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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Viv Forbes gets a response to his silly letter to some editor at WUWT

Sou | 2:31 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

Today Anthony Watts posted a silly substance-free "letter to the Editor" by director of Stanmore Coal Viv Forbes. I've archived here the WUWT article. I couldn't see that any editor, other than the WUWT editor, received or posted the letter. (Though some editors are not at all discerning when it comes to publishing letters.)

Anyway, the editor at WUWT saw fit to post it. And it drew a response from James Abbott, which the WUWT mods allowed through the WUWT firewall. (The WUWT firewall is intended to filter out any comments from people who accept science. Every now and then a normal person will slip through the cracks.)

Below is Viv's letter and I've interspersed the response from James Abbott, and added a few of my own. Viv's nonsense is in blue italics, James responses are in black bold.


Nonsense from coal company director, Viv Forbes:
Climateers keep trumpeting alarms that glaciers and ice sheets are melting, thus threatening land-based life with rising seas and supporting their dubious claims that Earth faces catastrophic global warming.
Life on earth cannot be extinguished by a sun-warmed atmosphere or retreating ice – sea levels merely rise steadily as land-based ice melts, animals and plants migrate and the slowly warming seas expel carbon dioxide. This allows the biosphere to thrive with more ice-free land in a benign, warmer, wetter, carbon-rich world.
Sensible response from James Abbott, rational person, who knows that although the sun hasn't sent more light our way in recent decades, it is gradually increasing in brightness and, in time, the outer layers of the sun will swallow some inner planets (possible even the Earth) before it eventually becomes a white dwarf. James wryly notes:
Tosh on steroids.
“Life on earth cannot be extinguished by a sun-warmed atmosphere or retreating ice”
Of course not – until the Sun reaches old age – then we will fry.

Then Viv Forbes builds a strawman:
The threats we should fear are the periodic violent eras of volcanism and the life-killing ice ages many of which start with massive snow/hail storms such as the one that suddenly extinguished the mammoths. This is why many ancient peoples celebrated the warmth of spring and worshipped the Sun God.
Oh yeah? Really? Notice how Viv fails to quantify the risk of a violent era of volcanism [sic] or a "life-killing ice age"?  It's virtually nothing compared to the certainty that we are warming the planet by rapidly increasing GHGs. Perhaps Viv Forbes is claiming to be an "ancient people" who celebrates the "warmth of spring" and worships a "Sun God". That'd be about right.


More nonsense from coal company director, Viv Forbes. My guess is that he thinks that the addition of between 0.0001997% and 0.0019972% arsenic trioxide to his body weight wouldn't kill him. Notice how he jumps from global warming to catastrophic global warming, implying there is nothing in between on the noticeable to harmful to dangerous to catastrophic scale:
For too long the western world has been misled by alarmist claims that a tiny trace of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere will cause catastrophic global warming.

Anyway, his silly sentence prompts a reasonable question and comment from James Abbott, rational person:
OK – tell us what happens if that tiny trace is taken out of the atmosphere. No change presumably. The author like all humans has traces of metals vital to life. Take them out and see what happens or add a bit more and see what happens. Low concentration does not = no consequence. To believe that is scientifically pig ignorant.

Except for Viv's preceding comment about "trace CO2", if it were to stand alone then most people would agree with this next statement from coal company director, Viv Forbes:
In the continuing drama of natural climate change, global temperatures are the result of far greater forces.

Greenhouse gases have increased by more than 40% and this has exerted a great force on global temperatures. Double it and there will be a greater force.

There is more nonsense from coal company director, Viv Forbes, who clearly is not interested in working out the details of what is happening and what will happen as we continue to shift the carbon from his coal mining activities into the atmosphere:
Climate research should focus more on the cycles of the sun and solar system and their effect on global climate and on the periodic eruptions along our vast sub-marine volcanic belts. These control the ebb and flow of ice ages and most of the many extinction events that Earth has suffered.

A lot of climate research does focus on cycles of the sun. Does Viv know that the incoming solar radiation has not increased in the past few decades, though the nature of it may change from time to time? That geologist have detected no increase in sub-marine volcanoes? The the oceans are warming from the top down, not the bottom up? And yet global temperatures have jumped a lot as expected, with the rise in greenhouse gases.

Coal company director, Viv Forbes, gets carried away and goes all ice age alarmist:
Most geological eras have ended with massive volcanism on land and in the long volcanic/tectonic rifts beneath the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic Oceans. Outpouring of lava under the seas causes ocean warming and increased evaporation while the dust from land-based volcanoes darkens the skies, creating a frigid atmosphere. Warms seas and cold skies cause heavy precipitation of rain, hail and snow. The increased snow cover then reflects any solar energy that gets through the volcanic dust, thus maintaining surface cooling. That is how the life-killing ice sheets grow.

He's got some things right and some things wrong. Ideas put forward to explain the causation of the five major extinction events include not just massive volcanic activity, but also asteroid impacts, biological causes affecting CO2 and hence climate, weathering and even gamma ray bursts. Just the same, does he know that the reason that some of his "massive volcanism" [sic] caused extinctions? It was because of all the massive amounts of CO2 that poured into the atmosphere, heating earth very quickly so that life at the time wasn't able to adapt. The dust he talks about doesn't stay very long in the atmosphere. It gets washed out with rain. Not so the CO2.

Coal company director, Viv Forbes, doesn't like it that scientists (and engineers and lots of disciplines) use models to work out the details of what is happening. He probably poo-poos weather forecasts based on models, too. And he hasn't bothered reading any of the factual research on volcanoes beneath the oceans or used his noggin. Else he'd have known there is no observed increase, and if there was someone would have noticed the oceans heating from the bottom up. It isn't. He writes:
Atmospheric modellers have dominated the climate debate for too long. It is time to ask well-informed geologists about Earth’s ever-changing climate history which is written indelibly in the rocks. Instead of wasting billions on bigger computers for yet more atmospheric models, let’s do some factual research on volcanoes beneath the oceans. 

Viv might well ask about his "possible influences". Astro-physicists will tell him that the current rapid increase in GHGs far outstrips the impact of any of them.
Then ask some astro-physicists about the possible influence of solar cycles, sunspots, cosmic rays, cloud formation, earth magnetism, rogue asteroids and movements of the solar system through the galaxy.

Viv is showing the extent of his "climate madness" when he writes about sea breezes and sunbeams:
To believe mankind can counter the effect of these powerful natural climate controllers by trading carbon credits and capturing a few sea breezes and sunbeams using green energy toys is indeed a sad sign of the modern climate madness.

James Abbott, by contrast, is sane and sensible, and retorts:
Yep those stupid countries investing in green energy toys that don’t work – except in the countries where they do work and those toys are now producing very significant amounts of electricity.
The geological and astro threats the author refers to we can do little or nothing about. We can do something about the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. That skeptics want to take the risk of doing nothing about it is their choice.

A video from a well-informed geologist


Adelady suggested this video from well-informed geologist and planetary scientist, Dr Daniel Britt. Maybe Viv Forbes or other science deniers at WUWT will learn something from this well-informed person. Certainly the rest of us can.




From the WUWT comments

A lot of the WUWT comments were plain dumb attacks on James Abbott's sensible comment. There were various other plain dumb comments, too. (Archived here.)


Mike the Tylke wants someone to recognise "wisdom" in Viv's words. Sorry, Mike, you're out of luck. Viv is not wise and his words contain no "wisdom". He is trying to protect his short term vested interest in selling more coal and polluting the world.
October 13, 2014 at 4:29 pm
Let’s hope some warmists will recognise the wisdom in these words

milodonharlani obviously didn't read Viv's letter. Either that or he or doesn't accept Viv as a "skeptic", and writes:
October 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm
What skeptics say that CO2 is inconsequential?
All whom I know say that it is a vital, life-giving component of the atmosphere, but that its contribution to warming is largely made in its first 150 ppm. After that, more of it is better, up to real greenhouse concentrations around 1000 ppm. Drawing it down below 150 ppm would be very bad indeed for the majority of plants on the planet, ie C4 types like most crops & all trees.

ferdberple thinks the atmosphere cannot expand or contract in size and is a closed system of fixed volume. He probably thinks we live under an impermeable glass dome.
October 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm
then please tell us what would happen to global temperatures if we reduce it – presumably nothing ?
============
if you reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere, something else will try and increase due to partial pressure law. that something will be H2O. In the end you replace one GHG with another GHG, and the temperature remains pretty much unchanged.
Also, I don't know if ferdberple is aware that when we burn fossil fuel it uses up atmospheric oxygen. Unlike most at WUWT, he has previously argued that this very tiny percentage of CO2 has a huge impact. Perhaps he thinks that we'd notice the fairly small change in water vapour concentration if it displaced all atmospheric CO2 (eg going from 4% to 4.04%). His thinking is very mixed up. He doesn't seem to appreciate the fact that water vapour quickly falls out of the sky as rain and snow. Nor that if CO2 disappeared, we would quickly freeze and no more water would evaporate to replace what condensed as rain. (Actually, I can't really figure out his logic, which isn't surprising.)


Gerard van Rijswijk looks like a right wing extremist and conspiracy nutter:
October 13, 2014 at 5:21 pm
It has never been about climate. It is about defeat of capitalism.

14 comments:

  1. "Atmospheric modellers have dominated the climate debate for too long. It is time to ask well-informed geologists about Earth’s ever-changing climate history which is written indelibly in the rocks."

    Now I get my chance. I just love this talk - By A Geologist - on climate as seen through the eyes of someone who normally regards 10000 or 100000 years as barely a blink of the eye.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yze1YAz_LYM&hd=1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, adelady. I've added the video to the main article.

      Delete
    2. I think Richard Alley is also looking at his diplomas and wonder whether they really say what they say.

      Delete
    3. What a self-serving comment that was. A lot of geologists are employed by the fossil fuel industry, and it would be inevitable that some would have a conflict of interest. Lord Monckton ant-AGW articles published in Geological journals is evidence of this.

      Delete
  2. The Sun God riff is somewhat puzzling since Watt's acolytes have just heard the Good News about Cthulhu

    < A > http://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2014/10/well-at-least-its-change-from.html < /A >

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brave man this Viv Forbes. What would happen if the shareholders in the company find out the director is out of touch with reality?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, very little! This site is named after HotCopper, an investor forum that anyone who imagines that markets and well-informed rationality have much to do with each other should really spend some time on.

      If the divestment movement gets going and his response is, similarly, to ostentatiously stick his head in the sand then there might be a price to pay...

      Delete
  4. "It has never been about climate. It is about defeat of capitalism."

    What is it about these so-called promoters of capitalism and entrepreneurship and all the rest of it?

    They wail and moan as though they were defending their business of making whalebone corsets or hand-operated mangles because they don't want to look at the opportunities for making Even More Money from elasticised fabrics or washing machines.

    Any self-respecting entrepreneur should be able to see opportunity beckoning from every quarter with new industries or differently focused industries just waiting for someone to run with them. And make lots, and lots, of money doing so. Unfortunately, genuine entrepreneurs do take risks to get these returns, some of them will back losers rather than winners. The idea of investors taking on a range of these activities knowing that some of them won't pan out is everyday, standard practice, but these folks are so scared of the not-quite-comfortably-familiar that they run away like their hair is on fire.

    In my view the people arguing that dealing with climate is anti-capitalist are lazy, bone-idle, rent-seekers looking to coast through with dividends from familiar sources along with hanging onto their government subsidies for continuing what they've always done anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my view the people arguing that dealing with climate is anti-capitalist are lazy, bone-idle, rent-seekers looking to coast through with dividends from familiar sources along with hanging onto their government subsidies for continuing what they've always done anyway.

      +1

      Witness the anti-capitalist rhetoric directed at the wind industry by self-styled FreeMarketeers™. Suddenly (vastly smaller) subsidies are miraculously both visible and problematic, and (small but increasing) profits are morally dubious! Oh, the humanity!...

      Delete
    2. There are entrepreneurs and there are salarymen of massive corporations; these things are not remotely the same but both exist within capitalism.

      New fortunes (and new coporate monoliths; see Microsoft, fast becoming the image of IBM) will be founded on renewables and a new distributed market model. Existing corporations will spend their money and energy on a vain attempt to prevent inevitable change. (When IBM developed the PC the project had to be hidden from the typewriter division, which was willing and able to strangle it at birth. Really.)

      Entrepreneurs and corporate monoliths are natural enemies. We can all see where Viv Forbes fits into that picture, and it's not as a Henry Ford figure. More of a third-generation buggy-whip manufacturer Societies which enable the former will prosper; those which are controlled by the corporations will wither away. And this will become clear within the next few decades.

      Australia, Canada, the US - screwed. Who the winners will be is far from clear, though. Not the UK, certainly, but Scotland and Wales? Possibly.

      Delete
  5. Viv says "The threats we should fear are the periodic violent eras of volcanism and the life-killing ice ages many of which start with massive snow/hail storms such as the one that suddenly extinguished the mammoths. This is why many ancient peoples celebrated the warmth of spring and worshipped the Sun God."

    I had to chuckle as he breezed over seasons being perfectly sufficient to generate Sun God mythologies and suggested they're based on as infrequent events as "periodic violent eras of volcanism and the life-killing ice ages". A god based on the latter would have had little relevnce.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Notice that Forbes is fine with fear - it's a great motivator of the masses - he just wants the Right (sic) fears. Fear the ice-age and stock up on coal. Fear the communists and support your local oligarchs. Fear change unless it's back to a Golden Age. Fear evidence-based reasoning because evidence has a well-known liberal bias.

      Delete
    2. The good thing about not using all of your natural resources is that you may really need them in the face of a disaster. We need to leave as much coal in the ground as possible for now to use when we may need it.

      Delete
  6. Viv Forbes letters to the editor are quite common in our regional paper, waiting for my reply to his latest crazy printed last week

    ReplyDelete

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