First and foremost, we should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact. Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits. There are people who say, “Oh, it’s too expensive, we can’t do this.” No. No, folks. We certainly should not allow more time to be wasted by those who want to sit around debating whose responsibility it is to deal with this threat, while we come closer and closer to the point of no return.
I have to tell you, this is really not a normal kind of difference of opinion between people. Sometimes you can have a reasonable argument and a reasonable disagreement over an opinion you may have. This is not opinion. This is about facts. This is about science. The science is unequivocal. And those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand.You can read the full speech in Business Green here.
There is also a short interview on ABC radio here.
John Kerry sees the big picture but gets the science wrong
John Kerry made some gaffes, describing the greenhouse effect as a very thin layer on the edge of the atmosphere, perhaps confusing it with the ozone layer? He wrote:
"Try and picture a very thin layer of gases – a very thin layer of gases – a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity – that’s how thick it is. It’s in our atmosphere. It’s way up there at the edge of the atmosphere. And for millions of years – literally millions of years – we know that layer has acted like a thermal blanket for the planet – trapping the sun’s heat and warming the surface of the Earth to the ideal, life-sustaining temperature."Update:
Here is a diagram I've "borrowed" from askamathematician.com that shows the size of the atmosphere to 100 km up compared to earth (left) and up to 7.5 km up (right). This might have been what John Kerry meant for people to visualise, but he screwed it up. I still think he was confusing the ozone layer with well-mixed greenhouse gases, referring to "at the edge of the atmosphere" - but if so, he got that bit wrong too because it's up to 10 km "thick", not "a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity". And the ozone layer is in the lower stratosphere, not "at the edge of the atmosphere".
...and describing ocean acidification, wrongly, as acid rain falling into the ocean!
"The changing sea temperature and the increasing amount of acidity – the acidity comes from coal-fired power plants and from the pollution, and when the rain falls the rain spills the acidity into the ocean."
John Kerry should have got a scientist (or even me) to edit his speech before he made it. However were his gaffes any worse than the deliberate obfuscation of facts by two scientists who have no excuse? Read on...
Shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues ...compete with scientific fact
So what happens? Anthony Watts, an "extreme ideologue" promotes a tiny minority of "shoddy scientists", Dr Richard McNider and Dr. John Christy, to criticise John Kerry's speech. But they didn't mention the things that John Kerry said wrong - like I did above. Instead they focused on what he said that was right - and complaining about it. What Richard and John complained about was him referring to "shoddy scientists". It seems John Kerry struck a nerve with the shoddy scientists. Richard and John wrote:
In a Feb. 16 speech in Indonesia, Secretary of State John Kerry assailed climate-change skeptics as members of the “Flat Earth Society” for doubting the reality of catastrophic climate change. He said, “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists” and “extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts.”
But who are the Flat Earthers, and who is ignoring the scientific facts?
To demonstrate just who it is who is ignoring scientific facts, shoddy Richard and John put up this shoddy chart (archived here):
Notice how Richard and John don't provide any information about their sources other than "various" and "as described in the "State of the Climate 2012". How they talk about the "linear trend intersecting" - what does that mean? How they don't say what the baseline is. How they've put up "five year averages" - but managed to start them in 1979 and end them in 2013?. How they left off surface temperatures.
Alright, let's be sceptical and check with the record. Here is a chart of five year averaged temperatures. It has to start at 1983 (five years after the first full year of satellite data). I've plotted UAH and RSS on the same chart as the mean CMIP5 surface temperature plotted on the same 1981-2010 baseline:
|Data Sources: UAH, RSS and KNMI Climate Explorer|
Brownie points if you can spot the difference.
Richard and John claim:
For instance, in 1994 we published an article in the journal Nature showing that the actual global temperature trend was “one-quarter of the magnitude of climate model results.” As the nearby graph shows, the disparity between the predicted temperature increases and real-world evidence has only grown in the past 20 years.
I tried to find their paper and this "scientific communication" was all I could find in the time available. I did find a description of it in Santer et al (1995):
The only previous study that has considered recent short-term trends in global-mean annually averaged temperature is that by Allen et al. (1994), which investigated the significance of the linear trend in global mean low- to mid-tropospheric temperature (sampled by the satellite-based microwave sounding unit, MSU) from 1979–1994. Allen et al. (1994) used detrended instrumental sea-surface temperature (SST) data to estimate the magnitude of natural variability on time scales appropriate to the length of their signal, and concluded that the 15-year trend in low-to mid-tropospheric temperature was not significant.
The Santer paper was attempting to progress science. It's title was: "Towards the detection and attribution of an anthropogenic effect on climate". Richard and John by contrast are attempting to squash scientific research writing things like: "Shouldn’t modelers be more humble and open to saying that perhaps the Arctic warming is due to something we don’t understand?"
Yeah, that would surely win a Nobel Prize, wouldn't it. I can see it now. Headlines in Nature News. Scientists stop all scientific research on climate saying it's because they don't understand it. Contrast this with how Santer et al expressed the "unknowns", nearly twenty years ago:
The caveats regarding the signals and natural variability noise which form the basis of this study are numerous. Nevertheless, we have provided first evidence that both the largest-scale (global-mean) and smaller-scale (spatial anomalies about the global mean) components of a combined CO2/anthropogenic sulfate aerosol signal are identifiable in the observed near-surface air temperature data. If the coupled-model noise estimates used here are realistic, we can be highly confident that the anthropogenic signal that we have identified is distinctly different from internally generated natural variability noise.
Santer et al go on to describe the caveats. They also describe what they found. Their focus is on adding to knowledge without trying to hide anything. Richard and John are negative scientists. They build straw men so they can paint a distorted picture of science to further their ideological aims.
You'd be hard-pressed to find two more negative, shoddier scientists who've somehow managed to con the taxpayer into continuing to pay them big bucks. And what do taxpayers get in return? Shonky charts on shonky pseudo-science blogs, devoted to persuading the world not to lift a finger to prevent damaging global warming.
"Rum is sailor food" cry the shoddy scientists!
Richard and John are full of it! Full of strawmen arguments - twisting arguments like: "in the 18th century, more British sailors died of scurvy than died in battle" to insinuate that because vitamins weren't discovered until the early twentieth century, 21st century scientists like Richard and John "don't know nuffin' about climate". Now, when scientists have discovered the equivalent of Vitamin C as the cure, Richard and John will have none of it. It's the Richards and Johns of the world who are arguing "it's not Vitamin C"; and "Rum is Sailor Food"!
It may well be true that there are shoddy scientists like Richard and John who pretend they "don't know nuffin'" about climate. Fortunately they are in the minority. There are thousands of scientists today who know an awful lot about climate.
In my opinion, universities ought to get rid of shonky scientists who write mainly for pseudo-science blogs like WUWT and replace them with decent scientists who will add some to the world's knowledge, not mess about with shonky charts.
From the WUWT comments
The article brought lots of nutters out of the woodwork (archived here):
In the shortest comment I've seen him make, rgbatduke says:
February 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm
Science and politics make terrible bedfellows.
February 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm
Put it this way. If facts and the truth had any thing to do with this climate change lie and Kerry’s
lies being heard still,,, then the facts on Kerry would have had him end up in the dock and tried for treason and or also lying under oath before congress.l
February 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm
Bring back the Mafia and protection rackets rather than this international climate protection racket scam Kerry is trying to peddle around the world. Read Antony Sutton to find out what Kerry’s up to, with his penchant for wealthy women and his Patriarchate.
Bruce Cobb says:
February 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Did he miss anything? I think he managed to cram all of the Warmists’ lies and flawed logic they’ve ever used over the years. Impressive.
Yes, the idea of man-caused climate change is simple enough for simpletons like Kerry. Except that it fails the reality test miserably.
February 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm
Kerry, the secret Hegelian termite in the Obama administration.:]
February 20, 2014 at 11:47 am
I really don’t know why such eminent scientists such as Christy and McNyder who are obviously intimately involved with temperature measurements (AMSU) even bother to reply to such a obvious ignorant unread unsophisticated person such as Mr Kerry. By replying here they are giving him attention he does not deserve
Alien, M. R., C. T. Mutlow, G. M. C. Blumberg, J. R. Christy, R. T. McNider, and D. T. Llewellyn-Jones. "Global change detection." (1994): 24-24.
Santer, Benjamin D., Karl E. Taylor, Tom ML Wigley, Joyce E. Penner, Philip D. Jones, and Ulrich Cubasch. "Towards the detection and attribution of an anthropogenic effect on climate." Climate Dynamics 12, no. 2 (1995): 77-100.