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« Lindzen in London update | Main | Lawson in the FT »
Wednesday
Feb082012

Don't sell your coat

Harold Ambler's Don't Sell Your Coat is a general introduction to global warming from the perspective of a card-carrying liberal who has had his eyes opened to all the problems with the AGW hypothesis.

This is one for the non-technical friend who needs a primer, an antidote to the propaganda that still seems to be all-pervasive. It's written with a lovely lightness of touch which should make it accessible to just about anyone. It has also been rather beautifully put together, with some very nice photos to pep up the inevitable graphs.

Here (with permission) is a chapter so you can see what I mean.

Buy it here.

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Reader Comments (38)

Perhaps a copy should be sent to Ed Davey

Feb 8, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Peter Gleick has already reviewed it...

Feb 8, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Now that I have my e-reader, being in Hungary is no longer a disadvantage for these types of books...

Feb 8, 2012 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Jiminy Cricket Gleick reviewed it before the author had writtien it , his really that good!

Feb 8, 2012 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

This is one for the non-technical friend who needs a primer, an antidote to the propaganda that still seems to be all-pervasive. It's written with a lovely lightness of touch which should make it accessible to just about anyone.

A delightful writer, to say the least, but much more important, not a impassioned one. And from the People's Republic of Santa Cruz, no less.

And excellent book. Ordered my kindle version.

Feb 8, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Harold Ambler's Don't Sell Your Coat is a general introduction to global warming from the perspective of a card-carrying liberal who has had his eyes opened to all the problems with the AGW hypothesis.

Politics- i.e. liberal is meaningless- but anything that starts with quoting the ice is growing in Antarctic and polar bear population are at a 40 year high, but fails to mention that increase in ice in one area is a result of loss of ice elsewhere directly caused by higher precipitation caused by a warmer Antarctic. The trend of a receding Arctic is happening despite only a slight global temp increase in the last decade. As for polar bears- of the 19 sub-species some are stable but some aren't. The biggest problem is the lack of information. Most of the statements in the trial chapter should have caveats rather than assertions.

And that's my problem with skeptics : I prefer sceptic- questioning the science is one thing and I am desperate to find somewhere to go, a place free of conspiracies and fallacy- a place where people stick to scientific rules. Another book of opinions is hardly useful, I can go to the bar to get those for free.

Feb 8, 2012 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commenteriwannabeasceptic

@iwannabeasceptic

I read those statements, I think it is more of a case of educating people.

Because the green zealot propaganda machine makes it sound like ALL ice will disappear in less than a generation, and the polar bears are on their last legs.

I think BH was quite clear. This is a summary and background book. Opening peoples eyes to things the media keeps out of view.

You do not like such a book, then fine. Do not find it to your tastes, then fine. Then do not read the bloody thing.

Eye opening is the path to true skepticism. Once the scales are lifted then propaganda does not work and you can treat knowledge on its merits.

Feb 8, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

@wanna:

Arctic sea ice has been multiplying and receding, cyclically, for millions of years. Measurement by satellite has been taking place for fewer than four decades. The linking of a downturn in Arctic sea ice to polar bear populations has many problems, among them how short the period of measurement is and the fact that polar bear numbers have swelled since hunting was limited. You can still get a permit to hunt a polar bear, by the way, and hundreds are given out each year. Antarctic catastrophists are confronted with many problems, among them: increasing sea ice and a cooling South Pole. I know, I know, in between the coast and the South Pole, it's horrific melting everywhere you look! But seriously Antarctica's not melting, beyond a few ice shelves breaking off. That's what they do during interglacials, by the way. You can keep walking to work, which I'm sure you do, but they'll keep breaking off until this interglacial ends. The only thing new about the situation is the ability to see them break off from space. Your low-key ad-hom is rated as a failure.

Feb 8, 2012 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarold Ambler

Peter Gleick has already reviewed it...
Feb 8, 2012 at 2:06 PM Jiminy Cricket

Where? Or is that a joke?

Feb 8, 2012 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

@Martin

Peter had a problem this time, because his last review of contrarian book was so full of meaningful insight, usefulfacts and relevant details gleaned from reading the book that he couldn't just cut and paste it for the review here.

So expect a little delay before it appears.

Feb 8, 2012 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

...but fails to mention that increase in ice in one area is a result of loss of ice elsewhere directly caused by higher precipitation caused by a warmer Antarctic...
You can presumably produce evidence for that claim?
If you really wannabe a sceptic then trotting out the party line about ice and polar bears is definitely not a good starting point.
Presuming that all you have read is the opening chapter then you don't know how Ambler will develop his introduction later in the book so you don't know whether this is simply "another book of opinions" or not and the speed with which you have condemned it makes me more than a little sceptical about your scepticism.

Feb 8, 2012 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Re: iwannabeasceptic

but fails to mention that increase in ice in one area is a result of loss of ice elsewhere directly caused by higher precipitation caused by a warmer Antarctic.

You are making several claims in this one sentence. Could you provide some references for the following claims:
1. Ice gain in one area is a result of loss of ice elsewhere.
2. Higher precipitation is caused by a warmer Antarctic.
3. The Antarctic is warmer.

For number 3 you might be thinking of Steig et al 2009, but that paper used incorrect methods to calculate a warming trend. O’Donnell et al 2010 corrected Steig's mistakes and found and warming trend to be significant in the West Antarctic Peninsula.

Feb 8, 2012 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Missed an "only" of the end of that. Should be:

and found and the warming trend to be significant in the West Antarctic Peninsula only.

Feb 8, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

@iwannabeasceptic

You'll forgive me if I don't believe that your pseudonym is an accurate reflection of your position.

Are you based in Truro?

Feb 8, 2012 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Yesterday it was Fritz Vahrenholt. Today, Harold Ambler.

For a liberal/left CAGW skeptic like yours truly, the world suddenly gets bigger, brighter and merrier.

Feb 8, 2012 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

iwannabe

And that's my problem with warmists - instead of quoting some well verified numbers they just trot out the usual handout of propaganda, which is usually out-of-date.

Most of the Arctic hasn't been surveyed for Polar Bears, so the definitive position is difficult, but here is a reasonable, realistic assessment done by a sceptic.

http://www.climate-resistance.org/2011/12/the-polar-bear-affair-part-1001.html

And when experts with 40 years of experience in Northern Canada tell you they have been increasing - well ignore that it isn't on message! WE also know that there was little ice in Arctic 60 years ago when US nuclear subs often surfaced through the ice close to the Pole. There were letters written to the Times more than a hundred years ago about the lack of ice in the Arctic.

As TerryS points out the idea that the Antarctic is warming has been thoroughly dealt with by O'Donnell et al. Most of the Antarctic, away from the peninsula is not warming.

For three decades we have been told both ends are melting and now it is obvious that the bottom isn't (see satellite data), a one end melting has to cause the other to freeze story is developed. IPCC 2007 tells us the Northern Hemisphere will have increasingly mild winters - now we are told that CO2 causes cold winters in Europe instead, not to mention Siberia and Alaska record lows.

I have read Harold Ambler's first chapter and it seems to set the scene very well. I did a presentation recently about the last Million years and some people were staggered that (as Mr Ambler tells us) that 90% of that time has been spent frozen and that 9 of the last 10 thousand years have been warmer than today.

Feb 8, 2012 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Bishop

Are you aware of Micheal Mann's book that has just been released:

http://www.amazon.com/Hockey-Stick-Climate-Wars-ebook/dp/B0072N4U6S/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Feb 8, 2012 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Mr Ambler

A copy of your book will be on my Kindle later this month.

Thank you.

Feb 8, 2012 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

How on Earth can one want to be a sceptic: is it the uniform perhaps?

Feb 8, 2012 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Jack

Yes, I knew it was coming out. I must get a copy...he looks as if he could do with the sales.

Feb 8, 2012 at 8:51 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

@iwanna

Can you inform us how your alleged increased precipitation in Antarctica is increasing SEA ice please?

Thought not.

Feb 8, 2012 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSayNoToFearmongers

O’Donnell et al 2010 corrected Steig's mistakes and found and warming trend to be significant in the West Antarctic Peninsula."

And remember that a large portion of the West Antarctic Peninsula isn't actually in the Antarctic.

I recall from perhaps two years ago a story about a polar bear and her two cubs wandering into Yellowknife. Some people claimed they were starving and driven south by global warming. Other people claimed they were in fact thin and hungry because they had just come out of hibernation and they were so far south because of population pressures. The locals considered them to be a threat and shot them.

Feb 8, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

"How on Earth can one want to be a sceptic: is it the uniform perhaps?"

No, it will be the regular income from Big Oil ...

Feb 8, 2012 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

This from the opening of the sample chapter:

"The best projections tell us that we have less than 100 months to alter our behavior before we risk catastrophic climate change. – Charles, Prince of Wales, March, 2009"

Niggles me as I just figure the PoW would have said "fewer", not "less than 100". He knows as little of science as he does his Mother's English. :-)

Feb 8, 2012 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Snotrocket
I guess he'll have to say fewer than 76 now anyway. What will he say when reminded of this foolish statement, and things are pretty much the same as now? I'm not anticipating any humble pie being eaten.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Just read the chapter and was a little saddened to discover Ambler was not a UK liberal as that would have really made me laugh, but never mind. I will buy his book.

I suppose Mann's book is the result of his sabbatical for media training? I shall not be purchasing that tome, especially after reading the reviews which seemed to be of the bleeding heart variety.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBiddyb

Harold: "But seriously Antarctica's not melting, beyond a few ice shelves breaking off. That's what they do during interglacials, by the way. You can keep walking to work, which I'm sure you do, but they'll keep breaking off until this interglacial ends."

Um, here's the KISS version:
Ice shelves are the floating tongues of glaciers. Glaciers grow when the ice build-up behind them forces them forward. The faster the glacier grows, the more ice shelves will break off. If anything, Antarctic ice shelf growth and break-off is correlated with and caused by cooling.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrian H

Good luck to Harold Ambler with his new book, and I hope he gets better reviews on Amazon than Michael Mann is getting (the one star reviews indicate that the reviewers have read the book and they know what science is. Mein Manpf is a bit below the belt though.)

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterandy scrase

Harold;
Edit query from the extract, concerning La Ninas:
"Rather than slowing down, the dominant west-to-east trade winds speed up, pushing water towards the west. "
How does that work? If the winds are heading east, surely the water is, too.

Feb 8, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrian H

Feb 8, 2012 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

"The best projections tell us that we have less than 100 months to alter our behavior before we risk catastrophic climate change. – Charles, Prince of Wales, March, 2009"


Niggles me as I just figure the PoW would have said "fewer", not "less than 100". He knows as little of science as he does his Mother's English. :-)

Presumably it would have been ok if he had said "...we have less than 100.00 months to alter our behavior".

Feb 8, 2012 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Brian H: Thank you. I was a bit dyslexic there, and future editions will benefit from the correction. Thanks again.

Feb 8, 2012 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarold Ambler

Martin A --
Presumably it would have been ok if he had said "...we have less than 100.00 months to alter our behavior".
No, because then one would object to the unwarranted precision!

Actually, I disagree with Snotrocket's objection - I think "fewer" is applicable when one is talking about discrete objects, e.g. the express checkout line is for persons with fewer than ten items. Divisible quantities take "less", and months in this case qualifies -- one could act in 5.5 months, say.

But this is rather off-topic.

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

HaroldW
"Divisible quantities take "less", and months in this case qualifies -- one could act in 5.5 months, say."

Yes, that was my point. It would sound odd if I said "I read Bishop Hill's report in fewer than twenty minutes"


The book looks an excellent work to me. But I think what will eventually end the Great Illusion will be daily power cuts, increasing deaths from hypothermia, deteriorating economic situation and an angry backlash from the majority who never held a strong view in either direction.

Feb 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Brian H and Harold Ambler

Yes you always have to be careful when talking about wind and water, because a westerly wind comes from the west, but a westerly ocean current is going there.

I have purchased the book Harold - good luck with it.

Feb 9, 2012 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Just got to chapter 3. Very readable, and seems to provide a good briefing for debating with yer average warmist. A must read for politicians - 'tho might be a bit too technical for some of them ;-o

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Hi, again- I tend to lurk- I am an author who is floating around between the two camps- but I, like the skeptics who are dismissive of the politics of AGW am equally dismissive of any kind of debate that uses terms like CAGW, warmist,alarmist and I would include skeptics that are in denial. The thing about science, and look around you to see all the stuff its produced, is it is neutral.
The skeptic camp ranges from- there is no warming, it's a conspiracy, to: there is warming, and even warming caused by CO2 but there is little we can do about it. Clearly these different stand-points cannot co-exist in a sustainable way. But I also have contacts in the academic research field who will openly admit that there is a huge debate raging in all fields and some of these go on for decades. Look up tectonic plates to see just how entrenched the debate can get. but ultimately, despite a few gaps one theory has superseded the other.

As I am in the process of writing a sceptics book on the debate I am trying to take a middle road- oddly when I speak to scientists [god I hate that term!] many are happy to discuss the limitations based on available evidence.

If I were to talk about polar bears based on evidence the first caveat is their lifestyle and habitat make it difficult to get the full picture. There are strong indications that some groups are declining whilst some are stable with one group increasing. There are papers [not newspaper articles] that try to draw conclusions but the biggest problem is the lack of data. As for a build up of ice in the south, well just mentioning that and not ice loss in north or parts of the south is cherry-picking.

Both camps would not get so impassioned if they did not think the issue was worth debating. So based on a limited sample chapter I think the book is biased. Why- because talking about climate change over epochs is not the debate- many know of previous eras of climate change and I worked for 10 years on notable civilization climate change incidents in recent [5,000b.p] history. The issue is the speed and cause of that change now. [politically it is what do we do? But that is part 2 of my study]

As a counter-point I know that science evolves, and as an unbiased entity it doesn't care if a fact gets superseded, the scientists often get quite protective, but the system is self correcting. Politics is another matter and it is this confusion that I find unhelpful. I like wind-turbines [so much I profit from having them on my land, 4, and a mobile phone mast, it subsidies writing] but I am not a 'watermelon'. And our odd recent climate has had both good and bad effects on the farm. My tiny vineyard of 10 years [in Wales] was wiped out by the extreme cold last year.

Activists like yourselves are worth writing about but I have found it very difficult to differentiate between those who would deny all evidence and those that accept some but disagree with the politics. Entering into dialogue presents problems, comments that contest my impartiality do not help and suggest an entrenched and suspicious attitude. Public relations with the 'warmist' camp are much better in my experience. I can ask difficult questions and frequently I am told that such limitations are part of the territory.

A sceptic has an open mind- which requires readjustment with new evidence. Being a sophist does not solve anything. So take for example a few points mentioned here- the lack of warming of the last decade- but even the most critical studies have demonstrated that there has been no relative cooling but only slight warming. I approached the Met Office- yes-it is an issue but fits models from a decade or so ago- they sent me a graph and references- this despite a solar cooling period. I am sure you have heard the same statement trotted out but this cooler period may give an extra decade before AGW kicks back in. But it makes no sense to proclaim that their predictions are wrong only to go against logic and say that a cooling period is predicted. It is either foolish to predict or it is not, considering that Solar and climate sciences are of a similar age. Do you get where I coming from on this very superficial example?

From my perspective there is no value in being dragged into a Top Trump Climate game, others can do that, and I keep track of the trends of both sides by visiting forums, I am more interested in logical arguments and actual standpoints. All of you here do not believe that AGW is some elaborate hoax by the 'World Government'. But if any one wants to have an honest dialogue then email me - cyeulet@hotmail.com

Feb 9, 2012 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered Commenteriwannabeasceptic

Hi, again- I tend to lurk- I am an author who is floating around between the two camps- but I, like the skeptics who are dismissive of the politics of AGW am equally dismissive of any kind of debate that uses terms like CAGW, warmist,alarmist and I would include skeptics that are in denial. The thing about science, and look around you to see all the stuff its produced, is it is neutral.
The skeptic camp ranges from- there is no warming, it's a conspiracy, to: there is warming, and even warming caused by CO2 but there is little we can do about it. Clearly these different stand-points cannot co-exist in a sustainable way. But I also have contacts in the academic research field who will openly admit that there is a huge debate raging in all fields and some of these go on for decades. Look up tectonic plates to see just how entrenched the debate can get. but ultimately, despite a few gaps one theory has superseded the other.

As I am in the process of writing a sceptics book on the debate I am trying to take a middle road- oddly when I speak to scientists [god I hate that term!] many are happy to discuss the limitations based on available evidence.

If I were to talk about polar bears based on evidence the first caveat is their lifestyle and habitat make it difficult to get the full picture. There are strong indications that some groups are declining whilst some are stable with one group increasing. There are papers [not newspaper articles] that try to draw conclusions but the biggest problem is the lack of data. As for a build up of ice in the south, well just mentioning that and not ice loss in north or parts of the south is cherry-picking.

Both camps would not get so impassioned if they did not think the issue was worth debating. So based on a limited sample chapter I think the book is biased. Why- because talking about climate change over epochs is not the debate- many know of previous eras of climate change and I worked for 10 years on notable civilization climate change incidents in recent [5,000b.p] history. The issue is the speed and cause of that change now. [politically it is what do we do? But that is part 2 of my study]

As a counter-point I know that science evolves, and as an unbiased entity it doesn't care if a fact gets superseded, the scientists often get quite protective, but the system is self correcting. Politics is another matter and it is this confusion that I find unhelpful. I like wind-turbines [so much I profit from having them on my land, 4, and a mobile phone mast, it subsidies writing] but I am not a 'watermelon'. And our odd recent climate has had both good and bad effects on the farm. My tiny vineyard of 10 years [in Wales] was wiped out by the extreme cold last year.

Activists like yourselves are worth writing about but I have found it very difficult to differentiate between those who would deny all evidence and those that accept some but disagree with the politics. Entering into dialogue presents problems, comments that contest my impartiality do not help and suggest an entrenched and suspicious attitude. Public relations with the 'warmist' camp are much better in my experience. I can ask difficult questions and frequently I am told that such limitations are part of the territory.

A sceptic has an open mind- which requires readjustment with new evidence. Being a sophist does not solve anything. So take for example a few points mentioned here- the lack of warming of the last decade- but even the most critical studies have demonstrated that there has been no relative cooling but only slight warming. I approached the Met Office- yes-it is an issue but fits models from a decade or so ago- they sent me a graph and references- this despite a solar cooling period. I am sure you have heard the same statement trotted out but this cooler period may give an extra decade before AGW kicks back in. But it makes no sense to proclaim that their predictions are wrong only to go against logic and say that a cooling period is predicted. It is either foolish to predict or it is not, considering that Solar and climate sciences are of a similar age. Do you get where I coming from on this very superficial example?

From my perspective there is no value in being dragged into a Top Trump Climate game, others can do that, and I keep track of the trends of both sides by visiting forums, I am more interested in logical arguments and actual standpoints. All of you here do not believe that AGW is some elaborate hoax by the 'World Government'. But if any one wants to have an honest dialogue then email me - cyeulet@hotmail.com

Feb 9, 2012 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commenteriwannabeasceptic

Thank you for a very wonderful book. More to come I hope.

Mar 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterisepiq

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