "weighted" reconstruction to be more accurate for drawing the conclusions that you do than the others in the Yang et al 2002 paper. Clearly you already know why (right?) because you relied on the comment at thegwpf.com that conveniently failed to inform its readers that "Of greatest significance, however, was the fact that Yang et al.'s study indicated that the warmest temperatures of the past two millennia were observed in the second and third centuries AD, during the latter stages of the Roman Warm Period" is only true if you select one of the three reconstructions in the paper. Note that your reasoning should probably refer to the magnitudes of the uncertainties in the three different reconstructions, and to the reasoning of Wang et al.

Or you could instead quote from the Holmes, Cook & Yang (2009) paper that you linked to that assessed several different works on western China:

> This paper has described many of these records and their interpretations, but a comprehensive synthesis of climate variability and change that takes into account the various uncertainties in the proxies over western China remains to be conducted.

Oops. They don't seem to think [Wang 2002](http://www.ess.uci.edu/~johnsonlab/files/Download/Yang%20et%20al.,%2020…) is quite as conclusive as you do - especially since it doesn't seem to provide any confidence intervals, which means it is probably not as rigorous as it should be.

But you knew that, because you read the paper, right?

But if all that's too hard, how about you get back to all those issues with your argument - and best of all, even Bernard's simple and explicit questions - that you've failed to respond to?

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 01 Jun 2011 #permalink

Vincent's post at # 291 is a case in point of my earlier posts.

C02 science is a web site that is heavily associated with the Western Fuels Association, a coal industry lobbying group. Several of those who contribute to it have apparently been on the corporate payroll at one time or another. The site does not conduct its own research. Instead, it takes the results of existing studies and distorts them to provide a pro-C02/anti-warming point of view. Seven years ago two of my colleagues were shocked to find that the summary of a paper they had recently published in Nature was distorted by the clowns at C02 Science to produce conclusions that were never intended (nor supported) by the authors. My colleagues asked me is I knew about this web site because they had never heard of it. I told them exactly what the agenda of C02 Science and like-minded sites is - to mangle empirical science in support of a political agenda. That's my take on it anyway. Sunspot frequently refers to garbage from C02 Science as well. Its little wonder that Vincent is unable to read the primary literature but has to go to the shills for his world view. Note that Vincent relies almost exclusively on sites such as this.

But then it gets worse; he writes: *Forests, grasslands and plants in general love CO2. If you want to encourage the regrowth of forests, keep the atmospheric CO2 levels high*

Where on Earth did you read this? Let me guess: C02 Science. Its kindergarten science. But typical of old Vincey's approach.

What about changes in plant stoichiometry that critically determine plant fitness? C:N:P ratios? Effects of changes in atmospheric C on primary and secondary plant metabolites? Higher levels of carbon in plant tissues and greater biomass do not necessarily mean higher intrinsic plant fitness. As C increases, N and P are often shunted out of plant tissues, making the plants potentially more susceptible to pathogens and herbivores if their defensive metabolites are N-based. On the other hand, plants with C-based toxins may become more poisonous to consumers. In any event, changes in nutrient levels in plant tissues will have all kinds of direct and indirect effects on food webs that are virtually impossible to predict. Certainly we can expect competitive asymmetries through differing allelopathic effects, as well as food webs to unravel over a relatively short time frame. In effect, its a roll of the dice.

Given that Vincent knows nix about any of this, it takes remarkable hubris, as he has demonstrated on this thread over and over again, to make such flippant remarks on the basis of zero understanding of what he is talking about. Besides, a recent study in Science has shown that any alleged beneficial effects of C02 on crop production have been more than offset by dramatic changes in other abiotic factors associated with climate change.

Finally, Vincent decries what he perceives to be a small change in marine pH, without having even the most basic understanding of thresholds or tipping points. For instance, those who downplay the amount of loss of primary forests in the tropics are doing so on the basis of complete ignorance as to the amount of forest necessary to maintain critical ecological functions. It has been posited that even a loss of 25% of primary forest could dramatically affect evapo-transpiration regimes in the Amazon basin, meaning that rainfall recirculated several times over the continent of South America fails to reach the Atlantic coasts and the Mata-Atlantica forests (see work by Shula and colleagues). We know that even relatively small amounts of fragmentation can impact forest birds which do not cross even the smallest clearings to disperse. Essentially, natural systems function in a decidedly non-linear fashion, so that the loss of alteration of one seemingly innocuous component can ripple through the entire system and have long-lasting and profound effects of systemic properties.

When I read such utterly vacuous bilge as that from Vince, I CRINGE.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 01 Jun 2011 #permalink

And just for a bit more joy on the acidifying oceans front -
[Clownfish (Finding Nemo) appear to lose their hearing in water slightly more acidic than normal.](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13605113)

When we follow the link within the article, we find an earlier study shows that the same kind of fish raised in acidified water find the scents of predators attractive rather than being repelled. Not the best population maintenance strategy.

11
"Vincent - congratulations on endorsing multi-proxy temperature reconstructions!

Now that you've got that far, you'll be able to explain how to choose the best set of reconstructions when making assertions about historical and current temperatures over (say) global or hemispherical regions.

Posted by: Lotharsson | June 1, 2011 1:25 PM"

I could, but I wouldn't be so foolish as to attempt to instruct the masters of deception how best to choose and present evidence or data in order to support a particular agenda.

The Hockey Stick graph was one of the more blatant examples of presenting information in a way that disguised the fact that the MWP ever existed.

On shudders to think of the many more subtle ways the data gathered by climatologists (from various disiplines) has probably been manipulated, interpreted or presented in order to exaggerate alarm about the dangers of CO2 emissions.

The leaked emails known as Climategate have given us all an insight into the sort of backroom scheming that has taken place in Climatology institutions.

Of course, there's nothing new here about conflict of interest or vested interest. It exists all over the world, sometimes in the most horrible and extreme fashion.

It seems quite probable to me that a group of scientists on a gravy train, given the task of exploring the dangers of CO2 emissions, would have a strong tendency to err on the side of alarmism.

"And then you can tell us why one should believe the "weighted" reconstruction to be more accurate for drawing the conclusions that you do than the others in the Yang et al 2002 paper.

Clearly you already know why (right?) because you relied on the comment at thegwpf.com that conveniently failed to inform its readers that "Of greatest significance, however, was the fact that Yang et al.'s study indicated that the warmest temperatures of the past two millennia were observed in the second and third centuries AD, during the latter stages of the Roman Warm Period" is only true if you select one of the three reconstructions in the paper. Note that your reasoning should probably refer to the magnitudes of the uncertainties in the three different reconstructions, and to the reasoning of Wang et al.

Posted by: Lotharsson | June 1, 2011 1:25 PM"

See what I mean? How could I possible teach people like you how to misrepresent evidence. Consider your statement above. Did you not read my post (#291) where I attempted to address the issue of the RWP? Did you miss the following link I provided in that post where it is stated at the end of the abstract ..."OF THE FIVE WARMING TRENDS, THE MOST RECENT ONE IS THE STRONGEST."

If you genuinely missed that comment because there was too much information in the post and you didn't have time to read everything carefully, then an apology will be accepted.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002AGUFMPP71C..09L

"The records of S312 and SF show that for the past 4,000 years, the two locations has had similar temperature variations with five distinct warming trends, but a different moisture variability which is probably more sensitive to local atmospheric circulation changes than temperature. In general, it was relatively dry during the Medieval Warm Period and wet during the Little Ice Age in eastern China. Of the five warming trends, the most recent one is the strongest."

Again and again, I get the strong impression from you AGW believers that you simply don't know what skepticism means. I'll try to explain. it's basically like being an agnostic in relation to the existence of God.

Throughout the ages, I think it would be fair to say that the vast majority of humanity have believed in a God of some description. I think even today about 50% of all Americans believe in the existence of the traditional, biblical God.

My view is that the evidence for the existence of the sorts of Gods that are described in the various religious texts, is not sufficiently compelling for me to believe in God. I therefore call myself an agnostic.

However, as an agnostic I am not motivated to try to disprove the existence of God. Such a task would be futile.

Likewise, there is no way I can prove that our CO2 emissions present no threat to our future security.

I simply note that the sciences of climatology, because of their great complexity and because of the relatively great periods of time during which changes in climate take place, DO NOT LEND THEMSELVES TO PROCESSES OF VERIFICATION AND FALSIFICATION.

The ground is thus fertile for all sorts of charlatans and people with invested interests to make biased claims to suit their agendas, and that of course includes deniers who would assert that the entire issue is a gigantic conspiracy or hoax, people with investments in fossil fuel industries, and people with nice careers in government funded organisations which have been set up for the specific purpose of investigating the effects of GHGs.

"... people with nice careers in government funded organisations which have been **set up for the specific purpose** of investigating the effects of GHGs."

I understand that there are some agencies set up specifically to deal with the *consequences* of warming. But I do not know of any major scientific organisation with such a limited remit.

>Did you miss the following link I provided in that post where it is stated at the end of the abstract ..."OF THE FIVE WARMING TRENDS, THE MOST RECENT ONE IS THE STRONGEST."

Sure we noticed it. We also noticed that it followed immediately after Vincents uncritical posting of the link to CO2 "science" which falsely claimed:
>"Yang et al.'s study indicated that the warmest temperatures of the past two millennia were observed in the second and third centuries AD, during the latter stages of the Roman Warm Period."

So what Vincent is now revealing is that he KNEW the CO2 Science link was utter bilge, and yet chose to post it anyway. Which does Vincent believe - that the RWP was warmer than today, or vice versa? It doesn't matter to Vincent, he will imply one and then claim the other when he gets called out. That's some pretty epic hypocrisy that Vincent just tried to slide by the readers.

>you simply don't know what skepticism means. I'll try to explain. it's basically like being an agnostic in relation to the existence of God.

Wow. Just Wow. The English language, borrowing promiscuously as it does from any and all others and tempered by more great writers than can be read in one lifetime has the richest vocabulary of any on the planet. Nevertheless, even English has no words in it to adequately describe how hard Vincent just failed.

> I could, but I wouldn't be so foolish as to attempt to instruct the masters of deception how best to choose and present evidence or data in order to support a particular agenda.

What blithering self-refuting idiocy! You just selected a paper to support your own agenda, and then you selected a quote from it that is ONLY supported by one of three reconstructions it presents, that quote conveniently supporting your agenda.

Now you demonstrate that you can't justify those selections over any others...and you desperately try to redirect the conversation elsewhere in the hope that no-one notices.

FAIL.

> The Hockey Stick graph was one of the more blatant examples of presenting information in a way that disguised the fact that the MWP ever existed.

Your ignorance is truly deep and wide!

There was NO reasonable hemispherical reconstruction that showed the MWP BEFORE the MBH98 paper. There were basically some guesses and some REGIONAL records. To reiterate, "the MWP" that you claim was "disguised" by "the Hockey Stick" was NEVER established as a hemispherical or global phenomenon before "the Hockey Stick". Ironically it was Mann and like-minded scientists who've done the work that can start determining to what extent there was one and place bounds on it!

(And even more super-ignorant is the fact that a very warm MWP means HIGHER climate sensitivity, which just increases the size of the problem that you deny we face.)

> See what I mean? How could I possible teach people like you how to misrepresent evidence.

FAIL.

Dude - you completely failed to answer my question. You're desperately redirecting again. My question was NOT about which trend Yang et al said was the strongest warming trend. Try reading it again instead of berating others for their lack of comprehension. Hint: the quote you provided in your previous comment drew conclusions that were only supported by one of the three graphs. Primary school level hint: "highest temperatures" and "strongest warming trends" are not the same metric.

> I simply note that the sciences of climatology, because of their great complexity and because of the relatively great periods of time during which changes in climate take place, DO NOT LEND THEMSELVES TO PROCESSES OF VERIFICATION AND FALSIFICATION.

Ah, the last bastion of the hard core denialist - climate science is not falsifiable. You truly are a fuckwit if you think that doesn't totally destroy the credibility of any pronouncement you make on the matter. You're even more stupid than that if you haven't tried to find how climate science's hypotheses COULD be falsified...because there are any number of easily found introductions to the topic for laypeople. And yet you have failed to find and comprehend all of them.

Vincent, you're deeply and stubbornly clueless about that which you speak, you base key parts of your argument on blind unsupported speculation whilst patting yourself on the back for being the only skeptical one, meanwhile your hubris about your correctness even as you refute your own assertions is astonishing.

That you haven't metaphorically died of intellectual embarrassment is truly astonishing!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 02 Jun 2011 #permalink

"92
You clearly have no idea about the work of a scientist.
If there was any "doubt" about the validity of the consensus, scientists would be bending over backwards to demonstrate this to the world, because it would guarantee a sky-rocketing of their careers, exactly as Lothasson has already told you.
Posted by: Bernard J. | March 18, 2011 1:03 AM"

Now this is an interesting comment from Bernard that demonstrates a common fallacy that I've come across on other forums a few times. I came across the above comment just now because my current internet connection is a bit slow and the thread got tempoarilly stuck at post 92. I realised I hadn't responded in this thread yet to this frequently mentioned fallacy.

First, Bernard begins by telling ME I have no idea about the work of a scientist, then in the next paragraph demonstrates to all who may have an itoa of nous that it is HE who has little appreciation of the scientific method.

(If it is a fact that Bernard is a working scientist, then one might assume Bernard is just being dishonest and deceptive in his argument. On the other hand, it may be the case that he's just a second-rate scientist. I wouldn't presume to know which is the case, although the latter would be my guess because total honesty and clarity of thought is required of a first rate scientist.)

I'm reminded here of some advice that Einstein gave to his son about the choice of scientific discipline to specialise in. I can't actually find the exact quote on the internet, so I'm speaking from memory and paraphrasing.

Einstein advised his son against getting involved in disciplines that involved too much complexity and chaos if he wanted to make a name for himself, because he would never be able to prove anything difinitively one way or the other.

Those who have opted for one of the Earth Sciences tend to be in this predicament. On the other hand, they do have the benefits of perhaps a more interesting lifestyle than one who is confined to the laboratory.

So, in response to Bernard's comment, I would remark that no amount of bending backwards or forwards can prove that AGW is a serious threat or not because climate systems, their interactions, causes and drivers are too complex for any certainty on the matter.

A couple of nights ago I watched a repeat of the interview on the SBS Insight program of Stephen Schneider, recorded just a few months before he died.

The audience appeared to be mainly skeptics, although there might have been a few deniers amongst them.

I would say in general that Professor Schneider aquitted himself quite well. I was particularly impressed with his honest explanation regarding the 90% certainty figure that the IPCC has ascribed to the harmful effects of human induced CO2.

I think it's true to say that most reasonable people understand that the 90% figure is not a scientifically derived probability based upon sound mathematical principles.

The way Prodessor Schneider described it was that the figure was chosen with public expectations in mind.

In other words, whilst any layperson would likely be concerned if he were told by a specialist that he had a 10% risk of getting cancer, and would probably take whatever action was recommended to reduced such chances, that same person would probably not be worried at the news there was a 10% chance that our CO2 emissions could be a serious threat to our lifestyle.

Such considerations of public perception were taken into consideration in the decision to use a 90% probability figure. At the same time, Professor Schneider admitted that he, personally, as a Climatologist would be concerned about a 10% probability of a serious threat from our CO2 emissions.

> If it is a fact that Bernard is a working scientist, ...

He apparently is.

> ...then one might assume Bernard is just being dishonest and deceptive in his argument.

A skeptic might ponder whether he has deeply and fundamentally misunderstood the validity of his own argument ... especially in cases where he asserts without even attempting a quote he objects to, let alone a justification for the claim that someone else is being dishonest or deceptive or "has little appreciation of the scientific method".

A skeptic might. But you don't.

> ...because total honesty and clarity of thought is required of a first rate scientist.

Er, no - you clearly have no appreciation of the scientific method. While total honesty and clarity of thought are clearly ideal, science works despite human failings because it has processes that ultimately find and remove erroneous beliefs. Like many of those you have expressed on this thread, but have yet to remove from your belief system.

> ...no amount of bending backwards or forwards can prove that AGW is a serious threat or not because climate systems, their interactions, causes and drivers are too complex for any certainty on the matter.

Even Vincent has joined in rebutting Vincent now:

The earlier Vincent basically said that we really have nothing to worry about, which assumes reasonable certainty about the size of the threat.

The current Vincent appears to be claiming via hand-waving that things are just so complex that we can't really know.

It can't be both. So which one is it?

Oh, and note before you do that the latter proposition is an argument from personal ignorance which also requires denying a whole body of science. It also requires doubling down on your hilariously uninformed case that climate science on AGW is unfalsifiable - a claim you clearly haven't thought about for more than...well, at all, really.

> The way Prodessor Schneider described it was that the figure was chosen with public expectations in mind.

"Expectations"? Really?

Given your extensive record - if only in this thread - of making claims that cannot be substantiated, you might want to find an exact quote and its context. Otherwise some might think you are once again misinterpreting or misrepresenting the words of another.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 02 Jun 2011 #permalink

VincentR, who is soon to be immortalised in the Urban Dictionary, proclaims:

>Again and again, I get the strong impression from you AGW believers that you simply don't know what skepticism means. I'll try to explain. it's basically like being an agnostic in relation to the existence of God.

>...[snip]...

>However, as an agnostic I am not motivated to try to disprove the existence of God. Such a task would be futile.

>Likewise, there is no way I can prove that our CO2 emissions present no threat to our future security.

Vincent, your parallel with religious agnosticism is spurious, because the impact of CO2 on global warming, and thence on global biology, is eminently demonstrable. It's just that you are constitutionally incapacble of understanding that this is the case.

A better metaphor is to compare yourself to a passenger on a ship whose captain and engineers tell you that it is sinking, and that some of your gold in the hold needs to go overboard so that positive bouyancy can be effectively maintained. You respond by saying that you don't delieve that the ship is sinking, and that the waves lapping against the side of the ship indicate that the difference in level is natural, and anyway there's no change in overall draught of the ship - contrary to the fact that the height of water in the hold is increasing observably and inexorably.

That's the type of 'agnostic' that you are.

>I simply note that the sciences of climatology, because of their great complexity and because of the relatively great periods of time during which changes in climate take place, DO NOT LEND THEMSELVES TO PROCESSES OF VERIFICATION AND FALSIFICATION.

This is simply ignorant nonsense.

First, the physics of global warming is eminently verifiable and falsifiable on an empirical level, and that you do not understand this is profound evidence for your complete incapacity to be propounding on this subject.

Second, Popperian falsifiability pertains to subjects such as the proving of the existence of God. Popper would consider global warming science to be absolutely falsifiable, because it can be demonstrated both by proof of its component physics, and by the very playing out of warming over time itself. It might be a one-off experiment that can't be replicated on a planetary scale, but this does not negate the capacity for falsifiability.

Popper would be completely derisive of fools like you who do not understand the philosophical substance of his work, and who are ignorant of and in denial of straight-forward science.

And I notice that you still don't know how to do a simple quote.

What's the word I'm looking for...?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Jun 2011 #permalink

At least princess here has given up any hope of getting his pink unicorn and is now openly in denial.

It's progress.

Of a sort.

More sort of "circling the truth" than actually progressing toward the truth, but at least it's movement.

> ... people with nice careers in government funded organisations which have been set up for the specific purpose of investigating the effects of GHGs.

And there are people with nice careers in government funded organisations which have been set up for the specific purpose of investigating crimes.

I guess princess doesn't trust the police either.

There are people with nice careers in corporate funded organisations which have been set up for the specific purpose of investigating the effects of drugs.

I guess princess doesn't trust GSK's R&D either.

Such considerations of public perception were taken into consideration in the decision to use a 90% probability figure. At the same time, Professor Schneider admitted that he, personally, as a Climatologist would be concerned about a 10% probability of a serious threat from our CO2 emissions.

Vincent's case - "People were there, so Prof Scheinder lied claiming 90% instead of 10%". 90% + 10% = 100%. It all adds up, in Vincent's world.

By lord_sidcup (not verified) on 02 Jun 2011 #permalink

"A better metaphor is to compare yourself to a passenger on a ship whose captain and engineers tell you that it is sinking, and that some of your gold in the hold needs to go overboard so that positive bouyancy can be effectively maintained. You respond by saying that you don't delieve that the ship is sinking, and that the waves lapping against the side of the ship indicate that the difference in level is natural, and anyway there's no change in overall draught of the ship - contrary to the fact that the height of water in the hold is increasing observably and inexorably.

Posted by: Bernard J. | June 3, 2011 3:35 AM"

Sorry! That's a very poor analogy. I have no gold, no investments in the coal industry, and no great wealth apart from my capacity for clear thinking.

However, there are thousands of extremely wealthy individuals on this planet who could afford to donate a large portion of their wealth towards the construction of 'clean' energy plants, if they believe so strongly in the AGW threat.

The donations from such people would allow the electricity from such alternative power plants to be sold at a 'business-as-usual' price, thus causing no economic stress on the poor.

I would not object at all to such a proposal.

After all, I'm doing MY bit towards carbon sequestration by improving the soil on my few acres, by refraining from felling trees, by allowing the grass to grow tall before slashing and using as mulch, and by using all waste water to irrigate plants and trees, thus encouraging their growth which results in the absorption of yet more CO2.

And I don't even believe in the threat of AGW.

> That's a very poor analogy.

Sheesh, you don't understand analogies either, totally miss the point, and then complain that other people are poor at analogies.

Colour me surprised!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 03 Jun 2011 #permalink

> I have no gold, no investments in the coal industry

Yes, if you HAD gold investments in the coal industry, that wouldn't be an analogy, that would be a simile.

Learn english, princess.

> And I don't even believe in the threat of AGW.

Why do you need belief before you believe something is real? Are facts in evidence not enough? Or do you just deny their existence.

> which results in the absorption of yet more CO2.

Where do we get this water, princess? We're already sucking it out of the aquifers and floodwaters do the opposite of water plants.

And, please, explain why a muckspreader is used by farmers to fertilise their fields when muck isn't made of CO2...

> if they believe so strongly in the AGW threat.

So you have to believe in something before it must be paid for? Where was that little nugget when you were complaining that earthquakes needed fixing first? Almost nobody thinks earthquakes are a worthy spend of billions on, so that would never happen.

And tying it up with your "I don't believe in AGW threat" this shows that you are a selfish little moron who demands their petty treats and to hell with everyone else.

All your fake concern for others was just a smokescreen.

You guys really are in trouble, aren't you!

I don't think there's much more for me to say on this site. The main reason I've been posting here is to get more of an insight into the mentality of those who have accepted the AGW belief system.

Your belief seems as unshakeable as that of a fundamentalist Moslem, so I guess you have no option but to continue battling for what you believe in.

Best of luck!

It's always the last shot of the denialist.

When defeated, scream "You're all desperate!".

> I don't think there's much more for me to say on this site.

You haven't said anything yet, except vapid whinings.

> the AGW belief system.

It's only belief in the same way as you believe that a table is a useful thing to put your dinner plate on.

But the reactionary bigot, using only blind faith to guide them insists that everyone does the same (else they'd have to face up to the fact that they're a blind bigot).

What is the need of faith when we have the facts of the climate?

CO2 increased temperatures 35% and temperatures have gone up 0.8C, that makes a temperature sensitivity of about 3C per doubling.

Oh, looky, the predictions of the climate models were right.

Those same models having been proved right in one area can be trusted conditionally in others.

Like, for example, the effects of further warming.

But the basis of that is that the models have fully realised their predictive power so far and that you'd have to BELIEVE that that was just a fluke to refuse them.

You just believe with all your heart that, no matter what, AGW is wrong.

>The Hockey Stick graph was one of the more blatant examples of presenting information in a way that disguised the fact that the MWP ever existed.

Just when was this global MWP? Not the Icelandic one. Not the Chinese one. Not the Australian one. Not the European one. The global Medieval Warming Period.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 03 Jun 2011 #permalink

"The main reason I've been posting here is to get more of an insight into the mentality of those who have accepted the AGW belief system tone troll the hell out of y'all without directly answering most of your questions all the while pretending I am someone who once accepted AGW but who now has "seen the light". I'll come back and troll you with a different name, so don't think you've gotten rid of me."

Fixed it.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 03 Jun 2011 #permalink

Robert Murphy has Vincent pegged.

The numpty was never here to "get more of an insight into the mentality of those who have accepted the AGW belief system", he was here to peddle his own agenda. The guy doesn't give a shit what rational people think, because he has no interest in the outcomes of rational science.

The guy's grubbier than a suppurating sore on Satan's schlong.

And, as Robert noted, a troll. After all, where in all of his anti-science diatribe did he ever construct an evidenced case for his claims? Nowhere. It's all just his opinion, including the ridiculous froth about the international conspiracy of money-chasing, incompetent, and fraudulent scientists.

What was that word again?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Jun 2011 #permalink

> You guys really are in trouble, aren't you!

How amusingly inept! Psychological projection is so revealing...

> The main reason I've been posting here is to get more of an insight into the mentality of those who have accepted the AGW belief system.

What a droll post hoc rationalisation, complete with embedded false assumptions!

And what Door said. And Robert Murphy. And Wow. And Bernard J. :-)

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 03 Jun 2011 #permalink

VincentR

The main reason I've been posting here is to get more of an insight

And that took you almost 3 months? 3 months of having your nose rubbed in it time and again on every single half-truth, misquote, cherry-pick and outright falsehood that you dredged up (almost none of which you acknowledged by the way)?

Get help, before it's too late. Oh, wait...

Good grief - the police are aware of the issue but no investigation is under way? WTF?!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 03 Jun 2011 #permalink

VincentR, your belief seems as unshakeable as that of a fundamentalist Moslem, so I guess you have no option but to continue battling for what you believe in.

Best of luck!

Just a few words of advice to you muddle-headed people, out of my great sense of compassion for the confused. INTELLIGENT people are not persuaded to change their opinion by ad hominen attacks and foul-mouthed abuse.

We see such comments for what they are. The last desperate attempts of extremists and fundamentalists to exert power and influence when reason is lacking, unpersuasive, or non-existent.

Such verbal abuse is the tell-tale sign of a religion of some type at work, such as a Nazi or Communist dogma.

Reading the comments from you lot, I get the impression that a greater threat than AGW might be from a movement of AGW Nazi Brown Shirt fanatics who go around blowing up coal-fired power stations in some misguided attempt to gain control over the planet's climate.

For all you real scientists, it must be no surprise that all mammals have an average lifespan before extinction. That's about a million years, although some species exist for as long as 10 million years.

Homo Sapiens is doing quite well. We've been here about 6 million years, thanks in part to the extinction of the dinasaurs, which made way for the development of our small, furry ancestors.

We've developed more of a capacity to control our circumstances than any other animal on the planet, although the common rat is doing very well (gloabally, of course. I have no rats in my house.)

I find it very alarming that, having failed to use our technological prowess to fully protect ourselves against climatic disasters such as floods, cyclones and earthquakes, some people, using the reputation of scientific certainty, are creating the illusion that all will be well if we reduce our CO2 emissions.

This seems to me to be the typical political diversion tactic. That is, when it's too difficult to tackle and solve a 'real'problem, create a diversionary scare, such as an imminent attack or threat from a neighbouring country, or an immigration scare, or even a climate change scare.

You don't fool me, so try disisting from the abusive comments. Instead of being so negative in accusing me of failing to provide evidence that AGW is NOT a threat (which is a bit like trying to prove that God does not exist), try to provide clear and convincing arguments, with evidence, that the current warming period, which no-one denies, is driven mainly by human induced CO2 emissions, and that if such increases in CO2 had not taken place, we would still be in the Little Ice Age.

OK VincentR, you win. You have discovered the dark secret of Deltoid. We are a sinister cabal of socialist high-school dropouts and albino monks, masquerading as informed scientists to dupe worthy and entitled retirees, such as yourself, into accepting our plans for world domination through mind control and subtle manipulations of the innocent and freethinking bastions of considered opinion, like Mr Murdoch's empire. Thank whatever imaginary deity you like that you are so kind as to devote so much time and effort into correcting our wayward and misbegotten thoughts in so clear and not-at-all-verbose fashion. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We will slink away now, and promise not to criticise your deep and original thoughts, or write more fake threatening emails to the persons and families of our fellow Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Alarmists. Have a nice life.

Well, we can add the course of human evolution, the meaning of "ad hominem", and what causes earthquakes (climate, apparently!) the the very, very long list of things Vincent doesn't know anything about.

>try to provide clear and convincing arguments

Why should we? Vincent wouldn't listen anyway. If he really wanted to hear the clear and convincing arguments, he'd go and read a sample of the thousands of documents available on the web - pitched at the scientist, the science-literate amateur, the intelligent non-specialist and the total numpty - that provide the compelling arguments he wants.

But its hard to hear well-reasoned discussion when you've got you fingers in your ears singing "La La I can't hear you!" Like all deniers, Vincent finds more satisfaction in tone-trolling than learning...

>if such increases in CO2 had not taken place, we would still be in the Little Ice Age.

And so Vincent departs, with a Parthian shot of epic lameness, a misrepresentation that illustrates better than anything any of the rest of us could say just how proud he is of his woeful ignorance of anything to do with climate.

VincentR:

INTELLIGENT people are not persuaded to change their opinion by ad hominen attacks and foul-mouthed abuse.

Oh Vincent, you forgot to mention death-threats.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 04 Jun 2011 #permalink

I have no rats in my house.

I'd say that there's one, at least.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 05 Jun 2011 #permalink

INTELLIGENT people are not persuaded to change their opinion by ad hominen attacks and foul-mouthed abuse.

Of course they're not. They are pursuaded by a careful and considered appraisal and analysis of the professional, scientific literature - a process that you have patently no capacity to undertake.

You mistake the nature of ad hominem attack, by the way. Ad hominem is when a personal slur is used as an argument against a fact, rather than using counterfactual evidence itself. We are not calling you names in order to contradict what you say - our evidence, data and references do that. We are calling you names that fit you, based on your intellctual behaviour here, because they describe you well. If such description requires foul-mouthing, then that is a reflection upon you, and not upon us.

>We see such comments for what they are. The last desperate attempts of extremists and fundamentalists to exert power and influence when reason is lacking, unpersuasive, or non-existent.

>Such verbal abuse is the tell-tale sign of a religion of some type at work, such as a Nazi or Communist dogma.

>Reading the comments from you lot, I get the impression that a greater threat than AGW might be from a movement of AGW Nazi Brown Shirt fanatics who go around blowing up coal-fired power stations in some misguided attempt to gain control over the planet's climate.

Godwin.

You lose.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 05 Jun 2011 #permalink

"Homo Sapiens is doing quite well. We've been here about 6 million years"

You're only off by about 5.8 million years.

"I find it very alarming that, having failed to use our technological prowess to fully protect ourselves against climatic disasters such as floods, cyclones and earthquakes, some people, using the reputation of scientific certainty, are creating the illusion that all will be well if we reduce our CO2 emissions."

Nonsense. That's your false dichotomy again. We either protect ourselves 100% from all natural disasters, or we tackle the climate change we are in fact causing. There's no middle ground for you. You sir, are the extremest, not us. I would call it your religion if I weren't more careful with the actual definitions of words than you are.

"This seems to me to be the typical political diversion tactic."

Yes, and unfortunately the diversionary tactics of your side have succeeded in poisoning the well in climate discussions.

"You don't fool me..."

Oh, we would never try to fool you and your advanced intellect.

"...so try disisting from the abusive comments."

Like these?:

"Just a few words of advice to you muddle-headed people, out of my great sense of compassion for the confused."

"The last desperate attempts of extremists and fundamentalists..."

"Such verbal abuse is the tell-tale sign of a religion of some type at work, such as a Nazi or Communist dogma."
(you mention both Nazis and Communists- that's like a double Godwin!)

"a movement of AGW Nazi Brown Shirt fanatics who go around blowing up coal-fired power stations in some misguided attempt to gain control over the planet's climate."
(yeah, that's what we've been promoting here. Riiiiiight.)

That was just your last post, Vinnie. As I said up-thread, you're a tone troll, with an agenda.

"INTELLIGENT people are not persuaded to change their opinion by ad hominen attacks and foul-mouthed abuse."

Indeed. Yet there you are.

"...try to provide clear and convincing arguments, with evidence, that the current warming period, which no-one denies, is driven mainly by human induced CO2 emissions,..."

We have, but you've retorted with "Build more dams to stop flooding! What about the threat from earthquakes??!!", and other crap like that. Or "Nazi! Communist!!".

"I don't think there's much more for me to say on this site."

Since you're a one-trick-pony, I have to agree.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 05 Jun 2011 #permalink

Vincent appears to be throwing more and more denialist memes as he gets more and more desperate. Another week or two of this and he will have covered the majority of them - and will probably still be denying that he's a denialist.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 Jun 2011 #permalink

There's an interesting comment from Dr Roy Spencer at http://www.drroyspencer.com/ regarding climatic conditions for tornadoes.

For those who don't already know, Dr Spencer has a PhD in Meteorology and is employed by NASA in some capacity involving the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer.

In his latest blog post he provides some evidence that suggests the strongest tornadoes occur in years of greatest cooling.

His graphs demonstrate that 1974-5 was a particularly bad year for tornadoes, as were the late 50's and 1965, and that the temperatures during these periods were unusually low.

I guess this information resonates with me because 1974 was a particularly disastrous year in Australia, with a flood in Brisbane a metre higher than the latest flood, and a few months later, on Christmas day 1974, a cyclone in Darwin which virtually flattened the whole city.

I wasn't aware at the time that other parts of the world were also experiencing unusual weather patterns roughly around the same time.

Vincent, I thought you were going to leave. Seeing we're all Nazi Communist religionist fanatics itching to blow up coal powered stations. Instead, you come back, ignore every post made to you, and bring up some new point that is at best tangential to anything we have been discussing. And you wonder why we find you so amusing? :)

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 05 Jun 2011 #permalink

Vince appears to be yet another of the 99.99% of denier trolls who somehow just can't seem to understand the term 'climate'.

Vinnie da Troll: Spencer is also an "intelligent Design" creationist and one of the pathetic individuals who needs to put his basic research credential into his website. Still that shouldn't worrie you Vinnie, 'cause your "special".

> Spencer is also an "intelligent Design" creationist and one of the pathetic individuals who needs to put his basic research credential into his website.

He also has a bit of a history of promoting hypotheses that he argues explains climate without significant anthropogenic influences - before his hypotheses has been subjected to the rigours of post-publication peer review. It almost appears like he encourages his followers to take on that belief before the evidence is properly tested - in part by publishing articles on his website. It seems to be working on Vincent...

...never mind that in the course of that particular history, those types of claims have repeatedly failed to stand up to peer review.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 Jun 2011 #permalink

Since Vincent is (or was) ignorant as to the real meaning of the term "ad hominem", I'll take the time - "out of my great sense of compassion for the confused" - to explain, using examples provided in this thread.

Suppose we say Vincent's argument (despite constant repetition) is wrong because he's an idiot. While being true in any practical sense, it is nevertheless an ad hominem fallacy because we are judging the merit of the argument by the (lack of) merit of the arguer. However, to say Vincent is an idiot because his argument (and his constant repetition even when shown to be wrong), that is not ad hominem; it's just an observation, based on the evidence - good science, in fact.

In the case of Dr Spencer, it is indeed an ad hominem fallacy to argue that his statements about AGW can be ignored because he is a proponent of intelligent design, a self-evidently risible position. His statements about climate are not fiction simply because his beliefs about the course of life on earth are a fiction.

Fortunately Dr Spencer has provided copious evidence to justify ignoring his statements about AGW can because they are [complete](http://www.skepticalscience.com/Roy-Spencers-Great-Blunder-Part-1.html) and [utter](http://www.skepticalscience.com/Roy-Spencers-Great-Blunder-Part-2.html) [balderdash](http://www.skepticalscience.com/Roy-Spencers-Great-Blunder-Part-3.html).

In the unlikely event that Vincent is still reading, perhaps he learned something about a formal logical fallacy. In the even less likely event that he follows the links above, he may learn something about why Dr Spencer is has little real standing in his field.

But probably not; after ten weeks of lecturing from his high horse, he concedes that - unlike the vast majority of commenters on this thread - he was unaware of the global impact of La Niña conditions. I must admit to being slightly impressed by that much chutzpah, even if it stems purely from self-deception.

A scientist able to say, however, that the bible is a far better factual resource for the creation of life on earth and the universe itself has shown a willingness to let their faith supersede their science when their faith and their training come into conflict.

Therefore "He's an IDer" is more an explanation of why Spencer's opinions are counter-factual.

Dear me! You all seem to be just as confused as ever. Don't you realise that your continual use of the ad hominem attack is a clear indication of your lack of reasoning capability?

This will be a long post, so I suggest that those of you whose English Comprehension is not too good, read it at least a couple of times. Some of you may need to read it 3 or 4 times.

Now, my calling 'you lot' confused is not an ad hominem attack because I can see clearly your confusion and I can explain precisely what your confusion is and why I think you are confused, whereas any contention that I am an idiot is clearly false according to the definition of the word. That is, I am able to tie my shoelaces with no trouble, earn my living employing a variety of skills, drive a car, negotiate my way in any social situation, travel in foreign countries and learn a foreigh language etc etc.

It would seem that believers in AGW are not only unable to distinguish between skepticism and denialism, but are also unable to distinguish between an idiot, and a normal, intelligent, person.

Let's consider for a moment the views of Dr Roy Spencer. I predicted when I made reference to his graphs relating tornado intensity to temperature, that the typical response on this site would be an ad hominem attack on the person rather than a presentation of contrary evidence debunking his data (or interpretation of the data).

This approach is consistent with your arguments in general defending the AGW case.

Now, for your edification, I'll attempt to point out the great fallacy in such a defense.

Science would be very much the poorer if we were to dismiss out of hand all theories and research originating from those who had a religious belief of any sort.

Surely I don't need to remind you that Isaac Newton was a Bible-bashing, Christian fundamentalist with extreme views at odds with the conventional Church of his time.

Albert Einstein's religious views would clearly fall under the umbrella of 'Intelligent Design'. He believed in a creator of sorts, but not the God of the Bible who intervenes in personal affairs.

Whilst it's true that a large number of people who believe in Intelligent Design are Christians who also believe that the Intelligent Creator in the Intelligent Design Theory is the God of the Bible, there are also a large number of scientists who find it too implausbile to believe that life originated by chance. Such scientists therefore believe that there is more likely to be some 'Intelligence' out there that gave life and/or the universe a 'kick start'.

It's not an entirely unreasonable position without merit. We haven't yet created any new,'real' form of life in the laboratory out of basic, constituent chemicals. We've simulated new life-forms on the computer, like climatologists have simulated future climate scenarios, but never produced a new, original, self-replicating life-form in reality.

But supposing we eventually did succeed in doing just that, as technology improves and quantum computers become a reality. Let's suppose a team of brilliant scientists were to succeed in creating a completely new and original form of self-replicating life. Not a mutation from an existing form of life through introduction of new genes into its make-up, but a new form of life from the basic chemical building blocks.

How would that affect the Theory of Intelligent Design? Could one then assert there was no Intelligent Creator? Perhaps you lot, or your brain-washed grandchildren, would then argue that the team of scientist who created life were not really intelligent and that their creation was just an accident. Someone accidentally tipped over a flask containing a particular chemical which accidentally contaminated some other chemicals, resulting in this new form of life. Now that would be more like UNINTELLIGENT design.

The reason I'm spending time on this line of reasoning, is to explain that the fact that Dr Roy Spencer appears to believe in Intelligent Design should not be a concern in itself.

What may be of a concern is that he appears to believe in the Judeo/Christian God of the Bible. That is surprising to me. However, I can accept that we all have personal weaknesses. No-one is perfect, and it may be the case that Dr Roy Spencer simply has an emotional need for the community, fellowship and companionship that is offered by the Christian Church.

Through duscussions with Jehova Witness believers (who occasionally knock on my door), I've gotten the impression that there really are people who would be very depressed and who would find it difficult to be motivated and find meaning in life if they were to become convinced there were no God.

It's something I sometimes consider when arguing with you lot. If you really believe in the AGW scare because you've transferred an emotional need from some other area to a belief in AGW, then I may be doing some psychological harm by destroying your unreasonable belief in AGW. Without a belief in AGW, what would you do?

For those of you who think I'm straying off topic, I'll remind you that one of the fundamental objections I have to the AGW scare is its religious connotations. Sure there's evidence that CO2 is a GHG and that the climate, globally, has been warming by a few fractions of a degree during the past couple of centuries, and that the oceans have become very slightly less alkaline, and sea levels have risen by a few millimetres.

However, I get rather alarmed whenever there is a natural disaster, whether flood, drought or cyclone, and the immediate reaction from many quarters is that such extreme events are another example of the effects human induced CO2 emissions.

It's almost like we're back in the ancient past when every natural disaster was attributed to punishment by God. If there was a drought, the local priest would encourage people to pray for rain or do a special dance around a fire. Eventually the rains would arrive and, presumably, such primitives would consider that their prayers and rituals had been effective.

Nowadays, we're much more sophisticated. We don't ask people to perform a special dance around a fire when a disaster strikes. We ask them to comply with some program to reduce CO2 emissions, which of course involves huge taxes of some sort.

Some of you have accused me of peddling information that only comes from well-known skeptical sites. The fact is, my information comes from wherever it is available.

I do Google searches, rephrasing my question till I get a relevant response. For example, there are a number of sites that quote information indicating that hurricanes are getting stronger as a result of global warming, but one finds on reading such articles that such information is localised, confined to the North Atlantic region.

I can find no information that GLOBALLY hurricanes are getting stronger as a result of human induced CO2 emissions.

Following is the result of a recent search on this topic. I've got no certain idea whether or not the following two sites are biased one way or another, but their conclusions in both cases point to uncertainty.

http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/319.pdf

"Linkage Between Hurricanes and Global Warming Tenuous.
The extensive damage in the United States caused by recent hurricanes once again raises the question of whether these storms are caused by changes in climate, specifically the heating of seawater due to global warming. The clear answer is no".

http://www.waterandclimateinformationcentre.org/resources/8022007_Hunti…

"Data are often incomplete in spatial and temporal domains and regional analyses are variable and sometimes contradictory; however, the weight of evidence indicates an ongoing intensification of the water cycle.

IN CONSTRAST TO THESE TRENDS, THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE TO DATE DOES NOT CONSISTENTLY SUPPORT AN INCREASE IN THE FREQUENCY OR INTENSITY OF TROPICAL STORMS OR FLOODS."

Congratulations for successfully taking down your own argument about tornadoes, a topic you brought up and nobody here has been discussing but you.

>the fact that Dr Roy Spencer appears to believe in Intelligent Design should not be a concern in itself.

A point that has already been made. What Vincent makes of [Spencers errors](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…) in the science, which are grounds for "concern", remains a mystery.

Will Vincent address these errors? One doubts it - distraction, evasion and flummery are so much easier.

>hurricanes are getting stronger as a result of global warming, but one finds on reading such articles that such information is localised, confined to the North Atlantic region.

Hurricanes only occur in the North Atlantic. Vincents usual degree of sloppiness. Fail. Again.

You really are spectacularly half-intelligent Vincent. Google Dunning and Kruger.

Doop! Sods Law. Hurricanes, of course, also occur in the Western Pacific.

Nevertheless the point about sloppiness stands - taken literally, they are a regional phenomenon, so why does Vincent talk about "...globally hurricanes..."

Does he mean just hurricanes? Does he mean intense tropical storms? As with much of what he writes, there is enough wiggle room that as soon as he is called on it, he reframes what he claims to have meant.

Vincent likes to hedge his bets...

VincentR.

Are you a Poe?

I am struggling to see how someone could be as ignorant and as deluded as you demonstrate yourself to be, and still actually be a real person.

Your last post boils down to pub psychology and unsubstantiated claims of scientific religousness. The former is not worthy of further comment, being the drivel that it is, but I am keen to press you on the latter.

If scientists who accept the huge bodies of data, empirical evidence and analysis are religious, exactly how does this religiousness manifest? What of their own work are they ignoring, and what are they accepting as a matter of faith?

And how is it that climatologists and physicists are nearly all succumbing to such religiousness, when scientists in other disciplines are not doing so in their own work? And how is it that these other scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom agree with the work of their physicist and climatological colleagues, are suddenly religious in accepting the climate change science when they are simply being professional scientists in their day jobs?

What is it, exactly, that is the faith element in this religiousness? How have you determined that it is a manifestation of an act of faith, as opposed to an objective assessment of scientific evidence?

And a question that has been put to you already, and that you skirt, Curtinesque, but that bears repeating - what exactly in the laws of physics and in the body of scientific evidence, data and fact is it that you cannot accept? Why can you not accept it? Do you have an objective, rational dispute based in its own scientific evidence?

And for the record, when a real scientist searches for material, he or she uses a search engine tailored to the discipline in which he or she is seeking information. We only use G00gle when we're trawling for mundane stuff, or when we want to link people to scientific information that might not be available to lay people via the professional paths.

If you had even a modicum of scientific awareness you'd probably have known this.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 06 Jun 2011 #permalink

double doop - for "Western" read "Eastern" - its what you get for hurrying a post. Man, I wish we had edit buttons here...

Still, I correct my errors, not just handwave them away.

Any bets on Vincent being Brent?

> We haven't yet created any new,'real' form of life in the laboratory out of basic, constituent chemicals.

Although we have created simple RNA, and shown that very short chains of RNA can self-replicate, which starts to call into question the belief that "life could not originate by chance", a proposition that usually relies on somewhat dodgy estimates of probabilities and the assumption that far longer chains of DNA or RNA are required to get life going.

> ... is to explain that the fact that Dr Roy Spencer appears to believe in Intelligent Design should not be a concern in itself.

Actually, it should, because you appear to have deeply misunderstood Spencer's particular brand of Intelligent Design belief, and the circumstances behind it. IIRC he argues that "macro-evolution" does not occur, despite an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary - and despite having *specifically* studied the topic some years back.

You on the other hand are restricting the discussion to abiogenesis, which is a separate topic where as you rightly point out the science is far less clear.

But just like Spencer, none of this evidence you were previously unaware of will cause you to change your opinion one jot.

> We don't ask people to perform a special dance around a fire when a disaster strikes. We ask them to comply with some program to reduce CO2 emissions, which of course involves huge taxes of some sort.

What sort of _idiot_ - colloquial usage implied by context rather than the out-of-favour psychological technical usage, which any intelligent reader _should have_ understood to be the case when used earlier in the thread - do you have to be to *keep on claiming this strawman* is the motivation for climate change action, despite patient and repeated explanations?

Vincent, *you are exhibiting all the signs of "religious" belief* - that is belief without and even against the evidence - that you rail against in your characterisation of our arguments and the science. If you feel the need to delve into psychological speculation, you should try it on yourself some time - start with "projection".

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 07 Jun 2011 #permalink

"whereas any contention that I am an idiot is clearly false according to the definition of the word."

No, according to the normal definition of the word you are an idiot. It's the same when someone calls another a moron; they aren't saying that person has an IQ between 51 and 70, they are just saying the person is not very bright. It doesn't matter if you can tie your shoes or drive a car. You're an idjit. :)

"I predicted..."

You and Jean Dixon.

"Science would be very much the poorer if we were to dismiss out of hand all theories and research originating from those who had a religious belief of any sort."

And nobody said otherwise. Keep building those strawmen!

"Albert Einstein's religious views would clearly fall under the umbrella of 'Intelligent Design'. He believed in a creator of sorts, but not the God of the Bible who intervenes in personal affairs."

Nonsense. His "God" was the laws and regularity of the universe. He had no problem with evolution. He would have been horrified to be lumped in with the charlatans who call themselves ID'ers.

"...there are also a large number of scientists who find it too implausbile to believe that life originated by chance."

Nonsense, the number of those studying the relevant areas of science who feel that way is exceedingly small. Just like the the number of climate scientists who don't accept the evidence for AGW.

"Such scientists therefore believe that there is more likely to be some 'Intelligence' out there that gave life and/or the universe a 'kick start'."

And such a belief is way outside of science, and any attempt to give it a scientific veneer fails to hide the lack of empirical evidence for any such "Intelligent Designer". It's theology trying to be science.

"It's not an entirely unreasonable position without merit."

Sure it is. It's scientifically bankrupt; it says that an unknown "Designer(s?)" did unknown things in an unknowable way at some unknown time and just happened to make it look like it was done via natural selection and common descent. It's a scientific joke (and a theological one too).

"How would that affect the Theory of Intelligent Design? Could one then assert there was no Intelligent Creator?"

Ah, the "people have designed things, so that's somehow evidence that an unknown and unknowable designer did some designing too at some unknown time in an unknown way" argument. Sorry, the fact we can design things, and maybe new life at some point, is in no way evidence that there was a designer that started the universe and designed the life that has been evolving on Earth for billions of years. The burden of proof is on those claiming such a designer exists. It is not in the least anybody else's burden to show such a designer doesn't exist. It's similar to the burden that AGW deniers have in providing evidence for a forcing other than CO2 that is responsible for the recent warming. "intelligent Designer" = "Natural Climate Variability"

"What may be of a concern is that he appears to believe in the Judeo/Christian God of the Bible."

In and of itself, that's immaterial. What's material is his reliance of the Bible over empirical evidence. For instance, he is the main scientific advisor to the Corwall Alliance. They put out a document pointing out an Evangelical objection to AGW; Spencer wrote the second part dealing with the science, while the first part dealt with theological issues.
http://www.cornwallalliance.org/docs/a-renewed-call-to-truth-prudence-a…

This was the theological interpretation of the Ice Ages(page 15):

"The other passages are difficult to reconcile with fears of catastrophic sea level rise. While there is evidence that sea level was once much higher than it now is, that evidence is best interpreted in light of the flood of Noahâs dayâa never-to-be-repeated, cataclysmic judgment of God that would have been followed by a sudden ice age (accompanied by much reduced sea level as water was stored in vast ice sheets on land) as the atmosphere lost its high water vapor content and so cooled rapidly, and then a gradual recovery as temperatures rose and water vapor rose to approximately its concentration (accompanied by a gradual sea level rise to present levels as the continental glaciers melted and ocean waters expanded as they warmed). Although these verses do not guarantee that no local floods will occur or even that the sea level will not rise, nonetheless since they were given as assurance against devastating judgment (before the last judgment; 2 Peter 3:1â13) similar to that of the great flood of Noahâs day, they would seem to preclude the kind of catastrophic sea level rise envisioned by global warming alarmists."

That's right, the Ice Ages were caused by Noah's Flood! Spencer didn't write that section, but he certainly knew it was there, and signed his name to the whole document. And revealingly, his section on the science dealt with a number of paleoclimate events, but never mentioned the ice ages. He's recently been very cagey about the causes of the ice ages, claiming we don't know (and ignoring the excellent evidence concerning Milankovitch cycles). He should just come right out and embrace Noah's flood, or otherwise he should condemn the silly attribution in the Cornwall Alliance document.

"For those of you who think I'm straying off topic, I'll remind you that one of the fundamental objections I have to the AGW scare is its religious connotations."

Which is one of the reasons we call you an idiot.

"Sure there's evidence that CO2 is a GHG..."

It's a fact.

"has been warming by a few fractions of a degree during the past couple of centuries..."

Try over .75C.

"and that the oceans have become very slightly less alkaline"

Yes, they are undergoing acidification.

"and sea levels have risen by a few millimetres."

Uh, no. That's a few mm a year.

"I get rather alarmed..."

Alarmist!

"It's almost like we're back in the ancient past when every natural disaster was attributed to punishment by God."

Except we can muster empirical evidence for our claims, while they could only say "Boogie Boogie!!". I do agree that attribution of specific weather events to climate change is mostly fraught with danger (and error). It's not an area with a lot of consensus, unlike the claim that overall climate sensitivity is not low. That's much better supported.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 07 Jun 2011 #permalink

However, when a really hot day happens, that sort of thing IS going to be more likely to happen in a warming climate.

That's not attributing that one hot day to AGW, though that's how EVERY SINGLE DENIER reports it to themselves as.

In a warmer climate, hot days will be more common.

Do you think that 50C days were common in the Ice Ball Earth? Even in Death Valley?

Do you think they were common in Pangaea when the climate was hotter and moreover a huge continent?

*The fact is, my information comes from wherever it is available*

This is patently untrue, Vincent and you know it. You've clearly demonstrated here that you never read the primary scientific literature in peer-reviewed journals, but instead glean the bulk of your ideas from second and third party sources, many of which are web sites linked with polluting industries or right wing think tanks.

Basically, all you have shown here is that you swallow whatever bilge it is that supports your pre-determined world view. Why not admit it for once?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 07 Jun 2011 #permalink

>Basically, all you have shown here is that you swallow whatever bilge it is that supports your pre-determined world view. Why not admit it for once?

Jeff, such an admission would be the sunshine of revelation to his troll's stone.

To thus expose himself would be to freeze himself forevermore in the posture of a pernicious contrarian.

Of course, to anyone with half a brain, he still smells of troll, even though he tries to hide his true identity in the shadows of dissemblance. Just watch this...

VincentR, will you [answer my questions](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…)?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Jun 2011 #permalink

> VincentR, will you answer my questions?

... ` ` ...

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

Actually, Loth, I think it's , or whatever noise a cane toad makes when hit with a nine iron.

"I am struggling to see how someone could be as ignorant and as deluded as you demonstrate yourself to be, and still actually be a real person.

Posted by: Bernard J. | June 7, 2011 5:21 AM"

I can almost believe it. Anyone who would struggle with something like that must have some very strange views. Perhaps you think I am one the latest generation of robots who can sit at a computer and respond to blogs on the internet.

"If scientists who accept the huge bodies of data, empirical evidence and analysis are religious, exactly how does this religiousness manifest? What of their own work are they ignoring, and what are they accepting as a matter of faith?
And how is it that climatologists and physicists are nearly all succumbing to such religiousness, when scientists in other disciplines are not doing so in their own work? And how is it that these other scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom agree with the work of their physicist and climatological colleagues, are suddenly religious in accepting the climate change science when they are simply being professional scientists in their day jobs?
What is it, exactly, that is the faith element in this religiousness? How have you determined that it is a manifestation of an act of faith, as opposed to an objective assessment of scientific evidence?

Posted by: Bernard J. | June 7, 2011 5:21 AM"

An excellent example of a 'loaded question', Bernard. Your question presumes that it is true that an overwhelming majority of scientists accepts the high degree of certainty that human induced CO2 emissions are a problem.

One of the first things one learns when investigating this issue of AGW on the internet is that there are various lists available of large numbers of scientists, from the full range of disciplines, who have responded to questionaires expressing their skepticism about the IPCC claims for human induced CO2 emissions.

I would accept that one can always find some fault with such lists, such as names with bogus qualifications and names of a few individuals of dubious reputation who have been known to have conspired with tobacco companies in the past.

However, allowing for a reasonable percentage of error, it seems clear that such lists still represent a very large number of scientists with genuine and often impressive qualifications who are skeptical on the issue.

It would be interesting to see the results of an adequately funded and objectively supervised enquiry that invited every scientist in the world to express an opinion on this matter, but I see inherent difficulties in getting those who are working in the field of climatology to express an honest, personal opinion on the matter if their true opinion happened to be one of skepticism. If their jobs are reliant upon government funding, that would be like 'biting the hand that feeds one'.

I can imagine that there would be many scientists, working in the their chosen discipline that is one of the 30-odd disciplines associated with climatology, really enjoying their job collecting fungi or seeds for analysis in the lab, being grateful for their employment and ride on the gravy train, who would see no good reason to disadvantage themselves by expressing general skepticism about AGW that might cause them to be viewed unfavourably by some of their colleagues and supervisors.

The reasons for such reluctance to 'blow the whistle', so to speak, may also be reinforced by a belief that the development of alternative fuels to replace coal and oil is a very desirable thing in itself, irrespective of CO2 concerns. If a scare about CO2 helps speed up the development of such alternative fuels, then the thinking might be, 'no harm done' if I keep quiet about my skepticism and occasional observations of data manipulation in the workplace.

Now to the religious aspect of all this, which could be the subject of a long book, but I'll try to be as brief as possible.

It will first be necessary to define what I mean by religion, or faith, used in this context. I'm NOT referring to any of the hundreds (or even thousands) of religious myths and rituals that exist amongst the inhabitants of our planet. So let's be clear about this from the start.

I'm using the term 'religious' in the sense of a belief or faith in the truth of something which cannot, or has not, been scientifically proved using 'best practice' scientific methods, methods which MUST involve processes of verification and falsifiability.

In the absence of such verification, it seems to me one has only two major options. One can be skeptical about the theories, conclusions, computer projections etc, as any first-rate scientist unavoidably has to be (or has to strive to be); or one can fill in the void, (or paucity of data and evidence, and lack of verification), with faith or belief.

Of course, in practice there are other options which I would describe as less honourable. One could accept there is uncertainty on the issue of AGW, as a scientist or as a politician, but 'feign' a faith in the completeness and certainty of the science in order to serve another agenda.

By the way, Bernard, the first part of your first sentence in your quote above, "If scientists who accept the huge bodies of data, empirical evidence and analysis..........", deserves a separate response.

The data and evidence in support of AGW may appear huge from the perspective of our simplified lives, but from the perspective of the enormous complexity of our climate, what is causing changes at present, what has caused changes in the past, what effect such changes in climate will have on weather patterns and rises in sea levels, etc etc, the data and evidence is very modest in quantity. Some might say even tiny, and that's the problem.

Let's consider the problem of other warming periods in the recent past that would clearly seem to be unconnected to anthropogenic emissions of CO2, such as the MWP and RWP.

The arguments from the AGW believers go something like: "Ah! But we know the causes of those warming periods and those causes are not active at the present time, therefore the current warming period must be due to our CO2 emissions."

Such an argument lacks logic. The logical statement would be: "Ah! But we know ALL of the possible causes of natural warming of climate that could take place, and have taken place in the past, including the warmings known as the MWP and RWP. We can therefore be confident that our current warming is not natural, and is human induced."

Furthermore, another argument used to diminish the significance of the MWP in relation to the possible natural causes of the current warming period, is that it was not a global event.

How do we know it was not a global event? Because there is a paucity of evidence from other parts of the planet. We simply don't have the data and the temperature records for other regions during these warming periods.

Well, strike me down with a feather! We know DESPITE a clear lack of evidence. That fits my definition of faith exactly.

> We simply don't have the data and the temperature records for other regions during these warming periods.

Hasn't stopped you or any denialist from claiming that the MWP was warmer than today.

NEVER.

We DO, however, have the data for the world today and we know that it's highly unlikely that the southern hemisphere could have warmed up so dramatically as to change the order without having left at least SOME detail of its existence.

So, before you spout "It's warmer in the MWP" or "It's warmed as fast in the past", you need to remember: you haven't got the data to show that.

No unicorn for you, princess.

My theory, by Ann Vincent Elk (Miss). The MWP was thin at both ends, and very big in the middle. This is my theory. It is mine, and no body else's. Except the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. Which is not dead, it's just pining for the fiords. Try some coloxyl with senna.

"One of the first things one learns when investigating this issue of AGW on the internet is that there are various lists available of large numbers of scientists, from the full range of disciplines, who have responded to questionaires expressing their skepticism about the IPCC claims for human induced CO2 emissions."

You mean like this one?:
[Oregon Institute Petition](http://www.oism.org/pproject/)

Their list is total crap. It claims to have over 30,000 scientists on it, but well over 99% of them have no background in climate science. Two thirds don't even have Ph.d.'s. Over a third only have 4 year degrees. I would wager that a large majority of the people on the list do not even actually practice science. Even if the list were not total crap, it would still be only a drop in the bucket of the total number of people in the USA who have the same qualifications.

"it seems clear that such lists still represent a very large number of scientists..."

No, such lists represent a very tiny fringe group.

"The data and evidence in support of AGW may appear huge from the perspective of our simplified lives, but from the perspective of the enormous complexity of our climate, what is causing changes at present, what has caused changes in the past, what effect such changes in climate will have on weather patterns and rises in sea levels, etc etc, the data and evidence is very modest in quantity. Some might say even tiny, and that's the problem."

So many words, with nothing of substance. You could have saved yourself some typing if you had just said, "If we don't know everything, we know nothing."

"I'm using the term 'religious' in the sense of a belief or faith in the truth of something which cannot, or has not, been scientifically proved using 'best practice' scientific methods, methods which MUST involve processes of verification and falsifiability."

Then you are grossly ignorant about the evidence that climate scientists have provided, and the methodologies involved. AGW is falsifiable, yet it has not been falsified. Also, you *are* aware that nothing in science is ever 100% proved, right?

"One could accept there is uncertainty on the issue of AGW..."

That would put one's opinion squarely in line with all climate scientists. None have pretended there is no uncertainty. Uncertainty is a characteristic of all science, not just climate science. It doesn't mean we can't keep advancing in our knowledge.

"The logical statement would be: "Ah! But we know ALL of the possible causes of natural warming of climate that could take place, and have taken place in the past, including the warmings known as the MWP and RWP. We can therefore be confident that our current warming is not natural, and is human induced.""

That would be the idiotic statement. There is no way to ever know ALL of the possible causes of natural climate change, for all periods of paleoclimate history. That doesn't mean we can't (and don't) understand the major ones, and that doesn't mean we can't have a good handle on the major forcings without having 100% certainty. And really, there aren't that many plausible forcings to choose from. And we can eliminate most right off the bat- the Sun, volcanic activity, and so on. The burden at this point is really on so-called skeptics to provide a plausible alternative forcing, and explain why the one from CO2 is not sufficient. Such a forcing would have to explain the cooling stratosphere, the warming nights, the increased absorption of IR radiation by CO2 that is observed, the energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere that is observed, and so on. IoW, it will have to show why the consilience of evidence in support of CO2 as the main forcing driving the warming is really from this proposed mystery forcing. Good luck with that. :)

"How do we know it was not a global event? Because there is a paucity of evidence from other parts of the planet. We simply don't have the data and the temperature records for other regions during these warming periods."

Which is why it is complete nonsense when so-called *skeptics* insist that the MWP was a global event. Climate scientists don't say it couldn't have been one. They say the evidence we have says it wasn't. Also, a lot of the regional warmings that occurred in the NH don't overlap in time- the height of warming in one place corresponds to a temperature dip in another, for instance. Even restricting the data to the NH, the evidence doesn't support a constrained time period that was warmer than the present.

"Well, strike me down with a feather! We know DESPITE a clear lack of evidence. That fits my definition of faith exactly."

Yes, you are correct. So-called skeptics are exposing their faith when they claim that the world was warmer in the MWP than now even though the evidence we have says no. Actual paleoclimatologists are very careful to qualify their claims and state the uncertainties involved. So-called skeptics expose their faith when they insist that the real forcing behind the warming is some as-yet unknown player that they subsume under the name "natural variability". There's your religion for ya. :)

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

Doop! Sods Law. Hurricanes, of course, also occur in the Western Pacific.

Nevertheless the point about sloppiness stands - taken literally, they are a regional phenomenon, so why does Vincent talk about "...globally hurricanes..."
Does he mean just hurricanes? Does he mean intense tropical storms? As with much of what he writes, there is enough wiggle room that as soon as he is called on it, he reframes what he claims to have meant.
Vincent likes to hedge his bets...
Posted by: FrankD | June 7, 2011 5:00 AM""

I can't see your problem. Wherever hurricanes occur on the planet, their frequency and intensity cannot be linked to global warming.

If an endangered species of a particular animal exists only in the Northern Hemisphere, for example, it would still be a true statement to claim that globally its estimated numbers are 'whatever'.

By mentioning only the term hurricane, because that's the term used in the articles to which I referred, I left the way open for you to provide evidence that there IS an AGW linkage to similar storms with different names, such as cyclones and typhoons.

It would have been remiss of me to state that there was no clear linkage to tropical storms in general, then provide evidence that only referred to hurricanes. You would have then been quite correct to point this out and provide any evidence refuting my statement.

However, instead of providing such evidence, you seem to be more interested in nitpicking.

For your edification, below is a statement from the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology regarding tropical cyclones.

Perhaps Jeff Harvey would like to provide evidence that the BOM is an unreliable source of information on such matters because it may have links to the coal lobby.

http://www.bom.gov.au/info/CAS-statement.pdf

"STATEMENT ON TROPICAL CYCLONES AND CLIMATE CHANGE:

We consider that the following conclusions of Henderson-Sellers et al (1998) remain valid:

⢠Current knowledge and available techniques are not able to provide robust quantitative indications of potential changes in tropical cyclone frequency;

⢠The modest available evidence points to an expectation of little or no change in global frequency.

Regional and local frequencies could change substantially in either direction, because of the dependence of cyclone genesis and track on other phenomena (e.g. ENSO) that are not yet predictable;

⢠The rapid increase of economic damage and disruption by tropical cyclones has been caused, to a large extent, by increasing coastal populations, by increasing insured values in coastal areas and, perhaps, a rising sensitivity of modern societies to disruptions of infrastructure."

> Wherever hurricanes occur on the planet, their frequency and intensity cannot be linked to global warming.

We haven't had enough data to prove a link.

Just like knowing today was 18C doesn't tell you whether I'm in the northern hemisphere going into summer or the southern hemisphere coming out. That doesn't prove that summer isn't warmer than spring.

I notice that Vincent still hasn't touched the primary literature. Hasn't gone thought the scientific journals, and clearly doesn't understand much of what he withers on about.

The problem is, Vince, that IMO you are a vacuous pundit who thinks he understands fields that are so complex that it takes experts in them years to gain insight into the innumerable parameters they contain. Like other armchair experts lacking any pedigree in the field, you think that possessing the necessary qualifications is not necessary in understanding the complex field of climate science. I have seen it all before in my field of research (population ecology). Idiots who can barely tell a mole cricket from a giraffe have waded into blogs claiming a range of idiotic things such as that increasing atmospheric levels of C02 will alleviate starvation, that humans have evolved beyond biophysical constraints, that extinction rates are vastly over-estimated, that acid rain was one of several doomsday myths, etc. etc. etc. Most of these clowns argued science at the level of a 5th grade student (or less). Yet they thought that they were knowledgeable - much like you do. It is not surprising why the Dunning-Kruger effect has attained so much credibikity in recent years. That is because the enviroinmental arena is full of know-nothings who think they know it all. As a scientist, my belief is that I should defer to the prevailing wisdom in the field of climate science. You know - by the scientists trained in the field. You aren't one of them. And the vast majority - including those who work for the Australian government agency on the web site you abuse to support your latest rant - agree that humans are primarily responsible for the current warming.

IMHO the reason you side with the deniers is simple. It has nix to do with science that is way, way over your head. Instead, it is because it fits with your ideological/political views. Why don't you just admit it and save us all here responding to your twaddle?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

> Actually, Loth, I think it's , or whatever noise a cane toad makes when hit with a nine iron.

LOL!

That seems fitting, because for all of his fancy dancing in his latest pair of missives, he still hasn't answered Bernard's questions.

You know, I'm beginning to lose faith that Vincent knows something about the science. See, I had this _religious belief_ that he just couldn't be as pig-ignorant about the actual science as he made himself out to be in his arguments, and that he was merely posturing for effect to manoeuvre his opponents into just the right position for his striking devastating move based on insightful and powerful scientific analysis...but no such luck. I mean, it's not like Bernard's questions were particularly advanced or anything, and he's had plenty of time to address them - and instead he debases his reputation further with "lists of scientists who have expressed skepticism"!

What do you reckon - is my faith in High Priest Vincent misplaced? Should I defer to the evidence on Vincent's scientific insight instead?

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

"378
I notice that Vincent still hasn't touched the primary literature. Hasn't gone thought the scientific journals, and clearly doesn't understand much of what he withers on about.
The problem is, Vince, that IMO you are a vacuous pundit who thinks he understands fields that are so complex that it takes experts in them years to gain insight into the innumerable parameters they contain. Like other armchair experts lacking any pedigree in the field, you think that possessing the necessary qualifications is not necessary in understanding the complex field of climate science. I have seen it all before in my field of research (population ecology). Idiots who can barely tell a mole cricket from a giraffe have waded into blogs claiming a range of idiotic things such as that increasing atmospheric levels of C02 will alleviate starvation, that humans have evolved beyond biophysical constraints, that extinction rates are vastly over-estimated, that acid rain was one of several doomsday myths, etc. etc. etc. Most of these clowns argued science at the level of a 5th grade student (or less). Yet they thought that they were knowledgeable - much like you do. It is not surprising why the Dunning-Kruger effect has attained so much credibikity in recent years. That is because the enviroinmental arena is full of know-nothings who think they know it all. As a scientist, my belief is that I should defer to the prevailing wisdom in the field of climate science. You know - by the scientists trained in the field. You aren't one of them. And the vast majority - including those who work for the Australian government agency on the web site you abuse to support your latest rant - agree that humans are primarily responsible for the current warming.
IMHO the reason you side with the deniers is simple. It has nix to do with science that is way, way over your head. Instead, it is because it fits with your ideological/political views. Why don't you just admit it and save us all here responding to your twaddle?
Posted by: Jeff Harvey | June 9, 2011 10:33 AM"

Jeff, with a post like that I can only 'favourably' believe you are a double agent. That is an AGW skeptic who is trying to convince people that AGW believers are an unreliable and illogical bunch of foul-mouthed, insulting fanatics whom one should pay no attention to.

I have never personally known anyone in my entire life who would be persuaded to change his/her mind on the grounds of accusations that he/she is an idiot.

The people I associate with are the sort who tend to change their opinion on any matter only in the light of new or persuasive evidence.

> I have never personally known anyone in my entire life who would be persuaded to change his/her mind on the grounds of accusations that he/she is an idiot.

However, an idiot isn't going to change his mind when he made his mind up from illogic and faith.

Are you, princess.

Not once have you shown one iota of comprehension that somewhere, somehow, in some small way, you may be wrong.

"I have never personally known anyone in my entire life who would be persuaded to change his/her mind on the grounds of accusations that he/she is an idiot."

And since that is not the argument that has been put forth, add another strawman to the long list you have been constructing. Many people here have tried to explain to you the scientific problems with your claims, and you brush them off and jump to a different claim. The fact that you are an idiot is not *why* you should change your position, it's why you *won't* change it.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

>The people I associate with are the sort who tend to change their opinion on any matter only in the light of new or persuasive evidence.

The evidence that you display on this thread strongly suggests otherwise.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

> That is an AGW skeptic who is trying to convince people that AGW believers are an unreliable and illogical bunch of foul-mouthed, insulting fanatics whom one should pay no attention to.

Vincent plays the ad hom card - and I call Denialist BINGO! Do I get bonus points if he accuses Jeff of ad hom in return? And double bonus points if he misapplies the concept of ad hom when making that accusation?

(And I guess my faith in Vincent was misplaced. There's simply no evidence that he can answer Bernard's simple questions.)

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

In fact, if you can successfully cause somebody to realise that they are an idiot, you will have succeeded in making them more likely to accept better-informed opinions than the ones they currently, irrationally, hold.

So, Vincent, at what point does the exposure here of your illogic, your failure to integrate the facts, your belief in non-facts, and your inability to analyse, succeed in helping you realise that you are an idiot?

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

[Lotharsson](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…).

There's a very simple way to conclude VincentR's vascillation on the matter of those questions...

VincentR - if, in your next post, you are not able to address my questions [at #262](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…) and [at #362](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/shorter_clive_james.php#comment…), your failure to do so will be taken as explicit admission that you are incapable of doing so in any way that supports any of your entire suite of claims on this thread, and thus that you are wrong in everything that you have said and that the scientific consensus presented by the rest of us is correct.

The contract is open VincentR. Your next answer concludes it, just [as it did for James](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/06/australian_climate_scientists.p…).

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

As some of you may be able to appreciate, I don't have the time to address all of the logical fallacies, irrelevant arguments and non sequiturs that I see in this thread, but the following point or criticism from Robert Murphy deserves a correction on my part.

"346
"Homo Sapiens is doing quite well. We've been here about 6 million years"

You're only off by about 5.8 million years.
Posted by: Robert Murphy | June 5, 2011 7:09 AM"

I would agree that this is an example of sloppy phrasing on my part. The way I've put it, due to lack of time, could give the impression that I meant the latest development in the hominid history of evolution, that is Homo Sapiens, has been around for about 6 million years.

This clearly is not the case. Instead of being so brief and writing, "WE'VE been here about 6 million years", I should have taken more time and written, "We and our hominid ancestors, going back to the time we diverged from the apes, have been here about 6 million years."

So Robert Murphy is approximately correct that Homo Sapiens has been around for only 200,000 years, although to be more technically correct there is a distinction to be made between Homo Sapiens and Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Homo Sapiens (archaic) first appeared about 500,000 years ago, although I confess I wasn't there at the time to verify this."

> As some of you may be able to appreciate, I don't have the time to address all of the logical fallacies, irrelevant arguments and non sequiturs that I see in this thread...

...but you've got plenty of time to write most of them!

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

"383
"The people I associate with are the sort who tend to change their opinion on any matter only in the light of new or persuasive evidence."

The evidence that you display on this thread strongly suggests otherwise.
Posted by: Bernard J. | June 9, 2011 12:44 PM"

You know, Bernard, there is some truth to your statement.

If my claim were entirely true that I associate with the sort who tend to change their opinion only in the light of new or persuasive evidence, then one could legitimately ask why am I writing in this thread in the first instance, associating with you lot.

Rather than be evasive and make excuses like, 'I didn't write, 'ONLY associate with...', I'll be blunt and tell you the reasons for my posting here.

(1) As a person who has a great respect for the scientific method, the application of which has provided so many benefits for mankind in recent times, I'm trying to get an isight into the mentality of people who seem to be so certain that our CO2 emissions will cause great harm and difficulty if we don't reduce them.

(2) As a person who is a complete agnostic on the issue of AGW, I have a glimmer of hope that someone might provide some links to convincing evidence that meets my high standards of verification and falsifiability.

(3) This site is one outlet where I can air my views which might provoke some thought on the issue in others who may be undecided.

For this opportunity, I have to thank our host, Tim Lambert.

I'll always remember the day about 50-odd years ago when I and all the other 12 year-olds in my class studying General Science were asked to choose between Biology and Physics in preparation for the GCE in the UK.

We were all standing in the Physics classroom, and those who preferred Biology were asked to leave and go to another room. I was amazed to see about 3/4ths of the class departing to the other room. The Physics Master was delighted that only about 8 of us remained. But his delight was short-lived.

The Headmaster decided it was not appropriate for the majority of the class to opt for the 'soft' science of Biology and immediately set up an interview process of all those who had chosen Biology, questioning their ideas and preferences for their future career.

I presume that those who did not express a clear intention to choose a career in medicine, or geology, or ecology, or anthropology etc, were asked to return to the Physics class. One of my friends who was allowed to study Biology had stated he intended to become a Vet because he liked hiking in the countryside. He eventually upgraded his aspirations and became a medical doctor.

So what's the point of all this waffle, I hear you ask. The point is that there is a distinction to be made between 'hard' and 'soft' sciences.

However, such a distinction should not be used in black & white terms. The subject of Climatology involves many disiplines, some of which would tend to fall into the category of 'soft' science, and some of which would fall into the category of 'hard' science, such as the Physics that determines that CO2 is in fact a GHG.

The problem is compounded when so much of the science relating to ACTION on climate change are the softest of all the disciplines, such as Political Science, Economics and Sociology.

But perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. I should first define what I mean by 'soft' and 'hard' science, for the benefit of those who don't know.

A 'hard' science is one that requires, and lends itself to, the strictest of scientific procedures involving verification and falsifiability. A 'soft' science is one where it is accepted that the application of such strict procedures are impossible, at present, for whatever reason but usually reasons of enormous complexity, variability, chaos and long time constraints.

I would place the science of climatology as a whole, including its mixture of hard and soft disciplines, as a soft science. Not as soft as the softest of all sciences, but still soft on balance.

For those of you who read Scientific American it should be no surprise that scientists are still trying to falsify Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Imagine the embarrassment if we were to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a research program into deep outer space using a new rocket system capable of accelerating to enormous speeds approaching the speed of light, and that the success of the mission depended on the accuracy of Einstein's Theory of Relativity which in fact proved to be wrong or inaccurate causing the mission to be a total flop and a waste of money. Oops!

This could be an analogy for any world-wide project to reduce our CO2 emissions which has been based upon the conclusions from a 'soft' science presented with a exaggerated certainty to emulate the conclusions of a 'hard' science, to a much softer general public who are influenced by the even softer disciplines of political science, psychology and economics.

That's a recipe for disaster if you ask me.