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The IPCC is not infallible (shock!)

Filed under: — group @ 19 January 2010 - (Italian)

Like all human endeavours, the IPCC is not perfect. Despite the enormous efforts devoted to producing its reports with the multiple levels of peer review, some errors will sneak through. Most of these will be minor and inconsequential, but sometimes they might be more substantive. As many people are aware (and as John Nieslen-Gammon outlined in a post last month and Rick Piltz goes over today), there is a statement in the second volume of the IPCC (WG2), concerning the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are receding that is not correct and not properly referenced.

The statement, in a chapter on climate impacts in Asia, was that the likelihood of the Himalayan glaciers “disappearing by the year 2035” was “very high” if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate (WG 2, Ch. 10, p493), and was referenced to a World Wildlife Fund 2005 report. Examining the drafts and comments (available here), indicates that the statement was barely commented in the reviews, and that the WWF (2005) reference seems to have been a last minute addition (it does not appear in the First- or Second- Order Drafts). This claim did not make it into the summary for policy makers, nor the overall synthesis report, and so cannot be described as a ‘central claim’ of the IPCC. However, the statement has had some press attention since the report particularly in the Indian press, at least according to Google News, even though it was not familiar to us before last month.

It is therefore obvious that this error should be corrected (via some kind of corrigendum to the WG2 report perhaps), but it is important to realise that this doesn’t mean that Himalayan glaciers are doing just fine. They aren’t, and there may be serious consequences for water resources as the retreat continues. See also this review paper (Ren et al, 2006) on a subset of these glaciers.

East Rongbuk glacier 1921 and 2008East Rongbuk glacier just below Mt. Everest has lost 3-400 ft of ice in this area since 1921.

More generally, peer-review works to make the IPCC reports credible because many different eyes with different perspectives and knowledge look over the same text. This tends to make the resulting product reflect more than just the opinion of a single author. In this case, it appears that not enough people with relevant experience saw this text, or if they saw it, did not comment publicly. This might be related to the fact that this text was in the Working Group 2 report on impacts, which does not get the same amount of attention from the physical science community than does the higher profile WG 1 report (which is what people associated with RC generally look at). In WG1, the statements about continued glacier retreat are much more general and the rules on citation of non-peer reviewed literature was much more closely adhered to. However, in general, the science of climate impacts is less clear than the physical basis for climate change, and the literature is thinner, so there is necessarily more ambiguity in WG 2 statements.

In future reports (and the organisation for AR5 in 2013 is now underway), extra efforts will be needed to make sure that the links between WG1 and the other two reports are stronger, and that the physical science community should be encouraged to be more active in the other groups.

In summary, the measure of an organisation is not determined by the mere existence of errors, but in how it deals with them when they crop up. The current discussion about Himalayan glaciers is therefore a good opportunity for the IPCC to further improve their procedures and think more about what the IPCC should be doing in the times between the main reports.

Update: This backgrounder presented by Kargel et al AGU this December is the best summary of the current state of the Himalayas and the various sources of misinformation that are floating around. It covers this issue, the Raina report and the recent Lau et al paper.

1,804 Responses to “The IPCC is not infallible (shock!)”

  1. 1351

    Leighton: Aren’t you overlooking the official finding, now, that Dr. Jones engaged in unlawful conduct, albeit uncovered too late to prosecute?

    BPL: The FOI judge found that Jones had NOT done anything illegal.

  2. 1352
    Curmudgeon Cynic says:

    I have just watched a 4 part interview on YouTube of Dr Pachauri being interviewed recently following the Himalayan Glacier story.

    With respect to “sceptics” he referred to them using terms like “a bunch of”, “the likes of”. He then went on to pretty much band all sceptics together as being in the pay of oil companies (and used the tobacco company/cancer argument as to why they argue the position that they do).

    As I said previously, people like Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre may well be people that have issues with many IPCC findings and Dr Pachauri may be extremely frustrated with respect to their views and their increased “visibility” – but unsubstantiated acusations with respect to their motives is not the way he should react.

    Whether he likes it or not, he has to act in a very considered, non-confrontational manner at all times. He has to handle the politics like a politician and he seems incapable of doing so.

    My summary – he is now a liability. Rightly or wrongly he is now firmly on the backfoot, he is lashing out at anyone who critises him or the IPCC and he looks, and acts, embattled.

    He is supposed to be the Chair of an Independent Scientific Panel and has to respond calmly to critisism of himself or the IPCC and really should not making general acaccusations of “vested interest” at anyone that has an alternate view.

    Doubtless this will send Ray Ladbury into orbit once more – all I ask Ray is that you watch the Interview and ask ourself if he is the person that you want as your teamleader to win the debate.

    My prediction – he will not last another month. If he goes now saying that his position has become untennable then that will be infinitely better than waiting a month until he is inevitably forced to resign.

  3. 1353
    SecularAnimist says:

    Tom S wrote: “I’m quite certain there will be significant disagreement on a lot of this.”

    Not so much “disagreement” as “disgust”: You just typed up a list of the scripted denialist talking points of the day.

    What you don’t realize is that you are, in a word, a dupe, and that anyone who understands the science and who has observed the ongoing fossil fuel industry-funded anti-science disinformation campaign over the years, recognizes instantly that you are simply reciting the scripted talking points that have been spoon-fed to you by the phony “conservative” media.

    The “distrust” that you write of has been systematically manufactured by frauds, cranks, and outright liars, many of them directly funded with well-documented millions of dollars from ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel corporations.

    Your “advice” can be boiled down to one directive to the world’s climate scientists:

    “Stop talking about the grave dangers of climate change, or you will be subjected to more dishonest smears, slander, defamation and intimidation than you already have been.”

    It’s not really advice at all. It’s a threat.

  4. 1354
    SecularAnimist says:

    Don Shor quoted Dr. Pachauri thusly: “They are the same people who deny the link between smoking and cancer … They are people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder …” and then wrote “Dr. Pachauri should resign, and the sooner the better.”

    Why should he resign? What he says in that quote is absolutely and specifically true.

    Some of the most prominent deniers of the reality of anthropogenic global warming are in fact paid by the fossil fuel corporations to lie, and before that, the very same individuals were paid by the tobacco, pesticide and other corporations to lie to the public about the harm that their products cause.

    So, you are basically saying that Pachauri should resign because he told the truth.

    Who would you like to see heading up the IPCC? Fred Singer? Lord Monckton, perhaps?

  5. 1355
    SecularAnimist says:

    Completely Fed Up wrote: “Not even vegans eat hemp rope or algae.”

    I do in fact eat hemp protein (made from the high-protein seeds, not from the tough fibers that are used to make rope and textiles), imported into the USA from Canada where it is legal to cultivate so-called “industrial hemp”.

    Putting aside some of the over-the-top pot-head propaganda about hemp saving the world, it is a really remarkable plant, highly productive of fiber, food and oil, requiring less resources and having less negative environmental impact than cotton, corn or pulp pines. It is really unfortunate that it is illegal to cultivate it in the USA.

  6. 1356
    Georgi Marinov says:

    Didactylos says:
    “Georgi: you aren’t looking deep enough.

    Europe already has a large nuclear resource.

    And nowhere in the book does it suggest that solar and wind farms won’t be large. In fact, MacKay repeatedly makes the point that country-sized renewable energy will require country-sized installations.”

    Yes, exactly. Country-sized installations. Do you think the resources and the time are available to build those in time to offset the decline of oil and gas and do you think that we can keep rebuilding them every 20 or 30 years? What is the net energy of the whole enterprise and how does it compare to fossils?

    “You keep trying to come up with reasons why we can’t do this. But reality calls you a liar, because as others have frequently observed, the renewables sector is expanding rapidly.

    Looking at the limits is important, because it tells us things like “we need to develop offshore wind in the UK”, and “nuclear is a good fit for urban coastal locations where there is lots of water but limited space for wind”, and many, many other things.”

    It is not me who is not looking deep enough. The limits don’t tell you “we should be looking for off-shore wind”, they tell you the carrying capacity of the planet is not sufficient to support more than a few hundred million people, possibly much less if we are to continue developing technologically. Nuclear is not an option in its present form because we are already basically running out of uranium (1/3 of the fuel burnt today comes from nuclear missiles and not from mining). Breeders do provide a way around this but once again it will take many decades to build them on the scale required.

    “The other thing that many people miss when reading MacKay’s book is that his energy consumption figures include heating, transport – many things not currently considered in the residential electricity equation. Yes, we will get there – but the path isn’t short. It isn’t just a matter of replacing a few coal power stations with equivalent renewables.

    Okay, I admit that for people who are afraid of nuclear power, or that have an ostrich attitude to how we will live without petrol to run cars or gas to heat houses – these people may not like MacKay’s book. Well, they don’t. Those people, and people like you, Georgi, with your “it can’t be done” attitude. I will leave you with a quotation from the book:”

    My “it can’t be done attitude” is based on facts and the physical reality we live in. There is no point being an optimist if there is no reason to be one, the awakening will be much harsher this way.

    The reality is that we have to choose between two options:

    A) Shrink the whole enterprise we call human civilization in a controlled and organized manner
    B) Have it shrunk by the forces of nature in an uncontrolled and very violent way

    Techno-optimism coming from people who haven’t bothered to check what the math says about the availability of energy, minerals, water, soils and everything else we are rapidly depleting, as well-meaning as those people are, can only lead us towards path B.

  7. 1357
    Georgi Marinov says:

    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    CO2 will rise, human agriculture will collapse completely some time in the next 40 years, and most of humanity will die of starvation, disease, rioting, and war in the aftermath. And we will enter a new dark ages that will probably last for around a thousand years. In fact, with all the easily available metals and fossil fuels already used up, we may never be able to get up again at all, though that’s very debatable.

    Precisely (although I don’t think it is really that debatable). It is now or never for a civilization on this planet, and we are blowing up our chance, and this should be emphasized a lot more when trying to communicate these issues. Not easy when dealing with people with attention spans of 5 minutes and very steep discount rates…

  8. 1358
    Georgi Marinov says:

    Alfio Puglisi says:
    The problem is not a technological one.

    It’s not, it’s a matter of understanding our place in the world and acting accordingly

    The human race has almost all the tools it needs to continue leading much the sort of life it has been enjoying without causing a net increase in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. […]

    Actually it doesn’t. It has the tools to stop emitting but the tools for continuing to live the same way haven’t been developed, because the climate (or the capacity of the planet to absorb one particular kind of waste of the many we are producing) is only one of the numerous limits we are facing

  9. 1359
    Georgi Marinov says:

    Completely Fed Up says:

    Note also that the quality of cane used for biofuel is much lower, so it’s more the vegetable equivalent of “mechanically recoverable meat” when it’s used for biofuels.

    This also ignores weeds like hemp which can actually improve productivity of land (which should be left fallow to recover) and have many uses besides diesel.

    Not to mention algae.

    There is no biofuel that is a winning proposition. Whatever kind of organism you pick, the efficiency of conversion of sun light to chemical energy will be much lower than it would be if you covered the same area with solar panels. But plants don’t require just sunlight and water, they require many other elements from the soil, and if you are taking the organic matter out to make fuels out of it and not replacing the minerals in the soil, you will end up with degraded soil in the long and maybe not even so long term (which is what has happened/will happen in the end almost everywhere in the history of agriculture). You can replace those elements with fertilizers, but this will only decrease your EROEI even further and eventually you run out of stuff to make fertilizers from (such as phosphates which are about to peak soon). Algae don’t really get your around the fertilizer problem, because they may not require soil, but they still require all those minerals, which you still have to supply them with somehow.

  10. 1360
    SecularAnimist says:

    Don Shor wrote: “I don’t think he should have said anything at all about asbestos, cancer, or smoking, or other irrelevancies.”

    Those are not “irrelevancies”. They are directly and acutely relevant to the fossil fuel industry-funded propaganda campaign of disinformation, deceit, denial, delay and obstruction. The same propaganda techniques are being used: pseudoscience, pseudo-ideology, bought-and-paid-for shills and arrogant, ignorant cranks being falsely promoted as “skeptics”. Indeed some of the same individuals and organizations who were funded by the tobacco corporations to deceive the public about the reality of carcinogens in cigarettes are now being funded by the fossil fuel corporations to deceive the public about the reality of anthropogenic global warming.

    Since the denialists are generously offering so much advice to the climate science community (using conspicuously identical boilerplate talking points, oddly enough), I would like to offer some sincere advice to the denialists:

    1. Stop defending the fossil fuel industry’s sleazy campaign of slander, defamation, and outright lies and intimidation targeting climate scientists, so you don’t sound like such utter dupes.

    2. Learn something about the freaking science so you don’t sound like such ignorant know-nothings.

  11. 1361
    Gilles says:

    Gilles: They are needed for cheap steel and concrete,

    BPL: Nope. There are electric steel-making plants. I ought to know, having worked at the USX Edgar Thomson 44″ slab mill in Braddock, PA for four years (1988-1992).

    Gilles: What do you put into electric steel furnaces? don’t you know that they just reduce the excess carbon in iron cast, but that you first have to reduce iron ores with coke ?

    BPL: You’ve never heard of electric locomotives, have you?

    Gilles I’ve never heard of a modern economy powered only by electric trains (although we use them on a much larger scale than you, as your president discovered).

    BPL: No, they are not. You can do it with renewables and a wide-area smart grid.

    Gilles : except for special case of hydro or geothermal (rare) power, show me where, please. Show me FACTS.

    BPL: Wind now costs LESS than either coal or nuclear. Solar is on its way down. Biodiesel is competetive with gasoline.

    Gilles: yes, in your dreams. Again, show me an economy where this represents more than 10 % of the total. Wind power never produces more than 20 % of the global grid it is connected to. Solar is still worse. And worse of the worse : countries having the most developed wind energy have the worst carbon intensity in western Europe -because they have nothing else than thermal plants to complement them. It is better than only coal plants, of course, but much worse than a nuclear based power grid. And I think we have reached the maximum proportion of nuclear power, complemented with hydro. Very difficult to do better. And again, electricity doesn’t do everything. Again, that’s FACTS.

    BPL: The problem is, your “facts” are ones you made up.

    Gilles : my facts are real, yours are imaginary.

  12. 1362
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “I don’t think he should have said anything at all about asbestos, cancer, or smoking, or other irrelevancies.”

    Uh, Don, didn’t you read some of the other statements from the very same people denying AGW? Seitz stated that asbestos was fine and that smoking was not any form of problem.

    They are not irrelevancies when your only cite for why these people should be listened to is because they’re talking loudly.

  13. 1363
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “There is no biofuel that is a winning proposition. ”

    So sure?

    Most of our O2 is from algae.

    Currently we’re only breeding on top surface, but volumetric algal farms are being looked for.

    And what’s not winning about using the unused parts of plants to produce biofuel?

  14. 1364
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “In fact, MacKay repeatedly makes the point that country-sized renewable energy will require country-sized installations.”

    Bullshit.

    The extent may be country-sized, but the use of that country sized installation for energy production is, by your own calculation, 0.025%.

  15. 1365
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “The limits don’t tell you “we should be looking for off-shore wind”, they tell you the carrying capacity of the planet is not sufficient to support more than a few hundred million people, possibly much less if we are to continue developing technologically”

    This too is bollocks.

    No, they don’t tell us that.

    100% of our need for energy can be taken from a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface in solar power.

    It’s like some people here fail to read RC if it says something they don’t want to be true:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/an-open-letter-to-steve-levitt/

    LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT DOT!

  16. 1366
    SecularAnimist says:

    Barton Paul Levenson wrote: “CO2 will rise, human agriculture will collapse completely some time in the next 40 years, and most of humanity will die of starvation, disease, rioting, and war in the aftermath. And we will enter a new dark ages that will probably last for around a thousand years.”

    As I’m sure BPL realizes, that is far from the worst-case scenario. More than human civilization, and more than the survival of the human species, is at stake. The rich, diverse, resilient Holocene biosphere might collapse completely, and the Earth might enter a “dark age” of biological impoverishment that will last for millions of years.

  17. 1367
    Leighton says:

    BPL (#1351), I was referring to this: “A university unit involved in a row over stolen e-mails on climate research breached rules by withholding data, the Information Commissioner’s Office says.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8484385.stm

    I’m pretty sure you knew that already.

  18. 1368
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “He then went on to pretty much band all sceptics together as being in the pay of oil companies (and used the tobacco company/cancer argument as to why they argue the position that they do).”

    McIntyre: Fossil Fuels.
    McKitrick: Fossil Fuels.
    Plimer: Fossil Fuels.

    Do we wish to go on?

    It’s not wrong as it’s a generalisation that is, generally, correct. Which is the sort of correct a generalisation is supposed to be.

  19. 1369
    flxible says:

    for Gillies, if it doesn’t already exist [“fact” to him] it is an impossibility: “we’ve never done it differently” – which shows a complete of imagination, creativity and the ability for abstract cognition

  20. 1370
    Gilles says:

    “Barton Paul Levenson wrote: “CO2 will rise, human agriculture will collapse completely some time in the next 40 years, and most of humanity will die of starvation, disease, rioting, and war in the aftermath. And we will enter a new dark ages that will probably last for around a thousand years.”

    As I’m sure BPL realizes, that is far from the worst-case scenario. ”

    Excuse me to insist, but which QUANTITATIVE scenario does BPL have in mind within 40 years ? what would be the total amount of CO2 emitted, the atmospheric CO2 concentration, and the fossil fuel consumption per capita, when the collapse will start ?

    Other thing : dark ages will last much more than 1000 years after the exhaustion of fossil fuels. Actually they probably last until the end of mankind. I don’t know how dark they will be, but very likely much darker than our present epoch, for eternity – and I bet we’ll be the “Golden Age” for all our descendants.

  21. 1371
    Septic Matthew says:

    1359, Georgi Marinov: There is no biofuel that is a winning proposition. Whatever kind of organism you pick, the efficiency of conversion of sun light to chemical energy will be much lower than it would be if you covered the same area with solar panels. But plants don’t require just sunlight and water, they require many other elements from the soil, and if you are taking the organic matter out to make fuels out of it and not replacing the minerals in the soil, you will end up with degraded soil in the long and maybe not even so long term (which is what has happened/will happen in the end almost everywhere in the history of agriculture). You can replace those elements with fertilizers, but this will only decrease your EROEI even further and eventually you run out of stuff to make fertilizers from (such as phosphates which are about to peak soon). Algae don’t really get your around the fertilizer problem, because they may not require soil, but they still require all those minerals, which you still have to supply them with somehow.

    I have mentioned the possibility of biofuels from salt-tolerant species. Here is an example:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/24480/?a=f

    Exxon/Mobil invested $800M in J. Craig Venter’s genomics enterprise in San Diego, and one of that institute’s announced projects is to develop salt-tolerant jatropha and camelina. Salt-tolerant algae are already used to make fuel for commercial aircraft (obviously, that is now a tiny amount of the fuel actually consumed, but the enterprise is growing.)

    Sure, in many places it makes more sense to construct solar powered electricity generating plants, but liquid fuel is also handy, and worth investing in. On the Arabian peninsula and the Mediterranian Sahara there is room for both, as there is along America’s riverways, California’s central valley, Australia, and the coasts of S. America and S. Asia. I don’t know that it would be a good idea for the state of California to pump S. F. Bay water to the central valley to grow fuel, but it is certainly possible, and not especially expensive compared to a lot of California’s water works, and might be better than California’s practice of importing all of its fuel.

    With fuel and energy, there are lots of alternative developments underway, all in their infancy (compared, for example, to the duration of the Green Revolution), all designed for some of the many niche uses of energy, as well as for large scale implementation.

    The facility described in the article does double duty as aquaculture: the fecal biproducts that are a disaster in most aquaculture are used as fertilizer. There is net input to feed the fish, which may be suboptimal, but people like fish, and this shows that the fecal material can be harvested for fuel at other aquaculture facilities. The biorefining process separates the fuel (H and C, or H, C, and O) from the minerals and everything else (H2O, K, Ca, Mg, N, P, etc), and ships them back to the farm.

  22. 1372
    Septic Matthew says:

    It’s worth remembering that commercial enterprises arguing in their own self-interest are not always wrong. Consider the cases of acrilonitrile, alar, aspartame, saccharine, fluoridation of municipal water supplies, thimerisol. Aspartame carries a warning label announcing to a subpopulation of people that it is as dangerous as cheese — for everyone else it is safe, but the Reagan administration was criticized for caving in to special interests and carrying on the Republican war on science when they permitted the sale of aspartame.

  23. 1373
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “In a statement, Deputy Information Commissioner Graham Smith said it was an offence under section 77 of the Freedom of Information act “to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information”.”

    No it isn’t.

    There are plenty of reasons to prevent the disclosure intentionally.

    There also seems to be a considerable lack in the actual meat of the proof, rather than the endpoint conjecture.

    Which event breached those requirements?

    An accusation left vague cannot be countered.

  24. 1374
    Completely Fed Up says:

    And from the university: “We have not received any further information from the ICO although we are urgently trying to contact them.”

    So it seems like not even the accused have been given the proof, just the accusation that they have WMD’s^W broken the FOIA.

  25. 1375
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 100% of our need for energy can

    theoretically, some day, with far higher efficiency devices, but not now

    > be taken from a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface in solar power.

    Passionate faith in eventual technological improvement is not a practical solution to today’s problems.

  26. 1376
    Tim Jones says:

    Re:1328
    Don Shor says:
    4 February 2010 at 8:16 PM
    “I don’t think he should have said anything at all about asbestos, cancer, or smoking, or other irrelevancies.”
    […]
    “’Who would you suggest?’”

    “Somebody who is more diplomatic.”

    Extracting and polluting corporations and right wing libertarians are virtually at war with how science and the environment would impose regulation on a free market. Sometime they kill us when we stand in the way. They have no reservations about sacrificing people and the environment in a quest to satisfy their sense of personal power and greed.

    Do you think a diplomat will ever win them over?

    Barack Obama is an outstanding diplomat, exceptionally patient with the opposite party. Do you think he’s effective in creating bipartisanship to deal with the pressing issues of our times?

    A diplomat is skilled at making compromises. How many do you think we should make and still have something left to protect?

  27. 1377
    Gilles says:

    CFU :”100% of our need for energy can be taken from a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface in solar power.

    It’s like some people here fail to read RC if it says something they don’t want to be true:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/an-open-letter-to-steve-levitt/

    LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT DOT!”

    Nice.

    Actually what i see is that not only we can insure 100 % of our current needs, but we can insure 1000 % or even 10000 % of them quite easily ! the dot is sooo small !

    if we can insure easily our current lifestyle (I understand, the western one..) without fossil fuels, so what determines its limit ? Earth surface? there is plenty of room for growth. I don’t see any problem in insuring 10 , 100 times this level for everybody.

    But with energy you can make so much : pumping deep water, desalt sea water, electrolysis it for hydrogen, heating, air-conditioning, solid houses to resist hurricanes… with such a rosy, eternal, future, what the hell are you concerned by some degrees more ? look at Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dubai, to see what we can do with energy even in the desert. Why wouldn’t mankind use this energy when necessary ? 100 times the current american use per capita, think of what it means !

    you have convinced me, I don’t care anymore about anything for the future :)

  28. 1378
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “if we can insure easily our current lifestyle (I understand, the western one..) without fossil fuels, so what determines its limit ?”

    Why does that deserve an answer?

    The limit is one where we limit or it’s limited for us.

  29. 1379
    Completely Fed Up says:

    On compromise: if one side is being insane, you need a nutter on the other side, else the compromise position is closer to the nutter than it should be.

    Denialists: Ian “The Sun Is Made Of Iron” Plimer
    Warmists: Al “I Have A Big House” Gore

    Which side is the nuttiest?

    If you even have a MICROSECOND to think that one over, why are you against someone having a nice big house?

  30. 1380
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Hank: “> be taken from a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface in solar power.

    Passionate faith in eventual technological improvement is not a practical solution to today’s problems.”

    This is current technological improvement.

    The improvements necessary have more to do with building that amount of PV, not the technology of PV.

  31. 1381
    Tim Jones says:

    Re:1351
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    5 February 2010 at 5:10 AM
    Leighton: Aren’t you overlooking the official finding, now, that Dr. Jones engaged in unlawful conduct, albeit uncovered too late to prosecute?

    BPL: The FOI judge found that Jones had NOT done anything illegal.

    Leighton could have posted a reference…

    Possibly right out of the Daily Mail, or:

    “Crimatologists Found Guilty of Hiding Data: Will escape criminal conviction on technicalities”
    http://www.infowars.com/crimatologists-found-guilty-of-hiding-data-will-escape-criminal-conviction-on-technicalities/

    They’re using quotes from the Daily Mail

    “Information Commissioner: Climategate Scientists Broke The Law”
    http://climategate.tv/?p=787
    The Daily Mail
    January 28, 2010

    “Researchers at the University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for the data.”
    “The decision by the Information Commissioner’s Office comes months after controversial emails from the university’s Climatic Research Unit, a global leader in its field, were released on to the internet.”
    […]
    “But it is powerless to prosecute those involved because the complaint was not made within six months of the offence, as required under the Act.”

    Note:

    “Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was forced to apologise after wrongly claiming most of the Himalayan glaciers would vanish within 25 years.”

    “It also exaggerated claims that global warming will increase the number of tropical storms.”

    When did this last tidbit appear?

  32. 1382
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “1372
    Septic Matthew says:
    5 February 2010 at 12:17 PM

    It’s worth remembering that commercial enterprises arguing in their own self-interest are not always wrong.”

    It’s worth remembering that “not always wrong” is completely different from “right”.

  33. 1383
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Gilles: “you have convinced me, I don’t care anymore about anything for the future :)”

    You never did. :-)

    So stop bleating on about how we MUST have fossil fuels and stop fighting the changes.

    And, because we’re in a recession, stop wasting money on wasted energy.

  34. 1384
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 1380 Completely Fed Up says: 5 February 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Mark my words, this is not helpful. Cite sources for claims, please.

  35. 1385
    Septic Matthew says:

    1375, Hank Roberts: Passionate faith in eventual technological improvement is not a practical solution to today’s problems.

    The technologies that we have today are sufficient to do the job. They would cost a lot and take a long time to deploy everywhere. (The relevance of AGW is that we may not deploy them soon enough to avert a much greater cost later than the cost of deploying the alternatives.)

    Technological improvements will reduce the cost and improve the reliability, compared to today. Improvements have occurred steadily over the last 5 years, will occur this year unless Earth is annihilated, and are not fantasy.

    The people with the “faith” to do the R&D on the improvements and deploy them widely will be the first to benefit from them. That could be Americans, Europeans, South Asians, East Asians, or all of us.

  36. 1386
    Hank Roberts says:

    > The technologies that we have today are sufficient to do the job.

    My suggestion: cite claims, making the posting a useful reference for later readers rather than a statement of faith without a source.

    Try here, for example.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

    People can discuss facts given cites to work with.

  37. 1387
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “The people with the “faith” to do the R&D on the improvements and deploy them widely will be the first to benefit from them. That could be Americans, Europeans, South Asians, East Asians, or all of us.”

    At the moment, the Chinese are eating everyone else’s lunch on this one.

    About the only thing the world has got in its favour to stop China gaining the market is if we internalise the cost of fossil fuels which makes the transportation of such equipment from one place on the world much more expensive (as it should) and get off the fence before China creosotes it to stop us sitting on it.

  38. 1388
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Hank:”Mark my words, this is not helpful. Cite sources for claims, please.”

    After that, will you require I cite the meanings of “photon”, “volts” and “power”? Will I then have to cite references for words like “reference” and “cite”?

    Tell yo uwhat, Hank.

    Have a look at the PV currently available.

    Check the efficiency.

    Then check this web page (again, or, maybe, for you, the first time):

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/an-open-letter-to-steve-levitt/

  39. 1389
    Septic Matthew says:

    Here is another place to read about recent developments in power:

    http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/

    That is not principally about science, but about commerce.

    Here is another, mostly about commerce:

    http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/index.jsp

    The reason for posting about commerce is to inform about what is actually happening now, instead of the endless forecasts that solar (or fusion!) is “almost ready”. It’s not unlike the world transportation industry when there were only 5 – 10 oil refineries. We can’t tell now what this will all look like 100 years from now, but we can tell now that the energy industry will be lots different in 10 years from what it is now.

    We can’t tell within 25% what it will cost and save, or what the exact mix will be, but the total costs and savings will be huge (and experienced by different people), and the total enterprise will be diverse.

  40. 1390
    Septic Matthew says:

    Once more into the breach dear friends, this time for nuclear:

    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/default.aspx

  41. 1391

    Gilles: The problem is just that this life without fossil fuels doesn’t exist anywhere and has never existed.

    BPL: And prior to 1903, you could have said “this air transport industry doesn’t exist anywhere and has never existed.”

    The analogy breaks down, of course, because cheap wind power is here NOW and solar is rapidly coming down in price.

  42. 1392

    Gilles: show me an economy where this represents more than 10 % of the total. Wind power never produces more than 20 % of the global grid it is connected to.

    BPL: Denmark gets 23% of its electricity from wind now and is planning to double that over the next decade.

  43. 1393

    Leighton: I was referring to this: “A university unit involved in a row over stolen e-mails on climate research breached rules by withholding data, the Information Commissioner’s Office says.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8484385.stm

    I’m pretty sure you knew that already.

    BPL: It says “breached rules.” It does not say “ILLEGALITY,” like you did. Which is why, as I said, the FOI judge ruled that Jones had done NOTHING ILLEGAL. So take your libel somewhere else.

  44. 1394
    Steve Smith says:

    The idea that errors are excusable in a report of this size because of its size is debatable. I would posit that every letter in such an important document be checked and rechecked.

    I understand there is some recently publicized problem regarding the amount of land in the Netherlands below sea level. I don’t know who is right, the IPCC or the Dutch.

    What I question is whether there are any errors in the report that cut against alarmism or if all the excusable oversights, in some kind of coincidental fashion, support the claims that we are on the verge of the end of the world as we know it.

  45. 1395
    Tim Jones says:

    Re; 1352
    Curmudgeon Cynic says:
    5 February 2010 at 6:16 AM
    I have just watched a 4 part interview on YouTube of Dr Pachauri being interviewed recently following the Himalayan Glacier story.

    Care to share the You Tube url with the rest of us?

    How would you react to this?

    Lord Monckton reports on Pachauri’s eye opening Copenhagen presentation
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/17/lord-monckton-reports-on-pachauris-eye-opening-copenhagen-presentation/

    Here James Delingpole accuses Pachuari of being a crook.
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100020261/climategate-monckton-kebabs-pachauri/

    The same crap gets thrown at Al Gore by fossil fuel’s anti science propaganda machine. These people are attacking
    every progressive leader with these sorts of vilifications. It’s called the politics of personal destruction. The only way
    you can win is through character assassination. As we see here you’re climbed on the bandwagon too.

    I can see that Pachauri might be reacting the way he is because he no longer gives a rat’s hat whether he keeps the job or not. But that’s your goal isn’t it? There isn’t anybody out there that could take the job that wouldn’t have a target painted on his back. The way the fossil lobby does business is despicable.

    I say as Dr. Pachauri takes the bastards on more power to him.

  46. 1396
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Leighton says: 5 February 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Regarding FOI, how shocking, really!

    Lacking any actual fundamental problem with the science in question, the yipping pack of attack poodles unleashed on CRU managed with the naive help of their victims to synthesize a “meta-infraction”, a breach of conduct having only to do with procedure, a matter that would have been significant if only there were actually something to cover up. Which as it turns out, there wasn’t. No “there”, there. Tsk.

    So the FOI hit is sort of a consolation prize, a white ribbon for the poor wee poodles, same deal as the electric blender you get on “Wheel of Fortune” when you’re not up to the competition. Nobody’s fooled by the blender.

    Meanwhile, after everybody’s recovered from their vapors, remember the science part? You know, the supposed issue behind the FOI? Turns out it still exists, unaltered.

    Big accomplishment. Whoop. Dee. Doo.

  47. 1397
    Tim Jones says:

    Utah resolution urges investigation of global warming ‘conspiracy’
    http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2010/02/05/5/
    (02/05/2010)

    After a hearing in which state legislators described global warming as a conspiracy, the House Natural Resources Committee of the Utah Legislature passed by a 10-1 vote yesterday a resolution urging U.S. EPA to refrain from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

    The resolution says the agency should wait “until a full and independent investigation of the climate data conspiracy and global warming science can be substantiated.”

    Rep. Kerry Gibson (R), who sponsored the resolution, said world food supplies are “at the breaking point” because of excessive regulation. When asked by a fellow legislator to explain who is behind the conspiracy and what they stand to gain, Gibson said it is hard to tell because “we only hear one side of the argument.”

    “I’m not sure we’ll ever know the depths of it,” Gibson said.

    Eleven scientists from Brigham Young University appeared at the hearing to defend climate science, urging the panel to reject the resolution.

    During the hearing, Rep. Mike Noel (R) read from a book describing population-control measures such as abortion and forced sterilization. He said the comparisons to global warming are clear.

    “Now, if you can’t see a connection to that,” Noel said, “you’re absolutely blind to what is going on. This is absolutely — in my mind, this is in fact a conspiracy to limit population not only in this country but across the globe” (Judy Fahys, Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 4). — GN

  48. 1398
    Jimbo says:

    Comment 1028

    “Jimbo – perhaps you have noticed the complex heat redistribution system that gives us weather? Whether a glacier grows or retreats depends where in that system the glacier is.”

    Thank you.
    Jimbo

  49. 1399
    Jimbo says:

    Oh, Gavin,
    here’s more soot for ya.
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/26593/2009/acpd-9-26593-2009.html

    Black carbon aerosols and the third polar ice cap [HImalayan glaciers]
    Citation: Menon, S., Koch, D., Beig, G., Sahu, S., Fasullo, J., and Orlikowski, D.: Black carbon aerosols and the third polar ice cap, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 26593-26625, 2009.

    —–
    [edit]

  50. 1400
    Tim Jones says:

    The plot thickens. I always thought Stephen McIntyre was behind this. Can anyone think of any possible connection between McIntyre and the coal industry?

    Researcher questioned about climate e-mail leaks
    http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2010/02/05/6
    (02/05/2010)
    Police have questioned a scientist at the University of East Anglia with ties to climate skeptics about the leak of controversial e-mails from the campus’s climate research unit.

    Paul Dennis, 54, is a climate researcher who heads another research laboratory at the university. He denies leaking the material, but his correspondence with climate change skeptics in North America brought him to the attention of the investigative team.

    One piece of information that led police to question Dennis was the discovery of correspondence between him and Stephen McIntyre, who runs a skeptic blog in Toronto called “Climate Audit.” “Climate Audit” was the first to receive an anonymous link to the leaked data. Dennis subsequently e-mailed McIntyre to alert him to a Norwich University message confirming that a leak had occurred.

    Dennis’ own research, which traces fluctuating temperatures in ice cores stretching back thousands of years, does not support the more catastrophic predictions of global warming. He called for more open release of data during the height of the controversy and was critical of his department head’s resistance to Freedom of Information requests (Leigh/Arthur/Evans, London Guardian, Feb. 4). — DFM

    See also:

    Detectives question climate change scientist over email leaks
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/04/climate-change-email-hacking-leaks
    University of East Anglia scientist Paul Dennis denies leaking material, but links to climate change sceptics in US drew him to attention of the investigators
    […]