Yes, I do understand

Jo Nova’s blog today had an article that concerned the blog “WatchingtheDeniers”. Seems one writer on the blog has determined the DK effect is why deniers are deniers.

The Dunning-Kruger (KD) effect theorizes people with limited knowledge over-estimate their ability and knowledge. The claim is made that many of the commentors on Jo Nova’s blog lack a full understanding of science. This is a prime example of “assuming facts not in evidence”. A similar claim might be made that climate scientists are actually frustrated politicians, seeking the limelight and caring nothing about science. That’s the best thing about fantasy facts, they can “prove” anything.

A serious question here is why have studies shown people with higher science degrees are more apt to express doubt about climate science? A National Science Foundation study found this—while expecting the opposite. The study suggested teaching people more science, as the WtD blogger suggests, would actually increase the number of skeptics. Educating people on science is probably not a good idea if one is hoping to increase climate change acceptance.

The blogger suggests sharing science is something climate believers would enjoy. The general reaction of the AGW crowd has historically been to avoid all discussion of science and simply resort to name-calling and demanding “consensus” be followed (consensus is NOT proof of theory in science). If this group is willing to come forth and share science, so much the better.

“Deniers” is not really an accurate term. There would need to be open debate concerning the science so people could make up their own mind. Currently, there are statements like “the science is settled”, “there is consensus” and “you’re not smart enough to understand even if we tried to explain”. One cannot deny that which is hidden. That’s why the group is called “skeptics”. Produce the science, allow open discussions with FULL data available to ALL scientists, then we can decide if there is denial of the theory or if the theory is actually flawed and needs to be reworked or discarded.

Moving into social science and marketing techniques is strong evidence that the science fails. So is claiming only those anointed with grants and publishing are capable of understanding the theory. It’s arrogant. However, since people are inclined to bow to authority figures, the technique does work well in those who do not understand science and scientific method. There are no authorities in science. Only the data and the manipulations applied to said data matter. If the data or the manipulations are wrong, even if the janitor points this out, the science is flawed and needs to scrapped.

There has been a lot of “research” trying to connect “deniers” to conspiracy theories, etc. It’s interesting to note that AGW is very appealing to the anti-vaccine, hate Big Pharma, organic crowd. These are usually considered to be other than scientific beliefs (more into the pseudoscience arena).

Does that mean AGW’s following is people who are not scientific? Maybe, maybe not. For every following there exists a huge variety of individuals with very diverse beliefs that happen to have one belief in common.

Then there’s the theory that politics determine one’s belief in AGW. This is the chicken/egg problem. Does one’s political beliefs affect one’s science beliefs or does one’s science beliefs affect one’s politics? The “research” does not address this in any way.

57 comments on “Yes, I do understand

  1. James I have not side stepped anything. You have not said anything that needs an answer from me. The argument from authority is settled – the definition I use is the standard one,

    “This fallacy is committed when the person in question is not a legitimate authority on the subject.”

    I have no desire to waste time when the facts are present, and no interest if you are in denial of the evidence, I just wish you were mature enough to have an adult conversation with.


    YES OR NO?

    Why you continue to make a fool of yourself I have no idea. Peiser’s paper was debunked 8 years ago. When I say debunked I mean Peiser has withdrawn the study himself while people like you are so desperate for your version of the truth you still bring it up like it is credible research.


    “Peiser now admits he didn’t check the same articles that Naomi Oreskes used.

    “Which is why I no longer maintain this particular criticism. In addition, some of the abstracts that I included in the 34 “reject or doubt” category are very ambiguous and should not have been included.

    — Email from Benny Peiser to Media Watch”

    Read Benny Peiser’s response to Media Watch’s questions.

    So how many of the 34 articles does Benny Peiser stand by?

    How many really “reject or doubt” the scientific consensus for man-made global warming?

    Well when we first contacted him two weeks ago he told us…

    “Only [a] few abstracts explicitly reject or doubt the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) consensus which is why I have publicly withdrawn this point of my critique.

    — Email from Benny Peiser to Media Watch””



    YES OR NO?

    When it comes to evidence that you seem to find compelling that is now tow for two – don’t you even fell slightly embarrassed by the standard of ‘research’ you are using to support your beliefs with?

    • James says:

      Yes, Yes now answer the issues you did not address!

    • James says:

      Lazarus the definition you are using is for a FALLACIOUS argument from authority – not an argument from authority. You can’t even google definitions properly!

      • Lazarus says:

        But it is a Fallacious arguement from authority that you have used.

        In fact your last two links to ‘science’ are perfect examples for Arguments from authority. James Taylor and Benny Peiser both have a lot to say on climate change but neither have any authority in the subject.

        Problem is that people like you are so desperate to justify their beliefs they throw critical thinking out the window and clutch any nonsense they can find that tells them what they believe might not be unsupported by the evidence.

        I assume you still stand by your links? The first to a paper even the authors say Taylor has misrepresented and the second that the author himself has said he no longer stands by.

        Says all anyone needs to know about your ability to reason maturely.

  2. James says:

    You have done it AGAIN Lazarus! Side stepped everything that has gone before, then thrown in something demonstrably untrue and finished up with a bit more waffle.

    You just wrote above of me:Lazarus Onblogspot says:
    February 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm
    “You entered this debate to challenge my assertion that of all the credible scientific research on AGW, there is a very large majority that supports it and only a small percentage that questions it.”

    This is patently untrue. You egaged me in response to a comment by me, by making the totally erroneous definition as follows:

    Lazarus says:
    February 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
    “This isn’t the argument from authority. The argument from authority is where the person in question is not a legitimate authority on the subject.

    Having corrected you on this I’d be interested in your examples of peered reviewed papers showing the facts that have made “previously alarmist scientists” changing their minds. Where do you see Prof Richard Muller’s position in this argument?”

    THAT is when I entered the debate with you – about your incorrect definition of ‘argument from authority’. But you can’t even get that right!

    I have no doubt that you can continue to not address the many issues I raise in response to you while raising yet more issues for me to address which you will again ignore.

    You are not interested in facts or science, you are interested in blind faith and debating. My interest is in truth.

    I don’t even think you read what I wrote because in your last post, your coup de grace of what Benny Peiser ‘admitted’ (which I note you conveniently edited/shortened to suite your purposes, is exactly what I wrote before I detailed Peiser’s paper. Specifically:

    “He has stated that his personal view is “I do not think anyone is questioning that we are in a period of global warming. Neither do I doubt that the overwhelming majority of climatologists is agreed that the current warming period is mostly due to human impact. However, this majority consensus is far from unanimous.”

    So it is hilarious that you post it as if that was some admission which was extracted out of him. It happens to be his personal view and I happen to agree with it. But ‘climatology’ is a new science and as we have seen, some of its leaders like Michael Mann and Phil Jones to name but two well known leading lights, are capable of making monumental cockups in the area. I’m not prepared to throw out other branches of science which look at the Earth’s climate over more than the last 150 years, and consider natural variability which we are only just beginning to understand. I’m also not prepared to say, if we accept that human CO2 emissions are warming the planet, that is automatically a bad thing until I see unbiased research which looks at all the positives and negatives, not just presenting the negatives. And I’m not prepared to chase a course of action to reduce CO2 emissions when I have seen the economic justification by Stern and Garnaut uses discounting methods which no reasonable economist would accept.

    When these matters are evenly and properly debated with an open mind, then I will balance the evidence and make an informed decision with the facts at hand. In the meantime, anyone who insists the debate is over, the science is settled is a fool, because as I have already proved, which was the challenge laid out to me at the very beginning, there are alarmist scientists who some years ago called for drastic action who given further research and data, are not so concerned as they once were.

    I took the liberty of perusing your blogs very briefly and I see you clearly have a lot of time on your hands. I cannot say the same.

  3. BTW James,

    Your Professor Benny Josef Peiser wouldn’t be the same Benny Peiser, Director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and one of Heartland’s “Global warming experts” despite having no evident expertise in climate science or policy, would he?

    Peiser originally stated in January 2005 that Oreskes was incorrect and that “in light of the data he presented… Science should withdraw Oreskes’s study and its results in order to prevent any further damage to the integrity of science.” On October 12, 2006, Peiser admitted that only one of the ~1000 research papers he used in his study refuted the scientific consensus on climate change, and that this one study was NOT peer-reviewed and was published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Peiser’s incorrect claims were published in the Financial Post section of the National Post, in a May 17, 2005 commentary authored by Peiser himself.

    Then in 2006 he admitted ” “I do not think anyone is questioning that we are in a period of global warming. Neither do I doubt that the overwhelming majority of climatologists is agreed that the current warming period is mostly due to human impact.”

    But don’t answer this until you give a straight answer to whether you still stand by Heartland’s James Taylor claims.

  4. James says:

    “All through this ‘debate’ you have side-stepped, ignored and avoided responding to the many points I have raised which showed your statements and arguments to be false and weak”

    You entered this debate to challenge my assertion that of all the credible scientific research on AGW, there is a very large majority that supports it and only a small percentage that questions it. This still remains the case.

    You attempted to prove your belief with a blog post which interpreted the Lianne M. Lefsrud, and Renate E. Meyer paper as “Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis”.

    I am not prepared to move on until I know if you still stand by this belief, in which case please quote from the paper where you believe it supports that belief, or if you now realise you were duped by Heartland’s James Taylor, (that’s not you is it?), and show some maturity and admit your error. It is after all a link YOU recommended to me to shatter my ‘illusions’,

    A straight reply would be nice, but you may be interested in reviewing this before you do;

    Some selected quotes:

    “James Taylor, managing editor of The Heartland Institute’s Environment & Climate News, recently wrote a Forbes blog post about a new study of professional engineers and geoscientists involved in Alberta, Canada’s petroleum industry. According to the authors of the study, however, Taylor got most of the details in his post wrong, and Taylor has not corrected or retracted the blog post even though his errors have been pointed out to him.”

    ” There is no mention that all the study’s respondents were only in Alberta, Canada. There is no mention that they’re all members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). There is no mention that the membership of APEGA is predominantly employed by the Alberta petroleum industry and its regulators. ”

    “Furthermore, Taylor fails to mention fact that 84% of respondents were actually engineers, not scientists. Yet Taylor incorrectly claims in the title itself that the survey applies to the “majority of scientists.” ”

    “Taylor also lies about a couple of other aspects of the study. First, he cherry-picks his quotes from the description of the “Regulation Activists” to make them appear more skeptical than they actually are. According to the paper, regulation activists “do not significantly vary from the mean in how they consider the magnitude, extent, or time scale of climate change.” ”

    You might also like to look at a REAL research paper on Expert credibility in climate change;

  5. James says:

    Lazarus, I had written a lengthy response but in my haste and shiftinf between tabs I managed to delete it and to be honest, you didn’t deserve my original efforts, so I am not going to repeat them.

    But firstly Lazarus, don’t delude yourself, there is no “us all” (as in do us all a favour), there is just you.

    All through this ‘debate’ you have side-stepped, ignored and avoided responding to the many points I have raised which showed your statements and arguments to be false and weak. You simply come back with some new propoganda for me to challenge, which you believe supports your view.

    Your latest effort is no different. Oreskes, McCrighgt & Dunlap I can tell you off the top of my head are famous for suggesting that climate skeptics are motivated by vested interests and even suggest that they are largely funded by the fissil fuel industry. It is remarkable that they are allowed to come up with this garbage without providing any empirical evidence – I’m still waiting for my cheque! Yet they ignore the rivers of gold funding which streams to those of the climate alarmist persuasion and the bankers and insurance executives who are benifiting from promoting carbon trading and increased climate risks. The charge of endorsements was lead by Deutsche Bank who even paid a bunch of alarmist scientists to produce a booklet allegedly debunking Climate Skeptic arguments. Most of that debinking has been soundly debunked and the rest has been proven wrong by empirical evidence since it was published, but that is beside the point. Unless you are totally oblivious to these things you might be aware that dozens of Deutsche Bank executives have been arrested and charged in relation to carbon trading fraud going as high as the co chief excecutive. What they have been cited for so far is hundreds of millions of Euros, but they have recently recorded a 3 Billion Euro loss which includes a massive contingent liability. See for example here, here

    But carbon trading scams go much deeper with Barclays bank being implicated in earlier years before closing their carbon trading desk and Europol (European Police) last year reporting 7 Billion Dollars of carbon Trading scams. My point is with all the ‘legal’ climate alarmist funding around for alarmist science (some estimates put it at around $80 billion so far), the hundreds of billions of dollars available in legal carbon trading, actually making money out of thing air, and then more billions being made by scamming the carbon trading, it is a bit rich for climate alarmists to suggest that climate skeptics have a vested interest especially when they can’t piont to a financial link between skeptical scientists and money!

    Lazarus, if you choose to respond, I expect you to go back through the correspondence and address every point I have raised and answer them rather than avoid them and simply raise a new one. But to give you an incentive I will address just the first of the papers you have presented to support your argument from authority – the so called scientific consensus. Oreskes 2004.

    There was a paper by Naomi Oreskes published in Science that claimed 75% of the examined abstracts either explicitly or implicitly backed the consensus view, none directly dissenting from it. This is the 0% disagreement figure you use Lazarus. Her research methodology was reviewed and replicated by Professor Benny Josef Peiser, who is a social anthropologist specializing in the environmental and socio-economic impact of physical activity on health. He was at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) until July 2010, and is a visiting fellow at the University of Buckingham.

    He has stated that his personal view is “I do not think anyone is questioning that we are in a period of global warming. Neither do I doubt that the overwhelming majority of climatologists is agreed that the current warming period is mostly due to human impact. However, this majority consensus is far from unanimous.” It is a view I share and which I have not argued with throughout this debate. It does not mean that the overwhelming majority of climatologists are correct – I think they suffer from group think, and if they were exposed less to post modern science and more to the hard science and applied hard scientific method, they would not hold those views. that is why so many astro-physicists, and geologists for instance do not hold that ‘consensus view’. But it is currently trendy in ‘climate science’ which is a very new science after all, and it takes one with extreme courage to go against the flow. And one who is prepared to have no funding and no research work!

    Anyway, he reviewed Oreskes’ work:

    “Oreskes claims to have analysed 928 abstracts she found listed on the ISI database using the keywords “climate change”. However, a search on the ISI database using the keywords “climate change” for the years 1993 – 2003 reveals that almost 12,000 papers were published during the decade in question (2). What happened to the countless research papers that show that global temperatures were similar or even higher during the Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period when atmospheric CO2 levels were much lower than today; that solar variability is a key driver of recent climate change, and that climate modeling is highly uncertain?”

    These objections were put to Oreskes by science writer David Appell. On 15 December 2004, she admitted that there was indeed a serious mistake in her Science essay. According to Oreskes, her study was not based on the keywords “climate change,” but on “global climate change” (

    Her use of three keywords instead of two reduced the list of peer reviewed publications by one order of magnitude (on the UK’s ISI databank the keyword search “global climate change” comes up with 1247 documents). Since the results looked questionable, I decided to replicate the Oreskes study.

    Comment: 1247 is higher than 928 because Prof Peiser has included some documents in his ensemble that Prof Oreskes didn’t consider to be “articles”. This is a minor difference that didn’t cause any serious disagreement and both scholars know how to work in both ways. But there are significant problems of other kinds, as shown later.


    I analysed all abstracts listed on the ISI databank for 1993 to 2003 using the same keywords (“global climate change”) as the Oreskes study. Of the 1247 documents listed, only 1117 included abstracts (130 listed only titles, author(s)’ details and keywords). The 1117 abstracts analysed were divided into the same six categories used by Oreskes (#1-6), plus two categories which I added (# 7, 8):

    1. explicit endorsement of the consensus position
    2. evaluation of impacts
    3. mitigation proposals
    4. methods
    5. paleoclimate analysis
    6. rejection of the consensus position.
    7. natural factors of global climate change
    8. unrelated to the question of recent global climate change


    The results of my analysis contradict Oreskes’ findings and essentially falsify her study:

    – Of all 1117 abstracts, only 13 (or 0.1%) explicitly endorse the ‘consensus view’.

    – 322 abstracts (or 29%) implicitly accept the ‘consensus view’ but mainly focus on impact assessments of envisaged global climate change.

    – Less than 10% of the abstracts (89) focus on “mitigation”.

    – 67 abstracts mainly focus on methodological questions.

    – 87 abstracts deal exclusively with paleo-climatological research unrelated to recent climate change.

    – 34 abstracts reject or doubt the view that human activities are the main drivers of the “the observed warming over the last 50 years”.

    – Note: among the 34 abstracts, one of them was later found that shouldn’t have been included in the group.

    – 44 abstracts focus on natural factors of global climate change.

    – 470 (or 42%) abstracts include the keywords “global climate change” but do not include any direct or indirect link or reference to human activities, CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions, let alone anthropogenic forcing of recent climate change.


    According to Oreskes, 75% of the 928 abstracts she analysed (i.e. 695) fell into these first three categories, “either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view”. This claim is incorrect on two counts: My analysis shows that only 424 abstracts (or less than a third of the full data set) fall into these three categories.

    It also shows that many abstracts on “evaluation of impact” and “mitigation” do not discuss which drivers are key to global climate change, instead often focusing exclusively on the possible effects of elevated CO2 levels on plant growth and vegetation. Many do not include any implicit endorsement of the ‘consensus view’ but simply use certain assumptions as a basis for often hypothetical impact assessments or mitigation strategies.

    Quite a number of papers emphasise that natural factors play a major if not the key role in recent climate change (4). My analysis also shows that there are almost three times as many abstracts that are sceptical of the notion of anthropogenic climate change than those that explicitly endorse it (5, 6, 7).

    In fact, the explicit and implicit rejection of the ‘consensus view’ is not restricted to individual scientists. It also includes distinguished scientific organisations such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists:

    “The earth’s climate is constantly changing owing to natural variability in earth processes. Natural climate variability over recent geological time is greater than reasonable estimates of potential human-induced greenhouse gas changes. Because no tool is available to test the supposition of human-induced climate change and the range of natural variability is so great, there is no discernible human influence on global climate at this time.” (8)
    This is not to deny that there is a majority of publications that, although they do not empirically test or confirm the view of anthropogenic climate change, go along with it by applying models based on its basic assumptions. Yet, it is beyond doubt that a sound and unbiased analysis of the full ISI databank will find hundreds of papers (many of which written by the world’s leading experts in the field) that have raised serious reservations and outright rejection of the concept of a “scientific consensus on climate change”. The truth is, that there is no such thing!”

    Of course since publishing his findings every climate alarmist and his dog tried to disprove what Peiser had found, but none succeeded. the best they could do is find one paper in his survey which he conceded should not have been included, but which did not change the findings. His main points of criticism is that the vast majority of the abstracts referred to in the Oreskes study do not mention anthropogenic climate change, and only 13 of the 928 abstracts explicitly endorse what Oreskes called the “consensus view”. 34 papers reject or doubt human activities are the main climate drivers, 44 papers concentrate on natural drivers and 470 paprs (42%) make no direct or indirect link to human activities. So almost 49% do not accept the so called consensus view – a far cry from Oreskes 0% claim – how deliberately blind would you need to be to come up with such a result and still call yourself a scientist?!

    Yet people like you still repeat her claim remarkable and an example of true denial!

  6. James says:

    “Lazarus you really have become quite lame”

    The reason that you have become upitty is that you have made yourself look a complete idiot. You have no scientific basis for your beliefs and are desperate to find something, anything, to justify your ignorance.

    I believe you have no understanding of the research you put forward to shatter all my “illusions”.

    But I invite you to prove me wrong.

    All you have to do is simply show how I have taken;

    ” The proportion of papers found in the ISI Web of Science database that explicitly endorsed anthropogenic climate change has fallen from 75% (for the period between 1993 and 2003) as of 2004 to 45% from 2004 to 2008, while outright disagreement has risen from 0% to 6% (Oreskes, 2004; Schulte, 2008). This drop in endorsement may be a manifestation of increasing taken-for-grantedness (e.g., Green, 2004) of anthropogenic climate science; the rise in disagreement may be a result of increased funding of sceptics by fossil fuel industries, conservative foundations and think tanks (McCright & Dunlap, 2010).”

    Out of context and then show where the researchers, Lianne M. Lefsrud, and Renate E. Meyer, have concluded;

    “Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis”,

    But if you cant, do us all a favour and be honest and mature enough to admit that you can’t.

  7. James says:

    Lazarus you really have become quite lame, Did you think you had scored a point because I referred you to the article printed in Forbes and then tell me to look at the source document if I really want to know the facts? Are you so blind to have either not noticed that the source document you referred me to was linked by URL in the article I referred you to, and that not only did I know that, but had already read it? Or did you miss that reference in the article altogether and think you had discovered it all by yourself and achieve one-up on me?

    I referred you to the article because it gave an easy to read summary of the research AND provided the URL to the source document – because I am thourough and don’t go off half cocked or uninformed!

    So for you have incorrectly accused me of using the term ‘argument from authority’ incorrectly. You have cited Richard Muller as your perfect example of a skeptical scientist who has now been ‘convinced’ by the science, when he and his daighter deliberately withheld evidence from the world press to pretend they were approaching the BEST project as skeptics when the evidence is that they were far from skeptical, their ‘research’ has done nothing to prove a link between human green house gas emissions and the warming measured by his teams replication work, and his teams papers on UHI did not pass peer review.

    You put forward Mann and Hansen as your champions. Mann’s Hockey Stick proxy temperature reconstructions have been shown to be statistically flawed which explians why the MWP disappeared from the graph and the LIA was smoothed out. Mann doggedly refused to make his data available for outside checking (it took 5 years before independent sources could properly confirm the statistical errors made because it took that long to get hold of the source data). A real scientists certain of his findings would have no problem sharing with the world.

    If James Hansen was not a protected species, he would probably be in gaol for making money and being paid for his Climate Change gigs which he takes on and is well rewarded for. Federal employees may not receive outside income for teaching, writing, or speaking related to their “official duties.” Dr. James Hansen of NASA. Hansen has received upwards of $1.6 million in outside income. And it’s not unreasonable to assume that most or all of that income was for teaching, writing, and speaking on matters “related to” his “official duties.”

    There was a very detailed expose November 2011 in a column posted on Watts Up With That. (no doubt you avoided that as it only comes from satans spawn!) In “Dr. James Hansen’s growing financial scandal, now over a million dollars of outside income,” It was argued that Hansen gets substantial outside income for activities related to his official duties and does not always comply with federal financial disclosure regulations:

    NASA records released to resolve litigation filed by the American Tradition Institute reveal that Dr. James E. Hansen, an astronomer, received approximately $1.6 million in outside, direct cash income in the past five years for work related to — and, according to his benefactors, often expressly for — his public service as a global warming activist within NASA.

    This does not include six-figure income over that period in travel expenses to fly around the world to receive money from outside interests. As specifically detailed, Hansen failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in global travel provided to him by outside parties — including to London, Paris, Rome, Oslo, Tokyo, the Austrian Alps, Bilbao, California, Australia and elsewhere, often business or first-class and also often paying for his wife as well — to receive honoraria to speak about the topic of his taxpayer-funded employment, or get cash awards for his activism and even for his past testimony and other work for NASA.

    Ethics laws require that such payments or gifts be reported on an SF278 public financial disclosure form. As detailed, Hansen nonetheless regularly refused to report this income.

    Also, he seems to have inappropriately taken between $10,000 and $26,000 for speeches unlawfully promoting him as a NASA employee.

    And on top of all that his projections have been dramatically wrong – yet he remains a hero to the ‘true believers’, I guess in the same way the Paul Elrich (The Population Bomb), and his co-author John Holdren (Obama’s chief scientific adviser – population reduction and climate alarmists), continue to get predictions wrong, but still manage to clime the elite scientific ladders.

    Now it seems that in fact despite making no admissions to the above, you are prepared to say “Lets just say” ………………..etc

    Well I am not going to let you off the hook Lazarus. You wrote very specifically that your sacred survey of 13950 peer reviewed research papers:

    “….. found that 0.17 per cent (just 24 papers) argued global warming was either false or was caused by something other than human activities.”

    The obvious corollary to that is that 99.83% of papers found global warming was true and caused by nothing other than human activities. Yet when I sought out the source survey, it turned out that my assumption, that you have either intentionally or unintentionally misinterpreted the survey results was quite true. the author had made it quite clear that:

    ” To be classified as rejecting, [the theory that the majority of observed global warming has been caused by human activity since industrialisation], an article had to clearly and explicitly state that the theory of global warming is false or, as happened in a few cases, that some other process better explains the observed warming. Articles that merely claimed to have found some discrepancy, some minor flaw, some reason for doubt, I did not classify as rejecting global warming.”
    Desmogblog (

    So it is unknown how many of those 13,950 research papers found discrepencies in the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming theory, perhaps stating that the maximum warming from a doubling of CO2 is 1,2C not the 2.3C – 4.0C predicted by the IPCC? Or how many of those 13,950 found a ‘minor flaw’ in the CAGW theory which fails to take into account any number of natural climate variables, or negative feedback mechanisms? Remember we are taking the author’s word as to what he considered was a ‘minor flaw’ and he isn’t a climate scientis, astro physicist, geoscientist etc). And I wonder how many of the 13,950 papers reviewed expressed some reason to doubt CAGW? In fact, just about every climate science paper I have read talks in uncertainties and ends by indicating that more research is required in the area to resolve the areas of uncertainties. So in actual fact, it is likely that if we counted the papers which found discrepencies, flaws or raised dout about CAGW theory, I wouldn’t be surprised to find the numbers to be well in the majority. So your steadfast belief in an unproven theory where the current empirical evidence appears to be invalidating the climate models and where new research continues to raise more questions, not reduce certainty, is irrational.

  8. Lazarus says:

    James says:

    “So Lazarus, your honest interpretation of that survey is that 99.83% of the 13,950 scientists surveyed believe that ALL global warming is due to human activities? ”

    No. It is a survey of 13950 peer reviewed scientific papers not scientists. So you can hardly suggest I’m happy you checked out a source when you didn’t even realize it was about research not the number of scientists. A big fail really.

    An even bigger fail is to loftily tell me I should “go to the source document” only to link to a “Peer-Reviewed Survey” from a blog and written by some one from the Heartland Institute!

    If you actually look at the research your Heartland blogger is promoting you will see that he has spun it to suit their agenda and it has little to do with the “Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis”. You really should learn to read past the headline and go to the original source rather than stopping when you think it has told you what you want to hear – you are only a fool to yourself otherwise.

    If you care to educate yourself the source paper is here,

    You will see that it considers research papers that specifically endorse anthropocentric climate change published between 1993 and 2003 and finds only 6% disagree – a rise it admits. But it suggests that the fall in agreement could be due to ‘taken-for-grantedness’ with the science and the “rise in disagreement may be a result of increased funding of skeptics by fossil fuel industries, conservative foundations and think tanks”. I wonder why the Heartland blogger didn’t tell you this? REMEMBER THIS IS THE PEER REVIEWED SURVEY YOU RECOMMENDED that is supposed to shatter all my illusions!

    What it has done is confirm, if any confirmation was needed, how desperate people like you are to find anything that might confirm their bias and tell them what they want to hear – much easier than finding out the facts and basing their opinions on the actual evidence.

    The question is that now you know the research that you thought supported your beliefs actually confirms the strength of the scientific consensus will that knowledge really change anything in your mind or will you be even more desperate to find something that will allow you to hold on to your unsubstantiated beliefs? I’m not holding my breath for you to admit that the science actually does overwhelming disagree with these beliefs.

    • James says:

      Seriously Lazarus – you are beyond help. Perhaps that explains the fantasy in your selected tag name? I cannot waste any more time on your silliness, you can cling to the belief that 99.87% of peer reviewed research papers support that all warming is caused by human activities despite that interpretation not being taken by the author of the survey and definitely not by the IPCC. If you can twist what they say, what hope is there for you?

      • Seriously? That is your ‘rational response’ to being caught out believeing Heartland spin and recommending a piece of research you never even looked at, but you thought it told you what you wanted to hear?

        Let’s say your link and the research has convinced me and I no longer accept that 99.87% of peer reviewed research papers published support that THE CURRENT WARMING TREND IS SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED by human activities, (not ALL as you mus-characterised – a bad habit of a cornered person).

        So I now believe your evidence and accept it, as you must rationally do, that only 94% of recent papers, between 1993 and 2003 support AGW.

        Or are you not mature enough now to accept the evidence you recommended to me in this discussion?

      • Seriously? That is your ‘rational response’ to being caught out believing Heartland spin and recommending a piece of research you never even looked at, but because you thought it told you what you wanted to hear?

        Let’s say your link and the research has convinced me and I no longer accept that 99.87% of peer reviewed research papers published support that THE CURRENT WARMING TREND IS SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTED by human activities, (not ALL as you mis-characterised – a bad habit of a cornered person).

        So I now believe your evidence and accept it, as you must rationally do, that only 94% of recent papers, between 1993 and 2003 support AGW.

        Or are you not mature enough now to accept the evidence you recommended to me in this discussion?

  9. Lazarus says:

    Reality check says:

    “The data is my authority. Scientific methods, statistics”.

    Well I hope you don’t expect anyone to take your authority seriously or you ability in scientific methods and statistics, especially if they do not agree with people who have specifically trained and studied, researched and published on the subject.

    I would never ask anyone to accept my authority on any subject if I could not prove that it was backed up with recognized qualifications, and experience and didn’t contradict others of similar or greater qualification without some extraordinary evidence. Evidence that I would be happy for these people to consider and hopefully also find as I.

    • Reality Check;

      Actually, thinking about what I have just written above, perhaps all I need to say was;

      “It’s easy to win the contest when you get to pick the definition of the authorities.”

      If you are your own authority then we can both logically agree that Authority states that the Moon is indeed made of cheese – or any other nonsense we see people coming out with.

  10. James says:

    Lazarus, if you can handle it, read this article which will shatter all your illusions:

    If you manage to get through the article you could read the actual research paper which you will see was set out by climate alarmists in the hope of either proving Engineers and geoscientists accepted dangerouys man made global warming, or that they are somehow flawed in their thinking. In one part ofg the paper they try to explain away why so many of them are skeptical of dangerous man made global warming by stating that a lot of them are senior management, older males. As if junior, less experience younger females might be better equipped to make a judgement! That is how desperate they were to get what they considered the ‘right’ answer.

    In another section they wondered how come bankers and insurance executives can be supportive of carbon reduction action, but not these guys – claiming maybe itr is a vested interest problem. But not realising the bankers and insurance execs have a vested interest in carbon trading and talking up the risks!

  11. Lazarus says:

    James says:

    “I am not even going to waste my time looking at and reading the desmogblog reference because either you have misinterpreted it or the writer has misinterpreted the research.”

    The reference in that blog is an empirical fact. There was a survey of 13950 scientific research papers on climate change and just 24 papers argued global warming was either false or was caused by something other than human activities. That is completely factually true and can be easily checked to see that it hasn’t been misinterpreted.

    It is rather telling that you choose to think something about the survey must be wrong because it contradicts your basic beliefs rather than consider the evidence and make rational decision on whether it could alter and improve your understanding and knowledge.

    Is there really any point in asking such a closed minded person to look at the methodology?

    • James says:

      So Lazarus, your honest interpretation of that survey is that 99.83% of the 13,950 scientists surveyed believe that ALL global warming is due to human activities? Because that is what you are saying if only 24 papers argued that global warming was caused by something other than human activity.

      You aren’t qualifying that by saying ‘most’ global warming, or global warming since such and such a date, you are saying that 99.83% of scientists agree that global warming is caused by human activities and a paltry 0.17% of scientists surveyed suggest an alternative hypothesis. So you reckon 99.83% of scientists deny there have been any natural causes of global warming.

      Do you see how stupid that is and why I didn’t need to bother reading the paper because I knew your interpretation was incorrect? No you probably don’t given the quality of your input and logic to date!

      • James says:

        Lazarus, as I am at the airport lounge an had a minute, just to satisfy my curiosity, I decided to check out this sacred text which you refer to. Firstly a tip for future reference. If you are going to quote from an alleged result of a survey, go to the source document, not an article about the survey. Second, read the survey!

        So I went to your referenced article and followed that the the referenced survey and they read the survey methodology which stated:

        ” To be classified as rejecting, [the theory that the majority of observed global warming has been caused by human activity since indusstrialisation], an article had to clearly and explicitly state that the theory of global warming is false or, as happened in a few cases, that some other process better explains the observed warming. Articles that merely claimed to have found some discrepancy, some minor flaw, some reason for doubt, I did not classify as rejecting global warming.”
        Desmogblog (

        So Lazarus, I don’t know how many thousands of those peer reviewed articles by climate scientists have done exactly what I have done and found discrepencies in some of the IPCC material, particularly the climate models and the predictions of catastrophic global warming, I don’t know how many found some reasons to doubt that the bulk of warming since industrialisation is caused by human activity, but NONE of them would have been counted in that ridiculously small number you like to keep quoting!

        Are you happy now that I went to your acclaimed source and discovered exactly what I suspected, which is that you had completely misinterpreted the results because you wanted to believe what you thought was the case?

  12. Lazarus: It’s easy to win the contest when you get to pick the definition of the authorities.

    • Lazarus says:

      Reality check says:
      ” It’s easy to win the contest when you get to pick the definition of the authorities.”

      That works both ways. My authorities are people that have high academic qualifications in scientific disciplines and spent years studying and researching specific areas of science and publishing their researched findings for all others to see and critique in journals known for their high standards of scientific publishing.

      Any chance of you defining your ‘authorities’?

  13. Lazarus says:

    James said;

    “- There are some climate scientists who are climate alarmists because it confirms their beliefs and they tend to exclude from their thinking areas not Related to their area and simply accept what they think is the main stream views.”

    What you are actually saying is that you do not believe the scientists/science that is telling you something that you don’t want to hear. That is all. After all a survey of 13950 scientific research papers on climate change published between 1991 and 2012 has found that 0.17 per cent (just 24 papers) argued global warming was either false or was caused by something other than human activities.

    So are you so irrational that you actually believe that every credible scientific academy and institute in the world, from every country in the world, from every political type in the world, are all alarmist fundamentalists? Because that is exactly the scale of the science that is supporting Hansen’s basic views on global warming and climate change.

    Or perhaps I’m wrong? Perhaps you can list Academies and Institutes world wide that support your position on Anthropocentric global warming and link to the thousands of scientific papers that they must surely use as evidence to base those views on? Or not?

    • James says:

      Lazarus, you claim: “After all a survey of 13950 scientific research papers on climate change published between 1991 and 2012 has found that 0.17 per cent (just 24 papers) argued global warming was either false or was caused by something other than human activities.”

      I am not even going to waste my time looking at and reading the desmogblog reference because either you have misinterpreted it or the writer has misinterpreted the research.

      Your claim does not allow for the huge pecentage of scientists who I happen to agree with who acknowledge that the Earth has indeed warmed since the last glacial period. No surprise there. And that since industrialisation it is likely that human green house gas emissions, particularly CO2, have added to that warming.

      What you are trying to imply is that I belong to some camp which believe there has been no global warming. Yet at the same time it appears you are claiming to belong to a camp which interprets the research (or at least 99.83% of it), to show that all global warming is due to human activities. This is totally unproven and unsupported and denies the proven existence of many natural climate variabilities which are known to cause global warming.

      As for your science academies, I am totally unimpressed with them as are many others. The subject is well covered here:

      “One of the reasons “Argument from Authority” is a fallacy is because people are human, and associations of humans don’t always neutralize our failings, sometimes they magnify them.

      Yes, science academies and science associations do support the “consensus” – but none of those agencies asked for their members to vote, and none have hosted a public debate. The academies may pretend to represent 50,000 members, but the committee that declares the official position may have only eight members. Members of many of these associations are resigning or launching revolts in protest at the slipping, or non-existent scientific standards in relation to pronouncements on climate science. Nobel Prize winner, Ivar Giaever resigned from the American Physical Society, over 80 prominent physicists petitioned the APS , Steven J. Welcenbach resigned in disgust from the American Chemical Society (ACS) saying “ACS has died as a scientific society. ”

      While science funding comes from government and science funding bodies are controlled by warmists, how can you expect any science academy or association to say that the CO2 theory is bunk?

      The Royal Society made pronouncements on climate science that so outraged its membership that for the first time in history members rebelled, with 43 calling in a private petition for The Royal Society to rewrite it’s position, which it subsequently did. While the protest came from only a small group within the membership, it’s telling that it was arranged by an email, and two-thirds of those approached signed the petition. The dissatisfaction was widespread.”

      When science is done by committee rather than by scientific method and the gathering of evidence than you may have a valid argument Lazarus, otherwise all you do is continue to use argument from authority not fact!

      • Tony Duncan says:


        you are presenting the actions of small numbers of individuals and presenting them as if they represent some large movement of scientists away from the idea of ACC as is presenlty accepted by the vast majority of scientists who are involved with climate research,
        You are ignoring that this has become a hgihly polarized political issue and people of strong ideological bearing are reacting according to that ideology rther than the actual science.
        As I suggested to you in another comment if you are right in your pesentatiuona of the facts it is so simple that the vast majority of scientists will fairly soon and then increasingly rapidly come to support your conclusion of very small CO2x2 and then only CAGW ideologists will support the theory. I have been hearing this same argument for 4 years. There are many many htousands of scientists who are doing research in many different areas whose work leads them to accept the basic conclusions of a much higher CO2x2. Again there should be confirmation of the incorrectness of their research in all these fields which will lead these none ideologically basd scientists to start undermining the consensus and it will collapse fairly quickly.
        The discussions that I see now and have followed for the last few years are not showing to me any sort of panic or confusion that all these different aspects are turning out to be wrong.
        I consider myself a skeptic and not in any way wedded to “proving” what I want to believe.
        In fact the resposne of denier blogs to the concrete facts regarding the arctic to me ae storng evidence of just the opposite, that those decrying what is called CAGW are abandoning science in favor of invented explanations, much like someone (maybe it was you) talked about epicycles.
        I do not see the arguments that are explanations for the lack of significant further warming this last decade to be implausible. As you ahve mentioned there is the sola minimum, there are aerosols. there have been extended La Niña’s and there is scientific support for the ocean as a large warming heat sink. do I blindly accept all these explanations as true, No. But they make mre sense to me, than people ignroring the huge drop off in arctic ice, who until a year ago proclaimed 2007 to be an abberation and that the ice has been recovering since then. And all of the sudden they are all about the AMO and how bovious it is that THAT is the cause of the most precipitous decrease in arctic ice in over a thousand years, and one that so far is trending to continue toward summer ice free conditions which, may not have been true since before the last ice age.
        When I see scientists who are experts in cliamte change or related fields that are connected to climate change start saying that the science is not consistant with current ideas, i will be much more open to the likilihood of it being wrong. From waht you have written here, that should be very soon. that is not argument from authority, that is skepticism towards ALL positions

  14. James says:


    I think I first have to be pedantic and point out that i think you are confusing Accounting with Economics, nevertheless I did find your approach bemusing but oh so familiar.

    However, before I respond to what you have written I would like to acknowledge that as you remained silent on the subject I will assume you at least accept:

    – The Hockey Stick Temperature reconstruction was factually inaccurate in reducing the suignificance the the LIA and making the MWP disappear altogether which implied that present day temperatures were unprecedented.
    – Temperatures have been warmer than they are today during periods when humans thrived.
    – There is no PROOF that human CO2 emissions are causing catastrophic global warming. Warming based on CO2 emissions alone is not considered in any circles to be catastrophiv, any other projections are purely hypothetical based on unproven assumptions which do not account for all feedback mechanisms and that we do not fully understand all feedback mechanisms.
    – Your attempts at psychoanalysis of my motivations were way off mark
    – Your fears that the world will run out of food are not new, and are certainly not scientifically supported, they are simply a concern.

    Firstly, with regards short and long term correlations and different heat sinks I of course understand the basic statistics and the physics, but thanks for the kindy primer.

    In my correspondence I told you what I saw on ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ what was said by Al Gore and what was in fact the truth. That What Al Gore Said was wrong! If I remember correctly the order, and I’m not going to watch the film again – I’ve watched it a few times, He first shows the Hockey Stick graph, then he drafts on to that the CO2 record which is assumed constant till about 1870 then rising with industrialisation. He says something like nice fit. Then he goes to the 800,000 Vostoc Ice Core records which show temperature and CO2 proxy plots separately then he drops one on to the other and says ‘perfect fit’. The very clear message coming from the film is that CO2 and Temperature is positively correlated over any time period.

    Of course there has been a lot of research both before and after then. The science still isn’t ‘settled’ on the accuracy of using ice cores to produce CO2 proxy data. Rather than bore you with my inexpert knowledge on the subject I’ll just point you to one of the most balance articles i have read on the topic which references all of the relevant peer reviewed papers. Here:

    The author concludes:

    “Whether or not current ice flow models adequately take into account the collective effect of all these processes remains an open question. In my judgment, whether any model at all can predict or reconstruct the complex effect of these processes on a fragile air inclusion remains doubtful. Consequently, my main question remains unsettled – Are ice core CO2 air samples actually atmospheric fossils or geophysical artifacts?”

    I think the difficulty becomes greater the longer the record, the deeper the ice core because of the pressures involved and the extent of movement the ice sheet has had in it’s life which we may never know. There are plenty of uncertainties we never hear about but are demonstrated in this research from a paper from year 2000 by Bernhard Stauffer and Jurg Tschumi doing ice core research in Antarctica:

    “Despite the relatively good agreement between the GRIP, the Dye 3 and the Camp Century [ice core] record for the glacial part, it became obvious that the results do not represent a reliable record of the atmospheric CO2 concentrations.”

    “We performed very detailed measurements along short sections of the GRIP core and observed large variations over distances of a few centimeters in sections which show high CO2 concentrations. … As mentioned above, such short-term variations cannot reflect variations of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, it has to be an artifact. Delmas [1993] suggested that the surplus CO2 is produced by an acid carbonate reaction in the ice. Another possibility to produce CO2 would be the oxidation of organic material in the ice.”

    The only reason I bothered to go through that material is that if the CO2 correlation believers are going to hang their hat on the ice core data (despite this and the other problems I haven’t discussed), then I may as well say well what about this?

    This graph which is validly reconstructed using various proxy measurements for atmospheric CO2 and global temperature shows clearly there has been no correlation between CO2 and global temperature in the past which is a pretty difficult position to argue from when the concerne climate alarmists are telling us the climate is CRITICALLY sensitive to atmospheric CO2.

    However arguments can be mounted to disregard those long term CO2 vs Temperature graphs which I’m not going to argue about. But I will continue to maintain that the world does not need to be concerned about rising temperature in the range predicted by those who are concerned by the impact of CO2 emissions and DO NOT hope for any negative feedback effects.

    There is little argiment (apart from Al Gore and Michael Mann) about the existence og the Medievil Warm Period, and I’m not aware of any scientific dispute about the Roman and Minoan Warm Periods. The estimates of what the temperatures may have been may vary, but the Greenland Ice core data for 10,000 years doesnt have the same depth and pressure issues the Antrarctic core data for 800,000 years has, so lets accept the following:
    This puts the Medievil Warm period at 1C warmer than Now, the Roman Warm Period at 2C Warmer and the Minoan at 3C warmer and all three known to be ideal periods for humans, crops and animals in the known worlds.

    The 2007 IPCC AR4 best estimate temperature projection increase from a doubling of CO2 was 3°C (5.4°F).

    I actually consider this the worset case scenario and as you can see that would only be getting us to a relatively recent period of bounty of the human race where temperature at 3C warmer than today was not known to be disasterous, nor was it known to be a period inflicted with ongoing severe weather events.

    But I don’t actually think the IPCC’s predictions have any credibility because they were made when they believed their climate models had some credibility. When they made certain assumptions about aerosols having a cooling effect on the planet and that’s why atmopheric temperatures weren’t rising as quickly as expected. And then there were the others, like you who thought that the heat was hiding somewhere in the oceans, that’s why we can’t find it in the atmosphere or on the surface.

    But Glenn, you talk about the laws of physics. But where has that energy gone for the last 16 years or so? If the physics is happening? Someone must be able to measure it? We’ve had land based temperature stations around the world and there is no statistically significant warming for 16 years. Surely you arent going to dispute that?
    We have had satellite based temperature measurements covering the entire earth’s surface, land and sea. It isn’t at the sea surface: from the Argo buoys either Or the entire surface satellite records: The heat isn’t hiding in the troposhphere: It isn’t In the Stratosphere: Oh and it’s not in the oceans between the surface and a depth of 700 metres according to the Argo buoy data:

    So your theory that the increasing CO2 is generating heat it’s just not showing up in the atmospheric temperature, but it’s laying dormant in the ocean or maybe it snuck undetected between the Earth’s surface and the earth’s core because it’s pretty hot there (about the same temperature as the surface of the sun – coincidence? I think not! 😉

    Given the foregoing, and being totally aware of the risks of ‘confirmation bias’ I am inclined to agree with Matt Ridley when he wrote here:

    “The latest observational estimates of the effect of aerosols (such as sulfurous particles from coal smoke) find that they have much less cooling effect than thought when the last IPCC report was written. The rate at which the ocean is absorbing greenhouse-gas-induced warming is also now known to be fairly modest. In other words, the two excuses used to explain away the slow, mild warming we have actually experienced—culminating in a standstill in which global temperatures are no higher than they were 16 years ago—no longer work.

    In short: We can now estimate, based on observations, how sensitive the temperature is to carbon dioxide. We do not need to rely heavily on unproven models. Comparing the trend in global temperature over the past 100-150 years with the change in “radiative forcing” (heating or cooling power) from carbon dioxide, aerosols and other sources, minus ocean heat uptake, can now give a good estimate of climate sensitivity.

    The conclusion—taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake—is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F).

    This is much lower than the IPCC’s current best estimate, 3°C (5.4°F).

    Mr. Lewis is an expert reviewer of the recently leaked draft of the IPCC’s WG1 Scientific Report. The IPCC forbids him to quote from it, but he is privy to all the observational best estimates and uncertainty ranges the draft report gives. What he has told me is dynamite.

    Given what we know now, there is almost no way that the feared large temperature rise is going to happen. Mr. Lewis comments: “Taking the IPCC scenario that assumes a doubling of CO2, plus the equivalent of another 30% rise from other greenhouse gases by 2100, we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than 1°C.”

    A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland’s ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.”

    Again sorry for any typos, I am way too tired to check this and I don’t know why it doesn’t have auto spell check!

  15. Glenn Tamblyn says:


    Some general observations about the potential response of vegetation to warming.

    Making comparisons to what happens in greenhouses is really a distraction. The yields obtained in a greenhouse occurs as a result of a number of factors. They don’t just add CO2but a range of other nutrients, heat, water etc. There is a principle in AgriculturalScience called Liebig’s Law of the Minimum. This states essentially that the development of a plant is limited by whichever nutrient is in shortest supply. Adding another nutrient that is not in short supply contribtes very little. So just adding CO2 may contribute littlewithout other nutrients as well. Better to look at the various FACE (Free Air, CO2 Enriched) experiments that have allowed plant to grow in there natural environment but with extr CO2 being injected into the air around them. These have contributed far more equivocal results. And this is with all other factors left unchanged. Next ,as I touched on in the earlier post, water availability is a very big issue, particularly for rain-forest species. The results for reduced water availability in the Amazon for example look fairly clear.

    More specifically, we need to consider the impact of cliate change on food production. Various studies have looked at the change in yield of a range of staple crops to increases in temperature. Many of themshow small yield increases for a little warming but a consistent pattern is that yieldsthen start to drop off significantly at higher levels of warming – figures of 20% and higher being quite common. Next, there is an implicit assumption that any CO2 fertilisation effect that may occur will necessarily translate into higher crop yields. This assumes that the plant will put any extra resources that it has into its reproductive parts – grains, seeds, fruit etc. However plants might also react to improved fertilisation by putting more resources into growth, fighting pests etc. For example, cassava is an important staple crop and contains high levelsof toxins that need to be leached out of it before it can be eaten. It appears that toxin levelsin cassava are growing as the world warms. Don’t forget that the caffeine in our coffee is apesticide produced by the coffee tree.

    Increased CO2 could lead plants to be less resilient to heat and drought. A common response of plants in higher CO2 environments is to reduce the number of stomata on their leaves. Since there is more CO2 in the air, they don’t need as many to get enough CO2. However stomata are also used to allow evaporation and reduced stomata count might lower the plants capacity to cool itself – dehydration isn’t the only problem for a plant in a hot environment, cooling itself is also impportant. Also reduced evaporation, while it helps the plant prevent water losscan also restrict fluid movement within the plant – it is evaporation at the leaves that supplies the driving force forthe capillary action that lifts sap through the plant.

    There are a large number of unknowns associated with plants and climate change andI think it is rather sanguine to presume that the impacts will be positive.

    Next is the furphy that warming will open up new arable land. Our capacity to move into farming on land that was previously tundra and similar northen lands is limited. Most of the soils up there are acidic and unsuited to growing crops. Any attempt to remediate such soil on a large scale would take a long time – decades. So too northern latitudes are going to be more restricted in their potential yields because there is less sunlight available. If new land was providing lower yield additional land then that might be a positive. But if we are hoping that such land will offset loss of land fromother regions due to warming, desertification, rainfall changes etc then one acre gained in the Arctic will not compensate for one acre lost in more temperate or tropical climates. And even that only applies tointentional botany – human agriculture. Where shift in climate zones are concerned, a key question is how fast botanical systems can migrate.I’m not talking about the Lord of the Rings and trees walking. But for forests to move as climate zones shift, they do it by laying down new plants in that direction. The critical issue is whether the speed with which climate zones move exceeds the speed of the plants migration.If climate moves at 1 km/year and the plants can only move at 1/2km/yr say, the plants get left behind and their biomassdeclinesin a climate they are less suited to.

    I am not saying here that all the effects of climate change on plants are well understood, many are not. My point is that there are a range of possible effects that might contain nasty surprises. Somemay not,and somemay be positive. But can we afford to take the risk.

    Here we come to the question of looking at positives vs negatives. And when assessing uncertainties the negatives need to be given a higher weighting. Consider a hypothetical question. If we knew that change might produce an increase in global crop yields of 20% or that it might produce a decline of 20%. How should we act? We should immediately attempt to prevent the change from occurring even though there is uncertainty.

    Why? A 20% increase would lift a 1.5 billion people out of hunger.A 20% decline would kill 1.5 billion people from starvation. In this situation the two impacts are assymetrical with the negative greatly outweighing the positive. A simple rulein life, you take a positive attitude and take risks with those things that you can afford to get wrong. Things that are minor or easily corrected. However where we are talking about things that are serious or very hard to correct, we take a negative, pessimistic, conservative stance. Only gamble on winning a bet if you can afford to lose the bet. Betting on the effect of climate change having a net positive effect on plants and food supply is a very very bad bet, even if there is the possibility we might win the bet. Because we simply cannot afford to lose it. We don’t take risks with peoples lives just so we can feela bit optimistic.

    Finally, ‘Settled Science’. What you have done here in how you have used the phrase is something skeptics do alot.You have reduced something down to a simplistic black and white statement, using th common rhetorical technique of skeptics, the endless variants of “we are being told that…”. Whenyo do this you are effectively setting up a straw-man argument.

    Who is telling you? To what degree settled? Which parts of the science or is that a blanket statement. Is the question of the effects on plants ‘settled’? From the preceeding comments, obviously no. Is the question of the direct radiative effect of changing CO2 levels, its ‘Radiative Forcing’ settled? Yes! Unless we are planning on dismatling Quantum Mechanics and everything we know about the world, that is rock solid science. In between we have a range of other branches of science that contribute various understandings. These each have their different degree of confidence in the result, the degree to which it is settled. The question is whether the the aggregate understanding of all the different parts leads us to an understanding of the degree to which the science is ‘settled’ that is sufficient to justify action. Inmy view the current degree is more than sufficient to justify action.

    Discussion of other topics will engage the variious aspects of our scientific understanding that lead me to that conclusion. By leading with Plants and CO2, you have lead with one of the less settled areas. Perhaps you wouldlike to approach one of the hard sience questions next. Or something that is mmore based on observational evidence rather than modelling – climate science includes all these aspects.

    • James says:

      Glenn, unfortunately I do not have unlimited time to continuously respond to what would be a never ending discussion, though I suspect there are a number of things we agree on and some fundamental things we do not agree on. So I will just make some brief comments on the points you have made.

      I agree rainforests can be affected by climate change, movement of latitude of rain band and variation in monsoonal behaviour. All of these can occur naturally and we have no proof that any of these are being significantly caused by human CO2 emissions. Initially I was accepting of evidence and conjecture which was cited to implicate atmospheric CO2 as it sounded reasonable, I accepted it on face value, I was no expert on the subject, I am a concerned environmentalist and quite a lot of people billed as climate scientists supported it.

      I was one of the first in line to see ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ when it opened in my city and I went with a group of like minded young friends. During the ‘documentary’ seeds of significant doubt were planted when Al Gore broke most of the rules in presenting statistical and graphical material, and a number of claims made conflicted with my ‘general knowledge’ in a couple of areas. Perhaps I was being too critical because I have post graduate qualifications in statistical analysis? Nevertheless I left concerned about the planet, but determined to research the issues more closely.

      The first area of immediate conflict I discovered that same day was that CO2 and global average temperature, only correlated well if you used a totally smoothed trend line for global average temperature since industrialisation. Once you started to break the analysis down to shorter periods of time the correlation became very poor, at some time negative! The second major discrepancy I found with what Al Gore had presented and the truth was with his now infamous ‘Hockey Stick’ graph. This was the historical temperature reconstruction graph produced by Michael Mann et al from proxy data which showed dramatically that present day temperatures were unprecedented in the last 1,000 years. This graph had reduced the significance of the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period was missing altogether! This was the start of my climate scepticism, and I can’t believe that even to this day there are people who insist there is no problem with either!

      You mentioned your greatest concern is in relation to food production and essentially mass starvation and that took me back to an instance in the late 1980’s where I was asked to do a piece for Personal Investment Magazine. At the time I was a well known and hopefully well respected financial and investment industry leader. I am an economist and was working for a financial institution. I was asked to Interview a married couple and based on their financial position, needs and outlook, makes some investment recommendations for them. I can reveal to you who they were because the article was published and they had agreed to have their identities and photographs published. (it was probably 1988, but I don’t have a copy). If you can get access to archived copies and search 1986 – 1990 you will find the article somewhere. The couple were Then Dr Richard Bell (now Professor) and his wife then a Lecturer, now a Dr I think, both at Murdoch University in Environmental Science.

      The problem was I couldn’t really make any long term recommendations for their retirement planning strategies because as I explained in the article, if I was to base my advise solely on their view of the future, I would take a very short term and defensive investment approach. You see, given their extensive knowledge of the world population growth and food production, they were convinced the world as we knew it would come to an end possibly within as little as 10 years, but by no more than 20 years. Because of this they had no plans for a family. Professor Bell is still going strong I see his profile here : In fact it seems to me that judging by his profile, rather than being convinced the world cannot feed itself and warning others the end is nigh, he has now become part of the solution to helping the growing world feed itself using techniques and technologies to adapt growing to different soils conditions and deficiencies.

      The Bells were not the first and you and them and Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) and his buddy and occasional co-author John Holdren, President Obama’s chief political adviser, won’t be the last to predict the end of the world, or at least major problems because of a shortage of food.

      When you referred to the great ‘dying’ I wasn’t sure whether you meant the great ‘drying’. But regardless of climate change and the causes, as far as water content is concerned, to the main extent, the earth is a closed system. That is the water will stay on earth as liquid, solid (ice) or gas, but will not escape into space. So provided we have technology, water and sunlight, we have a pretty good chance of producing food. It is a matter of us developing the systems to do it efficiently.

      As you would be aware there are crops which have been and are being developed to be more salt tolerant, dry tolerant, heat tolerant, acid tolerant and so on. This type of development would be expected to continue to help mitigate any natural and human caused climate change.

      On a trip last year throughout China, I visited a number of major aquaculture farms. These were not experimental, or part tourist facility, these were farms producing a number of fish for local consumption and export in massive quantities. The world has seen what Israel has done to the deserts as far as agriculture is concerned. I have been to Antarctica and picked up fossilised ferns from the beaches which had obviously grown in soil which had once been lush in tropical conditions. US Scientists at Port Lockroy on the Antarctic peninsula showed me where they were growing plants in Antarctic soil in greenhouses during the Antarctic summer of 1998/99. Villagers in Port Stanley in the Falklands had prolific vegetable gardens in communal greenhouses like garden allotments in England. So without actually doing a survey, I am pretty sure that whether it is through technology or releasing of additional arable lands or more likely a combination of both, the world will continue to be able to feed itself.

      You went way off track with your attempt at psychoanalysis of my skeptical tendencies Glenn. You made the incorrect assumption that I am primarily concerned with Rain Forests. Yes I am greatly concerned with rainforests, but I have perspective. I heard someone describe rainforests as the ‘lungs’ of the Earth. Well to be honest that is going a bit too far. They actually produce less than 16% of the world’s biomass each year. Rainforests are just one part in the jigsaw of our mix of carbon sinks, eco systems and wildlife habitats. There are reasons I am particularly enamoured with rainforests, but I also love the Antarctic. I just don’t happen to think the latter is in danger.

      I have a number of philanthropic interests which are near and dear to me which come before Rainforest Rescue and I’m happy to give them a plug: and and

      I am glad you went into detail again Glenn regarding the many, many uncertainties regarding the potential positive or negative impact of increased atmospheric CO2. The very point I keep making. But you don’t feel the need to wait for empirical proof, you wrote “can we afford to take the risk” [not to stop increasing CO2 emissions]?

      I have to repeat – the ‘risk’ you claim is there is not proven. Yet we are fully aware of the known economic, structural and social risks of deliberately stifling economic growth by restricting access to a cheap source of energy, and by forcing all countries to use expensive less reliable renewable sources of energy. We are already seeing it in massive increases in unemployment in Europe where they have chased the ‘green economy’ and shipped manufacturing to developing countries. If Australia and other developed countries started closing coal mines and refusing to ship it to developing countries like China do you think that will impact most significantly on the rich or the poor? What will it do to their lives. Can we afford to make food production more expensive around the world by making transportation exorbitant and/or unreliable? Who will that hurt most? Can we afford to take that risk on the basis of some unproven theories?

      The final point I will address is you ask who says the “debate is over” or “the science is settled”. Really Glenn? Just google those terms with Climate science or global warming and you’ll get lot’s of references. Also think of just about any left wing politician from Al Gore, David Cameron, to Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and google with those statements, throw in a Tim Flannery, Will Stefan, David Karoly, Dr Karl, Robyn Williams, The ABC you’ll find it everywhere!

      • James says:

        Lazarus you are frustrated: “Are you saying you didn’t claim ‘alarmists’ “actually know very little about the scientific facts”? Perhaps you are not calling the scientists ‘Alarmist’? If so then you must accept the work of Hansen, Mann and the general scientific consensus?”

        To put you out of your definition misery:

        -There are non qualified climate alarmists. They tend to be left wing and concerned about the environment but have little technical knowledge.

        – There are some climate scientists who are climate alarmists because it confirms their beliefs and they tend to exclude from their thinking areas not Related to their area and simply accept what they think is the main stream views.

        James Hansen is an environmental activist a climate scientist who desperately wants the warming theory to be correct and made wild predictions about where Global average temperatures would be from 1988. His projections of global average temperature have been widely unreliably simply because he is a believer in the positive feedbacks and not the negatives. ..His projections become worse uver time:

      • Glenn Tamblyn says:


        Yes my comments were about Dying not Drying – old laptop, keys are starting to stick.

        Taking just a part of your comments:

        “The first area of immediate conflict I discovered that same day was that CO2 and global average temperature, only correlated well if you used a totally smoothed trend line for global average temperature since industrialisation. Once you started to break the analysis down to shorter periods of time the correlation BECAME VERY POOR, at some time negative!”

        Of course it is James.That is exactly what one expects! Correlation between CO2 concentrations and temperatures will always be poorer at short time scales. Basic Physics and Thermodynamics says that.

        I have read a number of studies, always seemingly by Economists (I note you identify yourself as that) that use statistical analysis too investigate the correlation between CO2 levels and Surface Air Temperatures (SAT) They all reach the same conclusion. That correlations between CO2 levels and SATs aren’t as high as they expect, that any correlation fails the sorts of statistical tests they are used to employing in Econometrics, and that correlations are worse on shorter timescales. Their analysis is perfectly correct. Then they conclude with something along the lines of “Since the prediction for the global warming theory is that CO2 causes temperature increase, our findings show that this correlation is very poor…” or words to that effect. I don’t think I overly am misrepresenting your opinion by paraphrasing it this way.

        And they are totally wrong! Not wrong in their analysis; fundamentally wrong in their statement of what the science behind Global Warming predicts. Their expectation of a strong correlation between SAT’s at one point in time and CO2 concentrations at the same point in time is deeply at fault. Paraphrasing, “The Hypothesis predicts that dependent variable X will vary in such and such a manner based on the value of independent variable Y. Our findings are that it does not, therefore we reject the Hypothesis’.They are wrong because their statement of the hypothesis is incorrect. Ultimately they demonstrate that a non-existant hypothesis isn’t true.

        Let me explain why. First some basic physics. The fundamental idea of the AGW science is that increased CO2 will increase the GH Effect, it will further restrict the flow of energy from the Earth out to space. The Earth has a basic energy balance – energy flowing in from the Sun, energy flowing out to Space. To use an economic analogy, this is the Earths P&L statement – energy in is revenue, energy out is expenses. If they balance the ‘business’ is breaking even. If expenses, energy flow out, is reduced the ‘business’ is making a profit. It is accumulating energy. Which is then transferred to the Balance sheet. Accumulated profit becomes more capital on the balance sheet.

        This is the primary prediction of the science of AGW. Accumulation of heat! And just like dollars and cents, heat is a quantity which we can keep a tally of. Heat doesn’t magically appear and disappear any more than money does. It must always add up; it is quantitative.

        Next we need to ask ‘where the heat will go?’ What account will we bank the profits in? Well actually, we have several different accounts. Heat can go into the Air account, warming the Air (SAT’s); it can go into the Land account, warming the ground; it can go into the Cryosphere account, melting ice (this account actually has a negative balance and when we add to it it becomes less negative – less ice); and we can add it to the Oceans account.

        So how much is going into each account? What proportion of the profits are going into each account? Using data from the last IPCC report (AR4) the approximate figures are:

        Air account – 3%
        Cryosphere Account – 3%
        Land Account – 4%
        Oceans Account – 90%

        Most of the profit (heat) is going into the oceans. The physics of this isn’t surprising. It take 4 times more heat to warm a kg of water by 1 degree compared to a kg of air. When we then compare the mass of the oceans compared to the atmosphere the figure jumps hugely. It takes over a 1000 times as much heat to warm the oceans by 1 degree, compared to the air (SAT’s). So if there is excess heat available, the oceans will soak up most of it. And they are.

        Thinking of these as accounts, the initial deposit each day, the inital transfer from the P&L to the Balance sheet is into the Atmosphere account.

        But there is a company internal policy that most capital should be held in the Ocean account. So there is a huge internal transfer.

        Next we need to add in to this that there are other processes (employees in the business if you will) that can move ‘money’ between accounts. The ENSO cycle for example generates a transfer between the Ocean & Air accounts – El Nino is Ocean to Atmosphere, La Nina is Atmosphere to Ocean. How much they can move is limited at any one time, and there is a company policy that these ENSO transfers need to balance out over time. A modest transfer from the ocean account (relative to the size of that account) can represent a large percentage balance change in the Atmosphere account.

        And importantly, Temperature is proportional to Heat, it is proportional to the ‘balance’ in the account.

        So what is the upshot of this?

        The most basic fallacy in the ‘compare CO2 levels to Temperatures’ idea is that it is comparing a value from the P&L with a value from the Balance Sheet and expecting a correlation. If there is going to be any correlation at all, it is between Temperature and the Time Integral of CO2 concentration, not any instantaneous CO2 concentration. Next we need to add in that internal energy transfers bewteen different heat sinks (accounts) means that SAT’s will be volatile. A far better measure is the total heat content (the sum of the balance in all the accounts). So our expectation is that the Time Integral of CO2 concentration will be correlated with the total heat content in all parts of the climate, mainly the oceans.

        Finally, the radiative forcing of CO2( the amount that expenses are reduced on the P&L) is logarithmic, not linear. Each successive doubling (or halving) of CO2 will produce the same magnitude change.

        So. What correlation would we expect to see wrt CO2 and climate? That the …

        ‘Time Integral of (Ln(CO2 Concentration)) is strongly correlated with the Total Heat Content of the entire climate system’

        This is the hypothesis that can be tested by statistical/econometric methods. This is the central hypothesis of the science of AGW.

        How does this compare with the ‘hypothesis’ you used when looking at data? How does this compare with the ‘hypothesis’ used by other economists looking at this?

        Their results aren’t wrong. Their statement of the hypothesis is.

        And if you look at the available data, the build-up of total heat, mainly in the oceans, the correlation is very good against CO2.

  16. Glenn Tamblyn says:


    I know I started this conversation and now I have been tardy in responding,my apologies – life doesn’t always give us time to do what we want. Here is a 1st response to the Cox paper. I will follow with a more general comment about CO2 fertilisation and the concept of ‘settled science’ and positive vs negative consequences thinking in my lunch hour.

    The Cox paper rightly points out that CO2 fertilisation, and a possible increase in plant biomass as a consequence is a real phenomena. No climate scientists disputes that and the more sophisticated climate models that include components on the carbon cycle include this as a factor. What is far less clear is what the magnitude of this effect might be and whether other countervailing factors are stronger.

    Cox et al are using models of vegetative physiological responses to estimate the responseofplants to CO2 and Temperature change. It is quite possible that their modelling has revealed that the negative response of plants may not be as great as other research has suggested.Equally their results might not hold. One shouldn’t put as much emphasis on one paper, rather than on what an ensemble of papers are saying. However I hope Cox is right.

    Now lets look at what they don’t show to put how much weight to give the paper into context. They look at response to an increase in average temperature. They do not model any increase in the variance of temperature. Thus their modellling does not include any impact from extreme warming events that may occur occassionally but more frequently. The short term severe damage to vegetation may outwaigh what any average response to average temperature changes might be. They do not model changes in average rainfall patterns.They do not model increases in fires due to reduced rainfall and the succeptability of plants to fire – Australian plants are adapted to fire, Rainforest species for example aren’t so fire is far more damaging to a rainforest. They don’t model regional variations in rainfall patterns due to the main rain bands shifting latitude so they can’t correlate rainfall patterns with vegetation types geographically. They don’t model anything in the time domain – the rate at which changes occur and how fast any physiological changes that occur happen – the pace at which plants can adapt is as big a question as the magnitude of any adaptation. They don’t model the impacts of temp chages on symbiotic or comensal species. How do soil microbes, pollinators, predators etc react to temp changes and thus on the health and biomass of plants. Look at the beetle infestations in North America that are devastating forests due to temperature increases magnifying the habitate the beetlescan survive in.

    I am not rejecting the findings of the paper, I hope they are right, but it is just one small piece in a larger jigsaw puzzle and as with any research it still has to be shown to be valid. It certainly does not justify the reaction seen in the media and the Blogosphere who have a very unfortunate habit of over-reacting to individual pieces of research. I try to avoid reacting to single pieces of research rather than to the evolving ensemble

    Before you reply, I have further things to say that will expand on this but now I need to goto work. I will comment further later.

    • James says:

      Glenn, I totally agree with all you have written here. It is only a pity that there wasn’t someone like you making a similar point when they wrote their first paper in 2000 and the climate alarmists and the media went round the world declaring that the Amazon Rainforests were in imminent danger of disappearing because of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels. What you say is totally my point. You are right to be skeptical of the single paper and the many aspects it doesn’t address, just as the world shouldn’t have swallowed without question the predictions made 12 years ago.

      Empirical evidence is always good to fall back on. Where Rainforests have been left alone, and even where rainforest areas have been rehabilitated, they have done very well in past decades in terms of growth, despite the the growing atmospheric CO2!

      I have had a long term involvement with rainforests predating the whole global warming concerns. The biggest threat to rainforests has always been and remains deforestation for logging and changing of land use. In many areas, to feed the ‘Green’ economy thriving on the global warming scare. I ‘ve observed rainforests being burnt out and natural habitat destroyed for the mass planting of palm trees to produce palm oil to feed the growing bio fuel demand in Indonesia and Malaysia. I also understand rainforests are being destroyed to plant sugar cane and corn to produce ethanol to meet the government mandated ethanol content in fuel. It is a tragedy!

      Never one to miss an opportunity to promote my favourite environmental cause, readers may consider practical ways of helping rainforests here:

      • Glenn Tamblyn says:


        Yes I agree totally with you that destruction of rainforest is a tragedy and is massive.And it may well be the major part of what is happening to the rainforests at present. But climate change is still a significant threat to them in coming years, particularly any decline in rainfall. Climate change doesn’t have to raise the temperatures in a forest to have a big impact. Just the movement of the latitude of rain bands is also enough to cause major impacts.Or variations in monsoonal behaviour.

        Major eco-systems like rainforests exist at their current location because of a conjunction of factors, many climatic. And rainforests can exist within climate regimes that have major cut-off points. A significant percentage of the rainfall in large rain forests is actually recycled evaporation from the same forest. This is a positive feedback loop that allows then to be very lush and rich since their evaporation doesn’t exit ‘stage left’. However that feedback also makes them very vulnerable to declines in the amount of rainfall moving into their region as well.

        If less moisture is being added from outside that will have some effect on the biomass volume and vegetative mix. If that consequence then also tends to reduce the ‘self-rain’ aspect of the rain-forest due to reduced evaporation from the reduced biomass that acts as an amplifier to the original drying. And if that then leads to sufficient drying to increase forest fire risk, not only does that kill trees that don’t cope with fire, releasing CO2, it also further exacerbates the decline of the ‘self-rain’ effect.

        The issue with any system such as rainforests is that because their current state is the consequence of positive feedback processes that have driven them to their current extreme (extremely wet) state, they are vulnerable to those same feedback processes then amplifying any changes in the other direction.

        The oscillations we see in the swing between glacial and inter-glacial periods over the Ice Age cycle is another example. The Earth cools a bit, Ice sheets expand, the Earth cools a lot more. The Earth warms a bit, the ice sheets retract, more warming happens till the ice sheets have retreated.

        If I had to make a gut instinct call on the future of the major Rain Forests – SE Asia, Amazon, Congo it would be:

        – SE Asia devastated mainly by deforestation etc – it is already too advanced

        – Amazon more devastated by climate change and primarily reduced rainfall but with deforestation contributiing as a significant trigger.

        – Congo, not sure. Deforestation isn’t too bad yet but the politics of that part of the world is total crap – just ask the gorillas and bonobo’s. Similarly the climate change issues there aren’t as clear, unlike further north in West Africa where the West African Monsoon is something to be worried about.

      • Glenn Tamblyn says:

        Also James, a question. And I do mean this quite sincerely.

        Could your focus and passion for rainforest issues have any impact on the light in which you see climate change questions?

        A general observation I would make of many people concerned about different environmental concerns is a tendency for many of them to focus on their particular issue – nothing wrong with that, its human nature and all the concerns are justified. For you it appears to be rainforests.

        However a phenomenon I have observed, being someone drawn by temperament to the big picture perspectives on things rather than the smaller scale, is that many environmental advocates often end up in competition with each other. People who have found a passion in one particular issue competing with others passionate about another issue… “Yes your environmental concern is worthy but MINE IS MORE IMPORTANT…..”(not stated as such but evident in where their energies go)

        The question I pose is, could you views broadly about AGW be influenced by the recognition that it draws attention away for you more specific concern with rainforests?

        Also, could the magnitude of the AGW ‘issue’ seem so large that it is ‘too much’ to process and you react against is as ‘just too much!’

        You may well have issues and concerns around AGW and the science but could your passion for rainforests colour the vehemence of your views about AGW

        The reason I ask this is that the question of how we react in situations where we are being overloaded is both fascinating,and seriously important.

        Let me lay my cards on the table. The aspect of AGW that chills me to my marrow is the question of food supply. Sea Level Rise – we just build cities somewhere else. Species extinction – profoundly horrific but given time evolution will eventually restore that.

        But decline in food supply leads to serious, serious famine.That leads to serious death rates. It also leads to social collapse in the affected nations. If a cascade of social collapse in enough nations occurs, civilisation is at risk. And with it our technological and logistical capacity to address serious problems. Could Washingtom, Bonn, Beijing,(even Canberra) react to serious global threats? Yes.

        Mogadishu, Kabul?No.

        If the whole world starts to look like Mogadishu our children are screwed.

        Did my comments evoke a strong reaction from you. Perhaps negative. Because they were wrong? Or because they were too much?

        We are all human, we all have our differing personalities and make up. But our makeup can sometimes have an impact on how we react to ideas. Introspection on how feel about a subjector idea is always an important aspect of our evaluation of that idea. Including why we may be disurbed by or resistant to it.

        In this I am not trying to belittle any views you may have aboutr AGW. Rather I am trying to highlght our need to detach those views from our emotional responses. My horror at the idea of the ‘Great Dying’ due to declining food supply most certainly colors my thinking.

      • Glenn Tamblyn says:

        These various long epistles over, shall we continue a conversation. The subject matter of climate change is varied. What I am interested in doing is exploring subjects that can illuminate a basic question.

        How does our degree, level, depth of understanding of the technical nature of this topic influence our opinions?

        We all outsiders to this – I am a Mechanical Engineer who has spent most of my working life in IT. My background in Engineering combined with my llifelong passion for science has informed my thinking but I am no expert -I am in awe of them. I have enough basic science knowledge to spot the more obviously stupid statements. But I can still be astounded by simple insights that I had never thought of – that is a hint that you should ask me about Sea Level Rise.

        I will also ‘out’ myself right now. I am an occasional contributing author at, (go to the About/Authors link – the photo is crap.) .I am also a regular contributor to the authors forum that generates content at SkS. Make your own judgement of this.

        Do any of us know enough to say that our opinions or criticisms of the climate science should be given any weight? By ourselves? Or by others? When we pose a question,is that a sensible question? Or does it just reveal the degree of out relative ignorance compared to people who spend their working lives learnt a sh!t-load of this stuff

        You have suggested several areas in your earlier comments. CO2 over deep time (I feeI I will be on solid ground here). The Arctic and the Magnetic pole (this could be more intense) .You have made a number of other comments about research etc that I might dispute. Rather than just throwing citation bombs at each other, pick another topic,closer to the physical science base and lets play with it.

  17. Lazarus says:

    James says:

    ““Having corrected you on this” – Lazarus. I think if you read what I wrote “they actually know very little about the scientific facts” – I think that would count as a person who is not a “legitimate authority on the subject”.”

    But the people you are referring to, climate researchers publishing scientific papers through peer review, are the best qualified group of experts on the subject – unless I have seriously underestimated your qualifications on the subject and you are in a credible position to claim that “they actually know very little about the scientific facts” and be taken seriously.

    • James says:

      Lazarus you are just imagining stuff from what I write. Just stick to what I write, not what you think I wrote!

      • Lazarus says:

        Are you saying you didn’t claim ‘alarmists’ “actually know very little about the scientific facts”? Perhaps you are not calling the scientists ‘Alarmist’? If so then you must accept the work of Hansen, Mann and the general scientific consensus?

  18. James says:

    @Tony Duncan
    Firstly Tony, if you are going to refer to me or anyone as a climate denier, then you had better define what you mean by that and on what basis you make that accusation. It sounds very much like silly name calling to me. I certainly don’t deny there is a climate, I don’t deny the climate changes, I don’t deny even that humans can have some impact on the climate. So if you want to lump me with a bunch of other people, you’d better explain what people you are referring to!

    Secondly, you criticise me for making verbatim quotes from Professor Peter M Cox from an interview on his co-authored paper which I did in fact reference and which I did in fact detail the key finding. I used the co-author’s own quote to put those finding’s in context. But you absurdly criticise this writing:

    “the fact that you are taking as your source a newspaper makes your conclusions about the scinece [sic] described as not very reassuring of your actual interest in the real conclusions of this paper, but more like a desire to “quote mine”…”

    Thirdly, where did I claim Peter M Cox said increasing CO2 had no negative impacts. The points is whether the positives outweigh the negatives, specifically with regards to what this scientist alarmingly stated with complete confidence in 2000, which he has now recanted. That was I believe the whole point of what I originally wrote and I believe that point has been well and truly adequately proven.

    • Tony Duncan says:

      By climate denier, I mean someone who believes any of a series of beliefs that come down to CO2 and other GHG’s can not have any significant effect on global temps OR that any effect is going to be such that making significant policy changes to decrease CO2 will be counterprodctive. A major indicator of that is an aversion to being skeptical of anyone making claims against ACC that are knwon to be false or are incomaptible with other claims that ACC is false. Another indication is someone who makes assertions that lead to the likelihood of mass conspiracies of scientist attributing evidence to that effect which is untenable compared historically to other actual conspiracies. the idea that I might be mischaracterizing you as someone who doesnt believe climate changes, while offered satirically, is just one of many distortions that people who I consider climate deniers often use. To me it is a description of a belief system, not a derogatory accusation.

      Another indication is the mischaracterization of my critique of your comment to Glenn. I did not “criticize you for using verbatim quotes”. Of course verbatim quotes are valuable. I critcized you for using quotes that supported your contention taken from a newspaper article. I did not see you had referenced the actual paper, and that is absolutely my mistake, But why I wonder would you take quotes from a newspaper and not the paper itself In reading the paper I see the word uncertainty a lot and I would be interested in Glen’s interpretaton of the paper.

      I do not doubt that the paper might very well show that there is a an unexpected mitigating effect from CO2 on plants. I have long argued that biological effects, especially bacteria, might impact the carbon cycle. Your point seemed to be that scientists would not look at issues that might undermine ACC, yet this paper was published with no attacks from other climate scientsits (that I know of). You claim that this info should have been known sooner. That is just an assertion. What is the basis for that? It is also just one paper that focuses on one particular aspect. It is shoddy journalism to not get ANY other opinion. Again I would want the authors opinions more explicitly degtailed, and not just quotes from a newspaper article. I do not know anything about the paper or the author. there are so many media that are only interested in trying to convince people that ACC is not happening or is not a problem. That is why I thought your treatment was more quote mining than an interest in reality. Do you know what the response has been from other experts in this field? Are their other factors that the study might not take into account? this does seem to cotradict some of what I have read specifically from that Stanford sympsium. You see I am interested in understanding the actual situation and not trying to find ones that support my ideology. I am surprised that if this is such a big finding that it has not been trumpted on the denier side or attacked on the ACC supporting blogs

      You certainly make a valid point about this particular case if indeed this scientist has completely changed his mind based on new evidence, That is how science works, and in a field this complicated, especially when one is using models that have so many variables, it is a daunting task to sort out reliable conclusions. If this means that some consequences of ACC will not be as bad as once feared that is a good thing.

      I don’t see at all how you have “proven” your point. What I see is a scientist who, based on limited research, came to a conclusion, and when more research contradicted that, he changed his mind. So far you ahve provided no evidence of other scientists atemptong to marginalize this work, or attacking the scientist.Are other scientists publishing similar research that ignores these findings? THAT would support your point.
      Also The only comments you have on this are from someone who is not even an amateur. I have a general understainding of science and have followed climate change for many years, but only seriously for about 4.

      Finally the point IS whether the positives outweigh the negatives. Does this paper cover ALL the possible negative consequences of CO2 or ALL the postiives even for it’s limited geographical area of the Amazon? of course not. your point is only valod, as far as I can see if it is valid science that other scientists refuse to accept because it contradicts their ideology, and they are either fraudulently publsining other conclusions or are hoping it is worng and ignoring the data.

      • James says:

        Tony – I’m afraid you will have to define what you mean by ” GHG’s can not have any significant effect on global temps ” because most of the debate is really about this very point. And this is where I stay with the science and part with the ‘alarmists’.

        The science say a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels is likely to lead to an increase in global atmospheric temperatures of around 1.2C. So far I would say the empirical evidence supports that when you understand the diminishing effect of GHG’s and the fact that an increase in about 110ppm has see global average temperatures increase by between 0.6C and 0.8C.

        The only way the alarmists are able to assume an increase in global average temperatures above these levels is to assume positive feedback mechanisms. These positive feedback mechanisms in isolation seem quite reasonable. The earth warms, greater evaporation, more cloud, more trapping of heat for instance. Or the earth warms, permafrost melts, releases stored methane, a gas with a GH effect about 26 times that of CO2, which makes matters worse. Or sea temperatures rise, not only does this mean it is less able to act as a CO2 store, but it may release CO2. And so the positive feedback loops are described and built into the climate models to create potential warming of 3.5C to 4.0C and some scientists suggest even higher up to 6.0C.

        But these projections are mere speculation not supported either by historical perspective, that is from when scientists know atmospheric CO2 levels have been higher but global average temperatures have not, or from a recent empirical perspective.

        They also lack any balance in that they do not adequately consider both known and less understood negative feedback mechanisms in their projections and climate models. Negative feedback mechanisms from as simple as the cooling effect of the additional cloud cover blocking the suns radiation from hitting the surface of the earth, to more obscure and newly discovered existence of carbon metabolising bacteria in the upper troposphere. Scientists are barely coming to understand cloud formation as demonstrated in this article from Nature:

        “Scientists agree on these basic facts, but there is far less agreement on whether cosmic rays can have a large role in cloud formation and climate change. Since the late 1990s, some have suggested that when high solar activity lowers levels of cosmic rays, that in turn reduces cloud cover and warms the planet. Others say that there is no statistical evidence for such an effect.”

        It is interesting to read the debates about the research results from the CERN experiments and the fact that scientists can’t even agree on what they mean. It makes a joke of climate scientists who more than a decade ago wanted to pronounce the debate over and the ‘science settled”.

        Whether water vapour turns out to be a significant positive feedback mechanism or not largely depends on how long it stays in the atmosphere, whether it is reflecting heat back to earth or keeping radiation from hitting earth or forming larger droplets which are forced to fall out of the atmosphere as precipitation. Scientists really don’t know!

        Aerosols are critical to these considerations and are also little understood. Guesstimates are used in models. The effects of aerosols on clouds consist of three linked elements. Increased numbers of aerosols provide additional locations for droplet nucleation and, all else being equal, result in clouds with more and smaller droplets hence being more reflective to solar radiation (a cooling effect). The increased number of smaller droplets is hypothesized to hinder the formation of rain because more smaller droplets do not collide and coalesce into precipitation as efficiently. Suppression of precipitation leads to longer lived clouds that reflect solar radiation back to space. While this sequence aerosol-cloud effects is easily understood and widely accepted, in many cloud systems the cloud dynamics has a dominant effect over aerosol/microphysical effects, and there is scant observational evidence for a large value of aerosol cloud interaction (ACI) in real clouds. Climate models that include these aerosol-cloud interactions fail to include a number of buffering responses, such as rainfall scavenging of the aerosols and compensating dynamical effects (which would reduce the magnitude of the ACI cooling effect).

        So, recent research is narrowing the range of uncertainty of the ACI, and overall reducing the magnitude of the ACI effect. But most climate models still include the inappropriately large values of ACI. It is difficult to then avoid the conclusion that the model-based sensitivity analyses (and observationally based analyses that use large values of ACI) produce GHG equilibrium sensitivity values that are too large.

        It certainly seems to me that the IPCC Climate Models rely far too much on assumed water vapour positive feedback mechanism. They exclude known and little understood negative feedback mechanisms. Dr Roy Spencer discusses 5 reasons why this may not be correct which I will summarise:

        1. The average amount of water vapour in the atmosphere represents a balance between two competing processes: (1) surface evaporation (the source), and (2) precipitation (the sink). While we know that evaporation increases with temperature, we don’t know very much about how the efficiency of precipitation systems changes with temperature.

        The latter process is much more complex than surface evaporation (see Renno et al., 1994), and it is not at all clear that climate models behave realistically in this regard. In fact, the models just “punt” on this issue because our understanding of precipitation systems is just not good enough to put something explicit into the models.

        Even cloud resolving models, which can grow individual clouds, have gross approximations and assumptions regarding the precipitation formation process.

        2. Most atmospheric water vapour resides in the lowest levels, in the ‘turbulent boundary layer’, while the water vapour content of the free troposphere is more closely tied to precipitation processes. But because the outgoing longwave radiation is so much more sensitive to small changes in upper-layer humidity especially at low humidities (e.g. see Spencer & Braswell, 1997), it is possible to have a net increase in total integrated water vapour, but negative water vapor feedback from a small decrease in free-tropospheric humidity.

        3. There are a variety of processes (e.g. tropospheric wind shear causing changes in precipitation efficiency) which can in turn alter the balance between evaporation and precipitation, which will then cause warming or cooling as a RESULT OF the humidity change – rather than the other way around.

        This cause-versus-effect issue has been almost totally ignored in feedback studies, and is analogous to the situation when estimating cloud feedbacks, the subject of our most recent paper.

        4. There is some evidence that free tropospheric vapor has decreased in recent decades (e.g. the Paltridge et al., 2009 analysis of the NCEP Reanalysis dataset) despite this being a period of surface warming and humidifying in the boundary layer. Miskolczi (2010) used the radiosonde data which provide the main input to the NCEP reanalysis to show that the resulting cooling effect of a decrease in vapour has approximately counterbalanced the warming influence of increasing CO2 over the same period of time, leading to a fairly constant infra-red opacity (greenhouse effect).

        Of course, water vapour measurements from radiosondes are notoriously unreliable, but one would think that if there was a spurious drying from a humidity sensor problem that it would show up at all altitudes, not just in the free troposphere. The fact that it switches sign right where the turbulent boundary layer pushes up against the free troposphere (around 850 mb, or 5,000 ft.) seems like too much of a coincidence.

        5. Most people don’t realize that the missing tropospheric “hot spot” in satellite temperature trends is potentially related to water vapour feedback. One of the most robust feedback relationships across the IPCC climate models is that those models with the strongest positive water vapour feedback have the strongest negative lapse rate feedback (which is what the “hot spot” would represent). So, the lack of this negative lapse rate feedback signature in the satellite temperature trends could be an indirect indication of little (or even negative) water vapour feedback in nature.

        The point is not whether all or some of the above 5 points are correct, but they are valid, and they are not considered at all by the IPCC Climate Models. The Climate models need to exclude consideration of negative feedback mechanisms and include ‘brave’ assumptions about positive feedback mechanisms to enable projections to be made beyond the moderate global warming ranges, to the ranges which are considered dangerous or catastrophic, and beyond what wasn’t experienced during the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period or the Minoan Warm Period, all periods which were generally described as good for human population.

        Tony, you are ‘all over the place’ with regards what you want from me. Peter Cox’s paper is there for anyone to read, his verbatim quotes were an excellent way to describe what he felt the implications of his findings were. The example I gave were a very good example of a scientist who 12 years ago said we needed to take drastic action to reduce CO2 emissions to save the Amazon, who now says he sees that additional atmospheric CO2 may not be all bad for the Amazon. I have exactly proved my point.

        You now ask me to produce other papers and other examples, I could. But when would you be happy Tony?

        Yes the Amazon and the CO2 issue is just one aspect. You say what about all the other potential negative impacts of rising CO2 and a warming planet? Well right back at you Tony because that is my very point which you seem to be oblivious of. Climate alarmists have focussed on any possible negatives to rising global average temperatures, where are all the studies showing the potential positives? The fact that the bulk of the world’s population live in area which has a higher than ‘global average temperature’ must tell you at least something? That a higher than average global temperature is better for human habitation. Whether that is because plan’t grow better, yields are better, cattle are raised easier, housing is easier, there is less fuel required for heating, weather extremes are easier to live with – where are all the studies on the potential benefits of a higher global average temperature. You want to exclusively find all the negatives and call that proper research. I point out one paper hinting at a potential positive, and you are screaming for more negative evidence – as if we haven’t heard enough of that already!

        I’m looking for more scientific balance.

  19. Glen: “but alas, access to more science simply isn’t going to help.” This indicates that the more science you know, the less likely you are to believe in climate change. Translation: The science is not persuasive to persons who are science literate. The article goes on to try and explain why the science is “right” but smart people don’t believe it.
    Consider: I am selling a perpetual motion machine over the internet. I can’t seem to get smart people to buy it. So I decide the problem is these people just are biased against a good deal and don’t want the little guy to win. (It’s a common selling technique in emails: The government doesn’t want you to know about this.) It’s not that my knowledge of science tells me there is no such thing as a perpetual motions machine, it’s that my friends would laugh at me if I bought one of these. I won’t buy it because the fear.
    No–I won’t buy it because my knowledge of science tells me it’s wrong. Same thing for climate science. The science is not persuasive.
    Note: As mentioned before, the bias goes BOTH ways. People believe in climate change because their friends do, if you follow that reasoning. It’s not because of the science there either. In the end, it’s about clever marketing, not science.

    • Tony Duncan says:


      You seem to be misunderstadning the point of the report. the only people who becoem MORE skeptical of climate change as they learn more are people who have a strong ideological disposition to not believe ACC.
      If the was a general increase in skepticism of ACC from acquiring more information, then scientists who are intelligent enough to understand the science and initially supported the idea. would be coming out against ACC and as more and more did so it would put pressure on cliamte scientists who did not want their reputations to be completely ruined woudl start coming out agaisnt it. I have been reading denier blogs for over 4 years. and almost all have stated numeorus times that they and others have shown beyond a doubt that ACC is not happening, or it is a tiny effect. many of them have posted very impressive “scientific’ arguments disproving almost every element of climate change theory. From the idea that the CO2 increase is caused by man, to the CO2 doubling being negligible, to the arctic recovering from 2007 low, to proof that the sea level isn’t rising, it is getting lower, to etc etc etc.
      I have seen over and over people post these proofs on blogs, and yet they never are published in scientific journals. For such obvious truths that intelligent amateurs can discern and explicate so clearly, it MUST be true that the vast majorioty of scientists in the world would see the truth of these proofs as well. And for scientific journals to not publsih them would be seen to be a complete corruption of science by the vast amjoristy of scientists, whose income does not depend on grants for studying climate change.
      It seems much more reasonable to me that a group of people who to a large extent, share very strong ideological beliefs, will find ways to rationalize not accepting ACC and then reinforcing those rationalizations with each other in more and more elaborate ways.
      One of the telling features I find is that there is almost NO critique of any argument as long as it attacks ACC. many of the rguments are mutually exclusive. In a real scientific environment people would argue for and against specific hypothesis becuase they are looking for the correct one. My experience is that there is no interest in the denialosphere in debunking hypothesis that are likely to be worng. or have been shown to be worng. Even when it is obvious, the social rule seems to be that one cannot attack an aly who is trying to undermine ACC. I do NOt see that in the pro ACC sites. there is often debate about the validity of specific hypothesis and rather heated exchanges by adherents of different specific aguments.

      • Tony–I will post a short response then will cover this later on in the blog. There are many scientist who do not believe in climate change, many with the same degrees as those who do believe and are published.
        Publishing does not prove a theory. It just proves you can get published. Data proves the theory.
        Idealogical beliefs do have influence. However, personally I have friends who believe in astrology, conspiracy theories, pure science, are conservatives and liberals, etc. Which group do I belong in? I routinely go against what cannot be verified scientifically while exploring the ideas of others. Some of us are interested in the science and the data and will read both sides to make a decision.

        As for NO critiques of any argument on skeptic sites, there are people removed from blogs for putting forth theories the blog owner does not like. I have been called names and vilified for not believing what the writer is presenting. I am NOT going to claim that skeptics do not also behave badly. They do–we’re human.
        I read the papers referenced by commentors here and weight the arguments. I appreciate that articles are referenced on both sides. Science is about learning and testing and learning more. It is never finished.

  20. Glenn Tamblyn says:


    I willput a post up this evening. Going slow isn’t an issue,it is preferable.Allows each person to put upamore considered opinion.

  21. Glenn Tamblyn says:


    “why have studies shown people with higher science degrees are more apt to express doubt about climate science? A National Science Foundation study found this—while expecting the opposite”

    Big statement. Care to supply a link to the study so that others can go read it for themselves! I do hope you aren’t misrepresenting the work of Dan Kahan and his colleagues at the Cultural Cognition Project.

      • Glenn Tamblyn says:

        Reality Check

        Yes that was exactly the study I was referring to. Andyou have mis-interpretted it.

        Firstly, the tree-hugger link is a strange one to point me to since it says the exact opposite of what you are suggesting.

        TH quoting Kahan:
        “This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available science to promote common welfare.”

        and TH themselves: “Essentially, there’s a tension between ‘what science says’ and ‘what all your friends and the people you agree with on TV say.’ And for a lot of folks, especially of a certain ideological persuasion—the kind that deplores the big government and taxes perceived to accompany any acceptance of climate change, termed “individual hierarchists” in the study—the more they learn about the science, the less they believe it. Basically, it’s because smart, informed people tend to be especially good at cramming new data into pre-existing biases.”

  22. James says:

    Excellent post. I find it very difficult to have meaningful discussions with climate alarmists because they actually know very little about the scientific facts. They simply fall back on the argument from authority, that there are all these really smart people who have looked at it and agree and tell me I need to be worried.

    I have found that if it is possible to open their mind to the actual science, the facts, the data and all the other potential climate variables which impact climate then it is the true believers in catastrophic climate change who start to lose their confident beliefs.

    Then it is a matter of showing some peer reviewed papers which show previously alarmist scientists have changed their positions, and other scientists have shown what skeptics have been saying is actually true. The Climate isn’t as sensitive to CO2 as predicted, there is other natural climate variables acting which are not well understood, warmer temperatures can have some positive outcomes, mitigation can be better than reducing emissions, symbiotic algae on coral can survive extreme temperatures, extreme weather events aren’t increasing, sea level heat content is not rising, global average temperature has stabilised, other climate variables are ta work and so on.

    • Glenn Tamblyn says:

      OK James

      I’ll bite. Since I obviously know very little about the science, would you care to enlighten me.

      Please pick one specific topic, otherwise we might bounce around the scientific universe forever. And show me some of this science I don’t understand.

      • James says:

        OK, I recognise cynicism when I see it, but I’ll go along. But just so you know. First thing tomorrow I am on a long flight, so may not respond for 24 hours if you get to responding. So what to start with. Let me pick something simple. Since CO2 is supposed to be the bogey man. There were some sceptical scientists who said additional atmospheric CO2 could be beneficial to the planet. After all it is a plant fertiliser, CO2 has been higher in times gone by when as measured with studies other than ice core data, and satellites had actually shown that since they had begun measuring the Earth’s biomass, it had been on the increase, despite measured incremental global warming. Agricultural specialists also pointed out that crop yields in general had increased and that it was not uncommon for market gardeners to pump CO2 into glass houses to improve both growth and yield.

        The possibility that additional atmospheric CO2 could actually have any benefits at all was scoffed at and in fact many ‘climate alarmists’ would sarcastically list some of the ‘climate sceptic’/’climate denier’ arguments to include “CO2 is a Plant Food”. So the thought of any beneficial impact from increased atmospheric CO2 was dismissed out of hand. Not just in terms of what might happen to our bio-mass, our forests, but also more potentially significant issues such as an expansion of arable lands, longer growing seasons, greater habitable country, even more rainfall and therefore more water available for agriculture. Any available funding was spent on proving that increased CO2 was bad, and finding all the negative effects of a potentially warming world. There was no interest and no funding for establishing if there were any positives to be had from increased CO2.

        In fact remarkably the climate science community had seemed to come to the conclusion not only that increased atmospheric CO2 was bad, but that increased global average temperature was bad – without even establishing what would be considered an ‘ideal’ atmospheric CO2 level or global average temperature for the earth. You would think that would be the first objective of any research, but it wasn’t. The objective the IPCC started out with was to prove humans were having an impact on the climate and it is assumed that impact is all bad. The science has been sloppy because of this very unscientific approach.

        So to give you one example of how this had a significant impact. In this paper published in Nature in 2000, Professor Peter M Cox and his team used computer modelling to determine that carbon cycle feedbacks could accelerate climate change:
        “We find that under a `business as usual’ scenario, the
        terrestrial biosphere acts as an overall carbon sink until about
        2050, but turns into a source thereafter. By 2100, the ocean uptake
        rate of 5Gt Cyr-1 is balanced by the terrestrial carbon source, and
        atmospheric CO2 concentrations are 250 p.p.m.v. higher in our
        fully coupled simulation than in uncoupled carbon models2,
        resulting in a global-mean warming of 5.5 K, as compared to 4K
        without the carbon-cycle feedback.”
        Specifically they then go on to predict massive drying and die back of the Amazon forests, significant burning and the eventual turning of the great Amazon forests into a savannah.

        Yet with the benefit of 10 years more empirical data and the persistence of more sceptical science, in a new paper which he co-authored from IOP Science Environmental Research Letters, they conclude quite differently:
        Basically they explain why their modelling is much better for a whole range of technical reasons and include, “The other advance of dynamical vegetation models, compared to previous equilibrium classifications, is inclusion of CO2 fertilization effects which act to mitigate plant temperature and water stress [18].”

        This critical change altered Professor Cox’s complete outlook as described in this article: Now he says:

        “I am no longer so worried about a catastrophic die-back due to CO2-induced climate change,” Peter Cox, professor at the University of Exeter in England told Reuters. “In that sense it’s good news.”

        “CO2 fertilization will beat the negative effect of climate change so that forests will continue to accumulate carbon throughout the 21st century,”

        The study found that for every one degree Celsius rise in temperature, 53 billion tons of carbon stored in tropical lands — particularly in the Amazon — would be released. In most scenarios, the rainforest benefited more from CO2 fertilization than it lost.

        There was some cautionary notes about none CO2 greenhouse gases such as methane in the paper, but this is a massive turnaround.

        Now Glenn that is just one small area affecting the whole climate science debate, but it shouldn’t have taken 10 years to get to that reversal. It took that long because we were told the science was settled and because there was little or no funding for scientists who wanted to research anything other than the accepted consensus.

        I deliberately chose a non mainstream topic, because you would have had automatic resistance if I had simply started in on the well worn topics such as how ‘unprecedented’ are the current temperatures, or how poorly correlated CO2 and global average temperatures really are, the obvious ‘other’ cycles which don’t fit well to the man made global warming story, how much of recent warming is related to human activity versus natural variability, what’s happening in Antarctica vs the Arctic, what the climate models predicted versus empirical outcomes from satellites, argo buoys and so on. I’m happy to discuss each of those topics one on one, but I find it more instructive to look at the issues you never even hear about in the Climate Change debate, the one we were told was over because the science was settled.

        For instance where in the IPCC AR4 report does it discuss the extent the Earth’s magnetic field has diminished in recent decades, or how much the magnetic poles have varied? What impact could this have on weather, or on the Arctic sea ice, especially since the ice cap appears to have shifted in the same direction of the magnetic pole? But what would our Climate scientists know about any of this because they have closed their eyes and their minds to it and the research funding isn’t going towards it and the graduate students aren’t getting any funding to look at it. But it is interesting isn’t it?

        I don’t know all the answers, but I know that there are a lot more questions to be asked and we’d be silly to have restructured our entire economy on the basis of what the IPCC was telling us was urgent in the 1990’s when we had even less information than we have now and James Hansen was making his wildly exaggeration predictions, and I am even less convinced that CO2 is a problem now. At best, based on the generally agreed physics of diminishing returns of CO2’s warming ability, we would see a maximum warming of 1.2C from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels. The rise in global average temperature which has disputable been between 0.6C and 0.8C since 1850 for an increase from 280ppm CO2 to 390ppm CO2 would attest to this, given it is estimated that at 0.0 ppm the global average temperature would be approximately -15.0C. So if there is an increase in global average temperature of about 30.0C for 280ppm, It’s hard to be concerned about 0.6C – 0.8C for an additional 110 ppm. Especially when it is well known in the last 10,000 years the Minoan , Roman and Medieval Warm periods have all been warmer than it is today, and humans thrived!

        I apologise if there are typos, this is already lengthy and I must get some sleep!

      • Tony Duncan says:

        I am interested to see Glenn’s response to you. I have my initial ideas from reading various right wing blogs about this issue, but Glenn certainly knows more about all these areas than i do.
        I have listened to some scientists who have studied the effects of increased CO2 as having some very serious consequences that are dependant on numerous other factors that increased global temps are likely to also bring about. I have yet to hear any scientist or perosn really knowledgeable about the issue treat it as simplistically as you present it. Almost every treatment I have read aboutt he subject acknowledges immediaitly that increased CO2 will have some beneficial effects in a number of different ways. And most acknowledge taht we that there are importnat biologicla issues we do not fully understand yet. But in every treatment of the issue there are specific factors that lead to more negative consequences than positive with increased global temps. there was aparticualrly interesting Stanford symposium on effects of Co2 in scnearios of up to 4°C increase in global temps. In fact all the assertions in your second paragraph, seem to be just not true in my experience, and your presenting the situation as positive effects of CO2 being dismissed out of hand indicates to me that you have either not really read what has been written on the subject or you are guilty of exactly what you are accusing climate scientists of doing. Neither option gives me much faith in your interest in the actual reality fo the situation.
        Also the fact that you are taking as your source a newspaper makes your conclusions about the scinece described as not very reassuring of your actual interest in the real conclusions of this paper, but more like a desire to “quote mine”. But accepting that as it is , the paper does NOT say that increased CO2 has no negative effects or even that the effects are more positive that negative. It says that the increased fiertilizations from the cabon RELEASE of the biomass will counter negative effects from increased temps. It is not specific and i wpuld want to know what the AUTHOR really thinks about the whole. But you gloss over the RELEASE of CO2 which increases the warming effect. it is also a study in the AMAZON, so it is very specific to the geographic location. Alos the amazon is subject to intense deforestation, so that if it keep sbeing cut down at the rate it is being now, in a gneration of two, the benefits will be moot, and the amount of excess CO2 will be increased and the carbon sink effect will be significantly diminished.
        And even here your argument loses some steam, even if this study is correct and you have protrayed somewhat accurately. I heard no howls of protest from Ciamte scientists about thsi result. there was no attempt to attack the author or keep hom form being publsihed. I rememebr hearing about this as being somewhat of a relief, that if true the situation is maybe a little less dire, but the study does nothing to undermione all the other studies that i have read about that show CO2 to have rather devastating effects, largely based on regional changes in precipitation and temperature and wind, etc.
        Agian, Glenn knows much more about this than I do, so I look forward to his response

    • Lazarus says:

      “They simply fall back on the argument from authority, that there are all these really smart people who have looked at it and agree and tell me I need to be worried.”

      This isn’t the argument from authority. The argument from authority is where the person in question is not a legitimate authority on the subject.

      Having corrected you on this I’d be interested in your examples of peered reviewed papers showing the facts that have made “previously alarmist scientists” changing their minds. Where do you see Prof Richard Muller’s position in this argument?

      • James says:

        “Having corrected you on this” – Lazarus. I think if you read what I wrote “they actually know very little about the scientific facts” – I think that would count as a person who is not a “legitimate authority on the subject”. I think you will find I have used the term “argument from authority” most appropriately. But you have looked pretty silly racing in to point out my ‘error’!

        You will see from my response to Glenn, I have given him an example.

        You mention Professor Richard Muller. He headed the BEST Research team. From the BEST FAQ “Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature aims to contribute to a clearer understanding of global warming based on a more extensive and rigorous analysis of available historical data.”

        “We believe that science is nonpartisan and our interest is in getting a clear view of the pace of climate change in order to help policy makers to evaluate and implement an effective response. In choosing team members, we engage people whose primary interests are finding answers to the current issues and addressing the legitimate concerns of the critics on all sides. None of the scientists involved has taken a public political stand on global warming. “

        One of the BEST Directors is his daughter Elizabeth Muller. You may be surprised that she registered and is a director of Muller and Associates and GreenGov from 2008 and 2009 respectively. It states from her Bio that she has developed numerous techniques for bringing government actors together to build consensus and implement action plans, and has a proven ability to deliver sustainable change in government.”

        “Green can be profitable”

        “Making Green ICT a Government priority”

        “It’s not just about reducing the Carbon footprint for information and communication technologies – though this is also important. But the real breakthrough for Green ICT will be in helping build consensus among stakeholders, and to bring clarity and transparency to “Green” projects.”

        Strangely, Elizabeth forgot to mention this on her Berkeley Biography. She said she has advised governments, but not that the aim of that advice was to reduce their carbon footprint, and to select the right green technology. The current organization she lists on her Bio is called CSTransform which is neutrally vague about its aims, except that it’s obviously feeding off Big-Government, so scientific results that suggested that Governments don’t need to save the world by taxing and charging people would not seem to be her first priority. In her bio on the CSTransform site, it does mention her green desires: Elizabeth Muller is a ” leading expert in how governments can use ICT to develop a more sustainable, lower-carbon future.“ Evidently she has not had a skeptical conversion anytime in the last four years, but was happy to work with her Dad, which presumably would have been a very non-obvious thing to do if he was a “skeptic” as he claims he was.

        Most of the above was taken from Jo Nova’s science blog site where she wrote comprehensively about Richard Muller and his BEST project. No need for me to repeat it here. Suffice to say, he is not a converted skeptic, he really didn’t do much with the temperature data, and then when he tried to explain away the UHI, his paper was rejected by peer review and WAS NO PUblished so he self published on the net. Anyway you can read a bit more about him here, but I wouldn’t be relying on Muller to make any points for you!

        Now I really must get to bed!

      • Tony Duncan says:

        I have found so many untruths and distortions in Jonova’s columns it is hard for me to take her arguments seriously unless someone else corroborates them.
        So you are attacking Muller’s work, by association. Because his daughter did not make her affiliation more fully stated. As ususal with climate deniers, you do not addres the actual findings excpet for saying that one paper was not accepted becuase he got the UHI wrong. yet you do not provide the reason for that rejection. Was it becuase the journal reviewers considered UHI to be a serious issue that impacts our understanding of temperature data, and makes it suspect? that seems to be the implication, but you don’t state it.
        YOu dismiss muller’s work as being rahter uninteresting, yet it completely corroborated the other temperture records, which have been attacked as completely fraudulent and they used a very robust data set.
        You also say he was never a skeptic becuase he has a company that is based on renewable energy. Certainly that could play into the paper, but you do not point out where his bias undermined the actual science in the paper.
        Apparently you have not seen the youtube video where Muller very publicly attacks the temperature trecord, insults a few climate scientists, and declares that he would not read anything by those people. This video was hailed as a huge victory in the figt against ACC, and Muller was embraced by WUWT and others ( I imagine Jonova as well). Deniers waitied with glee. sure that Muller’s results would confirm that the current warming was due to fraudulent data “adjustments”. The shock when his conclusions betrayed that trust tha twas placed in him was palpable. I wonder if you consider that this was a set up? Did he knowingly come to his own fraudulent results in order to undemine the deniers?
        You mention the UHI. Anthony Watts made a big announcement last year ( or the year before) and Pilke Sr. Declared that this was going to be a game changer. He finished his UHI study and was preparing to have it published. Do you remember what happened to that paper?
        The point of this blog post is to shopw that beleivers in ACC are not interested in the science and that those that know the most about the science become skeptics. Yet you do not address the science of Muller’s papers, which. as you recall incliuded a prominent skeptic, Ms. Curry. Do you now cionsider her to be part of a scam? was she scammed? do you remember what she agreed with and diusagreed with in the papers. Do you agree with her assessments?

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