The Morning Star’s denial of the Venezuelan Dictatorship

Guido Fawkes has an excellent example of the hard left’s denial of realities that conflict with their beliefs. From the Daily Politics, this is Morning Star editor Ben Chacko saying that the UN Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela was one-sided.

The Human Rights report can be found here.

The recent demonstrations need to be put into context. There are two contexts that can be drawn upon. The Socialist Side (with which many Socialists will disagree) is from Morning Star’s piece of 25th August The Bolivarian Revolution hangs in the balance.

They say

One of the world’s largest producers of oil, on which 95 per cent of its economy depends, the Bolivarian socialist government of Venezuela has, over the last 17 years, used its oil revenues to cut poverty by half and reduce extreme poverty to 5.4 per cent.

The government has built social housing; boosted literacy; provided free healthcare and free education from primary school to universities and introduced arts, music and cultural analysis programmes and many others targeting specific problems at the local level.

This is sentance emphasises the hard-left bias.

The mainly middle-class protesters, most without jobs and income, accused President Nicolas Maduro of dictatorship and continued with their daily demonstrations and demands for a change of government. 

Folks without “jobs or income” are hardly middle-class, but might be former middle-class. They have been laid low by circumstances. Should they be blaming the Government or forces outside the Government’s control?


From on 16th August – Socialism – not oil prices – is to blame for Venezuela’s woes. Also from on 17th February – Venezuela: 75% of the population lost 19 pounds amid crisis. This is the classic tale of socialism’s failure.

  • Government control of food supplies leads to shortages, which leads to rationing, which leads to more shortages and black market profiteering. This started in 2007 when oil prices were high, but not yet at the record high.
  • Inflation is rampant, potentially rising from 720% in 2016 to 1600% this year. This is one of the highest rates in the world.
  • The weight loss is due to food shortages. It is the poorest who suffer the most, though most of the population are in extreme poverty.
  • An oil-based economy needs to diversify. Venezuela has not. It needs to use high oil prices to invest in infrastructure. Instead, the Chavez regime expropriated the oil production from successful private companies and handed to Government Cronies. A graphic from Forbes illustrates the problem.

About a decade ago at the height of the oil price boom, Venezuela’s known oil reserves more than tripled, yet production fell. It now has the highest oil reserves of any country in the world.

  • Crime has soared, whilst people are going hungry.
  • Maybe a million children are missing school through hunger and lack of resources to run schools. Short-run “successes” based on expropriating the wealth of others have reversed to create a situation far worse than before Chavez came to power.
  • Oil prices are in real terms above the level they were from 1986 to 2003 (with the exception of a peak for the first Gulf War) and comparable to the peak reached in 1973 with the setting up of the OPEC Cartel and oil embargo.

The reality is that Socialism always fails. But there is always a hardcore always in denial, always coming up with empty excuses for failure, often blaming it on others. With the rise of Jeremy Corbyn (who receives a copy of the Morning Star daily), this hardcore has have taken over the Labour Party. The example of Venezuela indicates the long-term consequences of their attaining power.

Kevin Marshall

Forest Trump – stupid is as stupid does

Last Tuesdays’ BBC climate propaganda piece for the day was ‘Donald Trump forest’ climate change project gains momentum,

A campaign to plant trees to compensate for the impact of President Trump’s climate policies has 120,000 pledges.
The project was started by campaigners upset at what they call the president’s “ignorance” on climate science.
Trump Forest allows people either to plant locally or pay for trees in a number of poorer countries.
Mr Trump says staying in the climate pact will damage the US economy, cost jobs and give a competitive advantage to countries such as India and China.
The organisers say they need to plant an area the size of Kentucky to offset the Trump effect.

Trump Forest website (motto Where ignorance grows trees) explains

Breathe easy, Mr President.

 US President Donald Trump doesn’t believe in the science of human-caused climate change. He wants to ignore one of the greatest threats to healthy life on Earth.

Trump wants to bring back coal despite scientists telling us we cannot afford to burn it, and despite economists telling us there’s more money to be made and more jobs available in renewable energy.

So we’re planting a forest to soak up the extra greenhouse gases Trump plans to put into our atmosphere.

We’re planting a global forest to offset Trump’s monumental stupidity.

The claim Trump wants to “bring back coal” or, just to rescind the policies to phase it out, is a question of that can be answered by the empirical evidence. The BP statistical review of World Energy 2016 has estimates of coal consumption by country, measured in millions of barrels of oil equivalent. For the USA I have created a graph.

US coal consumption in 2015 was 31% below the level of 2015, but it is far from being phased out. Further, much of the fall in consumption is primarily down to government policy, but from switching to cleaner and cheaper shale gas. Add the two together in terms of millions of tonnes of oil equivalent, and consumption of the two fossil fuels has hardly changed in 20 years.

Natural Gas is not only cleaner, in terms of far fewer particulates emitted when burnt, it has the added benefit, for climate alarmists, of having around half the CO2 emissions. As a result, net emissions have been falling.

However, global warming is allegedly the result of rising levels of greenhouse gases, which in turn are mostly the result of increasing fossil fuel emissions. How does the falling consumption of coal in the USA compare to the global picture? Again the BP estimates give a fairly clear answer.

In 1965 the USA accounted for 20.8% of global coal consumption, and other rich OECD countries 42.3%. Fifty years later the shares had fallen to 10.3% and 15.2%. Yet the combined OECD consumption had increased by 11%. The lesson from this is that to reduce global GHG emissions requires that developing countries reduce their emissions. China,, which now accounts for just over 50% of global coal consumption, has committed to peak its emissions by 2030. India, whose coal consumption exceeded that is the USA for the first time in 2015, has no such commitment. With a similar population to China, fast economic growth will lead to fairly high rates of increase in coal consumption over the next few years. Into the distant future, the ROW, with around half the global population, are likely to see significant increases in coal consumption.

The switch from coal to shale gas is a major reason why total USA emissions have been falling, as evidenced in this graph from the USA INDC Submission.

The 2025 target is a bit a cheat. Most of the reduction would have been achieved without any policy. In fact, about one third had been achieved by 2013.

Trump Forest have a science page to explain the thinking behind the scheme. It states

If executed in its entirety the Clean Power Plan would prevent approximately 650 million tons of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere over the next 8 years. Along with other actions, including tailpipe regulations (which Trump has also moved to eliminate), the United States was steering toward meeting its target for the Paris Agreement.


The Paris Agreement, negotiated in the French capital in December 2015 was agreed to by over 190 nations. It is the first time the global community has agreed to address climate change by striving to keep the average global temperature increase below 2°C.

So how does the 650mtCO2e over 8 years measure up against those of the global community in the context of “striving to keep the average global temperature increase below 2°C”?

The UNFCCC produced a useful graphic, summarizing all the INDC submissions.


Without the 650mtCO2e claimed reduction from the US Clean Air Plan if fully implemented, global emissions will be just over 1% higher. Rather than global emissions being about 12.5% above the 2°C warming path they might be 14%.  In other words, even if a doubling of CO2 (or equivalent) will lead to 3°C and such warming will have catastrophic consequences (despite the lack of strong, let alone incontrovertible, evidence) the US Clean Air Plan would back no noticeable difference to climate change. using the figures presented by the UNFCCC.

It gets worse. Under the science, Trump Forest have the following graphic, lifted from Climate Interactive.

I have looked at Climate Interactive’s figure before. At least from their figures in December 2015, they claimed that future per capita emissions in the USA would rise without policy, whilst since the 1973 oil crisis per capita emissions had been falling. It was the same with the EU, only their per capita emissions had been falling since 1980. For China and Russia per capita emissions are shown rise through the rough. It is as though without them the guiding hand of the green apostles, Governments will deliberately wastefully burn ever-increasing amounts of fossil fuels. rather than promote the welfare of their nations. This is a graphic I produced from the Climate Interactives C-ROADS software version v4.026v.071 RCP8.5 baseline scenario and the built-in population forecasts.

China is the most globally significant. Despite a forecast decline in population to 1.00 billion in 2100, GHG emissions are forecast to peak at nearly 43GtCO2e by in 2090. That compares with 49GtCO2e from over 7 billion people in 2010. Conversely, non-policy developing countries (who do not want to game-playing ny committing to emissions reductions), are forecast to do disasterously economically and hence have very low emissions growth. That includes India, 50+ African nations, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq etc.

The mere act of countries signing a bit of paper produces most of the drop in emissions. The 650mtCO2e claimed reduction from the US Clean Air Plan if the marginal impact of the policy is taken into account, rather than the difference between an unreasonable forecast and an objective.

It gets worse. The elimination of cheap sources of energy, along with the plethora of regulations, make energy more expensive. Apart from directly harming the living standards of households, this will increase energy costs to business, especially the high energy using industries such as steel, aluminum, and bulk chemicals. US industries will be placed at a competitive disadvantage to their competitors in non-policy emerging economies. Some of the US savings from the policy will be from emissions increases elsewhere. There are no built-in safeguards to stop this happening.

It gets worse. Emerging economies not only have lower labour productivity per unit of output, they also have less efficient use of energy per unit of output. Further, countries like China and India have a larger element of coal in the energy mix than the USA. For these reasons an unintended consequence of reducing emissions in the USA (and other developed countries) through shifting production overseas could be a net increase global emissions. Virtue signaling achieves the opposite of intentions.

However, the real world must not be allowed to confront the anointed in their evangelical zeal to save the world from Donald Trump. They might have to accept that their Virtue signaling are both wrong and if fully implemented will cause great net harm. That would seriously hurt their feelings. Like in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the lesson is that the really stupid people are not those with naturally low IQs, but those with intelligence who do stupid things. This is what Forest Trump’s backers have achieved.

Like in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the lesson is that the really stupid people are not those with naturally low IQs, but those with intelligence who do stupid things. This is what Forest Trump’s backers have achieved.

Kevin Marshall


Results of Sea-Level Rise Extremism in Miami-Dade

A couple of years ago I posted* in response to a post on sea level rise at The Conversation

A senior geology professor in Miami, who also chairs the science committee for the Miami-Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force, has views on future sea level rise that are way more extreme than the available evidence.

My Summary started

The claim by Professor Wanless at the Conversation that sea levels could rise by 1.25 to 2m by 2100 is way too extreme it is based on top-slicing the estimates on a NOAA 2012 report. The top-end estimates were not included by the UNIPCC in its AR5 Sept 2013 report. In fact, the UNIPCC report stated it had low-confidence in estimates of sea level rise above its top-end 0.82m.

The Task Force has now concluded. The Miami-Dade Climate Change website states

The Sea Level Rise Task Force, formed in July 2013, developed several important recommendations, which are being implemented in Miami-Dade County. The Task Force reviewed relevant data and prior studies and reports regarding the potential impact of sea level rise on public services and facilities, real estate, water and other ecological resources, and property and infrastructure.

The Introduction to the extensive report report states (with conversions into mm inserted):-

Since reliable record keeping began over 100 years ago at the tide gauge in Key West, the average sea level has risen approximately 228 millimeters (or 9 inches). This rise has been primarily due to thermal expansion (as warmer water occupies more volume) and to melting from glaciers and ice sheets. Over the next century, the rate of sea level rise is very likely to accelerate due to increased melting from land-based ice sheets, in particular Greenland. Recognizing the need for clear, consistent, and local information about future sea level rise projections, The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact developed the, “Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida”. The updated projection, published in 2015, was developed by a panel of well-respected and informed scientists using the most recent and best available data. The projection (Figure 1) estimates that the region can expect to see average sea levels 6 to 10 inches (150 to 205 mm) higher by 2030 than they were in 1992, 14 to 34 inches (355 to 860 mm) higher by 2060, and 31 to 81 inches higher (790 to 2060 mm) by 2100. There is a more certain estimate for near-term changes and a greater uncertainty for estimates at the end of this century. This change in average sea levels will amplify the risks of storm surge and nuisance flooding.

This implies a massive acceleration in the rate of sea level-rise. In the last couple of years the rate of sea level rise has indeed accelerated. The NOAA data now shows a rate of 237 mm a century, by from 228 mm when the report was written. It is likely a blip and well with the margin of error.

To see how much sea level rise will have to accelerate to meet the forecasts, I will assume that from 1992 to 2015 the sea levels rose by 60 mm (2.4 inches) or 2.6 mm a year.

From 2016 to 2030 sea levels will need to rise by 6 to 10 mm a year on average, or about three or four times the current rate.

From 2016 to 2060 sea levels will need to rise by 8.5 to 23 mm a year on average, or about three or nine times the current rate.

From 2016 to 2100 sea levels will need to rise by 8.5 to 23.5 mm a year on average, or about three or nine times the current rate.

The impact of Professor Wanless on the Committee’s output should be clearly seen. A straight line forecast would be a 8 to 9 inch sea level rise by 2100. Many of the recommendations for planning will be based on a 2 foot 6 inch rise to a 6 foot 6 inch rise. Any reasonable person should take a measure to the Miami-Dade area – which is very low-lying and imagine the difference between a dyke 12 inches high and a dyke seven feet high along the Miami sea front.

Alternatively imagine the effect on property prices in Miami-Dade (2.6 million) and on neighbouring Broward and Palm Beach (3.1 million) if people really swallowed this whole. The tiny community of Fairbourne (724 people) in West Wales have had their properties made virtually value-less by a Welsh Government report and the alarmist reporting by the BBC.

*Thanks to Paul Homewood for a reminder to update my earlier post in his look at false alarmism on sea level rise in the Thames Estuary.

Kevin Marshall

UK votes for divorce from EU

The unexpected has happened. Despite the efforts of most of the British political establishment, the UK has voted by a narrow margin to leave the European Union. It should be viewed as a divorce which the interested parties had tried to prevent Like with a divorce, there needs to be deep breaths all round to accept the future dissolution. Like a divorce with children involved, Britain and the EU need to work constructively to achieve the best futures for all.
British politicians need to reflect as well. Maybe two-thirds supported Remain. Many were in line with their constituents, especially in London, Scotland and the M4 corridor where Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency lies. But most of the North of England, particularly in the Labour Heartlands, voted for Leave. The MPs have to clearly state that they accept the result, and will join in obtaining the best futures for Britain and the countries of Europe. Those who cannot accept this should recognize they have no future in public service and resign from leading roles in politics.

Kevin Marshall

Britain Stronger in Europe Letter

I received a campaign letter from Britain Stronger in Europe today headed


Putting the “RE:” in front is a bit presumptuous. It is not a reply to my request. However, I believe in looking at both sides of the argument, so here is my analysis. First the main points in the body of the letter:-

  1. JOBS – Over 3 million UK jobs are linked to our exports to the EU.
  2. BUSINESSES – Over 200,000 UK Businesses trade with the EU, helping them create jobs in the UK.
  3. FAMILY FINANCES – Leaving the EU will cost the average UK household at least £850 a year, and potentially as much as £1,700, according to research released by the London School of Economics.
  4. PRICES – Being in Europe means lower prices in UK shops, saving the average UK household over £350 a year. If we left Europe, your weekly shop would cost more.
  5. BENEFITS vs COSTS – For every £1 we put into the EU, we get almost £10 back through increased trade, investment, jobs, growth and lower prices.
  6. INVESTMENT – The UK gets £66 million of investment every day from EU countries – that’s more than we pay to be a member of the EU.

The first two points are facts, but only show part of the picture. The UK not only exports to the EU, but also imports. Indeed there is a net deficit with the EU, and a large deficit in goods. It is only due to a net surplus in services – mostly in financial services based in the City of London – that the trade deficit is not larger. The ONS provides a useful graphic illustrating both the declining share of exports to the EU, and the increasing deficit, reproduced below.

No one in the UK is suggesting that Brexit would mean a decline in trade, and it would be counter-productive for the EU not to reach a trade agreement with an independent UK when the EU has this large surplus.

The impact on FAMILY FINANCES is based upon the Centre for Economic Performance, an LSE affiliated organisation. There is both a general paper and a technical paper to back up the claims. They are modelled estimates of the future, not facts. The modelled costs assume Britain exits the European Union without any trade agreements, despite this being in the economic interests of both the UK and the EU. The report also does a slight of hand in estimating the contributions the UK will make post Brexit. From page 18 the technical paper

We assume that the UK would keep contributing 83% of the current per capita contribution as Norway does in order to remain in the single market (House of Commons, 2013). This leads to a fiscal saving of about 0.09%.

The table at the foot of report page 22 (pdf page 28) gives the breakdown of the estimate from 2011 figures. The Norway figures are gross and have a fixed cost element. The UK economy is about six times that of Norway, so would not end up spending nearly as much per capita even on the same basis. The UK figures are also a net figure. The UK pays into the EU twice as much as it gets out. Ever since joining the Common Market in 1973 Britain has been the biggest loser in terms of net contributions, despite the rebates that Mrs Thatcher secured with much effort in the 1980s.

The source of the PRICES information is again from the Centre for Economic Performance, but again with no direct reference. I assume it is from the same report, and forms part of the modelled forecast costs.

The BENEFITS vs COSTS statement is not comparing like with like. The alleged benefits to the UK are not all due to being a member of a club, but as a consequence of being an open economy trading with its neighbours. A true BENEFITS vs COSTS comparison would be future scenarios of Brexit vs Remain. Leading economist Patrick Minford has published a paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs, who finds there is a net benefit in leaving, particularly when likely future economic growth is taken into account.

The INVESTMENT issue is just part of the BENEFITS vs COSTS statement. So, like with the PRICES statement it is making one point into two.

 In summary, Britain Stronger in Europe claims I need to know six facts relevant to the referendum decision, but actually fails to provide a one. The actual facts are not solely due to the UK being a member of the European Union, whilst the relevant statements are opinions on modelled future scenarios that are unlikely to happen. The choice is between a various possible future scenarios in the European Union and possible future scenarios outside. The case for remain should be proclaiming the achievements of the European Union in making a positive difference to the lives of the 500 million people in the 28 States, along with future pathways where it will build on these achievements. The utter lack of these arguments, in my opinion, is the strongest argument for voting to leave.

Kevin Marshall


Copy of letter from Britain Stronger in Europe

Can Climatology Ever Be Considered a Science?

Can climatology ever be considered a science? My favourite Richard Feynman quote.

You cannot prove a vague theory wrong. If the guess that you make is poorly expressed and the method you have for computing the consequences is a little vague then ….. you see that the theory is good as it can’t be proved wrong. If the process of computing the consequences is indefinite, then with a little skill any experimental result can be made to look like an expected consequence.

I would maintain that by its nature climatology will always be a vague theory. Climate consists of an infinite number of interrelationships that can only be loosely modelled by empirical generalisations. These can only ever be imperfectly measured, although that is improving both in scope and period of observations. Tweaking the models can always produce a desired outcome. In this sense climatology is never going to be a science way that physics and chemistry have become. But this does not mean that climatology cannot become more scientific. A step forward might be to classify empirical statements according to the part of the global warming theory they support, and the empirical content of those statements.

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) is a subset of AGW. The other elements of AGW are trivial, or positive. I would also include the benign impacts of aerosols in reducing the warming impacts. So AGW’ is not an empty set.

AGW is a subset of GW, where GW is the hypothesis that an increase in greenhouse gas levels will cause temperatures to rise. There could be natural causes of the rise in greenhouse gases as well, so GW’ is not an empty set.

GW is a subset of Climate Change CC. That is all causes of changing climate, both known and unknown, including entirely random causes.

In summary


Or diagrammatically the sets can be represented by a series of concentric rings.

To become more scientific, climatology as an academic discipline should be moving on two complementary fronts. Firstly, through generating clearer empirical confirmations, as against banal statements or conditional forecasts. Secondly, for the statements to become more unambiguous in being ascribable solely to the CAGW hypothesis in particular rather being just as easily be ascribed to vague and causeless climate change in general. These twin aims are shown in the diagram below, where the discipline should be aiming in the direction of the red progressing arrow towards science, rather the green degenerating arrow.

Nullis in verba on a recent Bishop Hill discussion forum rightly points out the statement

“you acknowledge that scientists predicted warming. And warming is what we observed”

commits the fallacy of “confirming the consequent”.

If your definition of climate change is loose enough, the observed rise could be a member the CC set. But to infer it is not part of GW’ (outside of the GW set) requires more empirical content. As Nullis has shown in his tightly worded comment to prove this is impossible. But the greater empirical content will give more confidence that the scientists did not just strike lucky. Two years ago Roy Spencer did attempt just that. From 73 climate models the prediction was that between 1979 and 2012 average global temperatures would rise by between 0.3 and 1.5C, with an average estimate of 0.8C. Most were within the 0.6 to 1.2C, so any actual rise in that range, which is pretty unusual historically, would be a fairly strong confirmation of a significant AGW impact. The actual satellite and weather balloon data showed a rise of about 0.2C. The scientists got it wrong on the basis of their current models. At a minimum the models are running too hot, at a minimum failing to confirm the CAGW hypothesis.

By more clearly specifying the empirical content of statements the scope of alternative explanations is narrowed. In this case we have an explanation for someone using a more banal statement.

I would contend that to obtain confirmation of CAGW requires a combination of the warming and the adverse consequences. So even if the hurricanes had got worse after Katrina in 2005, with zero warming on its own it is just that an observation climate has changed. But together they form a more empirically rich story that is explained by CAGW theory. Still better is a number of catastrophic consequences.

In the next post I shall show some further examples of the discipline moving in the direction of degenerating climatology.

Kevin Marshall

A Great and Humble Man Dies

Sir Nicholas Winton died today at 106 Years Old. A true hero of mine.

Royal Baby Names to Save the United Kingdom

In a complete break from my normal posts on climate, after discussions with my daughter, I am going to speculate on Royal baby names.

In less than two weeks’ time there will be a General Election. Given that the betting is that a Labour/ Scots Nat Coalition is likely there is a strong possibility that the incoming Government could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom. The Scottish Nationalists have very similar left-of-centre policies , there is which will in turn lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom. The Royal Family, particularly The Queen, firmly believes in the United Kingdom, has long been proud of its Scottish routes (the Queen is half Scots), but at the same time does not directly intercede in politics, except in the most tangential ways. Naming of a Royal Baby who is fourth in line to the throne is one of the few methods open to the Royal Family of sending a political message. The naming cannot offend the Scots, but at the same time will satisfy the far more numerous English. It must also be a name seen to be reasonably modern, but also in keeping with royal traditions.

If the Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a baby boy there will be a number of names that could be chosen. Prince George Alexander Louis set a precedent. George is the names of six British Monarchs, but identified as very English. It was in the reign of George II (1727-1760) for instance that the Young Pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie was finally defeated at Culloden in 1745. The second name, whilst being highly international was also the name of three medieval Scottish Kings, and the Gaelic form is Alistair. Louis is from Prince William’s great uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was very close to the Prince of Wales. There was both traditional English and Scottish elements in the name, without seeming too old fashioned. Alexander has already been used, so is counted out. Some names of Scottish Kings cannot be considered. “Kenneth” and “Duncan” are very old fashioned. Macbeth was trashed as a plausible name by William Shakespeare. Lulach, Amlaíb, Cuilén, Dub and Indulf as too lost in time to inflict on any child, and would need explaining. This leaves James, David and Robert. In Scotland James is currently fourth most popular, behind Jack, Lewis and Riley. At Befair it is the most popular Boys’ name. So this might be a strong contender. However, the Royal Family will want to make an imprint less than two weeks before a General Election that could destroy the United Kingdom that the Queen pledged to defend. James is both Scottish and English. We have the King James Bible of 1611 that helped unite the factions in the Church of England for a while. But King James VI of Scotland (and James I of England) was an anomaly. He was a strong Scottish Presbyterian, who in commissioning this great work sought to bring together both the Puritan and Catholic elements of the Anglican Church. His grandson, James II almost caused a second Civil War through his Catholic tendencies, resulting in the current inability of the heir to the throne to marry a Roman Catholic. The betting markets, along with my daughter, may favour such a name, but the Queen may advise against.

So what is an appropriate boys’ name for a possible (but unlikely) future monarch, whose only role may be to save the Union by being born?

There are two courses that the Royal Family may take. I believe that they will take the safe course, and call the boy David. It has both strong Scottish routes, and David is the patron saint of Wales. But the option to save the United Kingdom is Robert. On 13th June 1214, Robert the Bruce defeated the English forces of Edward I (“Hammer of the Scots”) at Bannockburn near Stirling. Less than 150 years earlier William of Normandy had defeated the Anglo Saxon (English) at the Battle of Hastings. Although “Edward” was Anglo Saxon in origin the “English Kings” still spoke French at Court. Most fighting on the side of Edward could as little understand their Sovereigns’ words as the Gaelic-speaking Scots. If Robert is chosen, a second name cannot be Edward. But the older Anglo Saxon form of Edward (and still used today) is Edmund. How better for the Royal Family to remember the subjected of 800 years ago, whilst uniting both the downtrodden of both Scotland and England, whilst reconciling ancient enmities, whilst remembering the ancient Kings of both countries. A third name could be David, or one than avers to the Irish, such as Kevin J

Girls names are more difficult. The most famous Scottish girls name is Margaret, and until the 1960s was easily the most popular name. I have an Auntie Margaret and have fond memories of my Great Aunt Margaret, and had (by all accounts) a formidable Great Grandmother Margaret Ross, who died at the age of 93 when I was 3 years old. Many will remember the Queen’s Sister, Princess Margaret. But the name is now not in the top 100 of girl names in Scotland, and (due to the Royal connection) will not be viewed as particularly Scottish. In left-of-centre Scottish minds, it is also the Christian name of one of twentieth century’s greatest Prime Ministers.

There are not many Queens of Scotland. The most famous is Mary Queen of Scots, who, being a French-speaking Catholic, was hardly a figurehead for an increasingly Presbyterian Scotland of the time, nor for the a British Monarchy who has defended the middle-of-the-road Anglican Communion for well over 300 hundred years. Scottish Queens consorts were undistinguished and with names such as Maud, Joan, Sybilla, Ethelreda and Grouoch are hardly able to capture the imagination of the Scottish public. Margaret is again the most popular name, followed by Elizabeth. Looking at current most popular Scottish Girls names in 2012, they are Sophie followed by Emily, Olivia, Ava and Lucy. Hardly Royal, and not much different from England. A statement cannot be easily be made. The last truly Scottish Royal was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, so Elizabeth might be a family option. The policy might be to play safe, or in a thorough break with tradition, let the parents decide.

Kevin Marshall

Declaration of Interest

I was born and bred in England, but my Mother is, and three of my grandparents were, Scottish. I named my son Edmund Alexander. The latter name was after a Great Grandfather and an Uncle who was always known as Alistair. I consider myself British, and am proud of both my Derbyshire and North Scottish ancestry.


Freeman Dyson on Climate Models

One of the leading physicists on the planet, Freeman Dyson, has given a video interview to the Vancouver Sun. Whilst the paper emphasizes Dyson’s statements about the impact of more CO2 greening the Earth, there is something more fundamental that can be gleaned.

Referring to a friend who constructed the first climate models, Dyson says at about 10.45

These climate models are excellent tools for understanding climate, but that they are very bad tools for predicting climate. The reason is simple – that they are models which have very few of the factors that may be important, so you can vary one thing at a time ……. to see what happens – particularly carbon dioxide. But there are a whole lot of things that they leave out. ….. The real world is far more complicated than the models.

I believe that Climate Science has lost sight of what this understanding of what their climate models actually are literally attempts to understand the real world, but are not the real world at all. It reminds me of something another physicist spoke about fifty years ago. Richard Feynman, a contemporary that Dyson got to know well in the late 1940s and early 1950s said of theories:-

You cannot prove a vague theory wrong. If the guess that you make is poorly expressed and the method you have for computing the consequences is a little vague then ….. you see that the theory is good as it can’t be proved wrong. If the process of computing the consequences is indefinite, then with a little skill any experimental result can be made to look like an expected consequence.

Complex mathematical models suffer from this vagueness in abundance. When I see supporters of climate arguing the critics of the models are wrong by stating some simple model, and using selective data they are doing what lesser scientists and pseudo-scientists have been doing for decades. How do you confront this problem? Climate is hugely complex, so simple models will always fail on the predictive front. However, unlike Dyson I do not think that all is lost. The climate models have had a very bad track record due to climatologists not being able to relate their models to the real world. There are a number of ways they could do this. A good starting point is to learn from others. Climatologists could draw upon the insights from varied sources. With respect to the complexity of the subject matter, the lack of detailed, accurate data and the problems of prediction, climate science has much in common with economics. There are insights that can be drawn on prediction. One of the first empirical methodologists was the preeminent (or notorious) economist of the late twentieth century – Milton Friedman. Even without his monetarism and free-market economics, he would be known for his 1953 Essay “The Methodology of Positive Economics”. Whilst not agreeing with the entirety of the views expressed (there is no satisfactory methodology of economics) Friedman does lay emphasis on making simple, precise and bold predictions. It is the exact opposite of the Cook et al. survey which claims a 97% consensus on climate, implying that it relates to a massive and strong relationship between greenhouse gases and catastrophic global warming when in fact it relates to circumstantial evidence for a minimal belief in (or assumption of) the most trivial form of human-caused global warming. In relation to climate science, Friedman would say that it does not matter about consistency with the basic physics, nor how elegantly the physics is stated. It could be you believe that the cause of warming comes from the hot air produced by the political classes. What matters that you make bold predictions based on the models that despite being simple and improbable to the non-expert, nevertheless turn out to be true. However, where bold predictions have been made that appear to be improbable (such as worsening hurricanes after Katrina or the effective disappearance of Arctic Sea ice in late 2013) they have turned out to be false.

Climatologists could also draw upon another insight, held by Friedman, but first clearly stated by John Neville Keynes (father of John Maynard Keynes). That is on the need to clearly distinguish between the positive (what is) and the normative (what ought to be). But that distinction was alienate the funders and political hangers-on. It would also mean a clear split of the science and policy.

Hattips to Hilary Ostrov, Bishop Hill, and Watts up with that.


Kevin Marshall

Windhoek Temperature adjustments

At Euan Mearn’s blog I made reference to my findings, posted in full last night, that in the Isfjord Radio weather station had adjustments that varied between +4.0oC in 1917 to -1.7oC in the 1950s. I challenged anyone to find bigger adjustments than that. Euan came back with the example of Windhoek in South Africa, claiming 5oC of adjustments between the “raw” and GISS homogenised data.

I cry foul, as the adjustments are throughout the data set. J

That is the whole of the data set has been adjusted up by about 4 oC!

However, comparing the “raw” with the GISS homogenised data, with 5 year moving averages, (alongside the net adjustments) there are some interesting features.

The overall temperatures have been adjusted up by around 4oC, but

  • From the start of the record in 1920 to 1939 the cooling has been retained, if not slightly amplified.
  • The warming from 1938 to 1947 of 1.5oC has been erased by a combination of deleting the 1940 to 1944 data and reducing the 1945-1948 adjustments by 1.4oC.
  • The 1945-1948 adjustments, along with random adjustments and deletion of data mostly remove the near 1.5oC of cooling from the late 1940s to mid-1950s and the slight rebound through to the early 1960s.
  • The early 1970s cooling and the warming to the end of the series in the mid-1980s is largely untouched.

The overall adjustments leave a peculiar picture that cannot be explained by a homogenisation algorithm. The cooling in the 1920s offsets the global trend. Deletion of data and the adjustments in the data counter the peak of warming in the early 1940s in the global data. Natural variations in the raw data between the late 1940s and 1970 appear to have been removed, then the slight early 1970s cooling and the subsequent warming in the raw data left alone. However, the raw data shows average temperatures in the 1980s to be around 0.8oC higher than in the early 1920s. The adjustments seem to have removed this.

This removal of the warming trend tends to disprove something else. There appears to be no clever conspiracy, with a secret set of true figures. Rather, there are a lot of people dipping in to adjusting adjusted data to their view of the world, but nobody really questioning the results. They have totally lost sight of what the real data actually is. If they have compared the final adjusted data with the raw data, then they realised that the adjustments had managed to have eliminated a warming trend of over 1 oC per century.

Kevin Marshall