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Avoiding agreement

So here it is - the Science and Technology Committee's report on climate science communication. In it we learn that the Mail and the Telegraph are bad people™ and that the BBC has been allowing other bad people on air.

So far, so predictable.

I was hugely amused by one bit of the report. I had told the committee that there wasn't any single trusted source for information about climate science and that you needed to check everything. And in particular I took issue with the reliance on peer review:

Peer review is completely overdone. I know this Committee has done its own inquiry into peer review, but there is a lot of empirical evidence out there that peer review does not do a lot for you. On the whole, it does not find fraud or error, so the only way of getting to the bottom of whether something is right is to verify it.

Click to read more ...


Preparing the ground

Ahead of tomorrow's publication of the Science and Technology Committee's report into the communication of climate science, certain sections of the chatterati are, shall we say, preparing the ground.

The Guardian notes SciTech chairman Andrew Miller bemoaning the appearance of dissenting voices in certain media outlets:

Andrew Miller MP, the committee's chair said: “All of the serious news outlets we spoke to were unanimous in accepting the scientific evidence that human activity is causing climate change. This came as a surprise to us because some papers regularly give a platform to lobby groups or indeed conspiracy theorists – many not even qualified scientists – who pooh-pooh the evidence and attack UK climate scientists."

Click to read more ...


The open society and its enemies

Lawrence Torcello, the academic who called for criminal negligence charges to be levelled at some climate sceptics, has been on the receiving end of some rude emails. One apparently invited him to "die you maggot".

Not nice.

On the other hand, he can hardly have expected those he wanted jailed to send him bouquets can he? Torcello's defence seems to be that he was not calling for sceptic scientists to be jailed but only those who fund them. Despite US law contradicting him, he seems to think that funding the causes one believes in doesn't amount to an exercise of free speech rights.

Click to read more ...


Worthington versus Tol

I was interested to see a Twitter exchange between Bryony Worthington and Richard Tol last night in which the noble baroness revealed a deep-seated wish for a public debate with Richard Tol.

thington: @RichardTol perhaps can have debate at more convenient time. Do you stand by your comments in FT about UK? or were they a kind of bad joke?

Tol: @bryworthington I'm happy to debate the impacts of climate change in the UK and elsewhere.

In intellectual terms this would be something of a David-versus-Goliath outing, but I'm sure it would score highly for entertainment.


Curry in Scotland

I was picking up one of the sprogs from after-school hockey and switched on the radio to find none other than Judy Curry being interviewed on Radio Scotland.

Interviewer Bill Whiteford pushed pretty hard, but not unreasonably so and the result was, I think, pretty informative for the listener. It was nice to hear things moving on from the consensus-versus-denier thing that has corrupted public debate on global warming for so long.

Audio is below.

Curry Radio Scotland


The Alarmists return - Josh 268


Click for a larger image

Cartoons by Josh

H/t John Whitman for the typo


Working Group II

Updated on Mar 31, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The Working Group II report is out today and should be available here, although the site appears to be down at the moment.

YOKOHAMA, Japan, 31 March – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report today that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.

Click to read more ...


Dating error

Updated on Apr 1, 2014 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The difficulties of getting academics to correct errors is a regular theme on this blog, the Lewandowsky affair being just the latest in a long and shameful litany. Today's guest post by Doug Keenan describes a set of allegations he has submitted to the University of Oxford. Although not related to climatology, the parallels are obvious.

Research Misconduct by Christopher Bronk Ramsey

Submitted to the University of Oxford by Douglas J. Keenan 28 March 2014

NOTE: a draft of this report was sent to Ramsey; Ramsey acknowledged receipt, but had no comments on the contents.

The perpetrator

Christopher Bronk Ramsey is a professor at the University of Oxford. His main area of work is in a subject known as “radiocarbon dating”. Briefly, radiocarbon dating tries to determine how many years ago an organism died. For example, suppose that we find a bone from some animal; then, using radiocarbon dating, we might be able to determine that the animal died, say, 3000 years ago.

Click to read more ...


On proportion

Yesterday the BBC hit us with the shock news that raptor poisonings in the Scotland have doubled.

To six.

The wind industry in the USA is estimated to kill about 83,000 raptors a year. The number in the UK would be smaller, but assuming proportionality to the USA, the death count for Scotland must be at least in the high thousands.



Kelly on engineering reality

Mike Kelly has a new briefing paper out, looking at decarbonisation in the context of previous technology changes.

A paper published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation and written by Professor Michael Kelly (University of Cambridge) shows that most of the ambitions to decarbonise the UK and global economy have not been put through an engineering reality test.

The paper reveals that the scale, scope, feasibility, cost, resources and other requirements of the decarbonisation agenda have never been tested against other calls on human and physical resources of the planet.

The fact that carbon emissions are going up inexorably in spite of many projects across the globe already raises a simple question ‘What are we getting for our money?’

Professor Kelly’s paper discusses the role of technology changes in helping meet the global decarbonisation agenda: success in the UK and failure elsewhere still represents failure.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that some of the more calamitous projects are rather less likely, raising the question of how much of this agenda is really necessary in short order.

The new paper is intended to bring out some key lessons from the realities of successful technology changes in the recent past as they bear on the global challenge of climate change.

It finds that the gap between rhetoric and reality is dangerously wide, on the basis of some of the simplest premises of engineering and technology.

The paper is here.


Creating perspective

Matt Ridley has braved the brickbats of the vested interests and the greens with another hard-hitting piece in the Wall Street Journal, this time looking at the forthcoming Working Group II report, its downgrading of alarm and the new perspective of climate change among a number of issues facing the world.

Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population "bomb," pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.

This, I think is likely to enrage those whose livings depend on the maintenance of a state of alarm and the reaction will therefore be aggressive. Let's make sure that the voices of reason are heard too.


It's better than we thought

I have been conscious that I should have been trying to get to grips with the leaked WGII Summary for Policymakers but, with one thing and another, I haven't even made a start.

So it's just as well that James Delingpole is on the case, and making rather more than a start.

Previous reports - notably the hugely influential 2006 Stern Review - have put the costs to the global economy caused by 'climate change' at between 5 and 20 percent of world GDP.

But the latest estimates, to be published by Working Group II of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, say that a 2.5 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures by the end of the century will cost the world economy between just 0.2 and 2 percent of its GDP.

If the lower estimate is correct, then all it would take is an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent (currently it's around 3 percent) for the economic costs of climate change to be wiped out within a month.


[PS James - I know! I still haven't reviewed your book yet. I will!]


On consistency

In the wake of the Press Gazette "debate", I was watching an exchange of views on Twitter between BH reader Foxgoose and Andrea Sella, a University College London chemist who moves in scientific establishment and official skeptic circles.

Sella was explaining how persuasive he found the observational record of climate:

Think like a scientist! Temperature is only a proxy. Energy balance is real issue & C19 physics is alive and well.

Like Warren Buffett you mustn’t be affected by shorter term fluctuations.

As I said, don’t just look at surface temps. Look at sea level and global ice mass too. All part of same.

Click to read more ...


AR5 inquiry followup

This is a guest post by Nic Lewis, describing the flurry of activity since he appeared before the Energy and Clmate Change Committee.

My comments on Myles Allen's oral evidence to the ECCC, and his response have been published.

Some things in Myles' response that might be worth pointing out:

1. Under Point 1:  "The IPCC Summary for Policymakers does not give “best estimates” of 2100 temperature, largely because they would not be policy relevant: the one thing that can be said with confidence about best estimate predictions is that the real world will not follow them. A best estimate of a strongly skewed distribution is particularly misleading".

Click to read more ...


Press Gazette does "debate"

The Press Gazette, a sort of trade mag for the more disreputable members of the journalistic profession, has held a debate on science coverage in the media, particularly on the BBC, inviting familar names like Bob Ward, Fiona Fox and Steve Jones to take part plus other less well known but equally stern climate policemen.

The Gazette's editor, Dominic Ponsford, was effusive in his praise for their performance in what he called this "debate". There's something slightly Orwellian about it all isn't there?

Ponsford's report on events is here.



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