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My day

A busy, but satisfying day yesterday. I did a long, in-depth interview with BBC radio for a forthcoming programme about the impact of Climategate on the global warming debate.  This is to be broadcast on 24th 31st of the month. The interviewer was Chris Vallance, who I haven't come across before, but the show was being produced by FOI correspondent Martin Rosenbaum. I think having the show run by someone from outside the ranks of the green correspondents should give this programme a rather different feel to the norm.

Then off to the Energy Institute Scotland, where a green energy consultant called Demian Natakhan was talking about how to respond to global warming sceptics. To be honest it wasn't a very good presentation and presented several open goals - using the Hockey Stick graph, claiming that "entirely independent" studies confirmed it and talking of 5m sea level rises among the most remarkable. The latter point was truly jaw-dropping, particularly when it was upped to 100m during the Q&A section.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the personalisation of the debate, feeble attempts to ridicule Nigel Lawson and Bob Carter adding little to anyone's understanding, particularly from a speaker who gave the impression of having put together his talk from a book and the Skeptical Science website and of having little in-depth understanding of the issues.

My real frustration though was that the whole piece seemed to be a defence of the greenhouse effect, which is not something the majority of sceptics take issue with. I must confess that I got slightly agitated when I spoke from the floor.

I think it fair to say that the speaker will have won few converts.

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Reader Comments (37)

I think having the show run by someone from outside the ranks of the green correspondents should give this programme a rather different feel to the norm.

Sounds very hopeful. Rosenbaum has seemed a sensible guy when I've run across his writings.

My real frustration though was that the whole piece seemed to be a defence of the greenhouse effect, which is not something the majority of sceptics take issue with.

By now this is deliberate misdirection. But well done, as ever, for speaking out.

Oct 3, 2012 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"My real frustration though was that the whole piece seemed to be a defence of the greenhouse effect, which is not something the majority of sceptics take issue with."

Which version of the 'greenhouse effect' was his eminence referring to?

Almost no informed sceptic believes in the glasshouse analogy sold to the public.

Oct 3, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Demian Natakhan is a fully committed wind industry (de-industry) lobbyist. As such, he also has to be fully committed to global warming alarmism and propaganda, since the former is irrelevant without the latter. I am sure you are correct in that he is just repeating standard alarmist propaganda. He won't have had time to study the issue.

Oct 3, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Bryan: Try Richard Lindzen's Taking Greenhouse Warming Seriously for an intelligent explanation that doesn't depend on glasshouse analogies.

Oct 3, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Firstly, the Greenhouse Effect isn't! My greenhouse doesn't behave the way the Greehouse Effect is said to do so. Secondly, the fact that people are referring to a "Global Warming debate" from the BBC, suggests that the unsrupulous fatherless mungrels (my euphemisms) are hedging their bets just in case the whole facade crumbles, which it surely will before the Neo Socilaist/Fuedalist Global Guvment is established!!! Thirdly, I sincerely do hope that the programme is indeed well balanced, with your highly valued observations aired fairly!

Oct 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

It wouldn't surprise me if the broadcast interview has very little in common with the actual recorded interview. This, after all, is the BBC.


Oct 3, 2012 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Demian's CV:

Do you suppose he was selling something?

Oct 3, 2012 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

As the programme was not broadcast live, your words will, presumably, be edited. You will need to listen very carefully to how they are edited when the broadcast is finally made. Until then I would not jump to any conclusions about the integrity of the broadcast or the programme editor. The advice I received many, many years ago (before anyone had heard of or thought of global warming) was to only do live broadcasts because recordings made you vulnerable to unscrupulous editing.

My impression is that there is a concerted campaign afoot to discredit sceptics. Some comes from the renewable energy industry, no doubt with the encouragement of the government. The Coalition remains firmly committed to its green energy agenda. I base this opinion on written comments received from my MP.

Oct 3, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

How can these people get away with such blatant untruths when dealing with sea level rises? Surely, sea levels and temperature data are too well documented to allow such obviously untruthful propaganda to have any credence whatsoever.

Oct 3, 2012 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

So a man, Demian Natakhan, who's business and entire career depends on scaring the crap out of people and then selling them "green" energy (did he mention that in his talk?), now wants to teach people how to respond to deniers?

Tell you what Demian Natakhan, ditch the vested interest, back up your beliefs with some data and then come for a chat

Oct 3, 2012 at 11:31 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

@peter stroud

it's easy when you preach to the converted

Oct 3, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

Damien's fellow directors include Trevor Ackland.

Trevor we are told

has completed a grid connect solar PV design course at RMIT University, various short courses through the Green Plumbers Association and a ‘Small Wind Assessors Course’ with the Institute of Sustainable Futures

Where do I sign up?

Oct 3, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

The 100-metres fantasy has previous form, in the person of the Australian-based activist Robyn Williams.

Andrew Bolt: I ask you, Robyn, 100 metres in the next century…do you really think that?
Robyn Williams: It is possible, yes.

It was Williams who described skeptics as being like "Jesuitical actuaries", by which he meant looking into every corner of the science literature to find a sliver of inaccuracy.

As though anyone needed to do that, given the gaping absurdities peddled day after day by the 'consensus scientists'

Oct 3, 2012 at 12:14 PM | Registered Commenterrickbradford

@Peter Stroud "How can these people get away with such blatant untruths"

He didn't get away with it. He was challenged.

@mangochutney "Demian . . . come for a chat"

There was dialogue and discussion both in the question time and afterwards. Damien now has The Hockey Stick Illusion winging its way to him and he committed to at least look at it.

@mangochutney "Its easy when you preach to the converted"

But this was an open meeting where not everyone was 'the converted' -by a long shot. As Bishop Hill says he will have won few converts on the evidence he presented.

Philip Bratby "He won't have had time to study the issue."

At the very least he now has a perspective to consider which has not been part his research to date.

Oct 3, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterCameron Rose

Has anyone anywhere heard an impressive, truthful, and persuasive (for anyone with a scrap of knowledge on the topics) presentation of the case for alarm over carbon dioxide and climate variation? Have the alarmed ones really carried the day by means of junk such as the AIT video, or through committees and resolutions and reports and sermons to the converted?

Oct 3, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Sorry Bish, the Aarhenius 'GHG blanket' GHE cannot exist because it depends on the 'back radiation' argument which no competent physicist or engineer can accept.

Oct 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

@Peter Stroud,

The claims are made about temp and sea level because they are human constructs rather than absolute physical quantities.
There is no such thing as a 'mean sea level' that can be observed somewhere, nor a 'global temperature', nor a 'normal' sea level or temperature.
So all sorts of claims can be made about such things without fear of contradiction, since the dozens of theoretical background assumptions that make the claim 'true' are never stated.

Oct 3, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

Demian Natakhan was talking about how to respond to global warming sceptics.!
Don't belittle them !
Don't smear them !
Don't abuse them !
Don't nick their stuff then chuck in some of your own to spice it up !
Don't for gods sake make up stuff that can be ripped apart before dinner, orat least try to get it right!
Have a open mind for once ask questions of us as much as your side !

Oct 3, 2012 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMat

As a competent electrical engineer (I have a PhD and am a senior fellow with a well known high tech company) I would just like to point out that the "back radiation" argument is entirely consistent with quantum mechanical principles and the laws of thermodynamics and I have no idea why you say otherwise despite repeated attempts by many qualified scientists/engineers to show why.

Oct 3, 2012 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterwyn palmer

Lie, lie and lie again. If you repeat the lie- and what is more exaggerate it even further, people start to believe.

The Greens have obviously been avid students of Joseph Goebbels.

Oct 3, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I'm with everyone here. Why you continue to trust the BBC I simply don't understand. I do, however, understand that you have entered into an uneviable position from you cannot win but most certainly you can lose.
I would demand total control over the output before I did anything at all with the BBC and if I couldn't I would decline the invitation, respectively.

Bish, what I am about to write is by no means meant to be rude or critical, more advisory. There are times in your reports of your interactions with the climate ' science' community that you demonstrate a lack of due cynicism. Soyez prudent. eg, UK Met off. and the BBC.

I very much appreciate your work and the toll this takes on your life and that of those close to you. Remember, no matter their facade these people are nasty and totally without scruples.

Oct 3, 2012 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Wyn Palmer: You only observe 'back radiation' because you shield the back of a radiometer from radiation in the opposite direction. So, it's an instrumental artefact, the vector sum of the Poynting vectors in the view angle. The proof is to use back to back radiometers in zero temperature gradient; the net signal is zero because the Poynting vectors completely cancel out.

Oct 3, 2012 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Oct 3, 2012 at 1:59 PM | wyn palmer

Wyn, no-one here, I believe, disagrees with the physics of CO². The term 'back radiation' is not a term used or described by any physics text book or paper. It is the term that arouses the pique.

I too have a BSc and MSC in physics but in this context it is meaningless.

Oct 3, 2012 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

No more radiative physics please.

Oct 3, 2012 at 3:19 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Sea Level has gone up 5m near where I live. And then the tide went out. And back in ...

Oct 3, 2012 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Andrew -
Thanks very much for recording the interview for us yesterday.
I should just say that the programme, called Climategate Revisited, will actually be broadcast on 31 October (I told you the wrong date yesterday - apologies for the confusion).

Oct 3, 2012 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Rosenbaum

The 100 m sea-level rise argument should be easy enough to counter. There just isn't that much water on the planet, even if all the ice in Greenland, West Antarctica and East Antarctica melts.

Oct 3, 2012 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered Commentertty

The date correction in the article proper (24th31st) is not reflected in the introductory piece on the home page.

Oct 3, 2012 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat K

Thermal expansion could cause large sea level rises if the oceans were warming.

Oct 3, 2012 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddieo


FYI, when the speaker mentioned the 100 meter sealevel rise, I immediately raised my hand and asked "Where does the water come from " ... he said Antarctica and Greenland, and I asked "do you have the volume and expansion calcs at hands to support that assertion?" ... he said "No.". I suspect it didn't occur him to run the numbers.

Oct 3, 2012 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

Thermal expansion could cause large sea level rises if the oceans were warming.

Oct 3, 2012 at 8:15 PM | Eddieo

Thermal expansion of water volume. 40°C 1%

Oct 3, 2012 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Eddieo -
"Thermal expansion could cause large sea level rises if the oceans were warming."

Not so large. Here's a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation. The largest estimate I've seen for recent steric rise in sea level is 2.2 mm/yr. Sea surface temperature (HadSST2) has increased by about half a degree [Celsius] over the last 50 years, so that's 0.01 K/yr. Combining the two, one gets about a quarter of a meter of sea level rise corresponding to each degree Celsius of sea surface temperature rise.

This is a very crude estimate, as the deep-water temperature has doubtless changed less than surface temperature, so at equilibrium the ratio would likely be higher. And steric rise comprises the majority of the projected 21st century sea level increase in AR4. [Mean estimate is 29 cm by 2100 for the A1FI scenario, lower for other scenarios.]

But calamitous sea-level rise could only come from significant melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet, or West Antarctica Ice Sheet. As has been pointed out before, the maximum sea level rise from any plausible climate trajectory is nothing like 100 m -- in fact, I think the total inventory of ice comes to around 70m of sea-level equivalent. And predictions are that in a warming world, Antarctica as a whole will *gain* land ice. E.g., from AR4 "All studies for the 21st century project that antarctic SMB [surface mass balance] changes will contribute negatively to sea level, owing to increasing accumulation exceeding any ablation increase."

Oct 3, 2012 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

I just hope Martin is up to speed with the full background, ie that the inquiries were a triumphant symphony of equivocation. Even Fred Pearce of the Guardian had this to say in conclusion to a review on the inquiries written by the Bishop for the GWPF

'I have no problem with Montford. His Bishop Hill website is not to everyone's taste, but he has landed some good blows here. Mainstream climate scientists need acerbic critics to keep them honest. And there are real signs of progress.'

The failure of the inquiries to address Steve McIntyre's central questions, also the sprited defence of Andrew's book HSI by Judith Curry, the frustration of MP Graham Stringer on the failure to audit the science etc.

A fairly recent FOI request by the Bishop revealed that the key UEA personnel were rehearsed by Neil Wallis and the Outside Organisation in advance of the actual inquries. Questions they should clearly have probed, and indeed as we later learned were expected, but lucky for them never asked.

Oct 3, 2012 at 10:17 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Thanks for doing this, Andrew.

Oct 3, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

I stand corrected and remorseful at having listened to a warmist without questioning him. :)
Average ocean depth =3500m
So using stephen's figures above a 40K rise in temp would lead to 35m rise in sea level assuming constant surface area.
By assuming this is a linear effect that would mean 4K would give a 3.5m rise..
From memory, water is at its densest at around 4deg C which is also the temperature of the deep ocean, and since this is therefor a turning point the expansion would probably be less dramatic in the deep and the assumption of linear expansion with temperature exaggerates the problem.
However I don't expect rapid warming of the oceans in the near future so not really worth worrying about.

Oct 3, 2012 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddieo

Eddieo -
Freshwater is densest at 4 °C, but saltwater keeps getting denser down to its freezing point, which is about -2 °C. For example, see this chart.

A 3.5m increase (for a 4 °C temperature rise) is too large an estimate of the thermal expansion. I looked further in AR4 and found this in the chapter 10 summary, talking of a stabilizing scenario: "Thermal expansion would continue over many centuries at a gradually decreasing rate, reaching an eventual level of 0.2 to 0.6 m per °C of global warming relative to present." For your posited 4 °C of temperature rise, this comes to 1.6 m (+/-0.8m) of sea level rise. But only after centuries, when the deep water has come to equilibrium.

Oct 4, 2012 at 12:25 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

100 m of sea level rise .... Hmmm, makes me wonder what could be motivating Mr Natakhan to reject the science? };-)

Oct 4, 2012 at 1:50 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

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