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A whiff of the Sunday Sport

Having failed to reply to Matt Ridley's request to respond to Myles Allen's critique, Damian Carrington and his band of merry men have responded with another, but rather grubbier, attack in the same direction, this time from Nuccitelli.

Given that even Nuccitelli's co-authors at Skeptical Science have pointed to his misrepresenting those who disagree with him, and given the car crash of his article about Nic Lewis the other day, a reputable newspaper would steer clear. But when you haemorrhaging money, I guess the priorities are different.

Here's a paragraph from Nuccitelli's article:

[Ridley] suggests, based on outdated references from Bjorn Lomborg, that the economic impacts of climate change are nothing to worry about. Cambridge economist Chris Hope tested this claim by running the climate sensitivity estimates from the new Otto paper in his economic assessment model, PAGE09. The model previously estimated the climate damage from greenhouse gas emissions at an average cost of approximately $100 per tonne of carbon dioxide. The revised estimate resulted in an average cost of $80 per tonne. Given that humans emit over 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, that amounts to an annual increase in committed climate change damage of $2.4 trillion, or over 3% of the global gross domestic product, quite contrary to Ridley's rosy perspective.

Line one is, of course, not true. I'm not sure of the precise source for Ridley's quote, but Lomborg made similar remarks about the relatively mild economic impacts of global warming in his evidence to the US Congress on 25 April this year. To describe them as "outdated" is therefore yet another Nuccitelli "embellishment". Lomborg's remarks are very much in the economic mainstream, but of course this will not bother Nuccitelli (or the Guardian) in the slightest.

Chris Hope's $80 estimate is equally problematic. Nic Lewis has pointed out, in a comment that has yet to receive a response from Hope, that the estimate didn't actually use the Otto et al preferred figure of 1.3°C for transient climate response. Moreover, Hope's model seems to estimate the longer-term effects of climate change from the transient climate response and a "feedback response time" rather than a direct estimate of the effective climate sensitivity. In a Twitter exchange with yours truly, Hope explained that his method implied an ECS figure of 2.5°C. Unfortunately, the Otto et al estimate of for ECS was only 2°C (and watch this space for some rather exciting news on this subject). The difference is likely to be important. Earlier this year, I asked Hope to estimate the effect on his model of using a figure of 1.6°C for ECS (the Forster and Gregory value). The answer then came out at just $18. 

It's fair to say then that Hope's estimates are highly sensitive to the value of ECS. Given that his methodology seems to overestimate it, the value of $80 that the Guardian is touting looks to have little credibility.

Not that this will bother them of course. They are living in desperate times and every wild accusation and distortion and embellishment may serve to keep their heads above water for a time. It may even work for a while. Stories of alien landings worked for the Sunday Sport for a time. But only for a time.

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    - Bishop Hill blog - A whiff of the Sunday Sport

Reader Comments (33)

He ran it through his 'economic assessment model, PAGE09', eh? Well, they can be no arguing with that, then.

May 24, 2013 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

"...a reputable newspaper would steer clear."

I don't know Carrington or Hickman personally but neither come across to me as men who've tried to get their head round Maxell's equations and tried to figure out the energy loss/radian caused by T10 - T11 - T01 conversion in a bend on a circular microwave.

May 24, 2013 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Funny, MY economic model says each tonne of CO2 emitted has a positive effect on the emitter, who gets the benefit of whatever he burned the fuel for, the trees and crops that enjoy the CO2, and just possibly, if it does cause a little warming, the rest of us too, who can put deadly cold a little further away.

May 24, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

" a reputable newspaper" - the Manchester Guardian was once a good newspaper. Its declining circulation (204,222 - Dec 2012) mirrors its decliming honesty. Once it drops to 63% of its current circulation, it will be similar to other comics like the Beano. (Beano circulation 128,417).

May 24, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

ConfusedPhoton, I resent you implicating that fine publication The Beano in this.

May 24, 2013 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

You have to understand that these guys are preaching to their choir. They dont care about what the outside world things, all that matters to them is what their believers believe and trust on faith.


May 24, 2013 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commentermailman

You’re thinking of the Dandy, home of Desperate Dana.
What’s really weird about the Guardian’s environment page is that, despite employing a team of ten or eleven (editor Rusbridger isn’t quite sure) full-time environmental journalists, the vast majority of their articles are written by stringers from the Guardian Environment Network.
Nuccitelli and John Abrahams, his co-member of “Climate Consensus - the 97%” have between them furnished ten articles in the past three months. What do Carrington &co actually do all day?

May 24, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

@ Mailman,

That may be true, but here in Holland the Guardian is definitely seen as a high standard "reputable" newspaper, and everything it writes is taken as gospel by the left leaning greenies here.

So all the untruthfull crap they write does unfortunately still matter (at least here), which makes it all the more annoying.

May 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterwijnand

Unlikely claims such as "diseases transmitted from unsanitary telephones and toilet seats cost the economy XYZ billions", are made all the time. Add them all up and they probably come to far more than the GDP of planet Earth.

Based largely on predictions, catastrophic global-warming claims don't even match such a low standard, not least because it isn't happening. Like much of the MSM, the Grauniad is worse at mathematics than it is at English, and quite happy to use numbers plucked from where the down-welling back-radiation don't shine.

May 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Who reads the Guarniad's eco coverage anyway? Who really cares what Hickman and Carrington think? Are they really making any difference? Will they be well regarded in five years time?

May 24, 2013 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterDDff


Sorry I did not mean to bring the reputation of the Beano down to the low level of the Guardian

May 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

I noticed a copy of the Guardian in the paper rack at my golf club last week. Dunno who asked for it, but you won't find many of the grumpy old gits from the Seniors section reading it.

May 24, 2013 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJockdownsouth

@ confusedphoton - I agree that there has been a decline in quality of the writing and there is sometimes too much political correctness, but it is still a very good publication. Just because it has northern roots does not make its output second-rate. I was a subscriber in the 70s and 80s, and I still get a copy for my son to read. He likes the Bash Street Kids the most. The Guardian on the other hand is a pile of pish, as they would say in Dundee.

update - I see your apology to TGYJ - accepted. ;)

May 24, 2013 at 11:35 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

The Graun really is scraping the barrel now with its slavish drooling over climatologist groupie Dana and his mates: if I wasn't banned already I'd be getting banned right now.

May 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

If economic models were law we would all be dead and buried.
Why should extra atmospheric CO2 cost anything? I suppose it has to if you are a believer in the GHE theory should that be true. But otherwise CO2 is a natural trace gas that feeds plants to the sum of £80 per tonne released which means a credit of 2.4T£ in extra food crops.
These figures are from my complete climate model based on reality. The actual figures are a guess just like those in the piece above.

May 24, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall


Who reads the Guarniad's eco coverage anyway?

I am regular reader. I find it a great source of innocent merriment, particularly the comments. Today Matthew 2012 is advocating evening out the intermittency of renewable energy supply by using the sewers for pumped storage.

May 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

"... using the sewers for pumped storage."

He must have heard that our energy policy is in the S.H. One. T!

May 24, 2013 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

Graphicconception 1:11pm - I really did "laugh out loud" at that. Thanks for cheering me up on a dreich day!

May 24, 2013 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJockdownsouth

True it has to be said we live in the age of the internet, the graun - in British newsagents and supermarkets it sells not at all. You can see copies of the Graun all over Europe in the news racks of newspaper vendors, even [sometimes] on the streets of Asia they sell it too, return later in the day, usually most of the readable papers have been bought, always the Guardian copies remain unsold.

Apart from the BBC - who the hell buys the Guardian?

For real comedy, turn to the comment pages and read Toynbee, Bindel, Moore, Ball and Bell.

May 24, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.


"the Grauniad is worse at mathematics than it is at English"

Given its famous inability to spell, that's not saying much. I used to take the Observer before and shortly after the Graun bought it and was amazed to watch to dyslexia creep in. You wouldn't think automatic spell-checkers existed!

May 24, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Well if it was run through PAGE09 it must be true.
Here are the details;
Development of the PAGE09 model received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme, as part of the Climate Cost Project (Full Costs of Climate Change, Grant Agreement 212774) www/ and from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.

These papers are produced by Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. They are circulated for discussion purposes only. Their contents should be considered preliminary and are not to be quoted without the authors’ permission.‎

May 24, 2013 at 2:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Source of Lomborg quote is indeed his Congressional testimony, here:

"It is important to realize that economic models show that the overall impact of a moderate warming (1-2oC) will be beneficial whereas higher temperatures expected towards the end of the century will have a negative net impact. Thus, as indicated in Figure 1, global warming is a net benefit now and will likely stay so till about 2070, after which it will turn into a net cost."

May 24, 2013 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt Ridley

May 24, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Athelstan

Apart from the BBC - who the hell buys the Guardian?

For real comedy, turn to the comment pages and read Toynbee, Bindel, Moore, Ball and Bell.

Ummmmm - you?

(unless you're from the BBC)

May 24, 2013 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Ummmmm - you?

(unless you're from the BBC)

No, I did read it when I was a child but it was a considerably [far] better newspaper then, now and then of course I do flit across to read some tasty morsels and cif is priceless.

Ah Billy - the internet, 'tis a wonderful thing, so it is.

May 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I read it online as I used to take enjoy the paper version (and, lets be frank, it is the only barely broadsheet out there not paywalled). Obvs the dreck in the enviro columns does not make it to paper print, its just to get the sels in cif frothing. Part of the climate team is the Climate Desk, based out of the States. Last week they interviewed their chief 'troll' who seemed an eminently sensible and ordinary bloke challenging what he sees as misplaced beliefs. To them - he is a denier. Oh to be so young again when life was unnuanced by subtlety and everything was absolute. On the other hand.... nah!

May 24, 2013 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterIsabelle

"The revised estimate resulted in an average cost of $80 per tonne."

Excellent. So we're back to the Stern Review estimates of the cost of emissions. Which was indeed $80 a tonne.

Which, as even Stern pointed out, means that a cost of reducing those emissions of greater than $80 a tonne is something we should not do. because, you know, it makes both us an people in the future poorer.

What has been the cost of the German solar plans? Last I saw it was $1070 per tonne. Yes, that is indeed well over 10 times the damage avoided.

This is one of the reasons I so like the Stern Review. Because, using the logic of that Review, 90% of what we're being urged to do is contra-indicated.

May 24, 2013 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Worstall

Roger Pielke Jr. and professor no less, writes in the Socialist champagne guzzlers 'daily comic':

A second obstacle to action is the pathological obsession of many environmental campaigners with the climate sceptics. By concluding that the sceptics are the main obstacle to action, campaigners are not only demonstrating a spectacularly circular logic, but they are also devoting their energies to a fruitless fight. Make no mistake, fighting sceptics has its benefits – it reinforces a simplistic good versus evil view of the world, it gives a sense of doing something, and privileges scientific expertise in policy debates. However, one thing that it does not do is contribute towards effective action on climate change.

The battle over public opinion on climate change has long been won, and not by the sceptics. But simply by virtue of their continued existence, the climate sceptics may have the last laugh, because many climate campaigners seem to be able to see nothing else in the debate. Climate sceptics are not all powerful and may not even be much relevant to efforts to decarbonise the global economy. They have, however, cast a spell upon their opponents.

Dunno whether to laugh or cry, is the Jr delusional or, just paid by the wrong fellas?

He avers; "The battle over public opinion on climate change has long been won"

Won by who? Certainly not by Gore and Hansen - they are being laughed out of court.

I tell you what though Jr, the battle is over - it finished and the "forces of darkness" have won hands down.

Blow me, it's due to that nasty little alarmist bogeyman - who won't go away, his name is the TRUTH.

Man made lies, are sometimes not so easy to dispel, going up against the whole apparatus of Western governmental power - is never easy and it has taken twenty five years but ironically - it was the warming wot dun it - there isn't any!

I would laugh but the billions wasted on the green madness, on useless palliatives, in time and effort - taxpayers monies - is enough on all levels to make one weep for the rest of my natural.

It's time for some humble pie and time to make right and end the 'deficit' of integrity and honesty in alarmist government departments EPA-USA, DECC-UK, DEFRA/ EA-UK, EU climate commission-The Directorate-General for Climate Action ("DG CLIMA").

May 24, 2013 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Turning Tide:

The Graun really is scraping the barrel now with its slavish drooling over climatologist groupie Dana and his mates: if I wasn't banned already I'd be getting banned right now.
And it hurts - admit it. It’s like being slapped in the face in public by an ex-lover. I know, it’s happened to me six times. (being banned by the Guardian I mean).
Congratulations for having held out so long against such odds. Now welcome to the light side. You’re among friends now. It’s much more boring, I’m afraid.

May 24, 2013 at 11:30 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Models support models. Climate catastrophists wail, academics dance and politicians play. It's truly complete and utter madness and make NO mistake, the wider public are not for one moment deluded by this grand and crucifyingly expensive, extravagantly wasteful farce. Their patience is not infinite.

May 25, 2013 at 3:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

How much longer before the Grauniad discovers World War II bomber on the moon?

May 25, 2013 at 5:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeith L

Perhaps Nuticelli, in his hurry to respond thought $18 was $81, after all what difference does it make when mean, mode and median mean nothing

May 25, 2013 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterDEEB33

That the Percy's silence on the subject seems more sensible than Ridley's pontification evidences the wisdom of ignoring the GWPF.

May 25, 2013 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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