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A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

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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.




Causes for the pause

David Whitehouse has a new GWPF note out, examining all the different post-hoc explanations for the hiatus in global warming. To introduce it, there's a short film which can be seen here.


Climate scientists

Judith Curry appeared on the BBC World Service last night (podcast here, from 19:45). Of course, the corporation's new policy on who is allowed to appear opposite scientists only applies to when the scientist is not criticical of alarmist positions, so they could have picked anyone they want to face off with Judy. In the event they went for Bob Ward but, interestingly, and perhaps keen to lend an air of authority to a mere public relations man, they decided to describe him as a "climate scientist".

I guess we are all climate scientists now.


Some comments on the Royal Society report

Reader Alex Henney sends some comments on The Royal Society/National Academy of Sciences Report on Climate Change that he sent to the President of the Royal Society and the British authors of the report.1

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, if it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.

Richard Feynman

1. The document continues to espouse models which are flawed, see p. 5, even though the final draft of the 2013 SPM commented “Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10-15 years”.  John Christy2 compared the performance of 39 climate model that were used in AR5 over the period 1975 to 2012 with measured temperature data.  The models over back-cast temperature significantly in a range 0-0.7oC. 

Click to read more ...


The WGII battle begins

With the Working Group II conference beginning today, upholders of the global warming consensus are drawing their knives to deal with inconvenient dissenters. The BBC's Matt McGrath describes the state of affairs here, revealing that Richard Tol has asked his name to be removed from the draft because of rampant alarmism that has been inserted:

[Tol] was involved in drafting the summary but has now asked for his name to be removed from the document.

Click to read more ...


David King at the ECC

Sir David King, the chemist and former GCSA who now advises William Hague on climate change is to appear before the Energy and Climate Change Committee at around 9:45.

The direct link to the meeting is here, for those who want to try different players. I have emailed the committee about their continuing use of Silverlight, and they tell me they are going to discuss the point in future.


The return of Secret Santa

Secret Santa, the mole within IPCC Working Group II, has delivered his latest batch of goodies:

  • The latest draft of the WGII Summary for Policymakers, currently being discussed in Yokahama
  • A document floating round the conference that demonstrates through its title - "Hope for our Earth" - the policy-neutral environment in which delegates are operating.

University ethics

In yet another astonishing post at Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre reveals that the conclusions of the University of Western Australia's ethics inquiry into Stephan Lewandowsky were written by Lewandowsky himself:

Half an hour later (Oct 15 15:18; FOIT, 9), Lewandowsky replied by adding the sentences bolded below, which add the claim that the University had “considered” my claims and found them to be “baseless” and that his research had been “conducted in compliance with all applicable ethical guidelines”...

Moreover, as Lucia Liljegren notes on Twitter, the university announced that they had held an inquiry that exonerated Lewandowsky, when in fact they had done nothing of the sort.

And apparently there is worse to come.


CEH distances itself from RSPB summary report

I recently covered the report on shale gas by a consortium of environmental organisations headed by the RSPB. I described the report's claim that a study of a shale gas field in the Colorado had found significantly elevated noise levels, and noted its failure to report that the underlying study was actually a model simulation.

Commenters observed that the longer, technical version of the report did in fact describe the Colorado study correctly, and I wondered at the time if this was an isolated discrepancy or whether the short version was systematically hyped up. I have had no time to investigate further but was interested to see this blog post on the website of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), who had reviewed the long version of the report.

Click to read more ...


The BBC goes dark - Josh 267


Protecting scientists


In his Mail on Sunday article today (keep scrolling) David Rose reveals that the BBC - at least in Scotland - has a new policy of protecting climatologists from challenge on air.

A BBC executive in charge of editorial standards has ordered programme editors not to broadcast debates between climate scientists and global warming sceptics.

Alasdair MacLeod claimed that such discussions amount to ‘false balance’ and breach an undertaking to the Corporation’s watchdog, the BBC Trust.

Mr MacLeod, head of editorial standards and compliance for BBC Scotland, sent an email on  February 27 to 18 senior producers and editors, which has been obtained by The Mail on Sunday.

It reads: ‘When covering climate change stories, we should not run debates / discussions directly between scientists and sceptics.

If dissenters from the climate consensus are not to be allowed to put their case directly, there is presumably little point in having those arguments put by BBC interviewers. So from now on the pronouncements of climatologists will be treated as holy writ and the most alarmist scientists can be allowed to scaremonger without fear of contradiction. The consensus over the existence of the greenhouse effect is used  as a pretence that all aspects of the climatology are beyond debate.

Coming so soon after the brouhaha over the Lawson/Hoskins discussion on the Today programme, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the BBC are dancing to the tune of the environmental movement. The effects of the 28gate seminar seem to live on.

The end of the licence fee cannot come soon enough.