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« The extraordinary intervention of Baroness Williams | Main | Bob Ward gets risky - Josh 276 »

Bob Ward, climate denier

Bob Ward continues to dig himself into an ever deeper hole. This morning, as I mentioned in my earlier post, he claimed that:

[GWPF] denies the risks indicated by the scientific evidence in order to justify its ideological opposition to GHG cuts.

In response, I enquired what evidence there was that it denied the existence of a risk.

Bob's response was that it was all to do with extreme weather events:

Lawson denies that there is evidence of a change in extreme weather, etc

Unfortunately, Roger Pielke Jr was reading and pointed us all to this article by Bob Ward in the Guardian, and in particular the following quote:

But it is difficult to tell to what extent, if any, climate change has also already affected past disaster losses around the world. Extreme weather events are rare, so identifying small trends is difficult when losses vary so much from year to year, creating a lot of "noise" in the dataset, and many competing factors contribute to the overall pattern.

The absence of a "statistically significant" trend may indicate that no trend exists, or instead that a trend exists but cannot be definitively detected until a longer period of losses is available.

So I guess, on his own measure, Bob Ward is a self-confessed climate denier.

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Reader Comments (40)

He can't help himself, can he?

May 13, 2014 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

The "increasing frequency or intensity of extreme weather" meme continues to be trotted out. Didn't AR5 back off on this line of rhetoric? In no small part due to work of Roger Peilke Jr.? I don't have access to AR5 at the moment so can't check the wording.

May 13, 2014 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

Bob Ward, his paymaster and insurance industry losses:

"The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) ........... is funded by ..... Munich Re."

So no vested interest there, then.

May 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The man is a joke. Unfortunately, he's a joke with a well-paid salary, pension, car, mortgage payments, a billionaire boss who has unlimited deep pockets, and the BBC and the Guardian on speed dial.

May 13, 2014 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

There are two sides to this debate: skeptic science (that based on the evidence) and consensus science (that based on a consensus of those [academics] who call themselves "scientists".)

We are skeptics - so we ask for evidence. Bob Ward is a consensus (often on his own) ... so he only needs a consensus (of one) to call someone a "denier".

May 13, 2014 at 3:22 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Bob Ward, Climate Clown extraordinaire, is caught up in his own verbosity.
He is paid to hide political hackery behind sciencey sounding words.
He and the other AGW paid guns hypesters deserve to be outed and ridiculed for the pathetic clowns they are.

May 13, 2014 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Poor chap, trying to hold several conflicting ideas in his head at the same time and never knowing which one he should be using.

May 13, 2014 at 3:23 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

He's getting tangled in his own web of deception...

May 13, 2014 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Lord Lawson was on good form today on the Daily Politics (BBC1), though sadly not on climate change, the Beeb has had its knuckles rapped for that by the International Politically Correct Consensus (IPCC).

Lawson is one of the few politicians worth listening to IMHO.

May 13, 2014 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Poor old Bob, like all Progressives, learnt his stuff at the foot of the Marxist-Leninists: if yesterdays truth becomes tomorrows non-truth, what does that matter, so long as the cause is served?

Which is fine, if you're preaching to an audience who have no other sources of information. But where other sources exist, even the World Wide Proletariat might think you are a berk, liar, hypocrite etc. But that would just be false consciousness no doubt, which can be dealt with.....

May 13, 2014 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

He is a veritable "Vicar of Bray" and "Humpty Dumpty" * ("words mean what I want them to mean" ) from Alice in Wonderland all rolled into one alluring package.. The Goebbels of the AGW scare. I try not to be rude about people themselves and stick to the debate but Bob brings out the worst in me. The utter lack of any kind of humility. Ugh. Just ugh. Sorry, Bob.

*The physical resemblance also provides a clue.

May 13, 2014 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

I think I'll stick with my description: "Grantham's Monkey".

May 13, 2014 at 4:11 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It is stuff like that and Ward's refusal to say "Oh right, there isn't any proven extreme weather after all, I'd better rethink this" (I'm guessing he didn't but I'd wager money) that leaves no reasonable way of doubting that these people are wrongly but honestly convinced of the scare, but knowingly willing to lie and spin in any direction, when paid.

May 13, 2014 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

I must confess that my brain is not wired to be able to understand the tortured logic of someone like Bob Ward. Although, I must also confess that I don't devote too much time trying to understand the logic underlying the pronouncements of climate change alarmists.

May 13, 2014 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Doesn't it worry Jeremy Grantham (and his money) if his chief PR man talks bollocks? If you pay someone to fool people, you only end up fooling yourself.

May 13, 2014 at 5:18 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


Looks like Rat Snake Bob bites himself again.

May 13, 2014 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

One point that is always neglected in any discussion of 'extreme' or 'abnormal' weather is that it is necessary to go back at least 700 years to the end of the medieval warm period, or perhaps more appropriately 1500 years to the beginning of it, in order to compare like with like in terms of global temperature and related weather.

Of course, we have no idea just what the day to day weather was like then, nor what extremes were present.

May 13, 2014 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter C

The term "climate change denier" has morphed into a semantically empty epithet, used broadly to rationalize arbitrarily discarding of contrary views or facts.

That Bob Ward attempts to stretch the meaning, from a non-acceptance of relatively well-established scientific fact, to the much murkier area of risk, does not surprise me. It is a well-established technique, "moving the Overton window".

May 13, 2014 at 7:22 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

The alarmist argument always seems to be inverted these days. Their weak excuses are becoming more and more contradictory to their previous claims, it looks like the whole CO2 cagw argument is only a short paragraph away from total implosion.

May 13, 2014 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSparks

As pointman has iterated, it's a crowded field.

After Jimmy Hansen and of course there is Michael E. Mann, then think of; Lewlew, Pete Gleick, Mark Serreze, Chrissy Figueres, Rajendra Pachy, Albert Arnold Gore, Phil Jones, George Monbiot and most of the crew at the Graun', Ed Davey & his mentor Huhne, Miliband, Camoron, recently that clown in the Antarctic - gimp of the piece Chris Turney, Tom Flannery in Aus and oh Joolya too and many hundreds of others in the EU, UN, in NGO - quangos and government shills - all open their mouths to prove it, that, there's one born every minute.

But here in the UK, there is only one sound bite 'Bob' Ward, verbosity 'Bob' mouthpiece and lackey non pareil - guaranteed green Coleman-balls in perpetuity.

May 13, 2014 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

There's lots of ways to be a climate science denier, as people here often display. Here's one: use Richard Tol's study The Economic Effects of Climate Change to claim supposed positive effects of warming and then keep quiet when Tol updates the study and the graph changes - figure 2 in

GWPF hasn't mentioned the update. And guess what, neither has the Bishop.

May 13, 2014 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Chandra, I'm not surprised no one has commented on the errors in Richard Toll's study. They are so small as to make the updated result virtually indistinguishable from the original result.

May 13, 2014 at 8:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B


Another novel feature about Tol's paper in the link you have provided is that the data is available to download.

May 13, 2014 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Shapeshifting Troll/Chandra/Someone

If that's all you've got you really ought to give up. This is what real scientists do - it's called 'being honest'.

May 13, 2014 at 9:52 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

No - whatever response carries the message, it is by definition "the truth", even if it contradicts an earlier statement. "If I say it, it is true."

This is the behaviour of a seriously disturbed person, to behave so.

May 13, 2014 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

John B, no you are wrong. Figure 2 differs significantly - it is all negative.

May 13, 2014 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Nice bait and switch chandra... forgot to comment on the posts actual content..and for good reason. :)
Its not the awful "science" of $CAGW$ that piqued my interest years ago..
It was the god awful mendacious sophistry of the not to sharp "defenders"..that made me wary..

May 13, 2014 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrapetomania

GWPF hasn't mentioned the update. And guess what, neither has the Bishop.

Translation: GWPF and the Bishop are in league with the devil.

May 14, 2014 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye


Your homework assignment this week is:-
A minimum 200 word essay comparing and contrasting the behavior, tenets and professional standards of Richard Tol and Phil Jones. Marks will be lost for any reference to Wikipedia.

May 14, 2014 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

Peter C:

Well, we know some things about extreme weather events around 700 years ago. TBH they're not encouraging.

May 14, 2014 at 1:53 AM | Unregistered Commenteranonym

I've observed for many years now that the word "denier" has become a catch-all insult which loosely translates into "someone who disagrees with my interpretation". It's a rather childish rhetorical delegitimization tactic. I've seen the insult used in many fields outside of climate science.

May 14, 2014 at 5:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterWill Nitschke

Chandra provided a useful link and indeed there is no longer a net economic benefit even for the smallest increases in temperature. This is an important result. (Removes one of my favorite points.) Some of the comments do not reflect well on the Bishop's readers. Please up your game, guys.

I note that despite the back-and-forth sniping between Tol and Ward, he does the right thing and states "I am grateful to Bob Ward ..." Will we ever see such a sentence again?

May 14, 2014 at 7:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterLance Wallace

The irony is he is that very thing AGW sceptics are often incorrectly claimed to be 'a paid shrill' , the double irony is that he is so bad at it , Still his master is a very rich man , hopping to get richer still through Bob's efforts , so perhaps has its small change to him he does not made that Bob is frankly rubbish.

May 14, 2014 at 7:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

What, has everyone here really not read that classic, Bob in Wonderland ?

“When I link to a paper", Bob said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

May 14, 2014 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterTuppence

Well done to Tol for his honesty and making the corrections. When will Mann correct the papers that use the Tiljander series. I would also like to point out the amount of times we have had wild claims by the IPCC like the Himalayan Glaciers melt, loads of headline of doom only for it to be corrected relatively quietly at a later date. I believe simular things have happend to do with Mosquito migration and Hurricane data.

Double standards Chandra.

May 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

May 14, 2014 at 7:24 AM | Lance Wallace

But massive economic benefits from the increase in CO2 concentration, as the many papers on the greening of the biosphere demonstrate. And of course, the numbers that die from cold as opposed to hear are far greater, another benefit of warming. And of course, we need less energy, another benefit.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, eh?

May 14, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Funny how we never see Chandra and Zed in the same thread.

According to WP, Chandra is a Vedic Lunar deity who rides his chariot across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope. Which explains his rather lofty POV...

May 14, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Well it is all negative apart from Tol it seems. But all other estimates were for 3+ degrees which was not even in contention by skeptics because we don't even think we'll see 1 degree never mind 3. The graph is misleading because there are not enough datapoints prior to 3 degrees to make any curve at all. The real conclusion that needs to be drawn is that more work has to be done in the region 0 to 2.5 degrees since these lower estimates are now the most likely. It seems that the economists make the same mistake in assuming a normal distribution in the range 1.5 to 3.5 rather than the various skews that the IPCC presents. Of course nobody is interested in finding any benefits from slight warming despite the overwhelming evidence in the literature of the past that warmer = prosperous. It doesn't make me less skeptical but it doesn't make anyone a denier. Yes probably 3 degrees of warming is not good but so what? Nobody rreally expects 3 degrees unless they believe the palpably bad models. The real question is why would anyone imagine that an extrapolation of 3 degrees in the future from past 0.6 degrees/century based on such obviously pessimistic models carries any weight?

May 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Tol's errors in his 2009 paper are a great pity. He is of course right to correct them and it's completely fair for Chandra to draw our attention to them. But what a pathetic and empty use of the ugly term denier. Did I become a denier the moment Tol posted the correction? Or when it was published? At no point was I denying any of it. Clean your mouth out. Let's get back to Bob Ward and his inability to in any way substantiate this nastiest of epithets against the GWPF.

May 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

It also worth noting that Tol goes on to say the following:

"First, unlike the original curve (Tol 2009, Figure 1) in which there were net benefifits of climate change associated with warming below about 2°C, in the corrected and updated curve (Figure 2), impacts are always negative, at least in expectation. This is irrelevant for policy because, as I discussed in that paper, the net benefits reported for earlier stages of climate change were sunk benefits; these benefits would have been reaped regardless of mitigation policy. Second, the corrected and updated damages do not accelerate as fast for more pronounced warming."

More to read here than just numbers.

May 14, 2014 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

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