Canada May Sensibly Blow Off Kyoto

No nation concerned with the science of climate change should have ever given the Kyoto Protocol the time of day. Most of them did, and signed and ratified this plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of wealthy nations, while granting the two most polluting nations (China and India) immunity to produce as much CO2 as they wish.

Today Reuters reported that Canada has stated that the Kyoto Protocol is a “thing of the past” but has not yet confirmed whether it will formally pull out of the pact. Russia and Japan also said that they will not renew their commitment to the protocol unless it binds on the world’s greatest polluters.

The United States, which was the world’s largest emitter at the time of the Kyoto Protocol, refused to sign the treaty as it clearly had more to do with politics than with science. Since then, China and India have both probably surpassed US emissions, and have been producing sharply increasing emissions every year while wealthier nations have been striving to reduce CO2.

As China and India are both in periods of extreme economic growth as they struggle to catch up to the rest of the world’s standards of living, it’s unlikely that either will bother to meet any CO2 restrictions. There is just not enough immediate incentive to do so, and no immediate drawback in continuing to pollute their way to economic growth.

Most nations that did ratify the Kyoto Protocol have failed to meet its targets, and failed by huge margins. There is a really simple reason for this: as China and India discovered, there’s just no compelling reason to bother.

My opinion is that the only way any nation will truly change their CO2 emitting ways (and I’m talking to you, United States, China, India, Brazil, Russia, etc.) is if we make it cheaper and more profitable to use clean energy. Not artificially so, through the use of penalties and incentives, but genuinely so. This means investment in clean energy sources, namely Generation IV nuclear technologies.

Discuss and flame.

About Brian Dunning

Science writer Brian Dunning is the host and producer of Skeptoid.
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103 Responses to Canada May Sensibly Blow Off Kyoto

  1. Jeff Sharp says:

    A very nervous Kyoto just called. They said they’re still a fantastic city and great for tourists. They have other protocols, you know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  2. Jim Fisher says:

    “The United States, which was the world’s largest emitter at the time of the Kyoto Protocol, refused to sign the treaty as it clearly had more to do with politics than with science. ”

    I am skeptical of that claim. I posit that the political environment of the time was most assuredly “anti-science” and the move to NOT sign the protocol was most assuredly political. It was simply a rare astrological alignment of politics and science that kept the US out of that quagmire.

  3. Søren Erland Vestø says:

    Sadly, the Fukushima accident was probably the end of nuclear energy use what with Germany and France already closing down reactors left and right.

    • I don’t agree. Yes there was some short-term reactionary blustering, but in the long-term it will be seen for what it was: (a) a technology irrelevant to modern nukes, and (b) a worst-case scenario that produced zero injuries. Fukushima’s total meltdown was still far safer than the everyday normal operation of any common coal or oil power plant.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure about the zero injuries. Maybe zero injuries immediately, but it seems likely that quite a lot of the clean-up crew will die of radiation-induced illnesses eventually.

        I agree though that, long-term, nuclear energy will have to play a large part in getting us out of this CO2 mess. Politically, that’s an extremely hot potatoe though, which is why I’m not holding my breath waiting for any change in this direction.

        Michi.

        • The predictions indicate zero eventual cancer cases, but of course those numbers could change as more data comes in. Note that the plant manager just retired with an undisclosed medical problem, and he is the one who spent the most time onsite.

          • NoseyNick says:

            Let’s (generously) pretend that Fukushima ends up causing 12 deaths. That’s still a tiny fraction of what the US Coal extraction and power production industry kills EVERY YEAR.

          • In the Eastern US, that number is some 60,000/yr who die of lung cancer from particulate air pollution caused by the coal burning plants. There’s a reference for this in one of the Skeptoid articles on nuclear energy.

          • Henk v in the "bat cave" says:

            Ah, the hoary old injury debate.. It started the day the incident occurred.

            I am pretty sure that new environmental consideration will eventually overcome green duck speak. Nuclear is not only an option it continues to be disseminated in better systems world wide.

            The churlish vote grabbing display by the german government clearly shows they are just as nuclear as australia but likes to have a bleeding heart vote grab.

            Germany, if it really does go down the path of non nuclear power, will only be buying nuclear power from its neighbours. Big deal.

            I am not sure what injuries were sustained during the initial stages but they werent immediate injuries and reporting heresay isnt very helpful. The media is full of this garbage. The fall back there is, we report it.

            Back to reality, its the safest power generation method.

            And as to putting my body n the line, If the prefecture offered me a nice house on a block of land within the exclusion zone, I’d take it.

            You’d have a pretty ritzy job dong environmental work for little risk.

            But then i am 53, I am not overly worried by an elevated background.

            Frankly, I’d be far more worried about Japans tectonic disposition.

    • Paul Buhler says:

      In regards to France there does not appear to be any official call to shut down nuclear power plants. However a Socialist party candidate has suggested curbing the use of nuclear power, an idea which has been criticized by the utility lobby ( “We must not entertain the illusion that we can get out of nuclear by relying on energy savings and renewables” was the quote from the president of UFE, see Tara Patel’s article on Bloomberg.com from 7Nov.2011).

  4. Stephan says:

    What’s to flame? Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. We need to remove the stigma of generation 1 nuclear reactors before we can move on with gen 4’s. problem is, people like my wife are so set in their ways that not even evidence will sway them away from nuclear power. very frustrating and ultimately damaging to the planet.

  5. Greg Middleton says:

    I think you are probably right. India is doing a lot. I see huge changes in places like Delhi where they have changed from diesel to propane tuk tuks, wind farms all through the south, big programs to change from charcoal to gas cookers, but popluation is still the big problem, that is the big problem everywhere. Population control is the elephant in the room everywhere. We will never deal with pollution until we deal with that. I also say we have to move on with nuclear energy, make solar really cheap. I live on a boat and would love to double my solar but it is procey, would love to put solar on the roof of my house. I fly over cities and see all those roofs and thaink there is the solution…

  6. Timberati says:

    We’re already beating Europe in lowering CO2 more that they are, due to increased use of natural gas.

  7. Walter says:

    Excellent post Brian. Glad to see other nations finally understanding what the US understood from the beginning.

    And yes, the more Gen IVs the better.

  8. Craig Good says:

    I continue to believe that free markets and technology will do a better job at reducing CO2 than any bloated scam like Kyoto (the treaty, not the beautiful city). It seems odd that stating the incandescently obvious, ie: that we need more nuclear power, is considered controversial.

    • Michael Pandazis says:

      CO2 emissions represent a huge externality problem. How do you propose that the free market deal with this? What if it doesn’t do so in time?

  9. Andiis says:

    ” … Yes there was some short-term reactionary blustering.. ” You pompous old goat!!
    You have all the sensitivity of a falling brick. Did you not see what we all saw? Have you not read the article upon article of the lies and deception that TEPCO perpetrated on the Japanese people.
    I was all in favour of Nuclear power until this debacle. Now if the regulatory agencies are going to put profit before people ..forget it!! We’ve had enough of that with coal and gas.
    Are these then forms of power that humans can come up with?

    http://enenews.com/asahi-govt-survey-shows-fukushima-fallout-has-spread-throughout-japan-now-confirmed-at-okinawa-1700-km-away

    • Is this about the science of the safety, or about the PR maneuverings of Tepco?

      • Andiis says:

        When the PR team of the energy supplier tells us all, ” There is nothing to worry about…. these reactors are safe. “, you’ll forgive me if I remain skeptical. When a non-nuclear scientist blogger writes a blog about the information he has garnered from sources recommended to him, you will forgive me if I remain skeptical.

        • I certainly hope you do, and I wish more people would!

          • Henk v in the "bat cave" says:

            Didnt you do a skeptoid on straw men recently Brian?

            So when a pathetically ignorant media gets carte blanche to panic the entire pacific rim with fallout fears folk dont “remain skeptical”?

            There will be reports issued by the IAEA in the long term. For those who wish to get a better idea of whats happening without any bias, Barry Brooks’ brave new climate would cover the above charge levelled at Brian.

            Now as to non experts reporting on matters nuclear, that is, I am afraid, the entire media.

  10. Tom Rhoads says:

    Canada had no chance of meeting their emissions goal, anyway. Russia probably will meet its goal, but only because of the economic downturn. China has surpassed the US in emissions and India is well on its way.

  11. Rob Hooft says:

    Whether China or India are surpassing the total energy usage of the USA is irrelevant. What counts in all fair measure is the energy use and CO2 production per capita. The USA does not have that much more wealth than the richer Europenan nations, but uses 4x more energy per capita. And on top of that, they are not doing a whole lot to reduce that.

    The USA is trying to avoid “energy taxes”. The effect is that they will be technologically behind, and that they will soon only pay energy taxes to oil producing countries. This money will not come back to the US to benefit its economy.

  12. Derek says:

    Come on, Brian. Every treaty is political. That is the nature of treaties. Kyoto was flawed, in part because consensus politics always lags behind research-based understanding, but largely because major money and power bases wanted it to be toothless and fail. It was one of the few world initiatives to think and act toward long-term world needs. It could have been the start of a move toward more responsible, more scientifically grounded agreements. Instead, the anti-science, anti-thinking, big-business-over-people, know-nothing political, and religious forces made each step worse and weaker.

    As we approach twenty years of inaction since the first international government climate meetings, and fifteen years since Kyoto, mainstream science has increasingly solid data on the seriousness of the problem, the importance of quick and drastic action, and the tragedy of the squandered time. I’m sorry to see you, and most of those who have commented, endorse inaction and ignorance.

    • Thanks for your accurate paraphrasing. I could have restated the entire post as “I recommend ignorance and inaction to address global warming.” I wish I’d had this for today’s Skeptoid episode on Straw Man Listener Feedback. :-)

      • Derek says:

        I wasn’t only paraphrasing, I was commenting and analyzing. If you wish to say that expressing any contrasting view is a straw man argument, feel free. I note that you presented my alleged position in quotation marks, but did not actually quote what I said. Perhaps there is plenty of straw to go around.

        To bring a little accurate quoting into the analysis, you said, “No nation concerned with the science of climate change should have ever given the Kyoto Protocol the time of day.” That is certainly a call to inaction, and complete dismissal, in relation to the Kyoto Protocol. I don’t claim that you endorse inaction and ignorance on all subjects and in all fields. I do assert that in ridiculing the best attempt to date at coordinated international action on climate change, you are allying yourself with, among other groups, the narrow viewpoint and dishonest information machine of the oil companies, and the anti-science forces of climate change deniers. These are some of the powerful forces of ignorance and inaction. I assert that you are endorsing a key element of their position, that governments shouldn’t work together to address global climate change problems. I’m not saying that you agree with the denialist camp, only that in this article, you are arguing against coordinated international action by governments, and for major pieces of their platform.

        Again, this is not simply paraphrasing, it is also analysis. You say, “My opinion is that the only way any nation will truly change their CO2 emitting ways (and I’m talking to you, United States, China, India, Brazil, Russia, etc.) is if we make it cheaper and more profitable to use clean energy. Not artificially so, through the use of penalties and incentives, but genuinely so.” “The only way” seems to be clear enough in not allowing for the viability other alternatives. You also reject “the use of penalties and incentives”. That seems to rule out government action. Which leaves the field open for the rich and powerful to do as they please. I think that they will continue to please themselves as they have been. Can you give us more hints on “how we make it cheaper and more profitable to use clean energy”? How to realize that goal seems to be lacking in your current argument, aside from your endorsement of nuclear energy. Do you see that as the complete answer? Do you also endorse making the nuclear industry responsible for all the costs related to nuclear power? That industry has already managed to exempt themselves, through coercing congress into passing unique laws for their benefit, from the majority of liability concerns that most other industries face.

        The major companies have been very successful at bending both governments and economies to favoring their interests. It would be great if all the oil companies had to bear the full costs of their energy production and consumption. It would be great if the nuclear industry had to finance itself without the massive government subsidies, protections, supports, and exemptions. Instead, conventional energy industries make sure that they get tremendous subsidies of many different sorts. The time may come when even with all the subsidies and advantages given to conventional energy production, renewables will be compellingly cheaper. But they are fighting tooth and nail to delay that day of reckoning, and prevent the growth of renewable energy production. I think you are dreaming, when you suggest that the only way to make progress on this issue is to wait until the distorted and artificial market system, fighting at every step for unfair advantages, finally drifts into the sustainability camp.

        I think I am dreaming, when I hope for effective international action by governments, or by enough well-informed, well-educated people. But I see efforts in that direction as a useful part of the equation, whereas I see calls for laissez-faire and market approaches as a fairly dire part of the problem.

        • Michael says:

          Thank you for posting this. It gives a much better balance to the whole debate in my view and a much clearer view of the true nature of the relationship between government and business than earlier comments. I’ve only been using this site a very short time, but there are occasions when I can’t help wondering if there are not some cabalistic motives behind some of the opinions voiced.

          For example, citing nuclear energy as “the only way” to combat CO2 emissions is through “Generation IV nuclear technologies” smacks of dogma from my skeptical point of view. Equally the claims about zero injuries may prove to be a little premature, and environmental impact has certainly yet to be assessed. As a non-scientist but nevertheless a voting citizen with vested interests in the planet, my views with regard to nuclear power are inevitably coloured by Windscale, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. Yes, I understand the ‘technology’ arguments. Yes, I hear that ‘apart from Chernobyl’ (well that’s all right then) no one has ever been killed as the result of a nuclear accident. But it is true, is it not, that atomic radiation which would not otherwise be there, has been released into the biosphere? And that the effects of that are, as yet, unknown because of their long term nature? And, technology apart, we are still dealing with the same highly unstable element in every single case, are we not?

          Sorry to go on. I really only intended just to thank Derek for his clear exposition, but I seem to have indulged myself in a layman’s point of view at the same time. Please feel free to be skeptical about my motives :)

  13. Michael Pandazis says:

    “the only way any nation will truly change their CO2 emitting ways […] is if we make it cheaper and more profitable to use clean energy. Not artificially so, through the use of penalties and incentives, but genuinely so…”

    I disagree. Emitting CO2 is currently artificially cheap. Penalties and incentives, correctly applied, serve to bring the private cost of CO2 emission (often zero) more into line with its social cost (not zero).

  14. Ed says:

    >>>The United States, which was the world’s largest emitter at the time of the Kyoto Protocol, refused to sign the treaty as it clearly had more to do with politics than with science.

    I think you have that backwards, Brian, I think the US refusal to sign the treaty had nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics. Those in power at the time used pure politics and an anti-science campaign to defeat ratification.

    It’s important to note that Kyoto was promoted as a first step in a long process. Stopping this agreement ended the international consensus on the need to reduce greenhouse gasses and nearly all international efforts.

    >>> granting the two most polluting nations (China and India) immunity to produce as much CO2 as they wish.

    Isn’t this language a bit hyperbolic? The word “immunity” really doesn’t apply.

    Plus, you’re ignoring a key aspect, as both countries have indeed increased their emissions, they haven’t increased their emissions as much as they would have, were it not for their participation in Kyoto. Both have shut down older, more polluting power plants. Plus China is making huge strides in solar panel development and production. Both would have done more if Kyoto had been ratified by the US.

    You are also ignoring the cap-and-trade aspect that would have used market and tax forces to make reductions in greenhouse gas emissions profitable in China and India, and the rest of the world.

    Countries would have had much stronger economic incentives to reduce emissions.

    >>>My opinion is that the only way any nation will truly change their CO2 emitting ways (and I’m talking to you, United States, China, India, Brazil, Russia, etc.) is if we make it cheaper and more profitable to use clean energy. Not artificially so, through the use of penalties and incentives, but genuinely so.

    This is pretty naive. Right now coal is very cheap. And so it natural gas, and fracking is making natural gas and oil production more economical.

    All alternative sources are more expensive, it will take decades to balance the production costs. You’re right, if alternative sources were as cheaply produced as coal and fossil fuels they would be used more. But that won’t happen without penalties and incentives.

    What magic are you assuming will make it cheaper and more profitable to make clean energy competitive in time to forestall global disaster?

  15. Wayward son says:

    A more accurate title for Canada for the next 4 years or more would be: Canada Blows off Science and Reality.

    You can agree with whatever suits you Brian, but the current government (who had been a minority government for the previous 5 years, and now has a majority for the next 4) would have pulled out of the agreement as soon as they got their majority no matter how sensible or insensible that agreement was. It had nothing to do with any of that. They don’t accept climate change, and are not worried because Jesus will be coming back soon and God made a pact with the rainbow and the ark and what not.

    We have a Government which is as anti-evidence and anti-science as any government you have ever had in the US. We have a Minister of Science who is a chiropractor, does not accept the theory of evolution, and has cut a significant portion of scientific research. They have muzzled climate scientists (along with any other scientist who has anything to say that does not line up with Harper’s views). They have spent their time cutting funding to anything related to climate change and ozone monitoring. Not a bad idea, as they reject any evidence that does not confirm their world-view any ways. And that was when they severely handcuffed by only having a minority. Who knows what they will do in their next 4 years, but if you are a scientist, the best advice to follow would be to train to be a prison guard.

  16. Ilan says:

    Long time listener, and fan but first time writer. I’ve got some good and bad news. A recent article in the Winnipeg Sun quoted you on this Kyoto protocal article. I didn’t realize how popular your articles were until they hit my local small town.

    The bad news is that the Winnipeg Sun is garbage full of hate mongering. It is really just here to get a rise out of the people of Winnipeg. For some reason people like that feeling and are willing to pay for it.

  17. James W says:

    Brian, you said “… make it cheaper and more profitable to use clean energy. Not artificially so, through the use of penalties and incentives, but genuinely so.”

    A couple of commenters have pointed out that “dirty” energies have large “external” costs that, according to pretty standard economics, *should* be added to their costs, via taxes, etc (that is, some sort of government intervention).

    I’d also note that most public policy types would prefer to have governments impose a tax on carbon emissions (often called a “pigovian tax”) and let the free market figure out how to make energy with lower emissions. This is the least invasive way to get the desired policy result – reduced carbon emissions.

    I see you point about making clean energy “win” by making it cheaper, but in practice, it would be more efficient and effective to make dirty energy expensive first.

  18. Anonymous says:

    We need to clean up our act, it makes sense on so many levels. What doesn’t make sense is taxing everyone into the ground to achieve this particularly when you have as much chance of cooling the sun by spitting at it as you have engineering climate change. Where I live in the UK it’s actually 2 degrees mean temperature cooler now than it was two thousand years ago. Just 15 miles from my house on the moors they could grow crops then. By the middle ages it was all over. If man disappeared tomorrow, climates would fluctuate, extinction’s would take place and continents would drift. We are here now, all of us for a short space of time. Preserve the planet by all means but balance that with the need to live and provide for our family’s.

    • NoseyNick says:

      I’ve already pointed out in another post – the UK is one of those exceptions that proves the rule. It has long been unnaturally warm for its latitude, due to being bathed in the Gulf Stream, and for quite a while it WILL cool whilst the rest of the world warms. Don’t worry, it will catch up eventually, but yes, for a while, Global Warming will cool the UK and some of the rest of NW EU.

      UK cooling definitely does NOT disprove global warming.

  19. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    We need to clean up our act, it makes sense on so many levels. What doesn’t make sense is taxing everyone into the ground to achieve this particularly when you have as much chance of cooling the sun by spitting at it as you have engineering climate change. Where I live in the UK it’s actually 2 degrees mean temperature cooler now than it was two thousand years ago. Just 15 miles from my house on the moors they could grow crops then. By the middle ages it was all over. If man disappeared tomorrow, climates would fluctuate, extinction’s would take place and continents would drift. We are here now, all of us for a short space of time. Preserve the planet by all means but balance that with the need to live and provide for our family’s.

  20. Henk Tech IOSH, AIIRSM F16PILOT, DuckShooter, PigSHAVER Class4 says:

    I love it when they do the special pleading thing…

  21. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    Ok Michael, Where do you want to go? 1000 miles away? Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands, Same scenario. Five thousand years ago it sustained farming and was five degree’s hotter than today. A small village from this era has been excavated an in the middens there is evidence for the crops that they where able to grow there then. Not world wide enough for you? Try Greenland. Ever wondered why a block of ice is called Greenland? Still not far enough or global enough? Try researching what was there before the Sahara desert. Oh, by the way Henk, your impressive, how long did it take you to get your head around that? It’s true what they say, America and Britain, two nations divided by the same language! Greenwich Mean time is 22.30 here

    • Michael says:

      I want to look at the problem globally Peter, and not just in pockets of space or time. No doubt climate change would and has taken place without human intervention. But the buck doesn’t stop there. All the evidence suggests that climate change is accelerating and has been at least since the advent of agriculture. The question is, does human activity contribute to this effect? And all the evidence points to the fact that it does. There is too much to ignore or allay by statements such as “try researching what was there before the Sahara desert.” Surely a more important question is, why isn’t it there now?
      Of course one can choose to ignore the weight of evidence and adopt the argument of ‘it’s natural therefore do nothing’. I suspect that if that were to be the overwhelming attitude then your forecast of a world without humans would become a reality, or something very near it. Feeding our families is not yet the problem. Sustaining a planet capable of supporting them in the long term is, in my view.

      • Henk Tech IOSH, AIIRSM will emulate and parody Peter Petulance! says:

        Surely you two are not extrapolating local climates with respect to local change. That doesnt make sense at all. Neither of you are taking in all factors that occurred now and then.

        The issue at hand is the political rejection of the scientific view. You’d have to get literate to argue against that view.

        Sadly, deniers and sort of deniers (a la Schermer) are pretty god at what they do in their own gigs. They aren’t scientifically literate enough to argue a few simple points. Which is amasing as almost deniers are very quick to define energy when contesting woo artistes.

        It’s entertaining!

    • NoseyNick says:

      1000 miles is a nice try, but no, open up maps.google.co.uk, look at the UK, scroll horizontally left and right. You’ll find Moscow, Alaska, the northern parts of Canadian Provinces and maybe even into the Territories if you’re comparing with the Orkneys.

      See the somewhat unique thing about the UK and some of the surrounding area is that it sits on the end of the Gulf Stream. A huge warm jet of equatorial water has been keeping it unnaturally warm for its latitude.

      … but as the rest of the world warms, and especially as Arctic ice melts and begins to desalinate the North Sea and northern Atlantic, you’ll find the Gulf Stream will slow or even stop, and, long story short, yes, the UK will spend a lot of time cooling as a result of Global Warming, hence the UK’s last few winters have looked a little more like south-Canadian winters.

      There will be PLENTY of Climate Change Deniers in the UK saying “we’ve had the coldest winter for 200 years!”, that’s partly why the scientists prefer to call it “Climate Change”, even though yes, on average, it’s “Global Warming”, there will be localised exceptions, including the UK.

  22. Henk Tech IOSH, AIIRSM F16PILOT, DuckShooter, PigSHAVER Class4 But not a pleading Primadonna! says:

    actually, I live in Sydney Australia..

  23. Jordo! says:

    some good comments, thanks Brian, you rock.

  24. Laura says:

    Amazing how ingrained the dogma of AGW has become. The same old weapons of choice are the knee-jerk tactic for silencing nuanced views on this politically-charged topic. The name-calling, impugning of motives, battling the forces of evil, and accusations of heresy are constantly invoked in the never-ending effort to suppress rational discussion. However, when it comes to climate change, “science” is a euphemism for doctrine. They aren’t interested in the science at all.
    Recently more Climategate emails were leaked. But those who claim to be proponents of the science, can’t be bothered to read how much uncertainity exists. The on-going quest to understand the mechanisms behind global climate is of no interest to those who claim to embrace the science. Instead, they stick to their agenda. Science be damned! This is politics, after all.
    When did science abandon logic? Because Kyoto and pretty much every other cap&tax proposal fails common sense. Now we even have evidence that Kyoto failed as miserably as predicted. Clearly it was a meaningless political gesture that accomplished nothing.
    The climate concerned proponents can scream scientific consensus! Denier! Big oil-funded disinformation campaign! But until you come up with a logical approach and a tangible and beneficial result, arguing “science” is meaningless. Obviously, it’s got nothing to do with science or logic. AGW/climate change alarmism is purely ideological. And I’m a denialist for pointing this out.
    Can’t argue with that “logic”!

    • Rod says:

      Science = dogma. Got it. Thanks!

      • Laura says:

        You’re welcome ;)

        • Sheri says:

          Hang in there, Laura. If anyone actually bothered to read real science journals and lots of them, they would realize climate change is as political as any treaty. The use of the term “deniers” flung at those who did read the journals instead of replying with facts (data and algorithms) says a lot. Climate change is the newest Piltdown Man, clung to with all of the fervor of a religious movement. Climate change predictions have been wrong more than psychics, yet while psychics are psuedoscience, climate change is not. Every measure of science has been pitched out the window and replaced with “consensus” as the reason it’s true. Sorry–argument from appropriate authority is still argument from authority. One just gets to cherry pick the authority. And, as Carl Sagan said, there are no authorities in science. Consensus has no meaning.

          • Michael Pandazis says:

            What absolute rubbish from both of you. Of course we’d all like to be experts on every topic of practical importance. But in the real world, that’s just not possible. So, when you’re not an expert, the expert consensus is all you’ve got to go on. There is nothing wrong with “argument from appropriate authority”.

            And Sheri, if you think you can do better than the experts just by reading the journals and making your own mind up, you’re showing what little respect you have for real science.

    • Michael Pandazis says:

      The overwhelming majority of experts in the field believe that AGW exists. The rest of your post is irrelevant name-calling and FUD.

      • Sheri says:

        Excuse me, but Michael, where did I name call?
        If you had a medical condition (bacterial infection, say) and a team of doctors determined the only way to save your life was amputating all of your limbs, would you yeild to the argument from authority? What if 95 out of 100 doctors said this was the only treatment? It’s consensus and you lack a medical degree. So, how far are you willing to go yeilding decisions to authority. What if the consensus was even more unpleasant and life-altering?

        I will still maintain that “argument from appropriate authority” is just as invalid as “argument from authority”. Cherry picking authorities and limiting who can qualify very easily determine the outcome of consensus. They use this all the time in court.

        No, we cannot all do calculus and understand climate. But there is absolutely no evidence that only a climatologist can understand climate. Anymore than the only people who can understand physics are people with a PhD in it. A degree does not inject sacred knowledge into a person–yet the climate change consensus is based on cherry picked, specially endowed individuals. There are hundreds of scientists fully capable of understanding the methodology and math used in the computer modeling who disagree with the conclusion. There is no justification for removing them from the discussion other than it threatens one’s conclusions.

        • Michael Pandazis says:

          The “name calling” complaint wasn’t directed at your post, but rather at Laura’s. The layout of the page makes it hard to see!

          If my own life were at stake, then of course I would do all the diligent research I could and make sure I had all the information I could. But if 95% of doctors genuinely thought that it was a choice between amputation and death, then I’d choose amputation. Perhaps you wouldn’t – so would you rather die? Or would you simply assume the doctors were lying to you?

          Arguments from authority. Depends what you mean by “valid”. If they are taken as Bayesian reasons for increasing your belief in a particular hypothesis, then of course expert consensus is worth more than popular consensus.

          And it’s hardly cherry-picking when an overwhelming majority of experts in the field believe that AGW exists. It’s not cherry picking to limit the definition of “expert” to “people who work and publish in that field”. There’s a reason why people have to specialise in their field – you can’t meaningfully contribute to every scientific arena, no matter how clever you are.

          Short version: your argument depends on giving equal weight to everyone’s opinion, no matter if they are a specialist in the field or not. Mine depends on giving more weight to specialists in the field.

          • Sheri says:

            First, people always assume that if I disagree with climate change I cannot possibly have a degree that would allow me understand the modelling and math of the science. You don’t know me, yet you say I lack knowledge and show disrepect to science. You also assume the modelling is so complex no one can understand it. How do you know that?

            My argument does not give equal weight to everyone’s opinion–it is that in science, questions from even the most uninformed should be addressed by the person making the claim, not telling the person they are too uneducated to understand.

            I keep reading “an overwhelming majority”–how many climate change scientists are there, what degree qualifies one for to be an authority in this area, and, once we determine the appropriate degree, etc, how about a list of those holding the degree and which ones agree with the climate change idea and which do not.

            I am truly lost on how to answer the claim that only people with an appropriate degree can in any way fully understand climate change. Never would I have believed that intelligence and understanding were somehow tied to a PhD in a specific field. Actually, I thought that a person’s intelligence was gained by reading and studying, not by letters after their name. Yet, I am told that unless I paid for a degree in the appropriate field, I cannot understand. Again, I see no basis for this supposition. Do you have anything to back up that claim–that without a appropriate degree in the proper field, one cannot possibly understand climate change?

            I admire your sticking to the idea of authorities being the way to make decisions even if it costs you your limbs. I can’t say that I would definately make that choice, especially if I had solid evidence that there might be other options not being considered. Even if I don’t have an MD after my name.

        • NoseyNick says:

          This is, of course, a complete straw-man argument, but seriously, yes, if a team of qualified doctors told me that 95% of qualified doctors agree, I can choose between death and quad-amputation, then, well, hell, that’s some pretty ####ing serious bacterial infection, but sure, I’d prefer amputation, thanks.

          You’d prefer death?

          Or you’d go ask a witch-doctor or a naturopath or a faith-healer or an accupuncturist or a snake-oil salesman until you got the answer you wanted, and then still die anyway?

  25. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    Well I’ll just leave it with this. If global warming is happening and man is adding to this, I mean “if” because in over twenty I’ve seen nothing to convince me. Then I feel it would be better to try and apply science to adapting. The only species that ever survive are those able to adapt to new circumstances. Oh, by the way, it’s nearly Christmas and I’m looking forward to seeing my friend Simon again who as a scientist at Plymouth University undertakes Arctic surveys for six months at a time. The scientist that confirmed to me that at the last Christmas party that he could not confirm the core samples that he and his colleagues took where clear evidence of increased carbon dioxide at times of increased temperature in the earths past. The ice leaches gas and the science is flawed. They wont let that fact get in the way of government funding for the next expedition though. And the politicians aren’t too worried as it bolsters their position on increasing green taxes.

    • Michael says:

      I hope you both have a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas and a very healthy and happy New Year :)

    • NoseyNick says:

      Honestly? IF? I mean 99% of the scientists who are supposed to know about this have said it IS happening, WITHOUT doubt, study after study after study of all kinds of different data all agree it IS happening, the only disagreement is around “how badly”… And even when some Climate Change Deniers sponsor a re-evaluation of the ClimateGate data, they get almost exactly the same result.

      Seriously, keep believing in a flat earth too if you like. This is denialism, not skepticism. :-(

      • Sheri says:

        NoseyNick-

        Where did you get the 99% figure?

        It really is impossible to have a discussion about climate change. Either one agrees or one is a complete moron in denial of reality. I make this statement based on the many times I have tried to have a discussion and been insulted and called stupid by the climate change advocates. I apologize to anyone who really would discuss this, if they exist.

        Climate change lacks the one crucial ingredient of science–openness. Once a consensus is reached, science is no longer involved. Once those who oppose the hypothesis are labelled deniers, no science exists. When CERN found a particle they believe to be moving faster than the speed of light, the first thing they did was ask for others to try and verify it. They did not form a panel and gather the international community to analyze what this finding meant. They did announce they had definatively thrown out Einstein’s theory. Nor is it likely they will do so. They asked for verification and offered to share their findings.

        So please list where the data and algorithms for the evidence used by the IPCC and other “appropriate authorities” can be found. Where is the full experimental writeups, including the computer modeling used in the computations? Where are the requests for others to check out the data? Where are the answers to the “deniers” showing the math and models used by these people are wrong, not just a statement that they are “deniers”?

        Science also does not say “you are not a -insert specialty here- scientist so we don’t give a crap what you think” and ignore input. Should a person with a degree in mathematics find an error in the CERN experiment, scientists would check this out. Politicians would not. Any time one dismisses a claim simply because it goes against current sacred beliefs, science is not part of that claim.

        Plain and simple, climate change is not science. You can call it that, but it doesn’t make it so.

        Lastly, if you can provide me with the actual data and so forth, not proclamations that 99% (made up number???), this remains in the non-science arena. So, prove me wrong and send me the data. Science is that simple.

        PS I don’t believe the earth is flat–perhaps you could refrain from assigning more beliefs to me than I actually hold. Plus, I usually just have the audacity to ask for facts and figures rather than saying all climate change believers are Kool-aid drinkers or something insulting. I just want the facts on which this is based. Science deals with facts, not labelling and name calling. So forward the facts.

        • Michael Pandazis says:

          For some reason I can’t reply to your post at at 7:52 am, so I’ll reply here.

          “in science, questions from even the most uninformed should be addressed by the person making the claim”

          Sheri, your attitude is admirable, but surely you can see how unrealistic this is! When a scientific matter is of interest to the public, the practising scientists would be spending literally all of their time answering questions from the uninformed rather than actually doing the research they’ve trained for. I think we can both agree that that would be a waste of time.

          On the question of what an “overwhelming majority” means – I won’t spell it out here for reasons of space, but there’s a well-referenced Wikipedia article (“Scientific opinion on climate change”) which provides links to the relevant surveys. You can see for yourself (in the surveys, I mean – obviously we can’t simply trust the article).

          “Actually, I thought that a person’s intelligence was gained by reading and studying, not by letters after their name.” Again, I admire your skepticism but there is a reason that academic qualifications exist. Intelligence isn’t the issue. It is important to be able to sort the expert from the non-expert. Having said that, if you think you are capable of contributing to the debate, then why don’t you go ahead and submit something to an academic journal or a website specialised in technical discussion? And of course, academic journals are where you’ll find the data and detailed arguments you’ve been asking for.

          By the way, I assumed nothing about you. For all I know, you’re one of the few percent of climate scientists who currently reject AGW. And you’re right: science does not say “we don’t care what non-experts think”. But, on this thread, we are not having a technical scientific discussion. We are talking about the scientific consensus. And that is overwhelmingly in one direction.

          • Sheri says:

            If we are talking about scientific consensus but ignoring the basis for it–i.e. technical journals, funding, peer reviews, etc–that seems pointless. Without knowing how the consensus was arrived at, we cannot know if the consensus is scientific or not.

            As far as I have experienced, an academic degree shows in part who can pass classes and meet specific requirements for a degree and in part who wanted to pay for the degree and work in the field. The lack of a degree, however, does not mean a person cannot understand a complex idea as well as someone with a degree. It just means the person did not want to work in the field. And “just reading” about things or listening to lectures is pretty much how one earns a degree, plus writing a thesis for advanced degrees. There is no reason to believe that reading inside a classroom is any different than reading outside a classroom. It is not insulting to believe that people without a degree could know just as much as a person with a degree. This is very evident in the field of computers, where self-taught individuals often trump those with advanced degrees.

            I am reading a book on climate by a chemical engineer. Since he is not a climatologist, would you have me ignore all of his research, math and data rather than read it and evaluate his arguments. He even invites people to ask questions and to look for errors–my kind of scientist. Most of the objections to climate change involve scientific methodology and research techniques as well as computer modeling used. I cannot see why only an “expert” in the field of climatology can find errors in scientific methodology used by climatologists.

            Since the whole argument on climate is written in stone, consensus has been reached and only foolish people don’t believe what 99% of the chosen experts do, I really don’t see any point to continuing this discussion.

            Again, if anyone is truly interested in discussing climate change and what we should or should not do about it without name calling, etc, and without being dismissive, I’d be willing. Otherwise, it’s an exercise in futility, not science.

        • NoseyNick says:

          Sorry, to clarify… 99% say global warming is real, and I can’t find my source for that, but “only” 97% say humans are causing global warming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

    • Henk says:

      Peter of the useless titles… I am a scientist and I find it impossible to remove general garble from peoples heads. You could take skeptoid as a prime example of this.

      Folk take pride n ignorance and I feel for your friend who takes arctic samples. Maybe he should avoid you this christmas so he doesn’t get mentioned in a “dolt spray” such as the above.

  26. Peter G Brooksbank Tech Iosh AIIRSM says:

    Global warming the new witch craft. Almost proof that you can fool all of the people all of the time. Scientists. I work with academics, they spend hours debating where to put the visitors book when most of us would have just placed it at the door! In Britain they have stopped calling it climate change as its becoming embarrassing. Let’s just throw another tax payer on the fire to keep warm.

  27. Michael Pandazis says:

    Sheri, again, the reply thread is full so I can’t reply inline to your post at 8:44 am, sorry.

    You’re ignoring almost everything I’ve said. Let’s take it one by one.

    “If we are talking about scientific consensus but ignoring the basis for it–i.e. technical journals, funding, peer reviews”
    Not sure what you’re getting at but, as I’ve already said the journals are out there for you, and climate scientists, to read. The whole point of the peer review system is to filter out poorly written and researched material, so pick a respected journal and see.

    “The lack of a degree, however, does not mean a person cannot understand a complex idea”
    Straw man. What I’m saying is that, as non-experts, we can’t give equal weight to everyone’s opinion, and we need a system for judging people’s level of expertise. We also can’t allow experts’ time to be wasted debating with non-experts. The education of non-experts is what we have degree courses for.

    “I am reading a book on climate by a chemical engineer. Since he is not a climatologist, would you have me ignore all of his research”
    False dichotomy. I’d have you give it a lower weight than a peer-reviewed article in a respected journal.

    “Since the whole argument on climate is written in stone”
    Wrong. The expert consensus is overwhelming. That is not the same thing as being “written in stone”. For one thing, expert consensus can change as the evidence changes. And I still haven’t seen any explanation from you of why the overwhelming majority of *published climate scientists* believe in AGW. My explanation is that that’s where the evidence points. What’s yours? Global conspiracy?

    “Again, if anyone is truly interested in discussing climate change and what we should or should not do about it without name calling, etc, and without being dismissive, I’d be willing. Otherwise, it’s an exercise in futility, not science.”
    And once again Sheri, we are not discussing the technical details of climate science on this board. We are discussing the scientific consensus, which is undeniable. If you want to discuss the actual science, go and check out one of the websites I told you about. Sceptical Science is quite good, and has plenty of technical discussion where you could raise the points you’ve been reading about.

  28. Michael says:

    I’ve been following this discussion, as a layman, with interest. I would be even more interested to learn from you, Sheri, the sources you are quoting and in particular the engineer whose book you are citing as one of them. Would he be an Australian by any chance?

  29. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    Dont worry Henk, whilst I’m not comparing myself to the great man Winston Churchill I would say he spent years in the wilderness trying to warn people about the dangers of Nazi Germany to no effect only to be vindicated in the eleventh hour. I could argue specifics but people will only see what they want to see and are prone to mass hysteria and for some reason they gain some form of perverse comfort from the bogie man. In this instance climate change. I’m 56, seen and done a lot of things, if I can get another twenty years out of this weary body I will have had a result as far as I’m concerned. I’m just a little concerned when people or nations seem to want to saddle them self’s with constraints like the Kyoto Protocol. As a great man once sang, “Watch out now beware of greedy leaders, taking you places you should not go.” When the world finally wakes up about the realities of climate change claims another far greater threat may have over taken it. I hope I’m wrong on that one. I would suggest that you get hold of a copy of ISBN 978-1-84454-718-0. I didn’t need it to tell me what I already knew but in the interest of balance (thats a laugh) have a read.

    • Michael Pandazis says:

      And meanwhile, the vast majority of published climate scientists believe that AGW is real. How do you explain that? Why do you think you know better?

  30. Ed says:

    >>>I’m just a little concerned when people or nations seem to want to saddle them self’s with constraints like the Kyoto Protocol.

    There’s really two arguments here. Brian says “Global warming is real, by Kyoto is not the answer” and that is only because it limits some countries and not others? Or are there other reasons?

    What else, exactly, is it about Kyoto that you object to?

    The second argument is Global Warming is a hoax and Kyoto or any other effort to limit greenhouse gasses are not necessary.

    Is that an accurate assessment?

  31. Sheri says:

    New assault on science–quantum theory deniers. First there was that pesky particle moving faster than the speed of light, which everyone except sci fi writers knows is impossible, and now quantum entanglement between MACRO objects (two diamonds). The assaults just never end……

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear, what a shame! I was at least taking you seriously until now, Sheri, and considering your arguments. But this is just plain silly. The examples you cite are not assaults on science; they ARE science, in action.

      I would still like to know the name of the chemical engineer you claim can prove climate change is a myth. Why won’t you reveal it? I want to follow your prompting read what he has to say.

      • Michael says:

        Oops. The above seems to have appeared as Anonymous. That was not my intention but the autofill seems to have failed on that occasion.

  32. Sheri says:

    Thank you for repeating that 97% number over over and over again. I researched the origins of the number and it was quite enlightening. So thank you again for prodding me into fact checking.

    • Michael Pandazis says:

      And thank you for not revealing a single one of your sources. You’re doing a great job of wrecking your own credibility.

  33. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    Lets have a look at the meaning of the word or people’s perception of the word “science.”
    The word science comes from the Latin “scientia,” meaning knowledge.
    How do we define science? According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is “knowledge attained through study or practice,” or “knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world.”

    Ref: http://www.sciencemadesimple.com

    I was always told at school that any experiment or test that you have made must be under strictly controlled conditions and if you replicate your procedures the outcome should be the same. Correct me by all means if I’m wrong. Is this truly what’s happening here?

    You can argue until you’re blue in the face whether this is happening in every case or not. You can argue one set of statistics against another; we all know through our politicians that statistics can be made to show anything we want.

    The letters after my name are not there to try and impress anyone; I’m not very high up in the pecking order with regard to qualifications but they are there due to the fact that I am a health and safety professional. I have also teaching qualifications. I’m not trying to big myself up here; I’m just saying I have a proven analytical mind. I have an understanding of UK law and apply that to the advice that I give to companies that engage me. I have a “knowledge attained through study and practice,” honed by a lifetime of interacting with all manner of humans.

    What’s this got to do with climate change?

    I’ll tell you, something doesn’t smell right here. I have held all along, that if you are going to put constraints on one country and allow another to carry on polluting than it’s an absolute waste of time. More than that what makes me suspicious is the fact that we have no exact records dating back further than approximately 100 years. Even worse than that scientists who are desperate to prove climate change denied that there was ever a mediaeval warm period, the Greenland was ever inhabitable and they are exaggerating timescales changing them to suit their needs. Their model of climate is known as the hockey stick, a flat line climate that hasn’t changed in 2000 years and now is rocketing into the sky if you believe what you’re told.

    They have even posted this graph on the side of London buses to demonstrate this, shades of 1984 if ever I’ve seen it. Who is it that is truly in denial?

    Not too long ago a British TV station ran two hour-long programs purportedly in the name of science and enlightenment. The programs were supposed to be a balance viewpoint on climate change. Within the first fifteen minutes it became apparent that this was propaganda on a scale that would have made Joseph Goebbels proud. The presenter had a doctorate, was good-looking and a relatively young man obviously chosen to appeal to a certain age group. While I stuck with this program to the bitter end but one of the highlights was a visit to Amsterdam. At that time they were having a conference on climate change their. As the question of scientists leaving this conference he fawned and beamed as the Basked in the glory of their wisdom. And then he had chanced to interview one last scientist who did not agree with his views. The look on the young presenters face was a picture, he was almost in tears as the scientist contradicted him time after time. My thoughts on this are whose mind is it that’s closed.

    Year after year the Met office report in the UK that we are going to have a barbecue summer and year after year this summer does not appear. Some body has written here that the Canadian winters Britain is now experiencing is due to the demise of the Gulfstream. All looks good when it’s reported abroad. When anybody looks through the archives for the last few years and references the television programs that have been made about why Britain couldn’t cope when the snow came they will probably come to the conclusion that we are in the grip of a mini ice age. I’m here to tell you it’s absolute rubbish. The winters are milder here than they were 30 to 40 years ago if anything. The summers are just like they’ve always been in Britain, very hit and miss. The local railway that runs along the seafront here in South Devon was built hundred and 50 years ago by the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Every winter they report on television that this line may have to be abandoned because of rising sea levels. Trains breakdown because of the sea breaking over the railway line. You don’t have to look too far to find that this has been a problem since the first day the trains ran. The difference is that the old steam engines would keep going unless the ballast on the track was washed away. The new trains with their electronics get water in them and fail. I have a feeling that unless we invent Star Trek type teleporters we will still be using that line in 300 years time.

    Anyone that was a respected scientist and voices dissent disappears from our TV screens, at least in Britain anyway. One popular scientist who originally agreed with climate change withdrew his support when it was found that glaciers that had been reported as diminishing where actually growing. No I’m not making this up, I’m not big on conspiracy theories. The reason I subscribe to skeptoid is the fact that I have an open mind and question everything I see. It’s what I do as a profession. We all enjoy stories like the Loch Ness monster, the abominable snowman and tales of alien abduction. Some of these things they even wanted to believe were true myself when I was younger, it makes life colourful and enjoyable, that bit of mystery.

    When I was younger I was willing to believe almost anything. I swallowed up books by the barrow load on strange phenomenon, ancient myths and Legends. But science told me it is not possible for land to any extent exist where there is now sea. We now know this is not true as under the North Sea settlements have been located. What science states as facts today it reverses and disputes tomorrow.

    Further to this I know human nature, I’ve sat in many business meetings and understand the hidden agendas that people have and how easy it is to say one thing in a meeting and then back this up by changing the facts afterwards. There are obviously some well-meaning scientists out there but there are obviously others as my friend demonstrated and willing to do what it takes to secure funding. You go ask yourself a question how would these people make a living if it was proved tomorrow that climate change was nothing to do with mankind, could not be influenced by anything that we could do and then they lost their gravy train.

    It’s the things they leave out or choose to ignore, censor or adapt to suit their own ends that worry me. Little facts, like when the Earth was at its coldest CO2 was at its highest level in the Earth’s atmosphere. That is if you believe the science and was accepted as fact before the term climate change.

    To summarise, believe what you want. It’s a shame if we saddle our children with a set of circumstances and goals that they are unable to achieve because of this mass hysteria and hype that is global warming. Yes the globe will warm up and it will cool, seas will rise and they will fall. Don’t stand King Canute like on the shore holding your hand up telling the tide to go back. Or run round like the courtiers of the King who was in the nude telling him that his suit was fine and colourful. We now have generations brought up with climate change that know no different, ask them how they know its happening and they say they have seen it on the TV and in the papers. Ask them if they have seen any evidence of this and they say they haven’t. Isn’t that blind faith or dogma? Worshiping at the church or climate change. Get on with your lives and do something useful in the here and now.

    • Michael Pandazis says:

      There’s a lot of FUD in this post, Peter. Politicians misuse statistics, some scientist was fawning over some others, live your life in the present – what does any of this have to do with anything? Can we not just stick to the fundamental points?

      The overwhelming majority of published climate scientists believe that AGW is real. What is your explanation for this? It would help if you could answer this question directly rather than through the kind of implication and innuendo you rely on above.

      To take your specifics in order:

      – “Something doesn’t smell right”
      There’s no way to respond to this. Other people can’t account for your prejudices, so I don’t know what you hope to achieve by sharing them.

      – The Met Office gets weather forecasts wrong.
      Irrelevant. Forecasting the weather and forecasting the climate are two separate things and use two different types of maths. Brian made this same mistake and had to correct it in a later episode.

      – The Medieval warm period was warmer.
      Wrong. Globally averaged temperature now is higher than global temperature in medieval times.

      – The hockey stick graph is broken.
      Wrong. The 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years, and that warming was most dramatic after 1920.

      – “Anyone that was a respected scientist and voices dissent disappears from our TV screens”
      Because dissent isn’t a very credible position. It would be different if it was a climate scientist in a respected journal. Anyway, I don’t even agree with your premise: there’s plenty of dissent and the coverage it gets is, if anything, disproportionate.

      – “What science states as facts today it reverses and disputes tomorrow.”
      What is your point here, Peter? We have to go on the best evidence we have *today*. If – *if* – the evidence changes then our views should change.

      – “Further to this I know human nature, I’ve sat in many business meetings and understand the hidden agendas…”
      Ridiculous FUD tactics. If you have a theory about why there is overwhelming consensus among climate scientists, then come right out with it. My theory is that the consensus exists because that’s where the evidence points.

      – “the Earth was at its coldest CO2 was at its highest level”
      Completely misleading. There is long-term correlation between CO2 and global temperature; other effects are short-term.

      – “It’s a shame if we saddle our children with a set of circumstances and goals that they are unable to achieve because of this mass hysteria”
      But if the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are right, then by following your prescription we’ll be saddling them with a much less hospitable home planet.

      – “ask them how they know its happening and they say they have seen it on the TV and in the papers. Ask them if they have seen any evidence of this and they say they haven’t.”
      Of course not. What a ridiculous argument. Not everyone can be a climate scientist. I’m not and you’re not. So stop criticising people for lacking expertise. And once again Peter, if you have some concrete reason for thinking that the experts are all lying to us, stop with the FUD and start setting out your reasons a bit more clearly.

    • NoseyNick says:

      >>> It’s a shame if we saddle our children…

      I completely agree with what Michael and Ed have said, it would be far MORE of a shame if 97% of climate scientists are right and we saddle our children far bigger problems. My favourite quote along these lines goes something like…

      “What if 97% of the climate scientists are wrong, and we make the world into a cleaner, better, more efficient place for nothing?” :-)

  34. Ed says:

    Nicely done Michael, here’s a few more points for Peter:

    >>>We all know through our politicians that statistics can be made to show anything we want.

    Which is why we should be relying on science rather than politics to resolve this issue.

    >>>I have held all along, that if you are going to put constraints on one country and allow another to carry on polluting than it’s an absolute waste of time.

    Here’s why you’re wrong, Peter. Without Kyoto, there is no restraint on India or China to slow production of greenhouse gasses. Nor is there any restraint on the developed world.

    With Kyoto, the developed world would have limited production of greenhouse gasses, but there would have been no restraint on India or China.

    Simple math tells us that if we stop there, there are less greenhouse gasses produced under Kyoto than without it. Kyoto requires the largest producers to make cuts.

    But Kyoto did not stop there. In addition to the requirements of the treaty there were also economic incentives and a framework for cap-and-trade that would have made it profitable for companies in India and China to limit production of greenhouse gasses too.

    But the biggest problem with your post is that you frame it as a defense of science and then confuse science with politics; international relations; culture and advertising.

    >>>More than that what makes me suspicious is the fact that we have no exact records dating back further than approximately 100 years.

    That’s where science comes in. We can do experiments on ice cores and fossils that give us a fairly accurate reading of things like temperature and CO2 levels.

    >>>Even worse than that scientists who are desperate to prove climate change denied that there was ever a mediaeval warm period, the Greenland was ever inhabitable and they are exaggerating timescales changing them to suit their needs. Their model of climate is known as the hockey stick, a flat line climate that hasn’t changed in 2000 years and now is rocketing into the sky if you believe what you’re told.

    The hockey stick graph is a global average and it is accurate. Yes there was a period when Europe was warmer. Yes there was a period when Greenland was warmer. No there was never a time when global temperatures rose they way they are rising now.

    >>>They have even posted this graph on the side of London buses to demonstrate this, shades of 1984 if ever I’ve seen it. Who is it that is truly in denial?

    “They” are not scientists. Here you are confusing science with advertising.

    >>>Not too long ago a British TV station ran two hour-long programs purportedly in the name of science and enlightenment.

    Again, you’re not discussing science, but how the facts are being presented to the public. There is a difference.

    >>>>Year after year the Met office report in the UK that we are going to have a barbecue summer and year after year this summer does not appear.

    Here you are confusing climate and weather and using a bit of misdirection to confuse people. Whatever you may think the predictions were, the actual predictions from scientists were very restrained and conservative and the actual increases have been higher.

    >>>Anyone that was a respected scientist and voices dissent disappears from our TV screens, at least in Britain anyway.

    Two points. Here you are confusing who you see on TV with science and you are misstating a fact. The fact is that Fox News, or any right wing news outlet, is eager to put Global Warming deniers on the air and rarely if ever puts scientists who agree with Global Warming on.

    >>>One popular scientist who originally agreed with climate change withdrew his support when it was found that glaciers that had been reported as diminishing where actually growing. No I’m not making this up

    Any facts to back this up? Who is the scientist? Which glaciers? Maybe you aren’t making it up, but I think someone is.

    >>>>Further to this I know human nature, I’ve sat in many business meetings and understand the hidden agendas that people have and how easy it is to say one thing in a meeting and then back this up by changing the facts afterwards.

    Here you are confusing science with a poorly run business.

    >>>It’s a shame if we saddle our children with a set of circumstances and goals that they are unable to achieve because of this mass hysteria and hype that is global warming.

    It’s a bigger shame if we, like Steve Jobs when he was first diagnosed with cancer, we ignore what all the experts are telling us, ignore science and waste precious time with our magical thinking and denial until it’s just too late.

    ES

  35. NoseyNick says:

    Here’s a nice, related link:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/11/29/congressional-funding-disaster/

    I quote:

    Perhaps I’m the only one who sees irony in a bullet point saying Congress won’t appropriate $322M for an NOAA climate change service, while then immediately below it noting how the natural disasters that have befallen this country have required ” historic levels of relief and recovery assistance”, necessitating $2.3 billion in relief funds. Hmmm.

  36. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    First could someone explain “fud” to me, I’m English? Is it a scientific term? Secondly, I didn’t know I was writing a scientifically based thesis on climate change, if I had I would have used the Harvard system of referencing throughout.

    Ed, if you don’t know that scientists on the whole are funded through governments and consequently are often in thrall to politicians you are in dream land and no further comment is necessary. But I suspect you are not that naive and are just been mischievous.

    If you think that Kyoto has a hold on India or China you are very much mistaken. Have you travelled to India, do you know what is happening there at the moment? Don’t ask me if I have, I think you have probably guessed. I don’t you if you are American or not but as I understand it 95% of Americans don’t hold a passport and have no first hand experience of other countries. Unless of course it’s Iraq or Afghanistan. What we have in Britain though is ever increasing green taxes putting an impossible burden on the man in the street. The average Brit is convinced he’s been sacrificed to allow other countries to pollute at will.

    I haven’t confused anything, I was never confused, science, politics; international relations; culture and advertising are all interlinked. Perhaps you would like to explain to me how they stand independent and alone?

    “To compensate for the lack of records We can do experiments on ice cores and fossils that give us a fairly accurate reading of things like temperature and CO2 levels.” If you had read my earlier post you would know that I have first hand information on this. I’m assured that accurate readings cannot be achieved and as I know someone who’s personally involved I’ll take his word for it.

    The hockey stick graph is accurate, is it? I really would like to see all the science this gem was based on. I have seen other graphs and they are nothing like the hockey stick. As for “its not science, it’s advertising.” Advertising what exactly? Hockey sticks or dodgy off the shelf climate graphs. Paid for by whom? “Climate graphs are us”?

    Confusing climate with weather, perhaps you would like to explain it to me? But I’ll give you an explanation along with a reference.

    Meteorologists often point out that “climate is what you expect and weather is what you get.” Or, as one middle school student put it, “Climate helps you decide what clothes to buy, weather helps you decide what clothes to wear.” Ref :www.ucar.edu/learn

    Simple enough for you?

    Fox news in America may well be keen to put climate change deniers’ on the air in the States but that is not the case in Britain with the BBC. You may just get a snippet in one of the papers but that is about it,

    The most prominent scientist that fell out of favour due to his vies on climate change is David Bellamy. He is not on his own but he is the most well known in the UK.

    Do you really think the scientific establishments are not run as businesses? Are scientist’s robots devoid of human emotions, exempt from the pressures of life? I would guess that if you think only badly ran businesses are subject to machinations in the boardroom then you know very little of business. I now run my own, how about you? You mentioned Steve Jobs of Apple fame. Would you call Apple a poorly run business? There have been some high profile fallings out at Apple over the years and the bit you are missing is that humans are humans regardless of if they are businessman, scientist of politician.

    Reading your reply I see a very black and white view of life with everything conveniently compartmentalised. I hope I have been transparent enough for you here, if not I will spell it out. My life experience and knowledge doesn’t square with what I am been told.

    I accept that having a cleaner Earth is a worthwhile aim whatever the reason. What I don’t accept is people making vast sums of money off the back of this at the expense of others who can least afford it. Or imposing their will on others in the name of science or am I confusing fiscal policy with climate and science?

    Global warming as it is commonly presented is sensationalist hype, propagated by people who where brought up on a diet of super hero comics.

    You worship scientists if you want to. Until I see proof that is not tainted with ulterior motives I’ll keep an open mind. I’m very skeptical not a denier, do you know the difference or are you confused?

    • Michael says:

      And there we have it, I’m afraid Peter. You reveal yourself as poorly researched and relying on anecdotal evidence. One example is all I need. Let’s take David Bellamy, whose strange reversal of position has been researched by others.

      “In 1997 he [Bellamy] stood unsuccessfully against the incumbent Prime Minister John Major for the Referendum Party. Bellamy credits this campaign with the decline in his career as a popular celebrity and television personality, stating in 2002:
      “In some ways it was probably the most stupid thing I ever did because I’m sure that if I have been banned from television, that’s why. I used to be on Blue Peter and all those things, regularly, and it all, pffffft, stopped.”

      Source: Simon Hatenstone, The Guardian newspaper, 30/9/2002

      But then comes this:

      “Bellamy complained in November 2008 that his dissent from global warming has resulted in rejection for his BBC TV programme ideas. However, The Guardian newspaper has pointed out that Bellamy stopped making television programmes in 1994, some ten years before his first public statement showed scepticism about climate change.”

      Source: James Randerson “Coalition of denial: The sceptics who are trying to reshape the climate debate”

      In his foreword to the 1989 book “The Greenhouse Effect” Bellamy wrote:
      “The profligate demands of humankind are causing far reaching changes to the atmosphere of planet Earth, of this there is no doubt. Earth’s temperature is showing an upward swing, the so-called greenhouse effect, now a subject of international concern. The greenhouse effect may melt the glaciers and ice caps of the world causing the sea to rise and flood many of our great cities and much of our best farmland.”

      By 2004, two years after apparently being dropped by the BBC from its mainly children’s programmes, Bellamy completely reversed his stance on Global Warming and became a climate change sceptic. It would not be too difficult a leap to see this as a cynical attempt by a one time popular entertainer as an attempt to get back in the public eye at any cost. He would not be the first academic to prefer the limelight to accurate research.

      By the way, has your friend of the polar caps published anything I can read. Some of the material I’ve been working through you can find either published or referenced here:
      http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/

      If the above is indeed a massive world wide conspiracy, such as many of your comments would have me believe exists, it is a breathtakingly brilliant one embracing members from countries that are, at least on the surface, trade and political rivals at a minimum. Yet, amazingly, not one whistle-blower in all this time. Not even Wikileaks. Of course, anything’s possible…………..

  37. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    “He would not be the first academic to prefer the limelight to accurate research.” Not unlike a scientist who knows fine well that if he doesn’t deliver the party line on climate change what will happen to his career.

    I didn’t say it was a conspiracy, you did. In fact I said earlier that I’m not one for conspiracy theories.

    I wonder, these well researched theories or more correctly hypothesis that you are reading are you sure that you are not embellishing them yourself. Do you add a subtext to everything? Do you understand them? You sure as hell don’t seem to understand plain English.

    I don’t know if my friend has anything published. That lines the truth by the way. I doubt it would make any difference if he had, your mind is closed and on a scientific note that is a very dangerous place to be. If you want to read something read this:

    http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/ideas/anthony-gottlieb/limits-science

    Oh, by the way, I looked at your Global Carbon Project website and it looks a lot like pyramid selling to me. Surely you’re not taken in by this twaddle. I wonder who’s funding it?

    I can tell you the answer to one of the questions without wasting millions of pounds or three years of someone’s precious life. Under Goals it states this:

    Carbon Management: What are the dynamics of the carbon-climate-human system into the future, and what points of intervention and windows of opportunity exist for human societies to manage this system?

    The answers very little, that is unless you want to knock us back to medieval times.

    I’m a bit disappointed though; I didn’t see the word “sustainability” in there anywhere. They managed to get “partnership” in but not “sustainability”. To be a creditable scientific project you have to get the word “sustainability” in there, even Peter Griffin knows that. I forgot he’s not real; he’s not on his own though is he?

    We have been this way before, it’s ironic really. Science challenging the dogma of creationism in the early 1900’s and now science or more correctly some of its followers are entrenched in their own dogma. As you very well know science should be probing, testing and double checking its hypothesis and taking nothing for granted. Your stance is “no point it’s proven.” Is this safe?

    • Michael says:

      Why are you getting so aggressive? And in the course of that so rude? Yes, I am sure I am not embellishing things myself. No, I do not add a subtext to anything. Yes I do understand them. Yes I do understand plain English, although I do not understand this “That lines the truth by the way.” Please explain, as our favourite redhead would say.
      My mind is far from closed. You seem to assume that those who point out your errors in both logic and research – or just simply disagree with you – are close-minded bigots. However, that is what you appear to be. You could not, for example, possibly have read through the material offered by me in the time it took you to reply. The truth is you have ignored it because it doesn’t fit. You do not even appear to know what the project actually is or how it was put together or even who is involved.

      To be clear, my position on climate change is left of centre, no doubt about that. Unlike you I cannot ignore the overwhelming evidence that points to it in favour of a few naysayers, none of whose arguments manage to get past the first proper analysis, as far as I can tell. Like you, I would dearly love it all to be a total invention of scientists in the pocket of politicians (would that not be a conspiracy, even if you don’t name it as such?). Unfortunately, those who espouse this view only ever come up with anecdotal evidence and the views of writers such as, in your case, Anthony Gottlieb; a journalist with no apparent scientific qualifications of any kind. Come on, how can you possibly be convinced by someone like that in the face of so much well researched evidence to the contrary, unless the truth is that you are the one with the closed mind, desperately seeking “evidence” to support your position?

      Personally, I want there to be no climate change; I want there to be life after death; I want there to be an intelligent universe; I want there to be a kind and merciful god watching over us all. Sadly, I can’t find a single scrap of real evidence to support any of those hypotheses.

      I’ve moved this comment from elsewhere because it should be here but for some reason it didn’t end up that way

  38. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    Michael, since you seemed to focus on David Bellamy perhaps you would like to get your head around the following. It’s even referenced for you and from my own collection.

    Why I would rather be called a heretic on global warming
    David Bellamy October 22, 2007

    Am I worried about man-made global warming? The answer is “no” and “yes”.
    No, because the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction has come up against an “inconvenient truth”. Its research shows that since 1998 the average temperature of the planet has not risen, even though the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has continued to increase.
    Yes, because the self-proclaimed consensus among scientists has detached itself from the questioning rigours of hard science and become a political cause. Those of us who dare to question the dogma of the global-warming doomsters who claim that C not only stands for carbon but also for climate catastrophe are vilified as heretics or worse as deniers.
    I am happy to be branded a heretic because throughout history heretics have stood up against dogma based on the bigotry of vested interests. But I don’t like being smeared as a denier because deniers don’t believe in facts. The truth is that there are no facts that link the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide with imminent catastrophic global warming. Instead of facts, the advocates of man-made climate change trade in future scenarios based on complex and often unreliable computer models.
    Name-calling may be acceptable in politics but it should have no place in science; indeed, what is happening smacks of McCarthyism, witch-hunts and all. Scientific understanding, however, is advanced by robust, reasoned argument based on well-researched data. So I turn to simple sets of data that are already in the public domain.
    The last peak global temperatures were in 1998 and 1934 and the troughs of low temperature were around 1910 and 1970. The second dip caused pop science and the media to cry wolf about an impending, devastating Ice Age. Our end was nigh!
    Then, when temperatures took an upward swing in the 1980s, the scaremongers changed their tune. Global warming was the new imminent catastrophe.
    But the computer model – called “hockey stick” – that predicted the catastrophe of a frying planet proved to be so bent that it “disappeared” from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s armoury of argument in 2007. It was bent because the historical data it used to predict the future dated from only the 1850s, when the world was emerging from the Little Ice Age. Little wonder that temperatures showed an upward trend.
    In the Sixties I used to discuss climate change with my undergraduates at Durham University. I would point to the plethora of published scientific evidence that showed the cyclical nature of change – and how, for instance, the latest of a string of ice ages had affected the climate, sea levels and tree lines around the world. Thank goodness the latest crop of glaciers and ice sheets began to wane in earnest about 12,000 years ago; this gave Britain a window of opportunity to lead the industrial revolution.
    The Romans grew grapes in York and during the worldwide medieval warm period – when civilizations blossomed across the world – Nordic settlers farmed lowland Greenland (hence its name) and then got wiped out by the Little Ice Age that lasted roughly from the 16th century until about 1850.
    There is no escaping the fact that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising for 150 years – and very uniformly since the 1950s. Yet the temperature has not increased in step with CO2. Not only have there been long periods of little change in temperature, but also the year-to-year oscillations are totally unrelated to CO2 change. What is more, the trend lines of glacial shortening and rise in sea level have shown no marked change since the big increase in the use of fossil fuels since 1950.
    How can this be explained unless there are other factors at work overriding the greenhouse effect of CO2? There are, of course, many to be found in the peer-reviewed literature: solar cycles, cosmic rays, cloud control and those little rascals, such as El Niño and La Niña, all of which are played down or even ignored by the global-warming brigade.
    Let’s turn to Al Gore’s doom-laden Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. First, what is the point of scaring the families of the world with tales that polar bears are heading for extinction? Last year Mitchell Taylor, of the US National Biological Service, stated that “of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.”
    Why create alarm about a potential increase in the spread of malaria thanks to rising temperatures when this mosquito-borne disease was a major killer of people in Britain and northern Russia throughout the Little Ice Age?
    Despite the $50 billion spent on greenwashing propaganda, the sceptics and their inconvenient questions are beginning to make their presence felt.
    A recent survey of Klaus-Martin Schulte, of Kings College Hospital, of all papers on the subject of climate change that were published between 2004 and February of 2007 found that only 7 per cent explicitly endorsed a “so-called consensus” position that man-made carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic global warming. What is more, James Lovelock, the author and green guru, has changed his mind: he recently stated that neither Earth nor the human race is doomed.
    Yes, melting sea ice around Greenland has recently opened up the fabled North West passage. And, yes, the years 2006 and 2007 have seen massive flooding in Europe. However, a quick dip into the records of the Royal Society – which ranked alongside Dr Lovelock as arch doomsters, before his change of mind – shows that dramatic fluctuations happened long before the infernal combustion engine began spewing out carbon dioxide.
    The year 1816 went down in history as the “year without a summer”, thanks to the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia that veiled much of the world with dust, screening out the Sun. Yet in 1817, while still in the grip of the Little Ice Age, the Royal Society was so worried that 2,000 square leagues of sea ice around Greenland had disappeared within two years, and massive flooding was taking place in Germany, that its president wrote to the Admiralty advising of the necessity of an expedition to find out what was the source of this new heat.
    Perhaps, when similar things are happening 190 years later, the Royal Society should accept that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is unlikely to be the main – or only – driver of “global warming”.

    Friday March 6 2009 byEmily Garnham for Express.co.uk
    DENYING the existence of global warming is bound to make you unpopular with the green lobby – but one former British TV star has insisted on doing just that.
    Disgruntled with climate-change scaremongers, DAVID BELLAMY dared to offer an alternative view – and was promptly vilified.

    After allegedly being blacklisted by the BBC and ITV, the world-famous environmentalist almost backed out of the climate change debate for good.

    Now Britain’s ‘green grandfather’ is back in front of the camera to explain why – at the age of 76 – he is still fighting for the truth.

    TOP DAVID BELLAMY STORIES….

    DAVID BELLAMY: GLOBAL WARMING IS NONSENSE
    INTERVIEW: BBC SHUNNED ME FOR DENYING CLIMATE CHANGE
    FEATURE: WHAT IS DAVID BELLAMY DOING?

    In our video interview, Dr David answers EXPRESS.CO.UK readers’ questions – after an overwhelming response.

    He responds to his “lampooning” by journalist George Monbiot and explains why he will never use “scientific codswallop” in peer review journals to back up his theories.

    Watch David explain his views on why the ongoing debate over carbon dioxide and global warming is overshadowing “more important’ green issues – such as the rapid and wasteful burning of fossil fuels.

    Far from being a pollutant gas that fuels global warming with disastrous effects, find out why he thinks carbon dioxide is beneficial product of the Earth’s natural temperature increases.

    • Michael says:

      Oh pleeaase!! I haven’t focused on Bellamy. He just happens to be one of very few checkable authorities you have ever quoted in your diatribes. The man is an empty windbag looking to revive his earlier celebrity status. He will clearly champion any controversial cause that places him at the centre. I had lunch with Bellamy back in ’82 when I was doing a science programme for children. ‘Global Warming’ was his watch cry then to anyone that would listen and continued to be so for the next twenty years. Then came the celebrity wilderness for 5 or 6 years whereupon he re-emerged as a leader of the denialists. And you take him seriously?

      What was the word you used? Twaddle? Yes. That sums him up nicely. Twaddle!

  39. Michael says:

    Why are you getting so aggressive? And in the course of that so rude? Yes, I am sure I am not embellishing things myself. No, I do not add a subtext to anything. Yes I do understand them. Yes I do understand plain English, although I do not understand this “That lines the truth by the way.” Please explain, as our favourite redhead would say.
    My mind is far from closed. You seem to assume that those who point out your errors in both logic and research – or just simply disagree with you – are close-minded bigots. However, that is what you appear to be. You could not, for example, possibly have read through the material offered by me in the time it took you to reply. The truth is you have ignored it because it doesn’t fit. You do not even appear to know what the project actually is or how it was put together or even who is involved.

    To be clear, my position on climate change is left of centre, no doubt about that. Unlike you I cannot ignore the overwhelming evidence that points to it in favour of a few naysayers, none of whose arguments manage to get past the first proper analysis, as far as I can tell. Like you, I would dearly love it all to be a total invention of scientists in the pocket of politicians (would that not be a conspiracy, even if you don’t name it as such?). Unfortunately, those who espouse this view only ever come up with anecdotal evidence and the views of writers such as, in your case, Anthony Gottlieb; a journalist with no apparent scientific qualifications of any kind. Come on, how can you possibly be convinced by someone like that in the face of so much well researched evidence to the contrary, unless the truth is that you are the one with the closed mind, desperately seeking “evidence” to support your position?

    Personally, I want there to be no climate change; I want there to be life after death; I want there to be an intelligent universe; I want there to be a kind and merciful god watching over us all. Sadly, I can’t find a single scrap of real evidence to support any of those hypotheses.

  40. Michael says:

    P.S Your anonymous arctic friend seems to be a bit of a lone voice: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5047/record-setting-global-warming-arctic

  41. Ed says:

    >>Peter> could someone explain “fud” to me, I’m English? Is it a scientific term?

    No, it’s an acronym for “Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.”

    >>> I didn’t know I was writing a scientifically based thesis on climate change, if I had I would have used the Harvard system of referencing throughout.

    Don’t worry, no one thought you were and you certainly aren’t being held to that standard.

    >>>Ed, if you don’t know that scientists on the whole are funded through governments and consequently are often in thrall to politicians you are in dream land and no further comment is necessary. But I suspect you are not that naive and are just been mischievous.

    No where did I discuss funding of scientists. Just to be clear, science is a very broad undertaking. It includes scientists working for a wide range of government, educational, non-profit and corporate employers. It also includes students doing research in pursuit of graduate degrees at various universities the world over.

    Many of these individuals and organizations are in direct competition for funds and are generally held to a much higher standard than nearly any other profession.

    >>>If you think that Kyoto has a hold on India or China you are very much mistaken.

    That’s pretty much the opposite of what I said. Kyoto provides a framework for market solutions to greenhouse gas production, like cap-and-trade. Those market solutions are designed to make it profitable for businesses and governments in the developing world to reduce greenhouse gas production.

    Cap and trade has worked in other areas, there’s no reason it won’t work to reduce greenhouse gas production.

    >>>Have you traveled to India, do you know what is happening there at the moment? Don’t ask me if I have, I think you have probably guessed. I don’t you if you are American or not but as I understand it 95% of Americans don’t hold a passport and have no first hand experience of other countries. Unless of course it’s Iraq or Afghanistan.

    This discussion isn’t about me or any of what you mentioned in that paragraph. That was all entirely irrelevant to the discussion and I’m not sure if it was an effort to evoke an emotional response or simply an old fashion ad hominem argument.

    >>>The average Brit is convinced he’s been sacrificed to allow other countries to pollute at will.

    That of course is not relevant to science. It’s has more to do with publicity and the effectiveness of the various messages.

    I would be the first to admit that climatologists are not as effective messengers as the professionals employed by the fossil fuel industries to criticize the science of global warming.

    >>I haven’t confused anything,

    You have and you continue to confuse things.

    >>>“To compensate for the lack of records We can do experiments on ice cores and fossils that give us a fairly accurate reading of things like temperature and CO2 levels.” If you had read my earlier post you would know that I have first hand information on this. I’m assured that accurate readings cannot be achieved and as I know someone who’s personally involved I’ll take his word for it.

    Here you are confusing first hand information with, at best, a secondary source. If you had personally done the research, analyzed the data and published the results, that would be “first hand.” If this unnamed source who made these assurances did all those, that would be “second hand.” I suspect you are even further separated from the actual scientific process.

    >>>The hockey stick graph is accurate, is it? I really would like to see all the science this gem was based on.

    It’s readily available.

    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globtemp.html
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html#q8

    >>>I have seen other graphs and they are nothing like the hockey stick.

    The best available data when analyzed using verifiable scientific methods and procedures produced the Hockey Stick graph. What data produced your different looking graphs and what are you claiming they’re relevance is?

    >>>As for “its not science, it’s advertising.” Advertising what exactly? Hockey sticks or dodgy off the shelf climate graphs. Paid for by whom? “Climate graphs are us”?

    Not the fossil fuel industry.

    >>>Confusing climate with weather, perhaps you would like to explain it to me? But I’ll give you an explanation along with a reference.
    >>>Meteorologists often point out that “climate is what you expect and weather is what you get.” Or, as one middle school student put it, “Climate helps you decide what clothes to buy, weather helps you decide what clothes to wear.”

    Here you are confusing scientific definitions with colloquialisms. Climatology is the study of atmospheric patterns over a long period of time.

    Meteorology is the study of short term weather events.

    >>>Fox news in America may well be keen to put climate change deniers’ on the air in the States but that is not the case in Britain with the BBC.

    Well I’m glad some journalism in the UK maintains some standards. So Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp does not broadcast or publish in Great Britain?

    >>>Do you really think the scientific establishments are not run as businesses?

    Some are, some are run as government agencies, some are run as educational institutions.

    >>>Are scientist’s robots devoid of human emotions, exempt from the pressures of life?

    Nice straw man! No, of course not, many scientists work in a very competitive,
    stressful environment.

    >>>I would guess that if you think only badly ran businesses are subject to machinations in the boardroom then you know very little of business.

    Of course I was only referring to your generalizing about your experience with poorly run businesses. Your generalization is overly broad and not relevant.

    >>>>My life experience and knowledge doesn’t square with what I am been told.

    Yes, science and reality are often counter-intuitive.

    >>>I accept that having a cleaner Earth is a worthwhile aim whatever the reason. What I don’t accept is people making vast sums of money off the back of this at the expense of others who can least afford it. Or imposing their will on others in the name of science or am I confusing fiscal policy with climate and science?

    Well, you have these relationships exactly backwards. The ones who are making vast sums of money are those invested in fossil fuel production. And they’re making their money on the backs of us and our children, in part by not paying the societal costs of the products that they produce.

    >>>Global warming as it is commonly presented is sensationalist hype, propagated by people who where brought up on a diet of super hero comics.

    Regardless of how you perceive how it’s presented, global warming is sound science.

    >>>You worship scientists if you want to.

    Another strawman.

    >>>Until I see proof that is not tainted with ulterior motives I’ll keep an open mind. I’m very skeptical not a denier, do you know the difference or are you confused?

    This isn’t about you either. It’s about the science.

  42. Michael Pandazis says:

    So, setting aside the ad hominems and irrelevant side-issues, we’re dealing with two schools of thought here. I’ll try to summarise.

    1: The vast majority of published climate scientists are right, and the evidence points to AGW as a real phenomenon. The consensus exists because the evidence exists.

    2: The vast majority of published climate scientists are wrong or lying, and the evidence does not point to AGW as a real phenomenon. The consensus exists because:
    (a) the vast majority of published climate scientists all overrate their own predictive ability;
    and/or
    (b) the vast majority of published climate scientists are all influenced by non-scientific considerations, such as funding or prestige, to publish scientific opinions they know to be unfounded.

    From what I can see of the discussion here, certain people are doing a great job of constantly *implying* 2(a) and 2(b), but without ever coming out and saying it. I’m seeing vague mutterings about “hidden agendas”, “advertising”, “ignored facts” and “obvious mistakes”. But when I and others ask for clarification, we get ignored. When we point out that the supposed mistakes aren’t mistakes, we get ignored. When we ask for a plausible explanation of why the consensus exists, we get ignored. And when we ask for credible scientific references, we get David Bellamy, a botanist and patron of the British Homeopathic Association.

    That, Peter, Sheri and Laura, is FUD. You’re not saying anything concrete or checkable. Or, when you are, it’s trivially easy to find that it’s wrong. All you’re doing is spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about an overwhelming scientific consensus. Please tell us all where you’re getting your specific facts from, about the science or the scientific consensus, and stop trying to argue by rhetoric.

  43. Ed says:

    >>>So, setting aside the ad hominems and irrelevant side-issues, we’re dealing with two schools of thought here. I’ll try to summarise…

    Plus, Michael, you’re missing another major point. Brian, who is not a Global Warming Denier, began this discussion with a post celebrating Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto accords.

    That is not an irrelevant side-issue. Kyoto was the best (only) tool for international cooperation that had any hope of reducing or reversing Global Warming, and it was defeated for purely political and unscientific reasons.

    Kyoto has been so thoroughly and unfairly criticized that even those who agree with the preponderance of scientific evidence are dismissing the only solution that had a chance.

    ES

    • Michael Pandazis says:

      I agree with you, Ed, and I think Brian’s post was very unfortunate. It just strikes me that, when there are people who don’t even accept the science of AGW, a discussion of Kyoto is going to get precisely nowhere. It’s frustrating.

  44. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    Michael Pandazis, I’ll add another point. Because you dismiss so many as peoples real concerns as “FUD,” concerns real or imagined what you are proposing is a tyranny.

    Their concerns may not be scientifically based in all cases but they are genuine and they are real and having an holier than thou attitude is often self defeating.

    Your said it yourself s “Kyoto was the best (only) tool for international cooperation that had any hope of reducing or reversing Global Warming, and it was defeated for purely political and unscientific reasons.”

    I doubt you will even be able to grasp this. I’m not trying to insult anyone by that statement. It’s just that you are so far removed from life in general that you can only see science working in isolation and dismiss anybody or anything else that gets in your way. I don’t know about others but that makes me feel a little bit uneasy.

    I for one will be glad when Kyoto is assigned to the history books. If the future is going to be as you say then lets put our resources and energy into going with it not trying to cool the planet. If its feasible with technology as it stands and its a big if, we don’t know what a catastrophic effect that may have on the world. We can’t even create a computer model of a human body in a fall arrest system and map the effects accurately yet. Thats “FUD” to you but rings alarm bells with me when you talk about computerised climate models.

    • Michael Pandazis says:

      Well, perhaps my arguing style leaves something to be desired. Although that quote you’ve posted isn’t from me.

      On the substantive issue though, it’s frustrating when people who appear to be well-intentioned, such as you, repeat the same canard charges against climate science and scientists. I’m sorry if you don’t like the implications of climate science, and I’m sorry if you feel it’s a poor outlook for our children, but that is not a reason to question our best scientific predictions of what is going to happen.

      Oh, and by the way, the costs of doing nothing versus taking mitigating action have been modelled, too. See the Stern Report.

  45. Henk says:

    Peter, Shari

    Get grip…

  46. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    I apologise for the punctuation of my last post. It may say 10.22 pm but its 06.30 here and I’m typing in the dark before I get ready for work. Trying to save energy and in turn save the planet.

  47. Henk says:

    Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM….

    Could you please explain these apparently ridiculous epiphets you give yourself? I feel stupid posting my many titles, assocciations and epiphets.. When one starts ff as “Tech: a gazillion chefs would argue, they know more about ecology than you..especially siince you have been spouting non scientific garbage for at least a week.

    I like chefs, with all their qualifications… they deliver 100 times a day.

    Peter, please discontinue you masturbation!

  48. Peter G Brooksbank Tech IOSH, AIIRSM says:

    Hello Henk,

    Have you been allowed out to play again?

    I don’t give myself anything, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. I’m an Health and Safety practitioner and the honorifics are due to my qualifications and the organisations that I belong to. IIRSM, International Institute for Risk and Safety management.

    My viewpoint on climate change is probably summed up in the following book.

    “Let Them Eat Carbon: The Price of Failing Climate Change Policies, and How Governments and Big Business Profit From Them” by Matthew Sinclair. Available from all good bookshops, as the saying goes.

    Now I really must be going, I’ve only served 99 burgers today and I need one more to get another star!

    “Do you want fry’s with that, Sir?”

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