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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Is Maurice Newman telling Tony Abbott he should fire him?

Sou | 6:11 PM 4 Comments - leave a comment

Maurice Newman is a "big nob" in Australia.  Or so I'm told.  He used to be Chair of the national broadcaster, the ABC.  The Prime Minister thinks so highly of our Maurice that he made him Chair of his Business Advisory Council.  I don't recommend anyone taking any advice from Maurice.

Maurice behaves like a fool, a clown, an ignorant nutter when it comes to climate science.  He's done it before.  Let me quote Maurice's own words back at him:

"...if I had financial advisers who were 98 per cent wrong I'd fire them." 

Emma Alberici interviewed him on ABC's Lateline this week for a comedy special and here are a few snippets.  See what you think.

Maurice Newman doesn't pay any attention to empirical evidence

EMMA ALBERICI: It's no secret that you don't agree that man-made CO2 is causing global warming. Given there is now consensus among 97 per cent or so of climate scientists across the world that the view - around the view that human activity is responsible for climate change, what would it take to convince you?
MAURICE NEWMAN: We know first of all that the survey which came out with the 97 per cent number was flawed in the first place. So we don't pay any attention to that. What we do look at...
EMMA ALBERICI: There have been roughly three that have come up with that.
MAURICE NEWMAN: They all come up with flawed methodologies. So we don't pay any attention to that....

Maurice Newman is a greenhouse effect denier


MAURICE NEWMAN: ...So the 97 per cent doesn't mean anything in any event because science is not a consensus issue. Science is whatever the science is and the fact remains there is no empirical evidence to show that man-made CO2, man-made emissions are adding to the temperature on earth. 

That's not what he facts show.  Maurice, keep up why don't you.  There has been empirical evidence for the greenhouse effect since Tyndall's experiment way back in the middle of the 1800s.  It even hit Australian newspapers at least as far back as 1884.


Maurice Newman says "it's the sun"


MAURICE NEWMAN: ...If you want a correlation between global climate, don't look to CO2, look to the sun's activity, there will you find a very close correlation.

Okay, let's look at the correlation between the sun and global surface temperatures:

Source: SkepticalScience.com

Oops-a-daisy.  Maurice's sun is going in the opposite direction to temperature. Will he change his tune? Unlikely. He's one of those "utter nutter" deniers who'll just say he won't "pay any attention to that... "


Maurice Newman tells a whopper of a lie


MAURICE NEWMAN: I just look at the evidence. There is no evidence. If people can show there is a correlation between increasing CO2 and global temperature, well then of course that's something which we would pay attention to.

Not true, Maurice.  There is a lot of evidence and you don't pay it any attention and don't appear to have ever done so.  In fact, it was only a minute or so back that you dismissed three separate pieces of evidence you didn't like and said "we don't pay any attention to that"!


Maurice Newman rejects scientific projections and opts for unsubstantiated "predictions"


MAURICE NEWMAN: ...And as I said, we look at the climate models, 98 per cent of them were wrong. In my old business, if I had financial advisers who were 98 per cent wrong I'd fire them

He's flat out wrong about the models, but he's correct that he himself should be fired.  Maurice says the sun is "highly correlated" but the scientific models are wrong?  We'll take a break and see just how "wrong" those models are and compare them to his sun:



If you were to pick between models and the sun, which would you pick?  Here they are as an animation - you decide:


If you're like Maurice and picked solar, do you realise there's been a sharp divergence since around 1980?  That's right - around 35 years ago!  If you complain the models don't fit observations you'll have notice they are pretty darn close - with only a small divergence since 2005.  (That's in part because the models weren't aware that this solar cycle would be so weak.)

So let's go back to Maurice who doesn't like "models". (Does he take a brolly when BoM forecasts 70% likelihood of rain?)

EMMA ALBERICI: That it's a pause. I guess that's what scientists say. It's a pause. They look back 800,000 years as I understand it, so 17 years in the scheme of things isn't an enormous amount of time.
MAURICE NEWMAN: I agree, but then you've got scientists, climate scientists now in Norway, in Germany, in Russia, in America, saying we're now going in for a period of 30 or 40 years of increasingly cool climate conditions.

Ha ha ha.  Maurice "clown" Newman doesn't agree with carefully constructed, physics-based scientific models that have been remarkably close to observations so far.  He dismisses the work of generations and thousands of climate scientists, but he's happy to take the solemn predictions from a handful of denier shysters from places like the Heartland Institute and EIKE!  What a nutter.


All the world is mad, but Maurice Newman

Emma takes another shot to see if Maurice will explain why he's decided that all the world is wrong but him:
EMMA ALBERICI: I'll only ask you one more questions on this because I do want to talk about other things, but both Marius Kloppers and his successor at BHP Billiton Andrew McKenzie agree that climate change is human induced. So what if those 97 per cent of climate scientists and all business people across the world, like the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson and the miners here in Australia, what if they're right and you and the scientists you quote are not right. Doesn't it make sense to have a policy that at least transitions Australia to cleaner fuel sources?
MAURICE NEWMAN: Emma, let's not confuse the issues. Cleaning the atmosphere, which is what carbon pollution is about, not CO2, CO2 is not a pollutant. But cleaning the atmosphere, being more efficient, all of that makes sense. That's got nothing to do with climate. That's to do with economics and being efficient. 

Oh? So carbon pollution is about cleaning the atmosphere, not about CO2!  That's definitely weird. [Late edit: Someone on another forum surmised Maurice Newman was talking about soot!  That could be it.  Maurice wants a chimney sweep! Is there no-one in his inner circle who's game enough to tell him he's nuts? Sou.]

MAURICE NEWMAN: But I would say to all of those people who are arguing that CO2 creates global warming and man is adding to the global warming to show the empirical evidence of where this is so. Because I'm saying to you that where this originates is from models. Computer models which are wrong. Now, if you can show me where there is some sort of correlation that proves beyond doubt that what we have is global warming as a consequence of CO2 and man's contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere, well then we can have a different conversation.
Hmmm, he wants empirical evidence.  He's not happy with all the empirical evidence he's been spoonfed with over the years.  Let's see if we can distil it down for him.
  • CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it's what keeps Earth warm and allows species like ours to exist.  We wouldn't be here if not for CO2.
  • Adding more CO2 makes the earth warmer.  It's like if you add more sugar to your cup of tea it makes it sweeter. Or adding more petrol to your car lets you drive further.  It's all about supply.

So that's the theory in a nutshell. Let's see what the evidence shows:

IPCC AR5 WG1

You can click the chart to enlarge it. What it shows is the Northern Hemisphere temperature went up when CO2 went up.  It also shows that when a volcano of any size erupted, temperature dropped. It also shows that when the sun wasn't as active then temperature dropped a teensy bit, but nothing like the reaction to adding more CO2.

Maurice Newman isn't just 98% wrong, it's virtually certain that he's 100% wrong! So will Tony Abbott follow Maurice's suggestion?

"...if I had financial advisers who were 98 per cent wrong I'd fire them." 


Maybe it's a bit unfair of Emma to take advantage of poor old Maurice Newman's failed intellect, letting him make a complete and utter idiot of himself on national television.  Lateline is meant to be for current affairs, not comedy.

If you want comedy, try Clarke and Dawe from seven years ago in 2007 (or it might have been from 2006). Back in the days when John Howard, Tony Abbott's patron, was Australia's Prime Minister. Just before he lost not just the election but his own seat.


Judith Curry, the hero of deniers at WUWT, complains about facts

Sou | 3:46 PM 1 Comment so far

Judith Curry is being hailed as a hero by all the climate science deniers at wattsupwiththat (archived here).  What has she done now to deserve their accolades?  Well, according to Larry Hamlin, she's written to plead not to let facts get in the way of a good yarn.  He loves it that she wrote:
With regards to climate science, the biggest concern that I have is the insistence on ‘the facts.’ 

Facts, what facts? We don't need no stinkin' facts!


Was Judith claiming that we shouldn't insist on the facts?  No.  Writing "the facts" in quotation marks is her way of raising her uncertainty demon again.  Judith trades on people not understanding what uncertainty means to scientists.  It is measured. Judith knows that, to her target blog audience (and that of Anthony Watts), uncertainty equates to "scientists don't know nuffin'". Whereas in reality it means scientists know the range. It's a way of defining limits. Judith trades on ignorance.

Judith continues:
This came up during my recent ‘debate’ with Kevin Trenberth. I argued that there are very few facts in all this, and that most of what passes for facts in the public debate on climate change is: inference from incomplete, inadequate and ambiguous observations; climate models that have been demonstrated not to be useful for most of the applications that they are used for; and theories and hypotheses that are competing with alternative theories and hypotheses.

Unfortunately Judith doesn't elaborate on this at all. She leaves it hanging.  She doesn't point out that the hypothesis that the greenhouse effect doesn't happen is fatally flawed. She doesn't describe any "alternative theories and hypotheses".  I wonder why? We can only surmise whether she is trying to say argue against any or all of the following facts:

  • FACT: CO2 is a greenhouse gas and more of it causes global warming
  • FACT: CO2 is already at a level never before experienced by Homo sapiens
  • FACT: When CO2 rose rapidly and a lot in the past it precipitated a major extinction event
  • FACT: Earth is warming very rapidly in a sustained manner, with no sign of let-up
  • FACT: Arctic sea ice is melting at a very rapid pace, faster than was predicted
  • FACT: The oceans continue to build up heat, as does the surface
  • FACT: Unless we curb CO2 emissions, Earth could warm by more than six degrees in a very short time, much shorter than it has warmed in tens of millions of years
  • FACT: Going by past earth history, this would result in a major extinction event
  • FACT: If we let surface temperature rise by ten or twelve degrees, large areas of earth would be intolerable to humans


Which of these facts does Judith dispute, if any? She doesn't say (her full article is archived here).

Here are some facts in chart form:




From the WUWT comments


As you'd expect, WUWT-ers aren't interested in facts. Not one of them asks which facts Judith is referring to. They just applaud her for implying that the facts are wrong.

philjourdan says, without a hint that he's joking:
April 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm
I read them all on her blog. I sense a lot of frustration on her part. She sees her chosen profession being destroyed in the name of expediency. And even then, the alarmists are trying to parrot Mann and tar he for the simple reason she is for good science. She remains a warmist. But more than that, she is an ethical scientist, and that goes against the grain of “the team”.

Vaughan Pratt points out that Judith displays a lack of professional ethics and contempt for her chosen profession (excerpt):
April 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm
Of the thousands of department chairmen in the US, which of them have expressed an even lower opinion of their colleagues’ understanding of their field? 

Niff says that scientists don't always say what's on their mind - he may have a point with some people, but they are probably wise to not lose their temper too often with disinformers like Judith.  Just keep informing the public about the real facts and what it means for the future.  (If Judith is being muzzled, she's doing a good job of hiding the FACT):
April 22, 2014 at 5:31 pm
..and we sceptics are accused of denying the science…? What Dr Curry demonstrates is that the alarmists not only deny the science, they obfuscate it, muzzle alternative perspectives and castigate those who would speak out. Utterly despicable. 

tancred hopes to wake up one morning and find that the sun hasn't risen, or that the earth hasn't warmed and says:
April 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm
The term “scientific consensus” should be anathema to anyone with an appreciation of the methods of science — and aware of the long history of wise certainties widely agreed among the learned which eventually were debunked as complete nonsense.

Steve in SC doesn't think much of Judith's intellect, but frames his opinion carefully and says:
April 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm
Judy is smarter than the average bear.

garymount boasts that he's an extremist fake sceptic and doesn't let his mind get polluted by half truths let alone mainstream science and says:
April 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm
I do not read Luke warmer websites. 

Larry Hamlin argues that Judith's disinformation campaign is very important and shouldn't be trivialised. That's one reason why I've written about it:
April 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm
Dr. Curry’s rational and comprehensive assessment of the flawed and distorted climate alarmist positions addressed in her essay’s is an extraordinary example of leadership and openness to objective scientific analysis free from the the political ideology which drives much of the alarmist agenda. Those who chose to try and divert her powerful message with misleading and trivial comments that completely fail to comprehend the major emphasis of her posts appear to be merely attempts at creating unwarranted distractions from her primary and completely justified message.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Matt Ridley can't make up his mind about the future he wants

Sou | 5:30 PM 5 Comments - leave a comment

Anthony Watts has posted part of another article by Matt Ridley (archived here). This time he's dug out an OECD report, which was prepared as an input to the IPCC AR5 report.

Long term projections based on key drivers


The report is a description of economic projections for different scenarios of economic development. It is based on long-term projections of five key drivers of economic growth:
  1. physical capital; 
  2. employment as driven by demographic trends, labour participation rates and unemployment scenarios; 
  3. human capital, as driven by education; 
  4. energy demand, as driven by energy efficiency; 
  5. the patterns of extraction and processing of natural resources (oil and gas); and 
  6. total factor productivity (TFP) as an indicator of exogenous technical progress.

The models don't allow for climate change shocks or environmental feedbacks


The report states that the projections ignore a number of important factors (as far as climate change goes). In particular, they don't allow for "major external shocks, for instance in the form of natural disasters or military conflict [which] can occur abruptly and affect projections severely for prolonged periods of time, and in some cases even affect economic growth trends permanently. 

More particularly, the projections ignore terms of trade effects, changes in PPPs and feedbacks from environment to the economy


The scenarios


There are five scenarios, which are represented in Figure 1 in the paper:



The worst we could choose would be SSP3, which presents the greatest challenges for both mitigation and adaptation. The best we could choose would be SSP1, which poses the least challenges for mitigation and  adaptation.


The Matt Ridley Con


What Matt Ridley was trying to argue was that:
These IPCC and OECD reports are telling us clear as a bell that we cannot ruin the climate with carbon dioxide unless we get a lot more numerous and richer. And they are also telling us that if we get an awful lot richer, we are likely to have invented the technologies to adapt, and to reduce our emissions, so we are then less likely to ruin the planet. Go figure. 

He's wrong. We can ruin the climate with carbon dioxide without getting a lot more numerous and richer. All we have to do is keep going the way we are going.

In regard to his Pollyanna optimism, it's not rational or consistent with his previous messages.  Matt is on record arguing that governments don't take any action to mitigate and that we should simply adapt to global warming.  Remember, the OECD report doesn't allow for any "feedbacks from the environment to the economy", nor does it provide for "major shocks".


Magical thinking


Once again Matt is wanting to have his cake and eat it too.  He doesn't want to take action to reduce CO2, but this time he has shifted his position slightly to magical thinking:- "the future will take care of itself".  We'll get richer so that:
More trade, more innovation and more wealth make possible greater investment in low-carbon energy and smarter adaptation to climate change. 

Note his "smarter adaptation" is still stuck in there. While what he writes may be true, it still relies upon a deliberate effort to shift and that action is taken quickly enough.  Electricity production isn't a short term thing, it takes time to plan and replace ageing, dirty technology with new clean technology. It takes time, money (and almost certainly) government intervention to develop an infrastructure that supports electric transportation. And we're running out of time.

What happens when we get to 2030 if Matt's "do nothing but adapt" policy were adopted?  Well, the earth will no doubt be in a different climate regime to now.  That could well mean civil unrest and a shift to one of the other scenarios.

One big problem with Matt Ridley's approach to "adapt" and let the market take its own sweet time in shifting to clean energy is - what happens if the market doesn't shift quickly enough?  Another big problem is his contradictory argument. He says that all past dire warnings (eg about acid rain, smog, the ozone hole etc) didn't eventuate. What he doesn't say is that they did eventuate but governments stepped in and took action to limit the damage.

So if we correctly apply Matt's analogies with past environmental problems then we'd be pushing harder for governments to step in and put in place measures to mitigate global warming.  Especially since climate change is a much bigger problem than, say, acid rain and smog.

By the way, if you look at the OECD scenarios, by 2100 the average Chinese citizen will be wealthier than the average US citizen under the highest growth scenario (SSP5) and almost on par with the most sustainable scenario (SSP1).  That in itself could raise international tensions or it could lower them.  Who's to say.


From the WUWT comments


A lot of comments are making the false assumption that past problems identified didn't eventuate. Moreover most people commenting refuse to acknowledge that it was only because of the early warnings that we addressed and alleviated some of these problems.

Gene Schmick ignores the huge investment in government-funded research and foreign aid that allowed for continued improvements in agricultural productivity, in education and in family planning and says:
April 21, 2014 at 10:38 am
According to the “consensus” (in the 60′s) we are currently starving because the World’s population has exceeded both the food and water supply. Of course we’re doing it in the dark because we ran out of oil 30 years ago.

Our old friend who I haven't seen for a while, pops in to state the obvious.  ferdberple says, without acknowledging the importance of government regulation in this regard (excerpt):
April 21, 2014 at 11:06 am
travel the globe. third world countries have rubbish lying everywhere because there is no money to clean it up. rats and flies are the norm. It is only as countries become richer, that surplus funds become available to clean up the environment. 

If phlogiston seriously thinks that Matt, Richard, Roy and John are their "most important" assets, the fake sceptics are in a sorry old state.  And Matt isn't a climate scientist:
April 21, 2014 at 9:31 am
Mat Ridley is always worth reading, he is one of the most important skeptical scientists up there with Lindzen, Spencer, Christy etc. Solidly argued common sense and sound science.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Heartland Institute can't get anyone to promote their NIPCC report

Sou | 2:28 PM 8 Comments - leave a comment

The poor chaps at the Heartland Institute are doing it tough. Craig Idso (respected scientist?) can't find anyone to do some free PR and advertising for the Not the IPCC Report version umpteen. So he is falling back on an old standby, Anthony Watts and his pseudo-science blog, wattsupwiththat.com (archived here).  Which means, of course, that he is preaching to the converted.

I'm not sure that WUWT is an old standby. It might just be a fallback position. While Anthony occasionally posts an article by one or other of the Idso family of disinformers, it doesn't happen very often.  Still, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Their "big launch" of the latest version of the Not the IPCC report attracted the following people, according to skepticalscience.com:
  • 5 Heartland participants
  • 5 grumpy-looking old white guys 
  • 1 supporter from the American Enterprise Institute
  • 2 bored looking middle-aged guys playing with electronic devices
  • 1 journalist from CNS news ("The right news. Right now")
  • 1 guy running the Fox TV camera 
  • 2 women who came in late
  • An SkS author and co-conspirator.

They knew they were in trouble. Maybe they put in a call to their mate, Tom Harris, because yesterday it was Tom Harris from Canada and the grandly if inappropriately named International Climate Science Coalition, who explained that bible science trumps climate science, and then denied having written it.  He also denied writing that "In the long run, the climate scare will be revealed as the most expensive hoax in the history of science", which is pretty odd, because it turns out he's claimed climate science is a hoax on other occasions too (h/t Anonymous).

It could be they weren't satisfied with Tom's promo, or maybe it was part of the PR effort but today it's Craig Idso's turn.  To his credit, he admitted right up front that he couldn't get reputable media organisations to publish his nonsense, so he's making a plea for any science denying bloggers to put his article up on denier blogs.


Too hot dull wrong to handle!


Craig Idso started off somewhat hopefully: "NOTE: This op-ed is apparently too hot for some editors to handle."

Ha ha - when was an op-ed about climate "too hot to handle"? More commonly they would be considered too dull to handle.  In this case it wasn't that it was too hot or too dull, it turns out it was too wrong to handle.  As Craig admitted (my bold italics):
"Late last week it was accepted and posted on politix.topix.com only to be abruptly removed some two hours later. After several hours of attempting to determine why it was removed, I was informed the topix.com editor had permanently taken it down because of a strong negative reaction to it and because of “conflicting views from the scientific community” over factual assertions in the piece."

Yep, Craig didn't portray the science properly.  So let's see how much he got wrong. His first paragraph was okay but then he quickly strayed from the facts, writing:
Really? Is Earth’s climate so fragile that both it and our way of life are in jeopardy because of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions?
In a word, no! 

Craig is wrong! And he doesn't accept paleoclimatology.  A sudden rapid change in CO2 can precipitate a major extinction event.  Earth's climate is fairly robust as long as nothing changes too rapidly.  The earth system has fast and slow feedbacks and prefers slow changes so that everything in the system has time to adjust.  Give it a big shock and the results are difficult to predict.  But looking at big shocks to the system in the past provides some clues.  For example, the Permian-Triassic extinctions.

Then Craig makes a couple of other "wrong" statements in quick succession:
  • The human impact on global climate is small; Wrong! Human activity is probably responsible for more than 100% of the warming since the 1950s, and some of the warming before that time).
  • any warming that may occur as a result of anthropogenic CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions is likely to have little effect on either Earth’s climate or biosphere - Wrong again!  It is already and will continue to raise temperatures, melt ice, raise sea levels, drop ocean pH etc etc, all having massive flow-on effects to life on land and in the oceans.



Craig gives up at this point. The rest of his article is mostly empty rhetoric with lots of mentions of his silly Not the IPCC report, which he can't seem to be able to give away to too many people.  I noticed that Craig provided no evidence for his bald statements of untruth, other than his Not the IPCC report.  Readers are meant to take on faith that all the world's scientists are wrong and the Heartland Institute is right.  Which if you stop to think about it is ridiculous.  (If you have to stop to think about it you are probably not familiar with the Heartland Institute.)


From the WUWT comments


There wasn't all that much discussion of the scientific content errors in Craig's article. The majority of comments didn't seem to relate directly to the article at all. The commenters got distracted by other commenters' comments :)

Ian W says rather hopefully:
April 20, 2014 at 8:24 am
Panic must really be breaking out if the politicians and grant seeking catastrophists have to pull strings to remove such a mild ‘op-ed’. They obviously have not heard of the Streisand effect.

Greg cries "censorship" and says:
April 20, 2014 at 8:25 am
Hardly radical. This well demonstrates the fact the alarmists now realise the game is over and all they have is an attempt at total censorship of opposing views and information.

RMB says something about not being able to heat water through its surface. He's wrong. How does he think that water evaporates - from underneath? (This is something you'll read in the WUWT comments from time to time, usually refuted by other WUWT commenters):
April 20, 2014 at 8:30 am
The good Dr doesn’t appreciate just how right he actually is. The fact is that you cannot heat water through its surface. If you doubt me try heating water through the surface using a heat gun. The heat is completely rejected. Energy only enters the ocean via the sun’s rays not via the heat of the atmosphere. The reason is surface tension. Surface tension is not a powerful force but it is powerful enough to block heat passing from the atmosphere into the ocean. No matter how much co2 is put into the atmosphere the heat from it cannot pass through the the surface of water. In short there is no way of storing or building heat on the planet, no matter how long you leave your suv idling. Therefore there is no such thing as anthropogenic global warming and the oceans cannot be boiled away.

Leonard Weinstein comes to the rescue of WUWT and does refute RMB and says:
April 20, 2014 at 8:43 am
RMB,
Your reply manages to contaminate a good blog, and give ammunition to pro CAGW viewers, that will quote your error as typical skeptic ignorance. Surface tension is not the cause of blocking heat entering the oceans. 

Col Mosby points out that the article has no evidence and says (excerpt):
April 20, 2014 at 8:37 am
What’s lacking in the op-ed is some nice concise facts to illustrate the main failings of the AGW position ...

 Steven Mosher puts his head on the WUWT chopping block and says:
April 20, 2014 at 8:48 am
“The human impact on global climate is small; and any warming that may occur as a result of anthropogenic CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions is likely to have little effect on either Earth’s climate or biosphere, according to the recently-released contrasting report Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, which was produced by the independent Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).”
so the science is settled. little effect?
I wonder how the clowns who wrote the NIPCC scientifically determined that there will be little effect in the future? how’d they do that? I read the NIPCC. I saw no experiments that proved there would be little effect. I saw no statistical analysis in that report that proved there would be little effect. And they explained why you could not use models to project the effects.
How did those clowns deduce from no evidence that there would be little effect

From here on in, as expected, much of the discussion turns to Steve Mosher, not Craig Idso and the Not the IPCC report.

BioBob is partly correct when he responds to Steve Mosher and says:
April 20, 2014 at 9:20 am
Steven Mosher says: April 20, 2014 at 8:48 am How did those clowns deduce from no evidence that there would be little effect
Is this a trick question ? Here is my response….
The same way warmists concluded the opposite: they made it up ? /sarc

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) dumps on Steve Mosher and says:
April 20, 2014 at 9:25 am
Clowns, mosh? My apologies to Anthony and the rest, but you just took a HUGE step down in whatever estimation I had of you. 

Brad says how sad it is that deniers get criticised for their nonsense:
April 20, 2014 at 9:28 am
Mosher,
Once again you exhibit the fear your side has for an alternate stance. You are reduced to calling people you disagree with “clowns”, and generalize the NIPCC findings to suit your position.
Very immature, and very sad.

kim says:
April 20, 2014 at 9:28 amUh, moshe, it’s paleontology. CO2 warms and greens the globe. Be thankful the level has risen.
The Early Bird shares the worm. Bon Appetit.
==========

Anthony Watts belatedly joins in with the lynch mob. He wanted to wield the axe to chop off Steve Mosher's head and rescue Craig Idso and says:
April 20, 2014 at 9:38 am
Mr. Mosher needs to learn the value of debate and alternate ideas. Don’t be a Mannic oppresive. 

Chad Wozniak says to hell with airing differences of opinion:
April 20, 2014 at 10:38 am
The only “clown” here is Steven Mosher, with his disingenuous attack on the real science offered by Dr. Idso. Steven, why don’t you just shut up and go away somewhere? Go find a place that provides you with no energy nor any of the other benefits of carbon-based civilization, and stay there. 

Mark Bofill comes to the rescue of Steve Mosher and says (excerpt):
April 20, 2014 at 10:59 am
Steven’s only saying what he often says one way or another, which is that skeptics should apply (where applicable) the same standards and criticisms to reports with conclusions we like as we do to reports with conclusions we do not like. As usual, it’s hard to argue with his point. 

Matthew W bemoans the fact that dissension diverts discussion away from unanimous applause and says:
April 20, 2014 at 11:34 am
It’s a real shame that some of the best topics here get little to no real disscission in the replies because most of the replies have to deal with Mosher saying something stupid. 

James Ard makes the point that Steve Mosher asks the impossible of fake sceptics and says:
April 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm
Did Mosher just imply that the onus is on us to prove their doomsday scenario is wrong? I thought he was smarter than that. 

thegriss reckons Steve Mosher ought to hang out with the science deniers not sceptics and says:
April 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm
Moshpit, you really should stick to low level journalism. ! The one thing you might be good at.
And ‘hangin’ with the crew from BEST isn’t helping your scientific credibility 

There were quite a few other comments diverted to Steve Mosher rather than Craig Idso's article. Some telling him in no uncertain terms to shut up and go away, others implying that he's wrong or a traitor to the cause or something. I won't bother with them.


Santa Baby doesn't understand science, but knows what he/she likes (or in this case, doesn't like) and says:
April 20, 2014 at 9:16 am
The whole climate theme is so political created by the democrats and Al gore, Obama etc.. in the USA that it’s vomiting to watch it.
Policy based science is what it really is. And policy based on policy based science is no longer a sign of a functional democracy?
USA better wake up and rid themself of this ideological corruption before it’s to late?

cnxtim copies and pastes her/his regular comment and once again builds a strawman. Does s/he know the difference between the troposphere and the upper layers of the atmosphere? Does s/he know that the greenhouse effect is in the troposphere not the upper atmosphere?  Has s/he ever heard of convection? S/he and says:
April 20, 2014 at 10:36 am
And can anyone here on either side of the CAGW debate please explain to me, by what physical process(es) CO2 generated at ground level by the burning of fossil fuels makes its way to the upper atmosphere to become a greenhouse gas? 

Chad Wozniak can't contain himself as a rare event has just taken place, he bursts out and says:
April 20, 2014 at 10:41 am
I just gave myself an idea – we skeptics are defenders of carbon-based civilization!

Terry Oldberg seems to think that science is divided according to party politics in the USA and says:
April 20, 2014 at 11:17 am
Among the news outlets that do not tolerate deviation from the party line are the San Francisco Chronicle and PBS News Hour. The other night, in reporting on global warming politics the latter organization presented its audience with two experts, each of whom presented the Democratic party line. Cancellation of one’s subscription to the Chronicle and contributions to public broadcasting stations would be appropriate responses.

Steve from Rockwood says:
April 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm
50 years from now Michael Mann and James Hansen will either be regarded as ahead of their time brilliant leaders of science who fought so bravely against the hoard of denying heathens … or … complete buffoons who duped so many with their faulty science and set the world’s great economies on a wild goose chase while so many were forced to remain in poverty. I’m leaning heavily toward the latter.

Paul Woland says:
April 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm
RACookPE1978:
Incidentally, the Pentagon thought that climate change was a serious threat even under bush. Do you think that was political manipulation as well? Then how do you explain it considering the fact that Bush never accepted the reality of climate change?
http://www.rense.com/general70/pepen.htm 

Which doesn't go down too well with the denialati, hunter says:
April 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm
Paul Woland, Argument from authority just makes you look rather ignorant. You seem to thrive on argument from authority, when you are not relying on condemnation by association (even when you have to fib about the association). 

To which Paul Woland responds and says:
April 20, 2014 at 4:59 pm
Hunter: My authority in this matter is science. When I mentioned the fact that Pentagon has accepted climate change as a reality for a long time, it was only to falsify the argument of RACookPE1978. I suspect the Pentagon make their choice in part through some institutional process that evaluates science as well. 

lordjim74, citing no evidence or authority at all other than himself, pipes up and says:
April 20, 2014 at 5:12 pm
Argument from authority needs a bit more than ‘my authority in this matter is science’. It requires (inter alia) a genuine consensus amongst qualified experts. There is no genuine consensus amongst qualified experts that co2 emissions will lead to CAGW, so the argument from authority fails. 

I kept looking for discussion of specific points raised by Craig Idso, but they were few and far between. Most comments related to politics, not science.  Or Steve Mosher. Or whether or not the oceans can warm from the top.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

HotWhopper Competition: Best Name for a Denier Lobby Group (in 25 words or less)

Sou | 7:59 PM 221 Comments - leave a comment

Today Anthony Watts is asking his readers if there should be a fake sceptic/denier organisation formed (archived here, latest update here).  An "official" one.  Yes, another "official" one.

I don't know why he doesn't just piggy back on one of the existing ones, except that maybe he's looking to get paid to head it up.  Or maybe he's not satisfied with the current disreputable anti-science lobby groups and envisages himself as America's version of Lord Lawson. (He does cite the GWPF as an example of what he has in mind).

Not sure that he'll get that far.  This is the response from one of his readers.  It's not a Poe, unless someone has co-opted the internet nic.

Col Mosby says:
April 19, 2014 at 10:19 am
I’m not sure, but if there is one, Christopher Monckton should be its head.

If anyone wants to give Anthony a helping hand and suggest a name for the Watts/Monckton outfit, have at it.  While you're there you could suggest some funding sources :D


More from the WUWT comments


I can't resist (archived here)

Jimbo says he wants the world to know how dangerous they are /sarc (excerpt):
April 19, 2014 at 10:51 am
...We should be careful about the name. I suggest a ‘Dangerous Global Warming Skeptics Organisation’. 

Shub Niggurath advocates a stealth approach and says:
April 19, 2014 at 10:48 am
If there is an organization, it shouldn’t have the words ‘climate’ or ‘skeptic’ in its name.


David in Cal asks what's the point - he has a point:
April 19, 2014 at 10:48 am
It won’t do any good IMHO. The Heartland Institute plays this role, but the media ignore it. Another commenter pointed to the NIPCC. The media ignore them, too. Skeptics need to find a way to get fair media coverage, but that’s easier said than done.

pokerguy sums up the obstacles and says:
April 19, 2014 at 10:48 am
A firm “no” vote here. First it feels antithetical to the free thinking ethos embraced by most skeptics. When you talk about an starting an organization, you’re implying the need for some some sort of platform on which to base it. What are its goals? What are its core beliefs? Inevitably, we’d be trying to reach some sort of a consensus of our own. I don’t see it working. 

Eugene WR Gallun wants to adopt the name of Al Gore's setup and says (excerpt):
April 19, 2014 at 7:16 pm
...A name like the following with an attached mission statement:might set the tone.
CLIMATE REALITY — The past and the present compared and shoddy science exposed.

ren votes yes and says (excerpt):
April 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm
CLIMATE REALITY — The past and the present compared and shoddy science exposed.
100% yes. 

Conspiracy theorists vote NO!


Johnny says:
April 19, 2014 at 10:30 am
No. Because such an organisation would very easily be infiltrated and corrupted and turned into something it was not meant to be.

Katou says (excerpt):
April 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm
I voted yes but on thinking about it a little further ,that might not be a good idea .Any origination can be infiltrated and taken over .  


Walter Dnes says:
April 20, 2014 at 7:20 am
I voted “NO”. An official organization can be spied on, infiltrated, and taken over by a “Manchurian Candidate”, who would go out of their way to discredit climate skepticism. Skeptics are independant by nature… otherwise they wouldn’t be skeptics. They come from many different political/religious/social backgrounds, and have different takes on what’s wrong with the CAGW worldview. I believe that we should continue attacking on multiple fronts, which gives the warmists a hard time. And an organization would divert us from productive work on our cause, to internal politics. Do not want. 

Read more here if you've got some time to waste - there are over 300 comments.  Deniers have finally found something safe they can all disagree on.

Anthony Watts got the Quadrella with an outdated clichéd caricature of a climate science denier

Sou | 7:27 PM 3 Comments - leave a comment

Deniers must be in an out and out panic for some reason.  I don't know why that is.  Yesterday I wrote about how Anthony got the trifecta, putting up articles in quick succession on the much caricatured denier memes of:
  1. Climategate
  2. Greenland and
  3. Al Gore is fat.

Now he's added another one to make the quadrella! (Archived here.) Anthony's posted the most stereotypical clichéd conspiracy theorising slimy article from the grubby Tim Ball. Replete with resurrecting ancient attacks on some of the world's leading scientists - which are sick and twisted and false and would be laughable if they weren't such ugly smear attacks:
  • "they turned off the air-conditioning in 1988 in Congress"
  • falsely accusing Dr James Hansen, one of the world's living treasures and a modern day hero, of not declaring income
  • Ben Santer, who is one of the most respected and trustworthy of climate scientists, "altered" the IPCC report when it was Ben Santer who ensured that the IPCC report included appropriate wording about uncertainty and ensured the report was an accurate reflection of the science of the day
  • claiming 24 years ago Ben Santer was too "green" to write for the IPCC (he was 35 years old at the time and had received his doctorate three years earlier) - He was admired by his peers back then and look at how he is revered worldwide today
  • Dredging up a dumb claim about the Medieval Warm Period, from arch denier David Deming of all people
  • Implying there was something shonky about Michael Mann writing for the IPCC and, laughably, that there was something shonky about this triple graduate degree holder getting his doctorate

I've not seen such a gish gallop of old, disgusting ad hominem attacks on scientists since 2010.  Which in turn were in part a resurrection of the failed Fred Seitz attack from way back in 1996.  Here is the open letter of support for Ben Santer from the American Meteorological Society - from way back in 1996. And here is a more recent article by Ben Santer himself, covering these and other issues. 

Is something about to happen that I'm missing?  Why this resurrection of worn out clichéd denier disinformation?  Is Tim Ball wanting to provide more material for the court to consider at the various law suits he's got to defend? Is he trying to rope Anthony Watts into one or more of them?

And why is Anthony stuck for guest authors that he has to rely on people like the slime Tim Ball, the clown Christopher Monckton and Eric "eugenics" Worrall (can you get more obsure than Eric Worrall?).

Not only that but yesterday he dragged out a chap called Tim Tom Harris who is the "Executive Director" of the two-bit operation that grandly calls itself the "International Climate Science Coalition".  TimTom visited here and twice denied writing exact quotes I took from his article at WUWT.  One of which he'd repeated in slightly different words in a press release published on his own website - talking about "the most expensive hoax in the history of science".

Not only that, but earlier today, Anthony proclaimed to the world that the "biggest threat" to humankind is an asteroid strike.  He's made similar claims before.  He's nuts.  Even his most rabid deniers dispute him on that score.

It's as if there's something big in the wind to send Anthony Watts around the twist like this.  Utterly more Utter Nuttery than usual.

Denier weirdness: The biggest threat to humanity? Lord save us!

Sou | 12:38 PM 23 Comments - leave a comment

Oh my! Anthony Watts has picked up a press release and decided he's found the biggest threat to humanity.

Is it global warming - not on your life!

Is it a supervolcanic eruption? Not a chance!

A global pandemic? Nope, not at all!

A nuclear war? Nope, not that either.

What he says (archived here) is:
The biggest threat to humanity, far bigger than global warming/climate change, is about to get bigger, much bigger.
A press release from some former NASA astronauts on the current asteroid impact threat to earth, based on data on in-atmosphere detonations since 2001, gleaned from a nuclear weapon detonation detection system has yielded some startling numbers.
The threat is 3 to 10 times higher than previously predicted. The data will be presented at the Seattle Flight Museum, Tuesday April 22, at 6:00pm PDT.

Oh. We're about to get clobbered by an asteroid? Really? That's a much, much bigger threat than the virtual certainty that by 2100 Earth will have a surface temperature 3 or 4 degrees higher than a century ago? With seas anything from one to two metres higher? Let's take Anthony's alarmism point by point.

Anthony has based his alarmism on a press release from the B612 Foundation. Here is what he copied:
This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… three to ten times more, in fact. A new visualization of data from a nuclear weapons warning network, to be unveiled by B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu during the evening event at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, shows that “the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.” 

So first of all, they are not talking about a "threat to humanity" at all. They are talking about a "city-sized" threat. Like an earthquake or massive tidal wave (precipitated by an earthquake) or intense cyclone.

Secondly although the press release doesn't say so, I doubt the risk has got "any bigger", it's just that the risk has been reassessed. The actual risk is the same, it's just that in the past it was underestimated by "three to ten" times.  (How does that "three to ten times" rate in comparison with the range of estimates for TCR? Anyone?)  Here are the close encounters picked up by JPL/NASA - and here is the impact risk, looking ahead. The B612 Foundation doesn't seem to have it's own list - or if they do they aren't sharing it.

The hazards - NASA has a near earth object hazard website, and recently removed the previously nearest object from the list, writing:
Recent observations have removed from NASA's asteroid impact hazard list the near-Earth object (NEO) known to pose the most significant risk of Earth impact over the next 100 years.
2007 VK184, an asteroid estimated to be roughly 130 meters in size, has been on NASA's Impact Risk Page maintained by the NEO Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for several years, with an estimated 1-in-1800 chance of impacting Earth in June 2048. This predicted risk translates to a rating of 1 on the 10-point Torino Impact Hazard Scale. In recent months, 2007 VK184 has been the only known NEO with a non-zero Torino Scale rating
Okay, so that's bigger than the incoming stuff that the B612 Foundation is talking about, but for an object of 130 m in size, if it hit Earth it would make a nice dent.  And the predicted risk, given a 1-1800 chance of impacting Earth, was a rating 1 on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale.

So let's compare what else is on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, where 10 is the highest risk.  A rating of 10 means:
A collision is certain, capable of causing global climatic catastrophe that may threaten the future of civilization as we know it, whether impacting land or ocean. Such events occur on average once per 100,000 years, or less often.  

According to Wikipedia, the "2013 Chelyabinsk meteor had a total kinetic energy prior to impact of about 0.4 megatons, corresponding to Torino Scale 0."  Not even a 1. (10 is highest risk)  You've got to earn a rating of 3 to get to "a collision capable of localised destruction":
A close encounter, meriting attention by astronomers. Current calculations give a 1% or greater chance of collision capable of localized destruction. Most likely, new telescopic observations will lead to re-assignment to Level 0. Attention by public and by public officials is merited if the encounter is less than a decade away.

What about a supervolcano? How often do they erupt?  The biggest volcanoes recorded on Wikipedia (yes, I know - but it's handy) happened  26,500 74,000 254,000 640,000 2,100,000  2,500,000 4,000,000  4,500,000  6,000,000 and 27,800,000  years ago.  I expect the further you go back, the more you'll miss.  So they don't happen all that often.  Then again, neither do asteroids of the size that could wipe out civilisation. Some of these supervolanos could destroy life as we know it.  To illustrate, Mt Tambora, which is not one of the previous earth-changing magnitude, is thought to be the cause of "the year without a summer".

Anyway, the point I want to make is that if these events are now viewed as three to ten times more common than previously thought - and no-one noticed them - then the risk is hardly "biggest threat to humanity, far bigger than global warming/climate change" let alone "about to get bigger, much bigger".


From the WUWT comments


To Anthony's chagrin, nobody at WUWT is rushing out to build underground shelters and stock up on ten years supply of rice and lentils.   In fact most of the WUWT-ers aren't buying Anthony's alarmism. (I checked, there was no "satire" or "humour" tag. Anthony really meant what he wrote.  He's done it before, too.)

charles nelson is sensible (for a change, and in part) and says:
April 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm
Eeeeeeek!
No seriously though…these little fellas have been doing this since for ever. We mustn’t confuse the ubiquity of camera phones etc etc with increasing frequency, we’ll be seeing lots more of this type of thing.
As for tracking big ones then doing something about them before they hit…I think this is what you might call a ‘Hollywood’ type solution to the problem. i.e. fantasy.
When a commercial jet the size of several houses can disappear radar controlled, satellite monitored air-space. I don’t hold out much hope for our technology being able to track smaller faster objects approaching our spherical planet from the corners of the cosmos!
Good to know that we’re thickening up the atmosphere with added CO2 though, most of those bad boys will burst and burn up long before they ever hit the ground!
And what about the weather in Murmansk…?

Eric Worrall seems to have bought it and says:
April 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm
How much Asteroid deflection capability would the annual global warming mitigation budget buy?
Time to stop that fantasy, and spend money where it is really needed.

Paul Penrose is talking about something completely different and says:
April 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm
I’m sorry Charles Nelson, but you don’t know what you are talking about. Comparing an aircraft that can change course to evade detection and an unguided rock that must follow the rules of orbital mechanics is just silly. Plus the rocks we are really concerned about are a bit bigger than even a 777. We can find and track these objects with the technology that we have now. And if we work at it, we could have the resources in place to deflect one within a few decades. And since a large meteor is a REAL civilization ending event, we must do it.

YouSoWould asks for a reality check and says:
April 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm
“actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought. The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck”
Given that the last extinction level event from one was 65 million years ago, I’m not going to lose much sleep over the infinitesimally small probability of one occurring within my comparative eye-blink of a lifespan.
And really – does anyone think we’d stand a chance of deflecting several hundred thousand tons of metal hurtling towards us, as this stage of our technological advancement? “Armageddon” it ain’t.

Even Ric Werme sees the flaw in Anthony's article and says:
April 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm
> The biggest threat to humanity, far bigger than global warming/climate change, is about to get bigger, much bigger
No, no – the threat remains the same (per capita), It’s merely the perception of the risk that has narrowed and gone up.
It does make me wish that we had spent a little more time getting some of us off this basket. A planet is a great place to evolve, but it’s a lousy place to preserve a species.

Rud Istvan doesn't like the direction Anthony is taking (too much like prisonplanet?) and says:
April 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm
See Judith Curry yesterday, or the add on wrap she says she will post soon.
Some things are so improbable they are not worth insuring against. The 2014 March Madness perfect bracket is a great example where Warren Buffet made money at ‘asteroid’ expense.
Please do not take this bog in that direction.

mjmsprt40 talks about the long odds of it happening and, with a wistful analogy, says:
April 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm
A city killer might strike, but since Sodom and Gomorrah we haven’t seen one. As far as “End of the world as we know it” sized asteroids– I’m more likely to get a date tonight with this month’s Playmate of the Month than we are to get hit with one of those things. 65 million years, and Jupiter helping to clean up the place… don’t lose sleep over a “planet killer”.