AGW catastrophism Climate Change Global Warming Omniclimate Science Skepticism

Numerical Analysis of Mark Lynas' "Six Degrees" Claims

This is ancillary to my blog “Lynas’ “Six Degrees” of (Computed) Half Blindness“.

From Mark Lynas’ book “Six Degrees – Our Future on a Hotter Planet” I have randomly selected some pages between 3 and 241, leaving out the introduction and the “Choosing Our Future” conclusions.

These are the results in terms of number of positive, negative and catastrophic remarks (*) in each of them


Based on the above, for each page of Lynas’ book there is 1 positive statement, 4 negative statements and 2 catastrophic statements. There may be a trend with statements getting less and less positive, but it can be noted that the whole thing is skewed towards negativeness from the beginning.

Only one page (89) out of 13 is more positive (7) than negative (3), and the immediately following page (90) quickly brings the situation back with only 2 positives and as much as 8 negatives (plus 1 catastrophic).

(*) Examples

  • Positive remark: page 89 (two degrees): “the northern central part of the US…will become an increasingly important winter wheat-producing area”
  • Negative remark: page 67 (one degree): “severe bleaching will occur on most of the world’s reefs every 3-5 years by 2030”
  • Catastrophic remark: page 136 (three degrees): “drought may once again become perennial in this densely populated country” (Indonesia)
AGW catastrophism Climate Change CO2 Emissions Global Warming Omniclimate Policy Science Skepticism

Lynas' "Six Degrees" of (Computed) Half Blindness

I have decided to read debate-challenged Mark Lynas‘ “Six Degrees – Our Future on a Hotter Planet” on the basis of the surprisingly moderate review by Eric Steig on RealClimate.

Just as revealed by Steig, I must confess I tend to stay away from popular-science books that appear to overstate their argument. And Lynas’ book’s English cover does sport a giant wave crashing on top of a half-submerged Big Ben, with lightning out of a dark cloud and a citation from the Sunday Times defining the book as “terrifying” (on the back, the Financial Times describing it as “apocalyptic”).

Obviously, HarperCollins (the Publisher) thought it important for sales to make Lynas look like an incorregible alarmist with a penchant for “climate pornography”. Apparently, the author has lamented being “misconstrued” but I suspect the author doesn’t control much of what appears on the cover of a book, and how the contents are popular-pulverized in the Press.

In any case, the choice of quoting from Dante’s Inferno was all Lynas’.


What do I make of it? I cannot say the book is “alarmist”, in the sense of trying to pump up the evidence for impending catastrophes. Lynas has obviously tried to stick to “available science”: but that’s exactly the main shortcoming of the book, that looks like a victim of the neurological condition called “neglect” (eg see “Hemispatial Neglect”.

“Neglect” happens when a patient simply cannot be made aware of something that is in front of them. For example in the case of “visual neglect”,  the patient may be able to describe in detail a whole image apart from some area or object in it, that simply do not register at a conscious level at all.

Analogously, current “available science” in Climatology, for whatever reason, consistently and invariably depicts what could go wrong in a warmer planet, “neglecting” what could go right.

Does anybody seriously believe that the current climatic conditions are some kind of “optimum”, so that even a 1C variation upwards can mainly bring bad news?

In the book, one would rather expect a rather even situation at the beginning, for a one- or two-degree change, getting worse as the chapters go by. You can see the actual figures in my blog “Numerical Analysis of Mark Lynas’ “Six Degrees” Claims“.

It’s 4 bad news, and 2 catastrophes, for every bit of good news.

Now, if Lynas, or any scientist, truly believes that a warmer planet will mean bad news will outnumber good news by 4 to 1 (or including catastrophes, by 7 to 1), a very, very good discussion of the reasons behind that would not only be welcome, but strictly needed.

Otherwise, as with so many other things in terms of climate, it will just be yet another extraordinary claim with no extraordinary evidence backing it.


By the way…the preponderance of bad and catastrophic news makes it for a boring reading after a few pages of totally-predictable barrage. Lynas slips time and again (with no apparent awareness) in what management consultants would call a “reverse sh*t sandwich” situation: instead of hiding the bad between two goods (the classic “sh*t sandwich” of many performance feedback sections), it’s the good bits that have to survive in-between bad news.

For example, at page 37 we are told about coral bleaching, then the hope is thrown that the coral might survive after all, but the sandwich is completed with an expert stating it will be too hot for the coral to survive.


Lynas’ solution to the problem is discussed at length but appears to pivot on the concept of “making policy by invoking survival of the species”. Having been unable to see much good in warming, Lynas shows a similar degree of intellectual neglect in trying to sweep aside every other problem there is in the world. Well, perhaps…but again, if stopping global warming by 1 or 6 degrees is more important than fighting malaria or hunger, we should be told exactly why.


A final gem demonstrating my whole point, from page 278:

“people were better off and healthier in Britain under food rationing during the Second World War”

Where does that incredible statement comes from???

Either Lynas is training as a stand-up comedian, or he can truly be half-blind to the things of the world indeed.

Italiano Politica Scienza USA

Per Capire il Creazionismo Americano

All You Need Is Love By Ronald Steel – The New York Review Of Books, Volume 53, Number 11 · June 22, 2006

Per chi sa l’inglese, consiglio l’articolo di Ronald Steel come lettura praticamente obbligatoria per capire il rapporto tra creazionismo, evoluzionismo e Stati Uniti d’America.

L’articolo parla della vita di William Jennings Bryan, famoso nel mondo per il processo Scopes (ricordiamo il film del 1960 “Inherit the Wind“, in italiano “…e l’uomo creo’ Satana“, con Spencer Tracy).

In due parole: la teoria dell’evoluzione, arrivata in America come “darwinismo sociale”, fu vista come una minaccia all’ordine morale, in quanto avrebbe potuto essere usata per “divorziare” la moralita’ dagli insegnamenti della Bibbia.

Questa interpretazione catturo’ l’attenzione dell’ormai vecchio William Jennings Bryan, che ne fece parte delle sue campagne un po’ populiste, un po’ demagogiche, un po’ dedicate alla “rabbia del cittadino comune”. Da allora non mi sembra sia cambiato granche’, nel grande dibattito americano pro- e contro- l’evoluzione, un dibattito che comunque al di fuori degli USA non ha assolutamente senso (e infatti rimane confinato agli States).

Curiosamente, nelle idee di William Jennings Bryan si possono trovare le radici del Partito Democratico USA cosi’ come lo conosciamo oggi…

Iran Italiano Politica

Iraniani Battaglieri e Buontemponi

L’Iran ha fatto finta di lanciare un satellite con il suo razzo “Safir”. Il quale ha un nome che significa in arabo e probabilmente anche in farsi, “Ambasciatore” (secondo Adnkronos, il nome completo e’ “Safir’e Omid” o “Ambasciatore della Speranza”).

Altre traduzioni “Messaggero” e “Mediatore”…ma siamo sempre li’: c’e’ evidentemente qualche buontempone a Teheran che ha deciso di dichiarare al mondo che l’Iran e’ davvero pronto a condurre la diplomazia ma…a colpi di missili!

Business English Humor IT Software

Novel System for Improved IT Support Efficiency

A novel IT Support Call Handling Scheme guaranteed to improve efficiency:

  1. Having received a support call or e-mail, do nothing about it
  2. If there is no further contact —> the issue is solved
  3. If the user calls again, pretend you care. Keep doing nothing about it
  4. If there is no further contact —> the issue is solved
  5. If the user calls again, provide assurance the problem is being looked at. Once again, do nothing about it
  6. If there is no further contact —> the issue is solved 
  7. If the user calls again, repeat from step 5
  8. If the user acts unreasonably and calls your boss, look busy and go to step 5
  9. At this point, the issue is either solved, or an absolute emergency
  10. In the latter case, start dealing with it

The above is based on the established fact that most of the time issues solve themselves, because the user gives up, moves to another job, or finds a way around the problem out of frustration.

As the end result is that everybody in IT support works on emergencies all of the time, their jobs will be safe for the foreseeable future, and users will just be grateful whenever any issue is actually solved.

Is that “maximum efficiency” or what?

English Politics War

Hypothesis Russia

More details are coming out about the reasons behind the war in South Ossetia between Georgia and Russia. Beyond the rhetoric (here’s a shameful commentary by The New York Times), it appears clear that Saakashvili wanted a fight, but Putin/Medvedev were also fully ready for war.

Anyway I look at it though, I can only think of one way to explain the whole situation…and that involves having one or more Russian agents in the upper echelons of the Tbilisi government.

The Russian victory on all fronts, military, political, diplomatic is so complete, it can only have been carefully prepared for months in the past.

I was kidding when suggesting that Saakashvili be a friend of Russia. Or was I?


By the way…from Wikipedia, a map of ethnic groups in the Caucasus. Looks like more than one border should be redrawn…

Ambiente Cambiamento Climatico Catastrofismo Italiano Politica Riscaldamento Globale Scienza

Critica Gnosepistemologica alla Climatologia del Riscaldamento Globale

Possibile che proprio nella nostra epoca, quando siamo riusciti a costruire i computer per fare i PRIMI calcoli sul clima futuro, e proprio quando abbiamo lanciato i PRIMI satelliti per osservare l’andamento dei ghiacci polari e osservare l’atmosfera terrestre nel suo insieme…possibile che GIUSTO ORA capita che scopriamo il Riscaldamento Globale e/o i Cambiamenti Climatici? Possibile che GIUSTO ORA dobbiamo rivoluzionare le nostre vite altrimenti va tutto a catafascio?

Se tutto cio’ fosse vero, sarebbe un incredibile colpo di fortuna, o molto piu’ probabilmente la prova dell’esistenza della Provvidenza, e quindi di Dio.


AGW catastrophism Climate Change Global Warming Omniclimate Policy

Hansenspeak: Will Everyone Else Please Shut Up?

Is Jim Hansen evolving to become the worst enemy of AGW policies?

His “Trip Report” published on Aug 4 (from Accuweather’s Global Warming blog) shows the guy is so full of himself, if more people heard him and his style no AGW policy would ever see the light of the day.

Forget pages 1 to 13. Go to page 14 where a “pipe-dream” statement opens up a long foray into paternalism.

Notice how Richard Feynman is described as “leader” and “physics giant” (no prize to understand who should we compare Feynman to).

Grand finale on page 16, with a shameful tirade against “contrarians” (“befogged“, “keeping the public confused“, “were once scientists but now…lawyers“, “special interests“). And of course, ordinary people criticizing Hansen are just “parroting” the “contrarians“.

Who can talk then? Why, the “people who know what they are talking about“. The Pravda editors would have approved.

ps does Dr Hansen realize that the “people who know what they are talking about” statement disqualifies the first 10 pages of his “Trip Report”?