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The Guardian’s Editorial

Filed under: — eric @ 8 December 2009

The following editorial was published today by 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages including Chinese, Arabic and Russian. The text was drafted by a Guardian team during more than a month of consultations with editors from more than 20 of the papers involved. Like The Guardian most of the newspapers have taken the unusual step of featuring the editorial on their front page. The Guardian, the editorial is free to reproduce under Creative Commons.

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


Copenhagen climate change conference: Fourteen days to seal history’s judgment on this generation

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

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. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

The science is complex but the facts are clear. 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 — 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. The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based.

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.

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. Next June’s UN climate meeting in Bonn should be their deadline. As one negotiator put it: “We can go into extra time but we can’t afford a replay.”

At the deal’s heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world covering how the burden of fighting climate change will be divided — and how we will share a newly precious resource: the trillion or so tonnes of carbon that we can emit before the mercury rises to dangerous levels.

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. It must now take a lead, and every developed country must commit to deep cuts which will reduce their emissions within a decade to very substantially less than their 1990 level.

Developing countries can point out they did not cause the bulk of the problem, and also that the poorest regions of the world will be hardest hit. But they will increasingly contribute to warming, and must thus pledge meaningful and quantifiable action of their own. 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.

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. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down – with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of “exported emissions” so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them. 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 transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.

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.

But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels.

Kicking our carbon habit within a few short decades will require a feat of engineering and innovation to match anything in our history. But whereas putting a man on the moon or splitting the atom were born of conflict and competition, the coming carbon race must be driven by a collaborative effort to achieve collective salvation.

Overcoming climate change will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over short-sightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”.

It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too.

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 implore them to make the right choice.

663 Responses to “The Guardian’s Editorial”

  1. 601
    David B. Benson says:

    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.

  2. 602
    dhogaza says:

    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?

  3. 603
    Martin Vermeer says:

    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.

  4. 604
    Timothy Chase says:

    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

  5. 605
    Timothy Chase says:

    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/

  6. 606
    Tilo Reber says:

    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.

  7. 607
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    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.

  8. 608
    Doug Bostrom says:

    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]

  9. 609
    Doug Bostrom says:

    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]

  10. 610
    Timothy Chase says:

    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

  11. 611
    Tilo Reber says:

    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]

  12. 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.

  13. 613
    Skip Smith says:

    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]

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 616
    jonesy says:

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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]

  19. 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.

  20. 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 ;-)

  21. 621
    Dan says:

    “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.

  22. 622
    Deech56 says:

    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.

  23. 623
    Completely Fed Up says:

    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?

  24. 624
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “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.

  25. 625
    Completely Fed Up says:

    PS, RS, prove 10 years is enough.

  26. 626
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “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).

  27. 627
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “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.

  28. 628
    Completely Fed Up says:

    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)

  29. 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?

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 632
    Didactylos says:

    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.

  33. 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 ;-)

  34. 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.

  35. 635
    Ray Ladbury says:

    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?

  36. 636
    tamino says:

    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.

  37. 637
    SNRatio says:

    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.

  38. 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.

  39. 639
    Tom Dayton says:

    Tamino’s latest post, “How Long?”, is a great explanation of how long is long enough to decide on a trend.

  40. 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.

  41. 641
    dhogaza says:

    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.

  42. 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

  43. 643
    dhogaza says:

    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.

  44. 644
    dhogaza says:

    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.

  45. 645
    Rod B says:

    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.

  46. 646
    Completely Fed Up says:

    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.

  47. 647
    Rod B says:

    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.

  48. 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.

  49. 649
    Completely Fed Up says:

    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.

  50. 650
    Completely Fed Up says:

    PS that should have been 3-1 odds on:

    “A 30-year average would give you about 3-to-1 odds on.”