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Peradventure There Shall One Be Found There – Open Letter To The Royal Society

(a guest “blog” by Rupert Wyndham; publication authorised by the author)

Lord Rees
The Royal Society

14 October 2009

Dear Lord Rees

Re: Briffa, Schweingruber and the Yamal tree ring data

With some surprise, it must be said, I find myself acknowledging that, within The Royal Society, there exists one individual at least who appears to be motivated by scrupulousness and a desire to work in and for the best interests of the scientific endeavour. Naturally, the identification of this honourable man does not lead to your door nor to the paths of those of your immediate predecessors, May and Houghton. King too, if he’s been a President of the RS, but that he has not, I think – well, not yet anyway.

So, who then is this rarest of paragons within the cloistered precincts of Carlton House Terrace? Is it some great and eminent scientific Titan, invested with honours and burdened with doubloons diverted in his direction by Alfred Nobel’s august and wondrous awarding committees? Nay, nay – to be sure, nothing of the sort! Rather, instead, he (or, perhaps, she) is simply an honest functionary, a self-effacing soul who, after a conscientious day’s toil, unremarked and unsung, returns of an evening to a favourite armchair in the modest but homely comfort of his bungalow in Surbiton – or would it be Penge? But anyway, but anyway – whatever his name, in the annals of authentic science, in a zeitgeist dominated and polluted by a fraudulent, self-serving counterfeit of itself, he stands out as a true blue, heart warming, life affirming paladin, does he not………in the setting of the RS, a pitch perfect, solitary clarion voice of honesty sounding clear and high above a cacophony of knaves and poltroons?

The hero in question is the Editor of the Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society, of course. And what has he done to merit such an accolade? Well, to be sure, you know as well as I, that he has stood up for, and insisted upon, observance of the time honoured protocols of scientific method – the very precepts that you personally, as well as those who work closest to you, are charged to defend. That you have signally failed to do so is the indelible stain on your own personal honour (theirs too, of course) – an old fashioned concept, but one still with some value, however, as scoundrels on the green benches in the Palace of Westminster are currently discovering to their fully warranted discomfiture.

What this excellent and worthy man has done has been to insist upon publication of the Yamal Peninsular data, hitherto denied for a decade to the wider scientific community – needless to say, contrary to one of the most basic protocols of honest scientific investigation. This has blown apart the much vaunted clutch of “hockey stick” graphs supposedly marshalled by AGW proselytisers such as yourself in support of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes fraud – heavily promoted, of course, by the Yankee snake oil salesman. At the time of writing this, it is even just possible that the RS’s counterpart lapdog at Broadcasting House has finally realised that the entire AGW construct is, scientifically speaking, no more than a monstrous inverted pyramid of dross erected on the crest of a sand dune. Mind you, where the BBC is concerned, it is prudent never to be optimistic!

In the words of the old love song, the salient question for you, of course, is:

“Where have you been all this day, my boy Billy?
Where have you been all this day?
Is it here? Is it there?
Pray tell me, is it – – anywhere?”

Yours sincerely

R.C.E. Wyndham

Cc: Prime Minister Ed Miliband MP David Cameron MP Nick Clegg MP Julia Goldsworthy MP
Lord Lawson Lord Leach Mark Thompson Sir Michael Lyons Editors – national newspapers
As the spirit moves

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Don't Miss Out On The Superfreakonomic AGW Storm

The people behind best-seller Freakonomics have done their AGW outing…part of their new book “SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance” has been published on the Sunday Times under the headline “Why Everything You Think You Know About Global Warming Is Wrong” (the shock! the horror!).

Time will tell if there is anything substantial behind such a bold claim…for now, enjoy Romm’s throwing all he could against Levitt and Dubner. And on past experience, if Romm’s upset about something, then there is something substantial behind it all indeed….

UPDATE: Long commentary about Superfreakonomics by Dominic Lawson on The Independent (???)

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E adesso Berlusconi e’ il Presidente del Consiglio di tutti (ma proprio tutti)

(articolo originariamente apparso su ItaliaChiamaItalia)

E’ necessario esprimere il proprio appoggio e solidarietà al Presidente Berlusconi, dopo la sentenza della Corte Costituzionale sul “Lodo Alfano” il 7 ottobre scorso? In realtà, sembra quasi superfluo. Per una serie di motivi:

(1) Tale sentenza, apparsa su tutti i giornali, spesso in prima pagina, e in tutti i canali radiotelevisivi, sia in Italia che all’estero (ha occupato il “ticker” di Sky News in Gran Bretagna per un po’ di ore), ha reso ormai il Presidente del Consiglio popolarmente noto a livello mondiale alla pari di Barack Obama, un vero e proprio “fenomeno culturale” dei nostri tempi. E vista la sua longevita’ politica (il doppio, ormai, degli otto anni max concessi all’inquilino della Casa Bianca), c’e’ da chiedersi se questi anni saranno ricordati in futuro, in tutto il mondo, davvero come “L’Eta’ di Berlusconi”.

(2) La sibillina sentenza della Corte Costituzionale (che bisogna augurarsi in futuro senta il bisogno se non la necessita’ di usare la piu’ limpida chiarezza) ha purtroppo emarginato la posizione del Presidente della Repubblica, il cui giudizio in materia costituzionale è stato duramente bocciato dalla Consulta a pochi giorni dalle accuse di “viltà” riguardo la firma sullo scudo fiscale. Tutto cio’ non puo’ che polarizzare ulteriormente lo scenario politico nazionale, a tutto vantaggio appunto del Presidente Berlusconi.

(3) Le reazioni al limite dello scandalizzato da parte di tanta stampa contro le parole di fuoco pronunciate dal Presidente del Consiglio riguardo lo “sputtanamento”, rivelano in ultima analisi sia l’incapacita’ da parte di tale stampa di ricevere invece che solo dare critiche, come se si trattasse di Lesa Maesta’ nei confronti del Quarto Potere; sia l’impegno politico che caratterizza la “linea narrativa giornalistica” piu’ alla moda dei nostri tempi, con il “mostro” Silvio cui rispondere sul piano, appunto, politico invece che professionale.

(4) Infine, nei confronti del Presidente Berlusconi si e’ levato fin dall’indomani della sentenza della Corte Costituzionale un coro di appelli affinche’ non si dimetta, anche e soprattutto dalla opposizione (persino Di Pietro si e’ rifugiato in un timidissimo richiamo strettamente “tecnico, non politico”): un comportamento che ribadisce una volta di piu’ come non ci sia alternativa alcuna all’attuale Governo.

E allora speriamo che finalmente ci si renda conto di una semplicissima verita’ di ogni democrazia liberale come quella italiana: e cioe’ di come Berlusconi sia, davvero, il Presidente di tutti (ma proprio tutti).

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The IPCC Is Never Wrong -1- Why Kevin Trenberth Is Right

Thus spoke Dr Kevin E Trenberth, Head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the (very welcome!) Gray/Trenberth written debate hosted by the Tea Party of Northern Colorado:

I have found that the only scientists who disagree with the IPCC report are those who have not read it and are poorly informed

Contrarily to what the most argument-challenged readers of this blog might think, I fully agree with Dr Trenberth’s statement. Only, I arrive at his same conclusion starting from a very different point of view (wonder if Morano will ever try to sing a different tune?).


I have read several chapters of the IPCC AR4 (2007) (sadly, I have not read the whole thing in full from start to end and seriously wonder if anybody ever has). Fact is, they are all written in a scientifically very valid way. As the science of climate is still full of uncertainties, then whatever the future, may it be hot, may it be cold, it will be impossible to ever find in the IPCC reports any item that may be actually considered as fundamentally wrong or misleading.

Everything is in there and its opposite, by wise [UPDATE: “wise” means “wise” in a POSITIVE way…do not mix it up with “weasel” or anything else with a bad connotation] use of words like “could”, “might” and “likely”. Even if we meet again in 2050 and global cooling is in full swing, still the IPCC reports will be, in a sense, correct. Take for example AR4-SYR-SPM (Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers)

page 5: Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations

page 7: Continued GHG emissions at or above current rates would [note how they had so many would‘s to distribute, they added one too many here] cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century

The meaning of “very likely” is explained in the box Treatment of uncertainty” in the Introduction of the Synthesis Report (page 27):

Where uncertainty in specific outcomes is assessed using expert judgment and statistical analysis of a body of evidence (e.g. observations or model results), then the following likelihood ranges are used to express the assessed probability of occurrence: virtually certain >99%; extremely likely >95%; very likely >90%; likely >66%; more likely than not > 50%; about as likely as not 33% to 66%; unlikely <33%; very unlikely <10%; extremely unlikely <5%; exceptionally unlikely <1%.

Since “very likely” stops at 90%, it means that the IPCC experts agree that there is a 10% probability that most of observed temperature increases might not be due to “increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations“. And that there is a 10% probability that the 21st century will not see anything larger than the 20th century has seen.

So if anything like that actually happens, well, the IPCC AR4 has already included that possibility, has it not?

Interestingly, if the IPCC work were to be presented as a scientific article, and the p-value associated to the null hypothesis (that observed temperature increases have nothing to do with increased GHG concentrations) were 0.1 or 10%, most if not all journals would deny publication.