Monbiot Challenged To Debate – By "Chill"'s Peter Taylor

On the heels of the Plimer debacle, deep among the comments to one of Monbiot’s blogs our own Geoff Chambers has “discovered” this new invitation for a debate, by Peter Taylor, author of “Chill, A Reassessment of Global Warming Theory: Does Climate Change Mean the World is Cooling, and If So What Should We Do About It?

PeterTaylor

18 Sep 09, 5:04pm

George – I’m an old and seasoned environmentalist, older than yourself, and so I should not be surprised or disappointed when political zeal over-rides science and the quest for truth – but I am, and most particularly by your continued reference to critics as ‘sceptic’ and ‘deniers’ – suggesting some quasi-religious or psychological failing, and thus enabling you not to actually take seriously any of the scientific arguments they may raise.

In this latest blog, you presume to arbitrate on areas of science you know little about (along with the IPCC who classified knowledge of natural variability – for that you can read ‘cycles’, a bit of a bogey word, as ‘very poorly known’). Yet despite the poor science, you and the IPCC presume to know that the recent warm period was not naturally driven.

I understand that Professor Plimer has not met your request for a debate. I am willing to step in. My arguments are laid out in my recent book

Chill: a reassessment of global warming theory

If you would do me the courtesy of reading the book, and taking advice on its arguments from acknowledged experts in each of the fields I cover – natural cycles, polar ice, cosmic rays, satellite data etc., and on my conclusion that the global warming signal that is currently being ‘masked’ by natural cooling, was also first amplified by the same natural cycles peaking – leaving an 80/20 split natural/GHG – then I would gladly debate with you. It is my only condition.

To encourage you, I quote from W.Jackson Davis, author of the first draft of the Kyoto Protocol (and former colleague of mine on UN committees regarding ocean pollution), who has endorsed my book:

‘Taylor raises issues and questions that must be addressed conclusively before global warming can be genuinely regarded as ”truth”, inconvenient or otherwise. The book is a must-read for everyone on all sides of the climate change issue’

If I am right – and recent science suggests I am – then CO2 from industrial and consumer emissions represents less then 15% of the driving force. If you cut it by half, you affect 7-8% of the driver. This will have virtually no effect on what the climate does on any policy-relevant timescale. Vast sums of money aimed at mitigation will be misdirected.

It would not matter so much if that money was put to good use and was not needed elsewhere – but if I am right about the prospects for cooling (which the Latif paper only touches the surface of, then that money is needed for adaptation. Great suffering is ahead. The renewable energy programme for biofuels heads in entirely the wrong direction, adding to food supply issues.

These are debates and arguments that we could usefully have. I want to change your mind and to change government policy. But for that you need to have an open mind – open enough to read my book. It took three years to write and is based entirely on peer-reviewed science, with full references. As a committed environmentalist I would not have spent that time if I thought there was not much at stake and that the truth needed to direct policy.

“Chill” is reviewed at HarmlessSky. I haven’t read that review as yet.

About Peer-reviewed Dogmas, or 'Meet The Peeritarians'

(this in response to yet another tired thread full of “but the findings of so-and-so have not been peer-reviewed!“)

I think I understand it now…it’s like a new religion…instead of the Pastafarians, we now have the… Peeritarians!

Those people can be recognized by their preferred way to communicate with anybody they disagree with:

Have your thoughts/proposals/findings/obvious-observations-nobody-in-their-right-mind-could-deny been peer-reviewed?

Sadly, there is no way to convince them to ask or say anything else.

If anything has not been peer-reviewed, Peeritarians will deny its very possibility of existence. Worse, if anything has been peer-reviewed it is then taken as their new dogma…because Peeritarians are characterized by being impervious to critical thinking upon reading peer-reviewed material.

Only hope is, the peer-review system will eventually publish something completely contradictory, thereby convincing to good Peeritarian to change his/her mind.

———————

In order to preserve their remaining sanity, everybody is strongly encouraged not to engage Peeritarians in discussions about hurricanes and global warming, or health and global warming, areas where there are peer-reviewed articles demonstrating pretty much everything and its opposite.

SciDev.net's Plea: Get The Science Straight!

Questioning the soundness of climate-related science should not be the realm solely of climate skeptics. That’s what makes the following even more welcome.

Get the science straight on climate change and disease – Climate change’s complex links with insect-borne disease need solid research — not alarmism that distracts from other crucial factors

That’s the start of a courageous, no-holds-barred Sep 9, 2009 editorial by Sian Lewis on SciDev.net (“a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world“).

In normal times, Lewis’ words would sound obvious in the extreme (and no: SciDev.net is not a hotbed of hard-core AGW skeptics – read also this). But these times of “climate porn” (see also here and here) are not normal times at all.

A few excerpts from Lewis’ article:

  • research agendas must both respond to social needs and offer good science
  • fulfilling the second condition is more tricky
  • There is clearly a link between insect-borne diseases and climate
  • But a whole host of non-climate factors also influence disease transmission…
  • So we mustn’t go overboard, reading too much into the role of climate change at the expense of research into other triggers of these major diseases
  • good science is crucial for good policy
  • The task is urgent — but this must not lead to short-cuts

The editorial is an introduction to

a series of articles [that] explore the evidence for (and against) the notion that climate change will worsen the burden of insect-borne disease, highlights gaps in our knowledge, and provides advice to policymakers

Interestingly, given that

how well models can predict these effects is a particularly thorny issue in the debate“,

then

the solution, according to Jonathan Cox, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is to forget predictive modelling for the moment and focus on research with a better chance of improving disease control“.

“Forget predictive modelling”…if only!!

The Funnier Side Of Monbiot & Schmidt's "Plimer Débâcle"

It is clear that George Monbiot has made himself the loser by not agreeing to publicly debate with Ian Plimer about global warming in London in November. The rule is very simple and universal: a no-show is invariably a loss.

The whole thing looks like an elaborate trap prepared by experienced debater Plimer with the goal of convincing Monbiot to run away from the debate. And it looks like it worked.

Talk about the elephant being afraid of the mouse. Yet again, one is glad not have the likes of Monbiot (and Schmidt) on one’s side! 😎

But wait…it gets even funnier. What I just wrote might have crossed a few minds already, of people unfortunately too eager to bite the bait, therefore missing the chance to take their own reasoning to its natural conclusions:

  • Take Schmidt’s blog on the topic, where he argues that Plimer’s list of questions “is quite transparently a device to avoid dealing with Monbiot’s questions and is designed to lead to an argument…” and then…marches on onto the device regardless!
  • Greenfyre defines Plimer’s questions as “pure juvenile bafflegab” that should not be “dignif[ied]…with repetition“. Perhaps. Why then repeat that very same concept FOURTEEN times? It certainly looks like dignifying them to me
  • Greenfyre even identifies as “possible answers…to answer them in the spirit in which they were asked…give answers equally convoluted and nonsensical“. If that is so, what is the meaning of going on and on with links to sites where Pilmer’s questions are taken instead at face value?
  • Likewise for Tim Lambert: “I suspect that this is a tactic so he can weasel out of answering Monbiot’s questions” before a link to RealClimate to respond to Pilmer’s questions nevertheless…
  • Chris Colose appears to have a vague idea that there is something going on: “all together this is jumbled up nonsense and shows that Plimer is intentionally trying to mislead others“. Mysterious cue then to “for other of Plimer’s questions, I’ll let commenters tackle those“. Isn’t that a way for Colose to participate in the misleading?
  • Tamino…well, Tamino is obviously too superior a human being to recognize a thing.

=======

Dear Schmidt/Greenfyre/Lambert/Colose: one suggestion if I may dare.

If you are debating with anybody, and they use any logical device of any kind, please oh please DO NOT follow through along the device, for any reason whatsoever.

Otherwise, it’s not going to look pretty…

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/09/14/correspondence-with-ian-plimer/

Monbiot & Schmidt 0 – Plimer 1 (After Spectacular Own Goal)

Alternative titles: “Dear George, In Any Sport, No-Show Means Automatic Loss“, and “Don’t Mention Gish If You Can’t Debate

================

I am not at all surprised that George Monbiot (and by inference, Gavin Schmidt) have lost their public (virtual) debate against Ian Plimer even before having a public (real) debate. That’s because:

  • I have been following Monbiot’s antics for quite some time, and have never been struck by the power of his at-times-downright-silly arguments
  • Likewise concerning Schmidt, a known debate (sore) loser
  • Skeptic vs. Climatechanger debates are few and far between, and not for the lack of willing skeptical debaters (one suspects, it’s because skeptics invariably win, just like against homeopathy practitioners, UFO believers, creationist/ID proponents, chemtrails counter-conspirators, etc etc)
  • Plimer is no debate spring chicken, once described as having a “street-fighting style

Why has Plimer won the debate? Because the end result is that Monbiot has refused to publicly debate with him. And in any sport, failure to show up automatically makes you a loser.

This is too bad as Schmidt’s responses look even more impressive than Plimer’s bunch of heavily-sounding questions (the actual bait). And Plimer’s non-answers to Monbiot could have made the basis for a smooth, trouble-free attack/counterattack to Plimer’s argument.

If Monbiot could sustain a debate, that is. I have my doubts.

The Monbiot/Schmidt couple took the Plimer bait actually a tad too easily. Evidently knowing how to make opponents fall flat on their faces even when apparently much more powerful than him, all Plimer had to do is artificially concoct an “escape route” that would allow Monbiot to declare himself the winner without actually having won anything.

The “escape route” is Plimer’s refusal to answer in print. And Monbiot, shall I say OF COURSE, eagerly took it, unable to understand the consequences.

Isn’t it more heartwarming to be able to tell one’s own troops about how bad the enemy is, rather than getting into a dangerous, live debate with that same enemy?

Especially when one has extremely poor argumentative skills, like Monbiot when he includes the mention of the “Gish Gallop“, “named after [creationist] Duane Gish […] a special case of fast talking (the technique famously employed by Snake Oil Salesman that confuses people with fast long strings of words long enough to convince them to buy snake oil“.

Yes, but: people like Michael Shermer (and Ian Plimer, by the way) have actually debated with Gish. They haven’t just sat at their desk whining about the Gish Gallop.

————–

Now we will only get Plimer on Thursday 12 November at 2 Savoy Place, London WC1, where he “will give a 30 minute lecture on global warming and then take questions/points from the audience for 60 minute“.

I will believe in that only when I see it happening, by the way…whose kneecaps is Plimer going to try to (figuratively) break? 😎

Many Thanks To David Appell (And Scientific American)

What is there to complain about David Appell’s “Stumbling Over Data: Mistakes Fuel Climate-Warming Skeptics” (Scientific American, August 2009)?

It is perfectly written: at the same time, a long defence of AGW orthodoxy, and an introduction to AGW skepticism, with McIntyre’s, Watt’s and Morano’s blogs explicitly mentioned. It can be read as a demonstration that “mistakes” on climate data are minor, and that they are symptoms of a larger issue.

We are told that “open-source data are ultimately a great thing” (no kidding!).

If I were an AGWer, I would start suspecting that with the change in Editor, there is some potential opening against the “consensus”.

Deimocracy, Or Why The UK Government Is So Pumped Up On AGW

“The point is this: as the pandemic develops the onus is on officialdom to flag fact, prediction and possibility accordingly, and the media, charities, professional bodies, scientists and academics to keep these distinctions as sharp as possible at all times.”
Sam Lister

Perhaps it started with the Mad Cow disease scare. Perhaps it was a phenomenon associated with Tony Blair’s “leftists” policies becoming almost indistinguishable from good old Tory “rightist” policies, resulting in an emptiness of political argument.

For whatever reason, at least since 1997 the United Kingdom has been governed by a succession of states of fear, a veritable deimocracy (from “deimos“, ancient Greek for “dread”, i.e. “extreme fear”). In the UK, we have had innumerable scare stories about Y2K, child abuse, droughts, bird and swine flu, Iraq being capable of launching a missile attack within 45 minutes, terrorists ready to blow themselves up all over the country, and of course anthropogenic global warming (AGW) (I have already explored the link between deimocracy and AGW several months ago).

Given how almost each and every past scare has ended (disappeared into nothingness, all of them apart from the single episode of 7/7 terrorist bombings), one would expect a healthy skepticism about present and future scares on the part of the public. That is happening indeed, both about swine flu and AGW.

What is much more difficult to understand, is why the Government would want to appear confused and on the edge of panic as each new scare pops up: unless of course one understands how important deimocracy has become. As argued by Frank Furedi in “The Politics of Fear”:

With [the Left and Right] sides of the political spectrum practicing the politics of fear, we are left with neither an orientation towards the future nor a defense of society’s historic gains. Instead, we have presentism – a conformist sensibility that seeks to manage society in the here and now, against a backdrop of fear about the future and discomfort with the past. […] The political elite, disengaged from society and focused entirely on the present, pushes a misanthropic agenda that emphasises people’s vulnerability and sees individual behaviour as a problem to be managed. The elite demonstrates a strong element of paternalistic contempt, although, says Furedi, ‘they don’t recognise it in that form – it’s more a sense that there are all these dark savages out there, who need to be told what to do’.

Dark savages? Cue the recent drift towards theatrocracy

=================

As already mentioned, the behavior of the UK Government about the swine flu epidemics does not bode well for the future. Has anybody realized that for mysterious reasons the H1N1 virus looks like preferring to infect people in the old island of Albion? How can that be possible? Is there really no indication of an epidemics of overreaction and hyper-diagnoses, where every throat ache is immediately classified as “another swine flu victim”?

Of one thing there are all sorts of indications indeed: the UK Government’s communications and information management strategy has been a total failure. Writes Sam Lister in The Times of London:

“The importance of filtering the reasoned calculation from the increasingly wild speculation – and the importance for the media to report on the basis of robust evidence and credible opinion – will become ever more central as the pandemic evolves…Likewise official figures need to carry all their necessary caveats”

That is exactly what the UK Government has not been doing, all too ready to pass “wild speculation” as “established fact”. Yes, exactly as concerning AGW.

And who would have guessed? The grand total of purely swine-flu-related deaths in the UK as of today is…one!

“Another issue worth reiterating is the difference between a death from swine flu and the death of a person who had contracted the virus. The former sounds like a causative link, but to date has been inaccurate in most cases (a man from Basildon is the only person confirmed to have died after contracting swine flu with no other underlying health problems).”

Lister concludes with what might as well be the AGW Quote of the Week: it’s up to a society’s institutions, from the State to the media to scientis, to become able to accurately and intelligently inform the public, and all the more so when one has to deal with a topic of much uncertainty:

“The point is this: as the pandemic develops the onus is on officialdom to flag fact, prediction and possibility accordingly, and the media, charities, professional bodies, scientists and academics to keep these distinctions as sharp as possible at all times.”

Another Example Of A Bankrupt Scientific Consensus

Scientific work, unless accurately done, had better not be done at all
Preconceived opinion is the pretended assumption by man of godly attributes which he does not possess
JLW Thudichum

As synchronicity has it…

Days ago, the BBC mentioned the controversy that prevented scientists from recognizing pre-Cambrian complex lifeforms for some 93 years.

Now it’s The Scientist dedicating an article to Oscar Liebrich and Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Thudichum and five lost decades in Science, on the basis of Theodore Sourkes’s book titled The Life and Work of J.L.W. Thudichum (click here for an alternative review).

Liebrich was the first to propose “that brain tissue was composed of a single giant molecule called ‘protagon’” (an idea destined quickly to become the “Protagon Consensus”). Thudichum was instead the brilliant scientist, “disenchanted with Liebrich’s theory“, able to “carefully [detail] the chemical constitution of the brain” decades ahead of his time, and of course victim of the consensus: dismissed by his colleagues as a “liar“.

The same concepts are reported by Daniel D. Christensen, M.D. in the Am J Psychiatry 160:459, March 2003:  (here another version of the same article):

[Thudichum’s] attempts to understand the chemistry of the brain were often hotly debated and mocked. At times, even his personal character was attacked, as well as his honesty and motives. In the scientific press, he was called a “liar” and accused of “patent falsification.”

Thudichum’s main book on the topic dates 1884, some twenty years after the establishment of the Protagon Consensus and more or less the same span of time before its final demise. But Liebrich had started from a very strong position, being “a pupil of Hoppe-Seyler, one of the founders of biochemistry“. Dr. A Gamgee, Professor of Physiology in Manchester, didn’t waste much time to think about “protagon” before jumping in it with both his feet.

And so as late as 1909, somebody like W. Cramer could still be arguing for protagon, with M Steel and William J Geis spending twenty pages on the topic .

Another of Cramer’s Protagon Consensus articles shows characteristics that will not be unfamiliar to the AGW skeptic: interminable arguments deeply buried underneath layers of apparently scholarly reasoning (something we now know as utterly baseless); a pro-protagon explanation always at hand; and the wholesale dismissal of non-consensus ideas.

In an ironic twist, there is no space any longer for Liebrich in the history of biochemistry. And Thudichum is nowadays perhaps excessively celebrated, with a Medal Lecture in his honour. Still, his words are as true as ever: “Preconceived opinion is the pretended assumption by man of godly attributes which he does not possess“.

How Science Will Get Rid Of The AGW Dogma

(thanks to BBC’s In Our Time for inspiring this blog)

Will Science ever get rid of the silly “It’s all CO2/It’s all global warming” dogma that AGW has degraded into? Yes it will, as a matter of course (“you can fool all of the people some of the time…” and all that). But when? And can we draw down a likely process that will make that happen?

Yes we can.

It’s rather straightforward, and on past performance suggests any date between 2018 and 2091 as the year CO2-based AGW (or CO2-AGW) went the way of the dodo (using a quasi-arbitrary baseline of 1988 as when AGW became mainstream, with Hansen’s testimony to the US Senate).

Here’s the outline then for how Science will reject CO2-AGW:

  1. Wait a suitable number of years (could be 30, could be 93)
  2. Present yet more irrefutable evidence and improved measurement techniques to a recognized expert in the field

How can we know? What we need is an example from the history of Science, showing:

  1. how for decades all evidence contrary to an established, multi-disciplinary consensus had been there for all to see
  2. how that evidence went repetitively rejected, for years and years again and again even when yet new evidence of the same sort kept surfacing (thereby showing how the consensus had turned into a dogma)
  3. how peer-review failed miserably because of the dogma
  4. and finally how a new consensus supplanted the old dogma mostly because:
  • a new generation of established scientists became available, with nothing personal at stake in defending the established consensus/dogma;
  • the newest new evidence was recognized as incontrovertible (together with the old one, with the wisdom of hindsight) also thanks to the development of new measurement techniques

And here’s the example. It involves the Ediacaran animals (let’s call them “animals” shall we), at least 3 scientists either wholly diregarded or actively isolated by the consensus/dogma crowd, a few rejected scientific papers, for example by Nature magazine, and a consensus/dogma in the shape of the rather odd theory that complex animals popped up on this planet all of a sudden in the Cambrian era (around 540 million years ago).

To us it might as well appear quite obvious that Earth has been populated by something larger than bacteria before the “Cambrian explosion” (the Ediacarans being our “lucky strike” in finding something across such an enormous span of time, somehow imprinted as a fossil). But that was not the consensus until around 50 years ago, and it is actually still being used to nag poor Darwin, of all people the one more at pain in understanding why nobody could find complex lifeforms before the Cambrian geological strata.

But that was not the case. Such lifeforms’ fossils were found as early as 1868:

The first Ediacaran fossils discovered were the disc-shaped Aspidella terranovica, in 1868.

At least one scientist understood they were fossils, as early as 1872 (note how others had been blinded by…the established consensus!!):

However, since they lay below the “Primordial Strata”, the Cambrian strata that were then thought to contain the very first signs of life, it took four years for anybody to dare propose they could be fossils.

Alas, consensus won the day, and buried the fossils into the forgetfulness of history:

Elkanah Billings’ proposal (see here) was dismissed by his peers […] the one-sided debate soon fell into obscurity.

Six decades on, more pre-Cambrian stuff is found. Guess how it all ends:

In 1933, Georg Gürich discovered specimens in Namibia, but the firm belief that life originated in the Cambrian led to them being assigned to the Cambrian Period, and no link to Aspidella was made.

Thirteen more years pass, and a strong-willed Australian paleontologists gets involved. Consensus still (barely) wins, although against the first signs of a breakdown:

In 1946, Reg Sprigg noticed “jellyfishes” in the Ediacara Hills of Australia’s Flinders Ranges but these rocks were believed to be Early Cambrian, so while the discovery sparked some interest, little serious attention was garnered.

And here’s how the story ends, and the dogma, with an already well-respected scientist called Martin Glaessner and yet more evidence:

It was not until the British discovery of the iconic Charnia in 1957 that the pre-Cambrian was seriously considered as containing life. This frond-shaped fossil was found in England’s Charnwood Forest, and due to the detailed geologic mapping of the British Geological Survey there was no doubt that these fossils sat in Precambrian rocks. Palæontologist Martin Glaessner finally made the connection between this and the earlier finds, and with a combination of improved dating of existing specimens and an injection of vigour into the search, many more instances were recognised.

Of course, some things never change: Nature rejected Sprigg’s original article, then published Glaessner’s letter.

So much for “peer review”.

Reg Sprigg switched to the Energy&Environment equivalent of the time, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. Glaessner’s appeared on International Journal of Earth Sciences Volume 47, Number 2 / June, 1959.

The partner of Sprigg’s son is his biographer and has more about that:

If you look at them now I find it very hard [to think] that anybody could doubt them: they are about the size of the palm of your hand and you can quite clearly see they are circular, they look as you’d expect a jellyfish to look if it had dried out, or some kind of worm or something. But back then, yeah, he wrote a paper and submitted it to Nature, which is one of the most prestigious journals in the world, and they rejected it, they didn’t believe either in what he’d found. And it was about another 10 years before some amateur naturalists went back to Reg’s site and found some more specimens, different ones again, and took them again to the museum. And by then the museum was a little bit more interested and they organised their own expedition and brought back two truckloads of material and from then, the momentum grew.

What rules can we identify for the AGW debate? Nothing to be too proud of:

  • You might as well present irrefutable evidence against the dogma. Yet, it may be too early, in other words no recognized expert will be available to pick it up, so your efforts will only be good as backup material to future, post-dogma researchers (think Steve McIntyre)
  • Without improvements in the measurement techniques, we would still be discussing the possibility of exiting the old “Cambrian” dogma. (think Anthony Watts…it means “keep up the good work on the surface stations, don’t expect too much coming out of the rest of the WUWT blog for the time being” (see rule (a))
  • If the irrefutable evidence and improved measurement techniques meet a budding or rather unknown scientist (Sprigg) rather than an authority (Glaessner), well, it will be up to the authorities (Glaessner) to have the courage to follow up (see rule (a)).

Let’s be pragmatic and accept that’s just the way things are: CO2-AGW is a “conspiracy” where most of the “conjurors” have little idea they are actively practising it. Still, they are.

climate science: UK TO HOLD CLIMATE WEEK

The Double Hell Of Science-Led Policy

Scientists should be on tap, but not on top.
Winston Churchill

A chilling story just published in the BBC News online Magazine shows all that can go wrong when Science is taken as the one-stop-shop for all answers, and all decisions

The ultimate mea culpa – No childhood traumas could be blamed on my parents because they had an alibi – a doctor on the other side of the world, says Laurie Taylor in his weekly column

Mr Taylor, known to late-night Radio4 listeners for his rather peculiar “Thinking Allowed” programme, proceeds with explaining how his mother made large use of “scientific principles“. That is, of the child-rearing notions set up by a Doctor Truby King in New Zealand.

I realise that I’d stumbled upon my mother’s scientific procedures. There, laid out in stark clear terms, were all the rules which had to be followed if you were to produce a child who resembled any of the strong, morally upright offspring who leered out from its pages. The author was a New Zealand doctor called Truby King and it didn’t take me long to realise that he had little time for my sort of childish tantrums.

What was behind Dr King’s push to reach out to parents and help educate the children of the world?

King went on and on about how now was the time when science must take over from such non-scientific matters as a mother’s instinct when it came to bringing up children

And here the core messages:

Children, I learned, must never be allowed to dominate their parents […] Children had to learn that they couldn’t eat or sleep or defecate when they felt like it. There were proper times and places for everything. […] On no account should children be regularly cuddled.

In hindsight, there was little Science, rather something very sinister in Dr King’s thinking, since his “childcare organisation rallied under the alarmingly patriotic slogan: ‘The race marches forward on the feet of little children.’“. The white race, most likely, rather than the rat race…

Was that something Mr Taylor’s parents should have spotted on their own? We cannot be sure. What we can infer is that they were all for what they perceived as “Science”. And that made their child a victim: and their child’s child

When my own son was born I was determined that he should not be subject to such an authoritarian regime. His mother and I embraced a far more libertarian code […] he turned to me one night in the pub […] he’d always resented one aspect of his childhood. “Why,” he asked. “Did you never make me learn things properly? Why didn’t you insist that I learned to play the piano or to speak French? Why did you let me get away with it?”

=============

Note how the abuse of Science as the answer to everything leads also to an avoidance of responsibility

“You can’t blame us for what you are,” [Taylor’s mother] said. “You were brought up according to strict scientific principles.”

=============

There we have it all. Excessive confidence in Science. Disregard of anything not already fully boxed-in to the Science (we may call that “skepticism”). Disregard of people’s aspirations and personalities. Victims all around, sacrificed to a hell-on-earth or a higher purpose. And when disaster strikes, a quick hand-washing, blaming Science. Finally, a backlash in the opposite direction, creating a new kind of hell for even more victims.

Is that what the XXIII century book “A Brief History of the AGW Obsession” will talk about?

Calls For AGW Skeptics To Be Silenced (Or Worse) In The USA Are Unconstitutional

US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr writing his dissenting opinion in November 1919 (Abrams v. United States):

Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition….

But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe […] that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas—that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market….

That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment…. While that experiment is part of our system I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.

Justice Holmes’s and the whole of the USA’s journey towards contemporary interpretation of the meaning of free speech in America is the subject of “Justice Holmes and the ‘Splendid Prisoner’” by Anthony Lewis, published in The New York Review of Books, Volume 56, Number 11 · July 2, 2009.

Richard Black Sees The Light

Rejoice all ye faithful! Warmist Extraordinaire, BBC News environmental expert journalist Mr Richard Black has started to grasp all that is wrong with AGW messages such “the planet is burning”, “humanity is in peril”, “climate change is a bigger threat than nuclear war”.

I would have never expected to read Mr Black (with whom I have a long list of past disagreements) write statements such as

Climate change is projected to become a major driver of biodiversity decline […] but at the moment, the major factor is habitat loss as the human footprint expands. When it comes to fisheries […] the single biggest driver is undoubtedly over-consumption […] And underlying it all is the growth in the human species

[…] if climate impacts are at present largely reversible but the loss of a species self-evidently isn’t, does that make biodiversity loss more important than climate change?

[…] if the fundamental drivers of all the trends are the swelling in the human population and our expanding thirst for raw materials, why aren’t these the things that politicians and environmental groups are shouting about and trying to change?

The blog in question is titled “Does climate cloud the bigger picture?“.

Mr Black goes as far as to admit that

some of the policies being considered as a response to climate change […] could exacerbate other environmental problems

Perhaps he (and some among my twelve readers) will now understand why I simply cannot bear the constant barrage of absurdist climate change claims (shrinking sheep included). AND the BBC’s own fixation with all things global warming.

IMNSHO, anybody that cares about the environment should be wary of overshooting remarks about any particular environmental issue: those will not help solve anything, and likely will make things worse overall.

Close-Minded Environmental AGW Lawyer Plays The Bait

It is truly amazing to discover an “Open Letter to Climate Change Denialists” that is as close-minded as they can get, with sentences such as “we also welcome dissenting views, even when we think they’re unfounded” and “there’s no point in debating the science with you“.

The guy signing as Daniel Farber appears to be some sort of a “lawyer” that has written a paper titled “Climate Models: A User’s Guide” with “two goals: providing legal and policy analysts with a basic understanding of the types of computer models that are used in studying climate change, and thinking through the uses and limitations of these models for courts and agencies“.

Trouble is, the “User’s Guide” looks just like a glorified appeal on managing risk by concentrating on the “fat tail”, the potential, enormous risks should things go very badly. Its conclusions are not climate-specific: they apply to any problem with a “fat tail”. And they are wrong.

Man shall not manage risk on “worst-case scenario” alone. If one were to educate one’s children only based on that principle, one’d make their life a hell on earth. If one were to live by that principle, one’d never get out of bed in the morning. And if one were to make politics by that principle, well, no need to imagine things there, it’s been the Cheney/Rumsfeld strand of foreign policy for a few decades.

Luckily Mr Farber is no risk manager, otherwise some serious professional questions could have been made. Anyway, it would have been nice to read something more lawyerly than a rather fallacious attempt at presenting a three-possibilities choice that is obviously a reduction too far (already the second comment found a fourth possibility…)

ps as of now no much support for Mr Farber in the comments

pps Mr Farber appears to make the peculiar argument of having only AGWers as friends and acquaintances (“reaching readers who are well outside our usual circle of friends and acquaintances“)

ppps I would not be surprised if the overall goal is just to write another article attacking all anti-AGW arguments that pop up in the comments

At The UK Hadley Centre, They Know Something Nobody Else Knows…

…or alternatively, somebody has just used giant amounts of computing power to provide the UK Government’s Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ) with antiscientific numbers on alleged future climate “forecast”, “predictions” or “projections” (pick your preferred choice…).

What’s happening? Since last Sunday, there has been a curious slow-feeding of news about an upcoming “UK Climate Impact Projections” document prepared by the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Defra, “which is trying to plan for future changes brought about by global warming“.

Even more curious is the fact that as of today neither the Hadley Centre’s website nor DEFRA’s make any mention of such document. Full results are expected by June 18, so we will have to rely on news reports in the meanwhile.

Google News shows articles from The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times (and again), Sky News, Daily Mail, Southern Daily Echo, with mentions of 41C in London, vineyards all around, a Mediterranean climate in Devon and a list of expected temperatures at county level.

Since there is no original document to read, those news reports must have been based mostly on each other, and hopefully at least one on some sort of “hidden” press release. And in fact, there is at least one section that appears in most articles pretty much unchanged:

Some may question how the Met Office can make predictions a lifetime into the future, when it struggles to produce forecasts for the next few months. However, climate change impacts are predicted to be so strong that, over decades, they are easier to predict than short-term changes.

There are positive and negative aspects to the text above. Whoever wrote it, they had to face the fact that the time when multidecadal climate projections would be left unchallenged, has ended some time ago. Therefore they had to imagine what climate skeptics would question, and come up with some sort of an answer. Trouble is, the answer is no good at all.

  1. They are admitting that the state of the climate in the long term is uncertain
  2. There is a misuse of the word “predictions” (see below)
  3. The author tries to convey the idea that future climate is easier to forecast, the stronger the “climate change impacts”. But this means that not even the people at the Hadley Centre are confident in the projections computed in anything but the worst possible scenario (every other scenario having weaker climate change impacts, is by definition more of a struggle to predict)

Perhaps more importantly, the trouble with long-term climate predictions is not just due to their intrinsic temporal timeframe, spanning decades. Even admitting that as a possibilty (and I have my strong doubts about it), still the problem of how to go from planet-wide analyses to a regional level has not been solved. And by regions I am talking “continents”.

How did anybody at the Hadley Centre manage to compute anything meaningful at the level of Yorkshire or East Anglia? Is there anything they have not told us, a major breakthrough in climate science that will be revealed to the masses by Thursday next?

Or have they just computed and published figures that have no basis in Science?

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Another antiscientific aspect is in the use of words. I am not talking about the journalists…those are forever going to mix up “prediction” and “projection”. What is wrong is when scientists, or in any case people that should know better, add to the confusion by mixing those words up.

Look at the “answer” text above (that we can assume having been written by somebody at the Hadley Centre or Defra, the only people with access to the original document): “impacts are PREDICTED“.

Sky’s weather presenter Lucy Verasamy says: “These PREDICTIONS“.

A Met Office spokesman says: “These FORECASTS“, “Our PREDICTIONS“.

Myles Allen, head of climate dynamics at Cambridge University, is quoted: “Cities in the Midlands and south, ARE GOING to start experiencing some increasingly uncomfortable summers.

There might be very few things I understand about climate, but one there is: whoever speaks of PREDICTIONS or FORECASTS concerning the climate many decades in the future, they have failed to understand an extremely important aspect of climatology.

AGW Fascism Reaches European Union Elections

(thanks to Piero Vietti for pointing this out)

AGW Fascists have gone full-throttle for the upcoming elections for the European Union Parliament. Even the mildest of non-catastrophist objection is described as a terrible political sin, akin to racism and the denial of the Holocaust.

First example, the PES (European Socialist Party) publishing a list of “Twelve Terrible Candidates

This PES document presents a selection of terrible European election candidates of other European political parties. We criticize not the candidates but their views. We do so because voters have a right to see not only the candidates they can vote for directly, but also their European allies. The selection presented a difficult choice and there are certainly other candidates with even more absurd or offensive views.

Nonetheless, outside our social democratic family there are an unknown number of candidates who deny the holocaust, defend fascism, oppose Government action on climate change and hold other views that deserve to be condemned or laughed at. Whatever your reaction, we are pleased to present some candidates with views that will contribute nothing positive to the European Parliament.

One doesn’t need too good a memory to understand how profoundly Stalinist is what the PES has attempted.

Anyway, the list is moslty risible, including Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi just because European Socialists find him personally unpleasant, and former Romanian Minister of Justice Monica Macovel as guilty of denouncing her country’s notoriously sleazy politics.

Were it not for BNP’s Nick Griffin, the “Twelve Terrible Candidates” list would be a complete farce.

And who do we find among the “defenders of fascism” and “deniers of the Holocaust“? Why, Mr. Hynek Fajmon, Member of the European Parliament since 2004 for the Czech Republic. Included because “voted against the European Parliament’s report on EU future policy on climate change (e.g. [sic] the ‘Florenz report’).” (the shock! the horror!)

Hynek Fajmon? Who he? Perhaps a rabid AGW slayer, the owner of 200 SUVs and 15 Hummers, Exxon’s response to Al Gore? Of course not. Mr Fajmon’s unspeakable action deserving “to be condemned or laughed at” includes the following genocidal, baby-eating, wife-beating, kitten-torturing words anybody with two functioning neurons should be able to agree with as a matter of course:

The Florenz report asserts that the climate undertakings adopted by the EU in 2007 are insufficient and that they must be increased. I do not agree with this. As long as the EU is the only part of the world reducing its emissions then the target of reducing global emissions will never be achieved.

Sadly, the PES is not alone. Here’s what “lead Welsh Labour candidate Derek Vaughan” told the BBC on June 2:

the Tories have pledged to sit with racists and those who deny that global warming is a man-made problem

There you are, you (we) despicable climate skeptics! And you still call yourselves humans??? Tsk tsk. Wait until the PES and Derek Vaughan get their way, and the shame will befall upon you lot!!

Either The Best BBC Climate Blog…

…or their way of “showing impartiality”?

In any case, the BBC’s “Climate Change – The Blog of Bloom” is well worth an entry in one’s RSS feeds list.

And the authors there are quite humorous and far, far less the self-conscious, bordering-on-pompous, depressive types like Roger Harrabin and Richard Black.

For a couple of suggestions, start from these:

Carbon-neutral adventurers find reason to love oil tanker

Giant trees decline in Yosemite: climate change may, or equally may not be to blame

Sacked climate minister reveals somewhat unsurprising support for state aid

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Now…can “The Blog of Bloom” really be used to demonstrate the impartiality of the BBC in the climate debate? I am afraid it cannot. See, there is no link to it, and there has never been, into the “Science and Environment” section of the BBC News website.

AGWers Of The World Unite!

Some people are a bit reluctant in making it clear that the AGW efforts are a political attempt at social engineering on a massive scale, perhaps with one idea or two about a World Government.

That’s definitely not the case for Professor Claus Leggewie, Director of the Institute for Scientific Culture for the State of Essen (Germany), and Member of the Scientific Advisory Group for the German Federal Government on all topics Global Environmental Change.

Professor Leggewie writes on the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Mar 23) in the aptly-titled “Political Economy As Climate Defence” (SZ, 23 March):

The contemporaneous crisis of the Economy and the Environment requires a radical new way of thinking in a global dimension. It necessitates a structural change of great depth and long duration. If [such a change] is not thought and dared today…we will lose the still-feasible move towards a Low-Carbon Economy. […]

It is clear that Leggewie sees the economical crisis as a good chance to avoid the climate crisis. The latter is the goal, the former just a means to force everybody in the “right” direction…

A “Climate Marx” must surely be in the offing…

Scientific Results As Data Interpretations

A must-read for anybody involved in disputes about “what Science says”, from today’s e-mail newsletter by The Scientist:

The Problem of Perception – by Steven Wiley

There is a common perception among young students that the surest path to resolving scientific controversies is to design a clever experiment, one that will definitively resolve conflicting hypotheses. However, I have found that most scientific controversies do not revolve around specific experimental data, but instead are disputes over data interpretation. Data interpretations depend on a scientist’s underlying assumptions and worldview. […]

we were working from a computational model of endocytosis that allowed us to try out different sets of assumptions and see how they would affect the system’s behavior. The other group felt that our computer model was a poor substitute for their own scientific intuition regarding what was happening. […]

Interestingly, our view was vindicated not because people came to accept our use of computational modeling, but because our hypothesis was more successful in predicting subsequent experimental results. Scientists don’t generally care about who is right or who is wrong in a dispute. They want a conclusion that can help predict their own experimental outcomes. Science is built brick by brick from ideas and concepts that can lead to the next successful series of experiments and concepts. If an idea doesn’t support the next brick, it is discarded. It’s natural selection in science.

Scientific disputes seem inevitable in any career, but mine gave me a keen appreciation of the need for caution in accepting simple interpretations of the behavior of complex systems. In science, we do not gather facts. We make observations. Our interpretation of observations is only as good as our assumptions and conceptual frameworks. […]

The above explains how AGW could become such a consensual paradigm for an intellighentsia that has lost all hopes. It is also relevant to the discussion about the use of computer models and the extreme importance of their predicting powers. And finally it states loud and clear how pointless it is to pretend that there is nothing subjective in Science, and especially in the study of complex systems.

The Big Lie Of Anthropogenic Global Warming (And Why It Is So Worrying…)

There may be a very good reason for some Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) proponents’ censorial, bullying attitude focused on belittling and silencing all sorts of skeptical (and non-skeptical) voices, with disingenuous remarks about the debate being “over”.

It is the same reason that forces some teenage idiots to push younger children around. Simply put, it’s a matter of insecurity.

To this day, AGWers have nothing to show. One doesn’t need to be financed by Exxon or a hardened neocon: just a good dose of honesty with oneself is enough to understand that, in the words of Andrew C. Revkin of The New York Times, “the dangerous aspects of human-forced climate disruption [are not] soon, salient [or] certain“.

The fabled IPCC reports thread tentatively on the matter of present evidence of global warming, with the AR4 dedicating to it just a single chapter, mostly focused on listing changes that are “compatible” with global warming. The temperature readings are still in ranges that can be easily reverted by relatively modest volcanic eruptions, and everybody admits that even decadal trends do depend on what reference values are used.

There is no modeller predicting disasters at the current level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (385ppmv), as shown by the fact  that negotiations aim to fix an upper limit of 450ppmv (17% higher) with the underlying aim to avoid 550pmv (43% higher).

Climate Change / Global Warming Attribution (attribution of changes and/or warming to human activities, that is) is still up in the air (there is a whole session “Detection and Attribution: State of Play in 2009“, at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Science in Copenhagen, March 10-12 2009) . Even RealClimate cannot fail to express doubts on much-publicized recent attribution papers.

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Anthropogenic Global Warming / Climate Change per se are _not_ self-evident facts of the moment. Whoever claims otherwise, they are perpetuating the Big Lie of AGW.

Theirs is not Science, but a falsification of it.

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The debate that should be going on at the moment, and the point around which decisions should be made, is on the possibility that for some reason, we today are seeding the seeds of AGW in the future.

But that issue is very much cloudied by hysterical, anti-scientific reports and claims about present-day AGW. And that risks to impede the discovery and implementation of proper responses to the AGW threat, rather than patched-up farces such as the Kyoto Protocol.

Tough love indeed some environmentalists have for the environment. A few more cries purportedly to defend it, and they may as well kill it themselves altogether.

Stansted Climate Protest, or Why AGW Must Be Challenged

Major PR debacle for AGWers, one hopes, in today’s break-in at London’s Stansted Airport with thousands unable to leave for their expected destinations.

And it’s not just a matter of going home and rebook online: imagine how many pre-booked vacations have been ruined, family reunions postponed, business meetings cancelled, money wasted in giant taxi fares and expensive car parking, that will have to be paid again shortly.

Who would have guessed, of all people the climate protesters have prevented from flying a BBC journalist with plenty of AGW articles in his CV and a long-planned trip to Poznan to attend the UN climate talks. Is there a long, long ferry journey to Denmark in Mr Black’s future, one wonders?

Promises of bringing to protesters in front of a court of justice already abounds. However, in the recent past the UK Government has approved of apparently law-breaking climate-change protests, so I would’t bet anybody will be punished…

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Actually the Plane Stupid’s plain stupid initiative of today comes out handy to demonstrate why AGW has to be challenged by everybody with a sane mind: because it has been portrayed in so dire terms, that people of various critical ability will do who-knows-what excessive actions in its name.

If 80% or more of the living species are threatened by humans, surely a terrorist attack will appear fully justified in many not-even-too-deranged-minds? People have been bombing each other for decades for far less than the well-being of the biosphere. One wished nonviolence figured more prominently in the Plane Stupid declarations.

Nothing is safe from “the threat of runaway climate change”, and no rights can be considered too important for AGWers to leave it untouched: our rights to move freely, to choose how to earn and how to spend our money, to plan for a holiday, to visit parents and other relatives abroad or even on the other side of the country, not to mention the right to think if not express the opinion that AGW is a big castle made of nothing like sand, they will all disappear sooner or later, if nobody tries to insert some sense in the climate discussion.

The strange bit is that even such an authoritative AGW group like the IPCC, and avowed catastrophiliacs such as Lord Stern, do not believe overdramatic actions are needed today, or tomorrow. Rather, they all advocate something to be done in the scale of decades.

And that is even more worrying: because in spite of what is actually meant by Stern, or by Al Gore, or by James Hansen or the UK Government,  at the end of the day their choice of words will always inspire simpletons to do something very very silly at airports and elsewhere; and Governments to curtail civil liberties in the name of the Greater Good That Could Not Have Been Portrayed Greater.

Perhaps more people will wake up one day to the fact that he transformation of society into a “Moral Police State” is the only way AGW  can be stopped, or so it is implied by those that portray it as the biggest challenge to humanity, a threat bigger than the terrorism, the source of everything wrong with the world today, the thing that will burn up the world to cinder, etc etc.

All statements, by the way, that rest on very weak foundations, because extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. And we don’t have it.

A "Scientific Ombudsman" To Avoid a Scientific Schism

The Scientist” reports about University of Cambridge biologist Peter Lawrence‘s (and others’) complaint against Cell, “one of the most cited scientific journals” according to Wikipedia.

Improper citation, disregard for antecedent research, and shoddy experimentation – those are just a few of the allegations levied against a recent research paper […]

Lawrence wrote in a letter to Cell that the paper was “seriously flawed both scientifically and ethically […]” Lawrence’s letter was not published in Cell, but he sent it to The Scientist. […]

Editors at Cell did not respond to an email request for comment in this story. However, the journal’s senior scientific editor, Connie Lee, did respond to Lawrence’s letter [but] declined his request to publish a minireview, instead offered Lawrence the opportunity to post his comments on Cell’s website. […]

Lawrence, however, would like to see action taken to address the issue of scientific scoopsmanship on a broader level. “There should be some kind of scientific ombudsman that people could contact when they feel they’ve been wronged,” he said. “At the moment, there’s nothing.”

It is said that scientific peer-review is like Democracy: full of flaws, but there isn’t anything better (I do have indirect experience with asinine comments by ignorant reviewers taken as Truth by editors of scientific journals with a purpose). But Democracy has been evolving and dare I say improving itself with time, whilst peer-review is somehow considered too saintly to be touched.

This has the unfortunate consequence that there are now people explicitly asking for its “overhaul”.

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UPDATE NOV 26: The Scientist has today another article praising peer-review as it happens today, and a few comments critical of it.

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The risk there is for a major Scientific schism, with some sticking to their little ivory towers of mutual peer-review; and others deliberately abandoning any attempt to publish in peer-reviewed journals, consigning their work to the Internet masses.

Whole areas of research may descend into “scientific wars” full of mutually-incompatible claims about the world we all live in. That will leave everybody unfamiliar with the field at a complete loss on what is, and what is not known.

This may have already happened, in Climatology, leading to Intergovernmental Panels etc etc.

I’d rather prefer a scientific ombudsman, thank you very much.

Two-Mile-Deep Antarctic Ice Core Reveals Stupidity of AGW Catastrophism

(per la versione italiana cliccare qui: “La CO2 Non E’ D’Accordo Con I Catastrofisti – Articolo su Svipop“)

The extraordinary conclusions of the Epica 2008 “Quaternary Climate” scientific conference (Nov 10-13, Venice, Italy) have elicited little interest in the media.

It’s anybody’s guess if that’s related to the fact that those results clearly and evidently show that

  1. the Earth’s climate has been wildly oscillating between cold and warmth for at least 800,000 years, long before any sizable man-made intervention
  2. during that period, the record minimum has been reached around 20,000 years ago (10C less than today’s); that’s before agriculture
  3. the record maximum still belongs to around 120,000 years ago (+5C more than today’s); and that’s before agriculture, too
  4. the concentrations of CO2 have depended on the amounts of iron in dust, with higher availability of iron resulting in lower amounts of atmospheric CO2
  5. and whilst temperatures have been at times warmer than today’s, and at other times much colder, corals, mammals, birds, trees and the rest of the biosphere have chugged along nicely (in a relative way)

AGW-related catastrophism is going the way of the dodo. Alas, so far there’s been no space to mention that in the vast majority of mainstream newsmedia.

Dome C ice-core results
Dome C ice-core results

I have to admit, I would have known nothing about Epica 2008 were it not for Italian climate blog “Climate Monitor” by Major Guido Guidi, weather and climate expert of the Italian Air Force. One can only thank Guidi, and Turin newspaper “La Stampa”‘s science supplement “Tuttoscienze” for deciding to mention the results of the analysis of a 3,230-meter ice core extracted at “Dome C”, 75S 123E’s Concordia Base in Antarctica.

(in the picture: green for temperature variations in degrees C; orange for iron fluxes, in milligrams per square meter; red for CO2 concentrations in ppmv; years are in thousands before-present (B.P.))

That’s the deepest ice core ever extracted.

The full article by Gabriele Beccaria is available in Italian at this link. Epica 2008 organizer Prof. Carlo Barbante, of University of Venice and Italian National Research Council’s Environmental Process Dynamics Institute, is quoted as saying that the ice core has been taken from

an area where snow accumulates…25 millimeters per year

According to the data, Earth has gone through 8 ice ages and 8 “warm ages” during the past 800,000 years. Barbante says

“we are now in one of the ‘warm’ phases. It started 10,000 years ago and, comparing it to what there’s been [in the past], it can be seen that it’s anomalous, because it has been lasting a long time and temperatures have been very stable”

Still, Beccaria points out that between 120,000 and 100,000 years ago, temperatures have been up to 5C warmer than today’s, at the upper end that is of the IPCC’s more catastrophic scenarios (or predictions). And just 20,000 years ago, the Earth was up to 10C colder (a negative record for the past 800,000 years, apparently). Barbante again:

“The cyclical nature [of temperatures] provides us with the right perspective concerning the climatic changes observed at the moment: if we don’t make the effort towards reaching a better understanding of the natural mechanisms [of climate change], it will be useless to keep trying to patch up predictions on what will happen in a century or two.”

Paleoclimatologists to the rescue then, cajoling to recover at least part of their past relevance after being outclassed by climate modelers as the main reference group able to talk to the politicians.

But there is more (apart from the confirmation of human-related pollution, in terms of methane, nitrogen oxides, chloride, sulfates, nitrates, and heavy metals). Barbante:

“in the core we have measured…the flux of iron in the dust. [Iron] is a biologically-active metal, as it underlies…the conversion of CO2 and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in organic compounds. [We know now that] during glacial intervals iron increases and the biological pump works at its best, whilst during the interglacials like today’s, that process is less efficient and CO2 increases.”

With iron availability near zero at the moment, it is therefore little surprise that CO2 has been increasing, admittedly to record levels compared to the past 800,000 years. In other words it may be not just a matter of human emissions, but also of momentarily-inefficient present-day “carbon sinks”.

Beccaria concludes that next step is to investigate the “warm periods” in order to find clues about the present situation.

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For me the above demonstrates how stupid AGW catastrophism like Mark Lynas’, Al Gore’s and Jim Hansen’s is and has been for many years.

“Stupid” in the sense of hurting the rest of the world (by impeding an appropriate analysis of the history of climate change and past “warm” phases, thereby spreading blindness towards probable causes and possible effects); whilst hurting its own cause (by convincing people the magnitude of the challenge is so great, there isn’t much that can be done).

The most they can show is a cursory series of conferences leading to little promises for 10 years in the future, and grand promises for 50 years (so Governments have “only” 49 years to renege on their big promises).

On second thought, that may truly be a good thing.