Lewandowsky – Climate Scientists should be listened to because they are wrong

Stephen Lewandowsky has another couple of papers out. From e! Science News

Scientific uncertainty has been described as a ‘monster’ that prevents understanding and delays mitigative action in response to climate change. New research by Professor Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Bristol, and international colleagues, shows that uncertainty should make us more rather than less concerned about climate change. In two companion papers, published today in Climatic Change, the researchers investigated the mathematics of uncertainty in the climate system and showed that increased scientific uncertainty necessitates even greater action to mitigate climate change.

The scientists used an ordinal approach — a range of mathematical methods that address the question: ‘What would the consequences be if uncertainty is even greater than we think it is?’

And

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair in Cognitive Psychology and member of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol, said: “We can understand the implications of uncertainty, and in the case of the climate system, it is very clear that greater uncertainty will make things even worse. This means that we can never say that there is too much uncertainty for us to act. If you appeal to uncertainty to make a policy decision the legitimate conclusion is to increase the urgency of mitigation.”

Co-author, Dr James Risbey of Australia’s CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, said: “Some point to uncertainty as a way to minimize the climate change problem, when in fact it means that the problem is more likely to be worse than expected in the absence of that uncertainty. This result is robust to a range of assumptions and shows that uncertainty does not excuse inaction.”

If we assume that catastrophic climate change is a fundamental truth, the authors are right. The task of climate science is to reveal that truth to the world. If that truth cannot be accurately accessed, then the consequences of unmitigated climate change will be greater than if they could be. But if there is no fundamental truth to be revealed then all what you have is a number of dogmatic people who cannot accept that their theories are not backed by the evidence. The failure to understand the path to climate catastrophe might be due to no climate catastrophe in prospect. Persistent failures increase the likelihood that the belief in the fundamental truth of climate catastrophism is just a cult. Circumstantial evidence is in the unique methods and language of the “science”; moral certitude; failure to appreciate climate change could be a trivial problem; belief in their infallibility; reliance on belief in science, as opposed to accepting science that fails to be falsified; failure to recognize that those who disagree may also have valid viewpoint; and the denigration of anybody who asks questions as heretics deniers. Further, the solution is always the same, fitting in with an extremist socialist-environmentalist world view. There is no recognition that mitigation policies can fail. If mitigation can avert climate catastrophe it is a tautology to state that if mitigation is only practiced in a few minor emitting countries, those countries will bear all the cost of policies, and future generations will endure virtually all the consequences. The same is tautological truth applies if mitigation is practiced globally, but fails to reduce emissions.

The pay walled papers are here and here.

Kevin Marshall

Update :Jo Nova has a satirical take on the latest Lew papers.

http://joannenova.com.au/2014/04/new-lewandowsky-study-finds-uncertainty-monster-under-his-bed-will-cost-billions/

Observations on the Shollenberger Survey

In late 2012 there was a lot of adverse comment about the paper Lewandowsky, Oberauer & Gignac – NASA faked the moon landing:Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science (in press, Psychological Science). I did my own quick analysis using pivot tables, which was referred to elsewhere.

Last week, Brandon Shollenberger produced a shorter survey that, though tongue in cheek, aimed to replicate the findings of the Lewandowsky et al. He wrote

As you’re aware, Stephan Lewandowsky has written several papers claiming to have found certain traits amongst global warming skeptics. I believe his methodology is fundamentally flawed. I believe a flaw present in his methodology is also present in the work of many others.

To test my belief, I’m seeking participants for a short survey (13 questions). The questions are designed specifically to test a key aspect of Lewandowsky’s methodology. The results won’t be published in any scientific journal, but I’ll do a writeup on them once the survey is closed and share it online.

This was published at the blogs Wattsupwiththat, JoanneNova and BishopHill blogs. The poll is still available to view.

A few hours ago Jo Nova published Shollenberger’s initial findings, as “Warmists Are Never Wrong, Even When Supporting Genocide“. Using the same methodology that Lewandowsky et al (LOG12) “demonstrated” that those who reject the climate religion have a propensity to believe in cranky conspiracy theories, Shollenberger showed that believers in catastrophic global warming have a propensity to believe in genocide, paedophilia and human trafficking. Like for the LOG12, I have run the data through Excel pivot tables to reveal that Shollenberger was successful in undermining LOG12.

Categorizing the responses

For the LOG12 I split the respondents according to the average response to the four LOG12 “climate science” questions.


Similarly, with the Shollenberger survey, I have categorised the respondents according to response to the three questions on global warming. This time I weighted the responses in relation to belief in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. First I changed the 1 to 5 response to a 0 to 4 response. The weightings were then 1 for Ques 1, 2 for Ques 2 and 4 for Ques 3. By dividing by the maximum score of 28, I obtained a “believer” percentage. Questions are below.

Also, I have looked at the percentage with the outlier scores, along with the average scores.


Preliminary observations

Some brief preliminary observations that stand out from the pivot tables. These are the green bordered summaries below and the responses to the individual questions at the foot.

  1. Compared with LOG12, Schollenberger gets three times the responses and takes a week rather than 18 months to publish the results.
  2. Schollenberger shows the result of only publishing a survey on only one side of the global warming divide, whilst trying to analyse the other side. The vast majority of responses are from people you are not targeting.
  3. The three times response, in a much shorter time frame indicates that sceptics are far more interested in the subject of global warming than the believers.
  4. Proportionately, more far sceptics seem to visit “believer” blogs than “believers” visit sceptic blogs. This should not be controversial. Sceptics look to understand the view they oppose, whilst “believers” look for confirmation. Climate change is no different from many other areas, including many of the softer sciences.
  5. Schollenberger, in his three questions on belief in global warming captures a broader possible range of beliefs in the climate science, than LOG12 does in four questions. In particular it is possible to distinguish between those who believe humans have caused most of the recent warming, but it is fairly trivial, and those who (like the MSM) believes we are all doomed unless we abandon out cars for bicycles and go to 2W lightbulbs everywhere. The LOG12 questions were designed to polarize views into “pro-science” and “deniers”. Schollenberger thus achieves very quickly what millions of dollars spent on opinion surveys conceals. The extreme alarmism that justifies policy is not held by the majority who believe that anthropogenic global warming is an issue.
  6. Both surveys were uncontrolled for “scam” responses. That is for those on one side to be able to mischievously post as an opponent, but with reprehensible views. The Schollenberger survey had more, and (to a lesser extent) a higher proportion of scam responses. Given the knowledge of LOG12, this is not surprising. But, given the proportions of non-scam responses, “believers” seem to have a greater propensity to scam “sceptics” than the opposite.
  7. Thus Schollenberger can demonstrate that Lewandowsky’s conclusions are as much based on scam responses as his survey.



The Survey Questions


Number of Responses to questions 4 to 13, in relation to CAGW score.


Kevin Marshall

Tyndall Centre’s New Totalitarianism

Updated with more examples 14/12/13 11am

The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (HQ at the University of East Anglia, with branch office just down road from me at Manchester University) held The Radical Emission Reduction Conference: 10-11 December 2013 at the offices of the Royal Society. Joanne Nova reporting on the conference quoted the following:-

Today, in 2013, we face an unavoidably radical future. We either continue with rising emissions and reap the radical repercussions of severe climate change, or we acknowledge that we have a choice and pursue radical emission reductions: No longer is there a non- radical option.

My first reaction was

These people have not discovered logic or the real world outside of their groups. For instance

1. Where are the robust, unambiguous, forecasts of “severe climate change” impacts? Lacking this, the “do-nothing” scenario could be an alternative.

2. Radical emission reduction policies may not work. Useless policies could end up causing mass impoverishment, leaving future generations much less able to cope with the coming climate apocalypse.

3. Radical emission reduction policies may be both necessary and work in theory, but will never be enacted because “radical” activists have not learnt the art of persuasion and appreciating that other points of view are possible.

Following an initial reading of the conference abstracts, this initial reaction was somewhat understated. The 1.01MB file is at radicalplanabstracts.pdf. Some notes.

The Philosopher’s case for Totalitarianism

On pages 15 to 17 is ‘Responsibility for radical change in emission of greenhouse gases’

Page 16

Generally it is acceptable to frame scenarios of climate change in terms of cost-efficiency, percentages of emission reduction or the target atmospheric CO2 concentration. Yet we develop the argument that predefining the outcome of any change limits the possible processes leading to this change. In fact, when we already know the necessary outcome, the change that is necessary cannot be considered radical at all.

Page 17

For the radical change in greenhouse gas emissions the responsibility towards the radicalness of change means that those involved in the climate change negotiations and policy-making need to let go of their preconceived notions of climate, change, and general structure of cause and effect, science and human life.

And in conclusion

We argue that one cannot desire radical change without acknowledging that we (individuals and institutions) may be swept off our feet, that we may lose influence and control. We need to accept that modifications are not going to bring about radical emission reductions. What we need is radical change, including radical change in our own backyard, our understanding of leadership and in our own epistemic notions of what change means.

All that matters is saving the planet. It is not about saving the planet for future generations, as we humans do not matter. It is not about the climate models being accurate – as they are supposed to about modelling cause (increasing greenhouse gas levels) with the effect (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming). And it is not science.

The Economist’s case for Totalitarianism

On pages 7 to 9 is ‘Demand-side regulation in the policy mix to achieve radical CO2 reductions: modelling global decarbonisation with E3MG

Page 7

Radical reductions in CO2 emissions from reductions in consumption of fossil fuels across the economy could be modelled as coming from changes in life-styles, regulations or prices or a mix of all three. The main demand-side sources arise from the use of fossil fuels in buildings, transport and industry, and indirectly, via the use of electricity generated from fossil fuels. We assume that the power sector becomes decarbonised via a mix of emission trading schemes and regulations. We then consider the implications of a rapid reduction in demand-side fossil-fuel use coming from higher energy prices and regulation of equipment standards and energy efficiency.

To achieve the plan, all the advanced countries (and some not-so-advanced like Belarus) will introduce emissions trading schemes ETS with low tariffs in 2015, sharply escalating after 2020. Emerging economies (e.g. China, Brazil & Mexico) will introduce schemes in 2020 at lower rates. By 2030, in conjunction with tougher economic regulations, coal-fired power stations will be phased out.

With respect to the regulations

These effects are then strengthened from 2020 onwards, with the energy saving, the associated investment and increase in prices all rising by some 17%pa. By 2030 the strength of the regulations is about 5 times that assumed by the IEA. The scale of this increase gives an indication of just how strong regulations have to become.

Italics mine. The plan will only work if it far, far tougher than anything yet on the table. At least the models predict that there will be a small net benefit.

The Increase in investment, including indirect effects, is about 4% above the reference scenario by 2030. Combined with the effects of revenue recycling and the lower growth in world oil prices, it generates more output and employment, raising both growth rates by some 0.2 percentage points each year over the decade.

So in China, which has had near 10% annual growth for over two decades based on cheap coal-based energy, can switch to much more expensive and less reliable “clean” energy sources, with a small net benefit. Hmmm.

People will change their lifestyles if they are unable to afford to do otherwise. Businesses who do not respond will be expropriated for the common good, and their denialist bosses sent to be re-educated in labour camps. The plan will work, and the economic models are infallible. Any deviation from the plan will be therefore be due to economic sabotage.

The Psychologist sees a problem – but does not want to say so

On pages 12 to 13 is ‘Psychology of human acceptance and engagement

A short abstract, quoted in full

The need to voluntarily write off fossil fuel reserves is now clear. The continuing exponential nature of CO2 emissions tells us that none of the talk and action to date on climate change has produced a detectable dent in the trajectory. It also strongly suggests that since efficiency and innovation have gone hand in hand with emissions growth, they are, in themselves, more likely to be integral to the dynamics of growth than to enable mitigation. The exponentiality further suggests that a feedback mechanism needs breaking at the global system level; there is plenty of evidence that local reductions are absorbed elsewhere in the system, like a squeezed balloon.

(Especially in the absence of very widespread CCS), a global constraint on the extraction of fuel is a ‘must have’. All actions can therefore be viewed in terms of their contribution to the conditions under which the global socio- economic system might shift to one in which humans have voluntarily agreed to leave fuel in the ground. Such conditions are more than the cocktail of science, politics, technology and economics to which most climate change analysis, including the above summary, is constrained. The most critically lacking element is the psychology of human acceptance of and engagement with a problem such as climate change, characterised by its abstraction, uncertainty and inescapably global systemic nature. We need to view this as an unsolved mystery, the most ignored part of the puzzle and critical to bridging the void between rationale analysis and policy.

My interpretation is that human beings do not want to sacrifice their immediate interests to some ill-defined and distant goals spoken by some “Johnny foreigners” who do not share their values. Further, leaders of energy-producing authoritarian countries will not leave these fossil fuels in the ground when they know that to do so would lead to economic collapse, swiftly followed by a violent overthrow of their regimes and their possible deaths.

The Social Scientist’s case for a Dictatorship

On pages 23 to 25 is ‘Social science prospects for radical change’

The only acknowledged truth is from the UNIPCC and the Stern Review. No acknowledgement that contrary perspectives are possible.

Social psychologists, among others, have drawn attention to the potential for climate mitigation which could be unlocked through the application of insights into the affective, cognitive, value-based, and social and broader contextual determinants of people’s actions.

Social Scientists must change the way we think.

Despite the acknowledged need to understand and influence the role of the individual in contributing to climate change, the disparity between what might be and what has been achieved has become discomfiting.

 

They are not getting the message across, and they cannot understand why.

 

With the exception of the establishment of a small number of iconic behaviours such as recycling, it has proved extremely difficult to bring about meaningful transformations in personal emissions at either the individual or societal level. On the basis of a number of reviews, it would seem that whilst some change is achievable, there are profound limits to what can be accomplished using current, conventional approaches.

 

Translation – we need more power.

 

Current methods of persuasion have failed. We need something different.

 

First up is control of the press, followed by enforced re-education have been the historical approaches.

 

There has been an expectation that change be confined to small-scale and undemanding changes in behaviour (for example, switching off unused appliances); a concomitant neglect of highly impactful activities because of the perceived political infeasibility of doing so (for example, levels of consumption);

 

Translation – we need more power.

 

… a reluctance on the part of social scientists to take strong normative positions (specifically, to see themselves as advocates for change rather than disinterested theoreticians);

 

Translation – we need stronger and more dogmatic beliefs in the cause.

 

…. and a lack of integration – and at times outright hostility – between different disciplinary traditions (for example between behavioural science and social practice based approaches).

 

Translation – we need only achieve this power if we unite into a unified force.

 

In the first instance, we suggest that a radical social science of climate change mitigation would set out deliberately to enter territory which is complex and often seemingly intractable – but where personal emissions are significant.

 

Basically ban the use of cars and forget about foreign holidays in aeroplanes. Persuade people to do without the elements of consumerist society, such as designer clothes, televisions, computers, washing machines, Christmas etc.

 

That these behavioural changes are nothing to do with combatting a global climate change problem is shown by a very telling omission. There is no mention of any country other than the UK.

 

Democracy and human rights may have to be suspended

 

On pages 25 to 26- ‘Is wartime mobilisation a suitable policy model for rapid national climate mitigation?

 

The abstract concludes

 

We find that, while wartime experience suggests some potential strategies for rapid climate mitigation in the areas of finance and labour, it also has severe limitations, resulting from its lack of democratic processes. Furthermore, since restructuring the existing socio-economic system to mitigate climate change is more complex than fighting a war and since the threat of climate change is less obvious to non-scientists, it is unlikely that the public will be unified in support of such executive action.

 

Again, nothing about the global economy, just the UK.

 

And opportunities exploited for a radical redistribution of emissions

 

On pages 27 to 29 is ‘Personal carbon trading in a radical future

 

Personal carbon trading (PCT) is a radical and innovative mitigation policy which offers an equitable means of reducing emissions from household energy use and personal travel. PCT offers two dimensions of fairness – firstly, everyone gets an equal carbon allowance, a ‘fair share’. Secondly, modelling of the impacts of a PCT scheme shows it would be progressive and would disadvantage fewer low-income people than an alternative policy of carbon taxation.

 

Everyone will be allocated an equal share, and the computer models show that it will work.

 

What is left out is the problem of rolling this out globally to solve a global problem.

 

As I always say, compare and contrast my interpretations with what is actually written. When a publicly-funded body brings together a number of academics from different disciplines, all calling for massively increased power, there is something amiss. When it is held within the UK’s “academy of sciences” building, it is being given an official veneer of respectability.

 

NB First time comments are moderated. The comments can be used as a point of contact.

Kevin Marshall

Radiative Forcing – UNIPCC AR5 undermines AR4, but scientists have unshaken confidence in their work

Last year in “Aerosols – The UNIPCC AR4 adjustment factor” I claimed that in 2007 the UNIPCC engineered the radiative forcing components to tell a story. It basically manipulated the figures to account for the lack of warming up to that point. The release of AR5 Working Group 1 report yesterday shows the extent of the false levels of certainty in the scientist’s estimates in 2007.

The Data

In 2007 Figure 2.4 of the Synthesis Report was as follows

In 2013, Figure SPM.5 is below1

There are slight changes in format and terminology. I have put the two tables side-by-side for comparison, with analysis:-

 

The range of forcings I have expressed the range as a percentage of the mid-point.

Below are comments on the individual forcing components.

Carbon Dioxide CO2

The most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas has hardly moved, from 1.66 to 1.68 W m-2. In 1750 CO2 levels were 280 ppm, rising to 379 ppm in 2005 and 392 ppm in 2011. In 2007, the scientists estimated that it took a rise of 60 ppm to increase radiative forcing by 1 W m-2, compared to 66 ppm in 2013. Scientists have found that CO2 is 10% less effective as a greenhouse gas than previously thought. They are far less certain about this figure, as the range has doubled, but they are still have high confidence in their figures4 but scientists have switched from high confidence to very high confidence with their figures.3

Methane CH4

CH4 has practically doubled in impact, from 0.48 to 0.97 W m-2. In 1750 CH4 levels were 715 ppb, rising to 1774 ppb in 2005 and 1803 ppb in 2011. In 2007, the scientists estimated that it took a rise of 2200 ppb to increase radiative forcing by 1 W m-2, compared to 1120 ppm in 2013. Scientists have found that CH4 was practically twice as potent as a greenhouse gas than previously thought. They are far less certain about this figure, as the range has more than doubled relative to the mid-point. More significantly, the new potency is well outside the confidence range of the 2007 report. There the high point of the uncertainty range was 0.53 W m-2, whereas the low point of the uncertainty range is 0.74 W m-2. Despite having been so far out six years ago the scientists still have high confidence in their figures. The reason given on page 9 is

This difference in estimates is caused by concentration changes in ozone and stratospheric water vapour due to CH4 emissions and other emissions indirectly affecting CH4.

 

The potency of CH4 is a modelled estimate based on other factors. It is by including these indirect effects that the uncertainty is increased.

As a side point, of the 1100 ppb rise in CH4 levels since 1750, 80% was prior to the 1975. It has ceased to be a significant contributor to increasing radiative forcing. Given the increased recognised potency, it is a minor explanation of the pause in warming.

Nitrous Oxide N2O

This has hardly moved in impact, from 0.16 to 0.17 W m-2. In 1750 N2O levels were 270 ppb, rising to 319 ppb in 2005 and 324 ppb in 2011. Scientists are far less certain about these figures, as the range has nearly doubled, but they still have high confidence in their figures.

Halocarbons4

Although a minor group of greenhouse gases the impact has reduced from 0.34 to 0.18 W m-2, but the magnitude to the uncertainty band has increased more than five-fold from 0.06 (0.37-0.31) to 0.34 (0.35-0.01). Instead of reducing scientists confidence, they have gone from “high confidence” to “very high confidence” in the figures.

Aerosols

Of the 2007 report I claimed they were a fudge factor, suppressing the warming effect of greenhouse gases. The combined mid-point is now 1.20 W m-2of direct and cloud albedo effects, down more than 30% on 2007. The range of uncertainty is more significant. This has increased from 0.8 to 0.9 W m-2, with the impact of the high-end being a net warming effect. Despite being now being uncertain of whether the direct effect of aerosols warm or cool the planet, and despite being less certain of already high “confidence” range six years ago, the scientists still have high confidence in their figures.

Forecasts for Radiative Forcing in 2100 for CO2 and CH4

Let us assume that CO2 continue to increase at 3ppm a year and CH4 increases by 5ppb a year until 2100. Using 2007 potency estimates, CO2 forcing will be 6.34 W m-2 and CH4 will be 0.69 W m-2 above 1750 levels. Using 2013 potency estimates, CO2 forcing will be 5.72 W m-2 and CH4 will be 1.37 W m-2 above 1750 levels. Combined estimated forcing is less than 1% different, despite doubling the potency of CH4. Maybe we will have a much greater reason to worry about the melting of permafrost in the tundra, causing a huge rise in atmospheric methane levels. Suppressed warming from this factor has been doubled.

Conclusion

Scientists now implicitly admit that they were much too confident about the potency of greenhouse gases in 2007. They have now doubled the uncertainty bands on the three major greenhouse gases. Yet recognizing this past over confidence seems to have had no impact on current levels of confidence.

Kevin Marshall

 

Notes

  1. The graphic at the time of writing was only available in pdf format.
  2. NMVOC = Non-methane volatile organic compounds. They have a role in the production of ozone. Defra have a fuller explanation.
  3. All these figures are available from the 2007 “Full report” page and the 2013 WG1 Summary for Policymakers page 7. This is the 27-09-13 version. Page numbering will change once tables are properly inserted.
  4. Upon re-reading I have made two adjustments. For CO2, I note that scientists have increased their confidence despite doubling the size of their uncertainty bands. I have also added a comment on halocarbons, where confidence has increased, despite a

Head of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri misleads on pause in Global Warming

Prof Rajendra Pachauri made a number of misleading statements (or was misquoted) in an interview with BBC Environment analyst Roger Harrabin, This includes:-.

He also dismissed suggestions of a slowdown in global warming.

“There’s definitely an increase in our belief that climate change is taking place and that human beings are responsible,” he told me.

“I don’t think there is a slowdown (in the rate of temperature increase). I would like to draw your attention to the World Meteorological Organization which clearly stated on the basis of observations that the first decade of this century has been the warmest in recorded history.

The first sentence is wrong. It is contradicted by another BBC article “Global warming pause ‘central’ to IPCC climate report.

The second sentence is a statement about beliefs. It is hearsay at best, the antithesis of stronger evidence.

I showed why the third and fourth sentences are a dodge around the warming pause last month. In a stylized form temperatures were flat to 1975, rose through to 1998 and have stalled since.


From this, you can show that there has been five decades of rising temperatures. It is misleading to say that global warming is still happening when it has paused.


Maybe the leader of the IPCC is, at least in part, a victim of the zealous support of climate alarmism that the BBC shows, in betrayal of its’ charter.

I doubt if there will be a falling out of the head of the UNIPCC with the BBC. After all the caption beneath the photograph is a falsehood that Pachauri has been peddling for a few years now.

Prof Pachauri shared the 2007 Nobel peace prize for his work

This is what you will find at the Nobel Prize Website

The Nobel Peace Prize 2007


Intergovernmental Panel Photo: Ken Opprann

on Climate Change (IPCC) Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr.

Pachauri collected the Nobel Peace Prize as head of the IPCC. He did not share the prize. The inaccuracy is the same as that shown in reporting the lack of warming. It shows something more significant than what is there. At least the BBC puts that it is a Peace Prize.


Answering Michael the Realist

The summary conclusion I reach from this posting is

Cherry-picking is being selective, to confirm one’s prejudices. To use all the available data is (according to Michael) the sign of a true skeptic. So (a) Michael is right, therefore wrong (b) Michael is wrong, therefore right (c) Michael contradicts himself. I cannot think of any other logical category.

One of the issues I find with the blogs on climate, and particularly with many of the comments, is that many believe that the arguments hinge on a single piece of data, or on the weight of opinion. There is also a lot of denigration of others but no substantiation. The reason I chose “Michael the Realist” was because he was trolling Jo Nova’s blog, whingeing that nobody would answer his ridiculous points, which were totally out of context with the theme. When I do a search on “Michael the Realist”, in one posting I get 37 hits out of 297 comments. This understates the way he sought to hijack the debate. A couple of comments he made are at the foot, with comments by Joanne Nova

My subsequent postings with direct answers to his questions met with no acknowledgement that I may have anything useful. I fully realise that I could be fundamentally wrong somewhere, or rejecting good strong arguments for superficial reasons. Climate is an enormously complex issue. The study of climate is an applied science, requiring drawing upon a range of skills from a variety of areas. I have therefore listed, and explained, the fundamental issues that climate science ignores. It is from the study of the philosophy of science, economics, econometrics, accountancy, and history. I also draw analogies with principles of trial by jury in English Common Law. Over hundreds of years there has developed principles for establishing whether a claim is proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution. The people that need convincing are ordinary people. It is an analogy that the PR people should draw upon.

The fundamental issues are listed below. In some cases I will refer to only the letter for brevity.

A Positive and Normative

B Boundary conditions

C Open and closed questions

D Trivial v. Non-trivial

E Quality

F False Positives and False Negatives

G Relevancy and significance

H Necessary and Sufficient

I Levels of evidence

J Values of the Legal Process in Reverse

K Underdetermination Thesis

L Vulnerability

M The Null Hypothesis

To retain the flow I will post my previous comments in orange, and Michaels in green. New comments are in black. This exchange took place here and here.

  1. Your so called “proof” of AGW is lacking something. It has data on the alleged effect (C20th warming), but no data on the alleged cause – human greenhouse gas emissions. Do you agree?

    No. It is warming, this fits the theory of AGW as greenhouse gas emissions are increasing K. Natural factors are examined and cannot be the cause. All other predictions of AGW caused warming are also occurring, including falling ph in the oceans D, melting Arctic D, falling global ice volume D, rising sea levels D, increasing extreme weather especially floods D, heat waves D and droughts D and much more. Also
    F applies to weather trends.

    There is no other plausable explanation put forward that I have seen yet.

  2. Above I show there is no apparent link between C20th CO2 emissions and the pattern of warming.

    That is incorrect. C CO2 emission have been increasing and temps have been rising, plus all the other observations. Both rose in the C20th, but I claim that “the relationship of CO2 emissions to average temperature is weak.” I look beyond the simplistic statement, and Michael does not.

  3. If I used HADCRUT4 or GISSTEMP, the fit would be closer, but still have anomalies.

    The trend with GISS, even against the satelites is the same. So unless Michael is claiming that HADCRUT4 and GISSTEMP is the same as HADCRUT3 (thus contradicting his earlier claim that HADCRUT3 was out of date), then they are only the same in an unscientific, cherry-picking sort of way. So there are three option here. First, we trust the Michael who says HADCRUT3 is out-of-date and thus inferior to HADCRUT4 and GISSTEMP. Second, we trust the Michael who says HADCRUT3 gives the same results as HADCRUT4 and GISSTEMP. Third we conclude that Michael does not know what he is talking about.

  4. Pages 2K shows considerable natural fluctuations, including two previous warm periods in the last 2000 years. Maybe not as much at in Esper et al 2012 (published in Nature), but there nonetheless. In the absence of an accurate and clear method of deciphering the human signal from the natural signal, it is easier to assert that C20th warming was predominantly due to natural factors, than >100% due to human factors. (The AR4 of 2007 had aerosols as offsetting much of the GHG effect.)

    Natural factors do indeed exist, but just because we have less information about past natural factors than present ones does not nullify how much we know about present ones. G, I, L, M Most significant natural factors that we can measure and are currently aware of since the 50′s have been cooling. (Unsubstantiated claim) . Also the 2001 to 2010 decade, the hottest on the instrumental record, has been significantle in the grip of cooling la ninas and falling solar. (Unsubstantiated claim) Despite that it is still hotter than the previous decade with predominantly warming el ninos. (Answered here, which Michael has not contradicted) This is the proof that you are wrong, I even skeptic scientists expected it to cool by now. It is not cooling because it is being overwhelmed by greenhouse gas warming.

  5. Given that the GISSTEMP shows much a greater warming spurt in the late C20th than the second half, and that most the extreme rise is in the Northern Hemisphere (especially the Arctic), is it not surprising that the Pages 2K proxies have most of the Arctic and European warming in the early C20th, with little warming thereafter?

    The fastest warming is in the second half, with .5 degree rise snce the 50′s. Repeats what I said about GISSTEMP, but does not engage with the significant bit – that the Pages2K temperature reconstruction contradicts the GISSTEMP temperature record. Pages2K (Michael promotes) appears more in line with HADCRUT3 (Michael rejects as being out-of-date) than GISSTEMP (Michael promotes).

  6. Given a lack of comment to the contrary, you accept that your claims about hottest decades is not evidence against warming having stopped. Rather it is what Stephen Lewandowsky terms “misinformation”.

    No, as I have pointed out, when you take all the science, information and data into account, it is clearly still warming. That statement only works if all your (lack of) science comes from an eyeball look at a cherry picked portion of a graph out of context and ignoring all other data. People, like David Whitehouse of the GWPF, have looked at the surface temperature over the last 15 years or so and found there is no statistically significant warming. Even Nature Climate Change has a peer-reviewed paper showing that the recent warming over the last 20 years is a lot less than the climate models predicted, and agrees that no significant warming in the last 15 years. (see quote in Appendix 2) Note the difference in the periods of the last two sentences. It is a matter of degree. So Michael falls foul of H and I, as established in the peer-reviewed science. Will Lewandowsky and Cook (a) now acknowledge that one of their own spreads “misinformation” (b) declare “Michael the Realist” an outsider (c) duck the issue and implicitly deny that somebody who agrees with the “science” could be more of an “eccentric” than some of the skeptic scientists.

  7. That your definition of “Skeptic” is completely at odds with the premier dictionary of the English Language.

    I use skeptic to be kind and because if I use the term that more accurately describes your behavour I get fake indignation. I actually believe myself to be the skeptic as I look at all the data and information with an open mind. This referred to Michael’s definition of “skeptic” here and my follow-up here. The definition he used was

    A true skeptic is somebody who looks at all the data, science and observations and makes rational and logical determinations on that…

    So Michael does use the term skeptic to refer not to me, but himself. Despite being pointed to the definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary, he still persists in promoting a falsity.

Also from the same comment.

On Correlations

This pearl of wisdom from Michael.


Even your graph above shows fairly good correlation with CO2 and temperature.

Correlations are obtained from running statistical tests against the numbers. It is purely obtained from eyeballing the data – which anybody who understood data would not do. If Michael, the self-proclaimed expert on climate science, wants to run the appropriate correlations, and report on whether they are “good” or not by the appropriate statistical tests, then I will provide them with the data. I will also provide the Excel spreadsheets (raw data and adjusted data) to anybody else who requests it. They can then run this data for CO2 emissions against any temperature set they see fit. It will not be easy, as the test is for a non-linear, time-series correlation. As such a battery of tests are required.

Michael’s opener on my blog is

Your cherry picking again. Your use of hadcrut 3, a superseded non global data set is a dead giveaway and then choosing specific proxies that match your confirmation bias.

I went to CO2 science.org, where they summarize all the available proxies. From those that show estimates of average temperatures estimates since the medieval warm period, they produced this graph.


Cherry-picking is being selective, to confirm one’s prejudices. To use all the available data is (according to Michael) the sign of a true skeptic. So (a) Michael is right, therefore wrong (b) Michael is wrong, therefore right (c) Michael contradicts himself. I cannot think of any other logical category.

A couple of comments by “Michael the Realist”, with bold-type comments by Joanne Nova.

Michael the Realist August 25, 2013 at 5:57 pm · Reply

I also do not ignore responses. I hope you can appreciate that I work for a living and so by the time I get back on it is hard to work out whom has replied to whom and when. So keeping up is a huge issue. THere is one of me and I get attacked by 10+ of you guys. If someone would pay me then I could devote full time to this but I doubt that will happen. I reply to as many as possible.
I’m unpaid too. Do your research before you comment. – Jo

As to repetition, the main arguments from skeptics revolve around 3 areas.
1. There is no consensus, or there is a global conspriracy

[Dishonest or ignorant. This is not remotely a "main" argument. On this site almost everyone agree there is a consensus among climate scientists -- the issue is that it's meaningless. You pretend I talk about a conspiracy. Our main point is the empirical evidence. - jo

The post above with the list of scientific organisations puts those claims to bed. It is not feasable to maintain those views when organisations as far apart as China, US, Russia, Mexico, Peru, France, Canada, India, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Japan, Turkey etc, just to name a few all agree in the science of AGW.

[Consensus proves nothing about the atmosphere. It can be bought (with say $100 bn in science grants) or bullied or a genuine mistake from groupthink. Scientific consensus has been wrong many times before. Name which of these agencies actually surveyed it's members? Ans None, apart from 2 or 3 surveys on tightly defined and annointed "climate scientists". The other statements come from 6 - 8 activists in a committee in each group, are meaningless and have been protested by thousands of members of the major groups. I have covered all this over and over, you don't respect us enough to read my site before arriving here to lecture us repeatedly on a topic we know better than you. - Jo]

2.The models are wrong
I avoid the models completely in discussions as I want to stick to the actual data and observations. The models are useful, and have been really accurate in many areas, because you cannot put the planet in a test tube, isolate variables and see what happens. But as I have pointed out many times, they are still just projections based on ceratin scenarios and reality is always going to be slightly different due to natural variations that are not completely predictable (like ENSO), lack of computing power and accuracy due to grid sizes, and the parameters like how much CO2 or aerosols emitted being different to that entered. The science is not based on the models, it is based on the physics, data and observations, and I make my points on those basis.

[The models are broken and even alarmists admit that now. They have not been accurate about anything that matters. This is blather you can't back up. Read my "new Here" post. We agree with alarmists on physics, but not on feedbacks, you've been misled and are waging the wrong war. - Jo]

3. Warming stopped 16 years ago, or there is a pause etc.
This is answered by the fact that it is a dynamic system with natural and anthropogenic forcings and that even though there are many dips and pauses in the long term record the trend is up. I prove that the 2001 to 2010 decade was the hottest on record globally, over ocean, land and both hemispheres, and that every decade bar 1 in a hundred years has been hotter than the previous one. Using years in such a complicated system is deception becasue it has to many natural cycles to make judgements that way. I show the ENSO charts to prove that the current 13 years have been mainly la nina, but temperatures have not fallen and the period is still hotter than the decade with predominantly el ninos. I show skeptic scientists who have predicted cooling due to natural factors, but this has not occurred. This proves warming is occurring as it has overpowered natural factors. This has not been able to be explained away by your readers using any properly scientifically accepted theories and data. Is this why you are blocking me.

[Since I've published over 700 of your comments, will you apologize for dishonestly suggesting I am blocking you? _Jo]
[As as for the "pause" read my last comment again. Even if is still warming in the long term trend, the models are broken and the 300 years of warming does not correlate to CO2.- Jo]

As to the repetition, I would say that 90% of your posters postings are based around those 3 themes so the repetition is all here.

[You start and amplify these themes by posting 700 comments on exactly these points. That's why commenters get so angry. You drive threads off topic and into these inane repetitious channels. Jo]

Obviously since I am using accepted sceince…

[You don't know what science is. Logical fallacies are not "Science". - Jo]

…and data my answers are not going to change. The posters will repeatedly not accept my answers and keep posting the same questions over and over and over again (Heywood especially but many others) Why are they not being moderated? If I have answered a question but asked it again how should I respond?

[Stop taking the threads off topic and repeating errors and you won't get caught in the same loops. - Jo]

So I have valid answers to all queries that clearly point to a consensus

[Which means nothing in science... -Jo]

and clearly answers why there is a pause,

[Trenberth, Jones and Mann don't know why there is a pause, if you do, you should write to them, quick, they need you! -Jo]

using previous periods is not proof of anything unless you can put forward measurements to show that natural factors were not the cause. Currently natural factors are not the cause, they can be measured and determined. That being the case, to promote delay and to not accept the science, for what I can presume are only ideological reasons, is not the right thing to do. There is more than enough evidence for concern and to justify action, until the science and the data start pointing the other way. The consequences are to severe.

Obviously being moderated this might not (likely) be posted, but I hope you actually read it and think about it. My only motivation is my kids and they do not deserve the short shrift they are getting in regards to the future planet we are leaving them.

[Your kids deserve better science - we're happy to help them have a future with less corruption, better reasoning, and based on evidence - Jo]

Michael the Realist August 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm · Reply

Michael, I don’t want to moderate you or block you. I want you to learn what our basic position is so you can argue at a level commenters will enjoy. I want debate, and I want people to point out where we might be wrong, but repeating logical fallacies is too basic a level. Perhaps I should write an FAQ? _Jo
———————————————————————–

You still haven’t provided a working email address. You are now on the moderated list until you do

I have not been dishonest about questioning my blocking.

You’ve posted 700 comments repeating the same points many times. You have not been blocked. It’s dishonest to say you have.

I have been told that my address is false as I have not responded but I have responded many times, and you have replied. I work, check when I can, the replies come into the hundreds, I will scroll through trying to pick up which ones applied to me. It is easy to miss individual ones, your email does not come in special, it just looks like it is from the list.

Yes you work to but most of your posters do your work for you, I have many more responses to answer personally than you do.
Wow. That is some delusional framework you are creating there. Or perhaps you don’t read my posts? -Jo

My query above has been unable to be successfully answered with any firm science.

What query? I suspect there is no answer anyone could give you… – Jo

That is why they get angry, they cannot answer it. It is based on actual data and observations, not models. I attempt to be as polite as possible and I try to answer as much as possible, repetition comes from them asking me the same questions over and over and making the same complaints. Do you find Heywoods million questions on how much in deg c Australias emissions reductions will reduce temps? I don’t, it is not about one country or minute temps it is about global responsibility and consequences, thats what everybody is resonding to. Do you find blackadder throwing in vikings, without any references as an argument that disproves AGW? What about all the personal questions about why I have kids and drive a car? You say my questions are irrelevent to the science, do you ever question supporters?

[Yes I do. I send emails to commenters privately. Theirs works. They respond before they write another 14 comments. - Jo]

I am not sure what you are after now. Do you want me to go through point by point on your evidence list? Do you want it done on this thread or that one? Can you answer clearly where my logic above is wrong and prove it so that I can be secure in my childrens future?

Read your emails before you write comments asking for answers I have sent you.
PS No I don’t want to tutor you on any thread. 
Argument from authority is a logical fallacy known for 2300 years. It isn’t evidence about the climate.

Jo

Appendix 2 – The Nature Climate Change paper.

The inconsistency between observed and simulated global warming is even more striking for temperature trends computed over the past fifteen years (1998–2012).

For this period, the observed trend of 0.05 ± 0.08 °C per decade is more than four times smaller than the average simulated trend of 0.21 ± 0.03 °C per decade… It is worth noting that the observed trend over this period — not significantly different from zero — suggests a temporary ‘hiatus’ in global warming. 

Blocked by the Great Firewall of China?

One of the advantages of using WordPress is that they provide details of the countries where hits originate from. It is fascinating to see that in the last 18 months I have received hits from well over 100 countries.


As I have only posted in English, it is not surprising that the top three countries, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all hits are Australia, United States, UK (where I live). Yet there are fully 23 nations where I have received just one hit. As I have never mentioned countries such as Laos, Saint Lucia, Papua New Guinea or Ghana, Given that they have small numbers of people and/or with limited internet access, and having mentioned these countries, then this is not surprising. But there is one glaring anomaly in these 23 nations – China. With over 20% of the world’s population, and having mentioned the country at least once – on China’s Coal to Oil Policy – this is at first surprising. Maybe it is the Great Firewall of China that is blocking me. However, there is a site http://greatfirewallofchina.org. The results show that my site is not blocked. This is further confirmed by over half my spam is from China, often with Chinese script.


The explanation might be that the Great Chinese Fire Wall acts like Google incognito window.

I tested some other sites and got mixed results. BBC.co.uk and wattsupwiththat are not blocked. Amongst those blocked are amazon.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk. thegwpf.org and ebay.co.uk.

There is a couple of lesson’s here. First is that no matter how good you consider the data, (and WordPress has, I am sure, site stats to the highest standards) it may not capture everything. Secondly, when statistics do not add up, it is easy to come to a conspiracy conclusion. It might be that you are ignored because you are not recognized, or in being recognized others do not give two hoots to your opinions. Below is the Chinese translation, to act as a test. A further test is to mention Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989, and post the posting in Chinese – See below.

使用WordPress优势之一是,他们提供的点击来自的国家。有趣的是可以看到,在过去的18个月中,我已经收到命中以及超过100个国家和地区。

正如我刚才只张贴英语,这并不奇怪,把上面三个国家占近四分之三的所有点击,澳大利亚,美国,英国(我住的地方)
。然而,是完全有23个国家在那里我只收到一击。因为我从来没有提到国家如老挝,巴布亚新几内亚,圣卢西亚或加纳,鉴于他们有少量的人及/或有限的互联网接入,并在提到这些国家,那么这是不奇怪的。但在23个国家中国,有一个明显异常。随着世界人口的20%以上,至少有一次提到国家中国煤炭石油政策这是第一个令人惊讶的。也许这是伟大的中国防火墙阻止我。然而,有是一个网站http://greatfirewallofchina.org的。结果表明,我的网站没有被阻塞。这进一步证实了我的垃圾邮件的一半以上是来自中国,经常与中国的脚本。

释可能是伟大的中国防火长城就像谷歌隐身窗口。

测试了其他一些网站,并得到了好坏参半的结果。 BBC.co.uk wattsupwiththat没有阻塞。当中那些阻塞amazon.co.uk telegraph.co.uk thegwpf.orgebay.co.uk.

这里有一对夫妇的教训。首先是再好你考虑数据(和WordPress网站统计的最高标准)
,我敢肯定,它可能无法捕捉一切。其次,当统计加起来不,它很容易阴谋的结论来。这可能是被忽略,因为你不承认,或在被认可别人不给两个鸣响您的意见。下面是中文翻译,作为一个测试。进一步的测试是提到天安门大屠杀1989年,发布张贴在中国见下文。

Fundamentals that Climate Science Ignores

Updated 08/09/13 am

Updated 08/09/13 pm – M The Null Hypothesis

Climate Science is a hugely complex subject, dealing with phenomena that are essentially chaotic, with vague patterns. Yet the promotion of that science is banal and superficial. Below are some of the fundamentals that have been addressed in established areas like economics, philosophy and English Common Law, but which the Climate Science community ignores. Most overlap, or are different ways of looking at the same thing.

A Positive and Normative

I do not hold with the logical positivism in vogue in the early parts of the C20th and later underpinning the “positive economics” ideas of Milton Friedman that was popular in the 1950s to 1980s. But it made the useful distinction between positive statements (empirically based statements) and normative statements (what ought to be). The language of climate science is heavily value-laden. There is not attempt to distinguish positive from normative in language, nor highlight that competency in the sphere of positive statements is not necessarily an indication of competency in normative ones.  For instance, when scientists make statements about the moral imperative for policy, they may overemphasize the moral questions raised as they may be too close to the subject. In fact believing that that rising greenhouse gas levels causes a worsening of climate can lead to a bias towards the simplified solution to constrain that growth. It takes understanding of the entirely separate fields of economics and public policy-making to determine whether this is achievable, or the best solution.

B Boundary conditions

There is no clear definition of science in general or the study of climate in particular. The only underlying definitions are tantamount to saying that science is what scientists do, and scientific statements are those made by scientists. Without a clear definition of science, scientists end up making unsupported statements, outside their area of competency. For instance, scientists often make statements about the economic case for policy. With the term “climate change” encompassing both, the general public are misled into believing that “climate scientists” cover both areas.

C Open and closed questions

A closed question can by answered by a single word. The narrowest closed questions are those can be answered “Yes/No” or “True/False”. Open questions need fuller answers. Climate change is not just about closed questions. It is about how much, how likely, when and where. If terms of boundary, there is not a closed question of science versus non-science – with the boundary in actual work being between that published in a peer-reviewed journal and that published outside. That leads onto non-triviality and quality conditions and relevancy

D Trivial v. Non-trivial

The strongest evidence for global warming suggests a trivial issue. In one aspect this is true by definition. The non-trivial part – the potential climate catastrophe that policy seeks to avert – relies upon future projections. This relies on temperature rises many times greater than so far experienced. Projections will always be, weaker that the actual evidence. But there is an empirical aspect as well. If the actual trends are far below those predicted (surface temperature warming trends), or fail to show a switch to a path pointing to catastrophe (acceleration in the rate of sea level rise)

E Quality

There is good quality science and poor quality. Peer review should help, but (as suggested in the Climategate emails) acceptance/rejection can be based on criteria other than science. In most areas of science, and indeed in many professions, efforts have been made to improve the quality of results. One minor step towards improvement of quality is the insistence on publishing the data behind peer-reviewed articles. This has led to the quick exposure of shoddy work like Gergis et al 2012 and LOG12 papers, whereas it took many years of persistence by Steve McIntyre to get the full data on Keith Briffa’s deeply flawed Yamal tree-ring temperature proxy. However, as the forthcoming UNIPCC AR5 report will demonstrate, increasing quality is sacrificed in promoting climate catastrophism.

F False Positives and False Negatives

A particular subset of the quality issue is that of false positives and false negatives. With activists pressuring governments and scientific bodies to agree with the dogma, and promotion of pejorative language (e.g. deniers, fake skeptics), misattribution of significant weather events to climate change is a consequence. Whilst in cancer screening there have been efforts made to reduce the number of false positives and false negatives, in climate science there seems to be every effort to increase the numbers of false positives. (Superstorm Sandy that hit New York state last year, the extreme heat wave in Europe in 2003, the low sea ice point in September 2012).

G Relevancy and significance

Some pieces of information, or scientific papers, are more important than others. The vast majority of papers published are on trivial issues and/or fail to make a lasting impact. In terms of catastrophic global warming, most papers in the field are tangential to the subject. The same is true of items of information, statistics and opinions.

H Necessary and Sufficient

For a climate policy to give net benefits, a number of conditions are necessary, both in the science (greenhouse gas effect, significant warming, adverse consequences) and in policy area (policy with theoretical net benefits > costs of doing nothing, large enough policy area, effective policy management). Sufficient for policy success (net policy benefits > costs of doing nothing) all are to some extent necessary. For policy failure, it is only sufficient for one of the necessary conditions to fail. It does not matter whether this is

-       climate sensitivity being much lower than assumed

-       or adaptation at the non-governmental local level is much more effective than assumed

-       or the net adverse consequences of any given amount of warming are grossly exaggerated

-       or the theoretical economic case for policy is flawed (such as demand for energy is far more inelastic with respect to price over time than assumed, or that renewable energy is not a close substitute to fossil fuel energy)

-       or the actual policy enacted does not encapsulate the economic theory, diluting or nullifying the effectiveness

-       or unilateralist policy where success requires that the vast majority of the biggest economies to participate

-       or the policy on paper is potentially successful, but it is not project managed to drive through the maximum benefits at least cost

I Levels of evidence

In the legal systems, especially in criminal law, it has long been recognized that there are different qualities of evidence. The strongest is DNA, fingerprints, or catching somebody in the act. There is then secondary evidence from witnesses. There is then circumstantial evidence, such as the accused being near to the scene at the time, with no clear reason to be there. The lowest form of evidence, and usually rejected, is hearsay evidence. That is opinions of people with little interest in the case, giving unsupported opinions. The judicial process also views more highly evidence that is corroborated by other pieces of evidence, and evidence that on its own seems quite strong is downgraded or ruled out by contrary evidence, or alternative explanations.

J Values of the Legal Process in Reverse

Climate science, fails to grapple with the grading of evidence, as some its strongest arguments – consensus amongst scientists – is actually hearsay. Improving the quality of evidence would mean critically examining past forecasts in the light of evidence. In the judicial process, creating prejudice in the eyes of the jury against the defendants, or seeking to deny the accused a defence, is forcefully dealt with. Creating prejudice and denying a voice to those who question the climate change dogmas is viewed as part of the cause.

K Underdetermination Thesis

“The underdetermination thesis – the idea that any body of evidence can be explained by any number of mutually incompatible theories”

Quote from Kuhn vs Popper – Steve Fuller 2003

Climate Science is but one thesis on why climate fluctuates. The problem is not just of a potential number of competing theories. It is that there might be a number of different theses influencing climate, with the various weightings dependent on the method and assumptions in analysis. It is not just trying to determine which one, but which ones and to what extent.

L Vulnerability

Every scientific hypothesis is vulnerable to being refuted. Human-caused catastrophic global warming (CAGW) is based on extremely tentative assumptions, and is a forecast of future events. As the warming the past one hundred years is tiny compared that forecast to happen in the future, and that warming is partly obscured by natural variations, then the signal of future catastrophe will be weak. The issue is further clouded by the lack of long periods of data on climate variability before when human emissions became significant. That is data prior to 1945, when the post war economic boom led to a huge increase in human emissions. Assuming the forecasts of CAGW are correct, the hypothesis becomes incredibly vulnerable to rejection.
But if CAGW is false, or massively exaggerated, then the hypothesis is deeply susceptible to confirmation bias by those who only look to find evidence of its truth. The core belief of climate science is that the catastrophist hypothesis is true and the job of the “science” is to reveal this truth. The core mission of many co-believers is to stop any questioning of these core beliefs. The alternative view is that evidence for CAGW has become stronger over the last twenty-five years, making the hypothesis less vulnerable over time. This can be tested by looking at the success of the short-term predictions.

M The Null Hypothesis

Wikipedia’s definition is

In statistical inference of observed data of a scientific experiment, the null hypothesis refers to a general or default position: that there is no relationship between two measured phenomena,…… Rejecting or disproving the null hypothesis – and thus concluding that there are grounds for believing that there is a relationship between two phenomena …………….. – is a central task in the modern practice of science, and gives a precise sense in which a claim is capable of being proven false.

It applies to AGW theory, as the hypotheses are empirical relationships. With highly complex, and essentially chaotic, systems it is only by confronting the data using a battery of statistical tests that you can disprove the null hypothesis. Without the null hypothesis, and without such rigorous testing, all the data and observations will only confirm what you want to believe. Some of the best established empirically-based hypotheses, like “HIV causes AIDS” and “long-term heavy smoking significantly reduces life expectancy” have been confronted with the null hypothesis many times against large, high quality data sets. At extremely high levels of significance, the null hypothesis of no relationship can be rejected.

It could be claimed that the null hypothesis in not applicable to AGW theory as it forecasts something much worse happening than has so far been experienced. However, it is more important because of this. There is no bridge between reality and the theoretical relationships (with assumed magnitudes) in the climate models. The null hypothesis (general or default position) for testing against actual data is not that there is no relationship, but the double-negative of no non-trivial relationship. So the null hypothesis for testing “CO2 causes warming”, is not “CO2 does not affect temperature”, but “CO2 has no non-trivial impact on warming”. The reason is that the claimed requirement for policy is avoidance of a climate catastrophe, with relationships being non-trivial in magnitude.

Showing Warming when it has Stopped

There has been no statistically significant warming for at least 15 years. Yet some people, like commentator “Michael the Realist”, who is currently trolling Joanne Nova’s blog, are claiming otherwise. For instance

Again look at the following graph.

Now let me explain it to the nth degree.
# The long term trend over the whole period is obviously up.
# The long term trend has pauses and dips due to natural variations but the trend is unchanged.
# The current period is at the top of the trend.
# 2001 to 2010 is the hottest decade on the record despite a preponderance of natural cooling trends. (globally, ocean, land and both hemispheres)
# Hotter than the previous decade of 1991 to 2000 with its preponderance of natural warming events.
# Every decade bar one has been hotter than the previous decade since 1901.

Please explain why the above is true if not AGW with proof.

State of the climate 2012
http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/state-climate-2012-highlights

The three highlighted comments are the ones that this posting addresses.

Using decadal average temperature changes to cover up the standstill.

The latest way to avoid the truth that warming has stopped for 15 years or more is by decadal averages. This can be illustrated by using an approximate model of the data. Assume constant average temperatures from 1960 to 1975, a linear warming of 0.6oC from 1976 to 1998, followed by a further standstill.


The decadal averages are


So, instead of 24 years of warming, it is 4 consecutive decades, that are each warmer than the last. The 2000s are warmer than the 1990s simply because there was warming the 1990s. It is political spin, relying on an ignorance of basic statistics, that is needed to make such claims.


Was the twentieth century warming mostly due to human emissions?

There has been no statistically significant warming for at least 15 years. Yet some people, like commentator “Michael the Realist”, who is currently trolling Joanne Nova’s blog, are claiming otherwise. His full claims are as follows

Again look at the following graph.

Now let me explain it to the nth degree.
# The long term trend over the whole period is obviously up.
# The long term trend has pauses and dips due to natural variations but the trend is unchanged.
# The current period is at the top of the trend.
# 2001 to 2010 is the hottest decade on the record despite a preponderance of natural cooling trends. (globally, ocean, land and both hemispheres)
# Hotter than the previous decade of 1991 to 2000 with its preponderance of natural warming events.
# Every decade bar one has been hotter than the previous decade since 1901.

Please explain why the above is true if not AGW with proof.

The claims against the warming standstill I will deal with in a later posting. Here I will look at whether the argument proves, beyond reasonable doubt, that AGW exists and is significant.

There might be a temperature series, but there is no data on greenhouse gases. There is data on the outcome, but there is no presentation of data on the alleged cause. It is like a prosecution conducting a murder trial with a dead body, with the cause of death not established, and no evidence presented linking the accused to the death. I will have to fill this bit in. The alleged cause of most of the twentieth century global warming is human greenhouse gas emissions. The primary greenhouse gas emission is CO2. First I will compare estimated global CO2 emissions with the warming trend. Second, I then show evidence that the twentieth century warming is nothing exceptional.

The relationship of CO2 emissions to average temperature is weak

Some time ago I downloaded estimates of national CO2 emissions data from what is now the CDIAC website, then in filled my own estimates for all major countries where there were data gaps, using the patterns of other countries and my knowledge of economic history. This shows steady growth up to 1945 (with dips in WW1, the Great Depression and at the end of WW2) The post war economic boom, the 1973 oil crisis, the recession of 1980-81 and the credit crunch of 2008 are clearly visible. It therefore seems reasonable and not too dissimilar from the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.


I have charted the growth in human CO2 emissions against the HADCRUT3 data, putting them on a comparative scale. The 5 year moving average temperature increased by around 0.5oC between 1910 and 1944 and 0.6oC between 1977 and 2004. In the former period, estimated CO2 emissions increased from 0.8 to 1.4 giga tonnes. In the latter period, estimated CO2 emissions increased from 4.9 to 7.4 giga tonnes. The period in between the 5 year moving average temperature decreased very slightly and CO2 emissions increased from 1.4 to 4.9 giga tonnes. 1945 and the late 1998 have two things in common – the start of a stall in average surface temperature increases and an acceleration in the CO2 emission rate of increase. On the face of it, in so far as there is a relationship between CO2 emissions and temperature, it seems to be a pretty weak one.

The longer view

The case for claiming human emissions affect temperature is even weaker if you take a longer perspective. Human CO2 emissions were negligable before the industrial revolution, yet there is plenty of evidence that temperatures have shown larger fluctuations in last couple of millennia. Four example are Law Dome, Esper et al 2012, Gergis et al 2012 and the CO2 Science website.

This Law Dome ice cores are the highest quality ice cores in Antarctica.


There seems to be no warming there at all. With 75% of the global ice packs in Antarctica it is fortunate that there is nothing exceptional about Antarctica warming. But maybe the Arctic is different.

Esper et al 2012, published in Nature, has the following Summer temperature reconstruction for Northern Scandinavia over two millennia.


There is a twentieth century uptick, but only in the context of a long term cooling trend.

Focussing on the last 130 years shows something at odds with the global position.


The highest temperatures were in the 1930s, just like the record temperatures in the USA. The warming trend from the mid-1970s is still far greater than the global averages, but less than the warming trends in the early twentieth century. It corroborates data that shows recent warming trends are higher in the Arctic than the global average, but also shows claims that there is nothing significant in these trends.

I find the most convincing evidence is from the withdrawn Gergis 2012 temperature reconstruction for the combined land and oceanic region of Australasia (0°S-50°S, 110°E-180°E). This is because it set out with the aim of showing the opposite – that the recent warming was much more significant than anything in the last millennium. Despite breaking their own selection rules for proxies, they managed to only demonstrate that the last decade of the last millennium the warmest by the narrowest of margins. See below.


There are many reasons to reject the paper (see here), but one significant point can be illustrated. There were only three reconstructions had any data prior to 1430. There were two tree ring studies from New Zealand, and coral study from Palmyra Atoll. Plotting the decadal averages shows that the erratic Palmyra data suppresses the medieval period and exaggerates the late twentieth century warming. Further, Palmyra Atoll is over 2000 km outside the study area.


Finally, CO2Science.org specialises in accumulating evidence of the impacts of CO2. It also has a database of studies on the medieval warm period. There is a graph that summarizes the quantitative studies


Figure Description: The distribution, in 0.5°C increments, of Level 1 Studies that allow one

to identify the degree by which peak Medieval Warm Period temperatures either exceeded

(positive values, red) or fell short of (negative values, blue) peak Current Warm Period

temperatures.

In conclusion, on the face of it, there is very weak support for human emissions being the cause of most of the warming in the last century by the fact that changes in human emissions do not appear to move in line with changes in temperature. The case is further weakened by evidence that at times in the last 2000 years were warmer than in the current period. It does not discount the possibility that human emissions are responsible for some of the warming. But demonstrating that empirically would mean understanding and accurately measuring the full extent of the natural processes, then demonstrating that these were not operating as strongly as in previous epochs. By definition, the evidence will be more circumstantial than if there was a direct correlation. Furthermore, the larger the actual human impact the more circumstantial will be the evidence.

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