Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

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

Powered by Squarespace

Discussion > Emails relating to Rob Wilson's post "Large-scale temperature trends" 5/6/12

Hi Marion

CO2 in the Eocene was quite a lot higher than today, see this figure

On your other point:

I agree the Eocene sounds great - and London doesn't seem to have been too badly affected by a 70m sea level rise, see Pharos comment

Remember the Eocene was 50 million years ago, the land itself would have moved around and gone up and down by more than 70m since then, irrespective of actual changes in sea level. I think Ed's point is that with the current arrangement of land, a large rise in sea level would be inconvenient for many humans even if life on Earth as a whole was not too bothered. A 70m sea level rise would not threaten the whole biosphere, but quite a few people who currently live near the coast would need to move house.... and I can imagine that upgrading the Thames Barrier to give 70m protection would be rather expensive.....

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

May I suggest that it would be helpful to regard Rob's remarks about "falling into his trap" and the emails as "water under the bridge" and let the matters drop? Rob is a real-life palaeoclimatologist who has made a genuine effort to engage here. OK he made a couple of remarks that he may now wish he hadn't, but don't we all? If this is all it takes to lose trust amongst the BH readership then that's a shame.

If there is a genuine interest here in an ongoing discussion then I'd suggest that it's important to see the bigger picture - why put off the only palaeoclimatologist who is willing to talk to you? Rob did agree to me putting the emails between him, John, Ed and myself online, he could easily have objected to that. And don't forget he did chair the Bish's talk at St Andrews. Some people in Rob's position would have refused point blank to have anything to do with the Bish.

Rob has made an effort, it went a bit wrong early on, but I think it is not too late to save things if people can hold back from piling on :-)



Jul 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

The insulting emails to Rob is a red herring IMHO, Rob never said they were Death Threats so why the need to see them other than to show the need for everyone to use email in a professional manner.

I am more interested in why any adjustments seem to be mainly depressing past temperatures and increasing later ones. You would have thought that overall adustments would be neutral unless there was a specfic reason, ie a change of technology or of the measurement protocol and of course UHI. There is not seem to be a publically available database or reasons for the adjustments. If I just take the local weather stations to me I find the adjustments between the raw and the database which confirm the same adjustments made elsewhere, early down recent up. One of these is an airport which has grown over the years so why is its record showing the opposite of what you would expect corrections for UHI to be.

Jul 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

In the Eocene it probably took tens of thousands of years, which we might do in ~100 years. Makes ecosystem and society adapting much harder.

The supposed rapidity of change under increasing CO2 is a conjecture, not a known fact.

The basis for the conjecture arises from studies which examine rapid shifts in the climate that have occurred in the past, with all their limitations of temporal resolution. These shouldn't be the foundation for making up scare stories about 'society' and 'ecosystems'.

The supposed rapidity of change that has been proclaimed to have already occurred, was based on the hockey stick. We all know what happened to that storyline.

Secondly, climate scientists are always messing around with people's lay sense of time and its passage. A perfect example here (and I have seen numerous, numerous examples in the Amazon rainforest related press releases):

So, Ed Hawkins could come and say, oh, sorry guys it doesn't just a 100 years, it actually takes a 1000, and he would still be in the clear as a climate scientist because a 1000 years is still a blink of an eye for the climate system, whereas it is meaningless in human terms.

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:02 PM | Registered Commentershub

Pharos: It's probably easier to take your points in reverse order

"I see no justification at all, except in exceptional circumstances, for any significant adjustments to carefully recorded historical measurements using precise instruments. Certainly nothing on a scale or magnitude of what appear to be present."

It depends on what exactly you are trying to obtain an estimate of. If you want to know what the max screen temperature was at a particular station on a particular day then you can't do better than the originally recorded measurement (unless you have a calibration offset for that thermometer).

If on the other hand you want to know how temperatures changed in a particular area over a long period of time then the problem is different. Stations move, instruments change, the screens used to house the thermometers get updated, the time at which the observations are made change and so on.

Imagine two stations (say A and B) that are just down the road from each other. The absolute temperatures measured by each one will be different, perhaps because of a small difference in altitude, but the changes from day to day will be correlated and the changes from month to month will be very closely correlated. If station A closes, you can use the information from station B to estimate what the temperature would have been at station A. If you are interested in changes in the mean temperature then a simple adjustment to the mean value might be all that is needed to get that estimate.

Adjustments accrue an additional uncertainty because the estimate of station A temperatures made using station B won’t be as accurate as having actual measurements made at station A.

If station A was open from 1850 to 1970 and station B from 1970 to the present then you could get an estimate of how temperatures had changed from 1850 all the way through to the present in that area by adjusting the series and combining them. Again, it wouldn’t be as good as having a single station running the entire time, but it’s considerably better than nothing. If adjustments weren't applied then sticking the series together would have a discontinuity in the middle where they joined.

Another situation in which adjustments are applied is when there is a known systematic effect in the measurements. For example, the buckets used to haul samples of sea-water in the early twentieth century were poorly insulated. The samples of water collected using these buckets generally cooled between the sea-surface and the ship’s deck where the measurement was made. Consequently the measurements, no matter how carefully they were made and recorded, were in error.

Again we would like to estimate what the true sea surface temperature was. In order to do this, models of heat loss from buckets have been developed and these are driven using climatological fields of air temperatures, wind speeds, ship speeds and so on. The estimates are less accurate than a direct measurement of the sea-surface would have been and a lot of effort has gone into understanding the uncertainties in these estimates and those associated with other adjustments.

"Over the years, numerous apparently inexplicable adjustments have been noted from around the world, almost all of which appear to cool the past and increase the interpreted warming slope, (even in some cases to reverse a cooling to a warming trend)."

As Rob noted in his original post, the adjustments are explicable. The procedures and the reasoning behind them get written up in papers and technical reports. The adjustments applied go both ways. For example, the adjusted sea-surface temperatures warm less during the 20th century than the un-adjusted sea-surface temperatures. Many adjustments applied to land temperature stations warm the past, or cool the present. See, for example, slide 10 from Matt Menne’s presentation which shows both positive and negative adjustments to US station data.

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Kennedy

How long would it take for Greenland and Antarctic ice to melt? Not in a hundred years, I'll be bound. Out by a factor of ten? Plenty of time to adapt, even this scenario cannot be made scary. There may be AGW, despite the lack of real evidence of a demonstrative rather than speculative kind. There is no CAGW

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

When the midges are threathened we need to start worrying ;)

“The drought will not kill them off, but it will reduce their numbers, particularly for this year’s second generation hatch. And if the weather continues, it will affect next year’s hatch as well because there will be less of them to lay eggs.

“Midges will survive. They have survived all kinds of conditions over millions of years, including Ice Ages.”

What we seem to forget in amonst all the 'unprecendented' changes that are or are not happening is how well nature bounces back or takes advantage of a new habitat. Just go to any brown field urban site or Shetland coast to see it at work.

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:14 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Jul 26, 2012 at 1:05 PM | rhoda

Sure, adaptation may very well be what we end up doing. Would you agree we need to be able to plan ahead in order to do such adaptation sensibly and without making it more costly than it needs to be? Let's say, for the sake of argument, a major low-lying coastal city has to be relocated in 500 years' time due to rising sea levels (or have major sea defences built up and up). Would we wait for a massive flood and then move / build big defences, or would we move pro-actively (over presumably at least a couple of decades) in order to keep business-as-usual going without being damaged by flooding. If the latter, we need a way to look ahead and move / build at the right time - not so early as to make it wasteful, but not so late as to lead to damages.

This is why we need to properly understand the intricacies of the climate system, so we can make good estimates of things like the rate of sea level rise and hence the time at which, say, London becomes unviable in its present position or level of protection.

Jul 26, 2012 at 2:16 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard, do you think humans really can plan 500 years ahead? There are a few examples of structures with religious motivation and a few with profit in mind which have been planned over centennial scale. And whether the great cathedrals were built as a stimulus project or for vanity or even to the greater glory of God is a question I can't answer. The essence of adaptation, however, is adapting to what happens. No problem with intelligent anticipation of course but it's asking lot of people to sacrifice their present for someone else's future. Asking so much that only compulsion and suspension of democracy could do it (IMHO). So, we need to look at what is going on and adapt to it. Sea level rise is an easy one, isn't it? It cannot happen fast, and if it happens a little we won't suffer too much damage. And of course it has all happened before without human influence.

Jul 26, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

I have to agree with Rhoda and I come back to a point I make time and time again.
Our grandchildren are not going to thank us for spending large amounts of their inheritance now to solve a problem which might happen in 100 years or 200 or 500 years time. Like generals always fighting the last war we will certainly make the wrong decisions and with the cost figures which are being bandied about the next generation could well find that it no longer has the wherewithal to attend to the problems which actually arise but which we in our arrogant "wisdom" pooh-poohed as being impossible.
Australia's desalination plants stand as a monument to human hubris and that was over years not hundreds of years.
What you are doing is engaging in sophisticated guesswork (at least it's sophisticated which puts it one up on some ideas I've seen!). You are starting from a premise — CO2 causes global warming and will continue to do so ad infinitum — which is still only a hypothesis and arguing that we need to spend large sums of money in order to adapt.
But as shub and I have been arguing on another discussion thread, CO2 is only one component. Nobody has yet worked out the effect of the multi-decadal, multi-centennial and multi-millennial cycles, the oceanic oscillations and ENSO.
And that is before we even start to consider extra-terrestrial influences like solar activity and the gravitational effects of the rest of the solar system about which I know virtually damn all and I suspect a lot of climate scientists know very little more — especially those who hold the view that physicists, astronomers, geologists, and statisticians are not "climate scientists" and therefore have nothing to contribute to the debate.
If we were to concentrate on solving the numerous problems that directly face us now and relied on future generations to use their ingenuity (as we and past generations have done pretty successfully) to solve the problems that face them then we would all be a lot better off in more ways than just financially.

Jul 26, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

This is the crux of the matter - the eco activists are trying to persuade the public that the effects of AGW will be huge within the foreseeable future when even the IPCC science simply doesn't bear this out.

Sea level rise is a good example- what is actually predicted is of the order of millimeters per century which is simply insignificant and can easily be dealt with in the course of normal development - there is not much around nowadays from 1912 even given the UKs ridiculous obsession with old buildings and 2112 will be equally different. Greenpeace and company seem to be talking about rises of metres for which there is no evidence.

Jul 26, 2012 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

I think you've made my point better than I did.
Whatever the final outcome in terms of — in your example — sea level, it's not going to happen before the middle of next week or year. We and our descendants (if we don't screw it up for them by making decisions before they are needed) will have adequate time to make the necessary adaptations.
This is not being complacent; it's taking a realistic look at events as they unfold.
The alarmists have their own agenda; there is no evidence (that I have seen) to scare the public with 'tipping points' and 'one hundred months to save the world'. (Remember if Hansen's prediction is correct, the Manhattan West Side Highway has been under water since 2008! and I see no reason to believe his more recent scare stories either)
Greenpeace et al want us to return to what they like to call the simple life and any story which might persuade government to impoverish us all (well ... nearly all - I'm sure they'd be all right.Like the Politburo of old) can be used to serve their purpose.

Jul 26, 2012 at 4:43 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Rhoda, Mike, NW,

I think we are somewhat on the same page - the reason we need to do climate science is precisely because we don't want to make those wrong decisions and make needless sacrifices. Rhoda, no I don't think we can plan 500 years ahead, but we can (and do) plan decades ahead, and since we are reasonably confident that the climate is changing in some way, it seems wise to not rely entirely on past climate as being an indicator of what may happen in the future. But equally it is also important not to assume that scary scenarios touted by some eco-activists are a useful guide to the future. And as Mike says, climate adaptation includes being more resilient to natural climate variability - in many cases we (human society) simply don't have a good enough grip on what nature can throw at us so are not resilient to the climate variability that already exists. Despite popular perceptions, climate modelling is not entirely focussed on CO2 - a very large proportion is indeed on trying to understand and represent the modes of variability such as ENSO.

Incidentally, Mike, most climate scientists actually are from those other groups you list. Sitting here at my desk and looking around at the next couple of blocks of desks, I can see people whose degrees or PhDs were in:

particle physics

NW: the sea level rise projections are more like tens of cm per century, possibly more. A key uncertainty is whether large-scale ice dynamics permit more rapid movement (and hence ice loss) than is usually assumed in the standard projections.

Jul 26, 2012 at 4:52 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Having been to London in the middle of today, I think I'm inclined to leave the thames barrier unaltered and let the city take its chances. My home is at 100m ASL.

Jul 26, 2012 at 5:20 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Richard - as I tried to explain to Doug some time ago, the issue in planning decades ahead is that you're not asked to answer the question "What might be happening", rather "What might be happening that is worrying or scary enough to warrant intervention".

This loads the dice completely in the direction of subtly nudging the scientists to look for and investigate especially the most catastrophical scenarios, whilst the policymakers push the alarmism even higher. Again, it is not a matter of dishonesty or societal death-wish, rather the worry that if anybody turned up saying, "I have the best computer models and there is nothing to be afraid of", a lot of people would go home (on the policymaking side, especially).

Jul 26, 2012 at 5:50 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

No planning.

Planning is communism.

Let appropriate responses emerge. Treat people with respect. Treat people like people, and not like cattle, or receptacles for your communication. They'll fend for themselves. Shackle them with your plans and your taxes and there will be terrible consequences.

Don't find yourself speaking for 'society' or 'humans.'


Jul 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM | Registered Commentershub

"it seems wise to not rely entirely on past climate as being an indicator of what may happen in the future."

Not to rely entirely, that works for me. But to require pretty good reason to think otherwise is essential. Now, in the worst case, how much more warming wuld be to come? How much can the sensitivity estimate be relied on to stay the sme as temps increase? I'd have no confidence that what we see now, the slope of the line, effectively, will stay subject to the same rules for any given period. I'd expect state changes, steps, based on the increasing domination of WV effects Got any of them in your models or do they assume no change in the system? Is there a top limit to temps (do they run away against the stops)? Is there a limit to GHG increase? Never saturation? You see, we punters only ever see these questions answered by alarmists. It's always presented as a path to disaster. I'd like to know more about the assumptions.

Oh, and just to remove any doubt, nothing makes me worry about heat. Cold is the threat to human existence.

Jul 26, 2012 at 6:07 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Jul 26, 2012 at 4:48 AM Gixxerboy

I hope the following will clarify things...

Martin A
I haven't been following BH that closely of late, and there appears to be a lot of O/T comments, but I have read through the posts and comments related to this thread. If I summarise what I THINK has happened, could you point out where I might have gone wrong?

1. Rob Wilson did an 'outreach' posting in June. In comments, he claimed to have received 'insulting' emails from BH posters, which would be 'embarrassing' to the Bishop's congregation.
2. Unsurprisingly (ANU, and all that), some commenters asked for him to show us the emails so the culprits could be taken to task.
3. Rob Wilson refused, deigned not to comment further and exited.
4. You submitted an FOI to St Andrews to get him to show the emails, and said so on the comment thread.

To be precise, to ask St Andrews, rather than Rob Wilson, to send me the embarrassing/insulting emails. Emails received by an employee of a public authority are owned by the public authority if they have anything to do with the employee's work.
5. The Univerisity declined to meet your request

The university said that, as Rob Wilson had posted them "of his own volition" is was not part of his job so, even though the emails were received and stored on a University computer, they were not "in their possession" so far as FOISA was concerned. They also said that, in any case, data protection rules would proclude them giving them to me.

I disagreed with both of these points, so I did the following:
- Ask St Andrews to review their decision.
- Ask Reading University and the Met Office to give me emails exchanged between their staff and Rob Wilson, in reviewing the draft of his guest posting. (He had explicitly thanked in his guest posting.)

6. A while later, on this discussion thread, Richard Betts proclaimed he was 'publishing the Rob Wilson emails'.

Yes, but these were not the emabarrassing/insulting emails that Rob Wilson received from BH posters
7. What he actually published were emails between himself, Ed, John and Rob talking about doing the BH Guest Post and then how it went.

Yes, Richard Betts has explained that it was these emails he was posting here, with the agreement of all correspondents.

8. Rob has still not shown the emails everyone was interested in.

If he has, I am unaware of it. I assume he has not.

When I last checked, my request for St Andrews University to review their decision was still waiting for their final response.

If that's the case, why doesn't Rob just show us the malicious emails? That way the whole matter is dispensed with and nobody can harbour any suspicion that Rob exaggerated their maliciousness or made the whole thing up - which of course was exactly what happened with the 'climate-scientists-receive-death-threats' fabrication at ANU.

Why doesn't he just name and shame whoever sent him the emails? He could even 'redact' the perp's details.

Why not just show and tell? Am I missing something?

Good questions.

By the way, I thought Rob Wilson's remark in an earlier posting that people responding to a comment of his in an earlier thread "had fallen into his trap" was a bit odd and not specially conducive to constructive discussion. But that had nothing to do with my FOI request for the embarrassing/insulting emails.

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:43 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Re: Jul 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM | Richard Betts

Thanks for the link, Richard, didn't work but no matter - I was able to pick it up. Interesting to see how much lower CO2 levels are today than they have been in the past.

And as for ...

"A 70m sea level rise would not threaten the whole biosphere, but quite a few people who currently live near the coast would need to move house.... and I can imagine that upgrading the Thames Barrier to give 70m protection would be rather expensive....."

And I think - "if the worst-case warming scenario of the IPCC were actually to occur, placing the projected rise somewhere between the lower limit of 20th-century sea-level rise (0.12 m per century) and the sea-level rise at the conclusion of the termination of the last glacial period (1 m per century). Interestingly, this range significantly exceeds (at the high end) that reported in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (-0.01 to 0.17 m over the current century); but it is still a far cry from the multiple "meters" suggested by some alarmists." well I'm sure they'd have many centuries to move so not quite so expensive after all.

Nor does Al Gore seem to be overly bothered despite his own preference for apocalyptic predictions in 'An Inconvenient Truth'.

And as for your later point "Rhoda, no I don't think we can plan 500 years ahead, but we can (and do) plan decades ahead" some of us would beg to differ. After all wasn't it back in 2000 that

"According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".
"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said. "

"David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes - or eventually "feel" virtual cold."

Jul 26, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Thanks for your reply. I would very much like to agree that we are on the same page but unfortunately we aren't and I don't think we are ever likely to be.
My perception of human history is obviously quite different from yours. Human beings have proved themselves exceptionally good at adapting to whatever nature throws at them.Where this is not so, as currently in the Horn of Africa for example, there are invariably other forces at work that have nothing to do with natural events.Let me draw your attention to:
--- in fact, just google "sudan breadbasket of Africa" and do a bit of reading.
So why is there a problem? Because we are more comfortable handing out sweeties to dictators and emergency rations to refugees instead of providing the technology and the genuine grass roots assistance — not aid — that is needed for them to cope. As someone once said (I forget who): Drought is natural; famine is political!
An old boss of mine had a poster on the wall in front of his desk to remind himself that "When you are up to your arse in alligators is not the best time to remember that the initial objective was to clear the swamp"
We still haven't realised that clearing the swamp needs to be the objective.
The history of humanity is one long story of progress with the occasional hiccup — in health, in wealth, in education, in innovation. The Black Death in Europe was actually the catalyst for one of the biggest strides forward in wealth, welfare, and personal freedom the world has ever seen in such a short period of time. How would you have planned for that? Answer: you wouldn't and you couldn't.
The biggest setbacks peoples have suffered have been when they have been subjected to the whims of dictators and the insatiable urge to plan.
The Soviet system and all its other offshoots in Asia stands forever convicted (except by those with no sense of history) of condemning generations of its citizens to poverty and oppression in the name of state planning. (Joke - wry smile only: state planning is a system that ensures that when there is no bacon there are no eggs either!)
Even if you knew for certain what the global mean temperature was going to be in 50 years time — which you don't — you do not have a clue as to what other social changes may happen between now and then that will impact on any plans you choose to make now to adapt to that situation. Leave my children to solve their own problems; they are perfectly capable of doing it, as we and our fathers and grandfathers were, and as our grandchildren will be —provided we haven't tied their hands with our arrogant "we know what will happen and we know best how to fix it."

And never forget the 11 most frightening words in the English language: "I am from the government and I am here to help."!

PS I'm not suggesting that there are not a large number of disciplines involved in climate research — indeed if there weren't I don't think it would be worth our even bothering to discuss the subject, but you know very well that there are those in the "community" who think that they are God's gift to science and don't see any reason to seek the advice or input of other disciplines in their work. With occasionally dire results.

Jul 26, 2012 at 9:25 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Oh, and by the way Richard, is Australia a licensee of Met Office software, I think someone mentioned the desalination plants.... just wondering......

Shame they didn't invest in dams instead

Jul 26, 2012 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Why is it at all controversial and why is it not implicit that raw data should always be saved intact? The raw data should be ''sacrosant' because if it's messed with without comment, no one can ever get it back. Every adjustment to data should be saved as a set of rules from which one can regenerate the adjusted dataset from the raw data. In this way, the adjustment rules are documented, and can thus be referred to, debated, changed (in a new version, keeping all old differences intact), and their rationale better understood (and the chance of intentional mischief minimized).

Are most climate scientists generally familiar with version control systems?

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterMickey Reno

Are most climate scientists generally familiar with version control systems?
I would have thought it should be a sine qua non that you keep all raw data. There may well be reasons for making adjustments — we've had a couple of legitimate ones spelt out on here — but if they turn out wrong how do you get back to where you were if you've dumped the originals.
Of course there could be other reasons for dumping the originals!*
Oh, Michael, what are you implying? None of us would dream of doing anything like that. We're scientists.
Which of course absolves you from the temptations ordinary mortals are subject to. Not. Excuse me; I have some spoons that need counting again.

*Present company excepted, of course.

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:14 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

John Kennedy Jul 26, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Thank you for your considered response in defence of temperature adjustments. I appreciate that a strong technical argument can be made for manipulations of the raw data to produce smoothed interpretations, although I strongly feel that these should not then be rebranded as 'corrected', and then subsequently become morphed as the truth.

Not a perfect analogy, but since it is my discipline I offer the example of subsurface reservoir mapping. Raw data comes in two main forms, well data and seismic reflection records giving structural control between wells. The well data also can be subdivided into wireline electric log responses from various sonic, electrical and focussed radioactive sondes and probes, and direct undisturbed rock cores.

Taking the example of an oilfield lying across the licence boundaries of two or more licensee consortia with differing percentage interests over different flanks of the field, the resolution of reserve entitlements to the various owners potentially becomes an exercise frought with dispute between the parties, who invariably have each independently mapped the entire field using an identical data set and (surprise, surprise) each mapping a tad more reserves in their own acreage than their competitors. This ultimately gets argued over in endless unitization committee sessions between specialists. No one trusts anyone elses adjustments, but each party always works from the raw collected data as the ultimate database. In particular the recovered core data, routinely lab analysed to determine accurate porosity and permeability value from plug samples taken every six inches or so. Core data, by its nature, is discontinuous. But it is the ultimate gold standard compared to interpreted porosity and permeability from petrophysical log data, and has to be incorporated into the mapping process as discontinuous segmented data. It would be sacrilegious to adjust values, or create phantom ones.

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM | Registered CommenterPharos


This loads the dice completely in the direction of subtly nudging the scientists to look for and investigate especially the most catastrophical scenarios, whilst the policymakers push the alarmism even higher. Again, it is not a matter of dishonesty or societal death-wish, rather the worry that if anybody turned up saying, "I have the best computer models and there is nothing to be afraid of", a lot of people would go home (on the policymaking side, especially).

Alternatively, one can say that over the last few decades a scientific consensus on AGW has emerged without any nudging from anyone. ENGOs and policy-makers have responded in ways not to everyone's liking, but as ever the argument seems to hinge on false equivalence between the science and the rest.

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD