How much does the “settled science” know about the long term weather?

 

This week I attended an interesting meeting on climate science in the Commons. Two distinguished Professors came to present to  MPs on behalf of the Royal Society and the US Academy of Sciences. They set out the arguments  for the global warming movement. A few MPs who were interested subjected their thesis to detailed cross examination.

Their publication  starts with the statement

“It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate related changes”

This is a thoroughly unscientific statement. MPs elicited the reply eventually after sustained cross examination that in recent years Antarctic sea ice has been growing in extent. Why do the scientists refer to just the Arctic in their headline or conclusion? Where is the sea level rising, and is that occurring owing to land based ice melting as predicted? It clearly has nothing to do with sea ice melting. In their booklet towards the end they do  seek to explain the increase in Antarctic sea ice and accept that sea levels rise for reasons other than melting ice as well. Why do they think that rising temperatures melts ice and snow in the Arctic, but claim that rising temperatures creates more ice and snow in the Antarctic, where the extra warmth allows more water retention in the atmosphere leading to heavier snowfalls?

The document improves after its first paragraph, and does include a number of honest statements about their doubts or limits to their knowledge. However, the whole 24 page booklet is written from the proposition that there is global warming, it will get worse and it is caused by man made Co2. It seeks to dismiss some of the many arguments brought by sceptics against the theory, which makes it  read like a propaganda document.

I thought I would share with you some of the better more humble statements made in it, as a contrast to the loud mouthed certainties of the crude global warmists (not our two Professors I hasten to add):

“The magnitude and timing of these changes (to temperatures) will depend on many factors and slowdowns and accelerations in warming lasting more than a decade will continue to occur”

They assert that there has been global warming from 1850 to 2010, yet supply a graph which shows global cooling from 1850 to 1920, warming from 1910 to around 1940, cooling from 1940 to around the late 1970s followed by global warming to 2000, and a plateau since.

They argue that “Natural causes include variations in the Sun’s output and in Earth’s orbit around the sun, volcanic eruptions, and internal fluctuations in the climate system (such as El Nino and La Nina)” and these can also cause changes to temperatures, but argue they do not account for the last 10o years. One of the features of the work is a shifting in dates for different arguments.

“The largest global scale climate variations in Earth’s recent geological past are the ice age cycles” caused by changes to the Earth’s orbit.  There has been a 4 to 5 degree warming for this reason since the last ice age ended. They also accept that 50 million years ago there was two and half times   more natural CO2 in the atmosphere, and they infer that global temperatures were 10 degrees higher than now. The pamphlet does not seek to explain these large natural variations in CO2.

They accept that you cannot predict rising temperatures from rising human CO2 output, saying that in any given decade “many natural factors are modulating this long term warming” including volcanic activity, and changes in ocean currents. They seek to explain the “slowdown” in warming in the last decade. When asked how long we could experience a slowdown or fall before they thought their models wrong, the scientists settled on 50 years as a safe figure. It is safe in the sense that most of the people in the debate will be dead or retied by the time we get there, and allows a lot of latitude with natural causes offsetting man made global warming in the meantime.

They confirm that recent temperatures are below those reached “5000 to 10000 years ago in the warmest part of our current interglacial period”. That is a doubly interesting statement, as it leaves open the likelihood of a new ice age in due course from natural causes, and reminds us that there have been past periods of substantial warming without man made CO2.

“A warmer atmosphere generally contains more water vapour. Water vapour is a potent greenhouse gas. … Another important but uncertain feedback concerns changes in clouds… the latest assessment of the science indicates that the overall net global  effect of cloud changes is likely to be to amplify warming”. There is also uncertainty about the extent and speed of the heat transferring to the deep ocean.

“Several major issues make it impossible to give precise estimates of how global or regional temperature trends will evolve decade by decade into the future”. “With current understanding of the complexities of how climate feedbacks operate, there is a range of possible outcomes, even for a particular scenario of CO2 emissions. ” “Natural variability can modulate the effects of an underlying trend in temperature”.

“There is considerable uncertainty about how hurricanes are changing because of the large natural variability and the incomplete observational record”

In summary, a pamphlet written to promote global warming theory based on man made CO2 is a mixture of polemic and some sensible and sceptical observations about the limits of current knowledge. As they accept water vapour is an important greenhouse gas, and clouds have a big impact on weather, the uncertainties about these two big variables clearly make shorter term average temperature forecasting very difficult, even for periods as long as a decade. From the graphs supplied deviations from their warming trend can last for several decades. The trend itself depends on how you draw a trend line on a very variable graph.

I found all this caution and scepticism encouraging. It implies there needs to be a lot more study before scientists can claim the science is settled, and before they have climate models which can forecast average temperatures over ten or twenty year periods.

 

Reply Those who asked about who the Profs were – they were leading Royal Society figures supporting this official publication of the Royal Society and National Academy of Sciences entitled “Climate Change  Evidence and Causes”. These are therefore all official statements of the RS.

 

 

 

 

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80 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Given all that you say above, which is surely obvious to anyone sensible/rational. Please can you get Cameron, Clegg, Davey and the likes to stop pissing tax payers money down the drain on mad subsidies for onshore and offshore wind turbines, PVs on roofs and in fields, electric cars (with current technology) and similar economic lunacy. Also to stop paying for silly reports like Stern’s using absurdly low discount rates and vast daft speculations and guesses about the future World.

    I understand there is a legal provision for government to rip up old contract where they are clearly not in the public interest so just stop all these subsidies now. The suppliers were clearly aware this engineering was economic nonsense when they entered these contracts. I have little sympathy for them stop the payment now. They were surely
    co-conspirators, together with ministers, against the public purse (or rather the public taxpayers). I am not normally in favour of retrospective actions but here it is fully justified.

    It should be in the next Tory Manifesto:

    We will stop all subsidies to uneconomic energy production and make lots of other government saving and use all the money to abolish inheritance tax, cut corporation tax, employers NI and cut & inflation index CGT.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      I see the Swiss are (foolishly) thinking of introducing a minimum wage of about £15 an hour. So rich are they that this would apparently only affect 10% of the work force. One of the dangers of democracy is that people will often vote to help themselves to others’ money. It will clearly cost some people their jobs though pricing them out of jobs.

      Has Cameron thought of any reasons why he does not want to become a Greater Switzerland on Sea yet? He might need them for any debate with Farage if he ever has the courage to have one. Median (average even perhaps) hourly wages in the UK are thus well below the poorest 10% in Switzerland, so dreadfully run is the UK. Ever since Major became PM or even since he joined the ERM as Chancellor management has been socialist, wasteful & appalling, it still is.

      Reply One of the reasons why Switzerland is richer per head than the UK or than any country in the EU is its support for banking and financial services. Another may well be its refusal to join the EU.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 18, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        Meanwhile Banking and Finances services in the UK are being attack by the EU, Vince Cable types, absurdly constructed & daft new regulations and the EU’s proposed financial transaction tax.

        • acorn
          Posted May 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          Another reasons why Switzerland is richer per head than the UK; it got an early start! Switzerland came out of WW2, three times richer than it was when the war started. Sixty years later, we are still trying to get worlds’ tax dodgers, to cough-up what they owe us.

      • Hope
        Posted May 18, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        LL, in your first blog the answer is the EU laws, regulation and policy on energy and CO2 emissions. Do not expect Cameron any time soon to admit he is implementing what he has been told, with a little local leeway. Davey is a fanatic on everything green and it appears to me, that, once more, the government is showing vindictive conduct towards the energy companies for daring to flag up that green nonsense is costing the consumer a fortune. The government did not want them to speak out.

        Each time the government is challenged a couple of months go by and vindictive behaviour becomes apparent. For me, the biggest worry is that this trend is occurring at a time when state press regulation has been introduced and the state can now help itself to your money in your bank account. Closer each day to a totalitarian state by stealth.

        We all know climate changes and it has done so since time began what has never been proved, despite government interference, is that man has caused the problem. We are told it has influenced change in alleged independent reports.

        • Hope
          Posted May 18, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          Cameron is again criticising UKIP on Europe, if he is arrogantly so right again why is he not debating the subject of the EU and all its policies, including energy, with Farage instead of “slaging off” Farage (as JR would say)? I suspect it is because the public and his party would become very clear where Cameron stands and he is scared stiff for this to happen. Once more, Cameron all mouth and no action.

          Reply I and other Eurosceptic MPs persuaded the PM to adopt the crucial policies of negotiate and decide. Mr Cameron is a strong supporter of the idea that we should seek to change our relationship by agreement, and give all of us a vote on whether the revised relationship is worth having. He is the first PM since the 1970s to say our relationship with the EU is not working in our interests. I am now keen to avoid losing the opportunity for an IN/Out vote which we have created.

          • Timaction
            Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            This is simply disingenuous. The process for change is by intergovernmental agreement where a majority of the now 28 have to agree. Then the process takes years before conclusion of treaty change. This is well documented and your leader is merely kicking the can down the road to try and fool the public of his true intentions, a United States of Europe. If he was serious he could invoke article 50 Lisbon Treaty tomorrow. The EU is and always will be a political construct as we don’t have to be in it or have free movement of people to TRADE with it. Examples include China, USA, Japan and the majority of the rest of the world. The legacy parties gave up Britain’s right to agree trade deals with the rest of the world along with other sovereign rights over several stealthy treaties. Who would trust cast iron with any renegotiation as his stated intention regardless is to stay in the socialist EU whose only purpose is to create a United States of Europe. Can you please tell Mr Clegg that 30 million Chinese jobs are at risk if the EU stopped trading with it but there is no intention to stop that. Perhaps the UK’s annual £43 billion trade deficit with the EU may give us leverage too!

            Reply There is no majority in the Commons for Article 50 – Conservatives are in a minority – and if the EU does not offe3r us a good package we will vote for Out.

          • Brian Tomkinson
            Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            Reply to reply,
            Your problem is that Cameron said on 24 October 2011 in the House of Commons : “The question tonight is whether to add to that by passing legislation in the next session of this Parliament to provide for a referendum which would include a question on whether Britain should leave the EU altogether.This was not our policy at the election and it is not our policy now. Let me say why I continue to believe this approach would not be right why the timing is wrong and how Britain can now best advance our national interests in Europe. First, it’s not right because our national interest is to be in the EU, helping to determine the rules governing the single market – our biggest export market, which consumes more that 50 per cent of our exports and which drives much of the investment into the UK.”
            This tells us his true position and no amount of political manoevering will change that. Cameron is Wilson Mark2.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 18, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

            I absolutely agree with that Brian. We don’t seem to have made much impact on stopping EU laws that inhibit the UK in the last 40 years, whilst we have willingly signed up to many that work against us, so why should that change now, especially with QMV just a stone’s throw away?

            It’s always the same old argument with Cameron types, ‘now is not the right time’ (so when is the right time?). It’s all a massive LibLabCon, and Cameron’s a big part of it as that quote proves.

            Tad

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

            You can only win a debate with Farage if you actually have some valid and logical arguments to put. If you go in having ratted dreadfully once on the EU and IHT, with a long grass (non negotiation) strategy, your heart and soul in the wrong place, not a single reason for your “no Greater Switzerland statement”, half the Tory party pro EU, 299+ tax increases implemented and having called them fruit cakes and closet racists – then you just tend to look a complete fool – as Clegg did.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

            Well, Cameron is exploiting the fact that only about a quarter of the electorate are firmly convinced that we must leave the EU while about half would be prepared to stay in provided that there was no further integration and/or previous some aspects of previous integration were reversed. In my view, JR, by holding out the false hope that given the chance he could actually negotiate a satisfactory position for the UK within the EU he is misleading the people not only for party political purposes but far more importantly to prevent us ever leaving the EU. Once again in my view it is astonishing that a substantial segment of the population would be prepared to change their minds about how to vote in an “in-out” referendum on the basis of his word that he had achieved a successful renegotiation.

            Reply Mr Cameron has sensibly changed his mind on a referendum thanks to our putting the case to him, and will keep his promise if elected with a majority in 2015.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 18, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

            Reply to reply:

            If that were written in blood, and on pain of death if he didn’t deliver, I might take a second look, but I don’t trust Cameron as far as I could throw him. He had to be persuaded by people like you John, his natural instincts are not the same.

            Nor do I trust his judgement. This country would now be embroiled in another war were it down to him, and having watched episode 601 of the Keiser Report on RT last night, I am even less of a fan of the man and what he stands for.

            Re-negotiation keeps the UK’s links with the EU alive, and given the way they work, I prefer severance.

            Tad

          • forthurst
            Posted May 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            “He is the first PM since the 1970s to say our relationship with the EU is not working in our interests.”

            In the 70s it was not apparent to most that we had joined anything much more than a free trade area; now that the EU can institute civil wars in its own right, it is clear to many that it is more. Mr Cameron’s renegotiation agenda is tepid in theory and unworkable in practice; JR is being optimistic if he believes that in ’17 with the LibLabCon leadership, the BBC and rest Europhiliac to its core, that he or the case for leaving will be heard over the hubbub created by state funded liars and troughers. Furthermore if the vote wre lost so would England.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        The great thing about Switzerland is these ludicrous policies are debated and put to a vote. I think there is very little change they will vote a min wage of this level, the wisdom of crowds knows what idiocy it would be. Here Miliband comes up with this sort of nonsense and it is applauded by the leftist media.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      The Royal Society is not noted for its impartiality on the Catastrophic AGW issue. Who were these distinguished professors?

      Lord Rees and Paul Nurse do not have a good record in this area. The latter often seen on the BBC pushing “BBC think” on the issue.

      Did Cameron try to insist that at least one professor was female, he seems to like such frivolities?

      • Bill
        Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Wonder whether Nurse was appointed because he supported the man-made global warming hypothesis.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 19, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          Indeed Geneticist and Snail Experts seem to be the BBC choice of experts on climate change.

          They never ask any sensible (independent) scientist such as Richard Lindzen, Freeman Dyson – who simply point out the obvious, that the new religion simply has not clothes.

    • Turbo Terrier
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      At long last a like minded person. Stop all renewable subsidies and stop them now. The monies being handed out for all of this hyped up un scientific nonsense which favours the few. Other countries around the world have knocked all the billions being splashed out and I believe that you are right at any time if a contract is not in the national interest they came be stopped immediately. We need a cabinet reshuffle and wave goodbye to Davey and all the others in there who endorse or show support for all this madness.

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    “I found all this caution and scepticism encouraging. ”

    Do you remember doing the ghastly Hegel at University? It is a subject I shall never forget. What a crashing old bore! And no wonder all his students, in Germany, of course, totally misunderstood his very long words and ramblings.
    But one thing stuck: thesis-antithesis-synthesis.
    Thesis: the Global Warming Philosophy.
    Antithesis: Lord Lawson and Christopher Booker and Dr Richard North.
    Synthesis:?????
    Eventually we shall, inevitably, get to the truth with the best of both sides included.

    And do you know what? With interaction, I also believe the same about the ghastly EU (United States of Europe) too.

  3. matthu
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The biggest single factor where I find disagreement is in the opening seven words: “It is now more certain than ever …”

    The implication is that the standstill in temperature since 1997 and the whole multitude of possible explanations that have since been proposed to deal with this has somehow stiffened their perception of moral rectitude. This is simply disingenuous. Point me to any evidence (other than climate models) that has increased our level of certainty in the extent to which man is impacting the climate.

    The usefulness of climate models for shaping policy decisions continues to be grossly oversold by both the Royal Society and the US Academy of Sciences. And yet, take away the models and there is scant other evidence for human factors having impacted the climate at all.

    The statement that “The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate related changes” could have been made at various times in the last 10,000 years and does nothing at all to attribute any cause.

    The recent furore over the Swedish scientists from Reading university who feared for his health and safety simply underlines the politicisation of what passes as science today.

    And the worst of it is that most politicians are only too aware that the argument is crap but it suits their cause to nurture it. So environmentalists continue to be courted by the government and the EU while the taxpayer and the British economy suffer.

    Vomit.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      The most shocking thing about the whole global warming/climate change religion is that our legacy parties and media have given support to this unproven nonsense and have actively taxed us to change our habits to support their agenda. This again has no mandate or support of the public. Just like the EU debate. We have to rid Westminster of the socialist LibLabCon cartel and return true sovereignty and democracy to these shores. If we love Britain we know who we have to vote for!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed, many politicians and especially some scientists must be well aware they are pushing bogus science. It is not even electorally popular. Mind you the politicians are all pushing bogus high tax, big government, enforced equality economics too. Cameron must surely know that his Notting Hill Toy Turbine generated virtually nothing – far less than it cost! Or did he not bother to look.

      Now that the AGW exaggeration religion has nearly run its course (after the ice age, nuclear annihilation and catastrophic AGW, swine flu, the millennium bug, bird flu, GMcrops ….. ) what will be the next scare they big up? Like most religions some people do seem to have a genetic need for them as a sort of mental crutch.

    • Duyfken
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      “Certainty” is an absolute quality (like “unique” and “dead”) and a thesis cannot be more certain or even less so. It is as silly as saying something is 110% correct. The authors are of course trying to over-egg the pudding in an attempt to convince us, but for me it has the opposite effect. How much better had they said: “It is now more likely than ever …” (but I still would not believe them).

  4. sm
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    In the Great Warming debate, CO2 has been cast as the villain, despite some eminent voices of doubt. I am not a climatologist, but do recall a warning from an eminent physician: “do mistake subsequence for consequence”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      A harmless gas that assists tree and crop growth – as does a little more warmth and the resultant slight increased precipitation too.

      What is not to like?

  5. sm
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Edit to above comment “do NOT mistake……”

  6. stred
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    The problem is that when even ditinguished scientists start with sweeping political statements, very few members of the public or journalists are able to understand the detail or able to do so. Even worse, when making policy about renewables or preventive measures, very few people understand the limits or economics. The fact that the energy supply of the UK is being altered to provide much more variable and expensive sources, without even working to reduce much CO2 at all, and amounting to a tiny fraction of world output may be undertood by a few percent of MPs.

  7. Dave Murfin
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    “Where is the sea level rising, … … It clearly has nothing to do with sea ice melting.”
    That is true, but I don’t find that your article makes it clear why. Sea ice floats. When it melts it becomes denser, and the resulting water occupies exactly the same space as the underwater part of the floating ice. (Archimedes Principle.) Any rise in sea level has to wait for the thermal expansion of the water in the sea as as a whole, which only begins when the temperature rises above that of maximum water density, 4 deg C. If the melted ice is still below 4 deg C, sea level falls.
    I hope that was what you meant, rather than some balance between arctic and antarctic sea ice.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Dave Murfin,

      These global-warming scientists tend not to mention another phenomenon either, one of plate tectonics and subduction. It might seem that the sea level is rising in some places, where in fact, the local land mass is actually sinking through this natural process. Satellites are a better way to either prove or disprove rising sea levels, but even they have been out of kilter some times so nothing is absolutely flawless. Until we can absolutely guarantee that all measurements are totally accurate, maybe the GW scientists should ease off.

      Tad

    • stred
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Ice above sea level that melts contibutes to rising sea levels. Other factors such as gravitational shaping, expansion, continental shift, weighting of ice sheets etc are so complicated that experts are only able to argue their case on each analysis.

  8. Richard1
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Its a pity these global warming scientists insist on hunting in packs, and won’t subject themselves to scrutiny and debate from sceptical scientists. What would have been much more informative for MPs would have been to have had a sceptical scientist such as Profs Lindzen or Curry on hand to question some of these assertions.

    Given the impact on public policy it really is essential that the public have confidence legislators are hearing these arguments properly scrutinised.

    Hopefully where this debate will end up is to agree shale gas and other new sources of energy are a good interim solution and efforts should be focused on adaptation not ‘mitigation’ (as green crap is euphemistically called).

    • Richard1
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      It really is quite absurd that these 2 scientists said they would need a 50 year pause in warming before they would admit climate models are flawed. The figure has been plucked out of thin air and is another attempt to shut down proper rigorous analysis and debate. That answer is psuedo science of the worst kind.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 18, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        I agree Richard, it is acceptable to the warmists to announce every hot day anywhere in the world as scientific evidence.
        However to show the opposite is happening, it seems we need 50 years.

        • M Davis
          Posted May 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          They’re almost bound to be dead by then, so why should they care about their faux science and passing off of their so-called ‘scientific’ climate models? Unfortunately, we live in a world (with some ed)charlatans and we ‘normal folk’ need to be always on our guard.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Not having been to your meeting it is perhaps understandable that I feel rather less encouraged than you. Firstly, you say that : “They set out the arguments for the global warming movement”, hardly an objective starting point. Secondly, as you so rightly indicated, their publication starts with: “a thoroughly unscientific statement”, but one which will be seized upon by those who are determined to use “climate change” as the catch all for all their pet money making and taking schemes.
    Finally, you “found all this caution and scepticism encouraging. It implies there needs to be a lot more study before scientists can claim the science is settled”. Correct, but the majority of your colleagues in the Commons regularly claim the exact opposite. They would also be the ones who wouldn’t have “subjected their thesis to detailed cross examination” but sat back in awe and admiration. As far as I can see children in our schools are being indoctrinated with this “science”, which is not yet “settled”, without caveat.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Not entirely off-topic, German politicians knock Cameron’s EU renegotiation plan on the head before he even gets to try it:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/17/david-cameron-ukip-germans

    Not entirely off-topic because since Lisbon the EU treaties now pre-empt any arguments about climate change, by EU law it exists and must be combated.

    • Turbo Terrier
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Another very good reason for us to get out of there and quickly as possible.

  11. DrJohnGalan
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Excellent article, providing a good basis for the many people who have not looked into this topic, but have simply taken the word of the “consensus of scientists”, to ask “why … ?” I hope more MPs who attended this meeting will discuss their views openly as well.

    The proponents of human-caused global warming use various tactics to try and stop you: numerous appeals to authority to convince you that you are far too stupid to understand this stuff: how could august bodies like the Royal Society or the UK Met Office be wrong on the science? next comes the consensus argument: the famous 97%: although the paper that produced this figure has been completely debunked, its purpose was successful, the figure has been banded about everywhere; then come the ad hominem attacks: those on 79-year-old Prof Bengtsson being but the latest example.

    Why do the high-profile climate scientists want to keep their data and their methods of processing those data secret?

    Why was it important that the Mediaeval Warm Period was excised from an IPCC report?

    Why do the so-called corrections of the temperature record suppress the temperatures in the 1930’s and increase those of recent times?

    Why is it extremely rare for a proper debate on climate science to happen? The Royal Society agreed to “educate” the Global Warming Policy Foundation, but only in private.

    Finally, why do scientists (funded by government grants), governments themselves (another excuse both for taxation and for more control), windmill, solar panel and electric car manufacturers, environmental groups and a whole lot more, not want this gravy train to continue to chug along?

    Once you stop taking their word for it, anyone with a basic grasp of science and an enquiring mind can very easily see through the whole human caused global warming charade. The science is a mere veneer (getting flimsier by the day) on a much deeper-rooted and substantial political agenda (which will be much harder to change: because, even if the science is wrong, we’re still “saving the planet”).

  12. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It appears we are subjected to the theories generated between the devil and the deep blue sea…Oceans. Trouble is most of the fleshware and software theories don’t/won’t fit. Insufficient evidence and its all well timed out.

    Undersea Volcanic activity not analysed/measured (not observed largely)
    Deep Ocean behaviour not known and is a massive sink/source exhibiting latency in various behaviours.
    Oceans/Seas levels not adequately measured, and very difficult to do.

    The International management of this very interesting topic must be the worst example of Project Management to date. Naivety at its best I’d say.

    I hope we get a bit of warmth…since politicians are irresponsibly allowing energy costs to rise and have not had a serious contingency plan to supply baseload. I also hope Farage gets to significantly influence this appalling condition before he turns native or likely departs for a normal life.

  13. oldtimer
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    The President of the Royal Society believes in political activism and that the RS should be used both to inform and guide public policy. The consequence of such an approach is that objective science takes a back seat to politically driven science. Thus the document you quote starts with a politically driven, propaganda statement to catch the eye and to write the six o`clock oand ten o`clock news sound bites. The evidence in the rest of the document does not make it to the news headlines. The public is brainwashed. Job done.

    The doubts and uncertainties have been there at least since c2002 when it was pointed out in the science chapters of the then IPCC assessment report that the weather and the climate was a chaotic, non-linear system that was incapable of being forecast. Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, later variously relabelled just global warming, climate change (to name but two variations employed in the sustained propaganda campaign) and all the alarmism that has gone with it is and has been politically driven from the outset. The aim has been and remains to control human behaviour. Some politicians have been all too eager to ride and exploit the bandwagon that was created. It will, I suspect, continue to roll for several years yet.

    • Turbo Terrier
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      A few years yet?

      It needs to knocked on the head a lot quicker than that. The country cannot afford it.

  14. David Ashton
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Very interesting to see the degree of uncertainty expressed by these fellows. Even more interesting to read that they view periods of temperature stasis or decline can exceed that of the recent warming (1972-1995). It is remarkable that they still believe anthropogenic causes are greater than natural causes of climate change.

    Are you allowed to disclose their names?

  15. acorn
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I was always of the opinion that the Sun was the cause of all climate change. I have followed Maureen Raymo for years, she has never been politicised on the subject. She is the alpha plus female on Malkovitch 100 Kyr climate cycles. If something happens “quickly” in her world, it usually translates as “several thousand years”.

    Then a while back she said we have re-created a Pleistocene atmosphere and the oceans and the ice fields are playing catchup. The laws of thermodynamics say nature always moves to restore the balance between a fluid (oceans) and its vapour (atmosphere) at the interface (surface). http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/video/symphony-climate-system-dr-maureen-raymo .

    Read the blog item, “Why Melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Should Freak You Out”.

  16. Michael Cawood
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I am convinced that “global warming” and “climate change” were invented by socialist politicians simply to give themselves “reasons” for substantial tax rises.

    • Posted May 19, 2014 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      Like the increase in VAT to 20% you mean? Politicians of all political persuasions are good at finding reasons to over tax us. They can manage quite well on their own, in that respect, without having to involve climate scientists.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I have just enjoyed my lunch in the sunshine and , afterwards , relaxing with my head in the shade . It was a wonderful feeling – I felt glad to be alive and to forget the trials and worries of the world . I wish we had much more of this sort of climate . I don’t give a damn what is responsible and I am certainly not going to fret if a drop more water in the North Sea is going to push the Thames a mite closer to my doorstep . I admire the fact that you and some of your colleagues spent so many hours attending to the detail of “Climate Change” and your lengthy report afterwards ; I would have preferred to be in the sun .

  18. hefner
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    It might be better to look at the facts instead of JR’s opinion

    - (gives a reference to a refutation of a Times article which I did not cite or rely on)

    There is the response of the Editor-in-chief of Environmental Research Letters. and the actual referee’s report on Bengtsson’s work.

    Wouldn’t it be good if JR were to check his sources

    Reply I just quoted from the resignation letter and did not make my own assertions or fail to check sources for them!

  19. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Dear John–Are you miffed at me for trying (in the Title, note) to remedy your lack of an apostrophe yesterday, or what??

  20. WALOR
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Two points which may be of some use dealing with alarmism.

    The global average surface temperature warming 1910-1940 was effectively the same as that between 1975-2000. No one suggests greenhouse gas emissions were responsible for the former and natural variability has to be invoked by the IPCC to account for this period. Not a strong basis for claims that 25 years is evidence of something exceptional.

    Do not be misled by dubious trends superimposed on graphs. They are often used to imply a much greater rate of temperature increase than a direct calculation with the actual data. Indeed the correct calculation of the decadal increase in temperature since 1980 by the GWPF was recently cited by one critic as evidence of its bias. The reason? It did not match the rate of increase derived from dodgy trend fitting using a straight line which was clearly a very poor fit to the actual data.

    • Posted May 19, 2014 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      “No one suggests greenhouse gas emissions were responsible for the former [warming period of 1910-1940] ”

      That’s not right. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen since the start of the industrial revolution and have a logarithmic effect on the temperature rise. So the first 10% rise has a bigger effect than the next 10% and so on.

      The preindustrial level of CO2 was 280ppmv and by 1940 this had risen to 310ppmv

      So, assuming a climate sensitivity of 3deg C for a doubling of Co2 levels, we can calculate the warming for the first 30 ppmv of added Co2 as:

      Delta T = 4.33 * LN(310/280) = 0.44 degC

      Reply And the medieval warm period?

      • Richard1
        Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        Why was there a cooling between the 40s and the 70s?

        • Posted May 19, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          The most popular explanation for the slight cooling period, its a bit of a stretch to call it a really genuine cooling period, is that particulate emissions, ie smoke, helped keep the Earth cool between those years. The graph below clearly shows the effect you are referring to. The idea is that power stations improved and emitted less smoke the cooling effect decreased.

          https://ksj.mit.edu/sites/default/files/images/tracker/2011/WarmingGraph-BEST-study1.gif

          Whether that’s the correct explanation I don’t know. I’d say you have to look at the overall warming over a longer period that we are typically used to. A decade seems a long time to us but its nothing in geological terms. In the 19th century there is some evidence that temperatures were more volatile than in the 2oth century. Partly that could be because the data was more sparse but there does seem to have been genuine cooling periods.

          In the absence of increased Co2 concentrations the period you are referring to could have been a genuine cooling period too.

          I don’t believe it is realistic to try to explain every bump in the graph. If it showed the price of some shares we happened to own we’d all be happy that the price was rising. We would not focus on the flat parts and start to panic sell!

      • Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        The only strong evidence for a medieval warm period is in the North Atlantic region. Ideally we could go back in time and make measurements in different parts of the globe. Look at how ocean currents might have varied etc. Measured if the solar irradiance changed much during that time etc.

        So, as we can’t do all that, we don’t know for sure if it was a local or global warming. It could have been global, and to accept that possibility shouldn’t affect policy decisions on CO2 emissions.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          That is a cop-out. There is evidence the medieval warm period was global. There is of course much less evidence as there was little human habitation and no recorded history or art in many parts of the world. The medieval warm period, the Roman warm period and the period c. 8,000 – 5,000 years ago cannot be explained by CO2 levels, and certainly not by human activity.

          • uanime5
            Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            There is evidence the medieval warm period was global.

            Care to provide a source for this evidence. Make sure it has temperature reading from all over the world, including South America and Africa.

            There is of course much less evidence as there was little human habitation and no recorded history or art in many parts of the world.

            There are records from Europe, north Africa, the Middle East, China, and some South American civilisations.

            The medieval warm period, the Roman warm period and the period c. 8,000 – 5,000 years ago cannot be explained by CO2 levels, and certainly not by human activity.

            Care to provide the evidence you’ve used to rule out that CO2 levels didn’t influence these events. Unless you have a way of accurate measuring CO2 levels during this period it can’t be ruled out.

          • Richard1
            Posted May 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

            Unaime5′s answer to me above is revealing for anyone who can be bothered to read it. One of the things we hear from AGW alarmists is we have higher CO2 concentrations than we’ve had for 3m years, and that’s why there is warming, and why there will be more. Yet above he/she seems to suggest the medieval warm period, the roman warm period and the pre-historic warm period were or may have been due to higher CO2. The evidence is CO2 has been very stable throughout human history – so hear we have an AGW alarmist inadvertently admitting that warming has happened for reasons unconnected with CO2.

          • Posted May 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            The evidence that CO2 levels have been stable for the last few thousand years is to be found in samples of air trapped in the Antarctic ice.
            That’s not to say that it has been stable for the whole of human history though. Levels fall to about 200ppmv in the cold times and rise to just below 300ppmv in warmer times.
            CO2 levels are now over 400ppmv

            http://www.daviesand.com/Choices/Precautionary_Planning/New_Data/IceCores1.gif

        • Edward2
          Posted May 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          All this theorising Peter, leaves out the possibility that nature might react to the rise in CO2 and excessive warming of the planet and create a cooling reverse action.
          The power of nature is disregarded by warmists who feel mankind is both the only driver of climate change and that nature is unable to react in any rebalancing way.
          I am not an expert but perhaps one such reaction by nature might be that the warming will increase water vapour and therefore cloud cover and greater rainfall which will cool the temperature.
          Perhaps this is what we are already seeing ie more rainfall and no temperature rises since 2000.

          • uanime5
            Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            All this theorising Peter, leaves out the possibility that nature might react to the rise in CO2 and excessive warming of the planet and create a cooling reverse action.

            Care to explain how the planet is going to detect this or how it’s going to reduce CO2 levels.

            The power of nature is disregarded by warmists who feel mankind is both the only driver of climate change and that nature is unable to react in any rebalancing way.

            Nature has been disregarded because there’s no evidence that anything in nature has been causing the temperature to rise for over 100 years.

            I am not an expert but perhaps one such reaction by nature might be that the warming will increase water vapour and therefore cloud cover and greater rainfall which will cool the temperature.

            If that happened then the equator would be the wettest and cloudiest place in the world because it’s also the hottest place on the planet. By contrast northern Europe would get little rain because it’s much cooler.

            Perhaps this is what we are already seeing ie more rainfall and no temperature rises since 2000.

            We got more rainfall in winter and spring because the rising temperatures slowed the jetstream down, so the rains remained over the UK for longer than normal.

            I suspect that rainfall will be less in summer, despite it being much warmer than the winter, because increased temperatures result in fewer clouds.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            What caused the changes in temperatures and climate before mankind ever set foot on this Earth if nature has no power?

            I notice you did not challenge the fact that the average global temperature has not risen since 2000 and every extra year the temperature fails, to rise in defiance of all your theories, I am greatly pleased Uni.

          • Posted May 20, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            “All this theorising Peter, leaves out the possibility that nature might react to the rise in CO2 and excessive warming of the planet and create a cooling reverse action.”

            Yes it’s possible. We could be lucky. It’s also possible that a patient diagnosed with some serious illness could be equally lucky and recover without any medical intervention.

            But, is it advisable, in either case, to trust to luck?

        • David Price
          Posted May 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          You are not correct in your assertion about the lack of “strong” evidence outside Europe.

          The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has been running a Medieval Warm Period Project that has documented many sources of quantitative evidence outside the European area. This evidence has been gathered from sites about the globe including Africa, New Zealand, North America, South America and Asia clealy show correlated temperature levels for the Medieval Warm Period.

  21. Ray Veysey
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink
    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that. So ten days after the edition of Question Time when four people tried to shout down Farage, citing JR’s question to Cable, the Sunday Telegraph admits that he was right and they were wrong. But that doesn’t in any way stop them running another batch of articles attacking UKIP.

  22. forthurst
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    It matters not a jot who the profs were since they were simply presenting the scientific ‘consensus’:

    “Climate Change: Evidence and Causes is a jointly produced publication of The US National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. Written by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists and reviewed by climate scientists and others, the publication is intended as a brief, readable reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative information on the some of the questions that continue to be asked.”

    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18730

    (Need to download the pdf as the ‘book’ is illegible.)

  23. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    There were also many more trees emitting CO2 in the last interglacial period. We are not exactly sure about the weather in this period also. There may have been much turbulence due to excessive amounts of Co2. Today there are less trees but other sources of CO2 .I remain convinced that it is better to take a Pascal’s wager type stance on global warming which covers both doubt and certainty.It is not only about climate change , it is about using finite sources of energy.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Trees do not emit carbon dioxide; by photosynthesis they convert it into oxygen and glucose. They provide the oxygen we need to live and store carbon.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Of course you are right they emit O2 …….. but burn them and they do .

      • David Price
        Posted May 19, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

        From my school days – Plants are always respiring which converts glucose to energy and releases CO2. In daylight plants absorb CO2 and release oxygen as part of photosynthesis. Whether the gases are emitted depends on the balance of the two processes, on a sunny day it will emit O2 while at night it emits CO2. In the winter, with no leaves a disduous tree will only respire as it uses up stored glucose and so will emit CO2.

  24. Turbo Terrier
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Every day in the news there is yet another chink in the whole argument. It is like flogging a dead horse basically because the vast majority of the politicians in Westminster have no idea about AGW/CC and don’t want to know. The gallant 100 odd who have the ability to listen, digest and think are the odd balls. My money would be on those being present at the presentation, wouldn’t back on the rest.

    When the lid comes off this whole sad scam then you will see the others trying to justify their position to keep their seat. They should resign en-mass and never be allowed to enter parliament again. What they are doing through their ignorance is paramount to treason. We need change and we need it now. If parliament is going to be on shorter hours due to lack of business lets just crash this disastrous coalition and go to the country and settle this once and for all. We have facts (not fiction) we are turning the corner and slowly moving forward and could end up better than the Germans but we are being held back by our so called partners. The only alternative is to follow Australia disband the DECC completely and then totally review the whole cost to the country and think of ways of redistributing the savings to benefit everybody. Since 2002 there has been billions thrown at RE and it is not working.

    Reply The meeting was not well attended by MPs, as I guess it was a very busy day with many other events.

  25. stred
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    FRS. .. Fellow of the Right Sort- according to some scientists.

  26. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Let’s start with the basic question: Do we measure CO2 and temperature at enough locations on the earth and in its atmosphere to know what the averages are? Related to this is the scurrilous rumour that the CO2 level measured in Hawaii has been influenced by the opening of a filling station below the CO2 measuring point.

    Since the theory is being pushed that global warming has been halted by the drawing down of CO2 into the depths of the Pacific, what measurements have been made – or are planned to be made – in the depths of the Pacific?

    It might help if the world wide scientific community collected their data, put it into a database and published it. After all, my taxes have financed their activities. Why should I not see their output?

    • uanime5
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Let’s start with the basic question: Do we measure CO2 and temperature at enough locations on the earth and in its atmosphere to know what the averages are?

      To answer that question you’d need to decide how many measurements you need to get an accurate average.

      Since the theory is being pushed that global warming has been halted by the drawing down of CO2 into the depths of the Pacific, what measurements have been made – or are planned to be made – in the depths of the Pacific?

      Scientists have been measuring global sea temperature for some time.

      It might help if the world wide scientific community collected their data, put it into a database and published it. After all, my taxes have financed their activities.

      You can read this information in the IPCC reports, NASA’s website, or a study on world temperatures.

  27. Posted May 18, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I do genuinely mean this as a helpful comment, but you aren’t doing your argument any good by talking about ‘weather’ when you should be using the word ‘climate’.

    It is possible that climate change won’t turn out to be as bad as feared and you can find climatologists, not ‘weatherologists’, to support you in your preferred argument. Judith Curry would be one who springs to mind. She wouldn’t be making the same mistake.

    Her argument is that the science is still uncertain about climate change. She’s probably right. The question then is does that uncertainty mean we don’t do anything about it? I would argue that the uncertainty is just as likely to mean that the climate will change more than the best estimate rather than less.

    There’s probably a 1 in 20 chance that it will mean the end of human civilisation. It probably won’t affect our generation. We’ll all be dead before the problems get really bad. So why bother? That’s not a bad argument for each of us personally!

    Even though every generation consumes the products created by its own contemporary economy, and there is no evidence at all that us baby boomers suffered in any way due to having to repay war debts, the political right tend to worry that the future world will suffer because we have left them too much debt. But on the other hand they don’t worry at all that we might leave the next generation too much pollution and an unstable climate.

    It’s hard to figure sometimes.

    Reply Climate is long run weather. CO2 is not pollution. The right does indeed worry about pollution and is as keen as the left to have clean air and water.

  28. Atlas
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Really the problem is that of control. That is: “Who gets to publish What in Scientific Journals”.

    I’ve commented on this before, but my conversations with other (non climate related) scientists reveal that their acceptance of the IPCC science is based on the assumption of fair refereeing. Yet, if you ask them about their own discipline, then they’ll tell of all the politicking that goes on.

    As a politician John, you could usefully press your MP collegues on the Commons Science Committee to call in the Editors of the Journals and get them to explain what they do to avoid such conflicts of interest that usually have research funding rent-seeking at the core.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Really the problem is that of control. That is: “Who gets to publish What in Scientific Journals”.

      Only those with evidence to back up their claims get published, which is why the deniers’ unsupported claims are never published in reputable journals in any country.

      I’ve commented on this before, but my conversations with other (non climate related) scientists reveal that their acceptance of the IPCC science is based on the assumption of fair refereeing.

      Do you have any evidence that this international organisation hasn’t been free or fair? Thought not.

      As a politician John, you could usefully press your MP collegues on the Commons Science Committee to call in the Editors of the Journals and get them to explain what they do to avoid such conflicts of interest that usually have research funding rent-seeking at the core.

      In order to do this you’d need evidence to back up these claims.

  29. Vanessa
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    We read that CO2 used to be TEN TIMES more plentiful many years ago than it is now and the planet did not die. As CO2 is measured in parts per 10,000 it is about 3.30. Oxygen is 2005.00. To be able to feed 9 billion people we need plants to be even more efficient at producing fruit and vegetables not less and they need CO2 to thrive. There is a polytunnel where they grow only tomatoes and have discovered that by feeding the plants CO2 they produce even more tomatoes !

  30. uanime5
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    MPs elicited the reply eventually after sustained cross examination that in recent years Antarctic sea ice has been growing in extent.

    Antarctic sea ice has only been growing in the west of the Antarctic, but has been decreasing in the east. The sea ice lost in the east has been far greater than any gain in the west, so overall Antarctic sea ice has slightly decreased. Antarctic land ice has also decreased.

    Why do the scientists refer to just the Arctic in their headline or conclusion?

    The decrease has been greater in the Arctic than the Antarctic. Also people live near the Arctic but not the Antarctic.

    Where is the sea level rising, and is that occurring owing to land based ice melting as predicted?

    Sea levels have been increasing and will be much higher once all the ice has melted.

    Why do they think that rising temperatures melts ice and snow in the Arctic, but claim that rising temperatures creates more ice and snow in the Antarctic, where the extra warmth allows more water retention in the atmosphere leading to heavier snowfalls?

    Why didn’t you ask the scientists this question? If you had the scientists would have explained that sea ice is less affected by global warming than land ice. They also would have explained that overall the sea ice is decreasing in the Antarctic, not increasing.

    Also if there was more water retention in the atmosphere wouldn’t that result in lighter snowfalls because less water/snow would fall from clouds.

    However, the whole 24 page booklet is written from the proposition that there is global warming, it will get worse and it is caused by man made Co2.

    Something that has been proven correct by 5 IPCC reports, much the annoyance of climate change deniers who seem to believe that anything they don’t like is part of a Marxist plot.

    It seeks to dismiss some of the many arguments brought by sceptics against the theory, which makes it read like a propaganda document.

    In other words they used real science to show that the deniers are wrong and don’t have any evidence to back up their claims. That’s called “scientific analysis” not propaganda.

    I thought I would share with you some of the better more humble statements made in it, as a contrast to the loud mouthed certainties of the crude global warmists (not our two Professors I hasten to add):

    In other words you plan to quote them out of context, then perform a flawed analysis because you believe that the people who read your blog are idiots who don’t understand basic science.

    They assert that there has been global warming from 1850 to 2010, yet supply a graph which shows global cooling from 1850 to 1920, warming from 1910 to around 1940, cooling from 1940 to around the late 1970s followed by global warming to 2000, and a plateau since.

    Firstly it’s only cooling if the average temperature consistently drops for over a decade. I suspect you’re trying to pass off plateaus as cooling.

    Secondly did the graph you saw showed that the global warming and “cooling” cancelled each other out? If it showed these “cooling” periods resulting in little to no decrease in temperature, while the warming period involved large increased in temperature then this graph clearly shows that the average global temperature has been repeated increasing.

    “The largest global scale climate variations in Earth’s recent geological past are the ice age cycles” caused by changes to the Earth’s orbit. There has been a 4 to 5 degree warming for this reason since the last ice age ended. They also accept that 50 million years ago there was two and half times more natural CO2 in the atmosphere, and they infer that global temperatures were 10 degrees higher than now. The pamphlet does not seek to explain these large natural variations in CO2.

    In other words you’re claiming that because something millions of years ago can’t be explained because scientists don’t have much evidence from this period that a similar situation today can’t be explained even though scientists have much more evidence to draw conclusions from. In other words you’ve committed a logical fallacy.

    They accept that you cannot predict rising temperatures from rising human CO2 output, saying that in any given decade “many natural factors are modulating this long term warming” including volcanic activity, and changes in ocean currents.

    Another fallacy. Just because scientists cannot predict the exact rise doesn’t mean that they can’t produce a range of likely rises.

    When asked how long we could experience a slowdown or fall before they thought their models wrong, the scientists settled on 50 years as a safe figure. It is safe in the sense that most of the people in the debate will be dead or retied by the time we get there, and allows a lot of latitude with natural causes offsetting man made global warming in the meantime.

    Given that these models cover temperature rises over several decades 50 years is a reasonable period. Most the “cooling” you mentioned lasted several decades.

    They confirm that recent temperatures are below those reached “5000 to 10000 years ago in the warmest part of our current interglacial period”. That is a doubly interesting statement, as it leaves open the likelihood of a new ice age in due course from natural causes, and reminds us that there have been past periods of substantial warming without man made CO2.

    So John you believe that because temperatures are currently lower than at a time when much of the planet was uninhabitable this justifies doing nothing in case the problem magically fixes itself. Don’t expect rational people to be prepared for centuries of high temperatures on the off-chance that the problem may fix itself.

    In summary, a pamphlet written to promote global warming theory based on man made CO2 is a mixture of polemic and some sensible and sceptical observations about the limits of current knowledge.

    Actually it’s a pamphlet written using conclusions drawn from the most accurate scientific evidence available, rather than denier propaganda based on ideology.

    As they accept water vapour is an important greenhouse gas, and clouds have a big impact on weather, the uncertainties about these two big variables clearly make shorter term average temperature forecasting very difficult, even for periods as long as a decade.

    Water vapour also only remains in the atmosphere for a week, so any increase in water vapour will only have a short term effect; unlike CO2 which remains in the atmosphere for centuries.

    Also did the scientist say that water vapour and clouds make “average temperature forecasting very difficult” or is this just your interpretation?

    From the graphs supplied deviations from their warming trend can last for several decades.

    Yet despite these decades of “deviation” the average global temperature remains much the same at the start and end of this period.

    The trend itself depends on how you draw a trend line on a very variable graph.

    Well if you draw the line over a century you’ll find that on average it’s increased.

    I found all this caution and scepticism encouraging. It implies there needs to be a lot more study before scientists can claim the science is settled, and before they have climate models which can forecast average temperatures over ten or twenty year periods.

    The science is settled because the evidence shows that man made CO2 is causing the average global temperature to rise. The main areas of uncertainty concern how fast is it going to rise, something that scientists are getting better at predicting. There’s no evidence that it is going to fall simply because the deniers don’t want to accept reality.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 20, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Still only one degree of temperature rise since 1900 and no rise since 2000.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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