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« Keenan in El Reg | Main | Scientific advisers are lobbyists »
Wednesday
Jun292011

Letter to a Climate Correspondent

This article, by N.G. McCrum (a pseudonym, I'm guessing a chemist an engineer!) was originally published in the Oxford Magazine, a publication distributed to university staff. I am reproducing it here with the permission of the publisher. It is the sequel to an earlier article.

A second letter to a Climate Correspondent: the Rise and Fall of the Hockey Stick

My dear Fiona,

I have just read your first essay as climate correspondent in today’s London Sentinel and my pride in your achievement on reaching this pinnacle is immense but tempered with a nagging worry. My dear, your background knowledge is appalling! As your aunt and a retired press officer in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, I am e-mailing you quickly to give you warning that your ignorance has led you into a terrible blunder.

For years The London Sentinel has been blessed with a well informed, fashionably green, rancorous band of readers who believe wholeheartedly in anthropogenic global warming (AGW). In your ignorance, you have deeply offended them by use of a coarse girls’ school sporty image, “a lot of old hockey sticks”. Your editor already will be inundated with unpleasant letters. I do hope he stands by you. In the event he doesn’t, your old university seems to be filling up with climate journalists. Do let me know, I may be able to help. I have heard some of the appointments come with Dining Rights.

For believers in AGW, the term hockey stick is today highly offensive. Deniers, of course, use it all the time, and indeed sell tea towels and coffee cups embellished with images of multicoloured ice hockey sticks on the internet! They can be used as gifts to be sent to AGW believers to annoy and intimidate.

For me, “hockey stick” invokes memories of the heyday of our cause, the dawn of this century and the sad decline since that happy time. The new President of the Royal Society spoke movingly on TV on this subject in January, especially on the possibility of legal action against our hockey stick scientists! Let me tell you the story.

The hockey stick is a nickname for a pair of intersecting lines on a graph, a plot of global temperature against time, year by year since the time of the Norman supremacy. It carries a simple message. The long handle is nearly horizontal and indicates that from near 1000 to 1900 AD global temperature showed little change: the short blade is close to vertical indicating a rapid temperature increase from 1900 to 2000 AD.

It purports to be a reconstruction of global temperature from tree rings, corals and other time/ temperature markers, with the emphasis on tree rings. The abrupt transition in rate of temperature change–from reasonably steady to rapidly increasing–coincides with the release of increasingly massive amounts of industrial CO2 around the turn of the twentieth century. It was given the blessing of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in 2001.

The hockey stick became the glorious icon of our crusade and under its banner the western democracies were conquered. There were no deniers in those days. Denial was equated to knife crime or even crimes against humanity. The Gore film won, not a trivial Oscar, but a Nobel Prize!

The hockey stick made its debut in the prestigious journal Nature in 1998 and became the triumphant icon of the AGW movement three years later. In the superlative text of the IPCC report of 2001 the hockey stick graph was printed in no less than six places. Throughout the whole of the introductory conference for the press, the distinguished chairman, Sir John Houghton, arranged to be seated under a screen showing a huge “blown up version” according to that scintillating book by Christopher Booker, “The Real Global Warming Disaster.” This book is, of course, proscribed literature, but so well written and interesting I find myself dipping into it from time to time.

Why in 2001 was the hockey stick received by all believers in AGW with rapture? The answer is that it rescued our crusade from a false step. A decade earlier the IPCC thoughtlessly declared that the global temperature went up and down like a yo-yo every four or five hundred years. In this they followed the life’s work of Hubert Lamb, the distinguished founder of the celebrated CRU (Climate Research Unit) at UEA.

There was a warm and fruitful time, the Mediaeval Warming–Viking vineyards in Iceland (or was it Yorkshire?). There was a cold and hard time–the Little Ice Age, Pepys and Charles II dodging horses and carts in London on the frozen Thames. According to this view, the earth today is still warming up from the Little Ice Age and has a long way to go to reach the high temperatures attained during the Mediaeval Warming. However, this model of a fluid yo-yo global temperature is divorced from any man made surge of CO2. It contains no human input whatsoever, which all right thinking people now accept.

Thankfully this fairy tale was swept away by the hockey stick. The Mediaeval Warming and Little Ice Age did not exist! They were a figment of the scientific imagination, the faulty product of non-quantitative evidence: manor house records, ships’ logs, church records, vineyard records, the scribblings of obscure poets, diarists and monks. All had to submit to the findings of a brilliant young physicist, Michael Mann, and his team.

It’s no wonder the AGW theorists were overjoyed. As the industrial output of that frightful poison CO2 accelerated with the dawn of the twentieth century, it stands to reason there must be an associated warming and this was detected by Michael Mann with his discovery of the hockey stick graph. Everything fitted together! Trust a young physicist to get it right when the more staid disciplines geology, history, etc. were all on the wrong track.

Political action shot ahead after the advent of the hockey stick. As a logo it is perfection–essentially minimalist, rather like a back to front Nike logo. It was, of course, carefully sculpted to have instantaneous visual impact–you don’t get that kind of class without human intervention. Its elementary power and simplicity stimulated big advances: the Gore book, film and Nobel prize, the growth of the carbon credit industry, a copious flood of excellent propaganda narratives in film, television and newspapers and acceptance of the AGW hypothesis by the political parties.

Of course, icons can fail! You are too young, I think, to remember the Christmas icon of the most magnificent of Tokyo shops, which was a crucified teddy bear! What seemed chic, cool and deliciously edgy at first soon turned very sour! And so it was with the hockey stick.

Thankfully the fall of the hockey stick from prestigious icon to sad joke was slow and this left it in possession of the field for a few years, long enough for the politicians to take what I trust is irreversible action. Nevertheless events as they unfold are not going our way. The hockey stick is in extremis: it could be finished off by a legal challenge. Our side is tight lipped about it but this is the truth. Why else would the President of the Royal Society spend one hour on TV trying to mend the damage done by the e-mails which leaked from the CRU Laboratory. A strong legal case mounted against the hockey stick would really let the rocket off.

The destruction of the hockey stick and humiliation of Michael Mann is the work of a wrecking-gang led by a semi-retired Toronto minerals consultant, Stephen McIntyre. It pains me to have to tell you he is an old member of your college Corpus Christi, and he read PPE as you did. I do earnestly entreat you not, on this account, to give him an easy ride in your column.

McIntyre’s attack on the hockey stick has been sustained and highly successful. His academic background (mathematics and PPE) is perfect as is his long practised expertise in ferreting out crooked prospectuses from mineral-exploration companies out to defraud investors on the Toronto stock exchange with ersatz hockey sticks. He first saw the hockey stick graph (global warming variant) in propaganda materials distributed by the Canadian government. “What struck me is it looked very promotional and I wanted to see how they made it,”1 was his immediate reaction, which started him on his dastardly work of sabotage.

McIntyre’s desire to have a proper audit of research is encapsulated in the phrase, ‘Give me a break, we are making billion dollar decisions here’.1 I have to say, he did indeed prove that the hockey stick had not been scientifically audited, either by the reviewers for Nature or later by the IPCC committees: neither had sent for the numerical data; neither was paid to audit! What do you expect? I will return to this sore point which is constantly on my mind, even in my dreams: indeed it is the source of my recurring nightmares. Some clown has invested my pension funds in carbon credits thinking I would be pleased.

McIntyre’s range of expertise includes the statistical procedures used by the hockey stick team to produce the hockey stick from a dense swarm of data points. Apparently this procedure is called ‘principal component analysis’ and can produce hockey sticks from telephone directory numbers unless used correctly!

In addition some trees, the bristlecone pine, for example, can generate the hockey stick but most trees don’t!

In initiating an experiment, it is not necessary to invest in mountain boots, scarves and a woolly hat. There are libraries of data on the internet. The team has merely to select the desired data: the term desired is crucial, which brings up the topic of cherry picking!

Although the term cherry picking is not a word you will find in learned journals, the President of the Royal Society used it several times in his television discourse on the hockey stick. He used it exclusively to criticise the actions of bloggers in selecting evidence. If you cherry pick evidence you can mould a result but nobody will be persuaded.

Cherry picking of trees is normal practice in dendroclimatic studies. This astonishing fact is made clear by Professors Jacoby and D’Arrigo of Columbia University. As a general statement it is hard to beat D’Arrigo’s laconic remark: “cherry picking is necessary if you want to make cherry pie”.2 Her colleague Jacoby points out that it is a “waste of funding agency and tax payer dollars” not to reject data that fails to tell a “good climatic story”.3

A frightful fuss has been made about the fact that the hockey stick data at the highest temperatures, the blade, was obtained from conventional thermometry and not from tree rings. You may remember that each year produces a ring and the separation, ring to ring, reflects the temperature at which the wood grew, the wider the separation the higher the temperature. This follows because new wood is laid down each year in the growing season at a faster rate the higher the temperature. But growth rate depends on other factors, for instance CO2concentration. In the latter half of the twentieth century it was clear that the temperature was rising as measured by conventional thermometers, but tree ring separation stated the opposite!

The hockey team could have stayed with the temperature according to tree rings but they did not. For this small region of temperature, forty degrees or so, they used conventional thermometry but for the other thousand years or so they used ring separation. That is, they chose to replace the inconvenient later tree data with more suitable data from other sources. The trouble is that the uptick in the twentieth century, the stubby blade of the hockey stick, is the crucial result! So it might be argued, and is by deniers, that to use tree rings up to the year 1960 and then switch to normal thermometry is asking for trouble especially if you don’t make it clear that this is what you have done, which is a fair description of the actions of Mann’s team.

Well, all this came out in the Climategate e-mails, which will resonate for many years: “I’ve just completed Mike Mann’s Nature trick of adding in the real temperature to each series for the last twenty years (from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith Briffa’s to hide the decline.”4

This “hide the decline” is the sculpting I described earlier. If it had not been done Mann would have had a declining line, no hockey stick icon, no promotion of the cause and big trouble with the sponsor.

A cheery but coarse group of folk singers, ‘The Minnesotans for Global Warming’, have a song with a scandalous first verse:

Makin’ up data the old hard way

Fudgin’ the numbers day by day

Ignoring the snow and the cold and the downward line

Hide the decline, hide the decline.

In my view, the hockey stick has served its purpose. If I were you, dear Fiona, I would never introduce the word hockey stick into your essay again. It is a very touchy issue indeed. Let ‘the Minnesotans for Global Warming’ have their fun singing their folk songs. And we can have ours supporting the price of carbon credits by baking a good cherry pie. You know the kind of thing, very traditional fare: polar bears with cuddly cubs on minute ice flows, horrific computer predictions for temperatures in the year 2200AD and quotations from David Attenborough.

You might also try through your column to nudge the Royal Society back to its customary role, in which for centuries it has excelled, that of wise, austere and impartial referee quite divorced from politics and pseudo-moral attitudes. The President of the Royal Society on television approved of Phil Jones’s actions. If a court decides otherwise, either here or in the USA, the Royal Society will be wrong and the Minnesotans for Global Warming right! What is the point in risking so many years of supreme cultural capital in such a dubious cause? The evidence from the hockey stick adds nothing today to the case for man-made global warming.

Your loving Aunt Hermione

PS Fiona, if you wish to read more on this, see the excellent “The Hockey Stick Illusion” by A W Montford published in 2010.

1 is from Antonio Regalado in The Wall Street Journal, February 14 2005:

2 and 3 are from The Hockey Stick Illusion, pages 235 and 236:

4 is from the celebrated leaked e-mail of November 20 2009, from Phil Jones to the original hockey stick authors, M. Mann, R. Bradley and M. Hughes.

A first “Letter to a Climate Correspondent” appeared in Oxford Magazine, No 298, Hilary Term, 2010–ed

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Reader Comments (47)

No, not a pseudonym, a polymer chemist.

N. G. McCrum, Emeritus Fellow, Hertford College, Oxford,

http://www.hertford.ox.ac.uk//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=515&Itemid=624

Jun 29, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterDR

That's pretty good. Bish, does it make any sense to republish Fiona's provocation?

Jun 29, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Sunning. Encapsulates the whole scam in a few sentences. For those unfortunates who have not yet read (and re-read) the HSI this will prove a brilliant 'taster'.

Jun 29, 2011 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Should have read 'Stunning' of course. Good job it's a nice day !

Jun 29, 2011 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Absolutely lovely! The study of polymer chemistry sounds dreadfully dull but it must encourage the writing of brilliant and wickedly funny prose.
If the article was a play, as the curtain came down I would be standing in front of my seat clapping madly and shouting calls for the author.

Jun 29, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Rejoice that such men as N.G.Crum exist and move among us!! And write so well, to boot.

Jun 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Agree with Toad, it is S(t)unning and what is stunningly obvious is the fact that so many of the miserable AGW crowd will be stunningly furious at the wit and sarcasm headed their way.

I love it.

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRETEPHSLAW

Only in Blighty does such dry wit work. For the rest it's a pi*s take.

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

The names and plot line could (or perhaps did) come from a JK Rowling book!

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie

An excellent letter - young Fiona would be wise indeed to take her aunt's advice!

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Dear Aunt Hermione,

I hope that goes viral, and is used repeatedly to shame the pompous "leaders of science" to resign their positions, and withdraw, quietly from political advocacy.

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

N. G. McCrum, Emeritus Fellow, Hertford College, Oxford,


Class act, a virtual beer is called for

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

'Aunt Hermione' is a well funded, well organized, global skeptic network paid for by Big Oil.

She used to pump gas at that Esso station on the M40.

Ignore everything she says as deliberate and malicious attempts at misinformation.

OK?

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Sadly.. what may go viral is a smear job of Soon.. The Carbon Brief are all of a twitter about Green Peace establishing his OIL links..

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/polluterwatch/koch-industries/CASE-STUDY-Dr-Willie-Soon-a-Career-Fueled-by-Big-Oil-and-Coal/

http://www.desmogblog.com/denial-hire-willie-soon-s-career-fueled-big-oil-coal-and-koch-money

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/28/climate-change-sceptic-willie-soon

No comments allowed of course, at THe Guardian..

The Carbon Brief - have just twittered this to the worlds medai, and NGO's, etc

"Denial For Hire: Willie Soon’s Career Fueled by Big Oil, Coal and Koch Money" http://bit.ly/jgzNrE

http://twitter.com/#!/carbonbrief

as ar the guardian..

Jun 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Made my day, definitely.

Jun 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Wonderful.

Jun 29, 2011 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Barry Woods

Isn't it nice to know that not all climate scientists are scrounging off taxpayers, and that some businessmen actually value their services, sufficiently to fund them?

Yes I know CRU gets some Big Oil funding aswell, but for how much longer?

Jun 29, 2011 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

A tour de force of nature. Marvellous.

Jun 29, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

I'm always amazed at the way that Big Climate manages to find something with which to "smear" their most effective critics.
I doubt if they're wasting much time trying to find anything that they can use against me (and good luck to them if they do) but Soon has been a thorn in their side for years. Of course the answer to the accusation that he has been funded by the oil industry ought to be "so what?" and I might — if I were he — be tempted to inquire whether the phrase "denial for hire" was actionable.
One of the reasons I find even trying to engage with the Warm-mongers bad for my blood pressure is that to them the ends so justify the means that sensible discussion is pointless; they simply repeat whatever is their mantra of the moment while implying that if you don't agree you are either (a) stupid, (b) dishonest, (c) funded by the oil industry (the ultimate insult in their book) or (d) all three.
It would, of course, be Greenpeace that would manage to get the goods on Soon. Presumably their information is accurate though on past form that would not be necessary. "It's not the truth that matters but what you can persuade people to believe."
Creepy, or what?

Jun 29, 2011 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

All the best 'deniers' seem to have studied chemistry,including the bishop and me.....I even did polymer chemistry for my final year!

Jun 29, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Excellent: Is there a cartoon of Ealing Comedy-Aunt Hermione lecturing niece Fiona at the 'green' village fete?

Jun 29, 2011 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Barry It may be just that chemists are a little more rooted in reality than some other sciences. I find engineers are also mostly skeptical, especially those like myself who come under the banner of application engineers. But the reality is some of us are skeptical of anything that that doesn't make sense, and I have had to develop a highly tuned antenna be effective in my job.

Youngsters today have only been taught how to pass exams and not how to think out problems , proof of this being when they get a question in their GCSE or A levels that they previously have not covered in their mocks they all panic.

Jun 29, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Geany

The author of this fabulous missive seems to make reference to some legal challenge here in the UK or possibly US. Have I missed something important ? Or is this whats happening against Mann in the US ?

Jun 29, 2011 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I have never met Gerry McCrum, but he is a friend of a friend. I think he was actually an engineer, rather than a chemist, though he did work on polymers. My friend describes him as "eccentric". He's been retired for quite some time (at least 10 years), and I think he's best known around the university for writing various reports on Oxford admissions and examining processes which managed to annoy almost everybody by insisting on giving actual data priority over theories.

Jun 29, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Jones

Super!

Minor correction:

"forty degrees or so" should presumably read, "forty years or so"

Jun 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bailey

"All the best 'deniers' seem to have studied chemistry,including the bishop and me.....I even did polymer chemistry for my final year!" --Barry Woods

It was my polymer chem professor, Robert Simha, who told us (in 1962): "Ach! Vun uff you hass done his homevork on a computer. Vell, I didn't say you couldn't. Besides, zomeday all homevork vill be done on computers. Everyvun vill haff his own computer...." [Yes, I was the miscreant.]

Jun 29, 2011 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Brilliant --

Jun 29, 2011 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

For all those worried aunties out there, Bloomberg has this news for you.

Jun 29, 2011 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Bloody chemists upsetting the applecart. Always insisting on wanting 'experiments' and 'observations' and stuff. Why can they not just shut up and let the models tell them The Truth.

I, for one, would never contribute to a blog run by a bloody chemist.....

SE, MSc Chemistry

Jun 29, 2011 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterStirling English

"Aunt Agatha is like an elephant—not so much to look at, for in appearance she resembles more a well-bred vulture, but because she never forgets."

Joy in the Morning - P.G. Wodehouse

Jun 29, 2011 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought
Jun 29, 2011 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

He's not a chemist: he's a professor at the Engineering Science faculty - polymer engineering/materials science that sort of thing. (He taught me actually....)

Jun 29, 2011 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Pedant-General

The end is indeed nigh for AGW enthusiasts, now that wit is on our side.

I was so negatively amused by Mann's sea level hockey stick that I finally got my creative juices all fired up to create a new Sea Level info-graphic:

Sea Level

-=NikFromNYC=- Ph.D. in Carbon (Organic) Chemistry (UofMN/Columbia/Harvard), with lab work on genetics, organometallics, and microfabrication (with lots of time in M.I.T. labs and the Harvard physics dept. during collaborations).

Here is a quick video I made of my favorite living chemist, Gilbert Stork, at age 90, drawing his first synthetic target. I used to attend his group meetings but he didn't take grad students any more by the time I arrived, only postdocs. My old lab mate at the time is now Dept. of Chemistry chairman at Columbia, up the street from me. There was a future president of the Am. Chem. Soc. (Breslow) and a future chemistry Nobelist (Marty Chalfie) on my Ph.D. committee, prior to my winning the "top student" (Hammett) award that year. The good training I had, under five laboratory advisers, over 13 years, made my head explode when I finally delved into the standard practices in climatology! Being an experimentalist means I don't get caught up in statistical or theoretical arguments. My inquiry in to AGW followed that of Burt Rutan who exclaimed repeatedly in his anti-AGW presentations: "show me the data!"

Jun 29, 2011 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

Isn't he confusing things a bit. I don't think the original hockey stick had any "hide the decline" or splicing with the instrumental record in it, "only" automated cherry picking.

Jun 29, 2011 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterpax

Why does McCrum write "In the event.." when he means "if....."?

Jun 29, 2011 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/29/the-log-in-the-eye-of-greenpeace/

for a view on Willie Soon's funding etc

"The Log in the Eye of Greenpeace
Posted on June 29, 2011 by Anthony Watts
Source: SPPI

by Dennis Ambler

Matthew 7:5 – Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

As Greenpeace publishes yet another attack on a reputable scientist, (Dr Willie Soon), who happens to disagree with the IPCC, they again ignore the massive funding going into the “green” movement, from corporations including “big oil”, foundations and governments."

More, comments and links at site

Jun 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

Simply brilliant.

At first I thought it was the Good Bishop himself that had come up with this, but then I read

"Apparently this procedure is called ‘principal component analysis’ and can produce hockey sticks from telephone directory numbers unless used correctly!"

Now I'm just waiting for the authoritative article explaining the whole affair on a more serious note: "Climategate - what was it really all about?"

I do think the world needs such a summary, where the various facts are put into their right context.

All the needed facts are there, extraordinaly well documented on Steve McIntyre's blog, Andrew Montford's book, in he "Climategate Letters" and of course in the IPCC reports themselves (and even in the peer-reviewed litterature ;-)). It's just screaming for a good writer to put it all together into a real powerful piece. After all, the facts speak for themselves.

Jun 29, 2011 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBebben

McCrum and Josh could team up to write an illustrated story.

Jun 30, 2011 at 1:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

This letter is brilliant and a really enjoyable read. Thanks.

Jun 30, 2011 at 5:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

I was thinking Wodehouse, too. "Aunt calling aunt like mastodons bellowing across primaeval swamps".

May we see the first installment?

A Josh/McCrum collaboration sounds very tempting!

Jun 30, 2011 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Nik

"..now that wit is on our side"

I think it always was. It was never difficult to distinguish between a warmist with a grievance and a ray of sunshine...

(pace P G Wodehouse)

Jun 30, 2011 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Bishop - are you sure you didn't write the PS? :-)

Jun 30, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Looking at Dr James Martin's Ehrlich like prediction of doom in Oxford Today it is clear that the university's thnking is much more dominated by the doomsayers than by such as Prof J Jones and Dr McCrum. We have a "runaway transformation of the climate", "the worst crisis in human history", "climate deniers" "in high places"giving out "public misinformation". All based on "detailed computer calculations " that "make it clear that dangerous climate change can be prevented only if action is taken quickly".

I am no "climate denier" but abhor the use of the word. My limited analysis of the subject suggests that uncertainty is far too great for the views and policy decisions supported by Dr Martin. And the observational data is scarcely convincing. I am with ypur commenter BBD!

Oddly I was born in the same small town as Dr Martin and went to the same Oxford college, but somewhere along the way I discovered that science is not as certain as some would pretend, and that decisions should allow for the degree of uncertainty.

Jun 30, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterjheath

"climate deniers" "in high places"

Who they?

Jun 30, 2011 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

... somewhere along the way I discovered that science is not as certain as some would pretend, and that decisions should allow for the degree of uncertainty.
Maybe that's why he became a millionaire and you (I assume) didn't!
Who wants to be a millionaire? I don't.[Cole Porter] Great song.

Jun 30, 2011 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

MJ

A corollary: You can tell what God thinks of money by the people he gives it to... :-)

Jun 30, 2011 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Mike Jackson

You assume a little too much, but not in his league.

Thanks Bishop for picking this article up.

jheath

Jun 30, 2011 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterjheath

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