Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
  • May 20 - golf charlie on
    COP 23
  • May 19 - Mark Hodgson on
    COP 23

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Tories out! | Main | RC »

Prof Jones and citing your evidence

Tony at Harmless Sky has noticed that the BBC has published a correction to Professor Steve Jones' report on scientific impartiality at the BBC. It seems that remarks apparently attributed by Professor Jones to Lords Lawson and Monckton never passed the two peers' lips.

With the false attribution removed,  Professor Jones is in the awkward position of not actually attributing the remarks at all.

He wouldn't survive for ten minutes in the blogosphere with citation standards like that.

However, I did some digging. The disputed remarks relate to a claim that "95% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources". The original report says that they were made, apparently by Lawson, in an edition of the Daily Politics in February 2011. However, I was unable to find anyone making those particular comments during February.

Fortunately, Tony noticed that in the revised version of the report the date had been changed to March 2011, and we were subsequently able to identify the source of a piece by Johnny Ball that many readers will remember. In it Ball says

Only 4% of what goes into the atmosphere is put there by man, and the rest is completely natural. (Yes, but the problem may be the cumulative effect, not the annual fraction).

I think we can agree that this is true, but not all of the story; some correction and criticism is therefore justified and we can see how Jones does this in his report:

Jones: "... in fact human activity has been responsible for a 40% rise in concentration"

This is possible, but not proven. As Prof Salby pointed out the other day, there is a case to be made that the temperature rises are causing the carbon dioxide increases and not the other way round.

But even if we accept that the rise is all caused by man, it is instructive to observe the outrage with which Prof Jones greets a true (but incomplete) statement from Johnny Ball and then note his silence on say the Horizon programme in which incorrect statements were made about the relative contributions of mankind and volcanos to the atmosphere.

Ah, but Paul Nurse and Bob Bindschadler represent the majority view, don't they?

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (18)

Schadenfreude is a terrible thing, especially if you can't spell.

Aug 20, 2011 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Most CO2 is coming from the Oceans which are saturated with it.

Habibullo I. Abdussamatov
“Additionally, it has been found that cyclic considerable increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration during the past 420,000 years have never preceded the global warmings but instead they followed the rises of temperature with the time lag of 200–800 years, thus being the effects of global warmings.”

Aug 20, 2011 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm Shykles

Give Professor Steve Jones ability to predict volcanic activity , which was about the same standard of recently dead mouse , its no real surprise. Far to often these scientists/advocates make fools of themselves by stepping out side of their own areas of expertise . Of course the pattern is established the BBC etc give the original claims wide coverage and when it turns out they where rubbish they say nothing .

Aug 20, 2011 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Steve Jones is 'fantastically shallow' (his words), he is fond of copying ideas and words from others (without attribution *) and, as TonyN notes, he has a problem with accuracy.


Aug 20, 2011 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

I hope there is no risk of plagiarism here...what would Mashey have to say?

Aug 20, 2011 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

The conventional wisdom is that the Spring growing season in the NH lowers global CO2 concentrations. Oddly, when it's warming in the NH, the SH oceans are cooling, allowing them to absorb more CO2. Which is the controlling item?

Aug 20, 2011 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

I suggest that as Mauna Loa is downwind of the USA, the CO2 measured at that point reaches a minimum in September and starts to fall rapidly in June, when Central Heating gets turned off.

As last winter was somewhat colder then the upward swing was slightly greater.

This could mean that at a minimum, only some 8ppm out of 390ppm (2%) is due to human activity.

Aug 20, 2011 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm Shykles

How to make money the Professor Steve Jones (easy) way...

From the Steve Jones 'impartiality' report: "Ice cores shows [sic] that for half a million years before the Industrial Revolution its level fluctuated between 180 and 300 parts per million."

see: (2011)

From the New Scientist: "Ice cores show that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have remained between 180 and 300 parts per million for the past half-a-million years."

see: (2007)


"Analysis of air bubbles from polar ice cores shows that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has remained between 180 and 300 parts per million (ppm) during the past 420,000 years ..." (2007)

So Professor Steve Jones' contribution is to jumble up the words a bit and introduce a small error (similar then to Phil Jones contribution to climatology).

Aug 20, 2011 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

I know it's not just me but PSJ does look like Harry Enfield. I like Harry Enfield, he's funny.
I like PSJ as well, he attributes 100% of ACC to anthropogenic sources. Can't find any weak points with his arguments about that.
PSJ is not as funny as Harry (Enfield or ClimateGate) but his condescending prognostications clearly come from his rc!

Aug 20, 2011 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Perhaps Steve Jones is related to Paul Nurse and Sir Harry Enfield?

'Skepitcs, Know Your Limits'

Aug 21, 2011 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Thanks ZT. Superb!

Aug 21, 2011 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Remember 'patrickmoore' on the Telegraph Jones piece? He's posted again...

Aug 21, 2011 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Jones has form, he is believes anyone who doesn't share his views should be muzzled, and they are of course. It's quite why he believes people espousing creationism, or that the earth is flat, would make any impact, unless, of course you have the view that everyone is as thick as two short planks. Unlike the good Prof himself who has a towering intellect and is right about everything.

If you want to listen to non-evidence based science, and utter rubbish being put out by the BEEB, have a listen to Dr. Lynn Dicks. If her views aren't in the flat earth category, then no one's are. I presume Jones would rather muzzle the good Prof Stott than someone who advocates banning all flying.

Aug 21, 2011 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

“banning all flying”

But it’s a logical consequence of the alarmist POV. That’s the trouble with domesday scenarios - once you subscribe, you can’t avoid the conclusions. If our CO2 production has to be stopped, then industrialisation has to, too. No more flying, driving, or fossil fuel consumption - back to the stone age, and that means everyone, even Monbiot, Jones, Caroline Lucas, Huhne etc. It would almost be worth it to see them in the same boat...

Aug 21, 2011 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

And an excellent piece it is too, Pharos, just like his preceding piece.
It is sad (if more than a little predictable) to see jaydee 23's comment of five days ago where he demonstrates to perfection the innate failings of those who want to believe AGW but lack the intellectual capacity to argue the case.

Galileo had scientific evidence to back him, his theory was the best at the time. Vested interests eg the church wanted to stop him. This time it isn't the church, it is the vested interests in the fossil fuel industries trying to ignore the truth.
Encapsulates his ignorance and presumably he cannot see the inherent contradiction in his position.

Aug 21, 2011 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Jones' report on BBC scientific impartiality, however inadequate in the detail, managed to recommend more partiality. The man couldn't carry an argument in a bucket.

Aug 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

"back to the stone age"

On reflection, I suppose we could smelt a little metal with charcoal. Enough to make a bicycle, perhaps?

Aug 21, 2011 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

5% seems an unjustifiably high claim .

""The amount of carbon dioxide emitted from human sources is small in comparison to natural flows:at around 3% emitted from the land and oceans to the atmosphere"

Parliamentary answer given to John Redwood.

So the BBC is in the positionof libelling Lord lawson for allegedly making an unsupportable statement which (A) he didn't actually make and (B) was actually less "extreme" than the admitted truth. Perhaps he should talk to a lawyer regarding the opportunity to enrich himself from the £140,000 the BBC paid for these lies.

Aug 21, 2011 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>