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  1. “RealClimate takes no formal position on the statements made in the editorial.”

    People read this site to understand the science behind the issue. RC seems to have no problem calling out deniers. Please fact-check the scientific claims here: if they are accurate based on the best science, say so (maybe refs too?). If they are extreme – in either direction – tell us. I think there are many out here hoping that RC can be a balanced source of information.

    Comment by PaulS — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:12 PM

  2. Fairy nuff. So what’s RC’s informal position on these statements?

    Comment by Matt — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:39 PM

  3. Alas for my country, the USA, which leads the world in anti-science propaganda, greenwashing and obfuscation.

    The figurehead of American denialism, Sen. James Inhofe, is bringing his execrable self and his bag of disinformation to Copenhagen, there to flaunt the disgrace of America before the world. I hope, at least, that the news organizations represented there will forebear from giving him a stage to spout his lies.

    Comment by Dan L. — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:39 PM

  4. Only 56?

    Comment by John MacQueen — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  5. As a residential plumber and flow-charting systems theorist,

    see here: http://www.youtube.com/leearnold

    I think alarm is in order, but not enough to scare the kids. I go against the editorial in the fourth-from-last paragraph: Competition should actually be a big part of it, and we can surely use cap and trade (or carbon taxes for that matter) to send price signals to give more favor to alternate energy and to future innovations to start competing. The efficiency argument is immaterial, because the economic models can’t do “human creativity,” which should be their most important factor. We know that the history of Western technology has been to do things without thinking about natural ecosystems — but this is not an incurable feature of rationality, and now we are always on guard for that. With the combination of materials science, computation, and nanotechnology that stretches before us, we ought to be able to get to non-carbon energy easily. Or else find a way to soak it up real fast and turn it back into gasoline. We certainly ought to take different routes, which the price signals now before Copenhagen would encourage. It took NASA only ten years to fulfill JFK’s dream of getting to the moon. Guess what? We’ll do all this, rather easily.

    Comment by Lee A. Arnold — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  6. Humanity need not fear the catastrophe warned of by this editorial. After all, thanks to Paul Erlich’s similar warnings and those of others before and since, most of us are already dead.

    Seriously, one of the greatest problems AGW zealots face in their propoganda campaign is that at some point, the general population gets used to apocalyptic predictions coming and going (whether by a biblical return, the year 2000, exhaustion of world resources, meteor collisions, ice age, etc.) The destruction that apparently seems so obvious in the present inevitably turns out to be not so obvious after all (sometimes even downright silly) after some years have passed. And so we — some of us older ones at least — take all Armageddon warnings with a lot of salt.

    And in present case, it has now also become known that some regarded as core members among the AGW zealots actually realize they are “not close to balancing the energy budget,” their public statements notwithstanding. Still, apocalyptic fervor dies hard.

    Congratulations to RealClimate for at least not taking a “formal position” on statemetns made in this editorial warning of yet one more destruction scenario.

    Comment by DVG — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  7. Let me first say that I’m an honest person with a degree from MIT. I have no interest in anything but the truth, but so far I have not seen convincing evidence that AGW is going to increase global temp over 2 degrees celsius.

    I see the “mass of evidence” for AGW as no more convincing than the evidence for WMD in Iraq. When Rumsfeld said “We know where they are”, I thought “Why don’t you send the inspectors to get them”.

    When you say “The science is complex but the facts are clear”, I say “give me a 10 year prediction of global temp if you understand the climate”. From what I’ve seen of the science this is not possible, which is why these predictions do not exist.

    When AGW researchers can make falsifiable predictions, then I will be perfectly willing to believe what they say. If there are some falsifiable predictions then by all means bring them to my attention.

    [Response: I guess "what you've seen of the science" doesn't include chapter 1 of the IPCC report, Figure 1.1, page number 98, which shows temperature trends predicted in previous IPCC reports and subsequently realized. MIT... ha! Glad you didn't say University of Chicago. David]

    Comment by Kamal — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  8. [I can't tell whether this comment already went through:-]

    As a residential plumber and flow-charting systems theorist,

    see here: http://www.youtube.com/leearnold

    I think alarm is in order, but not enough to scare the kids. I go against the editorial in the fourth-from-last paragraph: Competition should actually be a big part of it, and we can surely use cap and trade (or carbon taxes for that matter) to send price signals to give more favor to alternate energy and to future innovations to start competing. The efficiency argument is immaterial, because the economic models can’t do “human creativity,” which should be their most important factor. We know that the history of Western technology has been to do things without thinking about natural ecosystems — but this is not an incurable feature of rationality, and now we are always on guard for that. With the combination of materials science, computation, and nanotechnology that stretches before us, we ought to be able to get to non-carbon energy easily. Or else find a way to soak it up real fast and turn it back into gasoline. We certainly ought to take different routes, which the price signals now before Copenhagen would encourage. It took NASA only ten years to fulfill JFK’s dream of getting to the moon. Guess what? We’ll do all this, rather easily.

    Comment by Lee A. Arnold — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:47 PM

  9. I take a formal position on the statements made in the editorial:

    Complete support.

    Comment by tamino — 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:51 PM

  10. Alas, only the Miami Herald in the USA…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:11 PM

  11. The attitude and outlook of this editorial are the source of the poison in the debate over AGW. The debate is not about science, it is about politics.

    The politics of the AGW side is collectivist and tyrannical in its outlook. It can only imagine massively centralized government solutions to any problem. It has no awareness that human society is a dynamic, churning cauldron of individuals that have the capacity to solve problems through voluntary exchange with one another.

    The editorial is filled with the normal hysterical hyperbole that is so common on that side that is tiresome and has been neutered from overuse.

    “Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet” This is speculation for the purpose of fearmongering.

    “and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc” This statement is laughable. The price movements of those commodities had nothing whatever to do with AGW. What they did have to do with were government interference in the operations of the markets for those commodities.

    “our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days” Pure hubris.

    “would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea” This is a slow process, and people can and will adapt. They have done that for many millenia before these power-mad politicians decided to adapt for them.

    And the kicker, and the point of all this:

    “Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.”

    Translation: we will reduce your standard of living by empowering hordes of bureaucrats to control almost every aspect of the economy, for your own good. Sickening.

    Comment by Mark Gibb — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:18 PM

  12. As a student of Phil Jones, I have watched the events following the CRU hack more closely than most. The situation of climate scientists reminds me of another group of earth scientists who are occasionally thrust into the spotlight.

    When a volcano begins to smoke and quake, the volcanologist is called from his little office at the university and asked ‘When is it going to blow? When do we call the evacuation?’ and he has to answer. Evacuate too early and the houses near the volcano get looted and their owners lose everything, evacuate too late and people lose their lives as well as their possessions. The problem is that nobody knows when the volcano is going to erupt. The scientific study of volcanoes and their behaviour allows you to make an educated guess at best, but that is all. The volcanologist is under a duty to know his or her subject, to have investigated the different views and evidence on how to predict volcanic eruptions. But, more than that, they have a deep obligation to speak up if they think the volcano is going to blow and the politicians are ignoring their advice.

    Back to climate scientists. They hold knowledge about important risks to our current way of life and the ecosystems of the planet. They are under an obligation, therefore, not just to do their job – the research and experiments which extend our knowledge – but also to speak up loud and clear in the public domain concerning the risks humanity faces from a changing climate. And this is the tricky bit, because the public domain is not an empty void. People already carry strongly held opinions – but it makes no difference to the task that falls to the scientists – they must still speak out.

    Thank you to the Guardian and othe newspapers for speaking with one voice. And thank you to Gavin and Eric and the RC contributors. I am a long-time reader.

    Comment by Ed — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:37 PM

  13. I believe that seeing how the global community can come together–as on October 24, and as with this editorial–makes it easier for us to see that it’s possible to “solve” the problem of dangerous human interference with climate.

    Public opinion research suggests that–for some people–seeing the possibility of solutions at the scale of the problem may, in effect, be a prerequisite for a general understanding of the basics of the science.

    Therefore, I consider the act of pointing to this global coming together–as done in this RC post–a very practical kind of science outreach.

    Comment by paulina — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:41 PM

  14. If the rest of the world demands their engagement and leadership, perhaps China and the U.S. will join up.

    Regardless of the cretins’ howls, folks are listening closely to the urgent warnings, . . . and many many more are beginning to get it.

    Comment by Sloop — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:53 PM

  15. “The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations.”
    So says the Guardian. Now why would we trust the large nations to tell us citizens openly and honestly what needs to be done about global warming when they are conspiring behind the backs of the “have not” nations? No one in the Copenhagen meeting is to be trusted.

    Comment by Le Messurier — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:55 PM

  16. Whoever wrote this critically , and temporally, challenged manifesto deserves great credit should Copenhagen crash and burn.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:58 PM

  17. Why doesn’t this statement bring up the problems of analytic failure (defining the “problem”) and government failure (addressing the “problem”).

    All there is is market failure from unregulated CO2 emissions. Critics call such perfect knowledge, no transaction costs as “nirvana economics”.

    Where’s the real-world multi-disciplinary analysis, in other words?

    Comment by Rob Bradley — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:32 PM

  18. Unfortunately humans aren’t any smarter than yeast in a vat. Without addressing population overshoot there is no way we can mitigate anthropogenic climate change…

    http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll225/Fmagyar/ExponentialFunction2.jpg

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:56 PM

  19. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8387737.stm

    Comment by vic — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:57 PM

  20. Realclimate has no comment on the statements made in this? Is realcimate publishing this and the scientific statements in it or not? Are the scientific statements in this piece correct in realclimate’s opinion?

    Comment by Alw — 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:58 PM

  21. According to this study, when long-term changes in vegetation and land ice are included in climate models, the results are more accurate and indicate a higher CO2 sensitivity than previous estimates.

    “Earth’s temperature more sensitive to carbon dioxide than previously thought”
    http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2009/6738.html

    Comment by Sean — 8 Dec 2009 @ 8:03 PM

  22. My apologies to those whose comments may have disappeared. I hit ‘comments off’ accidentally, and some may have been lost to hyperspace. I saw some good comments in there! Please re-send them.

    Eric

    Comment by eric — 8 Dec 2009 @ 9:25 PM

  23. Kamal (7) — then you will have no trouble reading climatolgist David Archer’s “Understanding the Forecast”, indeed now available as a series of lectures on video:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/an-offering/
    and if you want more about climatology, try Ray Pierrehumbert’s
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

    Now in the 1979 Charney et al. NAS/NRC report on CO2 and climate,
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=1
    some predictions were made; these are coming true. Another way is to consider projecting the trend from the latter part of the previous century onto this one:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/

    Do note how well this all hangs together. It should, be basically just thermodynamics and the radiative properties of CO2 and water vapor.

    For a historical account of it all, please do read “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart, first link in the “science Links” section of the sidebar.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 9:48 PM

  24. And Australia didn’t seem to be on the list, not that I’m too surprised, given the daily barrage of unscience we are treated to in the self-proclaimed organs of enlightenment, the newspapers of the Murdoch press.

    Comment by Donald Oats — 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:23 PM

  25. I’ve been reading this site for some time in an attempt to gain knowledge and formulate an informed opinion, but one thing squicks me about many of the participant’s comments. I am referring to the liberal use of the term ‘denier’ to indicate people who disagree with any element of the AGW consensus. Very uncool, it makes whoever says it look like a kooky fanatic. Is this necessary, and does it serve the cause in any way?

    I suspect some forget that whatever they say reflects not on the person targeted, but upon [i]the one who actually says it.[/i] Being as they did say it and all. Calling someone a ‘denier’ in this debate is tantamount to revealing you’re an arrogant twit who thinks anyone who disagrees with you is both stupid and evil. Even if that is true, you should never want to come off that way, it definitely hurts both your case and your cause to someone non-committed. Instead of marginalizing your ‘enemies’ it marginalizes your argument and suggests you’re an intolerant git no one would want to agree with anyway. If you are indeed correct, that’s the last thing you would want to be doing.

    What you say denigrates not who you think it does, it only reflects onto you.

    [Response: On the other hand, "skeptic" is clearly wrong, and since I see deceptive arguments used by "that side" whatever you call it, denier seems more apropos to me than skeptic. David the intolerant git]

    Comment by Kaosium — 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:47 PM

  26. I’m afraid Mark at 11 has some valid points about the political brain. I work at a high end engineering applications software outfit, and we have several hardcore denialists. Now these folks are just as technically capable of running the thought experiment/ model construction which would demonstrate the greenhouse effect as anyone at this site. Yet the political/ideological parts of their brains instantly recognize that the result attacks their ideology, which is that anything that supports the possibility of a greater government role in the economy, is not only wrong, but possitivly fraudulent. They would rather believe in the deliberate fraud in support of a new world order takeover, then admit the possibility that any sort of tragedy of the commons problem could exist. Our political brains are massively more influential than our analytic brains. Getting even highly intelligent people with PhDs in a technical area to put the search for truth first, and the service of ideology second just doesn’t seem to be possible. The same thing applies to related areas that challenge the “no government is the best government” meme. Peak Oil, impossible, it will never run out, it is being created all the time. The concept that a free unfettered market will solve everything and anything wrong is the result of government meddling is simply unshakable.

    Comment by Thomas — 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:56 PM

  27. I’ll offer a criticism…

    “Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so.”

    I cite bullshit here. What about India, China, and Brazil? In fact, most nations have increased pollution, and some have a lot higher growth rate on CO2 output than America. None of these nations are lining up to combat climate change; instead, they want America to pay them off, and others want exception from CO2 output altogether.

    “Rich nations like to point to the arithmetic truth that there can be no solution until developing giants such as China take more radical steps than they have so far. But the rich world is responsible for most of the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere – three-quarters of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1850.”

    Other nations bought cars, planes, farm equipment, food, IT, and other items from the developed nations. Every nation on the planet has generated CO2 emissions either directly or indirectly. Although some nations played a passive role, they still played a role.

    “Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it. ”

    The goal should not be a decrease in power consumption; instead, it should be an increase in other technologies with a phase out of old technologies. The only meaningful way to accomplish this goal is to invest in research and development with renewable energy sources as the target. Materials and processes need to be found that can replace the rare earth materials required by renewable technologies. Until these materials are found, renewable technologies will remain expensive, and they will be limited in scalability. In addition, the phase out of fossil fuel technologies will require developed nations to enter into a development process. During the development process, these nations will need to produce additional CO2 output in order to power the transition between the two technologies. Unless the transition between technologies is handled carefully, it could cause severe economic harm. I would also put forth the argument that the human population corresponds with power consumption. If power consumption is steeply cut, the world may lose its ability to support its population.

    “And fairness requires that the burden placed on individual developed countries should take into account their ability to bear it; for instance newer EU members, often much poorer than “old Europe”, must not suffer more than their richer partners.”

    The ideology that the world should suffer to fix the problem is tainted and jaded. A large number of scientists have done a fine job in identifying the problem of global warming, but they have done a very poor job in recommending solutions, and they have done an even poorer job of taking responsibility for global warming. Scientists hold the ultimate responsibility for the global warming problem. The absolute lack of consideration for consequences on behalf of the scientific community has created many large and dangerous problems including global warming. Even as the world faces global warming, scientists are quick to rush to any quick fix without any consideration for its consequences.

    The call for sympathy to support the Copenhagen agenda is lacking. The poor people are the group which gets hurt the worse by the current agenda. The current solution, in a basic nutshell, is for the poor to be cut off from energy consumption. All the while, scientists are declaring that they are doing the poor people a favor. The poor will freeze to death in the winter so that they will be saved from some predicted threat in a chaotic system that scientists have modeled. The current agenda is absolutely foolish and rash. The current agenda calls for the return of “old Europe” ideas of the rich man in his castle and the poor man at his gate.

    Comment by EL — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:31 PM

  28. Though both fell short of what some had hoped for, the recent commitments to emissions targets by the world’s biggest polluters, the United States and China, were important steps in the right direction.

    Man, they must be desperate for good news. China promised to mildly reduce its “carbon intensity” (meaning the amount of carbon dioxide it emits compared to its gdp growth), which is largely useless; if they grow 9% a year but emissions “only” grow by 8%, then they’ve reduced their carbon intensity. It’s the same thing that people were criticizing Bush for at the beginning of his presidency.

    Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions.

    At a time when most of those countries’ citizens are worried about foreign competition, you want them to effectively pledge to give the less-developed world all the benefits of the developed world’s research for none of the price? That’s not going to happen at any large level.

    To be honest, I don’t see why the Developed Nations don’t have more bargaining power on this. After all, we have the money to adapt, meaning that we could theoretically let things slide further if it came to that.

    Comment by Brett — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:35 PM

  29. RE #8 you have it exactly its not going to be the end of the world. The black death killed between 30 and 60% of europes population and society survived there. (In fact for a while everyone was richer since the physical store of goods was still there). To much alarmism puts one in the Y2k camp, the various religious camps that predicted the end of the world etc. Yes things would not be great, it would be a rough time but humanity would muddle thru. The marketing of the policy changes needed has been atrocious. Instead of providing good answers to “whats in it for me” they predict the end of the world. This does not sell, and you have to sell. Many don’t really care about the distant future figuring they are going to be dead. How many refuse to vote for school funds because they have no kids in school? It is percieved that the elite have decided what is good for the masses and the masses never take this well.

    Comment by Lyle — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:39 PM

  30. What happened to the concensus on climate change?
    Is debating this still considered ridiculous by Al Gore?
    Is it at all necessary to give one whit what a sceptic thinks?
    I have been told the science is settled for over 4 years.
    I have been told to scoff and ridicule sceptics by my peers.
    I have watched television my whole life and have come to view it as the only real source for truth and facts.
    Television supports climate change. Everything is green. Even the peacock on NBC. Obama supports reducing CO2 emissions. Politicians have introduced a Cap and Trade bill before the Senate.

    Would someone please tell me why nothing is getting done then.
    If everything I’ve been told is true, why do we listen to the rants of Republicans and Pseudo-Scientists.
    If Liberals and Greenpeace and WWF have all this power and control over politics, science and mainstream media, why is nothing getting done?

    Its enough to make one go mad.

    Leaked e-mails taint the global warming cause. The Circle of Commitment threaten the validity of transparency. Copenhagen looks more and more like a bust. Public perception and support for AGW is at its lowest point ever. Even Obama’s approval rating has hit historic lows.
    And this is the best that Liberal minded environmentalists have to offer, a Op-ed piece?
    Alarm me. Scare me. Share to the world that if we don’t act now, all is doomed.
    I am not at all comfortable with these turn of events.
    And I can’t figure out why no one can tell me why.

    Unless of course none of what I’ve been told is true. Maybe there isn’t a crisis. Maybe there might be some truth that AGW has been overstated. Maybe that I’ve been lied to. Maybe Obama has been lied to. Maybe, just maybe, there might actually be a conspiracy to cook the data and feign ignorance to the contrary.
    I want answers. I want proof. I want transparency regarding everything I’ve been told.
    I’m tired of the name calling, the cencorship the skulduggery.

    I want the damn truth.

    Have I come to the right place to have my questions answered?

    Comment by David Alan — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:44 PM

  31. i’ve taken the CRU avg monthly temperatures and graphed then vs. the mauna loa CO2 measurements since 1970. If CO2 is the reason for the temperature rise then why have we seen temperatures stabilize since 1998 while CO2 keeps increasing?

    [Response: Have you read anything on the subject?!]

    Comment by gary thompson — 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:44 PM

  32. It is too little and too late. This should have been on front pages months ago. What pressure will this bring on the political actors who are now in Copenhagen or about to go there?

    Comment by John — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:01 AM

  33. If the dire predictions of AGW were proven, there’d be no question or debate except about how to prepare or adjust. They just aren’t proven.

    Comment by J — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:01 AM

  34. Fred Magyar #18: I agree with you 100%. I’ll continue to try to keep my footprint smaller, but mainly I’m along for the ride in this test-tube we call Earth.

    Comment by CraigM — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:01 AM

  35. When the solution can only be achieved by the combined political will of every major government on the planet, then the chances of that solution being agreed, sufficient to solve the problem, and implemented within the required time-frames are not good. I would go so far as to say that it won’t happen. At best, all I can see happening in Copenhagen is that there will be some kind of aspirational target and perhaps a timetable for future talks.

    Mark Gibb in #11 makes the comment: “It has no awareness that human society is a dynamic, churning cauldron of individuals that have the capacity to solve problems through voluntary exchange with one another.”

    The big problem with that statement is that it is reactive. The major problems confronting humanity which required a global response are few and far between. WW2 is about as close as we’ve been – 60 million deaths, the entire continent of Europe practically levelled, massive displacement of populations, the start of the Cold War and civil wars in China and Korea, and a rapid period of decolonisation in Africa, the Middle East and Asia as a result of the economic ravages of war. Not a cheery prospect and, if we hit a temperature increase of 4-7 degrees around 2100 as the Copenhagen Consensus document suggests, being reactive is not a choice that we are going to have. Being reactive will mean a different planet and one that is only going to be capable of supporting a small fraction of the population that it currently does.

    Basic risk management would suggest that being proactive is the only chance that we have to avoid the worst possible consequences.

    Comment by Jimmy Nightingale — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:09 AM

  36. Don’t supppose you want to see this;

    http://www.copenhagenclimatechallenge.org/

    Comment by Sandra Kay — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:19 AM

  37. Given my own personal political views I may not agree with every line written in this essay. However, I find the document to be a breath of sanity, something that I had more or less given up hope of seeing in print in any newspaper, let alone the Guardian and the other 55 papers in which it was evidently printed.

    There are times when one must join together, despite political differences, either to defeat a great enemy or an even greater threat. What we face now may not be a threaten the survival of our species, but it may very well bring to its knees the achievement of modern civilization.

    At this point in our history, however briefly and if only with respect to this one issue, we must learn to transcend political ideology. The future of of our modern world is at stake. The author of this document has clearly seen this and with equal clarity given voice to their vision.

    For what it is worth this document has my endorsement.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:24 AM

  38. “Translation: we will reduce your standard of living by empowering hordes of bureaucrats to control almost every aspect of the economy, for your own good. Sickening.” – 11

    Since you have proven yourself unable to rationally control your consumption, your consumption will now be controlled.

    The domestication of Man continues…

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:27 AM

  39. CORRECTION

    In the second paragraph, “What we face now may not be a threaten” should be “What we face now may not threaten…”

    My apologies. Three hours sleep. The cats and my schedule kept me up last night. About time for me to go to bed.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:29 AM

  40. “When you say “The science is complex but the facts are clear”, I say “give me a 10 year prediction of global temp if you understand the climate”.” – 7

    In other words you will not believe climatologists until climate models start predicting the weather.

    Isn’t that Kookie?

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:31 AM

  41. @Sandra Kay:
    It should tell you enough that they allowed a signature from Ian Plimer. The trained geologist who has been claiming volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans for years, despite being corrected time after time after time.
    This is the level of science of many of the signatories.

    Comment by Marco — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:27 AM

  42. > Would someone please tell me why nothing is getting done then.

    Think about the species you’re dealing with here. This is how it’s done–ineptly, too late, after far too long, incompetently, with tragic losses. And those are the successes.

    What’s the biggest cooperative effort to date? How about the ocean fisheries.

    “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” — Joni Mitchell

    Historical baselines for large marine animals
    Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 24, Issue 5, May 2009, Pages 254-262

    “… Here we review the diversity of approaches used and resulting patterns of historical changes in large marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. Across 256 reviewed records, exploited populations declined 89% from historical abundance levels (range: 11–100%). In
    many cases, long-term fluctuations are related to climate variation, rapid declines to overexploitation and recent recoveries to conservation measures. These emerging historical patterns offer new insights into past ecosystems, and provide important context for contemporary ocean management.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2008.12.004

    http://scienceblogs.com/deepseanews/2008/08/this_post_might_make_you_cry.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/deepseanews/jackson%282008%29.jpg
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/08/08/0802812105.abstract?etoc

    And with facts like that, there are still actual members of our species who deny the problem.

    Now we’re dealing with an even bigger problem, in the early stages of it. Look at our record.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:38 AM

  43. Comment by Lyle — 8 December 2009 @ 11:39 PM

    To much alarmism puts one in the Y2k camp, the various religious camps that predicted the end of the world etc.

    Lyle, you need to think this through a bit. The second, the religious groups, are what we have as anti-AGW people. They are almost completely led by conservative, christian, business groups. And their religious end time stuff is exactly the same as AGW denial: both rely on rhetoric, belief, ideology and fraud.

    That you equate those things with Y2K issues is extremely interesting. I worked for a mainframe software company in the early 2000s. The amount of work, cooperation and preparation that went into making sure Y2K was a non-event was HUGE.

    I agree with you (sarcasm). That is exactly the same situation that we have now. We need to work very, very hard to manage this problem.

    If the dire predictions of AGW were proven, there’d be no question or debate except about how to prepare or adjust. They just aren’t proven.

    Comment by J — 9 December 2009 @ 12:01 AM

    Please try to speak honestly. First, climate scenarios are not predictions. Why attempt to conflate them? Second, this is about risk assessment, not certainty.

    And people wonder why some of us have such a poor opinion of denialists. Are we supposed to respect constant distortion and dishonesty?

    Comment by ccpo — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:42 AM

  44. Martin Gibb,
    8 December 2009 at 6:18 PM

    The debate is not about science, it is about politics.

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious. Had you not noticed that POLITICIANS convene in Copenhagen to talk POLICY?

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:07 AM

  45. Guys, there is something I don’t really understand in all that stuff. We are supposed to limit our consumption of fossiles to protect “our prosperity and security.” ? but …heeem … our prosperity is ENTIRELY due to the use of fossiles. I don’t know any place or any time approaching our “prosperity” without fossiles ! never, nowhere ! it’s not only power generation, but fabrication of steel, cement, all metals, fertilizers, pesticids, plastics, insulators, glues, elastomers , medicines,and so on, that require fossiles !! go to Africa and try to develop them without fossiles, just for fun !

    just try to plot ANY indicator of welfare as a function of CO2 production per capita and consider the result during some minutes …

    http://graphs.gapminder.org/world

    so you’re saying : we must protect our prosperity by cutting off (eventually ENTIRELY) its main source ? come on … ! are you kidding ?

    as I can judge, our “prosperity” will disappear ANYWAY with the depletion of fossiles, and THAT will be a real problem, much more real that the fractions of degrees you are fighting for.

    Comment by Gilles — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:10 AM

  46. J
    9 December 2009 at 12:01 AM

    If the dire predictions of AGW were proven, there’d be no question or debate except about how to prepare or adjust. They just aren’t proven.

    There is only 1 way to prove a prediction: wait until it happens.

    Smart humans do not try to prove the prediction, but prevent it.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:22 AM

  47. #33 @J
    “If the dire predictions of AGW were proven, there’d be no question or debate except about how to prepare or adjust. They just aren’t proven.”

    “Predictions” are proven when they eventuate. By the time the predictions are proven it will be far too late to prepare and adjustment will not be pleasant.

    Comment by James Killen — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:47 AM

  48. Interesting that so many newspapers from many parts of the world can, as one, state this problem so well and yet make the same fundamental error our politicians are committing at every turn. Once again it is not mentioned that without putting a halt to the world’s growing human population burden all of our other actions will accomplish nothing. Decreasing the carbon dioxide footprint per person while continuing to grow in numbers is not a solution. Is it a fundamental human flaw that those with power in politics, religion, or information control are blind to the dangers of our own reproductive abilities? Is it necessary to ignore this issue to retain power?

    Comment by Kelvin Wayne — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:12 AM

  49. “Is it at all necessary to give one whit what a sceptic thinks?” – 30

    Has it actually occurred to you that nature doesn’t care how you demand that it must operate?

    The undertone of every denialist argument is that the laws of nature can’t be, because

    a. My taxes are too high.
    b. My taxes will increase.
    c. My ability to destroy nature will be reduced.
    d. The free market has failed, but can never fail.
    e. I fear change.
    f. The end times are upon us.

    g. I hate the messenger – Al Gore.

    To which I respond…. Nature doesn’t care what skeptics think, and neither does any other rational person.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:00 AM

  50. I fully support this editorial except for “emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data”. Denialists have “suggested” that the emails demonstrate this – the actual evidence, as has been explained by RC and others, when the context is understood, does not suggest supression at all.
    I came to Realclimate about 18 months ago, I think, looking for answers to “skeptic” views being published in South Africa that “there is no evidence for CO2 causing global warming”. Gavin kindly pointed out that I should read the IPCC report – I knew about it but had been too lazy to look at it. I guess I was wanting an easy yes-no answer. I followed the advice, my eyes were opened (I am a scientist and could understand). In a few hours of further reading and with RC,s links I quickly realised that there are no true skeptics regarding AGW. An “honest scientist” (see comment #7 “I’m an honest person”) does a proper literature survey prior to undertaking any research or doing a review. To profess skepticism of AGW theory is like professing skepticism of HIV/Aids link or tobacco smoking/cancer link – only AGW theory is more solid (not everyone exposed to HIV will get aids, not every tobacco smoker will get cancer).
    The FACT is that the overwhelming evidence is that AGW is scientifically TRUE and the consequences, if no action is taken, will be bad, very bad or potentially catastrophic. Therefore, from a risk management perspective, should we bet on AGW being FALSE and take no action (think of how certain you need to be that it is false before taking this bet) or bet on it being TRUE and take urgent action? Clearly the credible authority (IPCC) gives it very high probability of being true – logically that means urgent action now.
    “The science is unsettled” is always true for any theory. For AGW the uncertainty (mainly in climate sensitivity to forcings) is cause for even greater concern (it may be much worse than the worst projections) and is the very reason why we must NOT explore that uncertainty through actual experiment (i.e. inaction on CO2 emissions control). Denialists, read http://www.gregcraven.org for a great analysis on looking at climate change from a risk management point of view.
    So we have the FACT of AGW and the logical conclusion (i.e. the risk of catastrophic cliamte change) is that the world MUST start NOW in reducing CO2 emissions.
    HOW to reduce CO2 emissions is where the politics comes in.
    So, from my own experience, if you come to RC looking for and understanding of science of AGW you will find it by searching and studying the archives and the links. It’s huge. The IPCC report is the best place to start, in my opinion.
    And if you spend enough time on this site you can, through the comments, learn about the paucity of understanding and refusal to learn even the basics of AGW as shown by the denialists. They seem to always follow the same fallacious logic – I don’t like the political implications of what needs to be done if AGW is true and therefore I’ll believe it can’t be true and look for every scrap of “evidence” that supports my belief (I will ignore the credibility of this evidence – if it’s printed somewhere it must be true) and everything that supports AGW (the overwhelming scientific evidence) is a worldwide conspiracy/ the peer review process is broken/ the scientific journals have been infiltrated by alarmists/climatolgists X, Y and Z are dishonest/fraudulent whatever. It’s always someone else to blame. EL #27 is symptomatic of this confused view. Scientists made the H-bomb a reality, politicians and the military implemented its use on Nagasaki. If anything is sickening this dishonest and unethical denialist political agenda.

    Thank you Gavin and the RC team – you have demonstrated that you are honorable, a reliable source of well reasoned information, and have well beyond the call of duty (as conventionally defined) by setting up this site. Sticking patiently with the science, and that includes pointing out the risks of some of the geo-engineering “solutions” being proposed, is what makes your site so valuable.
    Your patience is admirable. It’s demonstration of virtue in a world where virtue is sorely lacking.
    And while about it, thanks to Hank Roberts for his patient teaching on how to find out things for oneself.

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:01 AM

  51. >>>>”In other words you will not believe climatologists until climate models start predicting the weather.”

    No, until a model is proven to correctly predict climate, it’s insane to take draconian measures based on its climate predictions.

    [Response: Translation: Unless there is a model that can predict exactly my injuries that will be sustained if I jump this red light, it’s insane to consider slowing down as I approach the junction. – gavin

    Comment by J — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:06 AM

  52. Had science been all-powerful from the outset (something some of our more paranoid commentators like to think is the case) then we would already be 20 years or more into our transition into a low-carbon economy and starting to enjoy its benefits, including all sorts of new business opportunities and very many more jobs created in relocalised production of things like food.

    We now have a very short window within which to get this right. The “burn everything and sod the consequences” brigade have been so dominant on this issue that, regardless of climate change, we are fast approaching a time when oil-based fuels will become increasingly expensive and, further down the line, scarce. If you don’t understand this point, then Google “Peak Oil” and do a little research. Let’s get right behind this, before the naysayers have chance to wreak any more long-term economic chaos. Their recklessness has already hit many of us deep in the purse and it demonstrates that they are not fit to be trusted with either the economy or the environment. Let us conserve and use our remaining fossil fuels far more wisely, with a view (for once) to the future, as opposed to the next gathering of boy-racers!

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:07 AM

  53. Mark Gibb (#11), what’s “sickening” is clinging to a wasteful lifestyle of living beyond our means at the expense of our grandchildren. More “sickening” yet are the people who elevate this to some sort of high principle: pigging out in the name of liberty. It is those who support business as usual that “can only imagine massively centralized government solutions to any problem” — and react by denying the problem exists, instead of coming up with innovative, enterprising solutions. There’s going to be a technological revolution, transforming our lifestyles by making efficient use of clean energy, for a change. Boy, are you missing out.

    Lee A. Arnold (#5), I think you misunderstood that paragraph. The past “competition” they talk about was that between nations / superpowers; they are not speaking against using market mechanisms. (After all, their examples — the Manhattan and Apollo projects — were not exactly market-driven.)

    Comment by CM — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:21 AM

  54. Eric, time to close shop on this thread? S/N not impressive by now. Who let Beavis & Butthead out of their cage?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:41 AM

  55. Sandra Kay at #36

    The usual suspects and the usual denials. So what?

    “We the undersigned, being qualified in climate-related scientific disciplines…”

    1. “…Head of Space Research”
    2. “…Professor of Organic Chemistry”
    3. “…Professor of Physics”

    Huh!?

    Comment by GlenFergus — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:10 AM

  56. I wish to add to those that question why RealClimate has published this Editorial. If RealClimate has no formal position on the Editorial, why has it chosen to post it? The Editorial makes multiple strong statements about the consequences of AGW.

    RealClimate is meant to be placing science at the centre of the AGW debate – but it claims to have no formal position on this Editorial. That is ridiculous.

    If an editorial had appeared in the Wall Street Journal making a series of claims downplaying the risks and future scenarios I can definitely see RealClimate rigourously critiquing it.

    Tom Wigley is quoted as saying:

    “This is a complex issue and your misrepresentation of it does you a dis-service. To someone like me, who knows the science, it is apparent that you are presenting a personal view, not an informed balanced scientific assessment. …

    Your approach of trying to gain scientific credibility for your personal views by asking people to endorse your letter is reprehensible. No scientist who wishes to maintain respect in the community should ever endorse any statement unless they have examined the issue fully themselves. You are asking people to prostitute themselves by doing just this! I fear that some will endorse your letter, in the mistaken belief that you are making a balanced and knowledgeable assessment of the science — when, in fact, you are presenting a flawed view that neither accords with IPCC nor with the bulk of the scientific and economic literature on the subject.”

    I genuinely question how balanced the Editorial is, and would have hoped RealClimate to assess its claims. Non-scientific alarmism is no way to direct a political debate.

    The political message RealClimate is sending by posting this editorial does not remove the scientific requirement to examine its claims no matter how hard RealClimate attempts to say it has no formal position on its content. That to me is a shameful dereliction of RealClimate’s purpose to be a centre of excellence providing an evidence based approach to the AGW debate.

    Does the Editorial stand up scientifically and to the published mainstream? Or is it more politics than peer-review? I come to RealClimate to find answers to exactly these types of questions and find it incredible during the current “Climategate” shennanigans that RealClimate can leave it to the comments section to examine the credibility of this Editorial.

    Please put up some posts at least pointing to the scientific literature debating the claims the Editorial is making. I am reasonably certain it is a highly contested area of the science and so having RealClimate review it would be helpful.

    Comment by Neil Taylor — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:30 AM

  57. I note that at least one comment here compares AGW to Y2K.
    Many people belive Y2K was a hoax because no calamity occured. However as a computer scientist and software engineer for the last 2 decades I can say with certainty that the truth of the matter is no calamity occured because timely large scale action was taken. The AGW problem is many orders of magintude greater than the Y2K problem. If (and that’s a big if) we avoid the worst effects of AGW don’t expect any thanks from those who currently think AGW is a hoax.

    On a more personal note it is being reported here in Oz that the FBI are investigating death threats to “two prominent scientists” named in the CRU email beat-up. It’s not hard to read between the lines as to who they are. I’ve long admired your intellectual courage and now it seem you have the physical courage to match, take care.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:04 AM

  58. @Kamal (comment #7): So… did you read the recent Copenhagen Diagnosis (http://copenhagendiagnosis.com)? The report reviews studies from the past two years (since IPCC AR4). The conclusion is that the IPCC predictions were correct for the most part: empirical observations follow closely the models. The predictions were wrong in some cases, such as ocean level rising. In those cases, the IPCC predictions underestimated the effects, as much as 80%!

    The theory is falsifiable by making thorough observations for the next two decades, and comparing the observations to the theoretical predictions. So far the observations match the predictions, or, worse, underline the fact that the theories underestimate the effects and the speed of change.

    The problem is that if the predictions are correct, we don’t have an extra two decades to verify them.

    Comment by Ville Koskinen — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:05 AM

  59. Re# 7: “Give me a 10 year prediction”.

    The next decade will be warmer than the last.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:10 AM

  60. “Man, they must be desperate for good news. China promised to mildly reduce its “carbon intensity” (meaning the amount of carbon dioxide it emits compared to its gdp growth), which is largely useless; if they grow 9% a year but emissions “only” grow by 8%, then they’ve reduced their carbon intensity.”

    So buy less stuff from China.

    If they sell less stuff they have to do REAL reductions. Buy more stuff from them and you’re the cause of real increases.

    THEIR reductions are in YOUR hands.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:22 AM

  61. Re #11 Mark Gibbs

    And the kicker, and the point of all this:

    “Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.”

    Translation: we will reduce your standard of living by empowering hordes of bureaucrats to control almost every aspect of the economy, for your own good. Sickening.

    Mark,

    Despite the swagger, I can see you heart’s in the right place. Basically you love liberty. Like you, I don’t want to be governed by hordes of bureaucrats and that’s why market based solutions, such as the cap and trade systems or carbon taxes must be the systems chosen, if they will be, to ease our transition to a new energy economy. I don’t know whether have you considered, say the climatologists are correct, that a regulatory approach becomes ever more likely the longer we wait to act? Let’s not mince words, ‘regulation’ actually means using the criminal law in place of the market.

    What if you’re wrong about it being a slow process? Maybe you could imagine how the effect of sharply falling agricultural production simply swamps our current economic woes. How do you usually manage the risk of your being wrong? And if you are wrong, I wonder do you think it less or more likely that people will seek “protection” from the totalitarian ideology de jour?

    I’m sorry if you achieve the opposite of what you set out to.

    Comment by Asun Friere — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:00 AM

  62. Kamal: If there are some falsifiable predictions then by all means bring them to my attention.

    BPL: You can falsify AGW by doing any of the following:

    1. Show that CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas.
    2. Show that CO2 isn’t rising.
    3. Show that the new CO2 isn’t mainly from burning fossil fuels.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:03 AM

  63. Mark Gibb: “would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea” This is a slow process, and people can and will adapt.

    BPL: In 1970, 12% of Earth’s land surface was “severely dry” by the Palmer Drought Severity Index. By 2002 that figure was 30%. How far do you think it can get before human agriculture collapses completely? If the growth continues at the same rate, by 2034 75% of Earth’s land surface will be “severely dry.” Good luck dropping into a fast food place then.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:06 AM

  64. So this is a valiant effort. But it will simply fall apart. No one has ever effectively been able to manage what nations do and don’t do. We can’t even keep nuclear weapons under wraps, let alone carbon.

    Global Warming is gonna happen, and it looks like there is nothing we can do about it. We’re asking huge sacrifices of billions of people for a rather abstract concept of doom…that is too easily swatted away. This prospect of an overarching committee, determining who can do what is a recipe for massive corruption.

    The concept of prevention is a gonner and foolish. We need to start thinking about building dams around NYC and parts of Florida. Or relocation of cities.

    A policy based on the willing restraint and good faith of man…is bound to fail. We need to find a system of negative feedback, like a cheap form of energy that absorbs harmful gasses. Going green is with in reach, but it has to be done on a largely voluntary basis.

    Comment by Matt — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:09 AM

  65. Kaosium: Calling someone a ‘denier’ in this debate is tantamount to revealing you’re an arrogant twit who thinks anyone who disagrees with you is both stupid and evil.

    BPL: Not at all! I would say, more accurately, that anyone who disagrees with AGW theory is either ignorant, evil, or both–not necessarily stupid. Ignorance, at least, is morally neutral, although refusing to learn makes it morally culpable.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:09 AM

  66. Minor pedantic point, David Alan, it’s not an op-ed piece, it’s an editorial. An op-ed is written by someone other than the editorial staff (usually).

    And courtesy of the same Wikipedia entry (which I’ve been waiting ages to find a place to publicise), Herbert Bayard Swope of The New York Evening World “when he took over as editor in 1920, … is quoted as writing:”

    It occurred to me that nothing is more interesting than opinion when opinion is interesting, so I devised a method of cleaning off the page opposite the editorial, which became the most important in America … and thereon I decided to print opinions, ignoring facts.

    As to the rest of your comment, I’ll let others opine if they wish. But you might like to hit the Start Here “button” at the top and spend a week or two digesting that info. You may find some of the answers you are seeking.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:32 AM

  67. EL: The current solution, in a basic nutshell, is for the poor to be cut off from energy consumption.

    BPL: Crap! Energy is not the same as fossil fuels. There are other sources of energy.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:33 AM

  68. Lyle: its not going to be the end of the world. The black death killed between 30 and 60% of europes population and society survived there. (In fact for a while everyone was richer since the physical store of goods was still there).

    BPL: I’m sending a Time Lord with a TARDIS over to your address with instructions to drop you in Genoa in 1347.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:35 AM

  69. 7. “Let me first say that I’m an honest person with a degree from MIT. I have no interest in anything but the truth, but so far I have not seen convincing evidence that AGW is going to increase global temp over 2 degrees celsius.”

    The science behind global warming is incontrovertible.

    Comment by EL — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:53 AM

  70. I’m fairly ambivalent about its message, but the Boston Globe came out anti the editorial:

    A group editorial is just as likely to foster accusations of groupthink as it is to push the world toward decisive action on climate change. At a time when the climate debate is still plagued by the false notion that global warming is a myth perpetuated by an international conspiracy of liberal elites, a range of voices offering their own reasoning and routes to the same goal would have delivered a more potent message than a unified chorus.

    Comment by jhm — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:24 AM

  71. Scientists must stick to the facts and must not be afraid of publishing fluctuations and reversals of shorter term trends (this is the nature of “weather”). Most of all they must not be dragged into dog fights with global warming deniers. Without the Greenhouse Gas effect the temperature of the earth would be so cold that life, as we know it, would never have existed. This is fact, and increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases temperatures. There are going to be temporal and spatial fluctuations. The effects will not be the same the whole world over and will vary with time depending on factors such as natural climate cycles, the sun’s output etc. This is common sense and this is what the general public need to understand.

    Gareth Evans

    Comment by Gareth Evans — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:25 AM

  72. Gilles (#45) can you not see that, given your concluding sentence–”as I can judge, our “prosperity” will disappear ANYWAY with the depletion of fossiles, and THAT will be a real problem, much more real that the fractions of degrees you are fighting for”–the preceding parts of your post make no sense?

    If we are going to have to kick fossil fuels anyway, and if the overwhelming preponderance of climatologists tell us that AGW is a clear and present danger, is there one good reason to delay the transition away from fossil fuel dependence? I think not.

    (Oh, and it’s not “fractions of degrees”–the goal is to avoid warming greater than 2C if at all possible.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:29 AM

  73. Jimmy Nightingale @ 35: You seem to think that the only way to be “proactive” is to have centralized government solutions. Any government program that massive, that powerful, and that distended will be riddled with incompetence, rent-seeking, and waste. It will become “reactive” to whatever political whims are flowing through the minds of the political elite at the moment (including well-connected corporations).

    I believe much better results come from millions of people thinking, experimenting, and trying to make money by offering green products. That creative process will be dampened and eventually stamped out by centralized, one-size-fits-all government solutions.

    And, Vendicar Decarian @ 38:

    Since you have proven yourself unable to rationally control your consumption, your consumption will now be controlled.

    It’s ironic that while accusing me of being irrational, you have shown by the above statement that it is you who are irrational. Nothing in my post @ 11 contained any information about my “consumption” let alone “proved” anything about it. Here’s a point of actual data for you: I pay a bit extra for my electricity so that I can get all of it from wind generation. And, amazingly, I did it without anyone in government commanding me to do it.

    Also, the last half of your statement shows how casually attracted to tyranny many on your side are. It seems like you relish the idea of “controlling” me. No thanks.

    Comment by Mark Gibb — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:38 AM

  74. Mark Gibb says, “I believe much better results come from millions of people thinking, experimenting, and trying to make money by offering green products. That creative process will be dampened and eventually stamped out by centralized, one-size-fits-all government solutions.”

    OK, Mark, now that’s what I’m talking about. So, let’s get specific:

    What initiatives do you see coming from the private sector that will make a significant dent in climate change?

    How do we get the idjits who refuse to look at the evidence to buy into these solutions?

    How do we convince people who don’t understand how science works to support policy based on science?

    It would appear that you at least have some real faith in capitalism. Now, how do you convince your fellow free marketeers that the future of capitalism depends on how well it accepts the very real challenges posed by climate change and becomes part of the solution to these challenges?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:03 AM

  75. Matt says, “No one has ever effectively been able to manage what nations do and don’t do.”

    And that is why England still pays privateers to hijack Spanish ships and why all nations now have huge stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and why commercial airline navigation is impossible because everyone in air traffic control towers speaks different languages…

    Oh, wait. Hmm. None of those things is true. Gosh, Matt, maybe international agreements can work when they are in the interests of all parties. Naaah!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:08 AM

  76. Sandra Kay links to the “copenhagen climate challenge,” which purports to be a petition by “skeptical scientists”–to which I respond:

    Where have all the experts gone, long time passing…

    Everybody!!

    Thanks folks, I’m here all week.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:14 AM

  77. The “ClimateGate” files document that the world’s average temperature from 1998 to 2008 has NOT risen, so why the rush to impose some massive reduction in CO2? Why not take a little time to determine if CRU’s “raw” data is still available somewhere, compare the “raw” data to the modified data that CRU used, and figure out if CRU has been producing “results” that are not based on real data. Also make all of CRU’s data and their computer climate program available for analysis by scientists not involved with the CRU scientists,[edit]

    [Response: Done. - gavin]

    Comment by Louise in California — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:17 AM

  78. Mark Gibb,

    In your first comment (11) you expressed your dismay at this editorial calling for a change in our lifestyles. You interpret this as having to reduce your standard of living. Of course there are many other possible interpretations, e.g. better insulation adds to your convenience and is good for the climate, and some critical introspection whether a weekend in another continent really adds much to your happiness could also be in order.

    Apart from that however, I think there is a trade-off between the costs of mitigation and the degree of changes needed in our lifestyles. E.g. if we manage to produce all our energy carbon-free, you could continue looking at your 54 inch TV screen no problem. Sustainable energy however is (currently) more expensive than fossil based energy (partly because some costs are externalized). So if you want to continue using as much energy as you do now, it will cost you. Or you can chose to use less energy. Even then you have many choices. I don’t think any of those evil scientists are in a ploy to force you to throw away your evil television.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:23 AM

  79. Re: Neil Taylor, #56
    I don’t understand why Neil Taylor quotes Dr. Wigley’s 1997 email as some kind of critique of this 2009 editorial. Here is that old email:

    [Is the East Anglia Emails dot com site automatically flagged as spam?]
    The rest of the URL of the 1997 email there is:
    emails.php?eid=40&filename=880476729.txt

    Apparently, a group of eleven European scientists tried to promote a declaration prior to the Kyoto talks, one which Wigley found overstated. I searched for any trace of that statement having been published, but it does not appear online today, at least not any page mentioning the first three authors, prior to the posting of the stolen emails:
    e.g., search Google for “Jan Goudriaan Hartmut Grassl Klaus Hasselmann statement -Wigley” (without the quotes)

    Comment by Jim Prall — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:24 AM

  80. more Re: Neil Taylor, #56

    Neil: rather than trying to turn Dr. Wigley’s 1997 critique of an unknown and apparently never-issued “alarmist” statement into a rejection of all climate activism, why not give him credit for being discerning on the question of “alarmism” versus legitimate calls for action?

    [message segmented while I struggle against the spam filter]

    Comment by Jim Prall — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  81. I note that Dr. Wigley has endorsed at least one strong message directly to politicians on the need for a response to the real problems demostrated by what scientists do indeed know. It was the 2003 letter to Congress entitled “The State of Climate Science”:

    http://www.gcrio.org/OnLnDoc/pdf/THE_STATE_OF_CLIMATE_SCIENCE.pdf

    That’s on top of the IPCC reports themselves, which make a point of not giving policy pre=scrip=tions, but which clearly show that a response is required, and show why, in very stark terms.

    Comment by Jim Prall — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  82. Sorry that this question is off topic. Can anyone suggest where I can read about the analysis process for temperature data homogenization? I have access to peer-reviewed journals. I’m primarily interested in getting a climate scientist’s opinion on what was written here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/ so if you have direct comments on this material it would also be useful. Thanks.

    [Response: See here. - gavin]

    Comment by wjl — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:34 AM

  83. [Sorry for the multiple posts - I had the phrase 'policy presc rip tions' in the last paragraph which set off the spam filters - argh.]

    The URLs I didn’t need to leave out were:

    Wigley’s 1997 email critiquing one activist letter he found overstated:
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=40&filename=880476729.txt

    Google search for any sign of that letter online, which finds none before this leaked email:
    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=Jan+Goudriaan+Hartmut+Grassl+Klaus+Hasselmann+statement+-wigley&btnG=Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=

    I’ll stop comment-stacking now.

    Comment by Jim Prall — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  84. The problem is that the scientists get conflated with the lunatic fringe on this issue. People say the only way to solve the issue is to reduce population and make life brutish unpleasant and short, fine then lets eat drink, do drugs and be merry. Instead of all the apocalyptic historic Start with the best estimates show that mitigation will cost 2% of world gdp by 2050. Now assuming a 2% annual growth rate world wide, this implies a gdp 2.23 times as large as now versus 2.25 without it. This is a premium on an insurance policy to prevent the bad things, would you buy the insurance. Insurance admits the possibilty that an event will not happen, and in many cases the event insured against is not a desirable one (house burns down…). The decision is then one that people are at least somewhat used to making. Insurance also admits a possiblity that an event may not happen (or that it wont happen on till later than expected, life insurance for example) Then you can put the issue there is a x percent chance that the predictions will come true Imho (80 to 95) which is effectivly included in the insurance. This is designed to counter the question of what is the downside if we do something but nothing is needed. We do know the answer to the other apparent poor policy choice what if we do nothing and the predictions come true.

    Comment by Lyle — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:50 AM

  85. Jim Prall, #79–well, I’ve never seen a denialist argument yet that appeared to have a “sell by” date.

    In their universe, the test for data quality is not how it’s produced, how it’s validated, or how recent it is. The only test is, does it make a good talking point to create yet more delay?

    (See, for example, the opus of Herr Beck.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:55 AM

  86. A bit off-topic here (but not too much).

    I really took one for the team yesterday. I listened to several hours of right-wing talk-radio.

    On the way into work, I tuned into 760 KFMB and listened to our local wingnut radio host Rick (spelled with a silent ‘P’) Roberts. He was all over the supposed “climategate” scandal. Accusing climate scientists of “cooking the books”, etc, etc.

    When I got to work, continued my KFMB listen-a-thon. At 9:00, it was Glenn Beck’s turn at bat. I got another big helping of data-cooking climate-scientists, fat Al Gore getting rich from global warming, the UN, higher taxes, etc. After Beck, it was Sean Hannity’s turn. More “climategate”, Al Gore, the UN, higher taxes, etc. At that point, I couldn’t take it any more and turned it off.

    On the way home, it was the Michael Savage show. More corrupt climate scientists, Al Gore getting rich, the UN, higher taxes, etc.

    Basically, yesterday on talk radio, it was non-stop looniness from before sunrise to long after sunset. And there are millions of people who listen to this stuff all day, day in and day out.

    Comment by caerbannog — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:11 AM

  87. “The politics of the AGW side is collectivist and tyrannical in its outlook. It can only imagine massively centralized government solutions to any problem. It has no awareness that human society is a dynamic, churning cauldron of individuals that have the capacity to solve problems through voluntary exchange with one another.”

    Which side is collectivist? Is it the side that wants to use the atmosphere a commune for dumping greenhouse gases, or is it the side that want the greenhouse gas holding capacity of the atmosphere to become private property that voluntarily exchanged like any other private property.

    But I guess if you are a collectivist, then it does not seem voluntary when capitalist political force takes your commune that turns it into private property? Get over it, collectivism has caused an emergency.

    And you are right that private property and capitalism involves a massive centralized government effort: deeds, property laws, courts, law enforcement. Only a collectivist would complain about this.

    Comment by Tom Adams — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:11 AM

  88. Ray Ladbury @ 74 asks some good questions:

    What initiatives do you see coming from the private sector that will make a significant dent in climate change?

    I wish I had more time to do more thinking and researching on this, but I can think of three areas where I see improvements that will make a dent (my “make a dent” claim is informed speculation):

    1) I mentioned above that all of my electricity is generated from wind power. Every electric bill I get says something to the effect of “you have prevented x tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.” I see evidence of wind power generation growing. Also, there are other alternatives like solar and various hydrodynamic schemes. We have to be patient and let these develop.

    2) Various good things are happening with respect to car gas mileage. It may be true that some of the improvement has come from government mandates, but I believe the improvements would have come about regardless. And in this, we should not fear rising petroleum prices. Rising prices are the best indicator of scarcity, and will cause wonderful things to happen as people are motivated to think of ways to solve the problem.

    3) Aluminum building materials – I see houses being built with aluminum framing instead of 2x4s. I even watched a 5-story hotel being built in my area, and the whole thing (at least all of the framing) seemed to be made of aluminum. All of this aluminum could be recycled and used again. Also, this seems to fit in with information I have read that showed that North America is being RE-forested; the acres of forest is now growing.

    The next two questions seemed the same to me:

    How do we get the idjits who refuse to look at the evidence to buy into these solutions? How do we convince people who don’t understand how science works to support policy based on science?

    I think there’s nothing we can “do” about the idjits. Any attempt to force them to behave in the way you want them to behave will backfire, in my opinion. In the back of their minds, even idjits want a clean and healthy place to live. The market will respond and satisfy that want, if we are patient and let it happen.

    Comment by Mark Gibb — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  89. Aluminum building materials – I see houses being built with aluminum framing instead of 2×4s. I even watched a 5-story hotel being built in my area, and the whole thing (at least all of the framing) seemed to be made of aluminum.

    I’m sure it’s steel, not aluminum. Regarding steel framing of commercial buildings like the five-story hotel you mention, this is mandated in many jurisdictions in the fire code. Government-driven, in other words.

    All of this aluminum could be recycled and used again. Also, this seems to fit in with information I have read that showed that North America is being RE-forested; the acres of forest is now growing.

    The timber industry actively fought mandatory replanting legislation in the 1970s. Now they tout the fact that they replant (in fairness, Weyerhauser replanted its lands before the law required it, but many did not and they lobbied hard to leave those forests bare after clear-cutting).

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:45 AM

  90. I mentioned above that all of my electricity is generated from wind power.

    Generous government subsidies have helped kick-start this industry …

    Various good things are happening with respect to car gas mileage. It may be true that some of the improvement has come from government mandates, but I believe the improvements would have come about regardless.

    Average fleet mileage in the US dropped in this decade (stretching back into the 1990s I think). Thus the administration’s recent action to force an increase in efficiency.

    On the other hand … Toyota gets kudos for recognizing that there’d be a large market for high-efficiency hybrids and devoting a decade of engineering investment into the design and production of the first Prius, ensuring not only high city gas mileage but also a durable and reliable car.

    Of course the market for that car has been boosted via government subsidy in the form of tax credits …

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:51 AM

  91. Re: copied editorial posted by jhm:

    Great. Let’s go with, “People are stupid. Better not to say anything.”

    Sheesh…

    Comment by ccpo — 9 Dec 2009 @ 11:08 AM

  92. CM (53), unfortunately you are aiding some aginer’s cause here. The ones who whine that AGW is not about climate change as much as whacking the despised people who have more riches than you.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Dec 2009 @ 11:21 AM

  93. Neil Taylor (56), Though I am a skeptic and member (kinda) of the loyal opposition, I wish to come to Gavin and company’s defense (though they are surely better at this than I). You ask and expect too much. The editorial, while founded on the science, was only remotely connected to or about the science. It was about what the politicos of the world ought to be doing. RC doesn’t play in that arena any more than necessary; but I assume they felt (correctly) that it would none-the-less be of timely interest to the posters here.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Dec 2009 @ 11:41 AM

  94. #87 Mark,

    The federal government passed fuel efficiency standards in 1975. The average fuel efficiency of vehicles sold in the US more than doubled in ten years.

    With no further mandates after 1985, average fuel efficiency actually got worse over the next 20 years.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 9 Dec 2009 @ 11:56 AM

  95. Mark Gibb,

    To add to Asun Friere’s response, pick your poison–have a collective move toward a solution now, or have whatever government governs you now force you to submit to adaptations that could have been avoided. I think it is misguided to imagine that fully-engaged AGW will not involve massive government mobilization/intervention and will not affect “liberty.” No place will escape the effects, so your (maybe not “your” personally, depending on your age) municipal-county-state/provincial-federal government will TRY to react to changes. It might be a string of minor actions, such as rebuilding or resourcing the local water supply; it might be intermediate, such as a futile attempt to build seawalls; or it might be major, such as engaging in armed conflict. In order to argue in favor of only market solutions and against government intervention, at least three prerequisites are that (i) one accepts the AGW consensus (otherwise, why do anything?); (ii) no market-based activity is happening now (which is incorrect); and (iii) there is time for market solutions to work to avert the full impact (there isn’t). As the Pentagon is, and has been, modeling security/war implications of AGW, do you really believe that the world will escape massive government involvement in the climate change context? (The Bush Pentagon’s interest/activity RE: AGW seems curiously contrary to the no-warming crowd, many of which seem pretty friendly to the DOD.)

    You appear to dislike ‘central government,’ but government is a bit player compared to the global climate. Would you rather have large government preventive intervention now, or as much or greater government palliative intervention later, along with an overall hostile climate that cannot be affected by and that does not respond to money, votes, 30-second sound bites, or military force? Diplomacy (always involving government) is preferable to war (also always involving government), yet the do-nothing-now faction is doing the climate equivalent of war mongering, pressed on and financed by the carbon industry. I’m curious whether your market ideas involve massive additional subsidy to the government-less borderless carbon industry (or to Wall/High Street, for that matter, which the sort of cap-and-trade that would be imposed probably would end up doing). Those players have such a grip on addicted society that little non-governmental (or governmental, for that matter) progress away from fossil fuels is possible without placating those players somehow. (Would Inhoffe be as hysterical if he didn’t represent a carbon-producing state/the fossil fuel industry? Someone else representing the same constituency would water-carry in his stead, no doubt.) Maybe we could trade the massive military protection and pollution remediation subsidies for compliance on non-CO2 solutions, but that also would involve large government intervention and a timeline mismatch. (Hint: there’s no such thing as a truly free market, at least among modern humans.) Your wind energy source required government intervention to make it available and deliverable, decades after it was a good idea to do so. Because of the delivery grid system, wind-power delivery often requires central government decisionmaking, as does provision for nuclear fission power plants. Market-only solutions probably would have been a good idea 20 years ago when James Burke told the story that is unfolding now, but the scientific and observational data tell us that a market-only process at this stage is the equivalent of telling a late-stage 4 lung cancer patient to quit smoking, and do little else. It might work, but the odds are unfavorable.

    Neil Taylor #56: A very good reason to post the editorial is to show an example of how the general media are communicating/commenting on/handling the AGW issue (not very well, much of the time).

    caerbannog # 85: You have a seriously strong stomach. The radio/tv propagandists appear not to realize that they in effect are defending, through maintaining the status quo, the support of oil-producing regimes that they otherwise deride as “terrorists” or “communists.” Strange bedfellows indeed!

    Comment by ghost — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  96. Currenly CO2 concentration is 387 parts per million. 200 years ago, at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, it was 280 ppm. It hasn’t been at 387 ppm in 15 million years.

    Yes, it’s too bad only 56 newspapers joined in on this editorial. But what an important statement it is.

    Comment by Bird Thompson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  97. Mark Gibb wrote in comment #11: “The politics of the AGW side is collectivist and tyrannical in its outlook. It can only imagine massively centralized government solutions to any problem.”

    So, is your “politics” incapable of imagining any other solutions to the problem, rather than denying the problem exists because you don’t like the solutions that others propose?

    “Conservatives” and “libertarians” have only themselves to blame if they don’t like the solutions that are being proposed and that may be implemented. When you devote your energies to denying reality, you shut yourself out of the dialog about how to deal with reality. Nobody else has shut you out of that dialog — you have refused to participate in it, and have chosen instead to deny reality, of your own free will.

    And by the way, the specific proposals being put forward in the USA, by the administration and in the Congress, are in fact the antithesis of “massively centralized government solutions”. They are overwhelmingly focused on setting up mechanisms to force markets to internalize the actual cost of carbon emissions (e.g. cap-and-trade), and creating incentives for investment in alternatives (e.g. tax breaks for wind and solar, feed-in tariffs, etc.), and then allowing markets and private sector innovation to do their thing. Your notion of “massively centralized government solutions” has no relationship to what is actually being proposed, and is a product of the fossil fuel industry’s dishonest propaganda, by which you have been led to believe that “ExxonMobil’s profits” equals “liberty”. In short, my friend, you’ve been had.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  98. The editorial states: “The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C …”

    Is it not the case that the temperature rise that has already occurred is already causing having dangerous effects on the Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere?

    Is it not the case that what the world really needs to do is to limit temperature rise to what has already occurred, and indeed, to “take steps” to reduce atmospheric CO2 to pre-industrial levels to reverse that increase?

    The ice is already melting, folks. The deserts are already spreading. The forests are already dying. The crops are already failing. We are not going to stop, let alone reverse, these ongoing catastrophes by “limiting” temperature rise to more than twice what we have already caused.

    [Response: A case can be made for your suggestion, but it is impossible to go backwards at the point; the 2 degree number is a combination of science and what is realistic (though still really challenging.--eric]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:21 PM

  99. Unfortunately here in the UK the Green enthusiasts have been doing their best to hijack the climate change issue to promote their “simple life” agenda. Left wing journalists like George Monbiot make a direct link from climate change to the need for collectivist policies. To meet their requirements we would need the kind of rationing and controls that the UK operated in the second world war. There is a real problem with people agressively promoting authoritarian and collectivist solutions. IMHO these are at least as much of an obstacle to an intelligent response as the “denialists”.

    Prof David MacKay makes the point very clearly in “Sustainable Energy – without the Hot Air”. We can fix this without all living on communes on a diet of turnips and potatoes. However, if you don’t want windmills spoiling the view, you don’t want tidal power upsetting the mudflats, you don’t want to import solar electricity because that “exploits” the Africans and you don’t like nuclear, well you’re pretty well stuffed. That is the position of the UK greens in a nutshell.

    I’m an engineer not a climate scientist and my main interest in the subject is how we can fix it. It is fundamentally an engineering problem, how do we rebuild our energy infrastructure based on a sustainable level of carbon emissions. It is quite achievable without any fundamentally new technology. We do need to get on with it though and with rather more of a sense of urgency than shown up until now.

    Comment by Forlornehope — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:36 PM

  100. The era of airfare is coming to an end?

    You know what?

    Sign me up for the geoengineering team.

    Editorials like this are exactly what’s wrong with the global warming movement – they roll over and die on our way of life without even considering that there are better solutions.

    Comment by Bill K — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:38 PM

  101. Since non of my posts actually make it by a moderator, for reasons that remain a mystery (my views are very mild compared to many I read here) will I now be forced to post what you all want to hear?
    I was under the impression that this was a fairly open forum; .not one of my posts contained slander toward any specific individual.

    [Response: Dave. I am unaware of having deleted any of your posts (other than the last half of this one, which was stupid and offensive). You are welcome to resend your comments.--eric]

    Comment by Dave K — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:39 PM

  102. The two statements that stand out for me in the editorial are in the second paragraph; “The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation” and “Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.”

    The problem is that these dangers are apparent to too few in the public. Until the public better understands the problem, the world’s response will continue to be essentially rhetorical.

    Here’s a proposal for how to change that dynamic. Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” drew a great deal of criticism largely because Gore is a Democrat and because Gore is not a climate scientist.

    The proposal is for the IPCC to EVERY YEAR produce a documentary for global movie theatre distribution on climate change that reminds the public about the dangers we face and that apprises them of the steady stream of important developments, like Hansen’s 2008 paper concluding that the number to be under is no longer 450ppm, it is 350ppm.

    Gore made his movie with a budget of just $1 million, and it took in $49 million in gross receipts at the box office. If the IPCC has to spend $10 million each year to produce and distribute each documentary, and settle for only $10 or $20 million dollars in gross revenue, each documentary would still be a POWERFUL success.

    There is no good reason for the IPCC to refrain from producing and mass-distributing these yearly climate change update documentaries, and there are many very good reasons for their doing so.

    If for lack of imagination or any other reason the IPCC refrains from this strategy, and if climate scientists refrain from INSISTING that these documentaries be created, then we can place the blame for our global inertia squarely on a scientific community that continues to fail in it’s responsibility to effectively disseminate its findings.

    I hope that climate scientists and the IPCC realize that it is this kind of game-changing strategy that is called for if we are to have any chance of properly addressing climate change.

    Comment by George Ortega — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  103. I was meeting with my attorney last week, and we chatted a little about global warming. When I mentioned that polls showed a decreasing public belief in global warming, she said something to the effect that she thought a lot of that apparent shift was due to the same psychological processes that happen in most people when they get bad news like an unexpected diagnosis of terminal cancer; denial, irrational seeking of alternate explanations, emotional state(s) that interfere with or even sometimes prevent thinking about the issue. She thinks that many people find global warming too terrifying to rationally consider, so they deal with it by denial – they have moved from believing “it might be happening but probably won’t be too bad or affect me” to “it must be wrong because it can’t be that bad”. She has an undergrad degree in psychology (and political science – double major), and said that this irrational reaction makes the public more susceptible to being manipulated by “sociopaths” (her word)[1] like Limbaugh & Beck, and politicians from both sides, like Gore or Palin.

    [1]http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html (I just looked this up; the next time my atty and I talk, I’ll have to ask her about Venn diagrams, politicians, and sociopaths.)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:51 PM

  104. [Response: Translation: Unless there is a model that can predict exactly my injuries that will be sustained if I jump this red light, it’s insane to consider slowing down as I approach the junction. – gavin]

    Predict exactly? No, but it would be more encouraging if a model was somewhere close, before the fact, not after “adjusting for unexpected natural forces”.

    And just slow down? No, the politicians want to cut off both your legs. Copenhagen, Kyoto, Cap and trade will have a massive negative effect on our lives, not the least of which is government controlling every aspect of our lives. No where near the same harmless effect of slowing down in your car.

    Comment by J — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:11 PM

  105. “we can surely use cap and trade (or carbon taxes for that matter) to send price signals to give more favor to alternate energy and to future innovations to start competing.”

    I call BS – cap and trade is just a mechanism for gov’t to control people, and people like Al Gore to continue to mess up the environment without feeling guilty. http://bit.ly/5GKiEr

    Methane is no less polluting than other carbon fuels, and there are hidden costs with most alt energies.

    The impact of manufacturing equipment, maintenance costs, wildlife and the very real impact of causing climate change. Changing wind patterns is *NOT* inconsequential. You cannot disrupt wind without changing climate. We’re already seeing it.

    Biofuels also produce greenhouse gases, and are hurting developing nations – food shortages created by diverting FOOD or agricultural resources to energy.

    And banning plastic bags, plastic silverware, etc. is not the answer either.

    Peace.

    Comment by Rachel H — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:13 PM

  106. Hugh Laue says:
    9 December 2009 at 4:01 AM Article no: 50

    I would recommend highly the above comment as being probably one of the most positive and honest I have read for sometime. A lot of the preceding comments have alluded to small sections and broad brush overviews but when all is said and done the truth is we all need to read the facts and be guided by our own intuition.

    Thank You Hugh for your time spent writing your comment.

    Comment by Kevin Coleman — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:15 PM

  107. In regard to Comment #1 by PaulS…I share his hope that RC can be a balanced source of information. I look forward to seeing how this develops. BTW…the information on GCR theory appears to be a bit dated…perhaps this is a good place to start.

    Comment by Doc Savage Fan — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:28 PM

  108. Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 December 2009 @ 9:03 AM:

    When you have outfits like the “Club for Growth” running multi-decadal propaganda campaigns assassinating the reputation of our civil services to the end of making no contribution to civil society whatsoever (ie zero taxation ideally), it’s an unfortunate truth that a lot of collateral damage will happen.

    Here in Washington state civil society is dropping to its knees, dying because CFG, Grover Norquist et al have hypnotized voters into imagining they can wring every last iota of waste out of the civil services, even if doing so requires descending into third world condition. Most of these voters will get the equivalent of a few deluxe pizzas in exchange for civilization, many will get nothing at all, bamboozled into giving up their own comforts so that a tiny remaining percentage can pay significantly less tax.

    Hence naive statements about “government can’t get anything right”.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  109. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/06/copenhagen-editorial
    is a blank white page on Mac OS 9.1, ie 5.1.

    CO2 from the past is “sunk cost”. It doesn’t count who did it. Get over arguing who hit who first. This isn’t a schoolyard blame argument. It is over whether Homo Sap will live or go extinct. Civilization couldn’t have reached the point where we know what we know now without going through the history that we have gone through. NOBODY gets a free pass. The “Developing?” countries who are trying to EXTORT money stand to loose the most the soonest by refusing to cooperate.

    It isn’t energy that we have to use less of. It is CO2 that we have to produce less of. We CAN use more energy while producing almost no CO2. It is just that a lot of people have to quit believing conspiracy theories and fighting non-issues.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:38 PM

  110. I keep seeing posts from denialists who oppose the science because they think that mitigation will require draconian reorganization of our society.

    First, how do the social consequences of a problem have any influence on the science?

    Second, if you oppose the policies being proposed, then doesn’t it make sense to come up with proposals for mitigation that will be more to one’s liking and equally effective? And how can one propose effective policies if they are not based on the best science available (e.g. on the consensus of the experts)?

    It seems to me that as we start to see more severe effects of climate change manifest, the public may begin to call for more draconian action. Early action is the key to preserving liberty as we address this issue.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:46 PM

  111. 67 Barton Paul Levenson — “BPL: Crap! Energy is not the same as fossil fuels. There are other sources of energy.”

    Nonsense. I return you to the exact quote in the article:

    “any of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.”

    The idea of using less energy as a solution to global warming is foolish and rash, and it will cause considerable harm to the poor classes and the modern world as a whole. The entire strategy is nothing more then a push for global governance. If combating global warming was the main concern, research and development would be the main concern presented; instead, Copenhagen is focusing on wealth redistribution and the regulation of human conduct.

    The other sources of energy require rare earth resources. The renewable technology name is very misleading. The renewable technologies are not made from renewable materials; instead, they require rare earth materials like platinum, lithium, and other hard to find materials. These materials do not grow on trees, and they limit the scalability of renewable technologies.

    Comment by EL — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  112. #103 (Brian Dodge): What is happening in some parts of the press is not an issue of denial for bad news; it is the result of an well-organised orchestrated campaign to stop any action on climate change.

    The same thing happened with the tobacco industry in the US. It was scientifically known since the 50s that smoking causes cancer, however an effective campaign by the tobacco industry delayed any real action for more than 50 years. The tobacco industry, through their third parties, spread doubt on the science.

    It is ironic that the same “third parties” of the tobacco industry are also serving the fossil fuel industry.

    See http://thinkconstructive.com/2009/12/08/book-doubt-is-their-product/

    Comment by Think — 9 Dec 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  113. I’ve heard that talks have stalled over the wealthy vs poor nation issue.

    This is so dissappointing in particular because there are obvious solutions.

    Consider any one or more of the following:

    1. Agreements to allow any nation, without threat of retribution, to put a tariff on imports from another nation, in proportion to the differences between domestic policies, in proportion to the emissions intensity of the products/services, for the emissions from that nation (admittedly it gets complicated when a product/service has a lifecycle that must be traced back through several nations, especially if it comes back to the nation which is the importer; however, even a somewhat innaccurately-calculated system will still motive countries to keep up with trade partners in their emissions efficiency and/or their policies). Perhaps also subsidies for exports calculated in similar fashion (this could help close the loop in dealing with products/services that have a lifecycle involving back-and-forth trade). (It might not be necessary to let exporting countries off the hook for emissions incurred prior to imports in the lifecycle of those exports, because they would then be motivated to place a tariff on their own inports; etc.)

    2. A global tax on emissions, which needn’t actually be transferred to the U.N. or other such agency in total, as the only international exchanges would be the net differences between what is owed (the tax in proportion to GWP production) and what is earned or deserved (reward for technology transfers/sharing, compensation for climate-change costs; PS It is very important to compensate climate-change refugees and/or the countries that recieve them). Note that if the tax on fossil C emissions in particular is apportioned according to site of extraction (some correction for fossil C stored in materials that are not later incinerated, etc.), countries can pass along costs to consumers of fuels; if the tax is apportioned by site of combustion/oxydation, countries can likewise pass along costs to consumers of products/services; it isn’t necessary to identify who actually benifits from the emitting activity – the market response tends to redristribute the costs to the benificiaries (as it would for domestic emissions taxes that could, for the purposes of efficiency, be applied at points in the flow of fossil C processing/use which have large volumes through fewer channels – taxing mines and wells, or power plants and fuel distributors, as opposed to electricity and fuel end-users). Past emissions (including deforestation) can be taxed retroactively, with the caveat that there should be some discount according to time elapsed due to the need to start changing from where we are as we can’t go back in time (but not discounted too much, in part due to the existence of widespread legal restrictions on immigration, and social/psychological costs incured by leaving home, as part of the optimal market response would be immigration towards wealth), and that to some extent the responsibility for those emissions should be apportioned according to the accumulated wealth that has been produced; the backtax could be payed back over some decades with zero real interest after time of assessment. This would help level the playing field between rich and poor nations.

    An alternative to the tax would be a 100 % international auction of caps.

    3. time-evolving caps to nations apportioned on the basis of G(D/N?)Ps, including the fraction of emissions from anywhere that are the responsibility of that nation’s economy and excluding the fraction that is the responsibility of another nation’s economy. Or, assign according to G(D/N)P without such consideration but then allow trade (cap-and-trade) – this approach might require a 100 % international auction of caps, or otherwise might burden poor countries too much (*?*). Since investment of energy can contribute to later economic activity, it might be necessary to consider projections of future G(D/N)P – this would help make the system more fair to growing economies. To the extent that for a given level of efficiency and technology, wealth will tend to be proportional to emissions, this system could be fair to poor nations.

    4. As with 3. but according to population instead of G(D/N)P, multiplied by a relative climate-change risk factor. Cap-and-trade with no auction. This approach would allow poor nations that have lower emissions per capita, facing climate-change costs, to get compensation for injuries (or costs in avoiding such injuries) to the extent they are not responsible for causing those injuries. Population growth reduction is important in any case, but perhaps especially with this approach, as it could reward the governments of fertile countries with more power, even though it could be fair on a per-person basis (on the upside, it rewards countries for allowing immigration). On the other hand, allocation according to present or near-future population as opposed to more distant projections could avoid such a problem, though might be unfair regarding long-term investments.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  114. “This approach would allow poor nations that have lower emissions per capita, facing climate-change costs, to get compensation for injuries (or costs in avoiding such injuries) to the extent they are not responsible for causing those injuries.”

    Actually, some losses are proportional to wealth or projected wealth, so the ideal, if tradable caps are simply allocated without auction, would be to apportion caps according to a weighted sum of population and traditionally-measured wealth-production, with perhaps more emphasis on future projections absent climate change for the wealth component.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:17 PM

  115. > this irrational reaction makes the public more
    > susceptible to being manipulated

    Yup.

    I wish someone could take out a few hundred thousand thirty-second ads on AM talk radio, in which someone with a recognizable, trusted radio voice (maybe Bob Edwards) would say:

    “Ladies and gentlement, this is [Bob Edwards].

    Part of what you hear is true: people — on the radio — are lying to you about climate change.

    Part of what you hear — on the radio — is false. The scientists are not lying. The news is real, and urgent.

    You can read; you can look this up for yourself.

    Please: Go to your public library. Ask a librarian how to look up the science about global warming. Read it for yourself. Or ask your children to read it for you.

    Read it for yourself, and for your children and grandchildren.

    Thank you for listening — and for thinking for yourself.”
    ————

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  116. The Guardian editorial says that the facts are clear. This is likely to irritate precisely the readers the article is trying to convince – i.e. those unsure whether global warming is happening and/or if it is whether it is worth doing something about it.

    Predictions of catastrophic global warming are not facts – they are predictions based on a theory. This point is made by Real Climate in the recent article “The Climate Science isn’t settled”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/#more-2187

    Here’s a more persuasive article by Bryan Appleyard on why we should take global warming seriously and do something about it:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6931598.ece

    It’s persuasive because it addresses the instinctive reaction many people have that global warming is just the latest in a long line of doomsday predictions. Wait long enough and it will go away – heh maybe it is going away since temperatures haven’t risen in the past ten years…etc….

    Appleyard makes a compelling argument why we should ignore our instinctive scepticism and listen to the experts in this subject. In contrast the Guardian editorial makes no attempt to explain why we should be concerned and leaves the impression that Global Warming is a convenient excuse to push their political agenda.

    Comment by Jonathan — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  117. Re 100 Bill K – “Editorials like this are exactly what’s wrong with the global warming movement”

    I can see how you might think that the point was to end air travel (which would actually be a bit silly – my understanding is that it is per person per mile as efficient as car travel – but then trains would still beat that.). But the point is to add incentive to innovation, do things more efficiently, and switch to cleaner energy sources.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Dec 2009 @ 2:23 PM

  118. I am a highly qualified person to speak to this – my surname is spelled the very same as a Nobel prize winning physicist and world renown research scientist and mathematician. And I share more than 99% of his DNA. (see Poe’s law http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Poe%27s+Law)

    All I can do is refer to IPCC reports co-authored by scientists and politicians and read that the SRES A1FI climate model states that 6 degrees of warming is possible by the year 2100 (http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/slides/large/05.24.jpg). And then I link that to paleoclimatological studies showing 6 degrees warming during the Permian extinction, and MIT studies that say our models under-estimate warming.

    Well, all of a sudden, like connecting dots on a child’s coloring book (don’t forget Poe’s Law)- it is easy to conclude that Anthropogenic Global Warming is proceeding faster than scientifically predicted. So we can now say that without willful, forceful intervention, the risk is complete human extinction.

    This is an alarming statement, but it is neither impossible, nor implausible. Argumentation against it has to slog through an uphill battle of no science studies that disputes that it is possible to reach a totally uninhabitable world. I will accept the possibility may be slight, but it is non-zero – and greater with further anthropogenic forcing.

    Even if it is unlikely, why is no one willing to admit this possibility?

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  119. Asun Friere @ 61:
    Yes, I could be wrong. But, I simply do not believe that the most catastrophic scenarios are very likely to occur. To me, the real risk is the power that you want to give the world’s governments. That power will be permanent, and they will use it regardless of what happens with climate. We are already drowning in government debt, and this tax and spend mentality will only dig the hole deeper and faster.

    Tom Adams @ 87:
    In the United States, none of [deeds, property laws, courts, law enforcement] is massive nor centralized. All of them are handled by local and state governments, and are thus open to experimentation and competition.

    dhogaza @ 89:
    Wall framing that I noticed was for interior, non-load-bearing walls, and it was definitely aluminum.

    dhogaza @ 90:
    Tax breaks and credits, while having some bad effects related to market distortion and social engineering, are not subsidies. Being able to keep your own money can never be considered a subsidy. To consider it such, you have to pre-supposed that the government has first rights and ownership of you and your labor.

    Jiminmpls @ 94:
    You are exhibiting the “after this, because of this” logical fallacy. One of the biggest drivers for increased fuel economy in American cars was the withering competition they faced from the Japanese. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandates are an example of a typical government tactic: take credit for a trend that is already happening by passing a law mandating that trend.

    Comment by Mark Gibb — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:13 PM

  120. #100 Bill K

    Geoengineering is not a “solution.”

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  121. http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/study-cites-substantial-efficiency-savings/?hp

    — excerpt —-

    December 9, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Study Cites Substantial Efficiency Savings
    By KATE GALBRAITH

    A new study from the National Research Council has found that energy efficiency measures in the United States could cut energy use by 30 percent below 2030 projections.

    The report, which received funding from the Department of Energy as well as several private companies and foundations, argued that energy efficiency represents an enormous money-saving opportunity for the country. Measures to achieve it include fuel-economy standards, stricter building codes and efficiency requirements for home appliances….

    —– end excerpt —–
    Source: http://www.nationalacademies.org/newsroom/

    Wednesday, December 09, 2009
    Existing Energy Efficiency Technologies Could Provide Major Savings

    Energy efficiency technologies that exist today or that are likely to be developed in the near future ….. Fully adopting these technologies could lower projected U.S. energy use 17 percent to 20 percent by 2020, and 25 percent to 31 percent by 2030.

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12621 (Press release)

    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12621 (Full report)

    Who? http://sites.nationalacademies.org/NRC/index.htm

    The National Research Council (NRC) functions under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The NAS, NAE, IOM, and NRC are part of a private, nonprofit institution that provides science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:21 PM

  122. how about a list of the papers that refused to participate, and people can use their advertising budgets accordingly?

    D.Baker

    Comment by Dennis Baker — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:42 PM

  123. Steve McIntyre lied on CNN about CRU withholding the tree ring decline from the IPPC. Third assessment mentions it Page 131 Chapter 2. You can read it online. Lied on the WMO statement as well

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oxFx41nE1c&feature=player_embedded#

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/pdf/TAR-02.pdf

    [Response: Steve McIntyre being dishonest? Say it ain't so!]

    Comment by ATHiker — 9 Dec 2009 @ 3:51 PM

  124. The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it.

    We’re all doomed.

    Comment by Blackeneth — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:00 PM

  125. Rod B (#92), I don’t think we can or should avoid all thought of distributive justice in formulating *policy* on climate change. Whether or not it will make whiners whine.

    But as it happens, nothing I said above was about socking it to the rich. It was not against wealth but against waste, i. e. the inefficient use of non-renewable energy sources to the detriment of future generations. Hope that’s clear.

    Comment by CM — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  126. El,

    “The renewable technologies are not made from renewable materials; instead, they require rare earth materials like platinum, lithium, and other hard to find materials.”

    Actually, some technololgies require rare earth materials ie: fuel cells, batteries, high efficiency solar panels.

    Other technologies, ie: wind, geothermal, concentrated solar, don’t.

    Comment by PHG — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:26 PM

  127. I think we should ask those who favor the measures to say where their home is on conservation measures, do they have low flow toilets, good insulation and windows, efficient HVAC systems (98% furnace and 16 seer ac). If people make this public it will show that they are already willing to put their money where their mouth is, and also help the situation by minimizing waste. If you rent how much would you pay the landlord to do these things?
    These are small measures but show better than talk that you are committed. I start with Gore and his huge house (or likley houses) Here the head of Rocky Mountain Institute has done this, and thereby gains credibility.

    Comment by Lyle — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:26 PM

  128. Hank Roberts wrote: “I wish someone could take out a few hundred thousand thirty-second ads on AM talk radio, in which someone with a recognizable, trusted radio voice (maybe Bob Edwards) would say: …”

    Right. The other night I listened to two “trusted radio voices” on Mr. Edwards’ network NPR (Tom Ashbrook’s program “On Point” and Warren Olney’s program “To The Point”) host hour-long programs about Copenhagen, public opinion and the “scandal” of the stolen emails.

    Both of them represented to their audiences as fact the false claims that the stolen emails reveal scientific fraud on the part of climate researchers; both of them suggested that the emails have called climate science itself into question; both of them presented their so-called “skeptical” guests (e.g. a Wall Street Journal writer; Bjorn Lomborg; Christy) in the most sympathetic light possible; and both of them harrassed their climate scientist guests and did their best to put them on the defensive. Warren Olney included an extended segment in which the Wall Street Journal hack opined about “tribalism” and “groupthink” among climate scientists being the reasons that they have all got the science “wrong” and are suppressing the courageous underdog “skeptics”.

    Both of these NPR programs, in substance and tone, were hostile to the scientists and supportive of the phony “skeptics”.

    Tom Ashbrook went so far as to feature “commentary” by Rush Limbaugh and Brit Humes of Fox News, attacking climate scientists — on NPR.

    Got that? Rush Limbaugh. On NPR. That’s how the “liberal” NPR network is presenting the issue to its listeners.

    Meanwhile both of the NPR hosts made a point of bullying their scientist guests with comments about “public opinion” becoming more “skeptical” and how that meant they were “losing the argument”. Gee, I wonder how that could happen. Maybe, just maybe, slanted radio programs like theirs have some influence on public opinion?

    You know who has the money to buy the equivalent of “a few hundred thousand thirty-second ads” on the radio? Hint: it isn’t the IPCC.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:49 PM

  129. Something I’ve noticed is that the denial case is almost always put in intemperate language: personal attack on the motivation of scientists, labelling them as alarmists, accusing them of being in it for the money (check the salary on offer academic job ads), while their side is “rational”. Using emotive language is rational. Right. So I decided to try that trick with an article coyly titled “When old men kill their children“. I wrote this a year ago but didn’t push its visibility at the time because I wasn’t sure about using this kind of language. But after a year of contemplating the way these people prefer to converse, I thought maybe I’d get through to them using their own style of discourse. Did I ever get through to them. Comments posted accuse me of being “emotional”, a claim that a commenter dares not use a real name for fear that I’m a homicidal maniac and an allegation that my article is a deliberate troll, and I should be blacklisted from the site. I wonder how these same people feel reading right-wing anti-science commentary (google “climategate” as I don’t have to tell regulars on this site), full as it is of emotive language and personal attack.

    Read it and see for yourself.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 9 Dec 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  130. Mark Gibb wrote: “I simply do not believe that the most catastrophic scenarios are very likely to occur. To me, the real risk is the power that you want to give the world’s governments.”

    You refuse to accept the reality of the grave danger of anthropogenic global warming because your political philosophy has nothing to offer as a solution.

    You don’t like the solutions to the problem that you mistakenly believe others are proposing, and since you have no other solutions to offer, you deny the problem exists.

    It is really as simple as that.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:15 PM

  131. Oh, this nails it:
    http://blogs.chron.com/nickanderson/archives/120809.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:55 PM

  132. I support the editorial.

    Hank Roberts – 30 sec spots are a really good idea and AM radio times is relatively cheap. As advertising is controlled by local stations, this maybe a way “in”.

    Mr. Gibbs – the clean energy start-ups, and even some mega-giant corporations hoping to get into alternatives, are clamoring for both government tax breaks and clear legislation limiting future carbon emissions.

    Finally – the recent Nature paper about how carbon dioxide’s global warming potential is 30 to 50% higher than first estimated – is this talking about the long-term potential? If so, I’m confused as I thought that long term effects were more than double (100%) short term (Charney), and I thought Dr. Hansen suspects paleoclimate data indicates maybe 4 times as much. Therefore 30 to 50% would be really good news. I’d love to see a RC post on this.

    [Response: I discussed the concept of Earth System Sensitivity in an earlier post - but once things relax a bit, I'll add some more stuff including this latest paper. - gavin]

    Comment by Andy — 9 Dec 2009 @ 5:57 PM

  133. “Steve McIntyre lied…” maybe he was exaggerating, being snarky, sarcastic and parodying us alarmist warmists, like I often do to **denialists** and you just missed his air quotes (which I sometimes represent textually by ****)

    “I am a member of the Sierra Club **(who would suspect)** and recently visited a blog from the organization at http://sierraclub.typepad.com/insider/2009/12/copenhagen-here-we-come-.html. Much to my suprise, the comments were running about 16:1 against taking any action at Copenhagen to avert destructive global warming. There was only one comment, made by me, on any of the ten other issues currently up for discussion. This **reeks of** another astroturf attack like the faked letters sent to Congress as part of the **deceptive campaign** waged by the public relations firm Bonner & Associates, on behalf of **the industry front group** American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). A lot of the rhetoric of the posts is right off the **right wing antiscience blog** wattsupwiththat.com.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:00 PM

  134. Good job on CNN Gavin! Christy didn’t lie much. Right. No ties to oil companies. CEI?

    John Christy
    Professor and Director, Atmospheric Science Department, University of Alabama at Huntsville

    Alabama State Climatologist.Lead Author, 2001 IPCC TAR.

    While he now acknowledges that global warming is real and the human contribution is significant, Christy has been a long-time skeptic who previously argued that satellite climate data do not show a trend toward global warming, and even show cooling in some areas. His findings have been widely disputed. Christy now asserts that global warming will have beneficial effects on the planet and that increased CO2 emissions from human activities are a net positive.

    Christy was a contributing writer to “Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths,” published by Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2002.He spoke at a June 1998 briefing for congressional staff and media, which was sponsored by the Cooler Heads Coalition.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:00 PM

  135. #123:

    Add John Christy to the list of liars on CNN. Just watched his “debate” with Gavin on Wolf Blitzer today. He tried to pull a fast one on “hiding the decline” meaning more than it actually means — good on Gavin to call him out on that.

    Comment by Former Skeptic — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:01 PM

  136. “I keep seeing posts from denialists who oppose the science because they think that mitigation will require draconian reorganization of our society.”

    It seems never to occur to them to ask why scientists researching AWG should want such a draconian reorganization in the first place. Are they all closet Marxist-Leninists? Resurgent Luddites? It’s going to take a pretty robust capitalist economy to enable the sort of changes needed to combat AGW. So a primary goal of the green advocates is to destroy that very some capitalist economy? If the denialists would get their heads out of their Jack D, Ripper Commie Conspiracy Theories for maybe five minutes they might realize how totally muddled their thinking really is.

    Comment by Sufferin' Succotash — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:34 PM

  137. Thanks as always to realclimate for standing firm on actual science. What an odd and illogical bunch of demurrers we have posting. I wish to remark about the various lines of knownothingism.

    1. “Well sure you have science but the editorial calls for action. That makes it political and therefore suspect and I need no longer take it seriously” As if there ought to be some impenetrable barrier between the scientific and public action spheres. Counter examples: public water supplies, vaccinations, control of water pollution, product safety, crash tests and airbags regs. All examples of scientific findings driving publich policy.
    2. “A am a nice person and I attended XXX wonderful university. Regrettable, I am not impressed by your science and therefore nothing should be done. Go away and come back when I’m in the mood.” Sorry, your attitude and your oh-so-clever background count for bupkiss. Question is do you have evidence showing a different cause for documented warming. Do you have an alternate model with any shred of credibility? No? So all you have is a bad mood. Then get out of the way, because others who are both smarter and harder working have results which matter.
    3. “This global warming could be serious. Why wasn’t I informed earlier? In any case, no reasonable person would believe it could be as serious as scientific results indicate. I don’t like those results and they are inconvenient and upsetting – they cannot be correct. Thus the results are clearly alarmist and therefore should not be taken seriously. The annoying fuss of it all!” Sorry, if you wish to pick and choose the science you accept based on how you like the news than you’re no better than the church hierarchy attaching Galileo. You are not taken seriously because you have no evidence.

    Bottom line: Arguments were how the Greeks, Romans, and Scholastics “settled” problems. Great results (NOT) in medicine, astronomy, physics, etc. Arguments without evidence are juvenile. In the modern world matters of fact are settled with evidence not hand waving.

    Comment by RoySV — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:37 PM

  138. Alan, if you have a reference for the FBI/death threats articles, please cite it. I’m putting together a list of ways climate scientists have been intimidated by Denialists. I’m up to 14 items so far.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 6:52 PM

  139. caerbannog,

    I feel for ya, buddy. Sorry you had to be subjected to that.

    Note that Beck and Hannity (along with Limbaugh and O’Reilly) are all creations of Roger Ailes, the former GOP strategist who now runs Fox News. It’s not a coincidence that they all have the same talking points.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:00 PM

  140. MG: I see evidence of wind power generation growing. Also, there are other alternatives like solar and various hydrodynamic schemes. We have to be patient and let these develop.

    BPL: If we are patient, nothing will happen. The fossil fuel industry is trying as hard as it possibly can to kill wind and solar. If the government doesn’t back it, it will fail.

    Not all power is government power. The fossil fuel industry has revenues around $1 trillion per year, comparable to the GDP of Japan. Don’t you think they spend any of that on “national defense?” You think they’re just going to let their competitors drive them out of business?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:03 PM

  141. Eric, yes my comments were stupid and offensive. They were taken right from the alarmist/activist song book. These people will destroy your good work and are an Albatross around the neck of climate science. Anyway..enough of that.
    1. Carbon tax will not work, the corruption of it’s use will be beyond belief.
    2. What many do not realize or refuse to believe is we are in the middle of a global financial melt down. 2008 was only a taste of what is to come (it will not be pleasant). Most of the big player countries at Copenhagen are either bankrupt or soon will be. The under developed or developing nations who are drooling about getting big payouts are in for a surprise.
    3. This will make any resolutions from Copenhagen meaningless political nonsense.
    Do I have any of the answers..no. But I do believe the following:
    1. The era of cheap oil is drawing to a close, despite the IPCC thinking that we will be consuming oil at present rates to the end of the century is linear thought. It will not happen. I believe that we are seeing the peak of oil production.
    2. Tax breaks not taxation would be more effective, this also will not happen as monster size governments and special interests need to be fed. Carbon has become an industry onto itself. The business end of this new Ponzi scheme do not have the best interests of the planet or you in mind.
    The Guardian editorial is a prime example of the low grade journalism that has done more harm than good.

    Comment by Dave K — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:08 PM

  142. Hi Realclimate Team,

    Can you PLEASE do a post in response to the claims on this blog, (or if you have already direct me to it) http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/29/when-results-go-bad/

    that the raw temperature data shows cooling, and if so, can you explain, as simply as possible, the reason for that and the reason and logic behind the adjustments.

    Regards,

    Stefan

    [Response: The raw temperatures do not show cooling. Look at a few of the stations. We discussed homogeneity adjustments etc. a while back. - gavin]

    Comment by Stefan — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:16 PM

  143. J: Kyoto, Cap and trade will have a massive negative effect on our lives, not the least of which is government controlling every aspect of our lives.

    BPL: How will it do that, exactly? As I understood it, it’s a permit system for controlling CO2 output, like the US has used successfully to control acid rain since 1990.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:19 PM

  144. EL: The idea of using less energy as a solution to global warming is foolish and rash

    BPL: It hasn’t been seriously proposed by anyone, either, except to the extent of conserving energy by insulating homes and so on.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:23 PM

  145. Mark Gibb: To me, the real risk is the power that you want to give the world’s governments.

    BPL: To me, the real risk is the complete collapse of human civilization within the next 40 years. Unfortunately, people like you are probably going to win. The evil, tyrannical government will be defeated–and most of us are going to die. Good show. Thanks.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 Dec 2009 @ 7:29 PM

  146. Rachel H. says:

    “I call BS – cap and trade is just a mechanism for gov’t to control people, and people like Al Gore to continue to mess up the environment without feeling guilty. http://bit.ly/5GKiEr

    Um actually, cap and trade has been quite effective at reducing acid rain due to sulfates. And what pray, does Al Gore have to do with the price of carbon in China?

    “Methane is no less polluting than other carbon fuels, and there are hidden costs with most alt energies.”

    Uh, no. Methane produces twice as much water vapor as CO2 per mole burned. As such it is much less polluting that other hydrocarbons. But thank you for playing.

    “The impact of manufacturing equipment, maintenance costs, wildlife and the very real impact of causing climate change. Changing wind patterns is *NOT* inconsequential. You cannot disrupt wind without changing climate. We’re already seeing it.”

    Uh, care to produce some actual evidence that windmills are changing climate?

    “Biofuels also produce greenhouse gases, and are hurting developing nations – food shortages created by diverting FOOD or agricultural resources to energy.”

    Actually, alcohol from sugar cane has made Brazil an energy exporter and helped out the economically backward Northeast. Sure we can do it wrong (e.g. alcohol from corn). We can also do it right. And biofuels do not add carbon to the atmosphere, since that’s where the carbon absorbed by the plant came from to begin with.

    “And banning plastic bags, plastic silverware, etc. is not the answer either.”

    No, but it’s certainly a start not only to reducing petroleum consumption, but also reducing landfill burden.

    So, Rachel, I don’t know if you can call BS, but you certainly can spout it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:29 PM

  147. Although we’re just an iota away from routinely launching tourists into suborbital flights and meanwhile the U.S, China, Japan and others are routinely expending billions per year on spy satellites, geosynchronous entertainment drivel dispensers etc., we collectively don’t seem to be able to find the scratch to launch sufficient dedicated climate observation platforms.

    Hey, “skeptics”, you say trillions dollars of cashflow are hanging in the balance, ready to be redirected on the basis of climate science findings. If you’re really determined to “get it right”, why not call your congresscritter and ask that a few thousandths of that be used to help with decision making? If you can’t be bothered to do that, maybe you should ask yourselves if you really care about this issue or if it’s just a distraction to keep you from being bored. Are you sincerely skeptical, or is your contrarian thinking just a potentially destructive hobby?

    Here’s the latest on our data gathering paralysis:

    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0912/08oco/

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:30 PM

  148. Since people are talking about solutions a bit, let me toss in my 2c.

    One of the best things I ever did wrt learning about climate was also learning about energy, sustainability and economics. Earth is a system. How we inhabit it is the key. How we do that isn’t as simple as efficiency. FACT: population and consumption always overtake efficiency. Proof of Concept: The US in the 1970′s reduced consumption by 3 – 5 million (depending on how you count it) barrels a day of oil. A HUGE change. From around 1979 to now we also improved efficiency by something on the order of 37%. We peaked at just about 21mbd in 2008, up from about 15mbc in 1983.

    Looking globally, if the world lived like we do, we’d use all the recoverable oil on the planet in less than 7 years. Like Europe, double that. Can we expect the 6.5 billion who are not living in America to be content to live at a lower standard of living? No.

    What about other resources? Rare earth ores? 95% are controlled by… China. How does that fit with your expectations of a US filled with electric vehicles and appliances? Fish? Some stocks of large fish are already 95% depleted.

    We’ve got issues, and they aren’t just climate.

    Change we must, but change we can. Everyone is focused on Copenhagen and governmental interference/policy. But what if we just stopped consuming? The US, in particular, has a huge buffer of waste. We have already dropped consumption considerably out of fear and need, but what if we did it by choice? What if we stopped watching football and started playing it more? What if we all grew food instead of grass? What if we embrace telecommuting or set up a program to allow people to swap homes to be nearer to work? How about a build out of micro/household energy systems? $500 would give $5k to each household to either weatherize their home, add renewable energy systems or highly efficient systems (heat pumps?). What if these were DIY build outs (it’s possible to build a small, 1kw wind generator for around $1k), or at least DIY installs? What if communities or neighborhoods pooled their $5k together to build a community wind farm/biodegraders/solar concentrators, etc? Boost the economy directly, build community, and reduce energy consumption by a very large amount. (See my blog.)

    What about localizing? Slow food? Slow money? Transition initiatives? Local economies? Local currencies? Permaculture practices when planning? What about no-till? And on and on.

    And what about yeast? Ask Al Bartlett about yeast. Boom and bust. Population is the elephant in the room, and every very long-term sustainable society managed population in some way. Me? One child. Why does it need to be by governmental decree?

    Do I think we are likely too late? Yes. Do we HAVE to be too late? No.

    But it means an activist populace. Not one burning down businesses and hunting down rich people, but one that gets neighbors looking each other in the eye and choosing to solve problems AND holding our politicians’ feet to the fire and either making them change their their ways or getting rid of them.

    The people are the government… if they want to be.

    Comment by ccpo — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:30 PM

  149. Folks,

    I’m your fan. Congratulations for your wonderful work in the blog. Many scientists are tired of reading “false balanced” stories in the media and would rather just not talk about Climategate and things of the sort. But the “denialist fringe”, as Nature put it, is restless, and they will always try to respond to your data by keeping questioning your evidence, no matter how much global warming is a settled issue. If someone’s goal is to criticize something perpetually, it’s actually quite simple to find rhetoric tools to do it. These people aren’t really trying to understand whether climate is changing or not and whether greenhouse gases drive it or not. It is clear to me that nobody’s going to persuade them, never. What is amazing about you is that you simply refuse to play dirty and manage to provide honest (and convincing) answers for every little silly question the denialists bring to you. Sometimes, I’m sure these guys may drive you crazym, but if didn’t do it, the damage in the public understanding of climate change would be certainly worse. Please keep moving. Best wishes.

    Comment by Rafael — 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:35 PM

  150. I am wondering about the effects of the last 10 years or so of the rapid growth of China (and others) with its huge increase in pollution, are these aerosols taken into account and are they likely to keep the planet cooler?

    Comment by Peter Prewett — 9 Dec 2009 @ 9:24 PM

  151. I’m glad RC ran the editorial: I live in the US and would not have known about this effort otherwise. I have forwarded it to my local newspaper ( the San Jose Mercury News, voice of Silicon Valley) but have no expectation of them running it or mentioning it at all.

    Our media in the US is the worst. Promoting distraction and vapid entertainment over substance. Causing more harm than any good they do.

    cougar

    Comment by cougar_w — 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:05 PM

  152. ATHiker says:
    9 December 2009 at 3:51 PM
    Steve McIntyre lied on CNN about CRU withholding the tree ring decline from the IPPC. Third assessment mentions it Page 131 Chapter 2.

    You (and by default the moderator) have to be kidding that the tree ring divergence problem is addressed in TAR3. The page you cite says this: “There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).” P131 That hardly says the tree data suggests the temperature goes down when the local temperatures actually goes up.

    [edit]

    [Response: Yes, it says exactly that. - gavin]

    Comment by Bernie — 9 Dec 2009 @ 11:26 PM

  153. Regarding DVD’s aspersions regarding AGW zealot’s propaganda campaign:

    Propaganda does not imply untruthful.

    Thus, if a .7ºC rise in temperature is already melting the north polar ice cap, if at least three of Antarctica’s ice shelves are disintegrating, if tundra and permafrost are melting to the point massive quantities of methane are erupting out of Siberian lakes, if Spring is appearing earlier with plants and wildlife now out of sync, if pine bark beetles destroying boreal forests because winter freezes aren’t sufficient to kill them off, if droughts are consistently reducing US western mountain’s snow packs causing water to be rationed, if glaciers worldwide are in retreat fueling alarm that summertime water from these sources will disappear, if measurable sea level rise has already been demonstrated, if Australia appears to be on fire every summer, for three years now we’ve had “exceptional” droughts in Texas, the worst it gets,
    and,
    if most of this was predicted by GCMs,
    and
    if we have already exceeded the 280 ppmv levels of CO2 recorded in Antarctic ice cores by 100 ppmv with
    ocean buffering meaning that the current level of CO2 has entrained more warming as the oceans attempt to reach equilibrium,
    and,
    if the physics of CO2 warming has been calculated beyond reasonable doubt,
    how does even keeping CO2 to 350 ppmv and warming to 2ºC keep the planet safe from dangerous climate change?

    I don’t think the Guardian goes far enough.

    The climate feedbacks such as loss of albedo and degassing of clathrates are already happening. The planet is already suffering the consequences of the trigger of burning millions of years worth of accumulation of fossil fuels. “Positive” climate feedbacks will insure that even if drastic AGHG reductions occur immediately we’re still in for serious amplification of the warming we have.

    This is not to mention how CO2 has contributed to ocean acidification with all its consequences to the marine food chain.

    The pirates can sneer at the models and the evidence and call it all just apocalyptic predictions to ensure bureaucrats rule their lives. But what all of the dissemination of effects and models are doing is insure that the answers to them become foundations for new ways of life to make sure the apocalyptic predictions don’t happen. Do anthropogenic climate change denialists stop at red lights, or is that too much bureaucratic control to be tolerated?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 9 Dec 2009 @ 11:56 PM

  154. David Alan — 8 December 2009 @ 11:44 PM:

    You say– “Have I come to the right place to have my questions answered?”

    You have to ask a question first.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 9 Dec 2009 @ 11:57 PM

  155. “But the politicians in Copenhagen can and must agree the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty.”

    I think this is a bit more on topic:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2009/12/2009121042723606163.html

    Coal-to-gasoline and tar sand deals and liquefied natural gas projects would not be able to proceed under any level of binding fossil fuel consumption targets.

    Net CO2 emissions is a ridiculous way of looking at the issue – it is far easier to measure fossil fuel consumption as well as the loss of standing biomass (deforestation).

    What the U.S. and British negotiators (and the Canadians, Saudis and other petro-state reps) are trying to do is to create the image of “doing something” while writing proposals that actually support the status quo and weaken existing agreements.

    This deceptive tactic is a step up from the denialist tactics, which can be summed up as “global warming isn’t happening” followed by “global warming is good for you.” Now, the line is that “we are taking steps to solve the problem, so you can go back to sleep, little frogs.”

    What isn’t mentioned in this article? The effective methods, namely feed-in tariffs, renewable portfolio standards, and governmental support for renewable energy research and development. Why the blind spot in this editorial?

    Well, every time I look at the Guardian I see this big Shell advertisement (NYT as well) – and what is Shell invested heavily in?

    Published Sep 21 2004 by Edmonton Sun
    Canada: Shell unveils $4B in tar sands plans

    Shell Canada outlined $4 billion worth of expansions and de-bottlenecking at its Athabasca Oil Sands Project yesterday. The work will eventually bring the project to 500,000 barrels per day in production.

    Conflicts-of-interest in media reporting and editorializing are endemic.

    So, what are some basic pointers for real progress?

    1) The developed and developing countries need to start phrasing strategies in terms of fossil fuel consumption, the main driver behind global warming.

    2) Eliminating fossil fuels from the energy mix is the top priority – and the best method is to use feed-in tariffs coupled to renewable energy portfolio standards for energy producers.

    3) The difference between developed and developing nations is that the challenge for the former is replacement of existing (and aging) coal and oil-based systems, while the developing nations often need to build energy infrastructure from scratch – and clearly, that infrastructure should be based on renewable technology.

    However, the developed countries continue to divert taxpayer funds to subsidies for fossil fuel projects – a decade ago it was the World Bank giving $4 billion to the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, and today it is the U.S. Export-Import bank giving $3 billion to Exxon ($40 billion in profits) for a Papua New Guinea gas project.

    No similar funds have been made available for renewable energy development by U.S. and U.K. sponsored international institutions – just for fossil fuel projects. This is what needs to change, but the issue is almost entirely neglected in all of the released drafts.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 AM

  156. > Both of these NPR programs, in substance and tone, were hostile to the scientists

    ‘I am outraged, and I am free to say that, because I don’t work at NPR anymore.” –Bob Edwards.

    Yeah. How can one reach ‘skeptics who get their views from talk radio’ — if at all?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:19 AM

  157. WTF?? http://topics.npr.org/article/0cEwaBndVjg8C
    NPR’s webpage for that interview is a link to Watts?!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:23 AM

  158. http://topics.npr.org/search?q=gavin+schmidt
    Incredible.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:24 AM

  159. #123 ATHiker

    I couldn’t find mention of the decline since 1960 in the tree ring data in the text you pointed to.

    Was this the line from the IPCC tar you were indicating?

    “Furthermore, the biological response to climate forcing
    may change over time. There is evidence, for example, that high
    latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response
    to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic
    factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).”

    from

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/pdf/TAR-02.pdf

    Thanks,

    Tad

    Comment by Tad Boyd — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:31 AM

  160. Tipping points:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/49/20561.full

    The intro desperately needs to be reworded using everyday English; the articles seem timely.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:34 AM

  161. Tad:
    I found the same quote. Can you explain how it addresses what McIntyre claimed?

    Comment by Bernie — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:43 AM

  162. Maybe RC could do a post on “hide the decline” and the divergence problem because explanations such as “we simply threw out 30 years of bad data” are unsettling. Example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlKn0C2bQxs&feature=player_embedded

    [edit]

    [Response: See comments passim on the CRU hack threads. - gavin]

    Comment by Seth Pinto — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:51 AM

  163. Gavin:
    I assume that by your edit of my #150, you are saying that Mann did not extend the tree-ring proxy measures by smoothing using the actual temperature records thereby eliminating the divergence?

    [Response: They did not. The MBH reconstruction only went up to 1980 because of the lack of proxy data past that point and does not show a divergence. - gavin]

    Comment by Bernie — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:55 AM

  164. Alan, if you have a reference for the FBI/death threats…

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 December 2009 @ 6:52 PM

    Here ya go, in case Alan misses your request.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/12/09/2766508.htm?section=australia

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/08/hacked-climate-emails-death-threats

    Mouth-breathers.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Dec 2009 @ 2:08 AM

  165. 111 EL: The research has already been done. Nuclear power is by far the safest, lowest CO2 and cleanest. Nuclear fuel is plentiful and recyclable and all of the products have valuable uses if you care to find them. Rare earth elements are not required. You just have to stop fighting non-issues.
    http://clearnuclear.blogspot.com/
    http://www.cleansafeenergy.org/
    http://bravenewclimate.com/integral-fast-reactor-ifr-nuclear-power/
    http://www.ecolo.org
    http://www.comby.org/livres/livresen.htm
    http://www.comby.org/media/articles/articles.in.english/HealthPhysics-NUC-July2002.htm
    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Dec 2009 @ 2:44 AM

  166. 64 Matt: I didn’t want to mention it, but we DO have policing power over small nations. If they uncooperatively build another coal fired power plant, there is always Plan B: We could bomb it.
    All it takes is a president like you know who.
    Sorry to have to mention an option I consider so highly negative, but I guess it had to be mentioned eventually. Small nations should really consider carefully. Read books by Brian Fagan and Jared Diamond.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:03 AM

  167. Just want to share with you this excerpt from yesterday’s (i.e. 9 DECEMBER 2009) American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Policy Alert:

    ” The scientific community has begun to issue responses to the e-mail controversy. The AAAS Board of Directors released a statement [http://alturl.com/3jyp] on December 4. AAAS CEO Alan Leshner stated, “AAAS takes issues of scientific integrity very seriously. It is fair and appropriate to pursue answers to any allegations of impropriety. It’s important to remember, though, that the reality of climate change is based on a century of robust and well-validated science.” Twenty-five climate scientists sent an open letter [http://alturl.com/ybs7] to Congress stating, “The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen e-mails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming.” “

    Comment by Alex G Kesaris — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:29 AM

  168. Yes Gavin, please explain how that quote addresses what McIntyre says.

    [Response: IPCC and everyone else who cared were fully aware of the divergence issue in the Briffa et al reconstruction - it was published in Nature, the data is here, and the caveats were mentioned in the TAR text. Thus a claim it was hidden or that IPCC was unaware of the issue is wrong. - gavin]

    Comment by Skip Smith — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:59 AM

  169. Dear Real Climate.

    I have wanted to direct some genuinely puzzled sceptics to this site. Honest but inquiring and open minded sceptics.

    But the head story at the moment is a leader from the Guardian, a UK newspaper that its own readers recognise as the home of “whishy-washy leftie do-gooders and liberals”.

    And for some reason, in the UK, sceptics mostly read the right-leaning Daily Telegraph, so may be biased against the Guardian.

    Stick to science, Gavin. That’s what you are good at.

    :-)

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:47 AM

  170. There is quite a lot of discussion here on how we can respond to climate change. There is a legitimate concern on the political right that it is being used as a Trojan horse for left oriented policies. This is certainly the case in Europe. Personally, I am of the view that people pushing these responses, as the “only” answer are more of a danger than the “denial” movement. There are two good studies on how we can decarbonise our economy without major changes to our way of life. The first is by Prof David MacKay of Cambridge University. “Sustainable Energy – without the Hot Air” is a detailed study of how the UK can respond it is available, with a subsequent addition on the following links:

    http://www.withouthotair.com
    http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/book/tex/PlanC.pdf

    “Winning the Oil End Game” by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, is a study primarily aimed at getting the US of imported energy. It does not set out to decarbonise the energy infrastructure but shows how we can get a long way towards it. It is available here:

    http://nc.rmi.org/Page.aspx?pid=269&srcid=269

    None of this is easy and it does require urgent action but it is about rebuilding infrastructure rather than society. It is also worth noting that the actual life of power stations is thirty to forty years so they have to be replaced anyway. Transport equipment and domestic appliances have to be replaced even more frequently. A low carbon infrastructure can be built as the present equipment is replaced. The cost is therefore much lower than is often presented.

    Comment by Forlornehope — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:51 AM

  171. The ‘journalist’ Melanie Philips has appeared on the BBC and is an AGW sceptic bordering on the fanatical and actually calims the planet is in a long-term cololing trend. Needless to say she has a devoted denialist community on the Spectator blogosphere. This article was posted today. Sorry graphs wouldn’t post but you can see them via the weblink.

    The smoking iceberg
    Wednesday, 9th December 2009

    [edit - go to the link for more info]

    Comment by Jim Ryan — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:51 AM

  172. Since you have proven yourself unable to rationally control your consumption, your consumption will now be controlled.

    It’s ironic that while accusing me of being irrational, you have shown by the above statement that it is you who are irrational. Nothing in my post @ 11 contained any information about my “consumption” let alone “proved” anything about it.” – 73

    If you have already reduced your CO2 emissions by the reqiusite 80% then you wouldn’t be here whining about being forced to do it through market regulation.

    Since you are, we know that you haven’t over the last 20 years, and will not do so without compulsion. It is for this reason I write.

    “Since you have proven yourself unable to rationally control your consumption, your consumption will now be controlled.”

    Market regulation is yet another price to be paid for ignorance.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:54 AM

  173. “After all, thanks to Paul Erlich’s similar warnings and those of others before and since, most of us are already dead.” – 6

    Several hundred million have died from starvation since Erlich wrote his first book predicting the death of several hundred million from starvation.

    You don’t seem to know what you are complaining about.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:57 AM

  174. “Is debating this still considered ridiculous by Al Gore?” – 30

    Al Gore knows that there is nothing to be gained by debating with the willfully ignorant or the willfully self deceiving.

    I commend him.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:00 AM

  175. 77.The “ClimateGate” files document that the world’s average temperature from 1998 to 2008 has NOT risen” – 77

    Actually, they do no such thing.

    But here are two questions for you. What is the temperature rise since 1997 or 1999? And why do you think that such a short time span matters when climate is defined over 20 to 30 year time scales?

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:04 AM

  176. EL (#111) said “renewable technologies are not made from renewable materials; instead, they require rare earth materials like platinum, lithium, and other hard to find materials.”

    Platinum and lithium are not “rare earths”, and rare earths are generally not “rare” in the sense of being scarce in the Earth’s crust. They may be expensive to extract, though; mining has environmental impacts; and people worry about the present Chinese near-monopoly.

    Short supply of rare earths may prove an important constraint as far as it goes — battery-driven and hybrid vehicles, wind turbines, maybe wave power. But don’t extend the argument to all renewables. To warm our bones in winter there are still biofuels, solar heating, geothermal, not to mention better isolation, none of which AFAIK depends on rare earths.

    Comment by CM — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:39 AM

  177. Lyle: I start with Gore and his huge house

    BPL: Which buys 100% wind power, has solar power installed, and has been retrofitted with serious insulation.

    But, you know what? This isn’t about Al Gore. From the point of view of the climate crisis, it doesn’t matter if Al Gore tortures puppies in his basement. What matters is whether what he’s saying about climate change is true or false, and dig this, my friend–it’s all true:

    1. The world is warming.
    2. We’re doing it.
    3. It’s the most serious threat we’ve ever had outside of nuclear war.

    Try thinking about that rather than Al Gore’s house.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:52 AM

  178. J (#104) said: “Copenhagen, Kyoto, Cap and trade will have a massive negative effect on our lives, not the least of which is government controlling every aspect of our lives.”

    Every aspect? Copenhagen will choose our books, music and dress; friends and marital partners; religious beliefs and political allegiances; education, occupations, and hobbies; and our precious bodily fluids? How insidious! But psst! — they cannot control our minds, not if we protect ourselves. May I interest you in a $299.99 tinfoil hat? Order now while stocks last — lots of people on this thread will want one.

    Comment by CM — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:13 AM

  179. Copenhagen is putting the idea on the table. It is calling for the regulation of CO2 output. Some nations would be regulated to cause declining CO2 output while some nations like China are regulated to limit their CO2 output growth. Nations like America are not able to respond to such demands unless they are willing to accept severe economic implications; moreover, Copenhagen effectively hands the east a weapon to use against the west. Nations like china will behave like North Korea, and they will constantly use CO2 as a weapon to get what they want from the west.

    The renewable technologies are not ready to replace fossil fuel technology. BPL, we MUST get started dealing with the issues that are troubling renewable technologies. The rare earth materials required by these technologies limit their scalability and economic effectiveness. Copenhagen should have exclusively been about dealing with these problems. If the rare earth problems could be taken care of, we would not have to argue about anything. Economic law would force the replacement of the fossil fuel industry. But as long as rare earth materials are used, the fossil fuel industry will endure because renewable technologies will not be economically or politically viable.

    People are not being realistic. These material problems have to be taken care of before we can make any transition.

    Comment by EL — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:49 AM

  180. Edward Greisch says:
    10 December 2009 at 2:44 AM

    111 EL: The research has already been done. Nuclear power is by far the safest, lowest CO2 and cleanest. Nuclear fuel is plentiful and recyclable and all of the products have valuable uses if you care to find them.

    Business story on Uranium Energy Corp says “There’s approximately 180 million pounds of uranium used worldwide and approximately 100 to 110 million pounds produced annually. That’s been the case for the past number of years” and “The shortfall has come from above-ground supplies of inventories that had been mined 20 or 30 years ago [but] most particularly from the decommissioning of the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons,” Berol said. “The above-ground inventories are depleting and the U.S.-Russia agreement ends in 2013.”

    Comment by Tim McDermott — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:24 AM

  181. 109 Edward Greisch

    You are correct: All countries (and their citizens) should be held to EQUAL standards as far as allowable emissions – regardless of past contributions of GHGs or past emission levels. Reducing emissions relative to 1990 or 2005 or whatever is absurd. It allows the countries that pollute the most to continue to pollute the most. A global per capita emissions standard must be established. Any country that exceeds that standard will pay a punative carbon tax. Any country that maintains emissions below the global standard will receive compensation as a reward. It is up to each country to decide who to charge/reward their citizens. This is the only fair and apolitical solution.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:55 AM

  182. “111 EL: The research has already been done. Nuclear power is by far the safest, lowest CO2 and cleanest. ”

    And the most expensive.

    Nothing changes here.

    Pointless.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:55 AM

  183. Strange. This article starts out proclaiming:

    “Fourteen days to seal history’s judgment on this generation”

    but winds up saying:

    “The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation”

    See the change? It starts out to “seal” history’s judgment, but ends up weakly hoping to “shape” history’s judgment.

    The first statement is manifestly absurd. History’s judgment, decades or centuries or millennia from now, will be whatever it is. It is not within the power of anyone in the present day to “seal” the judgment of future generation, as yet unborn. They’ll make up their own minds.

    The second and final statement is manifestly obvious. Copenhagen politicians will indeed “shape” history’s judgment, simply because they will have contributed to events, and will have expressed opinions. But the same goes for this comment of mine, which will, in a slightly more modest way, also exert influence (if it’s published).

    But what does history’s judgment matter anyway? Isn’t it the judgment right now that really matters, not how the whole thing plays in some history book written 27 centuries from now. No?

    Comment by Frank Davis — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:18 AM

  184. Re #43 “That you equate those things with Y2K issues is extremely interesting. I worked for a mainframe software company in the early 2000s. The amount of work, cooperation and preparation that went into making sure Y2K was a non-event was HUGE”.

    Software engineer here, 20yrs experience, degree qualified. I spent 2yrs certifying a $100M telco system which in itself was just one of the hoops the company’s systems were forced to jump through to meet their compliance obligations. Were there some people trying to scam a buck by selling magic? – yes. Was there a serious problem? – yes.

    Most proffesionals involved in Y2K (and there were literally hundreds of thousands worldwide) were performing due dilligence wether they were aware of it or not. The legal pressure that came down on the software industry to successfully mitigate a known risk should have come down on the coal industry at least a decade ago.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:57 AM

  185. I’m going to prod people again on this. If you want to discuss the technologies for providing energy in a post carbon world study “Sustainable Energy – without the Hot Air” first. Otherwise you end up perpetuating myths and misconceptions or just displaying your ignorance or prejudice. What are my qualifications for commenting on this? Well I’m a chartered mechanical engineer of over 30 years standing and have worked in energy, automotive and aerospace industries. IMHO, for what it’s worth, Prof MacKay has got it just about right.

    Comment by Forlornehope — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:05 AM

  186. Completely Fed Up said:

    “Nuclear power is …” And the most expensive.

    This is a common misconception. There is a huge amount of disinformation about energy costs floating around the internet. In fact, depending on what unreferenced data you pick, you can make any energy source look bad (or good, for that matter).

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that something is fishy about the idea of nuclear being massively expensive. If it is so expensive, why is it the energy source of choice in some countries? How does it compete in countries where there is a mix of energy types?

    After much hunting, I found a primary source that compares global costs and that I am inclined to trust more than anything else I could find. It is “A Review of Electricity Unit Cost Estimates” from the UK Energy Research Centre.

    Coal £32.9/MWh
    Gas £31.2/MWh
    Nuclear £32.2/MWh
    Wind £39.3/MWh

    These are full lifetime costs, including capital expenditure and decommissioning. There is some variation by country, but not really enough to justify some of the more biased estimates of costs you will find in impassioned and unsourced polemics in blogs and newspaper articles.

    You read it right: globally, nuclear is very slightly cheaper than coal. This doesn’t hold if you look at the US alone, but the US has invested nothing in nuclear energy for a very long time.

    This is why nuclear power is often presented as a short-term affordable solution to low carbon energy.

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:07 AM

  187. Frank Davis said:

    But what does history’s judgment matter anyway? Isn’t it the judgment right now that really matters, not how the whole thing plays in some history book written 27 centuries from now. No?

    No.

    The very reason that climate change is a major concern is that our choices now (and our mistakes of the last century) will have a severe impact over the coming centuries.

    If we increase the temperature to the point where we cannot stop the complete melting of Greenland and Antarctica, then future generations will be forced to cope with a sea rise of many tens of meters over the next millennium. Billions of people will be displaced, and the costs of mitigation will be mindblowing.

    It is these catastrophic scenarios that get labelled “alarmist”, but the deniers are missing the point. We won’t see this in our own lifetime (although we will live to see some severe effects all the same). However, even a complete cessation of emissions won’t be enough to reverse a degree of future temperature change. The amount of future temperature rise depends of how soon and how fast we reduce emissions.

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:20 AM

  188. #181 Same GHG ration for each person?

    The same CO2 ration for every person in the world is reasonable only if you correct for historic emissions. After all, the current problem (amount of GHG in the atmosphere) was created for 3/4 by the rich countries. Any fair solution should take this fact into account.

    To me, the most practical thing to do is that the rich pay most of the cost of reduction of emissions.

    Comment by Dick Veldkamp — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:27 AM

  189. Re #177 good so Gore has put his money where his mouth is. Why not publicize this more? You never hear this in the media, so if the folks wanting to take action have done the work on their house publicize it. This is to prove that they are not part of the do what I say not what I do elite. The public is quite tuned into hypocrites (since there are so many of them). Gore should mention this in his speeches and work to get the comment in news reports about what he says. (He has to know how to play the media game to get to where he is) The same is true of Lovins who had taken his house about as far as you can go on energy efficiency (but it is on the Rocky Mountain Institute web site so accessible)
    The adovcates can also talk about what it costs to do the upgrades, (likley not a lot in some cases to show there is less pain here than might be thought.
    As noted in some comments the second thing is to denounce the Malthusian enthusiasts on the Pro mitigation side, prophets of doom eventually get laughed out of society thru having to get more and more strident over time to keep attention. Telling people that the only way to save the world is to make life short and brutish and painful, may lead many to conclude lets eat drink do drugs and be merry life is just to hard to face. (Of course a lot do that already)

    Comment by Lyle — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:48 AM

  190. I have much hope for this COP 15. I truly believe that global warming must be mitigated, since the election of Obama and serious action by Brown in the last few has demonstrated positive steps in the right direction to curb global emissions. I am also optimistic about the 30/30/30 ante by the EU to garner more support from other nations to cut their emissions. If anyone would like a insiders account to Copenhagen, I find this website that is doing daily and hourly postings. The website is http://www.chinadialogue.net/copenhagen as they have good analysis of China and the COP. I hope we see tangible and lasting results at the COP 15.

    Comment by Matt Simon — 10 Dec 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  191. Real Climate is an international forum.

    Throwing half-bricks at Al Gore looks just stupid to most people outside the US.

    And it bores.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 10 Dec 2009 @ 10:06 AM

  192. Statements like:

    [Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. ]

    [The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. ]

    [last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. ]

    [Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.]

    Are not climate science. I think that this site should try to stay closer to climate science.

    [Response: I agree, bu this was an exceptional thing -- a coordinated editorial -- and we thought it worth pointing out to our readers. There is much to disagree with in it -- including their treatment of the CRU scandal.--eric]

    Comment by Floccina — 10 Dec 2009 @ 10:29 AM

  193. I think this was a great effort by the Guardian. I’m no Scientist, but I saw some of the IPCC people talk at Klimforum yesterday and they made an excellent point. (Please correct me if I’m wrong)

    The meaning of the word “Trick”. I didn’t know this was a word in the science community for when you’ve found your way around something that was difficult. That sounds like a deception to normal people.

    Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know that, had I not gone to that meeting. The science commmunity needs a PR machine, as currently all the people are getting their information from Newspapers, who haven’t bothered to explain the meaning of that word!

    Comment by Paul — 10 Dec 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  194. The meaning of the word “Trick”. I didn’t know this was a word in the science community for when you’ve found your way around something that was difficult. That sounds like a deception to normal people.

    I was unaware that normal people have never heard of the phrase “trick of the trade”, or other such uses. I have a sneaking suspicion that tens of thousands of denialists conveniently forgot such usages simultaneously when that single e-mail was published.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Dec 2009 @ 10:48 AM

  195. EG: Nuclear power is by far the safest, lowest CO2 and cleanest.

    BPL: I think solar and wind have it beat out on both counts.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  196. For: Prof MacKay has got it just about right.

    BPL: A lot of people think he made some major errors, as I recall.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  197. “After much hunting, I found a primary source that compares global costs and that I am inclined to trust more than anything else I could find. It is “A Review of Electricity Unit Cost Estimates” from the UK Energy Research Centre.”

    And does that include the cost for recycling?

    No.

    The decomissioning?

    No.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  198. PS why are estimates needed?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  199. Re #189 “good so Gore has put his money where his mouth is. Why not publicize this more? You never hear this in the media, so if the folks wanting to take action have done the work on their house publicize it.”

    Okay.

    On our place in Hays County, Texas we have 6 kW of PV on the roof and a battery barn. Most of the time we’re selling power to the grid. We also have a 20,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system for the house. And a 1000 gallon system on the rainwater barn for a wildlife guzzler. Next to go on the roof is solar hot water. The house is built with 18 inch thick straw clay walls with an R factor that goes off the chart. The windows are all double paned. We spray irrigate aerobically treated effluent.

    We drive a Prius for most around town (Austin, Texas) business. We do have a 4 Runner to transport quantities of material where we need to go since we maintain a wildlife preserve, but we don’t put very many miles on it any given year. We also retrofitted ~1 kW of PV on the roof of the house in town. All our light bulbs are CF.

    So, take action. Just to stop being wasteful would be a good start.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  200. 177 Barton Paul Levenson: “It’s the most serious threat we’ve ever had outside of nuclear war.”
    is false. Nuclear war, even back when the USA and the USSR had 30,000 [thirty thousand] bombs EACH could not make us extinct. We were still short by a multiple of ten thousand. It takes 100 Million Megatons to make an Extinction Level Event [ELE].
    But global warming can and probably will make us humans extinct. The sun has way over 100 Million Megatons available. That is why we are doing this blog. I have listed the kill mechanisms many times. The kill mechanisms are: famine, methane fuel-air explosions and H2S gas generated by sulfur bacteria in hot oceans. H2S was a major factor in the Permian-Triassic Great Death.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:39 AM

  201. This is great. Too bad not all newspapers printed it.

    However, let’s not put all our eggs in the Copenhagen basket. I truly wish world governments do the right thing (I’ve already heard the rich nations are planning to shaft the poor nations in the deal…power is all afterall). But even if all governments on earth put forth their full efforts to combat global warming — by reducing GHGs from their own government facilities and taxing carbon and giving incentives for their citizens to become energy/resource efficient/conservative (not only giving subsidies and tax-breaks for doing the EC (environmentally correct) thing, but also making sure EC products and measures are easily available — everyone should have an option of getting alternative energy and clean public transit) — the rest of us, the citizens of the world, will need to implement the vast majority of these measures. There is no silver bullet and it won’t be easy like reducing CFCs, with the consumers hardly knowing what was going on.

    As one person cried here a few weeks ago something like “they’re going to make me pay higher energy bills :(” Well, yes, I responded, if you and others absolutely positively refuse to reduce, reuse, recycle, go on alternative energy, precycle, and a myriad of other measures, then yes, you will be spending more money. And there will be denialist ideologues who will refuse to do the EC things, and pay the higher prices, just to spit in the face of the world.

    So really governments can only inspire, incentivize, and facilitate — though these actions are sorely needed to structurally facilitate our actions. The ball on this issue has always been most squarely our court, the citizens of the world, and we have to use a shotgun approach with hundreds of tiny silver bullets (some big, like SunFrost frig, electric cars, solar roof panels, etc) shot over and over again on a daily basis.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:42 AM

  202. Gavin,

    If you have the time could you address the weblinked article by Melanie Phillips from #181.

    Comment by Jim Ryan — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:49 AM

  203. Sorry, I meant #171.

    Comment by Jim Ryan — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  204. I am not a scientist and I’ve never posted here, but I regularly check this website for news on climate change. That said, here’s my $.02 on the editorial and some of the comments.

    I agree with the general message of the editorial (i.e. I am convinced, as much as a layman can be, that human-driven climate change is happening and that actions must be taken), but not with some of the tone. As some have mentioned, there are alarmist notes to the editorial that don’t fit the scientific nature of the issue.

    As I see it, the facts are not as clear as stated in the editorial (hence the caveats in IPCC materials and the use of likelihood intervals). Nevertheless, in view of the high probability that climate change is caused largely by human activity and that measures may be implemented to restrict its effects, I endorse the newspapers’ call for action.

    On a side note, I am sincerely convinced that most of those actions are a basic imperative of a fair, conscious and sustainable society. Rational and more efficient use of resources, avoiding their exhaustion; transfer of funds from developed countries to developing countries; decrease of the economy’s energy intensity and shift to renewable rather than finite and geographically-constrained sources; these all make sense irrespective of climate change.

    A change of paradigm is in order so that some degree of comfort may be preserved in a time when there are 6 billion (human) souls on this piece of rock, most of which living in undescribable conditions but increasingly aware of the wealth reserved to us lucky few and ever more demanding of their fair share of the pie.

    Comment by Maxwell Demon — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:59 AM

  205. Edward Greisch: “Nuclear power is by far the safest, lowest CO2 and cleanest.”

    Sigh.

    That statement is wildly untrue. And yet, in the midst of this orchestrated onslaught of arrogant, ignorant denial of AGW, and the heinous, vicious Swift-Boat style attacks on the integrity of climate scientists, I almost feel a nostalgic fondness for the pro-nuclear zealots.

    I categorically disagree with them: nuclear power is neither a necessary nor a particularly effective solution to the problem of global warming. So there is no need to even debate whether or how to deal with the very real dangers and problems of nuclear power.

    But at least nuclear proponents recognize that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

    How much better to be arguing with folks about solutions, then arguing with denialists about the existence of the problem.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:07 PM

  206. Eric in 192,
    By “CRU scandal,” I assume you mean the scandalous nature by which the MSM has failed to pursue the facts and have enabled the distortions?

    Comment by Wildlifer — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:11 PM

  207. Comment by EL — 9 December 2009 @ 1:48 PM:

    I am confused about your response to BPL. You say that reducing energy usage is foolish and that renewable energy technology is not sustainable. Because fossil fuels are getting more expensive as sources are depleted and developing world demands are rising, what is your solution?

    Some questions: Doesn’t the fact that there are countries (e.g. Japan) that use much less energy per person than the U.S., but have a higher standard of living than the U.S., suggest that reducing energy usage can be accomplished? There is a variety of potential renewable energies that could be developed, so which ones are limited by materials (be sure to consider recycling and emerging improvements)? If there are renewable technologies that would ultimately be limited by materials, does this mean that they shouldn’t be used at all? Can’t you think of ways to reduce energy usage that would not cause harm to the poor classes?

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:25 PM

  208. Paul wrote in 193:

    The meaning of the word “Trick”. I didn’t know this was a word in the science community for when you’ve found your way around something that was difficult. That sounds like a deception to normal people.

    If someone asks you what 20+21+22+…2n-1+n, you don’t have to add it all up. You just calculate 2n+1-1. If someone asks you whether 173529 is divisible by 3, you don’t have to do the longhand division. Instead just add up the digits (the sum is 27) and check to see whether that is divisible by 3. These are math tricks — which make it a great deal easier to determine the answer to a question.

    Then there are memory tricks, such as associating a person with an object in order to remember their name. Or as the Ancient Greeks would do, associate different parts of a speech with different places in a building, such that when giving the speech one could help oneself to recall the next topic by imagining oneself walking through the building.

    In programming there are tricks that one does in order to get things done quickly. For example, in reading data from Excel you could have several lines of code resulting in a loop where each cell within a given region is read individually by an executable or DLL.

    I had a friend — a good programmer — who did it that way. 6000 cells took 6 seconds — which resulted in a delay that customers wouldn’t have been used to or willing to tolerate — before a menu would show up in reports downloaded into a spreadsheet. However, if in the executable’s process one declared a variant and set it equal to the value of the range (rngMyRange.Value) the whole process to less than a millisecond — and instead of using several lines of code the whole thing could be done in a single line of code. The “trick” worked like “magic.”

    Taking generic approaches that are easily adapted to new problems is another sort of trick that is common in programming. In carpentry cutting with the grain would be a “trick.” A meat butcher who always cuts between the bones rather than through them keeps his blade sharp, works quickly and with a great deal less effort — and therefore can be said to “know a trick.”

    There is a “trick” in which you can twist your arm two full turns — and illustrate a principle involving rotation in three-dimensional space. It comes from an old European folk dance. There is a “trick” in which you can take a piece of paper no larger than a standard 8.5X11 and cut a hole in it that is large enough to drive your car through.
    *
    All of these tricks work like magic. In fact a programmer might like to think of himself metaphorically as a wizard who can make things which take hours or minutes take minutes or seconds. He might also think of the code through which he does this as an “incantation,” and when searching for a bit of code using Google he might recall how primitives thought that if you knew the name of a thing you could control it. (No, I do not play D&D.)
    *
    Of course a magician is able to make something seem like magic — but will do so by “tricking” the eye or the mind. In this we can see a little bit of both meanings.

    Unfortunately climate scientists are up against magicians who are very practiced in the latter sort of “trick.” For decades they were able to create the appearance of scientific doubt regarding the relationship between tobacco and cancer — even though the science had been in for decades. I have listed a few of the clans of magicians who have practiced this sort of dark art (both with respect to tobacco and global warming) just recently:

    CRU Hack: More context, comments 594 and 602.

    It is what they are expert at, whether the subject has been tobacco and cancer, CFCs and ozone, sulfur emissions and acid rain, or carbon dioxide and global warming, having dabbled in their art for decades. No wonder scientists — who perform a quite different art — are oftentimes at a disadvantage. They are up against magicians who are quite skilled at casting spells of illusion and paralyzing doubt, and of making a thing look like its opposite.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:36 PM

  209. Paul wrote in 193:

    The meaning of the word “Trick”. I didn’t know this was a word in the science community for when you’ve found your way around something that was difficult. That sounds like a deception to normal people.

    If someone asks you what 2^0+2^1+2^2>+…2^(n-1)+2^n, you don’t have to add it all up. You just calculate 2^(n+1)-1. If someone asks you whether 173529 is divisible by 3, you don’t have to do the longhand division. Instead just add up the digits (the sum is 27) and check to see whether that is divisible by 3. These are math tricks — which make it a great deal easier to determine the answer to a question.

    Then there are memory tricks, such as associating a person with an object in order to remember their name. Or as the Ancient Greeks would do, associate different parts of a speech with different places in a building, such that when giving the speech one could help oneself to recall the next topic by imagining oneself walking through the building.

    In programming there are tricks that one does in order to get things done quickly. For example, in reading data from Excel you could have several lines of code resulting in a loop where each cell within a given region is read individually by an executable or DLL.

    I had a friend — a good programmer — who did it that way. 6000 cells took 6 seconds — which resulted in a delay that customers wouldn’t have been used to or willing to tolerate — before a menu would show up in reports downloaded into a spreadsheet. However, if in the executable’s process one declared a variant and set it equal to the value of the range (rngMyRange.Value) the whole process to less than a millisecond — and instead of using several lines of code the whole thing could be done in a single line of code. The “trick” worked like “magic.”

    Taking generic approaches that are easily adapted to new problems is another sort of trick that is common in programming. In carpentry cutting with the grain would be a “trick.” A meat butcher who always cuts between the bones rather than through them keeps his blade sharp, works quickly and with a great deal less effort — and therefore can be said to “know a trick.”

    There is a “trick” in which you can twist your arm two full turns — and illustrate a principle involving rotation in three-dimensional space. It comes from an old European folk dance. There is a “trick” in which you can take a piece of paper no larger than a standard 8.5X11 and cut a hole in it that is large enough to drive your car through.
    *
    All of these tricks work like magic. In fact a programmer might like to think of himself metaphorically as a wizard who can make things which take hours or minutes take minutes or seconds. He might also think of the code through which he does this as an “incantation,” and when searching for a bit of code using Google he might recall how primitives thought that if you knew the name of a thing you could control it. (No, I do not play D&D.)
    *
    Of course a magician is able to make something seem like magic — but will do so by “tricking” the eye or the mind. In this we can see a little bit of both meanings.

    Unfortunately climate scientists are up against magicians who are very practiced in the latter sort of “trick.” For decades they were able to create the appearance of scientific doubt regarding the relationship between tobacco and cancer — even though the science had been in for decades. I have listed a few of the clans of magicians who have practiced this sort of dark art (both with respect to tobacco and global warming) just recently:

    CRU Hack: More context, comments 594 and 602.

    It is what they are expert at, whether the subject has been tobacco and cancer, CFCs and ozone, sulfur emissions and acid rain, or carbon dioxide and global warming, having dabbled in their art for decades. No wonder scientists — who perform a quite different art — are oftentimes at a disadvantage. They are up against magicians who are quite skilled at casting spells of illusion and paralyzing doubt, and of making a thing look like its opposite.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:40 PM

  210. When I read: “56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial”

    This in the face of ClimateGate and the increasing disbelief of AGW within science and the public:

    Conspiracy is confirmed…….

    Comment by Titus — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:48 PM

  211. Paul, regarding the word “trick,” there is a good, concrete, and totally convincing (and amusing) treatment in a recent video posted on DeSmogBlog. But it seems to have been partially covered by a new video on clean coal, at least in the browser I’m having to use at this moment.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:50 PM

  212. @ forlornhope:

    “There is quite a lot of discussion here on how we can respond to climate change. There is a legitimate concern on the political right that it is being used as a Trojan horse for left oriented policies. This is certainly the case in Europe.”

    I don’t think the European left is using climate change as a “Trojan horse”. The European left argue openly for left orientated policies. There are no ‘reds under the bed’ here – we are dancing on the duvets. Using climate change is not the way to go about it. Open argument is the way that these things are done. Trojan horse stuff smells of conspiracy theory. And I write as someone who wishes left (social democratic) orientated policies.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  213. If the dire predictions of AGW were proven, there’d be no question or debate except about how to prepare or adjust.

    I know a lot of people have responded to the inanity of this assertion, but I’ll add to the pile-on just for fun:

    Ah, it’s a beautiful picture of humanity you paint with your unexamined assumption: people automatically respond to that which is “proven” by unanimously acquiescing to the power of truth.

    If it were that simple, there’d be no arguments that lasted over 2 minutes. We’d all live in peace and harmony, and we’d all be scientists or logicians, spending our lives contentedly meditating on axioms and theorems, and testing every assertion with reasoned analysis and close empirical observation. There would be no churches, temples, or mosques, and childrens’ fairy tales would take the form of “Once upon a time, there was a land where people believed things that weren’t proven…” The only disagreements would be about the degree of certainty that should lead to action, but these disagreements would be debated calmly, and without rancor.

    Perhaps there’s a more likely explanation that AGW hasn’t been accepted: that a) people don’t generally want to hear unpleasant truths, and b) powerful & well-funded groups have put on a concerted campaign to smear good science by making emotional appeals to item a. It’s also possible, as has been pointed out many times here, that a good scientist (a person schooled in cautious, limited statements of contingent conclusions) isn’t the best person to communicate with people who demand absolute certainty before they’re willing to act.

    It never ceases to amaze me how gullible the so-called “skeptics” are, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. If you concentrate your entire measly quotient of skepticism at one target, many other causes for doubt might escape your attention.

    Comment by Steve Runge — 10 Dec 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  214. Failure to adopt a 350 ppm target in the editorial, a target which has gotten some support here, is a good reason not to endorse the editorial, but thanks for reprinting it.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 10 Dec 2009 @ 1:02 PM

  215. #193 said, “The science community needs a PR machine …”

    Unfortunately, I think this is completely true. Accurate, sustantive and meaningful science is being obliterated in the public venue by distortion campaigns. It’s shameful. But organization of PR and clear statements of objective truths seems sorely needed.

    Comment by Kris Aydt — 10 Dec 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  216. I hope I’m not breaking many netiquette laws here with this “off topic”:

    Does anyone remember of an online debate promoted by something (I think it was NAS, but may have been other thing, even British), in a bulletin board format, a single topic? (Well, much like blog comments too, but with only one post) It went only for a certain time limit, then it was closed.

    I’m sorry to ask it here, but I was not having luck with google (even though I never tried the “i’m feeling lucky” button), and if this is not something my mind is making up, it’s very likely that someone around here does know. Thanks.

    Comment by Buckaroo Banzai — 10 Dec 2009 @ 2:27 PM

  217. Peter Prewett (150) — Aerosols are being studied; some tend to warm (black carbon) and others (sulfates) to cool.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 2:33 PM

  218. Floccina, the editorial may not be “climate science,” but is it more or less correct? After all, RC does also discuss policy to an extent.

    Let’s look at the statements you cite:

    [Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. ]

    “Ravage” is vague, certainly, and loaded. Yet even the conservative AR4 arguably supports the term by considering, however soberly, probably consequences that could reasonably be construed as involving the “ravaging” of this or that. And logically, prosperity and security are both at risk–the US Department of Defense climate change scenarios very seriously consider consequences in the latter area, for example.

    [The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. ]

    Seems pretty hard to argue with this to me–the warming trend of the last 30 years is the prime datum, but the increasing amount and quality of research on impacts done over roughly that span has been quite startling. That’s conventionally “one generation,” no?

    Certainly, the impacts may become more apparent yet–but hopefully not (or not all) by manifestation as the “new reality.”

    [last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. ]

    Well, if the Stern report is anything like correct, we will see serious economic dislocations as a result of AGW. Would the events of 2007-8 not exemplify “economic dislocation?” That’s all that’s claimed, as I read the editorial statement.

    [Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.]

    There’s NO arguing with that–emissions have been running at the high end of the IPCC projections. (Well, maybe we should argue that “feeble and half-hearted” is a charitable description of the mitigation actions so far.)

    In sum, this statement is an editorial–that is, a piece implicitly including endorsement of certain value judgements and usually including an implicit call to action–not a scientific paper. I don’t see why RC shouldn’t comment on it as such.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Dec 2009 @ 2:41 PM

  219. We would certainly be pissed at past generations if they had wrecked our quality of life with a casual, nonchalant approach to country and world. But at this point, I think humanity will pretty much deserve what it gets.

    Comment by Alex J — 10 Dec 2009 @ 2:41 PM

  220. You (and by default the moderator) have to be kidding that the tree ring divergence problem is addressed in TAR3. The page you cite says this: “There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).” P131 That hardly says the tree data suggests the temperature goes down when the local temperatures actually goes up.

    [edit]

    [Response: Yes, it says exactly that. - gavin]

    That’s a demonstrably false statement. Using your logic, that statement also says that tree data suggests temps go up when local temperature goes down. And that tree data suggests that temps do nothing when local temperature goes up. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    I guess if you believe, a priori, that the CO2 forcing equation reflects the real world behavior of the complex globe, then you can convince yourself that you’re justified in treating supporting evidence pretty lightly? After all, in that case, the null hypothesis is that man-made CO2 is the cause of dramatic global warming.

    That’s one way to do “science”!

    [Response: Science has these things called 'citations'. That's the name and date in brackets at the end of a statement that usefully gives the source and background for that statement in a way that saves you having to copy out the whole thing. It really is a time saver. - gavin]

    Comment by AC — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:03 PM

  221. When evaluating the usage of words like “trick” the trick is to know a little about how scientists communicate.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:25 PM

  222. Seriously people…

    environmentalists love to point towards the dangers of AWG, and seem to think that the solution doesn’t get taken up because people are lazy or greedy.

    However, reducing emissions as drastically as is needed right now before the technology has advanced further… what are the risks and dangers of that? What cost are you willing to pay to prevent how much global warming? Setting the economy back 20 years to save 1o? 3 years for 10o? Somewhere in between?

    The entire economy of the world depends on energy consumption. The only other way to make things happen is with muscle power, which doesn’t employ many people (well, at any high standard of living at least). Reducing emissions means reducing energy use- which means more then fewer cheap flights… it means fewer people working. More efficient technologies can mean less emissions per unit of production, but that effect is allready seen in their productivity.

    Any of these plans will have a cost, and no matter how much you want to gloss over it, that is the reason that politicians aren’t moving, because the cost is unbearable until the technology catches up.

    Comment by Paul — 10 Dec 2009 @ 3:55 PM

  223. Dutch scientists have performed yet another study that demonstrates that the loss of ice on Mt. Kilimanjaro has been the result of natural climate changes. http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/dutch-gore-wrong-on-snows-of-kilimanjaro/

    An abstract of the article is at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7273/abs/nature08520.html

    [Response: Did you even read the study your are linking to? It's talking about changes on the 10,000 year timescale, not decades. Straw. Grasp. - gavin]

    Comment by Snorbert Zangox — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:01 PM

  224. About Nuclear. yes, that is the best alternative for now. A large percentage of North America emissions are from the production of electricity.(not SUV’s)
    If not for Three Mile Island and the resulting Hollywood created hysteria around it(China Syndrome) we could have been in a much better carbon shape by now.

    Comment by Dave K — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:14 PM

  225. Now turning to somewhat related subject of the dark side of newspapers, (as promised) – the full story on the infamous NRSP open letter of two years ago:

    Hmmm … the quote and URL is being caught in the SPAM filter!

    So you’ll have to click through (unless a moderator can fix it).

    http://www.deepclimate.org

    Comment by Deep Climate — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:16 PM

  226. When oil hits $200/barrel (and I believe it will sooner than you think) that will be the biggest motivator of all. This is what will drive real innovation.
    I live in Canada, great place if you can handle the climate.
    Do I enjoy hearing my furnace run for 7 months of the year..NO! Is there any easy alternative to that right now…NO! Do I want to pay a carbon tax to hear that furnace run…NO!
    Several years ago I spent 5 months in Arizona over the winter, what a great place. During those five months I had to neither hear or cool the apartment I was in, the utility bills were heaven compared to what I was used to.
    Now..if any of you can get me a green card I would be more than happy to leave the frozen north and happily reduce my carbon foot print.
    Note: This last few week here it has hit lows of -38C with snow and blowing snow…….aaaaargh. get me outa here!

    Comment by Dave K — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:35 PM

  227. And now the dark side of “journalism” – the infamous open letter to the U.N., organized two years ago by Tom Harris (Canada’s Marc Morano).

    Comment by Deep Climate — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:38 PM

  228. Theo Hopkins (191) says, “Throwing half-bricks at Al Gore looks just stupid to most….”

    I actually agree. Though he doesn’t help himself or his credibility by going on television and describing the temp of the earth a few kilometers down in the “millions” of degrees. Like he’s putting his own “KICK ME” sign on his own back.

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Dec 2009 @ 4:42 PM

  229. Note the ambiguities in the only scientific part of the article: “The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — ” Is this 2 degC above present day temperatures or above pre-industrial temperatures? Emissions reductions need to be much greater (2-fold?) for the latter objective than the former. What do they mean by “prudent”? Is it “prudent” to take out an expensive insurance policy against the possibility that climate sensitivity is greater than 3 for doubled carbon dioxide? (Developing countries aren’t going to buy such an “insurance policy” unless the developed world pays all of the cost.) Or is it prudent because 90% of climate change scenarios cost far more than emission reductions? Is the goal of 85% reduction “prudent” and why? IMO, it would be prudent to take action appropriate for a climate sensitivity of 2 and increase our measures when we are more certain what the future holds. For example, after temperature has been returned to rising at the expected 0.2 degC/decade.

    Comment by Frank — 10 Dec 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  230. Re the “trick” discussion – yes, it’s commonly used to mean “an elegant shortcut”. But, keep in mind, a shortcut that’s demonstrably identical to the longer solution, via mathematical proof, algorithmic equivalence, etc.

    This usage demands that the correct answer already be known, and shown to be accurate.

    So Phil Jones means “we already know that the temperature is spiking, and this is just a trick to show that without having to go through all the effort we’ve already gone through.” Yet what’s being discussed is a visual graph. If there’s another graph that shows this, where’s the need for a “trick”? Why the need to, as he says, “hide the decline”? Where exactly is the right answer already shown – and why not graph that data?

    Doesn’t hold up, gents – brownie points for effort, though!

    Comment by hello — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:09 PM

  231. Buckaroo Banzai asks,

    … an online debate promoted by something (I think it was NAS, but may have been other thing, even British), in a bulletin board format, a single topic? (Well, much like blog comments too, but with only one post) It went only for a certain time limit, then it was closed.

    Sounds like Potential Energy, from the UK Institute of Physics back in 2006.

    (How fire can be domesticated)

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan until ~1996 — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:09 PM

  232. Alex J wrote: “But at this point, I think humanity will pretty much deserve what it gets.”

    Be that as it may, humans are not the only sentient beings on Earth.
    The rest of the biosphere surely doesn’t “deserve” what we humans are inflicting on this planet.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  233. Global climate change should really be called Global Ocean Change. Ocean acidification and stratification with a doubling of dead zones each decade(some now due to ocean warming instead of fertilizer run-off) is one of the most worrying climate issues and could lead to Canfield Oceans that no longer support life (as in the Permian extinction).

    With political will the world mobilized to face the threat of World War II very quickly; with a similar mobilization to slow down and reverse climate change we can hopefully prevent the worst of the projected effects. I do not think this political change will happen until the world can clearly see an unambiguous negative effect due to climate change, such as an Arctic with no ice in a few short years (followed by an accelerated warming). Even the “average Joe” will see that something is amiss in the world…

    Comment by Paul Beckwith — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:15 PM

  234. RE #193 good you have put your money…
    I have looked at solar and it does a 20 year payout where I live (Tx) which is a bit long (also local pud doesn’t go for this solar stuff, 1 house in town has it). I don’t irrigate at all, believing native vegetation should be able to survive what mother nature throws at us. The last drought in Tx was not as bad as the 1950 one. Actually there is an idea I have had, take the battery pack for a plug in hybrid out of the car, put it in a box in the house, and use it to load shave. Size it for say a 24 hour power failure to run essential services (refrigerator and freezer and a couple of lights). Above that charge the box at night, and either power the house or sell back to the grid at peak times. Building home boxes would increase the volume and bring the costs down for plug in hybrids as well.

    Comment by Lyle — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:27 PM

  235. Re 216, Vendicar Decarian – that was a nice verbal trick!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:28 PM

  236. @168. Hi Gavin, let’s try again. The quote you said addresses the divergence issue is:

    “There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).”

    They’re being deliberately vague here. “Changed” in what way? How could anyone who didn’t already know about the divergence issue read that and know what it was supposed to mean?

    I’m not saying the IPCC was “unaware” of the divergence issue. I’m saying the IPCC was deliberately obscuring the issue.

    [Response: It's an assessment report not an encyclopedia nor a introductory textbook. There is a reason why they have citations. - gavin]

    Comment by Skip Smith — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:33 PM

  237. Comment by Frank — 10 December 2009 @ 5:44 PM:

    “IMO, it would be prudent to take action appropriate for a climate sensitivity of 2 and increase our measures when we are more certain what the future holds. For example, after temperature has been returned to rising at the expected 0.2 degC/decade.”

    So we should check the weather each morning and decide if any response is appropriate?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:45 PM

  238. Frank (229) — Read Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees” and then rethink what is prudent in face of potential future risks. Here is a review of the book:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Dec 2009 @ 6:58 PM

  239. Completely Fed Up said:

    > “After much hunting, I found a primary source that compares global costs and that I am inclined to trust more than anything else I could find. It is “A Review of Electricity Unit Cost Estimates” from the UK Energy Research Centre.”

    And does that include the cost for recycling?

    No.

    The decomissioning?

    No.

    Evidently you failed to read either the report, or what I said about it. The figures I provided do include decommissioning costs AND waste management costs. It states this explicitly.

    “And does that include the cost for recycling?”

    Yes.

    “The decomissioning?”

    Yes.

    Levelised unit cost estimates are defined as “the ratio of total lifetime expenses versus total expected outputs, expressed in terms of the present value equivalent”.

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:02 PM

  240. For AC 10 December 2009 at 3:0 PM
    and Skip Smith 10 December 2009 at 6:0 PM

    http://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+read+a+science+journal+article

    The advice given about how to prepare to read, and how to proceed when reading, is even more applicable to the IPCC publications, in which each paragraph may summarize many journal articles.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:19 PM

  241. SecularAnimist said:

    …I almost feel a nostalgic fondness for the pro-nuclear zealots.

    I categorically disagree with them: nuclear power is neither a necessary nor a particularly effective solution to the problem of global warming. So there is no need to even debate whether or how to deal with the very real dangers and problems of nuclear power.

    I, in my turn, wish that the anti-nuclear folks could discover that the CND battle is behind us, and that nuclear power no longer means nuclear weapons. You won. The world is disarming. Slowly and with the occasional misstep – but heading in the right direction.

    I don’t think I’m a nuclear zealot. On the other hand, I’m young enough not to associate nuclear power with all the bad things that happened. Even that bogeyman of nuclear power, Chernobyl, was absolutely negligible when compared to other energy sources. In terms of deaths per GWy, nuclear is dwarfed by fossil fuels, and is even less than most renewables.

    I have to agree with other commenters: David MacKay is an excellent resource on this subject.

    “At the same time, we must not let ourselves be swept off our feet in
    horror at the danger of nuclear power. Nuclear power is not infinitely
    dangerous. It’s just dangerous, much as coal mines, petrol repositories,
    fossil-fuel burning and wind turbines are dangerous. Even if we have no
    guarantee against nuclear accidents in the future, I think the right way
    to assess nuclear is to compare it objectively with other sources of power.
    Coal power stations, for example, expose the public to nuclear radiation,
    because coal ash typically contains uranium. Indeed, according to a paper
    published in the journal Science, people in America living near coal-fired
    power stations are exposed to higher radiation doses than those living near
    nuclear power plants.”

    Comment by Didactylos — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:29 PM

  242. > hello
    > This usage demands that the correct answer already
    > be known, and shown to be accurate.

    Sorry, you obviously didn’t read the answer.

    Thermometer data — known and shown to be accurate — is exactly what those bad tree ring data points diverge _from_.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:33 PM

  243. Comment by Skip Smith 10 December 2009 @ 6:33 PM:

    “They’re being deliberately vague here…

    I’m not saying the IPCC was unaware of the divergence issue. I’m saying the IPCC was deliberately obscuring the issue.”

    You’re saying the IPCC is a conspiracy? If you’re not, what do you mean by “the IPCC was deliberately obscuring the issue”? How many IPCC members were in on this? You seem very definite: “They’re being deliberately vague here…”

    You do realize this makes you sound a little nutty?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:51 PM

  244. I don’t doubt the science behind anthropogenic climate change, however I do have reservations about what we should do about it.

    The fact is that no-one even knows if the planet will still be here in 100 years time. There could be an asteroid lurking in deep space on a collision course with us. If there is, it would make all this fussing about the earth warming by a few degress seem meaningless.

    Doing something is not always “better” than doing nothing. Mitigating climate change could even cause even more suffering in the end. No-one truly knows whether it would or not.

    Like all individuals, at some point the human race will become extinct. What difference does it make if it’s in 100 or 100,000 years?
    If you can answer that, then you can say what to do about anthropogenic climate change.

    Comment by Foxy — 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:56 PM

  245. Nuclear power is far too costly for the free market. Operators could never afford the full liability insurance to cover accidents. In every country there is an enormous government guarantee. In the United States for example there is the Price Anderson Act: the federal government will pick up the costs of any accident over $10 billion. Any cost-benefit of different energy sources should include this.

    Comment by Lee A. Arnold — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:16 PM

  246. Foxy, do you look both ways when crossing a busy street?
    If so, why bother?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:18 PM

  247. #223, Hi, Snorbert Zangox, long time no see. Remember we used to debate over on Mark Lynas’s page. I remember you said you do many of the EC (environmentally correct) things, such as ride a bicycle. And that’s really what counts, more than agreeing with climate science.

    There are so many AGW mitigation things we can do that just make sense beyond mitigating AGW either by saving money, by mitigating other environmental problems, by mitigating non-environmental problems, and/or by improving health, and/or even by reducing crime (yes, I read about how crime goes down in areas where more people cycle and walk instead of drive cars), not to mention lower taxes, bec less road repairs are needed when people walk or cycle more than drive cars and trucks. And, a vegetarian diet is great not only for reducing GHGs, but also for improving health and preventing cancer, heart disease, and many other ailments.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:25 PM

  248. The fact is that no-one even knows if the planet will still be here in 100 years time. There could be an asteroid lurking in deep space on a collision course with us. If there is, it would make all this fussing about the earth warming by a few degress seem meaningless.

    This reminds me of my younger sister years ago, a devout evangelical, convinced that the apocalypse would come in her lifetime, wondering if she should bother putting money into a retirement plan.

    I finally convinced her that if she didn’t do so, the consequences about her being wrong about the coming apocalypse would be painful, while if she were right, the fact that some of her money was locked away in a retirement fund would be meaningless.

    Comment by dhogaza — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:31 PM

  249. Hi Foxy, #244. Hope not many people think like you.

    So, I guess you’d rather have higher energy bills and ill health by refusing to mitigate AGW. And, of course, you’d be missing out on the really great fun in mitigating; the bandwagon would be passing you by. And then what if an asteroid doesn’t strike earth in a few years or decades, and you won’t have all that money saved from mitigating, and you’d be in bad health.

    You might end up the rest of your days in the poor house. Oh yes, that’s right, we don’t have poor houses here in rugged individualist USA — you’d be out on the streets. Well, at least the weather might be warming in winter then :)

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 10 Dec 2009 @ 8:40 PM

  250. 177 – Barton Paul Levenson – “It’s the most serious threat we’ve ever had outside of nuclear war.”

    And we can not get our minds off the problem long enough to focus on the solution. Why bitch and whine about global warming when we could put our minds to use and find processes that saves people money and reduces carbon emissions at the same time?

    People are not going to accept the science until they see disaster unfold before their eyes, and some will not accept it even then. That is a fact jack. Do you know how many older theories are still floating around that people do not accept? There are many people that think the earth is only 6,000 years old! If we are going to do anything about global warming, it will need to involve ideas that are economically sound.

    We could find small things to save people money that could have a large accumulated impact on CO2 emissions. We also must do something about these material problems in Solar and wind. If solar technology could be developed using abundant materials, we would be in great shape. At that point, people’s beliefs would be unimportant because economics would take care of the problem.

    As long as natural variations are in decline, global warming will be masked. I do not believe there will be political support for anything drastic until we see natural variations on the increase. Until natural variations are moving upward, global warming is going to be confused by many in the general population. This debate about the science will continue forward until the mask is removed. In my opinion, the only solution is to create economically viable technologies. People need to be offered something that can produce lower bills. If we can improve wallets, everyone on the planet will listen.

    Gavin,
    When is the decline on the natural side expected to stop?

    186 – Didactylos – Nuclear technology does have a very high fixed costs (business term). Nuclear is profitable through the long term as the fixed costs associated with production spreads out. Nuclear technology still has variable costs with materials such as uranium that can cause the price of nuclear technology to change as activity increases. The real problem with nuclear technology on an extremely large scale is the variable cost. The extra demand on the materials would shoot up the variable portion of the costs. If we could discover a method to split atoms on materials that are more abundant, it would be a good technology to use for this purpose. Personally, I think solar and wind technology has the best chances on the materials side.

    Comment by EL — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:11 PM

  251. Re 244 Foxy –

    What are the chances that an asteroid (larger than _) does not strike in the next 300 years?

    Not that we shouldn’t be on the lookout and develop options to deal with it, but I think the chances are low enough to be concerned about other problems.

    “Doing something is not always “better” than doing nothing. Mitigating climate change could even cause even more suffering in the end. No-one truly knows whether it would or not.”

    That’s a perfectly fine position to take before studying the issue. But the issue has been studied. Mitigation needn’t be all that bad, really.

    Re 222 Paul -
    “because the cost is unbearable until the technology catches up.”

    Yes, but the technology is a long way towards that, and financial pressures contribute to the rate of innovation – that’s how the market should work, after all, and a policy that puts a price signal on emitting activity reflecting the public cost should make make the whole system work better.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:19 PM

  252. “that was a nice verbal trick!” – 235

    If I were a professional writer, it could be considered a trick of the trade.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:28 PM

  253. Re: 244. “Like all individuals, at some point the human race will become extinct. What difference does it make if it’s in 100 or 100,000 years? If you can answer that, then you can say what to do about anthropogenic climate change.”

    You watch too much television. Dwelling on potential catastrophe as an excuse for apathy and inaction is just exactly what the people who want other people to be mindless consumers want. Potential catastrophe is the reason we don’t build in flood plains and put smoke alarms in our houses. It’s why we try to establish treaties to eliminate nuclear weapons. It’s why we try to see climate change for the threat it is and try to do something about it. It’s only natural that we try to protect our investment in the future – such as our kids and grand kids.

    And hey, I can say what to do about anthropogenic climate change whether I’ve answered your question or not.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 10 Dec 2009 @ 9:40 PM

  254. This is off-topic and apologies for bringing it up here (not really sure where else to do this though).

    There was an article in The Australia today about the new supercomputer, nick-named “Blizzard”, unveiled in Germany:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/germany-unveils-worlds-largest-weather-supercomputer/story-e6frgakx-1225809331773

    I haven’t heard anything about this before. It sounds impressive and I’m guessing that it will provide a quantum leap in the level of detail available in the climate model projections.

    Just wondering if Real Climate will be doing an article on this and what it means to climate science in general.

    Comment by Jimmy Nightingale — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:13 PM

  255. 195 – Barton Paul Levenson – “BPL: I think solar and wind have it beat out on both counts.”

    If we could take care of the materials problems on those two technologies, I think the technologies would dominate electricity generation for the rest of mankind’s future. I think solar is especially important because of its application in space.

    207 – “what is your solution?”
    Intensive materials research.
    If we could get most or all of the rare materials out of solar technology, mankind would never have to worry about energy again. Wind technology also has a few rare materials that needs to be removed and replaced.

    “Doesn’t the fact that there are countries (e.g. Japan) that use much less energy per person than the U.S., but have a higher standard of living than the U.S., suggest that reducing energy usage can be accomplished?”

    The short answer is no. There are a lot of factors going into America’s standard of living decline. For example, America has been flooding it’s monetary supply for decades through high deficit spending (recklessly so). The labor markets have been flooded with cheap labor. America also has significant trade imbalances. The list is a very long one….

    To answer your question, America has different energy requirements than Japan. The population density of Japan is around 884 people per square mile. The United States has a population density of around 86.5 people per square mile. In other words, America requires a different sort of infrastructure than Japan. I would also point out that America does not have the highest energy consumption per capita in the world. There are nations with higher per capita energy consumption. Iceland and Canada are the two best examples, and they are higher for obvious reasons.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_energy_consumption_per_capita

    “There is a variety of potential renewable energies that could be developed, so which ones are limited by materials (be sure to consider recycling and emerging improvements)?”

    Almost all of them. Windmills, geothermal, solar panels, and other renewable technologies have been around for a very long time, and all of them have technical challenges to deal with.

    “If there are renewable technologies that would ultimately be limited by materials, does this mean that they shouldn’t be used at all?”

    All of them are currently being used. Ethanol is currently being used, and it’s snake oil.

    How do we power the entire world without fossil fuel technology? That question is the most fundamental question to ask right now. People can not simply ignore the problems with renewable technologies. These problems have to be solved, or the modern world may very well face a train wreck. The solution to global warming is not going to be one simple step as many seem to believe. The solution to global warming is thousands of steps. Re-gearing the energy infrastructure of the world is very dangerous, and one of the largest problems in the global warming debate is that possible solutions are not being debated enough.

    Comment by EL — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:27 PM

  256. Science 13 November 2009:
    Vol. 326. no. 5955, pp. 924 – 925
    DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5955.924
    Prev | Table of Contents | Next
    NEWS OF THE WEEK
    CLIMATE CHANGE:
    No Sign Yet of Himalayan Meltdown, Indian Report Finds
    Pallava Bagla
    Are Himalayan glaciers beating a rapid retreat in the face of global warming? That would seem to be the case, according to a flurry of recent reports by BBC and other mass media. But the picture is more complex—and poses scientific puzzles, according to a review of satellite and ground measurements released by India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests earlier this week. The report, by senior glaciologist Vijay Kumar Raina, formerly of the Geological Survey of India, seeks to correct a widely held misimpression based on measurements of a handful of glaciers: that India’s 10,000 or so Himalayan glaciers are shrinking rapidly in response to climate change. That’s not so, Raina says.

    I’ve been invaded by denialists using this as the ultimate truth. It reminds me of the case in Iceland, manipulated by Crichton. Any thoughts?

    [Response: Some discussion here. - gavin]

    Comment by Mark A. York — 10 Dec 2009 @ 11:43 PM

  257. Global concern over climate change dips, but rising in India. Indians are ”very concerned” about climate change, believe that the main responsibility to address global warming issues rests with the government.
    http://www.newsgaze.com/news/global-concern-over-climate-change-cools-off-but-rising-in-india/

    Comment by Rajesh Menon — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:12 AM

  258. One aspect of the editorial that is interesting is that it sets a limit on the amount of carbon that can still be burned. That limit may be too high but the concept has interesting implications. For example, if we are not going to mine all the coal in the US, then it might be prudent to recognize that may fewer miners die in coal mining in Wyoming than in Kentucky or West Virginia. http://www.msha.gov/stats/charts/coalbystate.asp

    Would it not be more humane to end mining in the East now? Would it not be better to also export coal to China rather than have them mine their own with their even higher death toll? It is not really a matter of energy security anymore if we are not going to burn everything. So, humane concerns might take a greater roll.

    Or, one could ask how to maximize energy output for that mass of carbon. In that case, ending coal mining and oil production in favor of natural gas for the fossil fuel end game could be the way to go.

    Or, we might look at cost. Oil is cheap to produce is some places. Setting the world price of oil below $15/barrel would keep oil production going only where it is cost effective. That way our transition off are carbon is kept cheap on the carbon side.

    Once we decide that we won’t burn everything, there many considerations that policy might address that are not addressed under current assumptions that all fossil sources are fair game.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:40 AM

  259. I personally don,t give a s**t who generates my electricity , or how it is generated , AS LONG AS NO CO2 IS RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE.
    If somebody can supply nuke generated ‘lektricity at the same cost or cheaper than coal fired I will happily sign up. OK boys and girls , leave it to the market.
    Long live capitalism !!!

    Comment by uncle pete — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:02 AM

  260. [Response: It's an assessment report not an encyclopedia nor a introductory textbook. There is a reason why they have citations. - gavin]

    Well, hold on a minute, Gavin. Earlier in this thread someone said in repose to the quote we’re discussing:

    “That hardly says the tree data suggests the temperature goes down when the local temperatures actually goes up.”

    and you said:

    [Response: Yes, it says exactly that. - gavin]

    Now you have implicitly admitted that that sentence is unclear, and the only way to make sense of it is to go read the citations.

    [edit]

    [Response: The statement is clear to people who know what is being discussed. If you don't find it clear, then read the references. Really, it's not that hard. - gavin]

    Comment by Skip Smith — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:38 AM

  261. #210 Titus

    Conspiracy? Well, not quite, but you certainly have confirmed your ignorance on the issue and lack of reasoning.

    Do some reading:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/the-leading-edge/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge

    If one follows your logic “56 newspapers in 45 countries” = Conspiracy, then we would also have to accept the fact that the all the math books that are the same in each school are a conspiracy to teach math. My, my… the horror…

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:53 AM

  262. Human life, like all life on planet Earth, will eventually become extinct. Does it really matter, really, one way or another whether that happens to us, or 400 or 40,000 years from now? Or to some poor smuck and his family dying in misery 4 billion years from now? With or without AGW, or it’s very worst case scenarios, we are an irrelevant and immeasurably small quantum blip in the universe. One second after the last human dies, nobody will know the difference or care. It’s an eternal round in its nth iteration..

    This is a helluva one-time-only climate experiment going on: lets burn those fossil fuels as fast, furious and completely as we can.

    Look at the latest Hubble Deep Field. You really see anyone out there who knows or gives a damn?

    That being said, great site Gavin, et.al. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Shelama — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:23 AM

  263. Paul: Reducing emissions means reducing energy use

    BPL: Absolutely not true. It means reducing emissions. There are energy sources that don’t emit carbon dioxide, or not serious amounts of it: wind, solar, geothermal, ocean thermal, wave, tidal. Biomass emits only what it takes out of the air in the first place, so is carbon-neutral. It’s a myth that decarbonizing means deenergizing. It doesn’t.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:47 AM

  264. EL: Re-gearing the energy infrastructure of the world is very dangerous,

    BPL: Not NEARLY as dangerous as not doing so.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:54 AM

  265. Gavin,

    You did well on CNN last night – much better than Bill Nye the Science Guy! :)

    What I cannot understand is Christy stating that he is not funded by oil interests. He is linked to the following organizations according to ExxonSecrets.org: (http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.php?id=903)

    Competitive Enterprise Institute
    Source: CEI website, 3/04

    Cato Institute
    Source: Cato Institute website 4/04

    Independent Institute
    Source: Independent Institute Press Release 7/28/03

    George C. Marshall Institute
    Source: Marshall Institute Website (2006)

    Heartland Institute
    Source: Heartland Institute – HeartlandGlobalWarming.org

    Even if he was never paid for his services (doubtful) he still is speaking on behalf of these well-oiled organizations.

    Furthermore, he claimed that “hide the decline” was referring to hiding a cooler temperature which is flat our wrong. So he either isn’t following the news about this (if so he should not be speaking about it) or he is knowingly supporting false claims.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:16 AM

  266. This is from http://www.haloscan.com/comments/tf2777/article24135_htm

    Global warming is also a problem because of eventual massive sea-level changes.

    It is extremely easy to figure out the long term sea-level changes.

    So easy I will figure out one part (the East Antarctica ice-sheet) for you.

    What is not so easy, is to determine, how much, by when,..

    The largest ice-sheet is the East Antarctica ice-sheet:

    The area covered by the East Antarctica ice-sheet = 13,700,000 km2.

    Average depth of the ice-sheet = 1.6 km.

    Volume of the ice-sheet = Area x Depth = 21,900,000 km3.

    Area of Ocean = 71% x Area of earth = 71% x 510,000,000 = 362,100,000 km2.

    This implies the increase in the height of the sea (if the entire East Antarctica ice-sheet melted) is:

    = 21900000/362100000 = 0.06048 km = 60.48 meters (200 feet).

    If the West Antarctica ice-sheet melts you get another 8 meter (26 feet) rise.

    If the Greenland ice-sheet melts (which is already happening) you get another 6.5 meter (20 feet) rise.

    In total, if it all the ice melts, the sea-level rise is about 80 meters (262 feet).

    It will take a long time for the ice sheets to melt, but when they do, that land you have in Manhattan isn’t going to be worth a dime.

    Imagine taking a boat to the 26th floor of a, by then, totally worthless Empire State Building.

    Can’t see that this is a long term problem worth taking precautions against,.. no sir,…no problems here.

    Can’t see that having most of the world’s cities flooded would be a problem.

    See what the U.S. Geological Survey says: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/

    Comment by A comment from elsewhere — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:37 AM

  267. It would be nice if we could rely exclusively, immediately on genuinely renewable energy – wind, solar and other “pure” renewables.

    But the pragmatist has to step in and ask the difficult questions. The wind doesn’t blow all the time, nor the sun shine. We need baseload power, and we need on-demand power from peaking power plants. In short, we need a complicated mix of energy sources.

    Where does nuclear come in? From a practical point of view, it is the only energy source that is a mature technology and can replace coal very quickly and cheaply.

    Hydroelectric is great, but has severe geographic limitations.

    One day, we will have huge wind and solar installations. But it is going to take time, both simply to physically build them, and to improve the technology.

    Think of nuclear as a stop-gap. A way of meeting our increasing energy demand at a time when we want to decommission thousands of dirty coal plants. I don’t think nuclear is “better” than renewables. I think it is infinitely better than coal, and probably considerably better than coal with CCS.

    Comment by Didactylos — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:36 AM

  268. When does the (most accurate) climate model predict the next Ice Age? Next LIA? Next MWP?

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:52 AM

  269. “It would be nice if we could rely exclusively, immediately on genuinely renewable energy – wind, solar and other “pure” renewables.

    But the pragmatist has to step in and ask the difficult questions.”

    Linus Torvaldes is a pragmatist. Therefore since BitKeeper was what was required, even though it was heavily restricted in its license, he used it and therefore made all kernel code contribuors use BitKeeper.

    R M Stallman is an idealist. BitKeeper wasn’t Free And Open Source Software and therefore could NEVER be the right solution.

    Many “pragmatists” backed Linus, dismissing RMS as a whacko and completely out of touch.

    Someone in FOSS who had NEVER agreed to the BitKeeper license reverse engineered the protocol (just as all IP laws allow to happen: even DMCA, even though protocols cannot be copyrighted) and the owner of BitKeeper then removed summarily all license for use of the software in the Linux Kernel development.

    Disruption. Cats and Dogs living together. Etc.

    Problems that occurred because the pragmatist CHOSE UNWISELY.

    Git was produced (the name coming because Linus’ mate was the owner of the BitKeeper code and even though the owner of that code didn’t have a single valid reason to be annoyed at the protocol sniffing, he was and Linus thought sticking up for a mate was more important than what was right) and eventually work on the Linux Kernel continued with some severe interruption.

    Git is licensed under a FOSS license.

    The idealist CHOSE WISELY. But was ignored by “pragmatists” who sneered “He doesn’t understand the *real* world, up there in his ivory tower…”.

    And since when did principles become negotiable?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:34 AM

  270. “When does the (most accurate) climate model predict the next Ice Age? Next LIA? Next MWP?”

    In the future.

    If I’d said “next ice age in 60,000 years”, what would you do? Stall for time until that date passed to see if you can go “SEE! YOU WERE WRONG!”?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  271. Two fingered:

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/01/nuclear_power.html

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:39 AM

  272. “Alex J wrote: “But at this point, I think humanity will pretty much deserve what it gets.”

    Be that as it may, humans are not the only sentient beings on Earth.”

    And those who DIDN’T deserve it but were human too will get what SOMEONE ELSE deserves.

    It’s not like the Rapture here, you know, Alex. Good and bad will be stuffed. And the bad, being bad, will be better equipped to survive at the expense of others. You know, the ones who DIDN’T deserve it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:41 AM

  273. 195 BPL: You are wrong.
    Nuclear power is the safest kind, bar none, for everybody.

    Deaths per terrawatt year [twy] for energy industries, including Chernobyl. terra=mega mega [There are zero sources of energy that cause zero deaths, but not having the electricity causes the far more deaths because not having electricity is a form of poverty.]

    fuel……… ……..fatalities… …..who……… …….deaths per twy
    coal……… ………6400…… ……workers……….. ………342
    natural gas….. ..1200…… …..workers and public… …85
    hydro…….. …….4000….. …….public………… …………883
    nuclear…….. ………31…… ……workers………… ………….8

    Nuclear power is proven to be the safest. Source: “The Revenge of Gaia” by James Lovelock page 102. As you can see, psychological problems are preventing the wider use of nuclear power. Chernobyl is included in the above.

    Downloaded from:
    http://www.alternet.org/environment/54682/?page=5

    “Health, hazard, and quality of life near wind power installations How Close is Too Close?
    Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD* March 1, 2005
    A nacelle (generator and gearbox) weighing up to 60 tons atop a 265 ft. metal tower, equipped with 135 ft. blades, is a significant hazard to people, livestock, buildings, and traffic within a radius equal to the height of the structure (400 ft) and beyond. In Germany in 2003, in high storm winds, the brakes on a wind turbine failed and the blades spun out of control. A blade struck the tower and the entire nacelle flew off the tower. The blades and other parts landed as far as 1650 ft (0.31 mile) from the base of the tower (Note that all turbines discussed in this article are “upwind,” three-bladed, industrial-sized turbines. “Downwind” turbines have not
    been built since the 1980′s.) Given the date, this turbine was probably smaller than the ones proposed for current construction, and thus could not throw pieces as far. This distance is nearly identical to calculations of ice throw from turbines with 100 ft blades rotating 20 times per minute (1680 ft)”

    And the above is only the so-called tip of the iceberg. If interested, just google “dangers of wind turbines” – there’s plenty of sites to choose from to learn about the dangers. The noise alone is inescapable – like water torture.”

    [No source of energy is risk free, but the poverty caused by not having energy is a really big killer.]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:41 AM

  274. Did you know that coal ashes and cinders contain enough uranium to fully fuel our nuclear power plants? See:
    http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html
    Coal also contains arsenic and lead.

    Don’t listen to coal company propaganda on their only competitor.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:46 AM

  275. Dave K says:
    10 December 2009 at 4:14 PM
    About Nuclear. yes, that is the best alternative for now. A large percentage of North America emissions are from the production of electricity.(not SUV’s)
    If not for Three Mile Island and the resulting Hollywood created hysteria around it(China Syndrome) we could have been in a much better carbon shape by now.

    China Syndrome wasn’t related to 3 mile island, it was just a coincidence, I remember watching the movie at the cinema and the next day the news of 3 mile island broke.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:01 AM

  276. Didactylos,

    I would prefer to see the transition period consist of natural gas combined cycle to get away from coal,
    at least for the short term reductions. New plants should at least meet the same emission standard
    a combined cycle plant. It also avoids the controversy over nuclear.

    Yes, it’s a fossil fuel, however, Britain used it to achieve significant emission reductions.

    They will give time to allow renewables to build up and possibly nuclear if nothing else pans out.

    Comment by PHG — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:13 AM

  277. Edward Greisch (273), I didn’t read all of the detail, but hydro fatalities seem way odd. Are they including all of the people who die in (drunken or otherwise) boating accidents in the reservoirs, e.g?

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  278. Can someone here explain the IPCC Simplified expression for radiative forcing? I am a novice and I’m trying to get my arms around this.

    CO2 F = ln(C/C0) = 5.35
    F= ln(C/C0) + ß (C – C0) = 4.841, ß = 0.0906
    F= (g(C)-g(C0))
    where g(C)= ln(1+1.2C+0.005C2 +1.4 x 10-6C3) = 3.35

    CH4 F= (M – M0) – (f(M,N0) – f(M0,N0)) = 0.036

    N2O F= (N – N0) – (f(M0,N) – f(M0,N0)) = 0.12

    CFC-11a F= (X – X0) = 0.25

    CFC-12 F= (X – X0) = 0.32

    f(M,N) = 0.47 ln[1+2.01x10-5 (MN)0.75+5.31x10-15 M(MN)1.52]
    C is CO2 in ppm
    M is CH4 in ppb
    N is N2O in ppb
    X is CFC in ppb

    Particularly this:

    f(M,N) = 0.47 ln[1+2.01x10-5 (MN)0.75+5.31x10-15 M(MN)1.52]

    [Response: There is an overlap between bands for CH4 and N2O and so the calculations of the forcings from increases there aren't independent. The f(M,N) formula is to compensate for that. These equations aren't difficult to code in your favorite software, though be careful with the units and the exponents (which have dropped out of your text above). - gavin]

    Comment by Adam — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  279. Re#270:
    >>>In the future. If I’d said “next ice age in 60,000 years”, what would you do? Stall for time until that date passed to see if you can go “SEE! YOU WERE WRONG!”?

    That’s silly. I was wondering if the model saw any of the major and minor non-manmade cycles of the past continuing further in the future – or does it predict Ice Ages stop for example.

    As far as finding a “SEE! YOU WERE WRONG!” for the model, we don’t need to go far at all. The difficult part is finding a “see, we were right!”. That’s the problem for those extrapolating the doomsday scenarios from it.

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:03 AM

  280. Adam, I can’t explain it — but if you paste say just the last line of that (“Particularly this:”) into Google — the whole long string — you get nine hits.

    Seven are to science sources; two are to ‘other’ discussions claiming to refute thermodynamics.

    Have you looked at any of those already?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:32 AM

  281. “When does the (most accurate) climate model predict the next Ice Age? Next LIA? Next MWP?”

    In the future.

    Prediction is very difficult, especially when it involves the future.
    Neils Bohr

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:37 AM

  282. All the GCM models that are used to make these projections rely on 2 basic premises.
    1) That there is a positive water vapour feedback
    and
    2) as the Earth warms- causing further grenhouse gases to accumulate in the atmosphere, more long wave radiation (heat) will be trapped.

    In fact Tropospheric water vapour levels are falling, or at bast have remained constant. Whilst actual measurements of outgoing long wave radiation show increased amouts escaping into space.

    These real-World observations seriously undermine the basis of GCM projections.

    [Response: Well they might if they were true. But both your assumptions are not assumptions but results, and your information about water vapour changes is just wrong. -gavin]

    Comment by Kondeeler — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:39 AM

  283. Rod B, hydroelectric dams don’t fail often, but when they do, the consequences are severe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dam_failure

    I imagine the balance of fatalities are during construction.

    Comment by Didactylos — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:40 AM

  284. Rod B says

    Edward Greisch (273), I didn’t read all of the detail, but hydro fatalities seem way odd. Are they including all of the people who die in (drunken or otherwise) boating accidents in the reservoirs, e.g?

    Very unlikely, since that wouldn’t make sense. It is not energy-related. Actual hydropower fatalities include things like the Barrett Chute accident.

    (How fire can be domesticated)

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan until ~1996 — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:41 AM

  285. Completely Fed Up said:

    Yes! You make my point for me. There are thousands of “studies” out there, that will support whatever cuckoo theory you want. It takes a lot of time and effort to find a properly sourced study that actually adds up.

    Comment by Didactylos — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  286. I am all for giving help to poor countries, maybe we should do that anyway!

    However, from my personal expeirience money given to such countries does not get through to those who need it, corruption and gansterism are these countries governments.

    So what is going to be done about that?

    Comment by John Cooknell — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:56 AM

  287. Gavin,

    In regard: your response to my post, number 223.

    No. I did not read the study; I have no subscription to Nature. However, I did read the abstract, so I was aware of the period of the cycle. I also read (as much as my college German would allow) an abstract on the website of the sponsoring agency, http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOP_7YDC49, which says that the extant moisture apparently fell at the beginning of the Holocene, about 11,000 years ago. Therefore, we are nearing the end of the cycle. Perhaps not such a grasp at straws as you thought.

    By the way, one should avoid ending sentences with prepositions where possible.

    Comment by Snorbert Zangox — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:01 PM

  288. Comment by J — 11 December 2009 @ 8:52 AM:

    I don’t think it takes a climate model to predict that, as long as anthropogenic CO2 forcing continues at or above the current rate, no big or little ice age will occur and the warm period will be world wide, not just regional like the medieval one.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  289. “Yes! You make my point for me. There are thousands of “studies” out there, that will support whatever cuckoo theory you want.”

    Including yours…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  290. “Prediction is very difficult, especially when it involves the future.
    Neils Bohr”

    Well, it’s not “now” and the next one can’t be “in the past”, so “in the future” is all we’ve got.

    We can predict the future will turn up.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:16 PM

  291. So far as I can tell, nobody has shown that the climate is not a sequence of random fluctuations. But it sure looks random to me. In this frequency spectrum, global surface temperature looks just like pink noise on a scale of decades, and white noise on shorter time scales. Can anyone point me to a proof that climate is not random fluctuations?

    [Response: Milankovitch. - gavin]

    Comment by Kevan Hashemi — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:25 PM

  292. >>288 Steve

    Your view that humans have forever stopped the Ice Age cycle and all other mid-term cycles is interesting. ( Would have been especially pertinent to the 70s science, re: “The Coming Ice Age”)

    But I would still like to know if the (most accurate) climate model predicts another Ice Age, LIA, MWP, or other of the past non-manmade cycles.

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:34 PM

  293. I am fully committed to the Copenhagen process as I have written here.

    Comment by Nicolas Nierenberg — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:40 PM

  294. There’s a really nice post here:
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2009/12/trust_scientists

    Quoting from the end:
    So, after hours of research, I can dismiss Mr Eschenbach. But what am I supposed to do the next time I wake up and someone whose name I don’t know has produced another plausible-seeming account of bias in the climate-change science? Am I supposed to invest another couple of hours in it? Do I have to waste the time of the readers of this blog with yet another long post on the subject? Why? Why do these people keep bugging us like this? Does the spirit of scientific scepticism really require that I remain forever open-minded to denialist humbug until it’s shown to be wrong? At what point am I allowed to simply say, look, I’ve seen these kind of claims before, they always turns out to be wrong, and it’s not worth my time to look into it?

    Well, here’s my solution to this problem: this is why we have peer review. Average guys with websites can do a lot of amazing things. One thing they cannot do is reveal statistical manipulation in climate-change studies that require a PhD in a related field to understand. So for the time being, my response to any and all further “smoking gun” claims begins with: show me the peer-reviewed journal article demonstrating the error here. Otherwise, you’re a crank and this is not a story.

    Comment by CPR — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:43 PM

  295. Snorbert says, “By the way, one should avoid ending sentences with prepositions where possible.”

    And of course we all know Churchill’s response: “Young man, your impertinence is a thing up with which i will not put!”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:45 PM

  296. #262 Shelama

    One little problem with not caring is human suffering. Or are you into that?

    Consideration: Let’s say nobody cares and we let it all go to hell in a handbasket. 40 years from now, someone is hungry and finds a girl named Shelama. They don’t want to eat Shelama all at once but really like fresh meat. So they cut off an arm from Shelama and then cauterize the wound with a burning chunk of wood so Shelama does not bleed out.

    Is that really something you are okay with? Or do you just not care when it happens to someone else?

    268 J

    Study first, then ask questions. There are short and long term natural variations that occur within the overarching forcing parameters.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    PLEASE USE REAL NAMES IF YOU ARE NOT IN DANGER OF BEING STALKED. Doing so shows that you have enough integrity to stand behind your words. Not doing so indicates the opposite may be true.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Dec 2009 @ 12:54 PM

  297. Comment by EL — 10 December 2009 @ 11:27 PM

    I pretty much agree with what you are saying, but you damage your case when you make the pronouncement that using less energy isn’t a solution and is even damaging. Energy conservation is obviously not even close to being a primary solution, but it is the low hanging fruit in the mix. This is most important in the U.S., the nation with the largest and probably most wasteful energy consumption.

    In the mix of ways to reduce CO2, it is wise to start with the ones that produce the most immediate effect at the least cost, and this is energy conservation in transportation, homes, and business. I practice what I preach, so I know the costs and benefits.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:04 PM

  298. If not for Three Mile Island and the resulting Hollywood created hysteria around it(China Syndrome)

    Causality FAIL

    The China Syndrome – release March 16, 1979

    Three Mile Island Incident – 4am, March 28, 1979

    Following the Three Mile Island Incident, Michael Douglas (the producer) actually pulled the move from some theaters.

    Comment by JM — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  299. Jeff Masters over at Weather Underground has a post today about a new weather pattern observed over the Arctic – “The old atmospheric patterns that controlled Arctic weather–the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO), which featured air flow that tended to circle the pole, now alternate with the new Arctic Dipole pattern. The Arctic Dipole pattern features anomalous high pressure on the North American side of the Arctic, and low pressure on the Eurasian side. This results in winds blowing more from south to north, increasing transport of heat into the central Arctic Ocean.” (http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/entrynum=1398)

    A whole new positive feedback to investigate…

    Comment by Andy Gates — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:12 PM

  300. Comment by Jim Bouldin — 11 December 2009 @ 11:37 AM:

    Ha! Prediction is even more difficult because- “The future ain’t what it used to be” (Yogi Berra).

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:34 PM

  301. I can’t claim the massive dedication required to go through all these posts, but I would just like to comment on the global temperature predictions issue. I have just read a compact booklet produced by the UK Met Office entitled ‘Warming: Climate change – the facts’. This takes a simplified approach to the broad issues suitable for general UK public consumption, but I think it gets the essential points across and deserves a wide circulation to counteract the massive doses of misinformation to which we are being subjected at the moment.
    It includes a temperature graph giving a scenario-independent line valid for at least 20 years or so, and then heading up towards 2100. Based on this very well-known projection, I would flatly disagree with the statement that ‘we cannot possibly predict the future course of global temperatures’. The trend of observed temperatures is pointing remorselessly upwards – not surprising, since we seem to be following the worst-case BAU CO2 line in the IPCC scenarios at the moment.
    If this goes on, and I don’t see how the trend can deviate markedly over the next decade or so, then I venture to predict that the abnormal nature of the situation (and hence its anthropogenic causation) will become obvious to all. Even those of limited intelligence – and even the US Congressman we saw on BBC2 Newsnight the other evening – will surely have got the message by the year 2020.
    I rest my case on that point. The consequences? – well, that’s another ball game entirely, but it has got to generate serious issues for everyone alive by 2050, I guess.

    Comment by Davidb009 — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:41 PM

  302. Didactylos quoted David MacKay: “At the same time, we must not let ourselves be swept off our feet in horror at the danger of nuclear power. Nuclear power is not infinitely dangerous. It’s just dangerous, much as coal mines, petrol repositories, fossil-fuel burning and wind turbines are dangerous.”

    Nuclear power is dangerous “much as wind turbines are dangerous”? Give me a break. How many mountains of toxic waste are produced by mining and refining the fuel for wind turbines? How easily can wind turbine factories be switched over to producing explosive materials for the most destructive weapons ever invented?

    The main difference between responsible nuclear advocates — like the folks at MIT who advocate a large-scale expansion of nuclear power and have done comprehensive studies that honestly address the “obstacles” to such an expansion — and nuclear “zealots” is that the “zealots” refuse to even acknowledge the very serious problems, harms, and dangers associated with nuclear power. MacKay’s suggestion that the dangers of nuclear power are comparable to those of wind turbines is just the sort of over-the-top laughable nonsense that is the sign of the nuclear zealot.

    And again, I am not much interested in a long debate over the harms and dangers of nuclear power, because there is no necessity to even deal with those issues, because nuclear power is neither needed nor is it a particularly effective solution for reducing GHG emissions from electricity generation. Indeed the opportunity costs of nuclear — the cost of investing resources in nuclear that could much more effectively be invested in renewables and efficiency — are so great that investment in nuclear hinders, rather than helps, the effort to reduce GHG emissions.

    Didactylos wrote: “The wind doesn’t blow all the time, nor the sun shine. We need baseload power, and we need on-demand power from peaking power plants.”

    This comment tells me that you don’t know much about concentrating solar thermal with thermal storage (a.k.a. “solar baseload”), or about the numerous studies both in the USA and Europe that have demonstrated that a diversified regional portfolio of renewable energy sources can produce 24×7 power that is at least as reliable as coal or nuclear.

    Didactylos wrote: “Where does nuclear come in … it is the only energy source that is a mature technology and can replace coal very quickly and cheaply.”

    False. Nuclear is the most expensive and takes the longest to build. An expansion of nuclear would be neither quick nor cheap. Wind and solar are both mature technologies. (By the way, why is it that when nuclear proponents argue that nuclear is a “mature technology”, they often immediately go on to say that what we really need is “next generation nuclear technology” which has never been actually built or operated at scale?)

    Didactylos wrote: “One day, we will have huge wind and solar installations. But it is going to take time, both simply to physically build them, and to improve the technology. Think of nuclear as a stop-gap.”

    How can nuclear be a “stop-gap” when wind and solar can be built and deployed — and are being built and deployed already — much faster than nuclear? Like, five times as fast?

    Are you aware that wind and solar are the world’s fastest growing sources of electricity, that both are growing at record-breaking double-digit rates year after year, that private investment capital is pouring into wind and solar by the tens of billions of dollars — while nuclear generation is not growing at all, is forecast to decline as a share of total electricity generatation worldwide even with the new nuclear power plants being built, that private capital will not touch nuclear because it has such a high risk of economic failure (unless the taxpayers and rate payers are forced to absorb all the costs and risks up front), that the “new generation” nuclear power plants being built in Finland and France are way behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget?

    The fact is that IF for some reason we did have to expand nuclear power to address global warming, that we would need wind and solar as the “stop-gaps”, simply because they can be brought online much faster than nuclear. But we simply don’t need nuclear power. We can get all the electricity we could possibly need from wind and solar, and geothermal and hydro and biomass, much faster, at lower cost, and with none of the very serious problems of nuclear.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:42 PM

  303. Didactylos 267

    New nuclear power is NOT cheap. For example, two new plants at Turkey Point FL are projected to cost $12-17 billion – and they won’t be fully operational until 2021. Now consider this, no nuclear power plant has EVER been built on time or on budget. The average cost overrun in the USA is over 200%. Furthermore, 100% of the financing is guaranteed by the US government. The US nuclear power industry has a horrible track record. Nearly half of all plants build went bankrupt. The nuclear power implosion cost US taxpayers about $700 billion in current dollars – and that occured BEFORE Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

    Also, 92% of the fuel used in civlian nuclear power plants is imported. 32% is from Russia from reprocessing of nuclear weapons. That supply will dry up in 2015 and after that there will be a severe global shortage of uranium fuel. 2017 contract prices are already five times higher than the current price and less than 1/2 of anticipated demand has been contracted for. Most of the imported fuel will come from Australia and Asia, which in my opinion is a HUGE security risk. How hard would it be for a terrorist to blow up a ship carrying nuclear fuel?

    I support the expansion of existing nuclear power plants. It’s relatively inexpensive and upgrades can be completed in 3-5 years. Still, a far better short-gap measure is natural gas. We have lots of it and while not “clean” it’s a heck of a lot better than coal.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:44 PM

  304. All,

    This is a minor matter but could an established climate scientist please weigh in on this temperature conversion issue. I’m only an astrophysicist so I usually work in Kelvin. Thanks.
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/skeptics-hold-fast-in-copenhagen/?permid=66#comment66

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 11 Dec 2009 @ 1:59 PM

  305. Completely Fed Up, determining the reliability and veracity of a source is not easy. You have to read it, check the cited references, and give it a sanity check. If things look odd, then you have to dig further.

    Your source fails the “sniff test”.

    First, it appears to be a white paper written by a single individual, it isn’t peer reviewed or published under the auspices of any known body. The funding for the work is not obvious.

    Second, the author is almost unknown, but appears to have ties to coal.

    Third, the paper is entirely US centric. This means that it does not and cannot provide the numbers I am looking for.

    Fourth, it makes no attempt to provide an independent review of costs, instead being entirely speculative. Again, this means that it cannot provide the numbers I am looking for.

    Fifth, the sloppy treatment of relative costs and unforgivable rambling make it a heavy read. This guy needs a firm editor!

    Sixth, it comes up with a final figure that is five to six times greater than the actual worldwide figures, based on actual built and operational nuclear power stations around the world. Clearly, in such cases, the actual capital costs are used, not estimates. The result is clearly preposterous.

    Sorry, Mr “Completely Fed Up”. You found a headline that agreed with you, and apparently that was enough for you. Unfortunately, there was nothing behind the headline.

    Comment by Didactylos — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:30 PM

  306. 171/202 “calims the planet is in a long-term cololing trend”
    To save Gavin some time I can assure you that this statement is utterly correct.
    There are just a couple of typing errors.
    The word calims should have been claims.
    The word is should have been was.
    The word cololing should have been cooling.
    In every other respect this statement is absolutely accurate.

    Comment by Joseph Sobry — 11 Dec 2009 @ 2:59 PM

  307. J (268) — Using the concept of orbital forcing, by calculating future Milankovitch cycles, it is determined that, baring AGW, the next attempt at a stade (massive ice sheets) would not start for another 20,000+ years. With AGW, consult David Archer’s “The Long Thaw”.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 3:14 PM

  308. After briefly scanning the media, it’s clear that science is not on the agenda of the partisan political crowd, on either the so-called left or the so-called right.

    For left-wing media, take the fairly popular Amy Goodman Democracy Now show – they do touch on a small set of the issues surrounding Copenhagen – emails, draft texts, etc. – but there is zero mention of the real reasons that the U.S. and Canada are trying to water down any draft texts – namely, Canadian tar sand oil, various new coal-to-gasoline plants, and the expanded push for liquefied natural gas by major U.S. oil companies like Exxon and Chevron.

    Clearly, those projects would be non-starters under any level of binding emissions reductions – but instead, Democracy Now focuses on reparations for Indian tribes that had treaties with the Canadian government that were not honored??? How is paying reparations going to have any effect on tar sand developments? Furthermore, wouldn’t it be better to take those “reparations” and use them to develop low-cost renewable energy technologies, which would benefit all Canadians and native tribes? It actually seems like an effort at distraction from the real issues.

    The right-wing media is of course stuck in denialism mode. Try the British Daily Mail for some good examples… such as this one:

    More emails came to light yesterday, including one in which an American climatologist admitted it was a travesty that scientists could not explain a lack of global warming in recent years.

    A truncated statement if there ever was one! The latter part of that email – that is, the end of the statement – was “the observing system is inadequate” or words to that effect. This is similar to the historical “hole” in Arctic temperature measurements – there’s a much bigger set of missing data from the oceans, and of course Triana was never launched, so there’s no really solid data looking at the Earth’s net radiative budget.

    A more complete list of media statements on the emails is available here:

    http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2009/12/10/the-scientists-stike-back/

    It is if nothing else, a nice example of how propaganda works – an email decrying the lack of observational depth in data collection is respun into one that claims the planet is not warming – someone is chortling over that.

    Regardless, neither the left-wing media nor the right-wing media has bothered to consider the science behind the issue, or the underlying specific fossil fuel projects that would be hung out to dry if binding emissions were passed, nor, most importantly, the ability of renewable energy projects to make up for the energy production from said fossil fuel projects.

    This is not because these outlets are unaware of the facts of the matter – they are just choosing not to cover them, and instead are spinning the story along their own ideological lines, while carefully avoiding topics that might upset their sponsors. The non-profit left-right media is hardly independent, either – most of the money appears to come from private foundations, but how those private foundations are funded? That’s not known.

    This is not an ideological issue – it is a science and technology issue – and those who are using it to push their personal ideologies or to please their financial backers are doing the public a giant disservice by avoiding what are clearly the most sensitive economic topics:

    1) The loss of billions of dollars of dedicated investments in extremely dirty fossil fuel projects all over the world, as well as

    2) The expected drop in demand for fossil fuels as renewables take market share away – and yes, you can maintain an industrial civilization in the absence of fossil fuels.

    That’s what the fossil fuel interests are really worried about, isn’t it?

    The ecological disasters – ranging from droughts and floods to plummeting biological diversity (species extinction) and agricultural collapse – don’t even show up on their spreadsheets at all – although that is what everyone else is most concerned about.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 11 Dec 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  309. We’re all heartless, greedy, violent, selfish and thoughtless whenever we can get away with it. That has to be dealt with in any community endeavor.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a communist and wishing for a one world government with the common control of property. The goal of a classless and stateless society free from oppression is a noble one in fact. So why is anyone trying to hide it?

    Comment by Joseph Hulb — 11 Dec 2009 @ 3:33 PM

  310. We can predict the future will turn up

    Dude, that is sooooo … profound. I predict that’s the only kind of prediction you have any mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, or any other scientific skill at making. And furthermore, I have a question for you.

    Who’s ‘we’?

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 11 Dec 2009 @ 3:50 PM

  311. > Kondeeler says: 11 December 2009 at 11:39 AM
    he’s copypasting stuff lifted directly from the “Air Vent” — a septic thinktank.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:18 PM

  312. #193 The science commmunity needs a PR machine.

    I understand the comment was well-intended. However. Science does NOT need a PR machine.

    Did Galileo need a PR machine? Was he in need of an image make-over? Did he have to get his memes right in the blogosphere?

    The hell he did. He needed his political enemies to get the hell out of his face. And once they did and once we coolectively put our eyes to the telescope and saw what he saw, the game was OVER and there was NO going back.

    Except recently. The Inquisition is back — assuming it ever left — and you will NOT be allowed to understand your universe. No sir-rah! No telescope for you.

    Now it’s PR. What has the world come to?

    cougar

    Comment by cougar_w — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:35 PM

  313. Great article. We need governments and legislation to help push the movement forward.

    Steve Cohen (of Columbia’s Earth Institute) recently wrote a great piece about climate politics and COP15.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-cohen/climate-politics-and-cope_b_387029.html

    Hopefully, we’ll see more political and legislative action out of Copenhagen. Obama won the Nobel Prize, now he has to earn it.

    Comment by Carlton — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:43 PM

  314. Re: #304, David:

    Thanks, but the question was: “When does the (most accurate) climate model predict the next Ice Age? Next LIA? Next MWP?”

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  315. >>>Cougar: “Now it’s PR. What has the world come to?”

    Nightmares for children:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzSuP_TMFtk

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:19 PM

  316. Ray Ladbury,

    I appreciate the sentiment; however, I am no longer young. Thanks though.

    Also, please note that I said “where possible”. I recognize that sometimes the alternative is cumbersome, as in Churchill’s construction. In the case in point, the sentence “Did you even read the study you are linking to?” could easily have said, “Did you even read the study that you linked?”

    There is also the matter of Gavin having written, “your are” when he clearly meant, “you’re”, but who’s quibbling? Do you think he makes these kinds of mistakes when he writes computer code?

    Comment by Snorbert Zangox — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:25 PM

  317. RE #303 part of the reason there are cost overruns is that every plant is a little bit different. If we want nuclear we need to do it the french way, cookie cutter plants as much as possible. Better yet bring in the french atomic power company to build/run them. We pick one design, get it approved and the only issues are then site based ones. Safety was handled at the beginning, in addition all are kept the same by if one is modified all are modified. On the proliferation issue there is a cycle based on Thorium that does not produce bomb making material. As to waste today we forget that for 10-20 years after being removed there is energy still being radiated from the fuel rod. Outer plant probes use this to power themselves (see voyager etc). Why not figure out how to use the current waste heat to do something useful, rather than just sticking the rods in cooling water?

    Comment by Lyle — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:40 PM

  318. Thanks to those who posted the reference to the David MacKay article “Sustainable Energy – without the Hot Air”. I’ve been an engineer in the utility business for almost 30 years, and I’m impressed at how comprehensive and accurate his paper is. He even addressed the load factor issue, though I didn’t see him stress the additional huge costs required for providing backup generation for renewables (ie, when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind stops blowing). But I think he does come to a reasonable conclusion, ie, when you add up the actual costs for any substantive conversion to renewables, along with the huge cultural roadblocks (high costs to consumers, “not in my backyard” attitudes towards building renewable facilities, etc.), the ultimate cost and difficulty of the undertaking is immense. And while I think the average consumer is fine with the concept of using renewables to power his home, in fact I think all they really care about is that the lights go on when the flick the switch, and how much it costs when the see the bill every month. And his paper also outlines just one aspect of the incredible complexity of the overall ‘global warming and what we do about it’ issue, that I think some here take for granted. Honestly, I think the average person has absolutely no clue about all the science involved, and wouldn’t understand it if they did. And they shouldn’t. So when folks from either side portray the arrogant, name calling attitudes I see in this and other forums, it’s no wonder that the public goes with whatever they see in the headlines. It seems pretty shameful all around. Bashing Gore, or Limbaugh, or Hannity, or the oil companies, or whomever you want is the sign that you haven’t matured past kindergarten, or you don’t know enough to present a rational argument. That’s why papers like Mackay’s are a breath of fresh air, and most of what’s slung around this forum is childish and arrogant. No wonder the public is wary of scientists who act like they’ve lost all objectivity and appear to be colluding to put one over on us. It’s here for all to see.

    Comment by JimM — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  319. J., there’s a search box at the top of every page. Need help? Click inside it with the mouse and type your question then hit Enter. That finds answers you can read on your own. Try:

    RealClimate: The global cooling myth
    The point about timescales is worth noticing: predicting an ice age …. parameters will next be conducive to widespread polar ice accumulation in about 60000 years.

    Next MWP? Well, where do you expect the next Medieval period to occur?
    Next local warm period? Now, but artificially induced.
    Next Medieval period? thinking, well, hmmmmmm ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Dec 2009 @ 5:57 PM

  320. Snorbert Zangox says:11 December 2009 at 5:25 PM

    “Do you think he makes these kinds of mistakes when he writes computer code?”

    Taking you as a phenotype I’m more interested in why you’re hiding behind the pseudonym “Snorbert Zangox” and taking vacuous and trivial potshots at folks who are sufficiently self-confident to publish under their birth names.

    Are you under some sort of threat? Do you imagine anybody is interested in hunting you down and persecuting you based on relatively innocuous and witless comments embedded in a climate science blog? Are you subject to delusions of grandeur? Are you embarrassed about what you’re doing? Is there somebody at home who’ll make you feel ashamed if they read your comments? Would you be humiliated if you were asked to explain yourself?

    Why are you unable to account for your actions? What’s the scoop, “Snorbert”?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:17 PM

  321. Comment by J — 11 December 2009 @ 12:34 PM:

    The ice age bit you mention is an urban legend. Climate scientists did not predict an impending ice age (e.g. in less than 10K to 20K years) in the 1970s. This lack of knowledge is probably one of the reasons why John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) (11 December 2009 @ 12:54 PM) suggested that you do a little studying. You are repeatedly asking an inappropriate question about climate models. Just use the search function, or the right hand sidebar on this site to find essays regarding your question instead of asking for someone to repeat this information. Check out Milankovitch cycles for an interesting starter.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:23 PM

  322. #314 J

    Context is key of course: J, you have no idea what you are even asking.

    There will never be another MWP because the Medieval period is in past.

    Next ice age should ‘begin’ generally in the next 10 to 20 thousand years causing a state change based on the changing Milankovitch cycle forcing components, but the amount of forcing in the system right now supersedes the forcing required to achieve an ice age, if a state change on the warm side overrides, including future feedbacks, then we not be able to achieve an ice age on this go round… so maybe in about 120,000 years.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/milankovitch-cycles

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    If you mean a similar internal climate pattern that resembles the mechanisms of the LIA and MWP, then the answer is I don’t know. The ocean heat cycles are still being studied. Those mechanisms are possibly still in play, or we have interrupted the system to such extent that we those mechanisms are interrupted. But understanding those mechanisms will not prevent continued global warming. Your argument is a red herring distraction from the relevance of human caused global warming.

    Generally speaking you simply don’t know enough to ask intelligent questions or make intelligent points on the subject as indicated by your posts.

    Grow some integrity, state your full name.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:34 PM

  323. Re: 319:

    Thanks Hank, I did do the search however and didn’t find the answer to the question: “When does the (most accurate) climate model predict the next Ice Age?”

    All I see in the article linked is some reference to the next ice age being almost impossible to predict, an interesting thought in this context; but I’m asking what the model actually predicts.

    As for “when do you expect the next Medieval period”: being silly about it is, well, silly. When’s the model predict the next major cooling and warming cycles as have occurred during the past centuries? What happens when you run the model out, what’s it predict?

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:35 PM

  324. J (314) — Your question was indirectly answered previously, but you need to do the reading. If by “climate model” you mean just GCMs, then ordinarily orbital forcing is left out. As for other aspects of GCMs, start with
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii/
    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap3-1/final-report/sap3-1-final-all.pdf

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:43 PM

  325. >>”Check out Milankovitch cycles for an interesting starter.”

    Thanks Steve, but again: I’m asking what the (most accurate) predicts.

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:46 PM

  326. Snorbert, You know, I’ve always been curious about the sort of Liliputian intellect that gets off by correcting typographical errors made by people who are MUCH, MUCH smarter than they are. It sort of bespeaks a rather pathetic intellectual inadequacy coupled with the sort of insecurity that recognizes the inadequacy but feels it must hide it from oneself and others. Snorbert, you’re not doing a very good job of hiding it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Dec 2009 @ 6:59 PM

  327. Joseph Hulb says, “There’s nothing wrong with being a communist and wishing for a one world government with the common control of property. The goal of a classless and stateless society free from oppression is a noble one in fact. So why is anyone trying to hide it?”

    Uh, maybe because it doesn’t work? Hell, dude, by the end of his life, even Marx claimed not to be a Marxist! Or as the Ed Wilson, who has studied social insects for 5 decades said, “Marx was exactly right. He just had the wrong species.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:04 PM

  328. J’s obviously trolling … people should just ignore him.

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:25 PM

  329. Thanks David,

    As for which model I mean, I’m interested in what the most accurate model, whichever one is most reliable that’s used to predict the dire results that are used for the policy makers. I’m asking what the most accurate model predicts when you run it out long term. This would seem an interesting test. If it goes chaotic or reflects somewhat the long term trends or if it goes up forever; whatever happens if you just let it run.. If memory serves, it’s not yet proven that climate is not a chaotic system (Yes I have read “Chaos and Climate”), so I’d be interested in seeing if there’s evidence of this is you let it run, testing minor variation in starting conditions. If it runs to deep freeze for example.

    If orbital forcing is left out of ALL models, the I’m guessing the next Ice Age is never predicted, nor accounted for in current warming. You said “ordinarily”. Is there any model that doesn’t leave orbital forcing out?

    thanks again.

    If I’m reading the material correctly, then there also is no “most accurate” model, and the “Climate Models” pdf would seem to indicate the answer to my questions is basically is “don’t know”.

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:25 PM

  330. J: When does the (most accurate) climate model predict the next Ice Age? Next LIA? Next MWP?

    BPL: Ice Ages are initiated by “Milankovic Cycles” in the Earth’s orbit and axial tilt. The next “stades” when an ice age could take place are 20,000 and 50,000 years from now. The near one is shallow enough that global warming may already have obviated it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:39 PM

  331. EG: fuel……… ……..fatalities… …..who……… …….deaths per twy
    coal……… ………6400…… ……workers……….. ………342
    natural gas….. ..1200…… …..workers and public… …85
    hydro…….. …….4000….. …….public………… …………883
    nuclear…….. ………31…… ……workers………… ………….8

    BPL: The direct total from Chernobyl is already up to 56, not 31, and that number does not count the thousands of kids who got thyroid cancer. Nor are the excess cancers or leukemias from “unplanned releases” counted, since you can’t source which cancer came from where. And you’re not counting deaths in other accidents, like SL-1 and Jaslovske Bohunice. In short, your list is fudged.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:43 PM

  332. Kondeeler: In fact Tropospheric water vapour levels are falling, or at bast have remained constant.

    BPL: Look again:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Dessler AE, Zhang Z, Yang P 2008. “Water-Vapor Climate Feedback Inferred from Climate Variations.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L20704.

    Held, I.M. and B. J. Soden, 2000. “Water vapor feedback and global warming.” Annu. Rev. Energy Environ., 25, 441–475.

    Minschwaner, K., and A. E. Dessler, 2004. “Water vapor feedback in the tropical upper troposphere: Model results and observations.” J. Climate, 17, 1272–1282.

    Oltmans, S.J. and D.J. Hoffman, “Increase in Lower-Stratospheric Water Vapor at Mid-Latitude Northern Hemisphere Site from 1981-1994,” Nature, 374 (1995): 146-149.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl 2005. “Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19809.

    Santer, B. D, C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Bruggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, M. F. Wehner, 2007. “Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 104, 15248-15253.

    Soden, B.J., D. L. Jackson, V. Ramaswamy, M. D. Schwarzkopf, and X. Huang, 2005. “The radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening.” Science, 310, 841–844.
    http://www.gfy.ku.dk/~kaas/forc&feedb2008/Articles/Soden.pdf

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:47 PM

  333. Snorbert: one should avoid ending sentences with prepositions where possible.

    BPL: That “rule” was made up by John “Dry-as-Dust” Dryden, who thought that since you couldn’t do it in Latin, a more “polite” language, you shouldn’t do it in English either. Winston Churchill’s response was apropos: “That is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:49 PM

  334. >>>John: ” the amount of forcing in the system right now supersedes the forcing required to achieve an ice age”… I take that as ‘it doesn’t’. I’m not sure if this answer speaks for a climate model, or if so, if it speaks for one that does include orbital forcing.

    “If you mean a similar internal climate pattern that resembles the mechanisms of the LIA and MWP, then the answer is I don’t know. The ocean heat cycles are still being studied..”

    “I don’t know.” is certainly an acceptable answer, and I appreciate it. I’m again not sure what this is climate model results.

    “you simply don’t know enough to ask intelligent questions”

    I agree they are simple questions. If the policy makers are asking our support in taking extreme action based on the dire predictions of a climate model, I think simple questions – even ones you think are not intelligent – will need to be answered. By someone anyway.

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:53 PM

  335. JH: There’s nothing wrong with being a communist and wishing for a one world government with the common control of property. The goal of a classless and stateless society free from oppression is a noble one in fact.

    BPL: Ghost of Stalin, leave this poor man’s body! The power of Christ compels you!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 7:56 PM

  336. J., if you insist someone give you a single answer that has to be from “the climate model (most accurate)” — of course you won’t get that, though you could get opinions on the assumptions hidden in that question.

    If that’s the only answer you’ll accept, you get the bragging rights, you stumped the chumps, and you can stop here. But it sounds to me like a homework help question. If so it’s meant to get you to try to learn something about how to look this stuff up. We ordinary readers here can help you look.

    You could want to know when the next ice age would have been expected if the Earth had stayed in the usual slow cooling trend since the last temperature peak. That doesn’t require a climate model at all, it’s done with astronomical tables, on the assumption the future will be like the geologically recent past.

    Since we know the current condition isn’t like anything in the geologically recent past
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Warming_Predictions.png
    you might want to know what difference that may make in when another ice age could happen.

    Good pictures here:
    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-cycle

    The topic I suggested earlier deals with that — but you didn’t like the discussion at RC earlier; what did you get out of it?

    Did you try ordinary Google? This is recent and a decent summary:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/09/090903-arctic-warming-ice-age.html

    Here are some publications on that–try reading a few of these, from a Scholar search:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=next+ice+age

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:02 PM

  337. @321 – The CIA didn’t regard the fear of cooling by scientists as a “global legend” at all. If they did then why did they write over thirty pages of alarmism in their 1973 report?
    Please don’t tell me the science has moved on so much further since then because I’ve read the CRU emails and note that the level of consensus shown in private most revealing:
    “Keith’s series… differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours. This is the problem we all picked up on (everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably concensus viewpoint we’d like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al series.” (Mann, Sep 22, 1999, 0938018124.txt)

    Comment by John O'Sullivan — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:16 PM

  338. J (329) — The appropriate chapter in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    will answer some of your questions. Sometimes orbital forcing is included when studying various aspects of paleoclimate.

    The GCMs do what are called projections based on different anthropogenic forcing “scenarios”. Ordinarily these end in 2100 CE, I suppose because nobody plans more than to that date.

    The GCMs are not necessary to obtain ballpark estimates; use the most likely value of equilibrium climate senstivity to 2xCO2 of (about) 3 K to see that when CO2 goes up to 560 ppm, the global temperature will eventually go up to a rather unbarable additional 3 K. Look up the effects known from the distant past for such elevated temperatures in Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”. Here is a link to a review:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:22 PM

  339. John O’Sullivan says, “Please don’t tell me the science has moved on so much further since then because I’ve read the CRU emails and note that the level of consensus shown in private most revealing:…”

    Ub, dude. Where in any of those emails does is suggest any disageement on the scientific FACT that CO2 sensitivity is aroung 3 degrees per doubling? On the FACT that it is warming? On the FACT that we are the origin of the CO2. Maybe if you spent more time reading science and less time reading other peoples’ emails you might actually understand this stuff, huh punkin?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  340. Didactylos (283), good point. Thanks. Though it still seems misleading. The construction deaths can be charged to hydro electricity, but dam collapse is a result of a different natural process and doesn’t seem like it should be attributed to electricity generation. But, maybe…..

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:36 PM

  341. Snorbert Zangox (287), says, “…one should avoid ending sentences with prepositions where possible…”

    I think it was W. Churchill who said, “this is the kind of nonsense with which up I will not put.”

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:41 PM

  342. >>>336, Hank: “That doesn’t require a climate model at all.”

    I hope it’s clear by now that my focus is on a climate model – not on research on Ice Ages. The regular minor natural cycles also apply – does the model account for them

    The inquiry is about the models predictive capability. One, to see if/how it fits with the major cooling/warming climate trend; second, to see what happens if you let it run. This seems to me to be a basic test for any model. And as I said earlier, the question of even being able to predict chaotic systems.

    Since the model(s) predictions are a major, if not the major, source of the cataclysmic predictions on which drastic action is being asked from the citizens, this would seem relevant.

    [Response: Read the FAQ on climate models for more details, but very little happens if you just let climate models run without changing the forcing. There is variability at interannual to multi-decadal timescales, but things don't generally go very far from the climatology. There have been some reports of weirdness in long control runs (one particular GFDL run I think), but that is unusual. The statistics are usually very stable. - gavin]

    Comment by J — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:41 PM

  343. John O’Sullivan (#337): The CIA doesn’t always get it right (if you hadn’t noticed).

    Read Peterson et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Vol. 89 Iss. 9, p 1325. Compare with, say, Maurizio Morabito’s blog (or whatever your source is). Who do you believe? Why do you believe it?

    Comment by Pat Cassen — 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:50 PM

  344. two-fingered, your numbers and statements don’t pass the sniff test either.

    Check the other posts.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:16 PM

  345. I notice that J hasn’t said what he’d do with an answer of when the next ice age should be here.

    PS: J we’re more than half way through this one.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:20 PM

  346. PPS J also states:
    If the policy makers are asking our support in taking extreme action based on the dire predictions of a climate model, I think simple questions – even ones you think are not intelligent – will need to be answered. By someone anyway.”

    But what would policy makers do with an answer to “when is the next ice age” anyway?

    Are you just asking questions to see flapping???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:24 PM

  347. As to waste today we forget that for 10-20 years after being removed there is energy still being radiated from the fuel rod.

    Yes, some. Very little, as a fraction of their in-service power. Far too little …

    Outer plant probes use this to power themselves (see voyager etc).

    … for that to be true. What they use is the purpose-made radioisotope 238-Pu. It lasts much longer than any equally powerful fission product, and unlike some of them, it emits only rays of low penetrating ability, so that they are converted to heat very near their points of origin and the electronics, feet away, are not damaged.

    (How fire can be domesticated)

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan until ~1996 — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:29 PM

  348. Gavin Can you explain why the new and old GISS data sets from weather stations in California differ? Although I expect the answer is straightforward, the impression is given that the new data are massaged in some way to remove evidence of high temperatures in the early 20th century. It is disquieting

    [Response: The updates are related to the switch from USHCN1 to USHCN2. Since GISTEMP relies on NOAA for those files, I'd suggest reading the relevant documentation for more information. As an aside, historical data products are always undergoing revision - as problems are uncovered, corrections made, new data assimilated etc. - in order to get the best estimate of past climate change. -gavin]

    Comment by Ian — 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:56 PM

  349. Comment by John O’Sullivan — 11 December 2009 @ 8:16 PM:

    Are you saying that the CIA responded to what was in the popular press in 1973 without actually checking with the appropriate scientists? I would be very interested in evidence of this.

    There was absolutely no consensus among climate scientists, or a prediction in any research publications at the time, that an ice age was eminent. There were predictions that an ice age might emerge in many thousands of years, as a part of the Milankovitch cycle, and predictions of a potential ice age in the case of a fourfold increase in the then current sulfate pollution that was also causing acid rain (this was subsequently successfully reduced by a cap-and-trade system that is still in place).

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:35 PM

  350. Props to BPL for citing Dessler Zhang and Yang, JGR 2008 – I just read that last night and it reminded me how much I appreciated Dessler and Parsons book _The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change_

    While the JGR journal article is paywalled, you can see the abstract here:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035333.shtml

    I have access to full text since our University subscribes, and I can confirm that the article bears out what the abstract says. There is indeed a positive water vapor feedback – a point widely accepted amongst atmospheric physicists and earth scientists. DZ&Y do a nice job of quantifying the strength of the feedback from detailed satellite measurements.

    Look for Dessler & Parsons book in your library or bookstore – it provides a good overview of the scientific case and the policy response options:

    http://www.amazon.ca/Science-Politics-Global-Climate-Change/dp/0521539412/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260589613&sr=8-2

    Okay maybe not for everyone to buy new, at $50 – (used from $32 on Amazon) but do check your library – a good read.

    Comment by Jim Prall — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:48 PM

  351. Copenhagen as you can witness is all about deals and politics..can anyone envisage a worthwhile outcome?
    I’m not religeous but i can remember one biblical story..there is nothing more difficult than for a rich man to pass through the eye of the needle. The more you are identified by your material things the less you are able to see the truth. C’mon West! Make Copenhagen work!..prove that democracy and capitalism has a future! Pardon the cynicism.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:49 PM

  352. As long as we’re on the topic of the water vapor feedback, here’s an online edition of a detailed book on the subject of climate feedbacks. It’s fairly technical.
    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10850#toc
    The intro spells out the basic math of how feedbacks apply, including combining multiple feedbacks – see the box on pp.19-20:
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10850&page=19

    The one thing I wasn’t sure about on the feedback calculations is whether they already allow for the fact that a feedback yields an additional forcing in response to a delta-T, but that new added forcing would in turn “feed back” again to force a further delta-T, etc. There’s an infinite series, but fortunately it converges as long as the gain is less than unity (the infinite series converges, and there are standard ways to convert such infinite series to simple equivalent formulae.) Only if the gain is > 1 would the feedback lead to a “runaway” vicious cycle.
    The part I’m not clear about is whether the formulae such as those shown in the above link set out the “once around” feedback value, which would in turn go up by the rest of the terms in the infinite series, or if that effect is already worked into the stated value for the strength of the feedback (such as Dessler 2008′s finding of 2.04 Wm^-2K^-1)?

    Comment by Jim Prall — 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:27 PM

  353. Re 342 J –

    BPL’s statement regarding next ice starting around 20,000 or 50,000 years from now sounds about right from what I recall reading (my understanding written up here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=2&t=73&&n=36#2768 )

    It doesn’t generally make sense to go to the trouble of inserting orbital (Milankovitch) forcing into models in the projections out to a mere 100 years. It’s just too small.

    Of course, it would be interesting to see if climate models can, when fed the estimated histories of forcings, recreate not only glacial-interglacial patterns but also the LIA and MWP (whatever those things actually were!). Solar and volcanic forcing would be involved in that. However, there may also be some internal variability on such timescales (evidence so far as I know suggests present and likely future warming surpass the range of internal variability on the millenial scale) – to the extent this is the case, the initial states prescribed to the models become important – it becomes a sort of climate-scale weather prediction excercise – and if the butterfly effect makes day-to-day weather prediction no more skillful than climatological records (given SST anomalies, etc.) beyond ~ 2 weeks, than I’d guess centennial-millenial scale internal variability can’t be predicted well beyond a few centuries to a few millenia (?) (as prediction of future continental drift might fail beyond some hundreds of millions of years ?).

    But you might try looking at the IPCC AR4 WGI, chapters 6 and … (well, skim the table of contents).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:15 AM

  354. “the initial states prescribed to the models become important ”

    It would be anyway to varying degrees depending on the time given to the model simulation before the time period of interest. Obviously you’d want to prescribe the ice sheets for a model run that is shorter than glacial-interglacial timescales, but you wouldn’t need to prescribe the correct atmospheric weather conditions at the first second of the run (wind and humidity and clouds – within reason (don’t start with the oceans boiled dry); you would need to prescribe CO2, atmospheric mass, etc.). Not that I have any experience with climate modelling – this just seems reasonable.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:22 AM

  355. The Copenhagen juggernaut is of no concern. They’re just digging themselves into a deeper hole, from which extraction will be awkward, silly, and embarrassing, and the agreements that they may come to will be meaningless, not implementable, and the USA certainly will not ratify.

    Comment by DABbio — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:27 AM

  356. “When does the (most accurate) climate model predict the next Ice Age? Next LIA? Next MWP?” – 314

    Detailed climate models aren’t run for the purpose of determining the climate state thousands of years from now. Hence they do not predict the things you ask for.

    Given that the MWP and the LIA is mostly regional phenomenon, and since both would be swamped by the projected warming, the reason for your question is unclear.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:45 AM

  357. 297 – Steve Fish – Being more efficent is one thing, but telling people to go cold is another thing. I’m all for efficency; however, some are suggesting sacrafice instead of innovation.

    Comment by EL — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:54 AM

  358. I’ve got a question: I’ve been reading the ‘Temp leads CO2′ for the initial 800 years in thermal maximum periods in RC. That 800 yars is roughly the time to flush through the ocean from bottom to top. Also that some- to date unknown event caused temp to rise initially and then CO2 followed suit and amplified the process further. My question is was the CH4 levels also studied in the ice core samples. Your past article in RC stated that the rise in temp must have released CO2 trapped in the oceans. What if however the same thing happened then as is happening now..namely the methane hydrates began to thaw in earnest within the initial 800 years phase. That would have caused rapid and extreme forcing..pushing up CO2 and thus temp to very high levels…well after the very initial ‘temperate event’ had passed. So it may not have just been the CO2 in the oceans being releaed to the surface but also massive amounts of CH4?. Just a thought!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:59 AM

  359. > “this is the kind of nonsense with which up I will not put.”

    “… up with which I will not put.”

    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Dec 2009 @ 2:52 AM

  360. 302 SecularAnimist: You are reciting coal industry propaganda. You may be paid by the coal industry, or your emotions have been hijacked by the coal industry propaganda over the past half century. Everything you said is wrong. Coal has killed over two hundred thousand Americans and is still doing so. Power reactors do NOT make Plutonium239 that is needed for bombs. Power reactors make Plutonium240. It takes a very special reactor to make Pu239.

    Every time you dis nuclear, you are working for the coal industry and shooting yourself in the foot. What the coal companies know that most people don’t:

    As long as you keep messing around with wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe. There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it. Hydrogen fusion could, if it worked. Hydrogen fusion has been “hopeful” for half a century so far. I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

    If you quit being afraid of nuclear, the coal industry is doomed. Every time you argue in favor of wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, or against nuclear, King Coal is happy. ONLY nuclear power can put coal out of business. Nuclear power HAS put coal out of business in France. France uses 30 year old American technology. So here is the deal: Keep being afraid of all things nuclear and die either when [not if] civilization collapses or when H2S comes out of the ocean and Homo “Sapiens” goes extinct. OR: Get over your paranoia and kick the coal habit and live. Which do you choose? I put quotation marks around “Sapiens” because it is not clear that most of us have enough brains to avoid extinction when it is clearly predicted and the safe path has been pointed out. Nuclear is the safe path and we have factory built nuclear power plants now. A nuclear power plant can be installed in weeks. See:
    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com

    Pretend the year is 1850 and your doctor has just given you a choice: Amputate your leg or you die tomorrow. Anesthetics have not been invented. Will you have your leg off sir?
    Your psychological pain is imaginary, not real. Get over it and live. Don’t get over it and your grandchildren die.
    Nuclear power ends global warming and the human race lives.
    No nuclear power causes the coal industry cash flow to continue to be $100 Billion per year in the US and Homo Sap goes extinct. The choice is yours, unfortuneately.
    I would rather leave you on Earth an move to Mars with a dozen others. Then SecularAnimist can commit suicide by global warming while I watch from a safe distance.
    Sorry this got so far off track, but the issue must be resolved to stop global warming.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 12 Dec 2009 @ 4:32 AM

  361. I need a little help here:

    http://itia.ntua.gr/getfile/849/3/documents/2008EGU_HurstClimatePrSm.pdf

    This papers seems to be using a lot of graphs (they could be badly displayed) and math (statistics) to explain away the warming as natural.

    Can anyone tell me if this paper has any merit. Has it been through the standard scientific process I wonder?

    Its worth a look.

    Comment by pete best — 12 Dec 2009 @ 4:58 AM

  362. Here is my two pence worth on the “coming ice age in 1997”.

    I actually read the original story in Newsweek. This is probably ore than most people posting here can say, including Gavin, who was probably still in his diapers/nappies. ;-)

    I read the story because I was working in a remote part of the Sultanate of Oman, at a tie when the only western print media in the country was Time or Newsweek.

    The climate there is atrocious (heat above blood temperature + 90% humidity) and I was working on the (un-air-conditioned) shop floor of a furniture factory.

    A new ice age seemed like a good idea.

    At the time I was what is now called an “environmentalist” though I a not certain that anyone had coined the word back then. Certainly environmentalism was not a mainstream idea.

    Well, when I returned home to London, _no one_ had heard of this new ice age. (I’m from England). That’s _no one_. Not a soul.

    Maybe a few (now retired) staff at the Met Office had heard the story.

    In fact, unless they read Time, Newsweek or the NYT, (which they wouldn’t be doing) they would have had no reason to know about this story.

    None of my environment friends mentioned it. However, they were campaigning on getting lead out of petrol.

    And the oil companies said lead-free petrol/gas was either technically impossible, would melt the valves in your engine, or be so expensive (x 4 times) the entire economy would come to a halt. Besides, lead was not a nurotoxin.

    Sounds familiar that lead free gas thing?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 12 Dec 2009 @ 5:05 AM

  363. John, the CIA invested millions looking into whether guys with psychic powers could spot Soviet military installations. They’re not scientists.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Dec 2009 @ 6:40 AM

  364. SecularAnimist said:

    I am not much interested in a long debate over the harms and dangers of nuclear power

    … And yet you go to so much effort to misrepresent the harms and dangers of nuclear power.

    Sometimes, I think environmentalists are their own worst enemy. I should know. I’m a bleeding heart liberal to the core.

    Is it too difficult to analyse the pros and cons of nuclear power without invoking emotional arguments, and spurious economic arguments? We know nuclear is cheaper than renewable energy, and even marginally cheaper than coal. Globally, anyway. The US coal industry managed to undercut and marginalise nuclear power, mostly by playing on the very fears that you bring up again now.

    SecularAnimist, you claim wind and solar are “mature” technologies. This worries me. While I agree that both are mature enough for us to begin deploying them now, both of them struggle to be cost effective and there are huge potential improvements to be made in solar cell efficiency and manufacturing cost. It isn’t just a matter of mass production (although that will help), it is a matter of finding materials and processes that are both efficient and cheap. Currently, the efficient materials are mind-bogglingly expensive (reserved for spaceflight, mostly), and the cheap materials are inefficient (organic solar cells struggle to reach 5% efficiency even in laboratory conditions). This situation will improve, but not overnight.

    In short, you seem to be selling easy answers. I don’t think anything about all this is easy (except that we can and must ditch coal as soon as we possibly can).

    Comment by Didactylos — 12 Dec 2009 @ 8:13 AM

  365. Barton Paul Levenson said:

    The direct total from Chernobyl is already up to 56, not 31, and that number does not count the thousands of kids who got thyroid cancer. Nor are the excess cancers or leukemias from “unplanned releases” counted, since you can’t source which cancer came from where. And you’re not counting deaths in other accidents, like SL-1 and Jaslovske Bohunice. In short, your list is fudged.

    This is where things get harder to attribute. I don’t want to get into all the complexities of attribution, but if you go down this road then you also have to do the same for coal and other energy sources. Coal mining diseases have a very significant cost in terms of quality-adjusted life years.

    This said, the source for accident figures we are discussing (I don’t know who provided it; I didn’t) is disingenuous. For nuclear, it quotes worker deaths, but it fails to include accident workers and members of the public. At Chernobyl, most of the victims were fire and rescue workers.

    If you want a better source, David MacKay refers to two studies here: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c24/page_168.shtml

    Comment by Didactylos — 12 Dec 2009 @ 8:31 AM

  366. JimM, chapter 26 is all about fluctuations and storage: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c26/page_186.shtml

    He concentrates mostly on pumped storage, because this is particularly relevant to the UK but he discusses other ideas, too.

    Comment by Didactylos — 12 Dec 2009 @ 8:40 AM

  367. Gavin, You seem to imply that Milankovitch cycles prove that the century-by-century fluctuations in climate are not random. I’m not convinced. Milankovitch cycles take place over tens of thousands of years. The climate over the past two centuries looks random. What evidence to you have that recent climate history is deterministic?

    [Response: Hey! where'd dem goalposts go? But sure, try the response to Pinatubo or the combined impact of volcanoes and solar in the LIA. Climate does respond in predictable ways to forcings even though there is unforced internal variability. - gavin]

    Comment by Kevan Hashemi — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:05 AM

  368. Am I reading this right? J seems to think it’s a feasible experiment to run a fully-coupled GCM out for 50,000 years to see if it’s valid.

    When would such a run terminate–some time in 2050?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:07 AM

  369. There has been a lot of accusations of fraud in the past from people who don’t understand the concept of adjustment. If the accusation is of wanting to change global temperature, there’s no point going after one probe, so I took the entire CRU dataset and look at the bias of the adjustments.
    Here you find the beautiful normal distribution with peak zero that I got as result.

    I hope this will help in discussion with denialists when arguing about genuinity of temperature data.

    Sorry if this is OT but I see comments already went all over the place.

    [Response: Very nicely done. We are working on a similar post, so I'm sure idiot will accuse me of plagiarism ('cept that I will link to your post). As you said in your post, you don't have to trust the scientists, you just have to use the scientific method. Simple statistics like this demonstrate there is nothing at all to the allegations of data manipulation. --eric]

    Comment by Giorgio Gilestro — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:21 AM

  370. Edward Greisch writes,

    … SecularAnimist: You are reciting coal industry propaganda. You may be paid by the coal industry …

    Natural gas is a much bigger contributor to government coffers, and the electricity plants that have been getting through the permission process, in the USA, seem to reflect this. If you must throw dirt, throw dirt that makes sense.

    (How fire can be domesticated)

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan until ~1996 — 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:39 AM

  371. Pete, Koutsoyiannis is pretty well known for his denialist credentials. For instance, I notice his plot of global temperatures ends in about 1970 before the current warming epoch. Gee, now why would it do that?
    I note a lot of other denialist memes–e.g. global cooling and even a reference to that prestigeous scientific journal “Newsweek” (or Newsweak as I call it). Lots of short term series.

    More to the point, I didn’t see anything particularly novel. Tamino has discussed the fact that climate doesn’t exhibit white noise many times. Koutsoyiannis complains that we don’t have enough data to determine H, but then he confines himself to considering no more than 10 years of variability (9 of the last 10 years have been in the top ten). However, All 15 of the warmest 15 years have been in the past 15 years. And 17 of the past 20 years have been in the past 20 years. Let me just say: I’m underwhelmed. Nothing here climate scientists didn’t already know–including the denialist memes and misleading graphs and statistics.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:17 AM

  372. Giorgio,
    That is a beautiful post. I would say it pretty much puts paid to the allegations of massive fraud via systematic adjustment.

    and of course I meant to say: “And 17 of the warmest 20 years have been in the past 20 years,” in my previous post.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:23 AM

  373. Re: Giorgio’s post – a simple average is not how the mean global temp is calculated. It’s “gridded” – ie a very few thermometers have outsized influence due to sparseness of the geography they are located in. So you need to take the adjustments and multiply by the sq miles of area the thermometer is putativley “measuring”.

    Comment by Mesa — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:45 AM

  374. And giorgio’s analysis has two other problems:

    1. It proves there is no net UHI adjustment if the mean adjustment is zero. Oops.

    [Response: These aren't UHI adjustments, they are homogenisation adjustments. Oops. - gavin]

    2. There can be a trend adjustment through time with that distribution – ie net negative in the early part of the century,net positive in the later part of the century. Oops.

    [Response: You've misunderstood what he did. These are the differences in the trends already. oops. - gavin]

    Comment by Mesa — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:51 AM

  375. So, to do Giorgio’s analysis right, you would want to see the distribution of the adjustments per decade. This would tell you the net trend baked into the adjustments.

    [Response: Giorgio's analysis is simple and therefore brilliant. You can do more, very easily, if you like. Call us when you find something interesting. I won't hold my breath.--eric]

    Comment by Mesa — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  376. Pete Best: asked and answered (grin)
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+hurst+koutsoyiannis

    Nukeeeeees: please, please, not here. You can find this audience at a site dedicated to your issues –Barry Brooks’s blog is the place, new postings every day: http://bravenewclimate.com/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  377. Looking over the GISS Temp updates, it looks like the efforts of Nick Barnes and colleagues have already been quite fruitful. I had not heard of this before last week; perhaps they deserve a bit of publicity. This looks like citizen-science putting in some hard work and doing something productive, as opposed to making a couple graphs and lobbing ill-posed accusations.

    Comment by tharanga — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  378. “The CIA didn’t regard the fear of cooling by scientists as a “global legend” at all. If they did then why did they write over thirty pages of alarmism in their 1973 report?
    Comment by John O’Sullivan — 11 December 2009 @ 8:16 PM

    Maybe because they were listening to 70′s kooks and charlatans equivalent to Svensmark and Lindzen of today. Maybe they were cherry picking for political purposes, the way Cheney & crew built the myth of WMD’s. They certainly weren’t listening to the scientists.

    When Will the Present Interglacial End?
    G. J. Kukla and R. K. Matthews
    Science 13 October 1972 178: 190-202 [DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4057.190] (in Articles)
    “Artificial heating, and production of dust and CO, by man’s activities were shown to have diverging effects on global temperatures (Mitchell, Schneider), at present subordinate to natural processes. However, with continuing human input these effects might eventually trigger or speed climatic change. The general conclusion of this section of the conference was that knowledge necessary for understanding the mechanism of climatic change is lamentably inadequate, and that the ultimate causes remain unknown.”
    “Warm intervals like the present one have been short-lived and the natural end of our warm epoch is undoubtedly near when considered on a geological time scale. Global cooling and related rapid changes of environment, substantially exceeding the fluctuations experienced by man in historical times, must be expected within the next few millennia…”

    To Feed the World: What to Do with Changing Climate
    Science 9 November 1973 182: 604 [DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4112.604] (in Articles)
    “The carbon dioxide released by fuel combustion tends to warm the earth’s surface but the simultaneous dumping of fine ash into the atmosphere has a cooling effect.”

    International Environmental Problems—A Taxonomy
    Clifford S. Russell and Hans H. Landsberg
    Science 25 June 1971 172: 1307-1314 [DOI: 10.1126/science.172.3990.1307] (in Articles)
    ” For example, a global warming trend is a “greater” effect than is the extinction of a spe-cies.”

    Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?
    Wallace S. Broecker
    Science 8 August 1975 189: 460-463 [DOI: 10.1126/science.189.4201.460] (in Articles)
    “If man-made dust is unimportant as a major cause of climatic change, then a strong case can be made that the present cooling trend will, within a decade or so, give way to a pronounced warming induced by carbon dioxide. ”

    Global Cooling?
    Paul E. Damon and Steven M. Kunen
    Science 6 August 1976 193: 447-453 [DOI: 10.1126/science.193.4252.447] (in Articles)
    “Because of the rapid diffusion of CO2 molecules within the atmosphere, both hemispheres will be subject to warming due to the atmospheric (greenhouse) effect as the CO2 content of the atmosphere builds up from the combustion of fossil fuels.”

    A Terminal Mesozoic “Greenhouse”: Lessons from the Past
    Dewey M. McLean
    Science 4 August 1978 201: 401-406 [DOI: 10.1126/science.201.4354.401] (in Articles)
    “In late Mesozoic, the deep oceanic waters may have been triggered into releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in a chain reaction of climatic warming and carbon dioxide expulsion. These conditions may be duplicated by human combustion of the fossil fuels and by forest clearing.”

    CO2 in Climate: Gloomsday Predictions Have No Fault
    Nicholas Wade
    Science 23 November 1979 206: 912-913 [DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4421.912-a] (in Articles)
    ” Increased CO2.content of the atmosphere will lead to a global warming and significant climatic changes. The…that the basic model relating CO2 to global warming is correct, so far as they can see…the atmospheric C02, there will be a global warming of probably 3.0C, give or take 1.50C……”(sound familiar)

    This is just from Science magazine, since that’s what I subscribe to (take that, Snorbert; I suppose you’d also like us to not split infinitives?&;>) – anybody got a list from Nature, or AGU journals?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 12 Dec 2009 @ 11:09 AM

  379. Gavin:

    You are wrong on both accounts:

    1. These adjustments include any urban/rural adjustments.

    2. They are decadal trends, but all lumped together. So we can have a normal distribution with for example, many negative adjustments int he first half of the century, and many positive in the latter half.

    It’s simple to see the statistics by decade – let’s have a look?

    Comment by Mesa — 12 Dec 2009 @ 11:30 AM

  380. In response to the side discussion on nuclear power, I do want to point out the absolutely shameful fear mongering that the anti-nuclear folks perpetrated on the public back in the day, which ultimately resulted in stomping out the nuclear industry in the US. IMO, nuclear is the only really responsible and viable primary generation source if you really want to reduce greenhouse emissions and reliance on coal and oil (which I think we all do), while providing 24 hour per day energy. But we really need to thank the anti nuclear crowd for, at least in some significant part, the emissions mess we’re in right now. Absolutely shameful. And honestly, I think that’s part of the reason why some are so wary and distrustful of grave “environmentalist” warnings. Unintended consequences can be devastating.

    Comment by JimM — 12 Dec 2009 @ 11:48 AM

  381. Mesa, I urge you to carry out your analyses. If such a manipulation exists, Giorgio has made it easy to find. Even you should be able to do it. We look forward to your results. When can we expect to hear back from you?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 PM

  382. Kevan H, your site shows a copy of this chart:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

    Then you write: “The measurements agree with one another in the past fifty years, but disagree everywhere else. It is impossibly unlikely that five independent temperature measurements would agree to within 0.1°C in the past fifty years, but disagree as much as 0.6°C everywhere else. The measurements are not independent. They have been massaged until they agree with one another during that fifty-year period.”

    You left off the caption from the source.

    I can’t see how you come to the conclusion that the data was fake, unless you’re just looking at the colored lines on the page (there are ten, not five) instead of looking at the data source and the error bars, which are linked in the caption.

    You’ve grossly misrepresented the science– heck, you’ve even misrepresented what you can see in the picture — to claim that the data were “massaged until they agree.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 PM

  383. I haven’t looked so maybe someone else posted this but here are some snippets from an AP story on the emails. Emphasis mine:

    “E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.

    “The AP studied all the e-mails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them — about 1 million words in total.”

    “The e-mails also show how professional attacks turned very personal. When former London financial trader Douglas J. Keenan combed through the data used in a 1990 research paper Jones had co-authored, Keenan claimed to have found evidence of fakery by Jones’ co-author. Keenan threatened to have the FBI arrest University at Albany scientist Wei-Chyung Wang for fraud. (A university investigation later cleared him of any wrongdoing”

    “I do now wish I’d never sent them the data after their FOIA request!” Jones wrote in June 2007.”

    “In another case after initially balking on releasing data to a skeptic because it was already public, Lawrence Livermore National Lab scientist Ben Santer wrote that he then opted to release everything the skeptic wanted — and more. Santer said in a telephone interview that he and others are inundated by frivolous requests from skeptics that are designed to “tie-up government-funded scientists.”

    “As part of the AP review, summaries of the e-mails that raised issues from the potential manipulation of data to intensely personal attacks were sent to seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy.”

    “This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds,” said Dan Sarewitz, a science policy professor at Arizona State University. “We talk about science as this pure ideal and the scientific method as if it is something out of a cookbook, but research is a social and human activity full of all the failings of society and humans, and this reality gets totally magnified by the high political stakes here.”

    “In the past three weeks since the e-mails were posted, longtime opponents of mainstream climate science have repeatedly quoted excerpts of about a dozen e-mails. Republican congressmen and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin have called for either independent investigations, a delay in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases or outright boycotts of the Copenhagen international climate talks. They cited a “culture of corruption” that the e-mails appeared to show.”

    That is not what the AP found. There were signs of trying to present the data as convincingly as possible.”

    “In my opinion the meaning is much more innocent than might be perceived by others taken out of context. Much of this is overblown,” North said.”

    “Mann contends he always has been upfront about uncertainties, pointing to the title of his 1999 study: “Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties and Limitations.”

    “The skeptics started the name-calling said Mann, who called McIntyre a “bozo,” a “fraud” and a “moron” in various e-mails.

    “We’re human,” Mann said. “We’ve been under attack unfairly by these people who have been attempting to dismiss us as frauds as liars.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091212/ap_on_sc/climate_e_mails

    If anything this should convince people that the climate science community has NOT been trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. That they themselves believe what they have been telling others. True humanity always comes into play with humans (who’da guessed?). But they are doing their best under great pressure and continual attack that others might have withered under.

    Now how about an expose’, a catalog of the skeptics many avenues of attack. Starting with how many FOIA requests were made in what space of time and their funding by the energy industry?

    Comment by Ron R. — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:11 PM

  384. I had to leave one paragraph out because it contained the name of an African country notorious lately for the pirate activity. The name of that country was rejected a spam. :-D

    Comment by Ron R. — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:14 PM

  385. Ray et al:

    The point is that the “simply beautiful” analysis doesn’t show anything of importance. It’s like a lot of rhetoric – it means much less than meets the eye. I have no idea what the adjustments look like by decade – but someone should.

    Comment by Mesa — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:22 PM

  386. For real-world cost projections on a new nuclear power plant in the US, see

    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/turkey-point/documents.html#application.

    The projected cost is $5,492-$8,071/kW. Toshiba-Westinghouse has declared that cost projections for other proposed plants is proprietary information, even though their clients are asking for billions in federal subsidies.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:43 PM

  387. The point is that the “simply beautiful” analysis doesn’t show anything of importance. It’s like a lot of rhetoric – it means much less than meets the eye. I have no idea what the adjustments look like by decade – but someone should.

    In other words, now that you’ve made unsubstantiated claims that the data’s manipulated to show what scientists want, rather than prove it, you’re going to run away.

    And people wonder why rational people loath denialists.

    Comment by dhogaza — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:02 PM

  388. You are wrong on both accounts:

    1. These adjustments include any urban/rural adjustments.

    No, they’re the homogenized data. Moves from (say) urban Darwin to the (more rural) airport are included, yes, but the statistical treatment done by GISTEMP (for instance) are applied later to the homogenized data.

    It’s like a lot of rhetoric – it means much less than meets the eye.

    Yeah, we’ve noticed, Mesa …

    Comment by dhogaza — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:04 PM

  389. #385:

    “The point is that the “simply beautiful” analysis doesn’t show anything of importance.”

    Talk is cheap. GG’s work is elegant, clear to understand and he’s bothered enough to do the work. What have you done here besides baseless rhetoric?

    “I have no idea what the adjustments look like by decade – but someone should.”

    Yes, you have no idea and can’t be arsed to do anything. Carry on, carry on…

    Comment by Former Skeptic — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:11 PM

  390. Maybe RC could start a grassroots hue and cry over KevanGate (cf Hanks post 382), where Kevan has massaged figures and committed fraud to manipulate data and ignore errors to make a case for the unsubstantiate claims he makes on AGW…

    Whaddaya reckon?

    Then ManackerGate…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:49 PM

  391. Rational people loathe denialists.
    Denialists are loath.

    I know, picky, picky …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 1:49 PM

  392. “Gavin, You seem to imply that Milankovitch cycles prove that the century-by-century fluctuations in climate are not random. I’m not convinced. Milankovitch cycles take place over tens of thousands of years. The climate over the past two centuries looks random. What evidence to you have that recent climate history is deterministic?”

    It “looks” random??!! What evidence do we have that anything in the universe is deterministic? Or don’t you believe in cause and effect? Or just not for climate science?

    Multivariate stupidity.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 12 Dec 2009 @ 2:01 PM

  393. In Climate of the Past Discussions there is a paper available from this link
    http://www.cosis.net/members/journals/df/article.php?a_id=5292
    which discusses a GCM run from the Eemian to the Holocene, about 110,000 years.

    This is for those who want to know about rather long GCM runs. You will find other papers of potential interest on Abe-ouchi’s Scientific Commons page.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Dec 2009 @ 2:52 PM

  394. Mesa: You seem to think that GG’s trends are decadal. I think they are for the entire history of each station; they’re just expressed as deg/decade. Have a look in the code.

    [Response: Yes, that's right.--eric]

    Comment by tharanga — 12 Dec 2009 @ 4:09 PM

  395. Mesa says, “The point is that the “simply beautiful” analysis doesn’t show anything of importance. It’s like a lot of rhetoric – it means much less than meets the eye. I have no idea what the adjustments look like by decade – but someone should.”

    Well, actually, the analysis shows something very important–that taken as a whole, the adjustments show no systematic trend. This supports the case that the adjustments are not behind the rise in temperatures. Indeed, it makes the case that if the trend is a product of the adjustments, then the adjustments would have to be structured in a very specific and very unnatural way. GG’s analysis has made it easy for someone to take it further and show that such unnatural structure is or is not present. But then that would be someone who can be bothered to do the math, which clearly is not you.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Dec 2009 @ 4:17 PM

  396. Mesa, where are you getting your mistaken information?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  397. Hank #382: I looks like you visited my piece on data massage and came away with the impression that I was talking about faking data. That piece was written in 2006, long before Climategate. Data massage is a process common in the hard sciences, whereby separate, diligent research groups look for errors in their methods until their results are consistent. If you go back and read the passage again, I think you’ll see that it’s not about faking data at all.

    Gavin #367: My original question was about decades. I don’t have an ice-core data set on my hard drive (although it’s on my christmas list). As you say, the climate responds to certain events and cycles. My question is about what would happen in the absence of external events. What if the sun were absolutely steady and there were no eruptions for a thousand years, how would the climate behave? It would be nice if we knew how much variation occurred as a result of the climate’s internal chaotic forces alone. Does my question make more sense now?

    [Response: Umm.. I don't know. How should we investigate what might happen in any idealised situation that has never occurred in the real world? Gosh.... wouldn't it be neat if we had some kind of simulacrum where we could test these things, in a computer or laboratory or something. Any ideas? - gavin]

    Comment by Kevan Hashemi — 12 Dec 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  398. Unfortunately, the whole Copenhagen thing is floored. As it is going at the moment, these things, like all things in this society, come down to money. If we agree globally, that man is to blame for Global Warming, then obviously, it was caused by the currently developed nations. So they should pay to fix it and provide additional money to the developing nations, to help them to cope with it. On top of this, the developed nations are asking the developing nations to limit their development. No agreement will ever come from that. Even if we agreed on a handout, the developing nations, do not have the adequate structure to manage these handouts. Even with tens of thousands of occupation forces in Afganistan, we can not be sure, that any aid goes to the chosen causes. The next conference, should only include the power base of developing nations to reach an agreement on how they are going to mitigate Global Warming and how they are going to “force” the developing nations to fall in line. Such a conference will only come about, after the first serious undisputed costly Global Warming event. I am happy to wait for that, as long as we can still fix it. Personally, I am doing everything I can for me to survive any such events.

    Comment by Theo van den Berg — 12 Dec 2009 @ 5:01 PM

  399. > The measurements agree with one another in the past fifty years, but disagree everywhere
    > else. It is impossibly unlikely that five independent temperature measurements would agree
    > to within 0.1°C

    Point to the data — what files are you talking about?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 5:39 PM

  400. At his website, Kevan Hashemi presents the familiar hockey stick graph but with the label “Figure: Data Massaging: The Hockey Stick Graph.”

    Then he states:

    The measurements agree with one another in the past fifty years, but disagree everywhere else. It is impossibly unlikely that five independent temperature measurements would agree to within 0.1°C in the past fifty years, but disagree as much as 0.6°C everywhere else. The measurements are not independent. They have been massaged until they agree with one another during that fifty-year period.

    Hank Roberts responds in 382:

    I can’t see how you come to the conclusion that the data was fake, unless you’re just looking at the colored lines on the page (there are ten, not five) instead of looking at the data source and the error bars, which are linked in the caption.

    You’ve grossly misrepresented the science – heck, you’ve even misrepresented what you can see in the picture – to claim that the data were “massaged until they agree.”

    Kevan Hashemi wrote in 397:

    Hank #382: I looks like you visited my piece on data massage and came away with the impression that I was talking about faking data. That piece was written in 2006, long before Climategate. Data massage is a process common in the hard sciences, whereby separate, diligent research groups look for errors in their methods until their results are consistent. If you go back and read the passage again, I think you’ll see that it’s not about faking data at all.

    Perhaps “fake” was the wrong word — since you seem to be implying that the scientists involved made a really dumb mistake that somehow nobody else ever caught. Regardless, the graph consists of “temperature reconstructions” based on proxies followed by the instrument record.

    However, to be more accurate, what is actually being graphed is the reconstructed difference between the paleoclimate temperatures a given average temperature for a given baseline period where the reconstruction is based upon proxies — as what we are actually interested in isn’t the temperature but how the temperature has changed.

    Furthermore, while the average annual or decadal temperature between two relatively close points may differ a fair amount (e.g., one is in the shade, one the sun; one is up a mountain, another in a valley; or one is within a foot of the surface, another up a tree) the deviation from their average will often be highly correlated. Thus climatologists focus on the latter. It would be nearly impossible to reconstruct average temperatures accurately for the entire globe, but given the highly correlated nature of temperature differences, the latter can be done much more accurately based upon far fewer points.

    Now as the base period will be during the earlier, less reliable instrument record, you should expect the “temperature reconstructions” to begin to converge as you approach the better-instrumented present or at least baseline period. Finally, during the latter part of the instrument record there is no need for temperature reconstructions inasmuch as we have the actual instrument-based temperature record.

    It’s how temperature proxy reconstructions are done.

    It’s not about data-massaging, Kevan. And if it were, given how high-profile the paper is the “data-massaging” would have been caught very quickly and recognized as such by the entire climatological community.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Dec 2009 @ 5:59 PM

  401. Re #364 Wind at least is cost effective versus natural gas, but not coal. So it currently is economic on the Coasts except the SE where coal is nearby. (it is interesting the difference in power costs across the us. Costs are said to be .05 in Kansas City, about .09 in parts of texas and .11 in other parts (depending upon if you get your power thru a municipal or private utility) and up to .20 on the costs. More in HI. So one should at least say that compared to the costs in some location wind and soon solar is or is not economic. A blanket statement overlooks the costs in the US. I suspect but have no information that the costs of electricity are higher in Europe, depending on the country.

    Comment by Lyle — 12 Dec 2009 @ 6:11 PM

  402. This website actually invited comment on the editorial in 56 publications not ifr my hockey stick is bigger than yours. What about some scientific evaluation of the process in Copenhagen and if humanity has a chance achieving something there ?

    Comment by Theo van den Berg — 12 Dec 2009 @ 6:48 PM

  403. At risk of opening the nuke debate up again I’ll make a few comments then (hopefully) leave it there. My problem with nuclear power is its potential for disaster. An accident at an oil refinery or coal plant doesn’t have the same instant potential to kill a large swath of the populace IMO. And at something like 500 plants worldwide (I don’t know the number exactly) that potential is amplified.

    I know the nuclear zealots will come back and talk about the numbers of people who have died from lung cancer due to breathing pollution etc. but thats just not the same thing in my mind.

    And can we really say that providing third world countries with nuclear power is a good idea, especially when at US plants, which are supposedly the best built in the world, there were (as of 2006) 200 “near misses” (that we know of)?

    Another thing that bothers me is when those who work in the nuclear industry (and other industries) keep quite the hazards the local population encounters re: their industry. Look at Brookhaven for example or Rocky Flats, or Anniston Alabama (different industry). Hazards kept on the QT for decades by those who knew full well the risks they were putting people in. So I guess my problem is that knowing human nature and human history and what it’s hard for me to simply blindly trust people with nuclear power.

    We happen to live ~10 miles from a nuke plant and I do worry about it. I remember about 15 years ago or so an article came out in the local paper about a potential major accident there that was averted at the last moment and which was only later discovered by this newspaper.

    Then there is the issue of the lack of a long term plan about disposal of nuclear waste.

    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/an-american-chernobyl-nuclear

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_safety#Nuclear_accidents

    http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/nukes/chernob/rep02.html

    That said, if I believed that it was safe and the people running it could be trusted I would feel more comfortable with it.

    #222: Any of these plans will have a cost, and no matter how much you want to gloss over it, that is the reason that politicians aren’t moving, because the cost is unbearable until the technology catches up.

    #360: Every time you dis nuclear, you are working for the coal industry and shooting yourself in the foot.

    Translated, don’t critisize nuclear power or we’ll call you an uneducated Luddite/corporate shill.

    What the coal companies know that most people don’t: As long as you keep messing around with wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe. There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it.

    Alternative energies have been around for decades but the real scandal is the way the energy companies and their Republican pals in congress and the senate have thrown every stumbling block they can think of in the way of their development. Especially in the Bush administration. I used to have a collection of links on this but finally deleted them all. It simply has not been a level playing field.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/07/17/bush-cuts-alt-energy/

    Alternative energy should be decentralized. http://tinyurl.com/y8hew28

    Comment by Ron R. — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:09 PM

  404. tharanga – you are right – but that doesn’t matter a bit. What matters is the time ordering of the adjustments. If the time ordering is random – no problem. If the time ordering is, for example, such that the negative adjustments are predominately in the first half of the history, and the positive in the second half, then presto chango a trend appears. I have no reason to believe any particular time ordering, and I don’t claim there is anything nefarious going on. I’m just saying that the analysis as presented doesn’t mean much without a time ordered analysis. And looking at the distribution of adjustments cross-sectionally and through time is the sort of thing you would expect from an undergraduate paper….

    Comment by Mesa — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:10 PM

  405. Post #397 got me thinking in a somewhat tangential direction. One can often attach physical problems just in terms of energy balance so I often try to explain earth system warming to others simply from the measurements of solar radiation influx minus radiation out flux that roughly agrees with simple models. One would expect then measurement of the total earth energy to reflect this difference. While it is a “shame” that we don’t have enough quality measurements (atmosphere + oceans) to accurately determine energy balance, the CGMs don’t have that problem.

    So my question is how much variability in total earth system energy is observed in the GCMs? Presumably with no change in external forcing (orbits, volcanoes, CO2 change, etc.) the total energy should be fairly constant, though that is not guaranteed. Variations in ocean surface temperature could lead to more, or less, blackbody radiative losses. How much less is model energy variation from what we can now measure? An how much less is that than variations we observe in forcing, such as solar, aerosols, etc. That could be a good target for justifying how much we should improve out measurements.

    A related question I have is how accessible is all the phase space within the constraints of the model. For example it could be possible the models could be “attracted” to colder, or warmer states for long periods of time. Though, I suspect the decadal, or so, oscillations in ocean currents would lead to the models visiting most of accessible phase space without drifting off into and remaining in some corner of that space. The point being that the ocean current oscillations are on a faster timescale than the earth blackbody radiation equilibration time.

    Comment by Tony — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:19 PM

  406. RE #401, are you also considering the heavy subsidies for coal? (Actually it was my Republican rep up north who admitted these subsidies.) And, of course, nuclear is off the subsidy charts. And don’t get me started on oil…but the end price also includes war costs….

    That’s what we who are on 100% wind have to pay on April 15th — taxes for other people to dirty the planet with their dirty energy. I’m thinking of starting my own “tea party”!

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:25 PM

  407. RE Skip Smith

    Now you have implicitly admitted that that sentence is unclear, and the only way to make sense of it is to go read the citations.

    [Response: The statement is clear to people who know what is being discussed. If you don't find it clear, then read the references. Really, it's not that hard. - gavin]

    Skip, please go to section 2.3.2.1 “Palaeoclimate proxy indicators” of the TAR and read the section on tree rings. The authors start the second paragraph by noting the caveats that must be considered when using tree rings as temperature proxies. Each factor gets a sentence and citation; the “divergence” gets as much attention as the other issues. As Gavin noted somewhere, the TAR, like any review document, does not go into excruciating detail to describe every document that is cited.

    Comment by Deech56 — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:52 PM

  408. Ron R. (403) — I suggest taking all that over to
    http://bravenewclimate.com/
    where such comments will be more welcome.

    Tony (404) — Early drift-off problems and the resolution is briefly mentioned in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart, first link in the “Science Links” section of the sidebar.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Dec 2009 @ 7:53 PM

  409. Ron R, you can postulate a “potential” for disaster in any endeavor you can name. Nuclear has been historically very safe, but of course it’s POSSIBLE that hypothetically something bad can happen. But the problem is that nobody will ever decisively win a debate on which energy source is safer or more risky, except with 20/20 hindsight. Just as nobody can decisively conclude ultimately how dangerous any global warming will actually be, since it’s all just probabilities and predictions. The fact is: life is inherently risky, and it always will be. If you think we can erase risk, you’re dreaming. But what I find really strange is how folks are so concerned about the RISKS of a bunch of people dying from a nuclear accident, or dying from lung disease from coal dust, or from a 10 foot rise in sea level in 50 years, but I don’t see folks focusing on the stuff that’s killing millions of people on this planet right now with 100% certainty. Entire countries are living at a sub-poverty level, and as a result millions have been dying for years of disease and hunger, and here we are talking about spending zillions of $$ to mitigate the possible RISKS of global warming, while if we invested the same money in helping other nations improve their living standards we’d probably save far more lives. It’s just strange.

    Comment by JimM — 12 Dec 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  410. Well, this looks like a familiar pattern:

    > Sunday, December 6, 2009
    > Kevan Hashemi said…
    > I read the Wegman Report last night, and I think I now understand….

    Followed by
    > There is a time an a place to suspect a group of scientists of deception
    > and fraud. This one of those times, and climate scientists are the group.
    > December 8, 2009 8:13 AM

    Quick study. Who is the “we”/”us” at your blog — others from the Brandeis High Energy Physics Department?

    I gather from others’ comments that you’ve already met Tamino and dismissed him.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 8:25 PM

  411. Here’s an analysis of the adjustment through time done by Roman M. It appears I was correct about the time variability. I would be interested in any insight into some of this. A few apologies would also be nice.

    http://statpad.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/ghcn-and-adjustment-trends/#comment-68

    Comment by Mesa — 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:50 PM

  412. Has anyone seen DOE’s Climate Change page? It was there Dec. 3rd:
    http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:bnzJyETfXRoJ:www.energy.gov/sciencetech/climatechange.htm+high+energy+physics+climate&cd=4

    But it doesn’t show up now (note it’s no longer shown in the left sidebar list on the current page either):
    http://www.energy.gov/sciencetech/climatechange.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 11:37 PM

  413. Oh wait — it’s not under ‘Science and Technology’ but there’s a page under ‘Environment’ that looks about the same, found by the site search. Maybe it moved?
    http://www.energy.gov/environment/climatechange.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Dec 2009 @ 11:45 PM

  414. I just wanted to point out that the claim that wind is not economic depends greatly on where in the country you are. How if wind is so hopelessly uneconomic can there b 8.9 gw of wind capacity in Tx when the most that can be handled by the grid is 5 gw. and according to the mins of the ERCOT board of directors something like 70 gw of permits being sought to connect wind farms. Note the new wind farm in OR for Ca, again because much of the thermal power in CA is gas based. Also the new proposed power hub for Clovis,NM connecting the 3 US grids is driven by wind power. Coal may well be subsidized but the subsidy does not show up in the price of power which is all people care about.

    Comment by Lyle — 12 Dec 2009 @ 11:46 PM

  415. Timothy #400: Thank you for your explanation. I hope you won’t mind me adding a link to your comment on my site. I can’t remember why I called that graph the Hockey Stick, because it isn’t. Strange though it may seem to you, the process you describe does qualify as data massage in my field (high energy physics). The calibration process you describe guarantees that the proxies agree in the past fifty years. Therefore, their agreement has no significance, and any plot that shows the agreement would be misleading. When we calibrate things, we do it with independent measurements. If we wanted to measure temperature with tree rings, my guess is that we’d dedicate fifty years to growing trees in a bunch of different controlled conditions in order to calibrate our method. After that we’d go around and cut down a bunch of trees all over the world and produce our measurements. If our results disagreed with global surface stations we would not re-calibrate our method to match the surface stations. We might, however, start looking for errors in our methodology, which is where we, too, would be in danger of massaging our data.

    Gavin #397: If I understand your response correctly, you confirm what I thought must be the case: we have no empirical basis for gauging the inherent variability of our climate.

    Comment by Kevan Hashemi — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:03 AM

  416. 403 Ron R: Your fear comes from your ignorance. My statements do NOT need DISinterpretation. What you need is a degree in physics or nuclear engineering so that you could understand that my statements are correct as stated.

    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb:

    Bombs are completely different from reactors. There is nothing similar about them except that they both need fissile materials. But they need DIFFERENT fissile materials and they use them very differently.
    A nuclear bomb “compresses” pure or nearly pure fissile material into a small space. The fissile material is either the uranium isotope 235 or plutonium. They are the reduced bright shiny metals, not metal oxide. If it is uranium, it is at least 90% uranium 235 and 10% or less uranium 238. These fissile materials are metals and very difficult to compress. Because they are difficult to compress, a high explosive [high speed explosive] is required to compress them. Pieces of the fissile material have to slam into each other hard for the nuclear reactions to take place.
    A nuclear reactor, such as the ones used for power generation, does not have any pure fissile material. The fuel may be 0.7% to 8% uranium oxide 235 mixed with uranium 238 oxide [uranium rust]. A mixture of 0.7% to 8% uranium 235 rust mixed with uranium 238 rust cannot be made to explode no matter how hard you try. A small amount of plutonium oxide mixed in with the uranium oxide can not change this. Reactor fuel still cannot be made to explode like a nuclear bomb no matter how hard you try. There has never been a nuclear explosion in a reactor and there never will be. [Pure reduced metallic uranium and plutonium are flammable, but a fire isn't an explosion.] The fuel is further diluted by being divided and sealed into many small steel capsules. The capsules are usually contained in steel tubes. The fuel is further diluted by the need for coolant to flow around the capsules and through the core so that heat can be transported to a place where heat energy can be converted to electrical energy. A reactor does not contain any high speed [or any other speed] chemical explosive as a bomb must have. A reactor does not have any explosive materials at all.
    As is obvious from the above descriptions, there is no possible way that a reactor could ever explode like a nuclear bomb. Reactors and bombs are very different. Reactors and bombs are really not even related to each other.
    Reccomendation: Nuclear power is the safest kind and it just got safer. Convert all coal-fired power plants to nuclear ASAP. See the December 2005 issue of Scientific American article on a new type of nuclear reactor that consumes the nuclear “waste” as fuel.
    Coal kills 24000 Americans and 1 Million Chinese every year. You don’t recognize most of the deaths because they are slow deaths due to pollution.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Dec 2009 @ 2:24 AM

  417. Hank Roberts says 12 December 2009 at 8:25 PM

    You’ve found yet another leopard with context-dependent spots, looks like. Why would somebody imagine that they can fling accusations like that in one locale, move to another, assume a reasonable persona and get away with it?

    The field-dropping gambit always makes me snicker, too. “In my field…” followed by something hopefully impressive to the rest of us louts. If an idea is valid, it’s really not necessary to lard it up; a janitor with demonstrated skills in differential calculus should not find it useful to mention his occupation, nor should anybody else.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 13 Dec 2009 @ 2:38 AM

  418. 409 Jim M: We recognize the problems of overpopulation, undereducation, maladaptive culture and inappropriate development. What we are worried about here is a much bigger problem: EXTINCTION of Homo Sapiens. Even a .0000001% probability of extinction is WAY too much risk. Extinction is an INFINITE cost. Global Warming has, this is a guess on my part, a 50% chance of causing the extinction of the human race. We MUST deal with that risk BEFORE we deal with anything else. Nobody other than ourselves can save us. There is no other threat of extinction that poses a greater risk. Working on anything other than global warming is a waste of time in comparison.

    Reference: “Population politics: the choices that shape our future”
    by Virginia Abernethy, New York : Insight Books, ©1993. xix,
    350 p. : ill. Library of Congress call number: HB883.5 .A23
    1993.

    Family subsidies only cause more poverty, April 11, 1998
    [downloaded from Amazon]
    Reviewer: defor@ibm.net (Colorado, USA) -This book supports
    the arguments economic conservatives have intuitively had
    against altruistic international welfare schemes – they
    only encourage more irresponsibility, even larger families in
    already impoverished lands, and only encourage immigration to
    welfare states such as the United States and Western Europe —
    spreading the misery of low wages due to oversupply of farm and
    blue collar labor

    The beneficiaries of foreign food aid are General Grain, ADM,
    Cargill Inc. etc. It is poor Americans giving even more of their
    money to the rich owners of those companies. Virginia
    Abernethy did some RESEARCH and found out that if we help
    them, they have EVEN MORE children they can’t feed in hopes
    that at least one will be able to sneak into the US. Foreign aid
    ADDS to the suffering.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Dec 2009 @ 2:49 AM

  419. Kevan wrote in 415:

    I can’t remember why I called that graph the Hockey Stick, because it isn’t.

    Kevan, the post that I quoted from at your site is now gone — although I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it is back there tomorrow. That and your “misunderstanding” of the difference between calibration and verification periods in the use of PCA for temperature reconstruction, “misunderstanding” of the difference between instrumental temperatures and temperature reconstructions, etc.. strongly suggests to me that you are into mind-games.

    I don’t have time for that right now. Not sure what my tolerance for that sort of thing would be even if I did have the time, and as I see it, the stakes are just a little too high (e.g., the water supply for more than a billion people who depend upon glaciers in the Himalayas, nearly all US agriculture by the end of this century) for treating global warming as some sort of troll game.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Dec 2009 @ 3:33 AM

  420. All this fuss over the GHCN temperature series homogeneity adjustments is very odd. The first thing I observe is that nearly all those commenting at Giorgio’s site have failed to do their homework, and their comments are painful to read. Many don’t seem to grasp even what data is being discussed.

    I have read the paper describing exactly how the dataset was adjusted, and they use a statistical method to detect discontinuities, not metadata. While technically complicated, the basic approach seems straightforward and non-deceptive. Therefore, all this meta-analysis seems like a tautology.

    But Mesa’s concerns aren’t based on logic, or the question of whether the adjustments are significant – his concerns appear to be based on the assumption that there is a vast conspiracy to falsify the adjustments in such a way as to create, increase or preserve a global warming signal. Giorgio’s analysis doesn’t address that directly, instead trying to show how ridiculous it is. Despite Eric heralding the analysis as “simple and therefore brilliant”, clearly it isn’t simple enough for deniers to grasp the key point, or in-depth enough to answer all the piffling minutia that the more clueful deniers like to worry about.

    Given this, I await Eric’s promised post with interest. Can he make it obvious enough, without missing the point?

    Thinking about this more, I think the most important answer to Mesa’s complaints is that we don’t expect the adjustments to be distributed evenly temporally. Petersen and Vose say: “There are many causes for the discontinuities, including changes in instruments, shelters, the environment around the shelter, the location of the station, the time of observation, and the method used to calculate mean temperature.” Clearly, many of these changes will affect many stations, and will result in increasing or decreasing adjustments as these changes are introduced over time (as new shelters are deployed, for example).

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:22 AM

  421. Ron R. said:

    US plants, which are supposedly the best built in the world

    This made me laugh! Most US reactors are very old, and you haven’t built a new one in over 10 years. The paranoid regulations you have in place now mean that new reactors should be the safest in the world, but these regulations don’t apply to existing reactors. Therefore, your ageing reactors are likely to experience the occasional minor but embarrassing accident.

    There are two points to remember: The design of modern nuclear reactors make a Chernobyl-style accident impossible. This means that the impact of even the most severe nuclear accident cannot be anything like the apocalypse that the doom-merchants would have you believe. Yes, in an extreme event, people would die. But nowhere near the numbers that are sometimes quoted – and extreme events are rare. The risk is calculated as being so small that I have no way to conceptualise it. Second, even in the case of a large release of radioactive material, the US is prepared with potassium iodide so there shouldn’t be excess thyroid cancers.

    I find the list of nuclear accidents more comforting than threatening. In each case, there were multiple failures of design and operation. New designs have never (and often can never) experience similar problems.

    Of course, it is up to all of us to insist on proper independent inspection and regulation.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:53 AM

  422. EG: Every time you argue in favor of wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, or against nuclear, King Coal is happy.

    BPL: Coal doesn’t want any of the above to succeed. To say coal companies favor renewables is just stupid.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:14 AM

  423. Did: We know nuclear is cheaper than renewable energy, and even marginally cheaper than coal.

    BPL: Price of electricity in California: Wind, 9 cents per kilowatt-hour. Coal, 10 cents. Nuclear, 15 centers.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:20 AM

  424. JimM: nuclear is the only really responsible and viable primary generation source if you really want to reduce greenhouse emissions and reliance on coal and oil

    BPL: Garbage. 42% of new electrical capacity installed in the US last year was wind. Denmark gets 20% of its energy from wind and plans to increase it to 50% by 2020. Solar thermal plants with excess heat stored in molten salts are achieving on-line time as good as coal-fired power plants.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:27 AM

  425. two-fingered, you’ve just displayed the psycological problem if schizophrenia.

    Argument 1: Nuclear is cheap and really safe and as proof, we have all these nuclear power stations that haven’t killed

    Argument 2: We need the new safer (unmentioned: unproven) designs rather than those old inefficient ones to realise how cheap and safe nuclear is

    #2 nukes (pardon the pun) #1.

    But you don’t realise.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:31 AM

  426. Theo: the developed nations are asking the developing nations to limit their development.

    BPL: NO, they are NOT. They’re asking them to limit their use of fossil fuels. That is NOT the same as asking them to limit their development. There are other power sources available.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:54 AM

  427. Mesa, you can prove your charge easily–just break the measurements in half at the halfway point and run the analysis again. If you get left-skew in one half and right-skew in the other, your point is proved, there’s no global warming, and we can all buy Hummers.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 8:02 AM

  428. I tried posting my (long and fatality-filled) list of nuclear accidents, but it got flagged as spam. I’m going to put it up as a web page.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 8:07 AM

  429. Ron R. writes

    … instant potential to kill …

    Of course it has no such potential, and of course the regulators of whom we must demand vigilance are, many of them, permanently stationed on site, and vigilance can reasonably therefore be expected of them.

    I thought I’d delay a while and see if any of the nuclear opponents here would show their quality by correcting Ron R. on this basic point. Surely not every falsehood that benefits governments’ natural gas income is sacred?

    Ron R., can you see in this page’s second, small photo, under the title “Lonnie Power to the Poles!”, a suggestion that people who live by saying, or at least insinuating, that nuclear reactors are not safe, act as if they knew this to be a lie?

    (How fire can be domesticated)

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan until ~1996 — 13 Dec 2009 @ 8:29 AM

  430. When participants in discussions of matters of this kind leap to declare their “believer”/”denier” allegiances then pretend to conduct scientific discourse, precious little real science is practiced and scant trace of the scientific method is in evidence. The actions of those who are primarily driven to prevail run counter to good science. Debate is no substitute for thoughtful constructive collaboration.

    Believer/Denier? A scientist would never put himself in either camp – ever.

    Comment by Ed Every — 13 Dec 2009 @ 9:26 AM

  431. Okay, it’s up:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/NukeAccidents.html

    If anyone has any information or corrections I can add, please let me know.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 9:36 AM

  432. Thank you to all those who have read my quick analysis on the blog and thanks Eric for link and future post. I am looking forward to read more here, Eric.

    I find what Didactylos #420 say a very good view but I’d like to add two things (maybe a bit more optimistic). The main goal of that little post was to show to the people at blogoshpere that they were barking at the wrong tree. If the point is to find overall bias, one should look at the big picture. I believe this message has come across and I hope that
    some of the sceptics understood that now.

    Comment by Giorgio Gilestro — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:15 AM

  433. Ed Every says, “Believer/Denier? A scientist would never put himself in either camp – ever.”

    No, a scientist would allign him or herself with the evidence, which is what the climate scientists–more than 90% of whom agree that we are warming the planet–have done. The evidence is undeniable–which is why the anti-science side in this debate are termed denialists.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:18 AM

  434. Timothy #419: Which post is gone? I have been correcting the errors in my Climate Analysis page, as pointed out by you and others. That page is not a fixed document, but an evolving one. But I did not remove any sections, and I certainly did not mean to remove any posts or comments from my blog. I will correct any such removal if only you would be so kind as to point it out, and regret any confusion I may have caused by modifying the text of my climate discussion.

    Comment by Kevan Hashemi — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:30 AM

  435. Didactylos:

    You wrote that my concerns about Giorgio’s analysis were “based on the assumption that there is a vast conspiracy to falsify the adjustments in such a way as to create, increase or preserve a global warming sign..”

    I challenge you to find any statement resembling that in my posts, or one attributing any motivations to anyone at all. If you can’t, then please post a retraction for your obnoxious comments. What I did say is that the total distribution didn’t say anything about the temporal pattern, that the pattern might not be random or trivial, and that Giorgio’s analysis didn’t mean very much. I was right. The other posters including the moderators were wrong.

    I haven’t said anything about whether the adjustments are “right” or “wrong”, just that they should be understood. I have absolutely no idea. They may well be perfectly correct and justifiable. We will see.

    And I think this little example shows you why people like me, with scientific backgrounds, don’t get a very comfortable feeling from the degree of introspection and rigor of the climate science community.

    Comment by Mesa — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:35 AM

  436. And thanks again to Roman M for doing the temporal analysis of Giorgio’s graph.

    Comment by Mesa — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  437. For those holding up France as a model for nuclear power development, do you know that France was forced to shut down up to 1/3 of their nuclear power plants during the heat waves of 2003 and 2005? Do you know that in order to maintain at least adequate levels of power, the French government allowed the plant operators to discharge water in excess of 25 C, causing extensive damage river ecosystems? Do you know that Areva is years behind schedule and billions over budget on new plants in both Finland and France?

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  438. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/the-guardians-editorial/comment-page-8/#comment-148690
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/the-guardians-editorial/comment-page-8/#comment-148737
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/the-guardians-editorial/comment-page-9/#comment-148779

    Kevan Hashemi removes without explanation, rather than explaining.
    Not a game worth playing. http://www.pbfcomics.com/archive_b/PBF216-Thwack_Ye_Mole.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:08 AM

  439. Hank #417: Mentioning the field I work in is, in my opinion, entirely appropriate. Lawyers are not expected to present evidence that compromises their argument. Indeed, a lawyer who argues against his own client is going to get fired. In physics, quite the opposite is the case. A physicist who hides evidence that contradicts his theory is going to lose his funding. I don’t know what the standards are in climatology, but it’s clear that Gavin other climatologists see nothing wrong with curtailing the Briffa graph when it conflicts with their faith in the surface temperature record. The standards in law, climatology, and physics are different. Researchers in each field must be judged by their own standards. My climate page is for physicists, engineers, and computer scientists. My definition of data massage is appropriate for those fields. It may not be appropriate for climatology, and it’s certainly not appropriate for legal work.

    Comment by Kevan Hashemi — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:13 AM

  440. Edward Greisch #416 said: Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb … As is obvious from the above descriptions, there is no possible way that a reactor could ever explode like a nuclear bomb. Reactors and bombs are very different. Reactors and bombs are really not even related to each other.

    First I did not say that a nuke plant “can explode like a nuclear bomb”, (though explosions have occurred) so you’re arguing a strawman. I am refering to the possibility of meltdown. Second, take a look at the following sites:

    http://www.chernobyl.info/index.php?userhash=&navID=10&lID=2

    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/releases/chernobylforumclosingday

    Even the NRC says that Chernobyl exploded. Perhaps you’d like to clarify your statement.

    Didactylos #421 said: The paranoid regulations you have in place thanks to these “paranoid regulations” we’ve not had more accidents then we have.

    even in the case of a large release of radioactive material, the US is prepared with potassium iodide so there shouldn’t be excess thyroid cancers

    According to the “2010 Important Emergency Information” booklet we recently received in the mail from our local nuke plant we live in an area that is eligible to receive a free packet (two doses) of KI. Wheee! That’s certainly a relief! To receive it we must submit a voucher which says that “we understand that”, “KI protects only the thyroid gland from only radioactive iodine. In a radiological release, I would be vulnerable to possible exposure to other potentially dangerous forms of radiation”.

    Nuclear bullies, hoping to capitalize on the climate change, trashing their opponents in a way that does not speak of honesty. If you are honest you wil acknolwledge the shortcomings.

    G.R.L. Cowan, by “instant” I did not mean that people would fall down dead on the spot, though some would die within hours as happened at Chernobyl. No, the rest would get cancer and die. BTW, I’m not getting your point re: the photo.

    By the way, the zealots are not even mentioning the risks from terrorist attacks on plants. OBL has, in fact, made just such a threat. Additionally I wonder what would have happened to nuke plants if the economic meltdown that we hear was close to being total if not for the bailout had occurred. Let’s just say that everything suddenly fell apart. What would happen to these plants?

    Comment by Ron R. — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:34 AM

  441. BPL: Price of electricity in California: Wind, 9 cents per kilowatt-hour. Coal, 10 cents. Nuclear, 15 centers.

    I did point out that my figures were global, not local. Subsidies in the US distort the market considerably. What is your source for these numbers? I have never seen wind this cheap.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:45 AM

  442. Completely Fed Up waffled:

    two-fingered, you’ve just displayed the psycological problem if schizophrenia.

    Argument 1: Nuclear is cheap and really safe and as proof, we have all these nuclear power stations that haven’t killed

    Argument 2: We need the new safer (unmentioned: unproven) designs rather than those old inefficient ones to realise how cheap and safe nuclear is

    #2 nukes (pardon the pun) #1.

    But you don’t realise.

    The world is larger than the US. Considerably larger. *sigh*

    Newer designs are deployed routinely around the world, with great success. Since the US stopped building reactors, development has continued with generation III and generation III+ reactors, many of which have been built. Generation IV reactors are still being researched.

    Now please try to avoid being rude. I have little time for rude people.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:02 PM

  443. BPL:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_civilian_nuclear_accidents

    Nuclear accidents are scrutinised possibly more closely than any other industry in the world. Since Chernobyl, there have been 9 accidents, and only a handful of people have died.

    More people die every year in coal mines.

    The most severe nuclear accident since Chernobyl did not involve a reactor at all, it was caused by a medical radiation source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goi%C3%A2nia_accident

    BPL, you talk a good deal of sense on every other subject I have heard you touch on. I am confident your sense of proportion will return if you step back a little.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  444. Oh, I almost missed these comments in the same post:

    #421: The paranoid regulations you have in place … Of course, it is up to all of us to insist on proper independent inspection and regulation.

    Make up your mind :-)

    Comment by Ron R. — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:22 PM

  445. BPL:

    I just noticed your own list. I see you have included military accidents as well as civilian accidents (which is insupportable when discussing civilian nuclear power). Even if we allow this inflation, you only have 98 confirmed deaths since 1944. That’s less than 2 per year.

    I don’t think that you were trying to make the point that nuclear power is incredibly safe, but that’s the conclusion I see.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:29 PM

  446. > Kevan Hashemi says: 13 December 2009 at 11:13 AM
    > Hank #417:

    Wrong. I didn’t write #417; Doug did.
    He started by referring to an earlier post I made; the comment at 417 is his.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:29 PM

  447. Kevan Hashemi, I challenged you above to point to the data behind your claims you had based on the chart you had up on your blog. Instead you removed the picture. Now you add other claims about data being fudged, again with no cite, and here you assert “curtailing the Briffa graph when it conflicts with their faith in the surface temperature record.”

    I’d try to say something encouraging, but I fear you are have shown us the best you can do.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  448. Didactylos – I’m aware that Chernobyl was a bad design with bad management. Although we have some problems with oversight of what might otherwise be safer nuclear power in the U.S. But anyway …

    How about comparisons of nuclear, solar, wind, etc. Maybe, including potential advances in nuclear power (Th fuel cycles?), they’re all far far far better than coal. But there there is an issue with implementation time with nuclear power (the opportunity cost), which doesn’t preclude nuclear power in long-term plans but suggests boosting solar and wind power in the near term would be quite helpful.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:48 PM

  449. Ron R:

    thanks to these “paranoid regulations” we’ve not had more accidents then we have.

    Not really. I am talking about regulations introduced since the US stopped building reactors – regulations that do not apply to existing reactors, but that have stifled the building of new reactors. Such regulations that already apply to existing reactors have, as you so eloquently observe, proved sufficient. I don’t think there has been a single direct fatality from a civilian nuclear accident in the US. Any other industry would kill to have such an amazing safety record!

    According to the “2010 Important Emergency Information” booklet we recently received in the mail from our local nuke plant we live in an area that is eligible to receive a free packet (two doses) of KI. Wheee! That’s certainly a relief! To receive it we must submit a voucher which says that “we understand that”, “KI protects only the thyroid gland from only radioactive iodine. In a radiological release, I would be vulnerable to possible exposure to other potentially dangerous forms of radiation”.

    That’s just to placate paranoid people. In the event of an actual release, medication would be distributed. No doubt you can find documentation for your local emergency service plans, or the FEMA plans, or wherever they are hidden away.

    By the way, the zealots are not even mentioning the risks from terrorist attacks on plants. OBL has, in fact, made just such a threat. Additionally I wonder what would have happened to nuke plants if the economic meltdown that we hear was close to being total if not for the bailout had occurred. Let’s just say that everything suddenly fell apart. What would happen to these plants?

    Even if a meltdown were somehow induced, the design of all modern reactors precludes a severe runaway reaction. Even if the largest possible explosion were somehow generated, the containment building should remain mostly intact. Lessons were learned from Chernobyl. Nobody has yet come up with a plausible way in which a similar accident could occur again.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:54 PM

  450. Mesa, Just one little teency weency problem with your buddy Roman M’s allegations of “hiding the decline”. There are two datasets based on satellite measurement that show temperature increases commensurate with the terrestrial-based estimates. The satellite datasets are 100% independent of the GHCN data or adjustments.

    Oops! Another teency weency little problem–there’s all the pesky phenological data and all the ice melt data showing that the planet is warming.

    It would appear that you still have the strategy of sticking your fingers in your ear and repeating incessantly “La-la-la-la, I can’t hear you, la-la-la-la…” How’s that working out for you?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:54 PM

  451. Mesa, 404: You still don’t understand what giorgio did.

    “If the time ordering is, for example, such that the negative adjustments are predominately in the first half of the history, and the positive in the second half, then presto chango a trend appears.”

    And that trend is exactly the trend that Giorgio is calculating. Please look at his code.

    He made a histogram of the trend that is created by the adjustments.

    Comment by tharanga — 13 Dec 2009 @ 12:59 PM

  452. Didactylos.

    There have been some great, and extensive, discussions of nuclear power on The Oil Drom. Go read those threads. It comes down tp this: They are too exepnsive compared to what you can build out in other forms of energy production, they take too long to build, and the long-term issues are not close to being settled. Add to that hte lack of appropriate sites due to lack of water and/or tectonic stability, and nuclear becomes a specific site-only solution.

    Korea is an example of a good sites for nuclear because it has very, very few other natural resources and is tectonically stable.

    The numbers just don’t work just don’t work for a major contribution from nuclear. We would need on the order of 400 in the US alone. Do the math on costs and time.

    Oh, by the way, I’ve not read the comments above thoroughly, but if you are not including decommissioning costs – which are at least equal to construction – then you aren’t really discussing nuclear.

    It would cost 4.8 trillion to build 400 nuclear plants, yet for 1/5 of that you could give every household in the US more than $8,700 to go towards retrofitting their homes, adding solar, etc. If you do this as a DIY national build out in which small towns, cities and neighborhoods (think in terms of Dunbar’s Number) can work together to either help build for each other or pool their money/resources to create local solutions. Since one can build a 1kw wind generator or a small solar array for $1k, with $8k you could get virtually the entire nation significantly closer to being energy neutral, provide direct. real economic stimulus and create a massively distributed, thus far more resilient, energy grid while giving people energy independence. I discussed this briefly and inexpertly two years ago. http://aperfectstormcometh.blogspot.com/2008/03/build-out-grid-vs-household-towards.html

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  453. @435 – “And I think this little example shows you why people like me, with scientific backgrounds, don’t get a very comfortable feeling from the degree of introspection and rigor of the climate science community.”

    i couldn’t agree more! see the arrogant response gavin gave to me on #31. when faced with data and questions that challenge their hypothesis (and their financial nest eggs) they act like children.

    fortunately real people of science are entering this arena and will push the bullies out. only then will we truly understand climate change and get answers to our tough questions.

    Comment by gary thompson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:06 PM

  454. Mesa: I inferred your assumptions from your other posts. Am I wrong?

    If I have confused you with someone else, then I do apologise.

    Why don’t you read the GHCN paper yourself, too? If I could follow it, you should have no problem at all.

    Comment by Didactylos — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  455. Hank #438: I’m sorry, but I’m not following your argument. You list some comments to this site, but so far as I know, it’s not possible for me to delete comments from this site. As to my blog, I don’t see any missing posts. I frequently correct errors in my essay. Are you referring to my correcting factual errors pointed out by readers?

    Comment by Kevan Hashemi — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:11 PM

  456. Now please try to avoid being rude. I have little time for rude people.

    Then feel free to post elsewhere. I have little time for people who continue to misrepresent the safety, cost and nuclear proliferation risk of nuclear energy, and continue to promote the utter lack of scientific veracity and the political and financial inadvisability of applying an energy conversion scale of the order of 250 MeV, to a energy conversion problem of the order of 35 meV, while utterly neglecting outstanding condensed matter physics and material science problems of energy scales of the order of the triple point of water, and at most does not exceed a few multiples of the boiling point of water. The energy scale of nuclear reactions is completely out of scale with the run of the mill every day energy conversion scales civilization is confronted with TODAY, that have yet to be even fully understood at the quantum mechanical level. This sort of fundamental misunderstanding needs to be confronted head on, and even rudely if necessary, because I refuse to drink the nuclear koolaide and high energy dogma that you present so naively here, without any corroborating evidence whatsoever.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:18 PM

  457. I think I may need to revoke my comment about feeling nostalgic for debates with nuclear zealots compared to debates with those who deny the existence of global warming. The “arguments” of the nuclear zealots are as ill-informed, repetitive, and tiresome as ever.

    According to Edward Greisch, because I argue that wind and solar are preferable to nuclear, I must be paid by the coal industry, an industry which I have argued should be shut down. Right.

    According to Didactylos, because I point out that wind and solar are already growing at record-breaking double-digit rates year after year, and are indeed the fastest growing sources of electricity in the world, while nuclear is barely holding steady, and that therefore wind and solar are “mature technologies” that are already being widely deployed at industrial, utility scale, so that talk of using nuclear as a “stop-gap” until wind and solar “are ready” is contrafactual and rather silly, then I must be driven by irrational emotion. Check.

    Same as it ever was.

    Nuclear zealots exaggerate (or invent) “problems” and “obstacles” for the growth of renewables (while generally displaying ignorance of what is actually happening with wind and solar today), while they simultaneously ignore the very real problems and obstacles of nuclear power (which are recognized by more responsible, realistic proponents of expanding nuclear power like the folks at MIT). They consistently accuse anyone who raises any objections whatsoever to nuclear power of being driven by irrationality and emotion, or even of being “anti-science”. They consistently offer the false dichotomy of nuclear vs. coal — in which they basically argue that nuclear is the only alternative to coal because nuclear is the only alternative to coal (classical begging-the-question fallacy), so that anyone who advocates wind or solar should have to defend the pollution and safety problems of coal. Again and again they simply ignore facts — e.g. the multi-year construction delays and the multi-billion dollar cost overruns and safety problems that continue to plague “new generation” nuclear power plants just as they did earlier generations — and rely heavily on argument by assertion, endlessly repeating bromides about “nuclear is the only answer”, “nuclear is safer than wind turbines” and other silliness.

    Look, I get it. I know what it is to be a “fan”. And nuclear power has its “fans”, for sure — the folks to whom it is a matter of “nuclear is THE answer!!! — what was the question?”

    But I will reiterate what I said above. Nuclear power is neither a necessary nor particularly effective solution to the problem of reducing GHG emissions from electricity generation. It is too expensive, and it takes to long to build, compared to other solutions.

    I am fairly certain, given the entrenched political power and wealth of the nuclear power corporations, that in the USA many billions of taxpayer dollars will indeed be squandered on the nuclear industry — the current energy/climate legislation contains such provisions, which are generally viewed as a necessary “compromise” to get Republican and “moderate” Democrat support (along with funding for “clean coal” and increased off-shore oil drilling).

    And out of that, a few more nuclear power plants may indeed be built and eventually go online to produce some electricity. But they will do little or nothing to reduce GHG emissions in the time frame that such reductions are needed, and they will in fact misdirect money and resources that could far more effectively be spent elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, during the years that those power plants are being built, wind and solar will continue to grow at exponential rates as they already are, and by the time those nuclear power plants come on line they will not be economically competitive, and the taxpayers and the rate payers will be stuck with the bill. (Indeed, under current financing proposals, the tax payers and the rate payers will have already paid the bill before, and whether or not, the plants ever go online.) It will be a huge waste of resources, and we will have to deal with whatever problems of toxic waste, vulnerability to terrorism and so on come with those power plants, with little or no payoff in terms of reducing GHGs.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:26 PM

  458. Ron R. writes,

    G.R.L. Cowan, by “instant” I did not mean that people would fall down dead on the spot, though some would die within hours as happened at Chernobyl. No, the rest would get cancer and die. BTW, I’m not getting your point re: the photo.

    Insinuating much and then backing off from the direct statement, eh? I’ll give a hint: when Lonnie Dupre isn’t pulling that rope, how does that boat go?

    Reactor mishaps that can kill neighbours within hours, or, I suspect, at all, are something Dr. Teller, and some other smart people in the Reactor Safeguard Committee, searched for in 1950, and found. As a result, reactor designers outside the former Soviet Union learned the lessons of Chernobyl at that time. It could blow up, but no reactor near me can. The reactors powering this computer are less explosive than so many blocks of wood.

    (How fire can be domesticated)

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan until ~1996 — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  459. JimM wrote: “I do want to point out the absolutely shameful fear mongering that the anti-nuclear folks perpetrated on the public back in the day, which ultimately resulted in stomping out the nuclear industry in the US.”

    That comment is historically inaccurate, although it is a commonly repeated pro-nuclear myth.

    It wasn’t the greenies or the “anti-nuclear folks” who “stomped out the nuclear industry” in the US.

    The nuclear industry was “stomped” by Wall Street investors who recognized that nuclear power was an economic failure.

    What has prevented nuclear power plants from being built in the USA for decades is not the protests of “anti-nuclear folks”. Indeed, they haven’t had much opportunity to protest against any proposed new nuclear power plants, because new nuclear power plants have not been proposed. And the reason for that is that private capital recognizes a money-losing proposition when they see one, and have not been willing to invest in nuclear power.

    Which is still the case today. Private capital is unwilling to invest in nuclear power because it is an economic failure. That is why the nuclear industry is demanding that the taxpayers and the rate payers absorb all the costs, and all the risks, up front — that the public will pay essentially ALL the costs of new nuclear power plant construction, even if the plants are never completed and/or never go online.

    Meanwhile, private capital is pouring in to wind and solar deployment and development, and into related technologies (e.g. storage and smart-grid technologies) that enable wind and solar to grow even faster.

    The argument over nuclear and the recitation of pro-nuclear mythology that blames nuclear power’s economic failure on “irrational greenies” can go on and on, and probably will. The reality is, that nuclear power is not going to make a significant contribution to reducing GHG emissions from electricity generation, no matter how much taxpayer money is squandered on it.

    And by the way, for fans of the state-owned, state-run French nuclear power industry, please consider a couple of points.

    First of all, the USA already operates many, many more nuclear power plants than does France. And the USA, not France, produces the most electricity from nuclear power of any nation in the world. So, those who would like to see nuclear power grow should cite the USA as an example for France to follow, not the other way around.

    Second, those who cite the Frence AREVA nuclear technology as an example of the new generation of nuclear power plants that will supposedly be faster and cheaper to build, and safer to operate, should note that the two AREVA power plants being built in Finland and France are — surprise, surprise — years behind schedule, billions of dollars over budget, and plagued with serious safety problems. Other jurisdictions (e.g. Ontario) have already canceled plans for “new generation” power plants because of skyrocketing costs and the unwillingness of the plant builders to make any commitments as to either the final cost or the date of completion.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  460. So, to summarize, over the past 100 yrs the GHCN adjustments are about the same size (.5F) as the actual temperature rise (this by the way is also well documented on the NOAA web site/not in dispute http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn/ushcn.html). This is also the period of large CO2 increases. Therefore, the case for an historical (as opposed to fundamental/theoretical/modeled) link between CO2 and temperature rise over the past 100 yrs is essentially predicated on the validity of the adjustment procedure(s). This is why there is so much discussion about the exact procedures used. Again, they may be fine and robust, but we should be clear about the incredibly critical role played by these adjustments in making the historical case.

    Comment by Mesa — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:49 PM

  461. All the dunderheaded disinformation, deceit, delay, denial and disasterous decisionmaking of the past 8 long dark years are in the past. With a little luck people with feet of play will overcome the arrogance, wanton greed and stupidity perpetrated by the Masters of the Universe among us, the most avaricious and self-righteous ones who widely proclaim their greed-mongering is God’s work.

    What mental disorder describes those among us who proclaim themselves Masters of the Universe doing the work of God?

    Years of hard work by people with feet of clay all come down to this week in Copenhagen. The “now or never” week is at hand for the children, global biodiversity, life as we know it, the integrity of Earth and its environs. This week is the moment that the Masters of the Universe cannot avoid any longer; all of the human family are bound in this long-awaited momentous week. The time for action has come, finally. The opportunity held in this blessed moment must not be missed.

    If anyone thinks of something that I can do to assist any of you to reasonably, sensibly, responsibly and humanely realize the goals of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, please send word to me.

    Steve Salmony
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    Comment by Steven Earl Salmony — 13 Dec 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  462. Gavin I have a quick question. I’m not denying that the amount of CO2 humans release in the athmosphere is scary. But after reading a lot about global warming/climate change, I just cant understand how this can possibly be more urging than all the chemicals that are put in our food, consummables, etc that make male fertility and testosterone levels plummet, cancer skyrocket. Mercury levels that poison people, especially kids who end up with autism, ADD, decreased cognitive abilities. For north americans/europeans, how can GW be more urging than saving humans from being sick? Where are the scientists? Because from my analysis of carbon treaties, they dont turn out to have the claimed effect of decreasing the release of mercury and other heavy metals and do nothing about bad chemicals.

    Comment by Really save the planet — 13 Dec 2009 @ 2:58 PM

  463. Did,

    Subsidies? How about the fact that the damage caused by fossil fuels isn’t reflected in the price? Does that count?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 3:13 PM

  464. Did,

    My sense of proportion is just fine, thank you. I know coal causes more immediate deaths. I was responding to the idiotic proposition that nuclear is the safest of all forms of power, which is just plain not true. There’s also the problems that nuclear costs more to build, takes longer to build, and produces materials which can been used in devices meant to blow up cities.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  465. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Nuclear_components_bolster_JSW_results-0106094.html
    “The company currently claims around 80% of the world market for large forged components for nuclear plants, notably the largest reactor pressure vessel sections, steam generators and turbine shafts.”
    ” At JSW’s Muroran plant on Hokkaido it has 3000- to 14,000-tonne hydraulic forging presses, the latter able to take 600 tonne steel ingots, and a 12,000 tonne pipe-forming press. At present, its capacity is only four reactor pressure vessels and associated components per year.
    In December, JSW announced that it will triple its capacity for manufacturing heavy forged components for nuclear power plants by mid-2012.”

    According to http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat2p2.html the US has 336 GW of existing coal fired plants. To replace them at 1.1GW a pop, would require 20 years and take all Japan Steel Works future production plus the other 20% produced by their competitors(and that’s assuming they triple their production as well).
    Unfortunately, according to http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat2p4.html, there are ~16.6GW of additional coal generating capacity planned for 2012, and similar amounts in future years in the US, which would absorb all the forging capacity to replace with nuke as well.
    Meanwhile, according to http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=26492, China is planning to add 120-160GW of new nukes in the next 20 years, which will also be competing for forging capacity, fuel & recycling, nuclear waste disposal, etc,etc. I suspect the demand on nuclear resources will drive prices up and preclude nuclear being “… the only really responsible and viable primary generation source if you really want to reduce greenhouse emissions and reliance on coal and oil…” Even if we were willing to add reliance on (limited) foreign manufacturing for our electrical power to our reliance on foreign oil for transportation.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 13 Dec 2009 @ 3:47 PM

  466. “Really save the planet” says:13 December 2009 at 2:58 PM

    “Gavin I have a quick question. I’m not denying … [blah-blah, woof-woof redacted]”

    Really shoddy. That FUD gambit has been seen here many times, and much better expressed, too, faulty though it is. Sporting the ultra-frayed and worn out “oh, teacher, I have a sincere question” entry line, too.

    Fresh faces on RC ought to spend some time doing a little research into standards and practices before blowing a perfectly good pseudonym with a tragically defective first appearance.

    “Because from my analysis of carbon treaties…”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:01 PM

  467. Steve Salmony, # 461: What mental disorder describes those among us who proclaim themselves Masters of the Universe doing the work of God?

    It would be most appropriate for you to look in the mirror when you say that.

    Comment by Jen — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:26 PM

  468. BPL (423), you keep quoting prices for electricity in California that I have never been able to find and you have never verified. The California Renewable Energy Sources Act of 2009 (2008 draft) called for $0.125 to $0.132 per kWhr wholesale tariffs from wind farms to power companies. It calls for an 8c or 9c per kWhr (again wholesale) only for uncommon “high wind” efficient wind farms and only for years 6-20 of a 20-year contract. Even this comes from the infamous California regulatory commission well known for pricing things erratically — though to be fair this may have come from the legislature instead —- though, yet again, not always your paragon of rationality.

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:36 PM

  469. Edward Greisch, I read the 2005 SciAm article.

    Here is another view:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=rethinking-nuclear-fuel-recycling

    Some comments on your article though.

    “With this approach, the radioactivity from the generated waste could drop to safe levels in a few hundred years, thereby eliminating the need to segregate waste for tens of thousands of years.”

    This is misleading as that would only apply if the power was generated but once. Assuming that this technology became a ongoing thing and in fact expands (how many nuke plants was it that McCain wanted to build?) you’d essentially have the same problem, continuous, or overlapping nuclear waste that would go on indefinitely. True there would be less of it with the fast reactor mentioned but multiply that by the number of new plants that you want to build in response to climate change and you’re back to the same problem.

    “The combination of fission products and transuranics is unsuited for weapons or even for thermal-reactor fuel.”

    But not for “dirty bombs” eh?

    “The third stream, amounting to about 92 percent of the spent thermalreactor fuel, would contain the bulk of the uranium, now in a depleted state. It could be stashed away for future use as fast-reactor fuel.”

    Or turned into silverware, per Dan Quayle.

    You might also see “bhoglund”‘s comments at the bottom of the article.

    Comment by Ron R. — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:37 PM

  470. Does every thread on RealCLimate have to degenerate into a pro/anti fission slug fest? I suggest taking all that to
    http://bravenewclimate.com/

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:41 PM

  471. Didactylos #449 said in response to my comment:That’s just to placate paranoid people. In the event of an actual release, medication would be distributed. No doubt you can find documentation for your local emergency service plans, or the FEMA plans, or wherever they are hidden away.

    You apparently did not read my comment. I acknowledge that KI would be available, the point is that that would not be sufficient to protect against other radioactive releases like strontium 90.

    I asked:Additionally I wonder what would have happened to nuke plants if the economic meltdown that we hear was close to being total if not for the bailout had occurred. Let’s just say that everything suddenly fell apart. What would happen to these plants?

    You answered:Even if a meltdown were somehow induced, the design of all modern reactors precludes a severe runaway reaction. Even if the largest possible explosion were somehow generated, the containment building should remain mostly intact.

    Sure, until the radiation eroded the concrete wall then all bets would be off. Remember I’m talking total meltdown of society. Whatwould happen to those plants when the water stops flowing to cool the core due to some accident or other?

    Comment by Ron R. — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:47 PM

  472. Gary Thompson #453, in your comment #31 you demonstrated ignorance on the very basics of climatology. Gavin called you on that. It is you, not he, that’s the arrogant twit. Crack a textbook or shut the hell up.
    Mesa #460, same message. Are you aware that USA != world?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 13 Dec 2009 @ 4:56 PM

  473. “For north americans/europeans, how can GW be more urging than saving humans from being sick?”

    Well according to spending powers: we’re all far more interested in blowing up humans.

    I suppose it stops them being sick…

    “Where are the scientists?”

    Would’t *doctors* be a better way to get people better, rather than work out whether it’s going to be nice weather? After all, it’s the climatologists who are used up on the science of AGW, and they aren’t really trained for healthcare…

    But I suppose if you want to Really Save the Planet, you’ve already set up a large fund to the Red Cross and WHO, yes?

    It’s really quite decent of you do to that. Well done.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:04 PM

  474. “Insinuating much and then backing off from the direct statement, eh?”

    If someone is insinuating, how can they back off from the direct statement? They can refuse to MAKE the direct statement you want to interpret the insinuation as, but that’s not backing off, is it.

    Unless you’re a telepath and know what they were thinking…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:07 PM

  475. Ray Ladbury:
    433.
    Ed Every says, “Believer/Denier? A scientist would never put himself in either camp – ever.””

    No, a scientist would allign him or herself with the evidence, which is what the climate scientists (more than 90% of whom agree that we are warming the planet) have done. The evidence is undeniable – which is why the anti-science side in this debate are termed denialists.

    Well then it’s settled. The ayes have it. Who will notify Nature?

    It is likely that there are very good reasons for the world to cut CO2 emissions. But if someone wanted to hand reluctant nations and groups (many) a basis for resisting CO2 emission limits, a statement like that could do the trick.

    Sloppy science or overreaching “scientific” statements in instances like this can be worse than no science. Once the world’s ear is gained and lost it can take years to regain it.

    If a scientist finds that his personal interest in the outcome of his research is the primary driver of his effort and eclipses the importance of the science itself, then there is a conflict and his opinions should not be represented as uncolored scientific findings.

    Rather than refer to the CO2 increase by pretending science knows its scary consequences (“Global Warming”, “Pre-mature wrinkles”, “IQ Decline”) it should simply be called what it is “CO2 Jump.”

    The dramatic, uncontested jump in CO2 (about 50% in 150 years) is what’s really scary – not poorly supported projections of its consequences. The huge CO2 jump we created is not in question. There is no quarrel with the notion that it moves us into an unprecedented situation with truly unknown consequences.

    If 1850 the effect of CO2 levels was unknown. But if some group proposed back in 1850 to suddenly increase the CO2 level by 50%, they would have been stopped forcefully.

    It is not necessary or advantageous for even the most interested parties to pretend to know the consequences with certainty in order to prevail. Man’s reckless binge and the resulting CO2 Jump is more than scary enough.

    Stick to what we know. Just call it what it is.

    Comment by Ed Every — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:09 PM

  476. I have a question rising from post #132:
    >>Finally – the recent Nature paper about how carbon dioxide’s global warming potential is 30 to 50% higher than first estimated – is this talking about the long-term potential? If so, I’m confused as I thought that long term effects were more than double (100%) short term (Charney), and I thought Dr. Hansen suspects paleoclimate data indicates maybe 4 times as much. Therefore 30 to 50% would be really good news. I’d love to see a RC post on this.<<

    Should I be thinking of GWP as 12 years of methane in the atmosphere having a positive forcing equivalent to 79 times that as CO2 would have over 20 years, and 33 time that as CO2 would have over 100 years?

    Alternatively, should I be thinking of the following: If methane has a GWP of 33 over 100 years, does that mean that of an initial 1 kg emission, there are still molecules of methane in the atmosphere after 100 years from that original emission (surviving past the average shelf-life of 12 years), and they are now equivalent to 33 times the forcing of CO2?

    Is my first assumption correct? Are neither correct?

    Thanks,

    Pete.

    Comment by Pete — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:19 PM

  477. Generally speaking and consideration of a solution without consideration of its future costs and at least a nod towards future economic capacity in context of changes resulting from latitudinal shift and other relevant factors is naive at best.

    I continue to encourage any who see nuclear as a reasonable solution to consider security, economy, and the potential for the erosion and breakdown of the geopolitical system as it pertains to weapons grade plutonium increasing becoming available on the black market as monetary economic capacity is impinged upon.

    If we are to consider a nuclear solution, then at least let it be 4th gen nuclear as that has the most advantage over the disadvantages.

    In the mean time, consumption reduction is an easy target.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:23 PM

  478. Post #132 brought up a question for me…

    Should I be thinking of GWP as 12 years of methane in the atmosphere having a positive forcing equivalent to 79 times that as CO2 would have over 20 years, and 33 time that as CO2 would have over 100 years?

    Alternatively, should I be thinking of the following: If methane has a GWP of 33 over 100 years, does that mean that of an initial 1 kg emission, there are still molecules of methane in the atmosphere after 100 years from that original emission (surviving past the average shelf-life of 12 years), and they are now equivalent to 33 times the forcing of CO2?

    Is my first assumption correct? Are neither correct?

    Thanks,

    Pete.

    Comment by Pete — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:27 PM

  479. Kevan, that chart you copied has a caption you left off that belies what you say about it:

    http://www.hashemifamily.com/Kevan/Climate/#Data%20Massage
    http://www.hashemifamily.com/Kevan/Climate/Hocky_Stick.gif

    You say in your caption there:
    “Figure: Data Massaging: Agreement in the Last Fifty Years. Here we see several global temperature estimates coming into agreement at the same time. The measurements agree with one another in the past fifty years ….”

    That’s not what it shows.

    The proxies end at various years, the earliest ends in 1965, the latest in 1992; the black line that continues to 2004 is the instrumental temperature record.

    That’s not what the explanation at the site you took the chart from supports

    Each colored line is identified in the original caption as drawn from a published proxy record. Those colored lines end,years ago: 1991, 1980, 1965, 1960, 1992, 1980, 1995, 1979, 1990.

    The cites are given. None of those files were “massaged” as you claim. If you’d given the original caption and links to the papers, people would be able to see that what you say you imagined happened can’t be true.

    You can go to the original source, contact the creator of the chart, and ask about your take on it — it tells you where, right on the page you took it from:

    “Please refer to the image description page on Global Warming Art for more information
    * http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison_png

    You can go to the original papers– he provides the citations for them– and see when the proxies ended and look for any sign anyone was “massaging” their data to publish.

    I recommend you go back to Tamino’s thread and _read_ it, now that you’ve had some time out.
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:33 PM

  480. http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

    This site requires a response by someone in the science blogs. A browse through the first 15 or so indicates to me it is mostly old papers already dealt with (or even not published) and opinions, not papers. so it most likely a furphy, but some one who knows the papers would be better to check this and post a refutation.

    Comment by Ricki (Australia) — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:35 PM

  481. Back on topic, i.e. COP15 I did a piece on adoption of cap & trade v. direct progressive tax.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2009-dec-the-leading-edge

    In the absence of anything else that makes more sense, at this time, I am strongly advocating direct tax over cap and trade.

    It is my opinion that adoption of cap and trade may lull the world into thinking it has done something more, rather than less meaningful in relation to potential emission reduction of Co2.

    This is a touchy area because so many now believe that we have to pass cap and trade to save civilization as we know it.

    First, I would say, we will not save civilization as we know it due to the inertial response mechanisms pertaining to current levels of atmospheric Co2.

    Second, adoption of cap and trade, which looks merely to be a reinterpretation of Kyoto Protocol (which did not reduce any emissions but rather allowed for continued increases) may have the result of making everyone feel comfortable that they have done the best they could when the opposite may very well be the case.

    Weigh atmospheric Co2, emissions pace, and policy inertia, and policy development entwined with special interests, and the problem seems evident.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Dec 2009 @ 5:36 PM

  482. G.R.L. Cowan #458 said Insinuating much and then backing off from the direct statement, eh?

    Splitting hairs. If people die within hours of a major nuke accident I called that instant. Sorry, Ok, how about this, “pretty quick”.

    About that picture of the guy pulling the boat, um ok, because he took a Russian nuke powered ice breaker to the north pole means that all of Greenpeace’s anti-nuclear sentiments must be wrong? Your straining here. I don’t know Lonnie’s story. Maybe that was the only ship he could catch a ride on. I happen to drive a carbon fueled vehicle as I suspect you do. Would I drive a non-carbon fueled vehicle if I could afford one, of course. But it’s not available to me at present.

    Comment by Ron R. — 13 Dec 2009 @ 6:07 PM

  483. Re 460:
    1) Global temperatures have risen about 0.5 C over the past century- much more than 0.5F
    2) the 0.5F “adjustment effect” is for US only, globally the effect of the adjustments is much less, about 0.2C / century for the trend in maximum temperatures (and no effect on the trend for minima) according to Easterling and Peterson Atmospheric Research 37 (1995) 19-26
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V95-3YRS4V8-8&_user=542840&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1134193233&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000027659&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=542840&md5=f581438a79f4781b2e01d7b7534eccec
    3) The reasons and methods for adjustments have been well described and documented and are completely objective.

    Comment by jimt — 13 Dec 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  484. The AP just released their own investigation that concludes that the climate science still stands…although some of the emails do detail some rather… errr “questionable”… ethics. The AP study stated that the ethics were at the extreme side but just barely in bounds and not out of bounds for either the publishing scientists whose work holds up over time or on the other hand, for opposing climate contrarians.

    The AP study stated that there was no evidence of climate studies being falsified (which is a bombshell on its own as these emails were the most indicting of all those (10,000 or so?) not released).

    I think the AP would have had a motive to blow the thing wide open and declare all the climate science a sham if anything (if true)…it would have been the story of the century, made them famous and sold lots of copy…but that’s not the conclusions they reached.

    In the scientist’s defense, especially Mike Manns, it stated that Mann did release a study raising scientific questions about areas of the climate work he and others were doing. (“Northern Hemsisphere Temperatures….Inferences, Uncertainies and limitations, 1999). This is hardly the history of a dogmatic, ideologue who is weighting the data trying fool the public.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRa5F7Lv_zO0ZKaHmbQENlyV3KdgD9CHUS980

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 13 Dec 2009 @ 6:44 PM

  485. “At JSW’s Muroran plant on Hokkaido it has 3000- to 14,000-tonne hydraulic forging presses, the latter able to take 600 tonne steel ingots, and a 12,000 tonne pipe-forming press. At present, its capacity is only four reactor pressure vessels and associated components per year.” – 465

    A human population living at U.S. levels of energy waste, drawing all it’s energy from nuclear would require some 220,000 nuclear power plants to be built world wide.

    Construction rates would then have to be 2200 reactors per year over the next 100 years, and given a 100 year reactor life (twice the current rating), that rate of construction would have to be sustained infinately.

    JSW may triple it’s production capacity by 2012, but it will be short by a factor of 183.

    We are all pleased however that Iran is well on it’s way to building the 300 nuclear reactors that it needs under such a regime.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 13 Dec 2009 @ 6:49 PM

  486. Mesa@460, now just a wee minute.

    1)the trend in Roman M.’s analysis is positive during only PART of the period over which warming has been observed. In fact, the greatest warming is seen when the adjustment trend is strongly negative!

    2)The trend is positive (and has the same slope) during the pause in warming from 1944-1974.

    3)And of course there is the fact that you guys conveniently ignore the commensurate trends seen in satellite data over the same period–and those are independent of GHCN.

    4)And again, you ignore all the mountains of phenological and ice-melt data showing that we are warming.

    I’m sorry, but you have to be either mendacious or a special kind of stupid to contend seriously that the planet is not warming.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Dec 2009 @ 6:59 PM

  487. 449 Didactylos -

    “Any other industry would kill to have such an amazing safety record!”

    Great irony!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:02 PM

  488. Given “Really save the planet’s” post, it is pretty clear why he is concerned about decreased male fertility and decreased cognitive ability. Run along, concern troll.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:02 PM

  489. gary thompson foams:
    “fortunately real people of science are entering this arena and will push the bullies out. only then will we truly understand climate change and get answers to our tough questions.”

    Real people of science!!! You mean like the ones who have been issuing death threats against climate scientists???

    Gonna push the big bad climate science bullies out are ya?

    Game on big talker. Or are you gonna come gun me down on campus after you’re done with the climate scientists?

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:11 PM

  490. Ricki (Australia) — Try here:
    http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/poptarts-450-climate-change-denier-lies/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:33 PM

  491. Ed Every, You choose not to contest my assertion that there are mountains of evidence supporting the contention that we are warming the planet, and really no evidence contrary to this contention. So what is one to call someone who rejects all that evidence other than a denialist?

    If people are stupid enough to reject science because scientists tell the truth about anti-scientists, then getting them to accept the truth about anything is hopeless.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 Dec 2009 @ 7:42 PM

  492. One answer to our energy problems…

    Pee power!

    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/07/08/urine-power.html

    http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/CC/article.asp?doi=b905974a

    Comment by Ron R. — 13 Dec 2009 @ 9:03 PM

  493. China: Climate Change or Hot Air?
    The mainland earns billions in carbon-offset sales. But by taking credit for projects that would have been built anyway, it may not be playing by the rules
    On the wooded hills outside the city of Harbin in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, Chinese developers are building towering wind turbines that will spin day and night to

    http://www.visitchn.com/2009/12/china-climate-change-or-hot-air.html

    Comment by brooks — 13 Dec 2009 @ 9:11 PM

  494. Despite contrarians salivating over stolen E-mail sentences they don’t want to understand, even more, them loving not explaining that private E-mails are not intended for the public… Despite a Copenhagen conference
    which will likely fail not because of dumb repetitive contrarian statements, but because AGW hits hard non powerful countries and regions the most, therefore AGW is not important…..for the time being.

    Meantime back on planet Earth:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

    it was warm in the Arctic lately, so warm that ice coverage was affected. Proving sea ice more capable of expressing reality than a well paid oil lobbyist, or a contrarian making a reputation out of dismantling the ever powerful Climate Scientist Mafia.

    The next time a person claims it has been cooling during the last 10 years, that person is dumber than an Arctic ice sheet (the least expansive ever during the last 3 years), or has sadly no cognitive capacity to read graphs.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 13 Dec 2009 @ 9:17 PM

  495. riki if the guys run all over the net refuting rubbish we will miss out here
    while i agree that national newspaper rubbish needs to dealt with, i would just leave the blogs , forums to their own stupidity .

    Comment by john byatt — 13 Dec 2009 @ 9:41 PM

  496. 491 Ladbury:
    .Ed Every, You choose not to contest my assertion that there are mountains of evidence supporting the contention that we are warming the planet, and really no evidence contrary to this contention. So what is one to call someone who rejects all that evidence other than a denialist?

    If people are stupid enough to reject science because scientists tell the truth about anti-scientists, then getting them to accept the truth about anything is hopeless.

    I’m not won over by the notion of research by ballot. Imagine if our understanding of the physical world had been established by ballot over history. Research must be judged on merit alone. Politics has no place in science.

    Comment by Ed Every — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:04 PM

  497. Re 467 Jen
    “Steve Salmony, # 461: What mental disorder describes those among us who proclaim themselves Masters of the Universe doing the work of God?”

    “It would be most appropriate for you to look in the mirror when you say that.”

    1. People who feel they are doing good things may or may not actually be doing good things. Salmony was refering to the later case.

    2. What came to my mind upon reading Salmony’s comment was the … I believe it’s called The Fellowship (not of the rings, unfortunately) – the people who brought us the national prayer breakfast, as I recalll – These people (who include at least a couple of senators, I think) are CREEPS. They think the invisible hand of the free market is the hand of God. They have a weird habit of referencing Ghengis Khan and Hitler. And there’s the hard-core social conservatism, too. Creepy.

    —-

    475 Ed Every -

    “There is no quarrel with the notion that it moves us into an unprecedented situation with truly unknown consequences.”

    Yes, but don’t forget the known consequences.

    ——

    Re 478 Pete

    “Should I be thinking of GWP as 12 years of methane in the atmosphere having a positive forcing equivalent to 79 times that as CO2 would have over 20 years, and 33 time that as CO2 would have over 100 years?”

    “Alternatively, should I be thinking of the following: If methane has a GWP of 33 over 100 years, does that mean that of an initial 1 kg emission, there are still molecules of methane in the atmosphere after 100 years from that original emission (surviving past the average shelf-life of 12 years), and they are now equivalent to 33 times the forcing of CO2?”

    It’s definitely not the later. I’m not entirely sure what you meant by the former case, so I’ll just explain what I know:

    GWP if defined relative to CO2 is the ratio of the time-integrated radiative forcings of an amount of emitted material to the same amount of CO2, out to some time horizon.

    In the limit that GWP is calculated out to a fraction of a second, the ratios of GWPs are equal to the ratios of the instantaneous radiative forcing. For example, if an additional molecule of CH4 has a radiative forcing ~ 20 times that of an additional molecule of CO2, then the GWP of CH4 would be ~ 20 on a per molecule basis, or ~ (44/16 * 20 = 55) on a per mass basis.

    Because the perturbation to atmospheric composition decays faster for CH4 emission than for CO2 emissions, then the GWP of CH4 decays with an increasing time horizon. The decay is actually a bit different depending on the source of CH4 – non-fossil biogenic CH4 does not add to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere upon oxydation on a net basis because CO2 was sequestered to provide the C for CH4; fossil CH4 emissions do add CO2, so the GWP of fossil CH4 emissions will decrease less with an increasing time horizon. The GWP of methane in either case should include some other effects on atmospheric composition (tropospheric ozone, stratospheric water vapor).

    Of course, one could define GWP to be corrected for efficacy of radiative forcing, which doesn’t generally vary a lot for well-mixed GHGs (or solar forcing) so far as I know, but is significantly different for dark aerosols emitted in locations such that they darken snow/ice surfaces (the efficacy is higher because the same global average forcing has a greater regional effect at the location of positive surface albedo feedback…) But I don’t know if this is done as part of GWP or if it is done as a GWP efficacy.

    Is my first assumption correct? Are neither correct?

    Thanks,

    Pete.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:18 PM

  498. Here, for Kevan — this should be even clearer:
    http://www.grida.no/CLIMATE/IPCC_TAR/WG1/images/fig2-21.gif
    from the discussion here: http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/11/mcintyre-provides-fodder-for-skeptics/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Dec 2009 @ 10:33 PM

  499. I’ll put my two cents in re: nuclear power. Yes it is a valuable medium and long term term source of power and definately a powerful tool in our arsenal to address climate change. However the cost involved to make any impact at present using nuclear alone is many trillions on dollars. It is best to invest a proportion of our energy budget on nuclear but concentrate on passive systems like solar/geo theraml/wind/hydro etc..all these things with the possible exception of geo thermal and hydro can be quickly and relatively cheaply built..this will help to immediately reduce our emissions while we are steadily and progressively building 5-6 generation nuclear power plants in safe locations. I heard all the crap above about the supposed ‘dangers’ of nuclear power..these dangers pale into insignificance when we are talking about the (real) ‘dangers’ of uncontrollable climate change. Please put things into perspective guys!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:10 PM

  500. Re Pete again –

    “Is my first assumption correct?” …
    Obviously I forgot to edit off that last part of my comment which is really what you wrote.

    But I also forgot something. My understanding is that a significant fraction of atmospheric CO2 perturbation decay occurs within a year or so after emission (the decay is not a simple exponential, whereas it tends to be like that for CH4), so the GWP of CH4 relative to CO2 might actually increase significantly going from seconds to a year or so – but then it will decrease going into longer time horizons, going below the instantaneous value.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:10 PM

  501. PS the instantaneous ratios of 20 (per molecule – aka molar basis, volume basis) and the derived 55 are just nice-round numbers; I don’t remember the exact value off hand but it’s not too far off.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:14 PM

  502. gary thompson (453):
    “i couldn’t agree more! see the arrogant response gavin gave to me on #31. when faced with data and questions that challenge their hypothesis (and their financial nest eggs) they act like children.”

    Arrogance is what you find in arm-chair “scientist” (some with actual college degrees, though in totally unrelated fields) that think they can spend a few hours skimming over decades of research and suddenly they’ve found the silver-bullet to kill “big bad” theory of AGW. Your question in #31 made it was obvious that you haven’t “bothered” to do even the most rudimentary reading on the subject. Given the context, I’d consider Gavin’s response a bit blunt, perhaps, but completely appropriate.

    Go spend a few weeks reading and understanding the material at these sites:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Then come back and read a few dozen of the many good posts here at Realclimate.org. After that your questions and doubts, if any still remain, might be worthy of a more detailed response by Gavin or others.

    Comment by Ken W — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:16 PM

  503. Re Pete – considering how GWP is calculated – example:

    For exponentially decaying perturbations, approximating radiative forcing (RF) as linearly proportional to compositional perturbation (for a small perturbation, a linearization has smaller errors):

    RF = RF0 * exp(-t/Tau), where Tau is the timescale of the decay and RF0 is the initial value.

    If two perturbations of different substances M and N have, per unit amount of substance, instantaneous forcings RF0(M) and RF0(N) and timescales of decay Tau(M) and Tau(N), then the ratio of GWPs (not corrected for efficacy or secondary composition effects) for a time horizon h is,

    GWP(M,h)/GWP(N,h)

    =

    integral(from t=0 to t=h)of[ RF0(M) * exp(-t/Tau(M)) ]
    /
    integral(from t=0 to t=h)of[ RF0(N) * exp(-t/Tau(N)) ]

    =

    -Tau(M) * RF0(M) * [ exp(-h/Tau(M)) - 1 ]
    /
    -Tau(N) * RF0(N) * [ exp(-h/Tau(N)) - 1 ]

    =

    Tau(M) * RF0(M) * [ 1 - exp(-h/Tau(M)) ]
    /
    Tau(N) * RF0(N) * [ 1 - exp(-h/Tau(N)) ]

    = [RF0(M)/RF0(N)] * [Tau(M)/Tau(N)] * [ 1 - exp(-h/Tau(M)) ]/[ 1 - exp(-h/Tau(N)) ]

    IN the limit of h goes to 0 (using the method of taking derivatives of numerator and denominator),

    GWP(M,h goes to 0)/GWP(N,h goes to 0)
    = lim(h goes to 0) of { [RF0(M)/RF0(N)] * [Tau(M)/Tau(N)] * [Tau(N)/Tau(M)] *exp(-h/Tau(M))/exp(-h/Tau(N)) }
    = RF0(M)/RF0(N), as expected

    In the limit of h goes to infinity:

    GWP(M,h goes to 0)/GWP(N,h goes to 0)
    = [RF0(M)/RF0(N)] * [Tau(M)/Tau(N)] * [ 1 - 0 ]/[ 1 - 0 ]

    = [RF0(M)/RF0(N)] * [Tau(M)/Tau(N)]

    = ratio of decay timescales times ratio of instantaneous forcings

    Of course, the decay for CO2 perturbations is not a simple exponential decay, but hopefully this illustrates the general concept of GWP.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:38 PM

  504. Sorry if I’ve missed an earlier reply, but the reason that no Australian newspaper ran this editorial is that it coincided with the election of Tony Abbott as Leader of the Opposition in the federal Parliament. This event followed days of frenzied discussion within the Liberal (i.e. conservative) Party and it coalition partner about climate change. The discussion took place because the Labor Government was trying to pass its climate change bill, which would have put in place an emissions trading system. The previous Liberal leader, Malcolm Turnbull, supported the ETS but couldn’t bring his party with him; Tony Abbott only won the leadership from him by one vote. As a result of this political schism that nearly split the Liberals, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald both felt that they had to write an editorial about the Copenhagen talks that reflected the events that led up to the leadership spill.

    (The government’s climate change bill subsequently failed to pass the Senate, which gives them the excuse for a double dissolution election fought on this issue, in which both houses would be elected simultaneously. The bill could then be passed in a joint sitting of the houses – assuming, of course, the government gets control of the Senate.)

    I know The Age was broadly supportive of the anthropogenic factor in climate change, but as a Melburnian I can’t comment on what the Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial position was.

    Comment by Guy Aron — 13 Dec 2009 @ 11:53 PM

  505. Hank #479: Thank you for your effort to explain your complaint. I understand that you disagree with me about whether or not the various temperature proxy methods were massaged into agreement in the twentieth century. But I’m not clear on exactly how you think I should modify my page. I did, however, set up my blog specifically so that people could complain at me and tell me to fix things, so if you have the energy to attempt your correction over there, I will give it my full attention.

    Comment by Kevan Hashemi — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 AM

  506. #462 &

    But after reading a lot about global warming/climate change, I just cant understand how this can possibly be more urging than all the chemicals that are put in our food, consummables, etc that make male fertility and testosterone levels plummet, cancer skyrocket. Mercury levels that poison people, especially kids who end up with autism, ADD, decreased cognitive abilities. For north americans/europeans, how can GW be more urging than saving humans from being sick?

    Sheesh, men! Can’t multitask!!

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:33 AM

  507. #472 – please tell me where i can find the scientific explanation to why the increas in CO2 has not caused an increase in global temperatures for the last 10 years. instead of insulting me, give me a source. i want to know the truth. twice i’ve asked for guidance on this and i’ve been insulted both times. give me a link.

    Comment by gary thompson — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:26 AM

  508. ” Therefore, the case for an historical (as opposed to fundamental/theoretical/modeled) link between CO2 and temperature rise over the past 100 yrs is essentially predicated on the validity of the adjustment procedure(s). ”

    Idiocy. Sheer idiocy.

    Are you interested in Climate, or are you trolling?

    If interest in Climate, then read the IPCC report, particularly the bits about paleoclimate.

    There is a mountain of evidence that points to climate sensivity being around 3 degrees (and not less than 1.5 degrees) from REAL EVIDENCE. Not models. EVIDENCE.

    None of this comes from temperature data this century.

    But if you’re so worried about temperature data, why not get the raw data from the daata page here at Realclimate and work it up yourself?

    Comment by Silk — 14 Dec 2009 @ 3:05 AM

  509. deech56 (post 407), I did read the IPCC TAR. In fact, I’m talking about the very sentence you asked me to go read.

    Comment by Skip Smith — 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:25 AM

  510. Did: I don’t think there has been a single direct fatality from a civilian nuclear accident in the US.

    BPL: You wrote that AFTER seeing my list of nuclear accidents, including the fatal ones? How are you defining “direct?” When plant workers are killed in explosions, doesn’t that count as a “direct fatality?”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:42 AM

  511. Really: after reading a lot about global warming/climate change, I just cant understand how this can possibly be more urging than all the chemicals that are put in our food, consummables, etc that make male fertility and testosterone levels plummet, cancer skyrocket. Mercury levels that poison people, especially kids who end up with autism, ADD, decreased cognitive abilities. For north americans/europeans, how can GW be more urging than saving humans from being sick?

    BPL: Think “complete collapse of human agriculture.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:48 AM

  512. Rod B: BPL (423), you keep quoting prices for electricity in California that I have never been able to find and you have never verified.

    BPL: I quote an earlier poster:

    On May 13, 2008, the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission released a comparison of the costs of of new generating capacity. The analysis was prepared by Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. The estimates include firming resource costs.

    Busbar cost in cents per kilowatt-hour in 2008 dollars:

    * Coal Supercritical: 10.554
    * Coal Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC): 11.481
    * Coal IGCC with Carbon Capture & Storage (IGCC with CCS): 17.317

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Comparative_electrical_generation_costs
    “Comparative Electrical Generation Costs.” SourceWatch, accessed 11/05/2009

    Lazard analysis (including the cost for creating the generating capacity) are:

    * Gas peaking: 22.1 – 33.4 cents/kWh
    * IGCC: 10.4 – 13.4
    * Nuclear: 9.8 – 12.6
    * Advanced supercritical coal: 7.4 – 13.5 (high end includes 90% carbon capture and storage)
    * Gas combined cycle: 7.3 – 10.0

    * Solar PV (crystalline): 10.9 – 15.4
    * Fuel cell: 11.5 – 12.5
    * Solar PV (thin film): 9.6 – 12.4
    * Solar thermal: 9.0 – 14.5 (low end is solar tower; high end is solar trough)
    * Biomass direct: 5.0 – 9.4
    * Landfill gas: 5.0 – 8.1
    * Wind: 4.4 – 9.1
    * Geothermal: 4.2 – 6.9
    * Biomass cofiring: 0.3 – 3.7
    * Energy efficiency: 0.0 – 5.0

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:54 AM

  513. I’m bitterly dissapointed about the debarcle that is the copenhagan summit but what else can you expect from this process. Democratic process cannot work in this arena!!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 14 Dec 2009 @ 7:19 AM

  514. Ray Ladbury 13 December 2009 at 12:54 PM

    on the la-la-la-la, for some doing that finger in ear thing runs the risk of them tips touching each other somewhat mid-way.

    I was shocked to read about that ice-breaker going 25 miles per hour in a Arctic region where the Sats indicated there was multi-year ice… there was, but it was very thin. November had the worst ratio Area/Extent on my record… just 80.8%, where the previous low was 82.6% (2007). It ain’t true they say.

    Comment by Sekerob — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:01 AM

  515. gary thompson,

    what you’re looking for has been frequently discussed here. It is not that hard to find. People would probably be nicer if you made that effort first.

    Anyway, try this for starters:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/a-warming-pause/

    There are more links to recent articles in the first lines of that post. I suggest you look those up also.

    Comment by CM — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:05 AM

  516. Lawrence, ONLY a democratic process can work. There is no “man on a white horse” to ride in and save our butts.

    Copenhagen is not the end. Yes, I worry about the time, as no doubt we all are worrying here. It is a bitter thing to reflect on the opportunities wasted over the past two decades, the time lost, the risks blindly incurred by folks too foolish to take a clear-eyed look at the facts.

    But the struggle will continue, and reality will increasingly assert itself. It is quite clear that the will to change is increasingly global in scope–with India and China having offered up intensity cuts, the false claim that all we can expect from them is BAU is rebutted. Of course, more is needed than just intensity cuts; we need absolute reductions in emissions. But I expect to see some motion in the right direction, at least, and the process *will* continue.

    We’ve got to keep working, and hope that there’s enough margin to limit the damage done.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:10 AM

  517. Gary Thompson #507,

    now you’re asking nicely — a well established data exchange protocol amongst (not only) scientists. See, we don’t owe you an education, you owe yourself one.

    See CM #515, and also http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/ .

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:25 AM

  518. Gary Thompson@507
    Tamino’s post:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/influence-of-the-southern-oscillation-on-tropospheric-temperature/

    was a pretty good start. The thing is that a lot of things affect “climate” on short timescales–volcanoes, El Nino/La Nina (together called ENSO), changes in aerosols… In the short term, these effects can overpower the energy added by CO2–but only in the short term.

    Like the tortoise, CO2 keeps on going, always blocking infrared radiation that would otherwise escape and cool the air. And CO2 persists for hundreds of years. Over time, that energy adds up and warms the planet. It has to, because warming up is the only way the planet can radiate more energy outside the wave band that CO2 absorbs and again attain equilibrium. Hopefully this helps. Don’t get discouraged. Keep in mind that there are a lot of disingenuous denialists who come on here thinking they are asking something scientists haven’t thought of, when in reality, they get the same question 100 times a day. Also keep in mind that some of the posters here are out-and-out accusing the entire scientific community of fraud–and that can kind of throw cold water on any warm fuzzy feelings you have toward humanity. If this doesn’t help, ask again, and I’ll try to be more specific. Keep trying to learn.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:55 AM

  519. #507 gary thompson

    Weather is not predictable on long time scales and climate is predictable on long time scales. Climate is generally defined as 30+ years (I like to add attribution to that for context). So looking at anything on a 10 years time scales does not relate to global climate.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/global-warming-stopped

    Please realize that this cooling meme has long been debunked. People have answered the question some many times that it gets frustrating after a while.

    There are many complications in understanding the inter and intra decadal signals that seem to be related to the inter-dynamic processes that include ocean and atmospheric mechanisms. There are short and long term ocean cycles that seem to impact these decadal variations. There also may be long term oceanic heat balance cycles. It is a truly fascinating area of study.

    In addition you might want to examine natural variability

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability

    and forcing

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    to round out your understanding.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Dec 2009 @ 9:07 AM

  520. Ed Every says, “Politics has no place in science.”

    Spoken like a man who has never done science! Science is done by humans, and every human endeavor has politics. That said, science is an endeavor where humans have agreed to be constrained by the preponderance of the evidence–an unprecedented concession to the notion of physical reality. The reason why you have more than 90% of climate scientists agreeing with the proposition that we are warming the planet is because the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence says so. There is no ballot. There’s only the publication record and what we have to accept to understand the planet’s climate. The silence (of evidence, anyway) on the other side is deafening.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Dec 2009 @ 9:10 AM

  521. ccpo:
    Yes, indeed, my source includes decommissioning. It would be very deceptive to ignore it! Indeed, the source includes full lifecycle costs based on actual plants. Look for yourself: http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/Downloads/PDF/07/0706_TPA_A_Review_of_Electricity.pdf

    BPL:
    I see that wind is, indeed, cheaper in the US than it is globally (although not by as much as your source suggests). Please remember, though, that wind requires space. This means that in some countries, there simply isn’t enough physical space to get large proportions of energy from wind. Denigrating nuclear power based on your local energy situation seems irresponsible to me.

    I see that in your nuclear accidents list you have, indeed, included some US incidents that did not have any nuclear components, and hence didn’t make the wikipedia list. I concede that when making comparisons between technologies, these should be (and are) included. However, my point stands: nobody has died in the US directly from a civilian nuclear accident (although there have been a few researchers that died, and the official estimate from Three Mile Island is “the equivalent of one excess cancer death”).

    SecularAnimist:
    No responsible nuclear advocate pushes it instead of renewables. You keep thinking it is an either/or thing, or that people somehow aren’t aware of the risks of nuclear power. We need wind. We need solar. We need hydroelectric. We need nuclear.

    All have risks – very different risks, but all can be quantified and compared.

    I know there are hardcore nuclear zealots who try to promote nuclear at the expense of renewables. However, I have not seen any such individuals posting here, and I would appreciate it if you didn’t project such attitudes and motives on me (and others defending nuclear here).

    Yes, I know it’s weird to be discussing things with someone online who isn’t an absolutist, and convinced of their total rightness. Learn to deal with it :-)

    Comment by Didactylos — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:27 AM

  522. Ray Ladbury @ 520

    “Science is done by humans, and every human endeavor has politics. That said, science is an endeavor where humans have agreed to be constrained by the preponderance of the evidence–an unprecedented concession to the notion of physical reality.”

    Good answer, but from a procedural point of view you want to keep pressure groups from exerting undue influence on the process. Censoring climate reports (Bush admin.) is a sign that the cat is among the pigeons for instance. The agreement to be constrained by the preponderance of evidence can’t be taken for granted and has to be guarded with some vigilance.

    In the case of climate science these days, Ed Every, intense pressure is being applied by those who are panicked over the kooky notion that reality might have some kind of a liberal bias.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  523. > Kevan Hashemi says: 14 December 2009 at 12:05 AM
    > Hank #479: Thank you for your effort to explain your complaint. I understand that you disagree
    > with me about whether or not the various temperature proxy methods were massaged into agreement
    > in the twentieth century. But I’m not clear on exactly how you think I should modify my page.

    You assert the data were altered to agree. You showed a picture that does not support your claim.
    You can link directly to the data and compare the numbers used for the picture.
    That would show you’re making your claim up. That’s how I think you should modify your page.
    You’re asserting an academic fraud. You’re an academic. You know how this should be handled.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:43 AM

  524. This isn’t really on-topic, but in case anyone is interested Paul Hudson’s latest post on his BBC blog is based on David Archibald’s solar cycle theories: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/2009/12/could-the-sun-cast-a-shadow-on.shtml

    It’s presented in a very: “Blimey! There’s all sorts of ideas out there, who’s to know what’s right, eh?” fashion.

    Comment by Mark Taylor — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:43 AM

  525. I realize that RealClimate has a backlog of interesting things to get to, but at some point it might be nice to cover statements like the following:
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hGkx5ED3BxWScLRJuzhDFRm9wAzwD9CJ4M701

    I could see it being “possible” that summer Arctic ice might disappear in the next five to seven years, but 75% chance sounds, well, alarmist. And I usually admire Al Gore’s ability to listen to scientists and package the information in intelligible ways. So it would be nice to hear if a) he is exaggerating in this case, or b) there actually is new science out there that indicates that near-term Arctic summer disappearance is actually likely.

    -Marcus

    [Response: This is based on claims by Wieslaw Maslowski (unpublished as yet, but widely reported) and come from a simple linear extrapolation of the Arctic ice thickness data from his model of historical changes which indeed show a faster decline than summer ice extent. However, it is clear that since the extent and the thickness give different times for no summer ice, that there is probably something a little suspect about linear extrapolations of these things. No physical model gives timescales that short, but then again they are underestimating trends so far. Thus, this claim remains speculative. - gavin]

    Comment by Marcus — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:46 AM

  526. 519
    John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) says:
    14 December 2009 at 9:07 AM

    #507 gary thompson

    “Weather is not predictable on long time scales and climate is predictable on long time scales. Climate is generally defined as 30+ years (I like to add attribution to that for context). So looking at anything on a 10 years time scales does not relate to global climate.”

    1. Rapid climate change of 10 years or less are well known from the geological record.

    2. 30 years as a climate period has no scientific basis. I have asked on numerous occasions for any published justification for the 30 year period and no one can point me to any such material.

    3. Climate is not predictable on long time scales. You are fooling yourself if you think that. The models are not sophisticated to do it so I can’t see how you think that it is.

    4. The data from three of the four main datasets that are relied upon show that there has been no statistically significant net warming since 2003 (any guesses as to who is the outlier GISS?). And for your information the RSS lower troposphere data show a statistically significant net cooling of 0.12 degrees C per decade (P<=0.01) from 2001 to current. We can argue about cherry picks but it looks worse for you if we use 1998 as a start and no significant warming or cooling if we use 2000 as a start. Your so-called meme (I really hat that word) is not debunked except by those wishing to deny the reality of the data.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:57 AM

  527. Patrick 027 (497), I have a uncertainty about GWPotential but don’t understand it enough to come to any conclusion. You made a statement to Pete that might aid my understanding: How can a molecule of CH4 have 20x the GWP of a molecule of CO2? CH4 can absorb a single photon as can CO2 and those two photons are fairly close in energy level — certainly not a difference of 20x. Or is there some process that allows CH4 to do significantly more photon absorption – energy transfer cycles than CO2 (though I don’t know why that would be…) and the 20x factor comes somehow from probabilities and/or quantum factors?

    Can you shed some light?

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Dec 2009 @ 11:39 AM

  528. Ray, could you comment on the usefulness of citing “Tamino”, whoever he or she is? While I respect the notion that it’s the evidence and the ideas that are important, and I tend to reject appeals to authority in general, still it strikes me as odd that the insistence on peer review and the like could fit hand in glove with anonymous bloggers such as Tamino. I do apologize if it’s one of those things where everyone knows who he/she is and chooses not to offend by mentioning it, and I would imagine this topic has come up before, but I’d be curious to know your view of the matter, and whether you think Tamino would be a more useful contributor in front of the curtain. There is an understandable tendency here to vilify McIntyre, Watt, Lindzen, etc., but at least they say who they are.

    Walter

    Comment by Walter Manny — 14 Dec 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  529. PS to Patrick 027, there might be something in your #503 post, but that will take some slogging…

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Dec 2009 @ 11:46 AM

  530. Just got around to reading the Guardian articles relating to this 56-newpaper editorial. It seems only one U.S. newspaper ran it — The Miami Herald. The other well-oiled papers have sold their souls to the dev-oils, which I’ve known for a long time. One U.S. paper apparently even responded in this rough manner to the Guardian (even tho the Guardian worked hard rewriting the editorial so as to get every participating papers’ agreement on the text):

    “This is an outrageous attempt to orchestrate media pressure. Go to hell.”

    WHICH NEWSPAPER WROTE THAT??!! Anyone know?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Dec 2009 @ 11:55 AM

  531. Silk (508), not surprisingly you’re still bellowing the mantra of “mountains of evidence,” “REAL EVIDENCE” (emphasis yours), and finally just plain “EVIDENCE” to support the nominal 3 degrees increase following a doubling of CO2 — as opposed to models and physics theory. I’d still like to be directed to the referenced for that evidence with pointing sans higher db’s.

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:03 PM

  532. Ray Ladbury #520 says that more than 90% of climate scientists agree that we are warming the planet. I am just curious why most people on here think that number isn’t higher. Is it because of Industry influence/funding? Thank you.

    Comment by Greg Camby — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  533. “The island nations are desperate for measures that will reduce warming in the short term. Black carbon is an ideal target because it stays in the atmosphere for only a few weeks, compared with 100 years for carbon dioxide, meaning that if black carbon emissions were eliminated, atmospheric heat-trapping would drop quickly.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-climate-emissions14-2009dec14,0,4164470.story

    Really?

    Gavin, what is wrong with this statement?

    [Response: Nothing. BC is a positive forcing - both because of it's absorbing properties in the air and it's impact on snow albedo. There is some uncertainty about its impacts as an ice cloud nucleating particle, but it is very likely that reducing BC (which comes from biomass burning (deforestation), diesel engines and residential burning of coal/wood) would help reduce climate warming. - gavin]

    Comment by Mark A. York — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:12 PM

  534. The idea that supercomputers will eventually be able to show us how to tweak the climate to get acceptable results, is an idea I thought of. I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this, or can show me links to discussions on this topic.

    -Thank you

    Comment by Greg Camby — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:20 PM

  535. > I’d still like to be directed to the referenced for
    > that evidence with pointing sans higher db’s.
    Why? It didn’t work last time we tried. I submit that if you were motivated to learn, you could do the footwork yourself by now.
    Nobody owes you an education but yourself.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  536. #523 Mark A. York

    Sounds backwards somehow, maybe the writer of the article has confused multiple concepts.

    The big problem with black carbon, as I understand it, is that it lands on snow and melts it faster. He may be mixing that with aerosol pollutants which are beneficial for cooling as a negative forcing?

    So not sure what he is talking about, not sufficient context on statement.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:31 PM

  537. Barton Paul Levenson (512) Busbar costs are not the same as what one can actually buy electricity for — maybe about half or a little more. So saying wind power “costs” so much based on busbar estimates is misleading. No one in California, a far as I can determine, gets usable electricity for 9 cents/kWh.

    There is little way to verify the accuracy of SourceWatch’s cost estimates, and given their purpose and general mode of operation they don’t seem, top of the head, to be the folks one would pick for engineering costs analysis. But, giving them the benefit of the doubt, there is interesting and useful information there for a comparison (ballpark at least) of alternative energies. But it ought to be used in the right context.

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:40 PM

  538. Rod B (#525): A molecule of CH4 can have 26 times the absorptive capacity of CO2 at the top of the atmosphere because they absorb different wavelengths. Because there’s 390 ppm or so of CO2 out there, compared to less than 2 ppm of CH4, the wavelengths where CO2 absorbs are mostly used up. For example, if CO2 concentrations are doubled, the absorption per molecule drops by about 15% (total forcing increases as the log of the concentration). The difference in absorption wavelengths comes from different stretching and bending modes: symmetrical molecules like O2 and N2 are pretty much transparent at the wavelengths we care about, CH4 and CO2 both absorb in the right area but differently due to different modes. In addition to which wavelength a molecule absorbs at, there is also a “capture cross section” – the likelihood that a photon of the right wavelength in the right place actually leads to excitation – but I don’t know how much of a role this plays in this case.

    -Marcus

    ps. SF6 has a radiative forcing of something like 37,000 time CO2, per molecule.

    Comment by Marcus — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  539. Mark (531):

    Nothing wrong with that. The short-lived species are the best initial target because their lifetime is short. The atmospheric concentration thereof follows the emissions much more closely than does CO2.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 14 Dec 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  540. Martin Vermeer (533), I was given one reference, a graph of PETM (and other stuff), to show the “observed evidence” that when CO2 goes to 550 ppm (doubling) the temperature rises by nominally 3 degrees. Unfortunately, the reference showed no such thing, as I have already mentioned. Why do I have the responsibility to find information that someone else claims exists though can’t refer to it, and I think doesn’t exist? Is this a scavenger hunt?

    [Response: Of course not. As a general rule, if people make a claim here they should cite the reference. That goes for everyone. - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  541. #533/536

    I was unsure about that so the additional context helps. So black carbon is positive forcing in the air and on snow. Brain fuzz I guess. Carbon is carbon.

    I am probably confusing other associated aerosol pollutants in my head and their effects.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  542. Yup, 480 is right, someone who knows what they are doing needs to take a look at this:
    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

    At a glance, a lot of the papers look like they are off topic and/or focused on topics that are related to climate change but do not disprove much of anything. A few papers seem to mean the opposite of what the author of that post thinks they mean. But I’m not, ahem, an expert. Someone who knows the field needs to wade through that post, otherwise, a zillion blogs are going to quote it and refer to the papers mentioned in every other anti-AGW post. 500 papers is a lot of muddy water, even if all 500 papers add up to zero.

    Comment by paperbagmarlys — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:11 PM

  543. RE Skip Smith

    deech56 (post 407), I did read the IPCC TAR. In fact, I’m talking about the very sentence you asked me to go read.

    This is taking a bit of digging htrough the thread, but here is the original comment by Bernie:

    ATHiker says:
    9 December 2009 at 3:51 PM
    Steve McIntyre lied on CNN about CRU withholding the tree ring decline from the IPPC. Third assessment mentions it Page 131 Chapter 2.

    You (and by default the moderator) have to be kidding that the tree ring divergence problem is addressed in TAR3. The page you cite says this: “There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).” P131 That hardly says the tree data suggests the temperature goes down when the local temperatures actually goes up.

    The sentence means (to me) that recent tree-ring density variations have not followed recent temperature trends. We know that temperatures have gone up recently, so a reader should know that this means that densities have not (the “decline”). If there was any doubt, the reader could look up Briffa 1998a, which is this paper: Briffa, K.R., F.H. Schweingruber, P.D. Jones, T.J. Osborn, S.G. Shiyatov and E.A. Vaganov, 1998a: Reduced sensitivity of recent tree-growth to temperature at high northern latitudes. Nature, 391, 678-682 for more detail. The TAR is not a primer, and interpretation of the sentence in question does depend on some knowledge of the field.

    It is interesting to note that thanks to the explanation by Gavin and the more detailed work of Deep Climate, McIntyre has updated his post to clarify that the e-mails were not about this divergence after all.

    I hope I’m getting this right and I hope that this helps.

    Comment by Deech56 — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:18 PM

  544. RodB, 537, but the busbar costs ARE the marginal cost that the Free Market is supposed to drive costs of any fungible goods.

    That they are different (if they are) is because there’s no proper Free Market operating.

    Which is quite possible given the centralised nature of such large one-shot power generators like coal and nuclear.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:22 PM

  545. Another problem with citing “soot” as the cause of warming (cf earlier comments) is that if the temperature is very cold still, then the melt will refreeze. Any huge melting would wash the soot away and anything other than the small amount that can get out of the way (remember we have ice melt from sunshine without soot still) in time, without being blocked by excessive melt, will likewise freeze.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:24 PM

  546. Walter Manny wrote in 526:

    Ray, could you comment on the usefulness of citing “Tamino”, whoever he or she is? While I respect the notion that it’s the evidence and the ideas that are important, and I tend to reject appeals to authority in general, still it strikes me as odd that the insistence on peer review and the like could fit hand in glove with anonymous bloggers such as Tamino.

    Tamino was in correspondence with Ian Jolliffe, an authority on principal component analysis, and despite the fact that Ian Jolliffe originally disagreed with the use de-centered principle component analysis (and at this point he can only withold judgement as he has not been able to keep up with all of the literature) he recognized Tamino (with whom he was in some personal correspondence) as a statician of some stature in his own right. Tamino has coauthored peer-reviewed papers on climatology with world class climatologists and I gather that he has also coauthored peer-reviewed papers on stellar dynamics. However, given his prominence online in the defense of the science of climatology he has been subject to death-threats. So I believe it is understandable that he withholds his actual name. His blog alone speaks volumes on the level of his expertise.

    However, as it has been clear for some time that you put absolutely no stock in a vast body of peer-reviewed literature and an overwhelming scientific consensus consisting of thousands of scientists who are experts in their respective fields, and instead put your stock in op-eds by people belonging to propaganda “think tanks” with extensive ties to fossil fuel and tobacco companies (not to mention companies that would prefer to keep CFCs, dioxins, asbestos and and the like deregulated as the deaths that would result are far less important than their bottom line), I see little reason for believing that you will put any stock in Tamino’s viewed whether he reveals his exact identity or not. And personally I would prefer that he does not as I would like to see him stick around for quite some time to come.

    I do hope that the above is sufficiently illuminating.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:25 PM

  547. Didactylos #521 said: my point stands: nobody has died in the US directly from a civilian nuclear accident (although there have been a few researchers that died, and the official estimate from Three Mile Island is “the equivalent of one excess cancer death”).

    You might want to familiarize yourself with these studies. The real question is, how many have alredy died as a result of living near nuclear power plants?

    http://www.news-medical.net/news/2007/07/20/27840.aspx
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18082395
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2757021/

    I know there are hardcore nuclear zealots who try to promote nuclear at the expense of renewables. However, I have not seen any such individuals posting here, and I would appreciate it if you didn’t project such attitudes and motives on me (and others defending nuclear here).

    See Edward Greisch’s comment #360: What the coal companies know that most people don’t: As long as you keep messing around with wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe. There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it.

    Comment by Ron R. — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:36 PM

  548. Re Rod B – what 538 Marcus said.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  549. I have a couple of problems with the pop-up form of the comments. First, there doesn’t seem to be any search capability. Second, I entered a long comment, but forgot to include my Name and E-mail address, so I was directed to
    http://www.realclimate.org/wp-comments-post.php
    which had the message
    Error: please fill the required fields (name, email).
    but provided me with no way to get back to do that short of starting all over.

    Am I missing something?

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:50 PM

  550. Thanks. I guess the short life of BC versus the long life of CO2 as a canceling effect threw me.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  551. People shouldn’t really try to use the Comments forum as a means of learning the basic science. It is not a very good way to learn things. For example Rod B says

    “I have a uncertainty about GWPotential but don’t understand it enough to come to any conclusion. You made a statement to Pete that might aid my understanding: How can a molecule of CH4 have 20x the GWP of a molecule of CO2?”

    Marcus kindly provided him with an answer, but I doubt whether that will help much without further study.

    On this particular issue, I recommend David Archer’s video lectures at
    geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/lectures.html
    (particularly Chapter 4). He might even purchase the book
    http://www.amazon.com/Global-Warming-Understanding-David-Archer/dp/1405140399

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 14 Dec 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  552. Re short-lived & long-lived sources of forcing.

    “Other forcings are important and need to be minimized, and some may be easier than carbon dioxide to deal with, but policy makers must understand that they cannot avoid constraints on carbon dioxide via offsets from other constituents.” — Hansen: Storms of my grandchildren, p. 164

    Comment by paulina — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:02 PM

  553. > 526 Richard Steckis says:14 December 2009 at 10:0 AM
    > …
    > 1. Rapid climate change of 10 years or less are
    > well known from the geological record.

    You’re here conflating something real — abrupt climate change, change to a new longterm pattern — with short term events we call ‘weather.’

    You can’t claim you’ve detected a change in climate based on a ten year record immediately, at the tenth year.
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-not-to-analyze-climate-data.html

    You may do so in retrospect, once that change has persisted for decades over a wide area.
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/08/climate-change-detection.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  554. Timothy Chase: Well said!

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:15 PM

  555. On another topic, I was wondering if any of the RC folks are attending the AGU fall meeting this week. I’d personally like to see a post on this summarizing the interesting presentations and having attendees comment. Not as exciting as stolen emails, I suppose, but still interesting to many of us.

    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/

    Comment by MarkB — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  556. One of the issues with nuclear plants, besides leaks, accidents etc. is the routine release of radioactive products to the environment and the possible effects that has. These releases are the suspect in cancers around nuke plants. We have no choice but to trust the NRC to tell us the truth about what these plants are releasing. A conflict of interest.

    http://www.reirs.com/effluent/
    http://www.hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q3710.html
    http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/routineradioactivereleases.htm

    According to the NAS even low doses of radiation have adverse health effects.

    http://www.nas.edu/gateway/foundations/jul05.html#2560

    Again my point from the beginning is not to be reflexively anti-nuclear power per se. But I just think that we should be moving away from large centralized energy sources that are vulnerable to all kinds of problems, from potentially devastating accidents in nuclear’s case, due to their size, to terrorist attack, to monopolization with customers defenseless against arbitrary price increases to breakdown causing many people to go without power at once etc. vs decentralized and smaller scale non-hazardous alternative energies which are without these risks. Ok maybe someone will get hit by a blade from their wind power rig or get a sunburn setting up their solar system. I’m sure the Big Energy giants or their spokesmen at CEI OR AEI can come up with their own “horror stories” about these risks.

    Comment by Ron R. — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:22 PM

  557. Walter Manny @528, Did you read Tamino’s analysis? I found it rather compelling. In any case, I don’t see how this could be considered an appeal to authority. Since Tamino publishes his blog entries under a pseudonym, they must stand or fall according to their cogency. I find that more often than not, they stand quite well.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:24 PM

  558. #546 Timothy Chase

    It’s really incredible isn’t it.

    The simple fact that some scientists are receiving death threats is not entirely unexpected considering the mentality and lack of critical thinking capacity of some involved in the debate. However it is truly abhorrent.

    To anyone that might read this that is of such ilk. If you’re going to make a death threat, at least have the integrity to use your real name so the authorities can come arrest you and thus better society by getting you off the street and into a nice correctional facility where you can have some time to think about how truly ridiculous your choices are.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:27 PM

  559. This is a reasonable cite for Rod. No, Rod, you won’t find “550 ppm” here– the point is the rate of change.

    An early Cenozoic perspective on greenhouse
    warming and carbon-cycle dynamics
    James C. Zachos, Gerald R. Dickens & Richard E. Zeebe

    No longer available at:
    http://ftp.marum.de/pub/Geokommission/Abbildungen/9-Klima/nature06588.pdf

    Google cache file (text only) available:
    http://74.125.155.132/scholar?q=cache:gGgeEFksahwJ:scholar.google.com/+petm+temperature+CO2++increase&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

    “By the year 2400, it is predicted that humans will have released about 5,000 gigatonnes of carbon (Gt C) to the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution if fossil-fuel emissions continue unabated and carbon-sequestration efforts remain at current levels1. This anthropogenic carbon input, predominantly carbon dioxide (CO2), would eventually return to the geosphere through the deposition of calcium carbonate and organic matter2. Over the coming millennium, however, most would accumulate in the atmosphere and ocean. Even if only 60% accumulated in the atmosphere, the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) would rise to 1,800 parts per million by volume (p.p.m.v.)….

    Observations of modern and Holocene (the past 10,000 years
    or so) climates have provided essential constraints for understanding climate dynamics and a baseline for predicting future responses to carbon input. But such observations can provide only limited insight into the response of climate to massive, rapid input of CO2. To evaluate climate theories more thoroughly, particularly with regard to feedbacks and climate sensitivity to pCO2, it is desirable to study samples obtained when CO2 concentrations were high (approaching or exceeding 1,800 p.p.m.v.) and to make observations for intervals longer than those of ocean overturning and carbon cycling (more than 1,000 years)4. Earth scientists have therefore turned increasingly to ancient time intervals, particularly those in which pCO2 was much higher than now, in which pCO2 changed rapidly, or both. Recent reconstructions of Earth’s history have considerably improved our knowledge of known ‘greenhouse’ periods and have uncovered several previously unknown episodes of rapid emissions of greenhouse gases and abrupt warming.

    On shorter timescales, atmospheric CO2 concentration and tem
    perature can change rapidly, as demonstrated by a series of events during the early Cenozoic known as hyperthermals. These were relatively brief intervals (less than a few tens of thousands of years) of extreme global warmth and massive carbon addition but with widely differing scales of forcing and response. During the most prominent and best-studied hyperthermal, the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM; about 55 million years ago), the global temperature increased by more than 5°C in less than 10,000 years6 (Fig. 3). At about the same time, more than 2,000 Gt C as CO2 — comparable in magnitude to that which could occur over the coming centuries — entered the atmosphere and ocean.

    Evidence for this carbon release is found in sedimentary records across the event…. The entire event lasted less than 170,000 years.

    Outlook for the future

    If fossil-fuel emissions continue unabated, in less than 300 years pCO2 will reach about 1,800 p.p.m.v., a level not present on Earth for roughly 50 million years.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:28 PM

  560. “Patrick 027 (497), I have a uncertainty about GWPotential but don’t understand it enough to come to any conclusion. You made a statement to Pete that might aid my understanding: How can a molecule of CH4 have 20x the GWP of a molecule of CO2? CH4 can absorb a single photon as can CO2 and those two photons are fairly close in energy level — certainly not a difference of 20x. Or is there some process that allows CH4 to do significantly more photon absorption – energy transfer cycles than CO2 (though I don’t know why that would be…) and the 20x factor comes somehow from probabilities and/or quantum factors?”

    It’s because different molecules have different absorbtion cross-sections, and different spectra. The probability of a passing photon being the correct wavelength and passing ‘close’ enough to a molecule of CH4 is significantly greater than the probability of a passing photon being of the correct wavelength and ‘close’ enough to be absorbed by a molecule of CO2.

    If you want to know more about this, any Physical Chemistry text book will be able to sort you out. I recomend Atkins.

    “Silk (508), not surprisingly you’re still bellowing the mantra of “mountains of evidence,” “REAL EVIDENCE” (emphasis yours), and finally just plain “EVIDENCE” to support the nominal 3 degrees increase following a doubling of CO2 — as opposed to models and physics theory. I’d still like to be directed to the referenced for that evidence with pointing sans higher db’s.”

    Rod B – You’ve been around here a long time, and are clearly trolling. However, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m hiding from the question, so I’ll point you to the answer, which you can then deny at your own leisure.

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-is-3c.html
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf

    Box 10.2 : The first category of methods (see Section
    9.6) uses the historical transient evolution of
    surface temperature, upper air temperature,
    ocean temperature, estimates of the radiative
    forcing, satellite data, proxy data over the last
    millennium, or a subset thereof to calculate
    ranges or PDFs for sensitivity (e.g., Wigley et
    al., 1997b; Tol and De Vos, 1998; Andronova
    and Schlesinger, 2001; Forest et al., 2002; Gregory
    et al., 2002a; Harvey and Kaufmann, 2002;
    Knutti et al., 2002, 2003; Frame et al., 2005; Forest
    et al., 2006; Forster and Gregory, 2006; Hegerl
    et al., 2006)

    Comment by Silk — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:32 PM

  561. #507 Gary Thompson

    Gary – I’m NOT a scientist, but I’ve been reading this blog – and many skeptic sites – for years. There IS a conspiracy afoot – but it’s not among the climate scientists.

    As for your question, google “Mojib Latif” and read. He’s often misrepresented by delialists as disproving global warming theory, but he doesn’t. He explains that natural variation over annual or decadal periods may temporarily mask global warming, but the warming is still occuring and it is man-made. As I understand it, climate modelers tend to screen out the effects of the solar minimum/maximum cycle and ocean currents because they are cyclical events and have no impact over the long term.

    Comment by Jiminmpls — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:35 PM

  562. Re previous comments back to #533

    Just read this very nice item regarding black and organic carbon re the Himalayas from Dr. Hansen:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_14/

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Dec 2009 @ 2:39 PM

  563. Marcus says:
    14 December 2009 at 10:46 AM
    I realize that RealClimate has a backlog of interesting things to get to, but at some point it might be nice to cover statements like the following:
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hGkx5ED3BxWScLRJuzhDFRm9wAzwD9CJ4M701

    I could see it being “possible” that summer Arctic ice might disappear in the next five to seven years, but 75% chance sounds, well, alarmist. And I usually admire Al Gore’s ability to listen to scientists and package the information in intelligible ways. So it would be nice to hear if a) he is exaggerating in this case, or b) there actually is new science out there that indicates that near-term Arctic summer disappearance is actually likely.

    -Marcus

    [Response: This is based on claims by Wieslaw Maslowski (unpublished as yet, but widely reported) and come from a simple linear extrapolation of the Arctic ice thickness data from his model of historical changes which indeed show a faster decline than summer ice extent. However, it is clear that since the extent and the thickness give different times for no summer ice, that there is probably something a little suspect about linear extrapolations of these things. No physical model gives timescales that short, but then again they are underestimating trends so far. Thus, this claim remains speculative. - gavin]

    This is what Maslowski said in a presentation in 2008. (note the !)
    “Between 1997-2004:
    annual mean sea ice concentration has decreased by ~17%
    mean ice thickness has decreased by ~0.9 m or ~36%
    ice volume decreased by 40%, which is >2x the rate of ice area decrease
    If this trend persists the Arctic Ocean will become ice-free by ~2013!”

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 14 Dec 2009 @ 3:00 PM

  564. Did: my point stands: nobody has died in the US directly from a civilian nuclear accident

    BPL: You either read very carelessly, or…

    Here are the relevant entries. I assume you’re saying the Manhattan Project, SL-1 etc. facilities don’t count as “civilian.” So here are some that do:

    07/24/1964. United Nuclear Corp. fuel facility, Charlottestown, RI, USA. Criticality accident in uranium pouring. 1 fatality. Ref: Lutin.

    07/27/1972. Surry Unit 2 commercial reactor, Virginia, USA. Steam explosion. 2 fatalities. Ref: Lutin.

    12/09/1986. Surry Unit 2 commercial reactor, Virginia, USA. Steam explosion (again). 4 fatalities. Ref: Lutin.

    Just 7 people dead, but 7 > 0 where I come from. Or are you using the Nuke industry propaganda trick of not counting plant workers as “civilians?” None of these guys were employed by the military.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Dec 2009 @ 3:02 PM

  565. RS: The data from three of the four main datasets that are relied upon show that there has been no statistically significant net warming since 2003

    BPL: That’s probably because 5-6 years can’t give you a significant warming, cooling or flat trend, RS. You need 30 years. How many times do we have to say it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Dec 2009 @ 3:05 PM

  566. Richard Steckis (526) — (1) Please give citation about rapid climate change in 10 years or less in the “geologic” record. I believe you will find that the actual evidence is only to be found in Greenland and northern Scandinavia; hardly global.

    (2) WMO defines climate as 30 years or more of climate data. I suspect the reason has to do with statistical significance; try reading an advanced text on meteorology. In any case, from my amateur understanding of ocean oscillations and GISS’s ModelE characteristic time, I’d rather see at least 90 years of data. Fortunately, the modern instrumental period gives (almost) 130 years of data; that’s enough.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Dec 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  567. Silk #560, patience of a saint…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Dec 2009 @ 3:41 PM

  568. As I said earlier, my nostalgia for arguing with nuclear proponents — who at least acknowledge that global warming is a real problem, in contrast to the deniers — evaporated pretty quickly and I have no desire to prolong another fruitless and futile “debate” over nuclear power.

    I do, however, want to make one point clear. My opposition to investing resources in an expansion of nuclear power has relatively little to do with the very real, very serious, dangers of nuclear technology.

    I oppose investment in new nuclear power because expanding nuclear electricity generation is neither necessary, nor is it an effective means of reducing GHG emissions, particularly in the time frame within which large reductions are needed. Indeed, nuclear is SO expensive, and takes SO long to build, that the opportunity costs of putting resources into expanding nuclear power instead of into more cost-effective and timely solutions (e.g. efficiency and renewables) actually hinder, rather than help, the effort to reduce GHG emissions.

    There are other commenters here who have much more expertise than I do as to the documented harms and dangers of nuclear power. I leave that discussion to them. I would only say that IF we really had no other options except to replace coal-fired power plants with nuclear power plants, then there might be a compelling argument that the price of action against AGW is that we will just have to deal with the problems of nuclear power as best we can. Arguably, even multiple full-blown nuclear power plant meltdowns would be a lesser catastrophe than unmitigated global warming.

    But that is not the case. We have plenty of other options — and they are faster and cheaper and better and safer and more sustainable than nuclear (and have potential social benefits as well, e.g. decentralizing and thus democratizing the production of energy). We simply don’t need nuclear power, so there is no need to deal with the problems of nuclear power. We can phase out both coal and nuclear and get more electricity than we could possibly need from renewables.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 14 Dec 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  569. Hank: #559
    “If fossil-fuel emissions continue unabated, in less than 300 years pCO2 will reach about 1,800 p.p.m.v., a level not present on Earth for roughly 50 million years.””

    Okay, Hank, let’s say that it does go to 1800 ppm – so what? I see in your quote that 5C in temperature rise caused a lot of CO2. I don’t see where a lot of CO2 caused 5C in temperature rise. I also see a record where the CO2 was still rising and temperature reversed direction. This happened hundreds of times. So far in the entire industrial era we have added about 105 ppm. To get to your number we would have to add about 14 times as much as we have already added. Considering the parallel peak oil scare that we hear about, we will have to do most of that based upon coal and gas alone. That would be very difficult and very unlikely in just 300 years. That problem would also disappear through the simple expedient of making any newly built power sources nuclear and replacing any gas and coal plants with nuclear when they wear out. No rush – no emergency – no need for cap and trade – no need for global governance by the unelected.

    Taking it a little further, at 1800 ppm we would not yet have reached a third doubling of CO2. If Lindzen or Spencer are right, then, that would mean an extra 1.8C or less. The same is most likely true if Svensmark is right – and I still think that he is. So let’s say that a reasonable number for getting to that 1800 point is 500 years. Look at the amount that life has changed in the last 500 years. Do you really think that we will be using the same technologies by then – even if CO2 is found to pose no dangers. It will be a completely different world technologically then. We may be using fusion reactors. Or we may be using a power source that we don’t even know exists today.

    I think that you need to stop thinking of time scales of 20 years as being significant. What happened between 1976 and 1998 is a 22 year warming acceleration. It corresponds to a period that was heavily dominated by warming PDO and ENSO events. You simply can’t say that a 22 year period of heating acceleration means that we have uncovered “THE TRUE TREND”. Let’s see if this same trend manifests for the next 30 years – because it certainly hasn’t for the past 11. But if it does, we can discuss what, if anything, we need to do about it. In the meantime, the only emergency is the emergency that politicians and activists feel at the possibility of letting a perfectly good scare go by without taping it for power and money. The real thing that the people at the IPCC are afraid of is that the current flat trend will continue.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:14 PM

  570. Studying my feelings, I think my annoyance with the anti-nuclear crowd stems from the fact that had they had more foresight and less nuke-fuelled paranoia thirty years ago, we would now not be reliant on coal at all.

    Maybe I do them an injustice. Although I think the anti-nuclear reaction has always been overblown, back then there were some very valid concerns: insufficient regulation, poorly designed control systems, some unsafe early designs still in operation, and the very real link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

    The problem is that the more extreme environmentalists have come to believe their own propaganda; they treat the TORCH report as gospel, and they refuse to accept that with the end of the cold war, the nuclear weapon situation has changed completely. They also refuse to accept that new designs and regulations have not only ensured safety, but now go possibly way beyond what is required (in the US, at least).

    Ron R, I see you link to a polemic about nuclear power from an advocacy site. I spotted this quote: “Permissible does not mean safe.” It’s true. Permissible levels are a tiny, tiny fraction of what is considered to be safe. Nothing I saw on the site led me to have any confidence in it.

    Besides, scientists have been unable to find any evidence of “the suspect in cancers around nuke plants”:

    In 1990 the United States Congress requested the National Cancer Institute to conduct a study of cancer mortality rates around nuclear plants and other facilities covering 1950 to 1984 focusing on the change after operation started of the respective facilities. They concluded in no link. In 2000 the University of Pittsburgh found no link to heightened cancer deaths in people living within 5 miles of plant at the time of the Three Mile Island accident. The same year, the Illinois Public Health Department found no statistical abnormality of childhood cancers in counties with nuclear plants. In 2001 the Connecticut Academy of Sciences and Engineering confirmed that radiation emissions were negligibly low at the Connecticut Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Also that year, the American Cancer Society investigated cancer clusters around nuclear plants and concluded no link to radiation noting that cancer clusters occur regularly due to unrelated reasons. Again in 2001, the Florida Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology reviewed claims of increased cancer rates in counties with nuclear plants, however, using the same data as the claimants, they observed no abnormalities.

    According to the National Safety Council, people living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant receive an additional 0.01 mrem per year. Living within 50 miles of a coal plant adds 0.03 mrem per year. These numbers are negligible compared with the average annual dose of 358 mrem per year.

    I’m sure that on a site like RC, it is really controversial to back the scientists, and to say that “if you claim some extraordinary medical risk from nuclear reactors, please provide some scientific evidence”….

    Comment by Didactylos — 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:21 PM

  571. re “Just read this very nice item regarding black and organic carbon re the Himalayas from Dr. Hansen:”
    -
    Here’s a quote from that article: “Global warming must be the primary cause of glacier retreat, which is occurring on a global scale, but observed rapid melt rates suggest that other factors may be involved.”

    “Must” is an odd word choice, don’t you think? People have been suggesting that black soot is a primary cause of glacial retreat for many years.

    Comment by AC — 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:25 PM

  572. Mark #550. All you need to do is figure out “I’m not as smart as the hundreds of people who look at this professionally, so in what way could I have missed something and be, in the end, wrong?”.

    You were thinking of the problem:

    We have carbon soot and that does melting

    But not the solution:

    But CO2 is still reckoned to be a greater effect

    To which “Duh. Of course. Soot washes out, doesn’t it!” becomes a fairly obvious answer.

    To expand you could see at what level they sort of cancel out, as an intellectual exercise.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:32 PM

  573. “Error: please fill the required fields (name, email).
    but provided me with no way to get back to do that short of starting all over.

    Am I missing something?”

    For me (on firefox), right click on the window, select “Back”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  574. Rod B, #540, try googling it.

    “Annan paper historical constraints of climate response to CO2″

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/GRL_sensitivity.pdf

    It’s been posted SEVERAL TIMES while you’ve been an active participant.

    That you remember so much proving AGW is wrong from years ago, yet forget that is telling.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:37 PM

  575. Ray, thanks, but my question was not about his analysis. I must not have worded my first note very well, because my point is that an appeal to Tamino is NOT an appeal to authority, which I’m OK with. (As a counterexample, McIntyre is routinely dismissed as a mere statistician, though I assume you would stick only to the weakness in his arguments.) I’m just surprised that you are OK with it, given your reasonable insistence on the established, peer-reviewed, consensus view of things. Tamino’s claims to have published must necessarily fall to the ground if he – I take it he’s a male – is an unidentified person, no, or is it more routine that I might have thought for scientists to publish anonymously? (Certainly if Mr. Chase is correct that there have been death threats, that would be a compelling reason to allow anonymity, though I have only heard about these death threats here today.) It is unfortunate that Tamino is unable for whatever reason to identify himself given the current if temporary consensus that climate science needs to carried out with greater transparency.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 14 Dec 2009 @ 4:41 PM

  576. Leonard, Hi – just right click on the read comments line and then select opening the comments in a new tab or new window. That brings the comments up in a way that you can easily search. (works in Firefox and Safari at least)

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:40 PM

  577. Walter Manny,
    I think that you are misunderstanding–Tamino’s analyses are compelling because they are cogent, clear and correct (how’s that for alliteration?). I know Tamino knows what he is doing insofar as analysis of time series and other data series because it is also something that I have to do on occasion. OTOH, it is not so much the statistical analyses of McI that I object to, but rather his unsubstantiated allegations against the entire science community.

    And as to revealing of identities, the potential for harrassment is not to be taken lightly. I can certainly see wanting to keep your professional and intertube personae distinct.

    [My emphasis added --eric]]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:41 PM

  578. Tilo Reber says: 14 December 2009 at 4:14 PM

    After all the conjecture you cite, you’re still at least beans, an enchilada and a taco away from the combination plate you need. You’ve got to come up with a robust alternative hypothesis that explains not just why we’re safe ignoring C02 but also the numerous signals indirectly indicative of a global change in energy balance, quite apart from direct temperature measurements of air and ocean. Such an explanation needs to be pretty versatile in order to encompass all the observations we’re seeing. Attempting to tackle the issue by focusing on a single type of data does not work.

    Your conclusion, “In the meantime, the only emergency is the emergency that politicians and activists feel at the possibility of letting a perfectly good scare go by without taping it for power and money” also does not help your case. It’s just one step away from the magic rabbit hole used to explain what otherwise cannot be wished away, namely “it’s all a conspiracy, there are secrets being kept from us that can explain everything”.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:42 PM

  579. What are you trying to do here?
    Which objective takes precedence? (Select just one even if you think one could include the other.)

    1. To defend the work done and the claims made concerning the CO2 problem to date?
    or
    2. To induce action that will reduce growth of CO2 levels?

    Comment by Ed Every — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:42 PM

  580. Walter Manny makes a telling mistake. Tamino is much more identifiable to the climate science world than he would be under his civilian name (yes, this has become a war especially after the last attack. E is tempted to use the T word here especially given the death threats). We are our writings, and Tamino has, in a relatively short time established an outstanding reputation.

    If Eli said go read Eric Blair, most would say who dat? OTOH we know George Orwell through his writings. In short Walter, we know you through your writing.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  581. Didactylos #570 said: “Ron R, I see you link to a polemic about nuclear power from an advocacy site…. Nothing I saw on the site led me to have any confidence in it…. I’m sure that on a site like RC, it is really controversial to back the scientists, and to say that ‘if you claim some extraordinary medical risk from nuclear reactors, please provide some scientific evidence’”

    I guess you didn’t like the scientific studies I provided but mention only the one advocacy site. That’s fine. Whatever floats your boat.

    I know that there have been studies in the past that supposedly found no link between cancer and nuke plants, others more recent have. The German study was quite large.

    The point is that nuclear power is an inherently unstable and potentially quite dangerous source of energy. It requires many, many components all working together precisely not to fail.

    If things change, I don’t know, say for example the creation of “teeny tiny nukes” for individual communities, something much more managable I might be able to support that if proven safe. But I don’t see anything like that coming along. And I’m just throwing a bone to you guys.

    Like SecularAnimist said, I just don’t see it as necessary when we have other, less controversial choices. Let’s exploit them to their utmost first then when that’s done look to nuclear if still necessary. Let’s also try to seriously find a way to reduce world population, and soon (obviously non-draconian) so that we don’t need more and more energy sources.

    I appreciate the patience of other posters here and RC allowing us to go off on this tangent. I’m now done on the subject.

    Comment by Ron R. — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  582. Hank Roberts says:
    14 December 2009 at 2:28 PM:

    An early Cenozoic perspective on greenhouse
    warming and carbon-cycle dynamics
    James C. Zachos, Gerald R. Dickens & Richard E. Zeebe

    No longer available at:
    http://ftp.marum.de/pub/Geokommission/Abbildungen/9-Klima/nature06588.pdf

    Google cache file (text only) available:
    http://74.125.155.132/scholar?q=cache:gGgeEFksahwJ:scholar.google.com/+petm+temperature+CO2++increase&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

    Hank, the original pdf is available here.

    Comment by llewelly — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:50 PM

  583. The Maslowski 2008 presentation is here:

    http://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2115/34395/5/Maslowski.pdf
    or here:
    http://198.7.238.201/cnws/wardept/documents/State%20of%20Arctic%20Sea%20Ice%20(NPS).pdf

    I always wonder what having access to a nuclear submarine fleet does for one’s ability to publish in climatology. It can’t be an unmitigated blessing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:52 PM

  584. PEER-REVIEW. For those who don’t understand the process, or just want a good belly-laugh:

    “Scientific Peer Review, ca. 1945″ at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VRBWLpYCPY

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:54 PM

  585. Didactylos wrote: “I think my annoyance with the anti-nuclear crowd stems from the fact that had they had more foresight and less nuke-fuelled paranoia thirty years ago, we would now not be reliant on coal at all. Maybe I do them an injustice.”

    You certainly do “them” an injustice, since the reason that no nuclear power plants have been built in the USA for decades has nothing to do with “the anti-nuclear crowd”. It has to do with the “anti-throwing-money-away crowd” on Wall Street, who refused to invest in new nuclear power plants, because nuclear power was an economic failure. And nuclear power is STILL an economic failure, and Wall Street STILL won’t put a dime into it — unless, of course, the taxpayers and rate payers are forced to absorb all the costs and all the risks up front. And that includes the risk of economic losses, if the new nuclear power plants prove to be unprofitable to operate, or even if they are never finished. That’s exactly what the nuclear industry is asking for: for the taxpayers and rate payers to bear all the cost and all the risk, and guarantee the nuclear industry’s profits. And without that, they won’t stick a shovel in the ground to build even one new nuclear power plant, and they have vehemently said so, in so many words.

    And I’m pretty sure you will ignore what I just wrote above, and accuse me of “irrational fear” of radiation or something else that fits your preferred stereotype of an “anti-nuke crowd” cartoon figure.

    The idea that the nuclear industry in the USA was stopped by “anti-nuclear protesters” is bogus. It is false. It is nothing but a comforting mythology for people who are unwilling or unable to deal with the economic failure of nuclear power.

    And by the way, the people that you excoriate for opposing nuclear power 30 years ago were promoting wind and solar power back then, too. That’s when Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House roof. And then Reagan came in, took down the solar panels, slashed funding for renewable energy research, and turned US energy policy over to the fossil fuel industry.

    Sure, we could’ve had a carbon free electric power system by now — a super-efficient system powered by wind and solar and geothermal and biomass. And the reason we don’t has nothing to do with “anti-nuclear protesters” or “irrational fear” and everything to do with Big Energy corporations who were determined that decentralized, democratized, renewable energy generation was not going to cut into their profits.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:55 PM

  586. #575 Walter Manny

    Just FYI. I’ve heard about death threats from ‘multiple’ sources (which shall remain unnamed), and long before today. I never spoke of it until today because the subject was breached.

    There are some that have a darn good reason to remain anonymous. But generally speaking, people should use their real names. Science is a subject that relies on integrity. When spineless anonymous people claim imagined phantom arguments overturn an established evidentiary trail… I think that is a lapse in moral and ethical fiber as well as a failure of reason, commons sense, and critical thinking.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Dec 2009 @ 5:56 PM

  587. RE # 544 the bus bar cost is what the cost is at the power plant just like the price of a car before the destination charge (at the assembly plant). To this you add the costs of the transmission (hi tension system) to get what is often called the energy charge. Then you add the distribution charge which pays to get the electricity from the substation to your house, sending the bill etc, this is often broken out separately. For today the model that IMHO makes sense is renewables backed up by combined cycle gas plants (6.3 or so times as co2 efficent as coal plants, and rapid start to handle the rapid changes. One could also take more of our reservoirs and make them pumped storage For example except that it is an irrigation project Grand Coulee dam has all the elements of a pumped storge plant and in fact does this with 1/2 the pumps. Why not go to 100% with the pumps.

    Comment by Lyle — 14 Dec 2009 @ 6:03 PM

  588. Libertarian former skeptic now accepts AGW. Interesting. The comments are pretty much what you’d expect: mostly bilious.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/14/jonathan-abrams-on-climate-change.aspx

    Comment by Sean A — 14 Dec 2009 @ 6:26 PM

  589. “Silk #560, patience of a saint…”

    You have no idea. It’s 00:35 and I’m locked in a room in a large city in Denmark…

    I’ve been here many hours, and there is no end in sight.

    Comment by Silk — 14 Dec 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  590. #571 AC

    Considering current forcing levels “Must” is certainly appropriate.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    Please feel free to post your real name.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Dec 2009 @ 7:07 PM

  591. Yep. You don’t even need to be a climatologist, or a sponsor of a blog; being a reader who comments can get you attention from the nuthatch side and support from their blogger hosts: http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/tav-to-realclimate-you-can%e2%80%99t-get-there-from-here/#comment-7894

    In other news:
    http://www.metafilter.com/87474/Delete-Doesnt-Always-Mean-Delete

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Dec 2009 @ 7:15 PM

  592. Ray and Eli, thanks, and I understand your attachment to Tamino’s arguments more clearly now. Having said that, it is hard to see how in the current climate – lame pun intended – his anonymous contributions can be taken seriously except insofar as they inform the unconcealed community, in the arena, publishing. That he has achieved some notoriety as a blogger is interesting, to be sure, but I would be surprised if you were to argue that his scientific findings, published under his civilian name in the mainstream journals, are less important. In any event, this was a question for Ray, who has been trying to educate me in the ways of scientific consensus for a long while, and I am surprised it has generated other than a quick explanation from him.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 14 Dec 2009 @ 7:45 PM

  593. Sean A. says, “Libertarian former skeptic now accepts AGW. Interesting. The comments are pretty much what you’d expect: mostly bilious.”

    Yeah, you know it’s one thing to be an ideologue, but when your ideology forces you to argue against physical reality, you’d think they’d recognize that as a losing proposition.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Dec 2009 @ 7:51 PM

  594. Oops. I am now informed that Eli Rabett is a pseudonym as well. Too bad, cool name. Well, I hope you, Eli, are enjoying as much influence in your real publishing life as well as this one! — Monsieur Le Blanc

    Comment by Walter Manny — 14 Dec 2009 @ 7:53 PM

  595. Walter Manny,
    I commend to you some of Tamino’s posts on subjects other than climate change as well–especially the one on Kullback-Liebler Divergence, which is the first in a series on Akaike Information Criterion. It is a very nice exposition of a powerful technique that many seem to have a hard time understanding.

    I have been telling you all along that scientific consensus is not at all about “voting” but rather about the strength of evidence and the utility of techniques and concepts. As such, it would not matter whether Tamino published under his name or not. Newton’s Principia would be just as important (and just as hard to read) if it were published under a pen name. When a technique or idea becomes so indespensible to understanding a field that hardly anyone publishes anything that doesn’t at least implicitly assume that idea or use that technique, then they become part of the consensus. We vote with our work.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:02 PM

  596. Walter–perhaps another way to look at it. It has been 30 years since I took undergraduate physics–and yet I still go to The Feynmann Lectures so that I will be able to express the fundamental ideas I learned more clearly. It’s been 20 years since I took stat mech, but I still read Landau and Lifshitz for the same reason. And I still peruse Ed Jaynes’s (posthumously published ) statistics text for its gems of insight, despite the fact that I learned the subject years ago. None of these works is “cutting edge,” but all of them help us crystalize our understanding the basics so that we can do cutting edge research.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:09 PM

  597. Walter:
    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2007/10/taminos-open-mind/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:14 PM

  598. 565
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    14 December 2009 at 3:05 PM

    “RS: The data from three of the four main datasets that are relied upon show that there has been no statistically significant net warming since 2003

    BPL: That’s probably because 5-6 years can’t give you a significant warming, cooling or flat trend, RS. You need 30 years. How many times do we have to say it?”

    Actually 2003 was a typo it should read 2001.

    YOU DO NOT NEED 30 YEARS to establish trend. The 30 year time period is a furphy based on nothing more than opinion with no scientific justification. 10 years of data is NOT noise. You point me to the statistical analyses that justify the 30 year time period. I am not interested in rubbish like “it is the official WMO time period for a climate signal to emerge from noise therefore it is cast in stone”. Justify it!

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:15 PM

  599. Doug: #578
    “You’ve got to come up with a robust alternative hypothesis that explains not just why we’re safe ignoring C02 but also the numerous signals indirectly indicative of a global change in energy balance, quite apart from direct temperature measurements of air and ocean.”

    If there is a change in the energy balance, then it will eventually manifest as either temperature or ocean heat content or both. If we can measure those accurately then there is no need to worry about other signals. As probably dozens of skeptics have told you by now, there is no issue about the earth warming. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. It has been either warming or cooling for most of that time. So the fact that it has been doing lately what it has been doing for roughly half of it’s existence is hardly a cause for alarm.

    Why do I need a “robust alternative hypothesis”? Current warming has been seen many times before when there was no man made CO2. It is your contention that only man made CO2 can cause what we are currently seeing. So it is up to you to justify such a claim. Just how insignificant current warming is can be seen here in a 50,000 year ice core from Greenland:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFbUVBYIPlI&feature=player_embedded

    In any case, I regard Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory as a good one. We may not yet completely understand the physical mechanism involved, but the correlation between cosmic rays and clouds is very good.

    “It’s just one step away from the magic rabbit hole used to explain what otherwise cannot be wished away, namely “it’s all a conspiracy, there are secrets being kept from us that can explain everything”.”

    “Conspiracy” is a red herring word that warmers like to use to discredit skeptics. Skeptics don’t claim or imply a conspiracy. It doesn’t require a conspiracy for governments to want more power and more tax revenues. That trend is longer than any warming trend. It doesn’t require a conspiracy for scientists to want research funding, or for them to move to where the funding is available. It doesn’t require a conspiracy for greens to embrace any theory that blames mankind for any problems. These are the same people that told us we couldn’t have DDT, Nuclear Reactors, and that the Alaskan oil pipeline was going to wipe out the caribou herds. It doesn’t require a conspiracy for leftists to embrace any cause that they know will move them further to the left. Common self interest and common political agendas is all that you need, not conspiracy.

    However, that being said, there appears to be a significant subgroup within the AGW community that uses coordination of effort to achieve their agenda. This can be seen in many of the CRU letters. Here is Briffa with a fine example:

    Briffa:
    “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple.”

    and

    “I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate.”

    The CRU letters show us many other examples of serious doubts that are expressed to other members of this same group. A group well represented in the IPCC and a group that is on a first name basis as well as a group that is responsible for much of the peer review of each others work. So the question is, why where none of these doubts ever explained in public. I think that Briffa’s first quote gives us the answer. That doesn’t imply a conspiracy, but it does point to at least a part of the AGW community being a good old boys club that served to influence it’s members.

    [Response: Hmm. "Much of the peer review of each others work." And how do you know that? As for the ice core data you point to -- those are not global changes, as we have shown before. Try reading up, just a little, on the facts, before pontificating like this.--eric]]

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 14 Dec 2009 @ 8:25 PM

  600. Ian Plimer posts today on the ABC Australia webite:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2771811.htm

    Comment by IA — 14 Dec 2009 @ 9:08 PM

  601. Richard Steckis (598) — Learn enough statistics to understand the term “statistically significant”. Now figure out how much annual data is required to establish a significantly significant trend.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Dec 2009 @ 9:21 PM

  602. YOU DO NOT NEED 30 YEARS to establish trend. The 30 year time period is a furphy based on nothing more than opinion with no scientific justification. 10 years of data is NOT noise

    And I insist two years of data is NOT noise. The two-year trend is UP UP UP proving that warming has accelerated far beyond current projections for the next century.

    Oh, damn, the three month trend is DOWN DOWN DOWN.

    Now I’m confused.

    If you pull intervals out of your rear as Steckis believes is legit, why, you can show whatever you want, can’t you, Richard?

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Dec 2009 @ 9:44 PM

  603. And Walter Manny BTW, we know who Tamino is — and who Eli is. Their anonymity is ‘soft’, a first line of defence against the unbegoogled. Respecting their wish and not outing them is a code of honour observed by those having some.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 14 Dec 2009 @ 9:45 PM

  604. Richard Steckis wrote in 598:

    YOU DO NOT NEED 30 YEARS to establish trend. The 30 year time period is a furphy based on nothing more than opinion with no scientific justification. 10 years of data is NOT noise. You point me to the statistical analyses that justify the 30 year time period.

    There are some interesting analyses out there. William Connolly for example is able to show that ten years is typically half noise half signal, but by the time you get to 15 years it is mostly signal. However, I will have to look that one up again.

    Here is another that I find particularly interesting — deriving the time required to establish a trend from the data itself — by how insensitive the calculated trend is to the length of time over which the trend is determined.

    Please see:

    Results on Deciding Trends
    Monday, January 5, 2009
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Dec 2009 @ 9:49 PM

  605. PS to 603 (Re Richard Steckis at 598)

    Here is some more on how many years are required to establish trends in global average temperature based on empirical arguments…

    First, the piece that I mentioned on the significance of ten and fifteen year trends:

    Pick up the HadCRU temperature series from here. Compute 5, 10 and 15 year trends running along the data since 1970 and …

    The significance of 5 year trends
    Posted on: May 17, 2007 4:02 PM, by William M. Connolley
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php

    This is an interesting piece that mentions waiting until 2015 to determine whether warming has continued, stopped or been replace by cooling:

    By 2015, the expected temperature from the regression-line fit and that expected from the “no change” hypothesis will be far enough apart that we’ll probably be able to distinguish between them with statistical significance. In other words, by 2015 either we’ll know that global warming has changed (possibly stopping, possibly reversing), or there’ll be no more of this “global warming stopped in 1998″ malarkey.

    Global Temperature from GISS, NCDC, HadCRU
    January 24, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/giss-ncdc-hadcru/

    … however, what is actually central to that piece is how much of the difference between GISS, NCDC and HADCRU is due to the choice of different base periods.

    This post demonstrates that we are well within the bounds of natural variability and pretty much dead-center of what you would expect based on the data from 1975 forward:

    … This graph just gives us the essential idea behind it.

    And the idea is this: if global warming is continuing, global temperature will continue to follow a rising trend plus noise. If global warming has ceased, it will stay at its present level (or decline) plus noise. So we should outline what global temperature will be in those two cases.

    You Bet!
    January 31, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/you-bet/

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:34 PM

  606. dhogaza: #601
    “And I insist two years of data is NOT noise. ”

    That’s right. It’s a cause and effect system. Everything happens for a reason, both over tiny time intervals and over long intervals. The only question is “do you know what happened or why it happened”?

    “The two-year trend is UP UP UP proving that warming has accelerated far beyond current projections for the next century.”

    Now do an ENSO correction on your 2 year trend, and what do you have?

    Doing an ENSO correction on the trend since 1998 will still give you no warming. In fact, correct for all of the elements of variation that you know about, then show me the warming. There won’t be any. That’s the element that you simply cannot understand. The reason that the 10 year flat trend is significant is because those natural elements that you call noise are elements that we should be able to filter out without waiting for 30 years to have them filtered out naturally.

    The other point, of course, is that 30 years is an arbitrary number that warmers like because that’s the period that they have available to make their point. But PDO cycles can last longer than 30 years, so the noise is not filtered out by a 30 year period. In fact, most of the warming from the acceleration period that warmers love so much looks like it comes from ocean cycles – like these:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/ts.gif

    Look at the warming domination after 1977. Look at the cooling domination before 1977.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:38 PM

  607. re: 516 Kevin. Thanks for the follow up. No doubt things will painfully slowly move in the right direction but not before the signs of CC become too bloody obvious for event the skeptics to ignore. Then Kevin..the horse has well and truly bolted. Arctica is breaking up at full throttle now. Most counties on earth are experiencing wide spread climate anolomalies. I live in SE Queensland Australia and Australia has had it’s hottest year on record this year. What I am saying is we cannot afford to wait until we get unified consensus amongst all the world’s countries. I was mildly bouyed by the news that in the US CC is officially regarded as a threat to human health and so becomes a non-senate issue, giving the Obama the power he needs to push through tough CC mitigation laws unimpeded. Thus is the kind of action we need. There is no more debate whether CC is real..we have to act immediately or leave to our children and children’s children a hell on earth.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:40 PM

  608. OT for this thread, but since when was that any problem?

    Dr. Ross McKitrick propose to delay changing emissions policy, preferring instead to let things warm up, taking “wait and see” approach to dealing w/C02:

    “Dr. McKitrick proposes calling each side’s bluff. He suggests imposing financial penalties on carbon emissions that would be set according to the temperature in the earth’s atmosphere. The penalties could start off small enough to be politically palatable to skeptical voters.

    If the skeptics are right and the earth isn’t warming, then the penalties for burning carbon would stay small or maybe even disappear. But if the climate modelers and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are correct about the atmosphere heating up, then the penalties would quickly, and automatically, rise.

    “Either way we get a sensible outcome,” Dr. McKitrick argues. “The only people who lose will be those whose positions were disingenuous, such as opponents of greenhouse policy who claim to be skeptical while privately believing greenhouse warming is a crisis, or proponents of greenhouse gas emission cuts who neither understand nor believe the I.P.C.C. projections, but invoke them as a convenient argument on behalf of policies they want on other grounds even if global warming turns out to be untrue.””

    [unable to restrain getting a crack in at closet Marxists, apparently...]

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/15/science/15tier.html?_r=1&hpw

    [Response: See also: http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/the-temperature-tax/ for at least one eminently sensible dissenting opinion. - gavin]

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 14 Dec 2009 @ 10:59 PM

  609. I forgot to point out, Dr. McKitrick’s idea has the obvious problem of potentially allowing an enormous bulge to develop as the ocean has, is and will continue to damp immediate atmospheric temperature responses to more efficient entrapment of heat on the planet. Also, ignoring other proxy signals is equally strange.

    This does not really smack of a sincere or at least usefully developed plan.

    [Response: Yes, that's a good point. And Gavin's response over at Tierney's blog is right on the mark. One of the things that he points out is that for McKitrick's proposal to work, you'de have to tax based on long term averages. There is so much year-to-year variability that anything else would be too volatile, and too difficult for markets to handle.

    Of course, there is also quite a lot of decadal variability in the system, as we've seen from the silly debate about whether global warming has 'paused' in the last 10 years.

    That suggests we really ought to average over even longer timescales.

    How about 100 years?

    Wait a minute --- that means we ought to tax based on the average warming of the last century.

    In short, Ross McKitrick would be advocating the same policy as favored by Jim Hansen.

    I never thought I'd see the day.--eric]

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 14 Dec 2009 @ 11:03 PM

  610. Tilo Reber wrote in 605:

    That’s right. It’s a cause and effect system. Everything happens for a reason, both over tiny time intervals and over long intervals. The only question is “do you know what happened or why it happened”?

    I would tend to agree — so long as you admit of probablistic causation at the quantum level and chaotic causation at our level – where small differences may be amplified by unstable systems. (Think butterfly effect.)

    And it would appear that classical chaos extends down to the quantum level:

    Shohini Ghose, et al (2008 May 09) Chaos, entanglement and decoherence in the quantum kicked top, arXiv:0805.1264v1 [quant-ph]
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0805/0805.1264v1.pdf

    Tilo Reber wrote in 605:

    The other point, of course, is that 30 years is an arbitrary number that warmers like because that’s the period that they have available to make their point. But PDO cycles can last longer than 30 years, so the noise is not filtered out by a 30 year period. In fact, most of the warming from the acceleration period that warmers love so much looks like it comes from ocean cycles – like these:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/ts.gif

    Look at the warming domination after 1977. Look at the cooling domination before 1977.

    Mainstream climatology attributes the lack of warming from 1940 to 1975 to reflective aerosols that reduced the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface. You can see part of the reason why here:

    Hemispheres
    August 17, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/17/hemispheres/

    There existed a statistically significant global cooling trend from 1944 to 1951. The southern hemisphere experienced statistically significant cooling only from 1945-6. In the troposphere sulfates tend to get rained out in 7 to 10 days, and as a result emissions from the northern hemisphere tend to remain in the northern hemisphere. So what about the northern hemisphere? It would appear to have cooled from 1940-1975. But by the early 1970s laws were being put in place to reduce sulfer emissions on account of smog and acid rain. Clean air laws unmasked global warming.

    But what of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation?

    Might I suggest an essay at Skeptical Science:

    The second lesson of PDOs is that while we talk about warm phases and cool phases these are more names than physical descriptions. As seen in Figure 2, a cool phase PDO is associated with cool sea surface temperatures along the Pacific coast of North America, but the center of the North Pacific ocean is still quite warm. Consequently it would appear that there is nothing fundamental about a PDO that would cause significant changes to global temperatures.

    It’s the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (2008)
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Pacific-Decadal-Oscillation.htm

    Moreover, Atmoz will point out that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation itself cannot contribute to the warming trend inasmuch as given its classical definition the warming trend is removed when defining it.

    Please see:

    On the Relationship between the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Global Average Mean Temperature
    Aug 03, 2008
    http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/08/03/on-the-relationship-between-the-pacific-decadal-oscillation-pdo-and-the-global-average-mean-temperature/

    Still, some might claim that PDO forces ENSO, but the following seems to suggest that ENSO leads PDO rather than the reverse if one looks at the left-bottom diagram on slide 10 of …

    Please see:

    ENSO-forced variability of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation
    Matt Newman, NOAA-CIRES CDC
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/outreach/proceedings/cdw28_proceedings/mnewman_2003.ppt

    What then explains the apparent correlation between phases of the PDO and the warming during the twentieth century?

    The following passage would seem rather suggestive:

    A crucial question in the global-warming debate concerns the extent to which recent climate change is caused by anthropogenic forcing or is a manifestation of natural climate variability. It is commonly thought that the climate response to anthropogenic forcing should be distinct from the patterns of natural climate variability. But, on the basis of studies of nonlinear chaotic models with preferred states or ‘regimes’, it has been argued, that the spatial patterns of the response to anthropogenic forcing may in fact project principally onto modes of natural climate variability. Here we use atmospheric circulation data from the Northern Hemisphere to show that recent climate change can be interpreted in terms of changes in the frequency of occurrence of natural atmospheric circulation regimes. We conclude that recent Northern Hemisphere warming may be more directly related to the thermal structure of these circulation regimes than to any anthropogenic forcing pattern itself. Conversely, the fact that observed climate change projects onto natural patterns cannot be used as evidence of no anthropogenic effect on climate. These results may help explain possible differences between trends in surface temperature and satellite-based temperature in the free atmosphere.

    Signature of recent climate change in frequencies of natural atmospheric circulation regimes
    S. Corti, F. Molteni, and T. N. Palmer
    Nature 398, 799-802 (29 April 1999)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v398/n6730/abs/398799a0.html

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Dec 2009 @ 12:33 AM

  611. eric: #599
    “As for the ice core data you point to — those are not global changes, as we have shown before. ”

    This is from Michael Mann in his testimony to Senator Imhof:

    Mann:
    “While in any given year there can be some difference in
    the anomalies in the two hemispheres, the instrumental record indicates that over periods of a few decades or more, the anomalies in the two hemispheres are quite similar because of the thermodynamic and dynamic coupling between them. Thus, the major features of the temperature record, and in particular the unusual 20th century warming, are similar in the two hemispheres and thus global features.”

    http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~wsoon/July29-2003-EPWtestimony-d/MannInhofeQuestions-answers.pdf

    Isn’t it odd how the AGW people revert to the “regional anomaly” argument when it suits their need, but then claim thermodynamic and dynamic coupling at other times when that suits their need. Surely the ice core record from Greenland shows periods that were much warmer than today and that difference was maintained over periods of time that are greater than the few decades that Mann requires for thermodynamic and dynamic coupling. No, Greenland didn’t sit there with a massive temperature difference between itself and the rest of the world for many many decades. The variations shown in Greenland were so large and the magnitude of the warming was so much greater than today that your claim that it was local and not felt across the world is simply unbelievable. Even if it was felt to a lesser extent across the world, there would still likely have been warmer global temperatures than what we encounter today.

    [Response: Why is it that contrarians are always jumping on single sites as being representative of global climate when it is convenient, and then screaming blue murder when they (wrongly) think climate scientists have done the same thing? (ummm... bristlecone pines, Yamal?). Fact is that single sites are not global means, and there is plenty of regional variability - particularly in the North Atlantic. You haven't even bothered to validate against other Greenland ice cores, let alone any other records at lower latitudes. You can play the fool at other websites, but don't bother here. - gavin]

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 15 Dec 2009 @ 12:55 AM

  612. 563 Phil, unlike some poor observers, I see 1997-98 as the beginning of extreme Arctic Ocean ice depletion and more regular surface temperature warming world wide. A smaller less powerful repeat of El-NIno is now ongoing;

    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

    I am already on record stating that if a strong La Nina strikes come end of March 2010, there wont be much arctic ocean ice left. So far so correct, ice extent is quite low, but I have the impression a powerful El-Nino and LaNina combination would spell no more Arctic Ocean ice during a certain soon to be September. I am just not sure if 2010 will be the year when it happens because El_Nino is not as powerful as 1997-1998.

    Recently the archipelago tropopause varied in Height tremendously, very high to very low (cold air for most North Americans) back to very high again today, all during about a week period. Warmer rules mostly over the Arctic at present, bad for ice recovery, extensive spring time sunshine would continue depleting the ice sheet in sync, to many such years means ordinary cargo ships at the ice free pole.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 15 Dec 2009 @ 1:14 AM

  613. Hi deech56, post 543. Here’s the sentence we’re talking about:

    “There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).”

    This could be read in a number of ways by someone who doesn’t know the tree ring data. It could mean trees have become less responsive to temperatures but still generally respond in the predicted way, for example. They could even have become *more* sensitive to temperatures.

    My point is that saying the tree rings “changed in their response to temperature” could mean a lot of things.

    Why not just state the problem with the tree ring data more directly for the numerous people that don’t know about the “divergence problem?” Maybe something like:

    “There is evidence, for example, that the relationship between high latitude tree-ring density variations and temperature has weakened or reversed in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).”

    [Response: I suggest that the next time the IPCC writes a report, you review it and suggest clarifications of any line you don't find clear. Thousands of people did last time to very good effect. However, it's a little late for AR4. - gavin]

    Comment by Skip Smith — 15 Dec 2009 @ 1:22 AM

  614. #598 Richard Steckis

    You have proven, as far as I can tell, that you are a lazy person. You want everyone to put a rope around your neck and lead you to the trough of knowledge, and then once you arrive you consistently whinny and bray that you just don’t like to drink knowledge, you would rather remain thirsty.

    You have in past posts called yourself a scientist. I don’t think the term fits you well. You see holding apiece of paper that says you’re a scientist is simply not good enough for me. I prefer people to actually be holistically considerate and intelligent. ‘Ignorant of the science’ is more appropriate for you. Whether you are willingly ignorant as seems to be the case or simply to simple minded or myopic is something that may yet be determined, but I would not put it out of the question that all are possible, if not probable.

    I wonder if you cheated your way through college too…, maybe so lazy as to not want to do the research, or write your papers, but rather finding others to do it for you by throwing out lazy questions as a challenge, or antagonism to get others to do your research?

    Oh and by the way, I’m pretty sure this post is not ad hominem, in case you wanted to complain. I’m only attacking the body of your posts and the fact that you simply don’t seem to be willing or able to look relevant information up. At least I know I don’t know very much, what is your excuse?

    I remember a great movie line that seems appropriate here. “Don’t go a way mad… just go away.” I may not be the only one that is tired of your boorish ignorant posts. Since I can’t fathom anyone being so dumb, and ignorant, I can only assume you are religions in your ‘beliefs’ about climate, or you are being compensated in some other manner to continue to post trash time and time again.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Dec 2009 @ 1:40 AM

  615. #608 Doug Bostrom and Eric

    Brilliant considerations! Since the industrial age started really 250 years ago, then take the rise from the bottom of the LIA.

    I did a piece on McKitrick and his temperature tax last June where I tried to clearly illustrate the fallacies of his argument

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/ross-mckitrick

    Not much difference in his method than Lomborg, relationally speaking. Both of course fail the logic and reason test… but heck they are in bad company along with Singer, Svensmark, Plimer, Lindzen, Pielke(s) and a litany of others that seem to be, to variant degrees, in love with noise (including their own) whilst ignoring the signal.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Dec 2009 @ 1:45 AM

  616. I have some questions relating to the CRU matter.
    1) Re the lost data from the 80s, what exactly was lost? Is the lost data still reproducible from the original sources?
    2) Re the various global temperature records talked about – like Hadley, NASA, NCDC – are these from independent raw data sources, or do they use a lot of the same stations but with their own independent analysis?
    3) If they are using the same data, then for whatever CRU raw data that was lost, does that mean it’s lost for all the different databases?
    4) Does peer review legitimately include attempts to influence hiring and firing at journals?
    5) Re the “divergence” problem. I notice it is mentioned in the AR4, but I don’t see it in the TAR. Why is that? Was it considered a bigger issue later on?
    6) How many other proxies are used in the IPCC reconstruction charts that are independent of the Briffa “divergence” proxy?

    Thanks for any answers. I’m not a contrarian, just a lay person trying to understand what’s going on.

    Comment by jonesy — 15 Dec 2009 @ 2:03 AM

  617. 602
    dhogaza says:
    14 December 2009 at 9:44 PM

    ” YOU DO NOT NEED 30 YEARS to establish trend. The 30 year time period is a furphy based on nothing more than opinion with no scientific justification. 10 years of data is NOT noise

    And I insist two years of data is NOT noise. The two-year trend is UP UP UP proving that warming has accelerated far beyond current projections for the next century.

    Oh, damn, the three month trend is DOWN DOWN DOWN.

    Now I’m confused.

    If you pull intervals out of your rear as Steckis believes is legit, why, you can show whatever you want, can’t you, Richard?”

    As usual you display your complete ignorance. I have had advice from a statistics professor who says that trend is not established by a set time frame. He also stated looking at the analyses that I have done of the temperature data that he is satisfied that I have shown significant trends over decadal time scales.

    I notice how you and Benson immediately go for the Ad-Hom attack rather than providing what I ask for (a published justification). I would not expect it from you Dhogaza as you are not a scientist and with your limited intellectual landscape struggle to understand.

    And Benson. I know what statistical significance is. One thing I know it is not is the length of a time series as you seem to imply.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Dec 2009 @ 3:38 AM

  618. [Response: Hmm. "Much of the peer review of each others work." And how do you know that? As for the ice core data you point to -- those are not global changes, as we have shown before. Try reading up, just a little, on the facts, before pontificating like this.--eric]]

    Come now Eric, you know better than that. Peer review in areas where there is a limited pool of expertise is going to be plagued with the problem of scientists reviewing each others work in publications. This is particularly the case for ice core work and dendroclimatology. This applies in any area of science and needs to be addressed to fix the peer-review system (yes it does need fixing). How many of your reviewers for instance knew of the RegEM methodology used in your Antarctica paper? Should they even have reviewed the paper? You tell me?

    [Response: 2/3--eric]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Dec 2009 @ 3:50 AM

  619. 604
    Timothy Chase says:
    14 December 2009 at 9:49 PM

    “Here is another that I find particularly interesting — deriving the time required to establish a trend from the data itself — by how insensitive the calculated trend is to the length of time over which the trend is determined.

    Please see:

    Results on Deciding Trends
    Monday, January 5, 2009
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    Thank your for the link. It is interesting but basically useless. Reason being it is a blog thread and not published science. Therefore it has not withstood professional scrutiny. I will refer it however to my statistical adviser.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Dec 2009 @ 3:55 AM

  620. BTW Silk #560, Box 10.2 is in

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter10.pdf

    on page 798.

    Get some sleep ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Dec 2009 @ 4:30 AM

  621. “The other point, of course, is that 30 years is an arbitrary number…”

    Pure anti-science rubbish! 30 years is the “statistical normal” as defined by the WMO for decades (no pun intended). How do you think the evening weathercasts on TV get their “average” daily temperature values?

    There is no excuse not to take the effort to actually learn instead of spewing disinformation with no basis in reality.

    Comment by Dan — 15 Dec 2009 @ 5:40 AM

  622. Regarding McKitrick’s proposal: I wasn’t aware that the scientists were bluffing. I’ll be in GISS’s neighborhood on Thursday – must remember to not get caught up in any po ker games.

    Comment by Deech56 — 15 Dec 2009 @ 5:47 AM

  623. David B Benson:

    “Richard Steckis (598) — Learn enough statistics to understand the term “statistically significant”. ”

    Problem: requires learn.

    And enough.

    Not gonna happen. Or at least hasn’t happened yet, and anyone know how long this dude has been posting here? Several years? A decade? Longer?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 5:50 AM

  624. “You point me to the statistical analyses that justify the 30 year time period. I am not interested in rubbish like “it is the official WMO time period for a climate signal to emerge from noise therefore it is cast in stone”. Justify it!”

    There have been several posts showing you the justification.

    This is getting rather Nelson-ish: “I see no ships!”.

    Try looking, kid.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 5:52 AM

  625. PS, RS, prove 10 years is enough.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 5:53 AM

  626. “Oops. I am now informed that Eli Rabett is a pseudonym as well. ”

    I take it you won’t believe Lord Monckton either, since that’s a pseudonym (he’s not a lord, even though he calls himself that, and is introduced as that, hence a pseudonym).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 5:55 AM

  627. “Then you add the distribution charge which pays to get the electricity from the substation to your house, sending the bill etc, this is often broken out separately. For today the model that IMHO makes sense is renewables backed up by combined cycle gas plants”

    But the local distribution possible with many renewable plants and the diffusion of power generation throughout the country means losses could easily be smaller.

    And that explanation still means that the busbar generation is appropriate to compare the costs of power generation. In what way does your interjection say otherwise?

    And if the other costs add up to wind being more expensive than coal or nuclear when the busbar costs are less, then why the difference in those costs you account for? They don’t depend on where the electron was shoved from. So any change is a result of market control, not free market mobility.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 6:00 AM

  628. Ed Every asks for a false choice:

    “1. To defend the work done and the claims made concerning the CO2 problem to date?
    or
    2. To induce action that will reduce growth of CO2 levels?”

    Failing to do 1 means that #2 will be shouted down because you’re not countering the claims nothing has to be done (failing #2). Failing to do #2 is not a scientist problem, but makes the scientists work to do #1 moot.

    And since they are done best by different groups, why is there a choice needed?

    Rather like asking:

    Should we build more houses (builders required)
    Or have more operations (doctors required)

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 6:05 AM

  629. Looks like I lost the whole post, so I’ll try again.

    RS: YOU DO NOT NEED 30 YEARS to establish trend. The 30 year time period is a furphy based on nothing more than opinion with no scientific justification. 10 years of data is NOT noise. You point me to the statistical analyses that justify the 30 year time period.

    BPL: I’ll explain, then. There are two methods you can use to learn why this figure is used.

    1. Regress annual temperature anomalies on year for the last five years. Then the last ten years. 15. And so on to 50, or better yet, 125. What happens to the t-statistic on the year term as sample size increases? The significance level?

    2. Calculate the sample standard deviation of your five years of temperature anomalies. Then for the ten years, and so on. What happens to the size of s? If you plot s against sample size, where does the inflection point appear in the “cornucopia horn” curve? Why do you think WMO came up with the 30 year figure?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Dec 2009 @ 6:37 AM

  630. Reber: Current warming has been seen many times before when there was no man made CO2. It is your contention that only man made CO2 can cause what we are currently seeing.

    BPL: Nope. But it’s the cause now, because we have a physical theory as to why, observations to back it up, and a lack of significant variation from all the other possible causes.

    Reber: In any case, I regard Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory as a good one. We may not yet completely understand the physical mechanism involved, but the correlation between cosmic rays and clouds is very good.

    BPL: No, it is NOT. Go read Svensmark and Calder’s book–published, please note, in 2007. The “correlation” charts end at 1995. Know why? Because the correlation breaks down completely afterward!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Dec 2009 @ 6:41 AM

  631. Reber: Doing an ENSO correction on the trend since 1998 will still give you no warming.

    BPL: Garbage! Warming is EXACTLY what doing EXACTLY THAT DOES show! And you know it, because I know you’ve read this page before!

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

    All: Note this guy’s devotion to honesty.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Dec 2009 @ 6:58 AM

  632. BPL:
    I already drew the distinction between nuclear accidents and accidents that happen to occur in a nuclear power plant. But even if you inflate the figures with everything you can dredge up, they are still low.

    SecularAnimist:
    You claim nuclear power is not economical, but you ignore the fact that it has been very economically successful in other countries. If the US has failed to make it economical, then that is a problem for the US to solve.

    Ron R:
    I see that your studies suffer from confirmation bias. There are other studies of exactly the same population that showed no significant risk increase, and many other studies in other parts of the world that also failed to find a link. This doesn’t mean I believe there is no risk at all. Just that I believe the risk is sufficiently small that it makes nuclear power no worse than any other energy source (and, of course, infinitely better than coal).

    We accept a far higher risk of death every time we step into a car or cross the road. Why should we apply a different standard to nuclear power?

    Everyone:
    Despite everything I have said, I believe government subsidies are best directed to renewables. If governments can at least avoid stifling nuclear power, then the nuclear industry should be able to finance itself. But while NIMBYs block every nuclear reactor and wind farm proposal, we remain, as ever, absolutely nowhere.

    Comment by Didactylos — 15 Dec 2009 @ 7:10 AM

  633. Actually Doug Bostrom #608, 609, the main flaw with this proposal is that it presupposes something that, if it existed, would instantly make the problem a non-problem.

    What I refer to is the non-existence of measurements made today that are convincing-for-dummies, and universally accepted as, valid proxies for future disastrous climate change. If such measurements indeed existed, we would have long been talking solutions on the merits instead of still fighting over the science.

    It’s a bit similar to the proposal earlier to introduce legislation to criminalize denialist propaganda. If you could actually pass such legislation, you wouldn’t need it any more ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Dec 2009 @ 7:33 AM

  634. In addition to my claims of a cooling trend for RSS LT data I have used a trend analysis test (the Mann-Kendall test for monotonic trend in environmental time series data). The results are that there is a significant trend in the data from 2001 to current (P<=0.005, tau = -0.222).

    Therefore, it seems that decadal level time series of temperature data can show significant trend.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Dec 2009 @ 7:35 AM

  635. Steckis, you can get a significant trend by picking any two points. I notice a very significant trend upward over the last 3 hours. The question is whether that trend represents climate or short-term variability.
    Short-term variability is interesting. It just isn’t climate. It doesn’t persist over multi-decadal periods. Changes in insolation due to changes in the Sun or in Earth’s orbit, CO2 (as a long-lived greenhouse gas) can persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

    As to what you are doing… well, what can I say but that weather can be fascinating, can’t it?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Dec 2009 @ 8:59 AM

  636. The Mann-Kendall trend test does not allow compensation for autocorrelation. Yet we know, without doubt, that global temperature data exhibit very strong autocorrelation. Therefore Richard Steckis’s results have no validity.

    Those interested in the time required to establish the recent trend in temperature data may be interested in this.

    Comment by tamino — 15 Dec 2009 @ 9:30 AM

  637. Steckis. The important question is not about significance, but stability. When we talk about ‘trend’, we imply something more stable than shorter term fluctuations, and it becomes rather meaningless to talk about frequent ‘trend shifts’ in climate. Which we will have to do if we concentrate on significance rather than stability. We have natural cycles of 10-20 years, and there may even be longer cycles (50-70 years) with amplitudes of the same order of magnitude as long time trends. Averaging out is the only really safe way to reduce the impact of such signals, that implies using rather long periods for assessing trends.

    Comment by SNRatio — 15 Dec 2009 @ 9:58 AM

  638. 628
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    15 December 2009 at 6:37 AM

    “Why do you think WMO came up with the 30 year figure?”

    I don’t know. They have never published their reasoning.

    Your word and logic carry no more weight because there is no published data as far as I know that verifies that the methodologies you propose are statistically valid for time series data. I used the Mann-Kendall test and it is significant for trend in the RSS LT data from 2001 to current.

    I would suggest that the Mann-Kendall test is more robust than your methodology and is a well established method to verify trend in environmental time series data.

    Ray. Don’t patronise me. I am a little more statistically savvy than that. Your obtuse and ridiculous examples are more for your own ego massage than they are for any constructive criticism of me.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Dec 2009 @ 9:58 AM

  639. Tamino’s latest post, “How Long?”, is a great explanation of how long is long enough to decide on a trend.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:01 AM

  640. Some much worse journalism.
    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/146138/Climate-change-is-natural-100-reasons-why-

    The Daily Express is not one of the British newspapers I’d recommend, and careful checking and precise accuracy in what they publish is not what I’d look for in them, but it is interesting that if you head toward the end of the “100 reasons” they give, 93 and 94 are not reasons. They are assertions that particular plans for reducing emissions have not or will not work.

    “These will fail to fix the situation, therefore,” they would appear to be saying, “the situation is natural”.

    At the other end, number 3 is weird. It suggests that the climate warmed steadily and severely over the last 800 years, after that time driving CO2 up, presumably.

    I suppose people passing it on didn’t read as far as 93 or understand as far as 3.

    Comment by Adrian Midgley — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  641. As usual you display your complete ignorance. I have had advice from a statistics professor who says that trend is not established by a set time frame. He also stated looking at the analyses that I have done of the temperature data that he is satisfied that I have shown significant trends over decadal time scales.

    Where is it? Have him show his work. It certainly conflicts with the recent post by Tamino in which he not only shows trend, but the 2-sigma bounds along with the data.

    Forgive my disbelieving you, but I’ll put my money on either 1) you’re not telling the truth or 2) you’re having given the stats prof bad data.

    Anyway, prove us wrong. Put up your stats guy against ours (tamino) and let’s watch them duke it out.

    I won’t hold my breath, though. My money’s on your continuing to argue by assertion, as you’ve never done anything but that in the past.

    I notice how you and Benson immediately go for the Ad-Hom attack rather than providing what I ask for (a published justification). I would not expect it from you Dhogaza as you are not a scientist and with your limited intellectual landscape struggle to understand.

    I have exactly the same degree you have, Steckis – a BS – and have probably done just about as much field work, though it’s bird work, not fish. Your “I’m a scientist” cred is pretty low, judging from people’s reactions to your posts here and elsewhere.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:09 AM

  642. 625
    Completely Fed Up says:
    15 December 2009 at 5:55 AM

    “Oops. I am now informed that Eli Rabett is a pseudonym as well. ”

    “I take it you won’t believe Lord Monckton either, since that’s a pseudonym (he’s not a lord, even though he calls himself that, and is introduced as that, hence a pseudonym).”

    He is a Lord of the Realm. There is no such title as Lord in the British peerage system with the exception of “Scottish Lord”. Monckton is a Viscount which is a mid-ranking hereditary peer within the British system.

    http://www.hereditarytitles.com/Page10.html

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:10 AM

  643. Thank your for the link. It is interesting but basically useless. Reason being it is a blog thread and not published science. Therefore it has not withstood professional scrutiny. I will refer it however to my statistical adviser.

    Where has your stats advisor published his analysis? If it’s not published science and has not withstood professional scrutiny, it is basically useless.

    Right?

    And yet you reject the published work from last year that shows that given the noisiness of climate and the actual trend, years of flat or even moderately declining temps are not only unsurprising but expected.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:13 AM

  644. Steckis:

    I would suggest that the Mann-Kendall test is more robust than your methodology and is a well established method to verify trend in environmental time series data.

    Ray. Don’t patronise me. I am a little more statistically savvy than that.

    Tamino:

    The Mann-Kendall trend test does not allow compensation for autocorrelation. Yet we know, without doubt, that global temperature data exhibit very strong autocorrelation. Therefore Richard Steckis’s results have no validity.

    A quick look with the google yields this clear and easy-to-understand sentence:

    The null hypothesis in the Mann-Kendall test is that the data are independent and randomly ordered.

    Oops. Looks like Tamino’s on to something. Not surprising since time-series analysis is his profession.

    Steckis … fail. Once again.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:18 AM

  645. Completely Fed Up (544), I may have missed your point, but: the busbar costs are those incurred in pure generation to the edge of the generation plant, and are only a part of the true retail prices. They do not include the cost of the service distributor itself, the long- and short-haul transmission, any profit or cost of investment, etc.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:33 AM

  646. RS: “I don’t know. They have never published their reasoning.”

    They have.

    You can do it yourself it you like.

    Run a lowess filter on the raw data. Change the data points to “values different from the lowess filter value at that time” and then compute the RMS error.

    This gives you 1 standard deviation value of noise. This will be in degrees C. To definitively discriminate noise you need 3x that. Still in C.

    Compare that to the model projection of 0.17C per decade and you see how long it takes to get to a figure that exceeds the 3x RMS error. That is the 96% proof it’s warmer. 50% chance of signal being seen rather than noise when drawing a conclusion would be about 80 of that RMS error.

    If, for example, you find that the RMS noise from annual data is 0.34C, 16 years means a conclusion is only 50-50 chance to be right. A 30-year average would give you about 3-to-2 odds on.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:34 AM

  647. Ron R. (547), with considerable reluctance I’ll offer one short observation on the omnipresent discourse of nuclear. People walking the streets of Manhatten usually receive more radiation than the workers inside a nuclear power plant, let alone neighbors down the road.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:39 AM

  648. 635
    tamino says:
    15 December 2009 at 9:30 AM

    “The Mann-Kendall trend test does not allow compensation for autocorrelation. Yet we know, without doubt, that global temperature data exhibit very strong autocorrelation. Therefore Richard Steckis’s results have no validity.”

    There are versions that do allow for autocorrelation. You may be interested in this: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2180031

    I used a seasonal adjustment variation of the Mann-Kendall test. This may not account for all autocorrelation. I will try the method in the paper I have linked to. However, I do not anticipate significant change as i have accounted for autocorrelation in linear regression models (using GLS in R) and they did not come out very different from just a straight GLM model.

    I stand by my test being valid.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  649. RS: “Ray. Don’t patronise me. I am a little more statistically savvy than that.”

    Not by the evidence presented here.

    For a start, you haven’t produced for your “trend” the error bars on that trend.

    Something I knew to do waay back when I was 14.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  650. PS that should have been 3-1 odds on:

    “A 30-year average would give you about 3-to-1 odds on.”

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  651. “Everyone:
    Despite everything I have said, I believe government subsidies are best directed to renewables.”

    Better yet: Reduction in Need.

    You don’t even have to clear land for a turbine with that one!

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  652. Leonard Evens (551), your general point is well-taken. But I think there is a level of scientific discourse and questioning that is not just allowed but encouraged by at least most. Without this the blog becomes an AGW pep rally and/or a shootin’ match; even though the majority of the posts may fall into this category (it’s natural), I don’t think this is the moderator’s primary purpose.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:54 AM

  653. Jonesy — there’s a whole topic about questions like yours, see ‘The CRU Hack’
    This isn’t it. You’ll find your questions answered there; I’d sum them up as:
    1) Copies; yes.
    2) Yes
    3) Copies.
    4) Resigning is included, e.g. Von Storch et al.
    5) Look at the dates on the journal articles.
    6) Enough.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:54 AM

  654. #651 & “‘Despite everything I have said, I believe government subsidies are best directed to renewables.’ Better yet: Reduction in Need.”

    Here’s the simple formula: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, GO ON ALT ENERGY, PRECYCLE, EAT LOW ON FOOD-CHAIN (LOCAL, ORGANIC), INFORM YOUR NEIGHBORS, VOTE EARTH!, WRITE TO YOUR REPS, CAMPAIGN, PROTEST, ETC.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 15 Dec 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  655. After being corrected, Richard Steckis (#648) went looking for an autocorrelation-corrected version of the Mann-Kendall test. Of course, he didn’t actually use it (he says he “will try the method”). My statement that his analysis has no validity is correct — but Steckis insists he stands by it.

    I suspect that Steckis is not really competent to do this analysis. I also suspect that he’ll keep trying until he gets the result he wants.

    Comment by tamino — 15 Dec 2009 @ 11:16 AM

  656. Hank Roberts (559), my quarrel was with the hyperbole associated with Silk’s comment which was (combining posts) MOUNTAINS of OBSERVED EVIDENCE to [unequivocally] show when CO2 doubles to 550ppm temperature will increase nominally by 3 degrees. His specifics and emphasis, not mine. Your comment is telling when your source says, “…But such observations can provide only limited insight into the response of climate to massive, rapid input of CO2…” It might be picky, but IMO important. AGW does itself no good when excessive exuberant exaggeration is espoused. Us skeptics are supposed to trust you guys with that kind of stuff? Maybe Silk simply misspoke (though he did it a number of times) — and to be fair Silk has some very good posts — but, like foot-in-mouth Gore, it does you all no good.

    Back to substance, your reference looks interesting and I will check it out. BTW, I found a full PDF copy (figures and all) at http://www.es.ucsc.edu/~jzachos/pubs/Zachos_Dickens_Zeebe_08.pdf

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Dec 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  657. Didactylos wrote: “I believe government subsidies are best directed to renewables. If governments can at least avoid stifling nuclear power, then the nuclear industry should be able to finance itself.”

    Well then, for all practical purposes you agree with me that no new nuclear power plants should be built in the USA, because the nuclear industry has said very loudly and clearly that they will not build even one new nuclear power plant unless the taxpayers and the rate payers absorb all the costs and all the risks up front — which is to say, without hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies from the Federal government.

    And you don’t have to take my word for that — look at what the nuclear industry itself has been saying and what they have been asking for in various energy-related legislation in recent years (e.g. in the Senate’s current draft climate/energy bill), since they dreamed up the “nuclear renaissance” propaganda campaign. Look at the financing schemes that are being proposed by utilities, which will allow them to begin charging ratepayers for the costs of new nukes even before the plants have been approved, let alone construction has started.

    Again, it isn’t irrationally fearful greenies who find nuclear power to be uneconomical — it is the investors, who won’t touch it, unless their costs and risks are covered and their profits assured by the taxpayers.

    And the idea that the US government has “stifled” nuclear power is utterly absurd. The nuclear power industry in the USA only exists because of government funding and government support, to the tune of many tens of billions of dollars; and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has always been more concerned with promoting the industry than with regulating its safety.

    What has “stifled” the nuclear industry is that it has not been able to compete economically with other sources of electricity, chiefly coal and natural gas.

    And now it cannot compete economically with efficiency and renewables.

    And as for other countries making nuclear an economic success where the USA failed to do so, that is not the case. Nuclear power has never been an economic success anywhere in the world. It has always and everywhere depended on government funding and government support for its very existence.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Dec 2009 @ 11:34 AM

  658. After I provided Richard Steckis with several links on the significance of global average temperature trends (in 604 and 605), in 619 he replied:

    Thank your for the link. It is interesting but basically useless. Reason being it is a blog thread and not published science. Therefore it has not withstood professional scrutiny. I will refer it however to my statistical adviser.

    (Emphasis added)

    I know better than to try and change the mind of a libertarian ideologue on issues related to climatology. However, I refered to several blog posts by people who are more than qualified to comment on issues related to climatology or statistical significance.

    I refered to:

    Results on Deciding Trends
    Monday, January 5, 2009
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    … written by Robert Grumbine (PhD), a professional climatologist who has published peer-reviewed papers in climatology, one of which has been cited by 144 other peer-reviewed papers, who would certainly seem capable of commenting on issues related to climatology.
    *
    Global Temperature from GISS, NCDC, HadCRU
    January 24, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/giss-ncdc-hadcru/

    You Bet!
    January 31, 2008
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/you-bet/

    … both of which were written by Tamino (PhD) , a professional statician who has published peer-reviewed papers with over 100 peer-reviewed citations. He would certainly seem capable of commenting on the issue of statistical significance.
    *
    The significance of 5 year trends
    Posted on: May 17, 2007 4:02 PM, by William M. Connolley
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php

    … written by William Connolley (PhD) who has published peer-reviewed papers in climatology, one of which received 149 peer-reviewed citations. He would certainly seem capable of commenting on issues related to climatology

    Now you have written above in 633:

    In addition to my claims of a cooling trend for RSS LT data I have used a trend analysis test (the Mann-Kendall test for monotonic trend in environmental time series data).

    … but Tamino points out in 635 that the measure you point to does not take into account red noise. So in short mathematically your blog comment would appear to be worthless.

    You have written above:

    Therefore, it seems that decadal level time series of temperature data can show significant trend. (ibid.)

    … but if you are the least bit informed you will realize that there was a La Nina in the time series, one phase in a climate oscillation, and as your analysis does not in any way take into account the climate oscillation your analysis is worthless.

    Statistically significant? Perhaps — but if so what you are picking up is a climate oscillation that people already knew was there, nothing more. Temperature trend? Climate oscillations are quasi-periodic. And they neither create heat or destroy it, they simply move it about. From the thin slices that we measure in the lower troposphere or at the ocean’s surface to the ocean depths or other parts of the troposphere and back again.

    But you haven’t taken any of this into account.

    On the otherhand, there exists a large body of evidence for a prolonged temperature trend in the lower troposphere, surface stations, ocean surface, and I believe as far down as 150 meters of ocean.

    We know that once you remove the solar cycle there has been no trend in solar radiance since 1960. We do however know that greenhouse gases have been accumulating in the atmosphere over the same period. We understand the mechanism by which the absorb and emit radiation right down to the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, the most accurately tested physical theory known to humanity. In terms of physical mechanisms we have every reason to believe that the earth must be experiencing a warming trend. The numbers show that it is.
    *
    And what of your qualifications?

    I see no paper of yours that has ever appeared in a peer-reviewed journal related to either climatology or statistics.

    As far as I can tell, you on the other hand haven’t authored a single paper that has received any form of peer review. You work in a fishery. I suspect that at best you have a bachelors degree.

    The analyses I refered people to are well thought out. Yours? Not much to say, really.

    As I have said, I don’t expect to change your mind. But there are other readers. I write for them, and barring a political axe I suspect that based upon what I have linked to and what both you and I have written they will arrive at the appropriate conclusion.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Dec 2009 @ 11:41 AM

  659. Rod B: “They do not include the cost of the service distributor itself, the long- and short-haul transmission, any profit or cost of investment, etc.”

    And how are these significantly different for non-coal producers?

    Wrong shape of electrons???

    ROI for wind turbines is much shorter than coal and MUCH shorter than nukes. Build-up time shorter and you can generate power when you have 1% completion with wind or solar compared with nearly 100% completion needed for coal and 100% for nuclear.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 11:46 AM

  660. PS Rod B, the only real bit left over is the “profit” bit.

    But that is the cost over the marginal rate.

    What are the margins on selling PCs?

    Razor thin.

    Where a $1000 PC will see $s profit (not $100s).

    Because a real free market exists within the box-shifter market.

    Operating systems, not so much…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 15 Dec 2009 @ 11:48 AM

  661. Timothy: #610
    “Mainstream climatology attributes the lack of warming from 1940 to 1975 to reflective aerosols that reduced the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface. You can see part of the reason why here:”

    Looking at Tamino’s charts, it looks like there is a 20 year divergence before 1940 between the NH and the SH. Considering the industrialization that was going on at that time, it seems like the divergence should have been reversed.

    The twelve year drop where the SH follows the NH is not adequately explained.

    The sudden acceleration that happens around 1977 would indicate that there was a precipitous drop in the amount of aerosols at that time. Do you know of an aerosol chart over the century that would also show such an extreme drop? If you do, I’d appreciate a link.

    “Moreover, Atmoz will point out that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation itself cannot contribute to the warming trend inasmuch as given its classical definition the warming trend is removed when defining it.”

    I am not suggesting that PDO modifies the supposed warming trend in the long term. I’m suggesting that it modulates the warming trend. And I’m suggesting that the modulation of the warming trend is long enough so that it is not filtered out by using a 30 year period to establish a trend. In other words, if you take the post 1977 period of temperature acceleration and pretend that this corresponds to the forcing by CO2, then you haven’t filtered out ENSO and PDO in making that judgement. My point is that 30 years is still an arbitray number and it does not filter out the natural elements of variation. Also, any look at a long term historical temperature chart will show that there are warming trends that last as long or longer than the supposed current CO2 trend. Those would obviously also not be filtered out by using 30 years. In fact, I don’t see how we can say that those longer periods of natural variation that operated in the past are not operating now.

    From Timothy from the skeptical scientist:
    “As seen in Figure 2, a cool phase PDO is associated with cool sea surface temperatures along the Pacific coast of North America, but the center of the North Pacific ocean is still quite warm.”

    This makes no sense at all. During El Nino there are still other areas of the Pacific that are warm. And during La Nina, there are still other areas of the Pacific that are cool. Yet you wouldn’t deny their effect on global temperature. So the fact that PDO doesn’t conver the entire northern Pacific seems to be irrelevant.

    “Still, some might claim that PDO forces ENSO, but the following seems to suggest that ENSO leads PDO rather than the reverse if one looks at the left-bottom diagram on slide 10 of …”

    It doesn’t really matter to me who forces whom. What matters is the length of the cycle and that it’s effect is not removed by using 30 years of data.

    Comment by Tilo Reber — 15 Dec 2009 @ 12:00 PM

  662. Rod, I thought you’d read Zachos and the PETM thread before.
    Seriously, look hard at it and the papers it cites (and the papers citing it as they appear). And look at http://www.skepticalscience.com/Working-out-climate-sensitivity.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 PM

  663. Comments are now closed.

    Comment by eric — 15 Dec 2009 @ 12:19 PM

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