May 172010

While catching up on things this morning, a link at Bishop Hill took me to one of the most penetrating and concise commentaries on the Hockey Stick controversy that I have seen, and it comes from a rather surprising source.

I’m not going to attempt to summarise what it says, mainly because if I did so it would probably give the impression that the author - Sam Norton, a philosopher and country parson - is reiterating arguments that most of us have often heard before, and to some extent this is the case. The power of his post comes not from covering new ground, but from the clarity and rigour with which it brings together issues that are often discussed in isolation: the political influences that contaminate climate science, reliance on arguments from authority, and the insights that applying dispassionate philosophical analysis to a scientific controversy can provide.

If you are commenting here on what Sam has to say then please, please, lets not have yet another discussion of what Michael Mann’s work may or may not tell us about climate over the last millennium. That is not what the article is about. The Hockey Stick saga has far more interesting things to tell us about the relationship between politics, science and belief at the beginning of the 21st century than whether the 1990′s were the warmest decade for a thousand years - if that matters - and that 1998 was the warmest year.

If you consider commenting at Sam Norton’s blog, then I advise you to get all your ducks in a row first. He seems to be a very pleasant and courteous chap, but note his reply to ‘Tess’, third comment down.

Kudos to Andrew Montford (aka Bishop Hill) whose book The Hockey Stick Illusion is helping to bring what appears to be a rather grubby scandal to the attention of a far wider circle of people whose views are valuable.

176 Responses to “The Hockey Stick – what would Martin Luther do?”

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  1. 51
    manacker Says:


    PS The raw data for the CET graphs in my post #37 also came from

    (as noted on the graphs).

    The linear trend lines (as used by IPCC) for the two 50-year periods came from Excel, based on the raw annual data as reported (no “10-year moving average adjustment” or other manipulation made beforehand).


  2. 52
    tonyb Says:

    Hello Peter

    Why would you use a polynomial trend when we have a sufficient time span and data points for a linear trend to adequately show the overall picture?

    As this and other climatic research data illustrates, the slope of a linear trend can still represent ‘the most compact and convenient method of describing the overall change in some data over a given period of time.’

    As we are looking at the entire trend not a part of it the linear regression remains an effective tool.

    The problem with a polynomial trend is that it has the disadvantage that it behaves unstably at the end points.

    Steve Mcintyre and William S Briggs and VS are all interested in the statistical niceties of using methods that force the data into a trend that isn’t apparent when the entire data base is examined as a whole.


  3. 53
    tempterrain Says:


    You’ve got it the wrong way around when you say “As we are looking at the entire trend not a part of it the linear regression remains an effective tool.”

    A linear regression is the first approximation when faced with a collection of data points. If you only have two points then only a straight line is possible – so that’s all you can do. As the number of points increases the correlation between the points is often better if second order terms are allowed.

    For example, if you plotted out the price of a loaf of bread over a short timescale, say a few years, a linear fit would be pretty good. However, if you were to look for, as you put it, “an entire trend” over several hundred years then a linear regression would give a poor fit to the data.

  4. 54
    manacker Says:

    PeterM and TonyB

    IPCC uses the linear trend approach for medium-term temperature data series (30 to 100 years). This makes good sense. In this manner it established that there were two distinct multi-decadal warming periods in the 20th century of approximately equal duration and warming, with a multi-decadal period of slight cooling in between.

    Where IPCC makes a basic mistake is in those instances where it compares trends of different time lengths in order to show “acceleration” in warming (Ch.3 FAQ section has a glaring example of this).

    In a slightly tilted quasi-sinusoidal curve (like the observed temperature record), one can always find shorter-term periods with a higher slope than longer-term periods.

    IPCC falls into the same trap in SPM 2007 where it tells us that the rate of warming over the last 50 years is almost twice the rate over the last 100 years, implying an acceleration, which does not exist in actual fact. [The rate over the first 40 years is almost twice that for the entire 100 years, but this does not prove a deceleration in warming either, either.]

    The linear trend gives a good comparison for medium- to long-term time periods of equal length, such as the 50-year CET periods from 1690 to 1739 (pre-industrial) and the most recent period from 1960 to 2009 (maximum CO2 increase).

    This comparison shows no apparent acceleration in warming due to the anthropogenic CO2 increase (even a slightly lower rate of warming than for the equivalent pre-industrial period).

    This is a much better way to see if CO2 has been a primary cause for an acceleration than drawing a polynomial trend line over the entire record or simply smoothing it out with 10-year averages.

    Drawing a linear trend line over the entire CET record tells us that we have seen a slight warming since this record started. The same is true for the HadCRUT global record, with all its known “warts and blemishes”.

    Linear trend line comparisons make sense, but only if the time periods being measured are equal in length.


  5. 55
    manacker Says:

    PeterM and TonyB

    We discussed the use of linear regression to determine warming trends over multi-decadal cycles, as we have seen in the CET or HadCRUT records, for example.

    HadCRUT 1850-2009 with Multi-decadal Cycles

    This type of analysis shows the observed multi-decadal warming cooling cycles and provides a linear trend analysis for each of these cycles. IPCC has used this approach in describing the two warming cycles in the 20th century, as well as the slight cooling cycle in between.

    The HadCRUT record shows that these warming and cooling periods occurred in a quasi sinusoidal curve with a half-cycle of around 30 years and a slightly tilted axis and no real statistical correlation with GHGs (primarily CO2).

    The past record is one thing, but similar analyses can be made for future projections (although it is quite obvious that the past will not automatically repeat itself).

    HadCRUT record with “best fit” sine curve and IPCC projection

    If we use the past record to project the future, we see that the warming expected by year 2100 (the next 91 years) will be around 0.4C, whereas the IPCC model simulations project warming of 1.3C to 6.5C over this same period, with a mid-range projection of 3.9C, or 10 times the warming rate we have seen so far.

    The first 9 years of the 21st century have shown cooling of almost 0.1C per decade, although IPCC had projected warming at 0.2C per decade. The Met Office tells us that this cooling was caused by unexpected “natural variability” (which apparently more than offset the effect of record CO2 increase over the period).

    So what will happen between now and year 2100 is anyone’s guess.

    IPCC tells us it will warm more rapidly than seen in the past, due to AGW.

    Studies by several solar scientists project a prolonged cooling trend before the underlying slight warming trend takes over again later in the century.

    Who knows who is right? Only time will tell.


  6. 56
    tonyb Says:

    Max and Peter

    Max thanks for your two posts

    In this following link the author examines CET through a wide variety of graphs.

    Graph 3 shows particularly well that the cold winters have been reducing for many years (the trend since 1690) as would be expected as the climatic minimum of the LIA was left behind.

    The next link graphically shows that winters are much more variable than summers (as is common worldwide) with a much greater temperature differential range. For example in the 350 year CET record Summers have a maximum extreme range of 3.5c whilst Winters have a maximum extreme range of up to 8c.

    Summer temperatures have shown little signs of rising to any particular extent, whilst winters have become notably less cold(as observed by Phil Jones in my #23)

    The many cold winters during the LIA-say up to 2 Degrees C colder than ‘average’- would severely depress the mean average for that entire year, even though the temperatures during the rest of the year may have been similar to modern day values.

    So we are gradually becoming less cold due to the overall warming of winters -thereby affecting the mean average-rather than becoming warmer through an increase in summer heat.

    The variability of winter/summer can be seen in this link which shows this gently warming trend

    Temperatures are not rising in a hockey stick manner as Peters graph attempts to demonstrate. All the old datasets on my site display similar characteristics to CET

    Where there is a ‘twist’ at the end it is often clearly attributable to UHI as noted in my article citing the UHI studies of Uppsala/Stockholm carried out by the local University.

    Warming has not suddenly taken off since 1880-Hansen merely plugged into the end of a well established trend.


  7. 57
    tempterrain Says:

    Peter Geany,

    You say “I won’t say from where because we will have 10 posts about the waco tendencies of the poster from you, rather than any reasoned argument about the science.”

    “reasoned argument”? Mmmm! Why do you need that? It looks like this quote was from no less an authoritive source than Conservapedia!

    Its not a mystery at all. Conservapedia, and “creationist scientist” Dr. D. Russell Humphreys explains it as follows:

    “The only non-standard assumption I used was that the matter of the cosmos is limited in extent, with a fair amount of empty space beyond the matter—an assumption supported by the Bible. With those relatively modest beginnings, I was able to explain the Pioneer anomaly — it’s due to a change in the ‘fabric’ of space.”

    So there you go. Who needs Newton or Einstein when you’ve got the Bible?

  8. 58
    manacker Says:


    Not to split hairs here, but you berate Peter Geany (57) for allegedly citing a quotation from Conservapedia (an assumption on your part, to start off with).

    If you look closer, however, you will see that the article you cited refers to two papers, both from reputable scientific sources:
    William F. Hall (Science Direct), 2007: “Can charge drag explain the Pioneer anomaly?”

    “Pioneer spacecraft a step closer to being boring”, (Symmetry Breaking), (APS Meeting, April 2008)

    Just to set the record straight (although this is not my discussion).


    PS You have an unfortunate tendency to jump to unsubstantiated conclusions and to discredit articles, which you personally believe come from sources, whose scientific qualifications you personally find lacking. In view of all the revelations of sloppy or agenda-driven science, exaggerations of potential hazards, and outright untruths in the latest IPCC reports, one could do exactly the same here. But it is always best to attack the substance, Peter, not just make a blanket attack of the source.

    Just a tip for making your debating logic a bit more credible.

  9. 59
    manacker Says:


    In looking through all the historical charts you posted, I have found the dreaded hockey-stick!

    It’s not a “temperature” hockey-stick, however (this does not exist in the record), but a CO2 hockey-stick.

    Human CO2 emissions have gone up almost exponentially since WWII (although the latest 5 years have been at a slightly lower CAGR than the previous 5 or 10 years).

    But strangely, despite this “hockey-stick” in the “pincipal driver of our planet’s climate, according to IPCC, temperature does not seem to follow.

    Wonder why? Could IPCC have it all wrong? Is the Met Office onto something with its “natural variability” explanation for the current cooling?

    Shhh. Don’t tell PeterM – he’ll be devastated.


  10. 60
    manacker Says:

    PeterM and Peter Geany

    [Tried sending this earlier, but the spam filter didn’t like all the links, so am sending these separately.]

    The “Pioneer anomaly” intrigued me, so started checking it out.

    Wiki also discusses the “Pioneer anomaly”, stating that the cause is unknown:
    [See Link 1]

    Here under “13 things that do not make sense” from New Scientist (number 8)
    [See Link 2]

    This article also states that the cause is unknown, but then speculates:

    If the cause is some gravitational effect, it is not one we know anything about. In fact, physicists are so completely at a loss that some have resorted to linking this mystery with other inexplicable phenomena.

    Here is another study, which speculates on causes:
    [See Link 3]

    And yet another:
    [See Link 4]

    Lots of stuff out there on this phenomenon in respected journals plus Wiki.


  11. 61
    manacker Says:

    Link 1

  12. 62
    manacker Says:

    Link 2

  13. 63
    manacker Says:

    Link 3

  14. 64
    manacker Says:

    Link 4

  15. 65
    tonyb Says:

    Max #59

    Can I make what should be a blindingly obvious statement?

    It is very difficult to detect any man made element superimposed on the gently warming trend we can observe over the last 350 years, despite spending Billions on the search.

    That upward trend is likely to continue-although as the natural cause of it seems completely unknown, that is speculation.

    Where man has a definite and clearly defined input on climate however is through UHI, as shown by nmerous studies and our own first hand observations.

    It was an effect first observed by the Romans who took measures to build their ‘streets narrow and buildings high’ in order to mitigate it.

    I do not believe that UHi will warm a city in an exponential manner, as urban development tends to spread and the heat will therefore become dissipated over an ever wider area rather than become concentrated.

    In many cities UHI might be welcomed as the means to make life more tolerable-especially in the winter in Northern Latitudes.

    In some cities UHI will impose a very uncomfortable footprint and in turn require increased use of energy to mitigate it.

    So man controls the local climate by the very nature of clustering together. This UHI difference can be readily up to 3-5 Degrees C-as the Victorians measured it-an amount far greater than any known or likely CO2 warming over the next hundreds of years.

    So we need to concentrate on mitigating the much greater effects of UHI- where that will be a problem-rather than attempt to control a gas whose impact is still highly debatable.

    What do you think?


  16. 66
    tempterrain Says:

    Can anyone explain why so-called climate sceptics are arguing that the CET record, which shows a warming of approximately 1.3 degC ( measured on a roling 10 year average) since the middle of the 15th Century, is evidence of a very slow natural change in climate, but on the other hand very similar amounts of warming, and maybe even less:

    but measured over a much greater area are dismissed as “alarmist” when reported by mainstream science?

  17. 67
    tempterrain Says:

    Correction: Should be “….middle of the 17th Century”

  18. 68
    tonyb Says:

    So that sorted then, we both agree that a slow gentle natural rise of around 1 Degree C since the depths of the LIA 320 years ago-or a fraction of that if measured from the warm period that immediately folowed it-is nothing to get concerned about.

    I suppose the only thing left to discuss are the reasons for this natural warming trend, but unfortunately that pre-supposes that climate science is much more advanced than it currently is.


  19. 69
    tempterrain Says:


    If you are saying that the CET record shows a “slow gentle rise” which is “nothing to get concerned about” you’d have to say the same thing about Mann’s graph and all the other hockey sticks which you guys have got so worked up about in recent years. If you plot the CET record on top of these you can see that there is really very little disagreement.

  20. 70
    manacker Says:

    Getting back to the basics of this thread, TonyN wrote:

    The Hockey Stick saga has far more interesting things to tell us about the relationship between politics, science and belief at the beginning of the 21st century than whether the 1990’s were the warmest decade for a thousand years – if that matters – and that 1998 was the warmest year.

    “Science” (in particular what has come to be known as “climate science”) has become so intertwined with “politics” that it is now inseparable. This can be traced back to the formation of the IPCC, a political organization dedicated to taxpayer- funded research of anthropogenic climate change and its potential impact on our society. The key justification for this effort is (and was from the very beginning) to support the political agenda of levying worldwide taxes on carbon emissions, allegedly in order to stop or slow down anthropogenic greenhouse warming (AGW).

    The “science” behind the AGW premise is thus, by definition, “agenda-driven science”. It is not “science” in the classical sense, i.e. “the search for truth”, but rather “the search for proof” of the pre-conceived hypothesis, which supports the political agenda.

    If the scientific studies cannot establish a serious potential threat from AGW, there is no need for the IPCC to continue to exist as a body, and there is no justification for the political goal of levying a worldwide tax on carbon emissions.

    Climate scientists are fully aware of this fact. Those studies, which conclude that there may be a serious potential risk from AGW, are welcomed and embraced by the politicians who are responsible for providing funding for climate research. Those studies that conclude that there is no real danger or that climate changes are largely natural are less welcome and their authors will have a more difficult time getting new research grants. This fact has been pointed out by many, although some “insider” climatologists still try to deny it.

    Now to the topic of “belief”. This is actually a religious, rather than a scientific, concept. It has, however, become an integral part of the “climate science consensus”. There are the obvious comparisons with other pseudo-religious “doomsday cults”: human guilt (for burning fossil fuels in order to become affluent) and retribution (by “Mother Nature” or planet Earth for the transgressions committed). The pseudo-religious aspect has become a basic part of the AGW premise. It has even gone so far as to ignore or reject any evidence, which does not support the “belief” (for example, the recent cooling of both the atmosphere and the upper ocean, despite record increase in CO2). Just like the “doomsday” prophet, whose prophecy does not come about, the AGW-believer comes up with all sorts of rationalizations to explain why the world has stopped warming, ensuring us all the time that the predicted warming is “hidden in the pipeline” somewhere and will “come back with a vengeance” in a matter of time.

    The similarities to the Catholic Church of pre-Reformation days are there.

    Christian theologians of the time were all part of the “consensus” (as are a majority of the climate scientists today). That a lowly priest, like Martin Luther (in other words, an “outsider” to the “established theological consensus”), would have the audacity to point out the corruption of the Church dogma at that time is comparable to the audacity of the two outsiders, McIntyre and McKitrick in pointing out the corrupted science supporting the “hockey stick” dogma of unprecedented 20th century warming, caused by AGW. The reaction by the “establishment” was also very similar.

    I predict that the result will be similar, as well. Just as the “stonewalling” of the Church theologians at the time finally caused the rupture of the Church and the end of its monopoly on Christian religion, so will the current “stonewalling” of IPCC and the “climate consensus” cause a rupture, which will end up making IPCC and the “consensus climatologists” irrelevant.

    The Reformation was helped by the invention of the printing press, the resulting gradual increase in literacy and the crumbling of the feudal system, following centuries of war and plagues under this old system. This will happen much more quickly this time around in this age of “instant information”, with blog sites like this one, WUWT, CA, etc. helping to spread this information.

    A few more cooler than normal years won’t hurt, either.


  21. 71
    Robin Guenier Says:

    Careful, Max. You say that there’s a consensus comprising “a majority of the climate scientists today”. Do you really mean that? If so, I have two questions: (1) do you have any evidence of this consensus? And (2), if so, precisely what is the consensus about?

  22. 72
    manacker Says:


    Careful, Max. You say that there’s a consensus comprising “a majority of the climate scientists today”. Do you really mean that? If so, I have two questions: (1) do you have any evidence of this consensus? And (2), if so, precisely what is the consensus about?

    No doubt there is a “consensus” among at least a “majority of climate scientists” that:
    · CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which theoretically absorbs and re-radiates LW radiation from Earth’s surface, thereby resulting in warming.
    · Humans (primarily in affluent, industrialized societies) emit CO2 from fossil fuel combustion.
    · Atmospheric CO2 has increased by 23.8% since the Mauna Loa record started in 1958, from 315 ppmv to 390 ppmv today.
    · Globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature has increased since the modern record started in the mid-19th century.
    · This has occurred in roughly 30-year warming cycles, with roughly 30-year cycles of slight cooling in between, an underlying linear warming trend of 0.041C per decade and total warming over the 160-year period of 0.7C.
    · Arctic sea ice has receded since satellite records started in 1979, while Antarctic sea ice grew over the same period, at a slightly lower rate.
    · Tide gauge records show us that sea level has risen since records started in the 19th century.
    · This has occurred at a rate of around 17 cm per century, with a slightly higher rate of rise in the first half of the 20th century than in the second half.

    With the exception of the greenhouse theory, the above are all observed facts, within the limitations of the accuracy of the observations.

    But now we come to the questionable part, where I have to agree with you that there is no real evidence of “consensus” (we can write off the Oreskes study as basically flawed, as was shown subsequently, or Pachauri’s claims as simple bluster).

    But is “perception” equal to “reality”?

    And is there a “perceived consensus” of the premises that
    · The surface temperature record gives a representative picture of the average global temperature of our planet without any major distortions resulting from urbanization, changes in land use, changes in measurement locations, elimination of a majority of the measurement stations around 1990, etc.?
    · Increased atmospheric CO2 has been a significant contributor to the observed 20th century warming?
    · Model simulated “positive feedbacks” will triple or quadruple the GH effect of CO2 alone?
    · This projected warming will be more harmful than beneficial to human society, and that AGW thus represents a serious potential threat?

    I have not seen any compelling evidence to show that there is anything near to “consensus” on the latter premises, although this represents the “party line”, as defined by IPCC.

    And it is the “IPCC party line” which we are comparing to the prevalent Church dogma at the time of the Reformation, and which we are calling the “consensus opinion”.


  23. 73
    Robin Guenier Says:

    Yes, Max – that’s all good stuff. I’d also be very surprised if there were not consensus about the observed facts you itemise. But beyond that to agreement that, if we continue to emit GHGs, we face catastrophe? I don’t think so. Yet it’s “consensus” on that point (especially the items you mention) we keep hearing about – without any evidence to support the claim. Plainly you agree. But, in the case of the pre-Reformation Church, I suspect there was a consensus amongst churchmen about the dogma. But that was religion – we’re concerned with science. There’s supposed to be a vast difference. Although sometimes I fear that climate “science” gets dangerously close to becoming dogma.

  24. 74
    manacker Says:


    I believe you have hit the nail on the head: the premise that AGW has caused most of the past warming and will represent a serious potential threat has become “dogma” rather than “science”.

    But I would like to carry this reasoning a step further and leave out the purely political and financial aspects for now.

    This “dogma” required the elimination of the Medieval Warm Period, in order to claim “unprecedented 20th century warmth, due to AGW” (the theme of this thread).

    It required a minimalization of the Little Ice Age, or (for that matter) of any past temperature fluctuations, which could not have been caused by AGW (refer to TonyB’s excellent “Dickens” summary).

    It required “manipulated”, ”homogenized” and ex post facto “corrected” temperature data of the more recent record, in order to support the “dogma”.

    As we have both pointed out to Peter repeatedly, the AGW premise is not supported by empirical data from actual physical observations (i.e. scientific evidence according to the basic principles of science).

    Instead, it is supported by theoretical deliberations and model simulations and summarized in the IPCC reports, the “Bible” for AGW-believers as opposed to prophets, holy scripture or Church theologians, as was the case of religious dogma in Luther’s time, but this difference is minor.

    The frequently invoked “appeal to authority” (of the “establishment”) is also not much different from the argumentation used by the Church theologians in Luther’s time.

    Just as “intelligent design” proponents attempt to cloak their belief in “science”, so do AGW-believers, on the other end of the dogmatic spectrum. But in both cases the key weakness is the lack of empirical data supporting the “belief”.

    So far the AGW “dogma” has not been able to stand up to this test. And, until it does, it remains “dogma” and not “science”.

    And it is the mission of rational skeptics (such as McIntyre and McKitrick) to expose any corruption in the dogma, as it was Luther’s mission in his time (TonyN’s theme).


  25. 75
    Robin Guenier Says:


    Back to consensus. To the extent that it’s important (not very – science is not determined by consensus), the research done by Dr Klaus-Martin Schulte is interesting (see this article: Survey: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory).

  26. 76
    manacker Says:


    Yes. I have seen the Schulte study, which (expectedly) brought “howls of outrage” among the believers of the AGW dogma. Did this represent a “shift” since the earlier Oreskes study, or was it simply a correction of a faulty study? (I am personally convinced that the latter is correct.)

    I fully agree with you that “science is not determined by consensus”, but unfortunately a significant part of the general public is unaware of this fact.

    I have challenged Peter on the “consensus” story, as well, citing a list of 200 scientists (the list has now grown to 219) plus 60 meteorologists, who have openly stated that they do not support the premise that AGW has caused most of the past warming or is a serious threat.

    As Peter claimed the consensus among scientists was overwhelming, I asked him to provide a list of at least three times this many qualified individuals who support this premise (of course he could not do so).

    It is very clear to me that the “consensus” story is a mythological part of the AGW dogma, going into the direction of an “appeal to authority” (if so many scientists and scientific organizations support the dangerous AGW premise, it must be right).

    I am also convinced that it is an attempt to detract attention from the fact that there are no empirical data, based on actual physical observations or experiments, to support the dangerous AGW premise, as would be required following the normal scientific method.


  27. 77 Says:


    You may remember the history of the smoking controversy from the 1960′s onwards. There were endless list of doctors and surgeons (20000 was it?) who recommended such nonsense as filter tipped or menthol cigarettes as being the answer to any related health problems. They were all medically qualified – they must have known what they were talking about surely?

    Your list of 200 scientists, 60 meteorologists, 2000 geologists, or whatever, is just an attempt to play the same game. Sure, in the 1970′s you could find plenty of PhDs who were expressing opinions favourable to the tobacco industry, and sounded very convincing to the general public.

    However you needed to look at what mainstream science was really saying to know the reality.

    The reality, again, is that the AGW denialist agenda isn’t being pushed by dissident scientists but by large numbers of conservative politicians, and their supporters, for reasons which I have already outlined.

  28. 78
    tempterrain Says:


    I should probably have included you in my last post.

    This article is a good description of what the so-called ‘AGW debate’ is all about:

    Defeating Kyoto: The Conservative Movement’s Impact on U.S. Climate Change

  29. 79
    Robin Guenier Says:

    So PeterM (78) you really still think – despite years of intelligent, informed discussion on this excellent site – that the debate here is “all about” such catch phrases as “denial of global warming” and “affiliations with the fossil fuels industry” on the one hand and “the growing worldwide consensus on the seriousness of global warming” on the other. As I’ve said many times before, you’re not paying attention.

    Groan – do I really have to tell you this again? The link between smoking and cancer was established by clear testable empirical evidence (evidence the tobacco industry disgracefully tried to hide). As Max says above, there is no such evidence establishing a link between the emission of GHGs and dangerous climate change. Counting the heads of scientists is completely irrelevant – science is not a democratic process.

  30. 80
    Robin Guenier Says:

    BTW PeterM, the fact that “large numbers of conservative politicians and their supporters” may be critical of the dangerous AGW hypothesis is wholly irrelevant. Hitler was critical of smoking (link) – does that make any difference to the science? Obviously not: evidence is evidence, no matter who supports or opposes it.

  31. 81
    manacker Says:


    Regarding your 77/78, I believe Robin has responded to your silly comparison (déjà vu, all over again) between cigarette smoking/cancer and CO2/disastrous climate change.

    The point about “large numbers of conservative politicians” being responsible for the recent trend away from AGW-hysteria (rather than “dissident scientists”) is also totally absurd.

    It is really neither of the two, Peter, but rather a gradual awakening of the general public to a faulty doomsday prediction based on poor science, exaggerated claims based on GIGO model simulations and pseudo-scientific argumentation (plus an observed current cooling of the planet despite record CO2 increase).

    Up until now, every single “doomsday prediction” throughout history has proven to be false, and there is no valid reason to believe that this one is any different.

    For more on this and other “doomsday premises” see my post 564 on the other thread. I’m sure you will find it interesting (and you may even learn something new).


  32. 82
    tempterrain Says:


    Once again you say “I’ve said many times before, you’re not paying attention”. Well my first thought is that it’s you should be doing that, but my second thought is that you probably are, but you just don’t understand what you are talking about.


    If you thinking of buying yourself a present you might want to take a look at Nancy Oreskes new book:

    <a href=”″

    Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

    I wondering whatever gives her the strange idea that there is a link between the two? She probably thinks that the Heartland Institute and other right-wing pro-corporate interest ‘think tanks’ are behind it all too.

  33. 83
    tempterrain Says:

    I thought I’d got the hang of putting in these links. I’ll try again:

    Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

  34. 84
    tempterrain Says:

    3rd time lucky?
    Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming

  35. 85
    Robin Guenier Says:

    Well PeterM so you insist on banging on with your absurd conspiracy theories and ludicrous parallels with the tobacco industry and the smoking/cancer link. Moreover, you still seem to think that “consensus” has something to do with scientific enquiry. Somehow, I suppose, you think all this may detract from your total inability to produce empirical data supporting the dangerous AGW hypothesis. Well it doesn’t. Get used to it.

  36. 86
    manacker Says:


    Think I’ll skip Oreske’s latest op-ed book and wait for the sequel (still in print, by a “yet unnamed scientist”):

    Merchants of Fear: How a Handful of Scientists Fabricated the Doomsday Prediction of Global Warming

    Sounds a bit more interesting than another sci-fi treatise by Oreske.


  37. 87
    manacker Says:


    Just watched Naomi’s youtube sales blurb for her book (which you cited).

    She tells us:

    People have to be careful about what they tread in the media.


    The media do not do their homework.

    I can second that. What she fails to tell us is that the media have, by and large, swallowed and regurgitated the AGW story without really doing their homework.

    She goes on with the consensus myth:

    IPCC includes thousands of scientists from all over the world who all agree versus “one guy” who does not.

    Thousands? Names please.

    To exactly “what” do these “thousands” agree?

    Specific facts please.

    Which one of the over 200 scientists (who have publicly stated that they do not support the dangerous AGW premise) is this “one guy”. Pick a name – any name, Naomi.

    Obviously Naomi’s second book on AGW is just as big a pile of rubbish as the first.

    After watching the youtube, I am sure I do not want to pay close to 20 francs for Naomi’s new book.

    I’d rather slip my 20 franc bill to the Salvation Army, who will at least do something worthwhile with it.


  38. 88
    tempterrain Says:

    Robin Guenier,

    I wouldn’t say that it was a ‘conspiracy theory’ per se. It’s mainly a tendency of people, like yourself, to believe that anything to do with environmental considerations is part of some ‘loony left’ agenda. Incidentally, they aren’t immune from anti-science sentiments either when science clashes with their ideology. People aren’t logical – they tend to believe what fits into their existing world view and reject anything that doesn’t.

    We don’t hear so much about HIV denial simply because it doesn’t rate on the agendas of large corporate interests with their front organisations, such as the Heartland Institute. Their battle on tobacco has largely been lost, so we don’t hear quite so much about that these days so they’ve moved on. You may not like them but the parallels are certainly there. The personnel are often the same. The right wing think tanks are the same. The tactics of promoting delay and uncertainty are almost exactly the same.

    Trying to dismiss them as “ludicrous” doesn’t make them go away!

  39. 89
    manacker Says:


    Robin will surely add his thoughts on your #88 where you wrote

    I wouldn’t say that it was a ‘conspiracy theory’ per se. It’s mainly a tendency of people, like yourself, to believe that anything to do with environmental considerations is part of some ‘loony left’ agenda. I wouldn’t say that it was a ‘conspiracy theory’ per se. It’s mainly a tendency of people, like yourself, to believe that anything to do with environmental considerations is part of some ‘loony left’ agenda.

    I would agree with you, Peter, that the much-ballyhooed AGW “conspiracy theory” is fiction, but that there is probably more of a loose “collusion of interests” between several groups who all stand to benefit from AGW hysteria, as Peter Taylor described it.

    You must realize, Peter, that AGW has become a multi-billion dollar big business, with many different groups hoping to get a piece of the action (you probably read the article on Tony Blair, which Brute posted on the other thread). If carbon taxes (direct or indirect) are universally implemented, AGW will become a multi-trillion dollar business.

    There are “big bucks” to be made and many of the wealthy and powerful of this world hope to benefit from the wave of doomsday hysteria before it dies down (as all previous doomsday panics have done and this one also inevitably will).

    I do not believe that there is any “tendency of people… to believe that anything to do with environmental considerations is part of some ‘loony left’ agenda”. This is too oversimplified, Peter.

    Sure, the powerful “do-gooders” of this world, who feel they need to control the lives of the “common people” for the “common good”, are often on the “left side” of the political spectrum, but there are also examples where this is not the case.

    As C.S. Lewis wrote:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    These are powerful words.

    If Tony Blair, for example needs £5 million annually to finance his life style, that is all well and good. If he does this by jumping on the AGW gravy train and advising the wealthy and powerful how to also get a piece of the pie that is also great. But if he (like Al Gore) fools his conscience into thinking that he is helping to “save humanity or the planet” by doing so, that is hypocritical self-delusion.

    True “environmentalism” involves undertaking specific actions in order to reduce pollution and waste (which really has nothing to do with CO2 or the perceived threat from AGW at all). Many true environmentalists are dismayed that the environmental movement has effectively been hijacked by a “loony” AGW agenda (regardless of whether it is “left” or not).

    But Peter, as interesting as this political discussion surrounding AGW may be, these are all side issues.

    The fundamental issue is that the premise of dangerous AGW is not supported by sound empirical scientific data, a problem which both Robin and I have brought to your attention, and which you have been unable to refute and have therefore danced around.

    As the “bard’s” Hamlet said: “Aye, there’s the rub”.


  40. 90
    Robin Guenier Says:


    Your analysis is accurate, but I think poor old Peter’s problem is very simple: shaken and demoralised by his abject failure to produce any empirical evidence to support the hypothesis he loves, he is casting around to blame his discomforting embarrassment on the evil machinations of nasty bad guys (big oil = the tobacco industry etc: same people, same “right wing think tanks” etc.), hoping also that all this will somehow divert attention from the real issue.


    Unfortunately for you, Peter, it doesn’t divert attention: none of this babyish stuff has the slightest relevance to the science. I suggest you forget all that nonsense, start thinking like the scientists you profess to admire and consider the hypothesis in the light of the scientific method. And, in doing so, I suggest you open your mind to the possibility that it (the hypothesis that mankind’s emissions of GHGs will cause dangerous climate change) may very simply be without foundation. Try it – you’ll find it’s not too difficult.

  41. 91
    peter geany Says:


    I hope you have availed yourself of better information about the Pioneer Anomaly. And thank you Max for helping to guild Peter in his efforts to become more informed.

    All I was trying to illustrate was that there is a seedy side to science where vested interests and money combine to squash enquiry that runs the risk of diverting funds. As a society we the west are going to have to watch out closely for this as it could hinder progress and allow us to be overtaken as the technological leaders in the world.

    Getting back to climate science where this distortion of the scientific method has been at its worst we now see at long last there has been a revolt in the Royal Society, and they are being forced to revise their words on climate change on their website. This is good news, if but a first step, and in conjunction with the fact we have no money means any expenditure on some of the stupid schemes the last administration had put in place will come in for further scrutiny. This will coincide with a change of advice from science and a gradual realisation that the whole CO2 thing was wrong. Peter what are you going to do when the Royal Society is no longer there to fall back on and who will you appeal to then

    Their will never be any great apology for all the wasted money though, but at least our precious resources may turn to technology that has a better chance of success without destroying our visual environment that all the wind farms and tidal barrages threaten to do.

    One of the most exciting technologies is the Thorium Reactor that promises low cost nuclear power without the waste and no chance for weapons grade material as a by-product

    Exciting times ahead.

  42. 92
    temperrain Says:


    Its a curious thing about climate deniers that they do seem to get certain bees in their bonnet and there’s just no shifting them. Your little stinging insect is “empirical evidence” often using phrases like “abject failure to produce any emp……” Empirical evidence is evidence obtained by measurement and observation in the real world.

    I don’t know if you have been hibernating, but you might have noticed graphs, although I notice you haven’t shown any capability yourself in that direction, of such empirical parameters as Arctic ice, rising sea levels, historical temperature records. Now you could argue that the empirical evidence is inconclusive, and it certainly isn’t proof in any sense of the word but, it is evidence. Its just nonsense to say that there isn’t any at all. But I suppose you’ll carry on like a stuck record.

  43. 93
    tempterrain Says:

    Peter Geany,

    Oh yes the “pioneer anomaly”. Max ticked me off for accusing you falsely. “Jumping to the conclusion” (was that the phrase?) that you’d quoted some nonsense out of Conservapedia.

    Well here’s an opportunity for you. If you can show that you didn’t I’ll grovel and apologise! There you go, I don’t make that sort of offer every day!

  44. 94
    tempterrain Says:

    “Royal Society…..they are being forced to revise their words on climate change on their website”

    This is news to me. Mind you, all websites need to be kept up to date and that can’t be done unless words are indeed revised.

    What have they changed?

  45. 95
    peter geany Says:

    It just gets worse for those hoping for more money for climate projects.

    1. For those who share a perceptive bent there is a lot of information in this article. For Chris Huhne to defend the cuts and not rule out others means there really is no money, (something I have been warning about and to be honest I think we all knew), and for the Labour Party people to continuously offer the new government numerous opportunities to remind the public of their spendthrift behaviour suggests that Gordon et al kept hidden the true nature of the problem from other ministers.
    This may be yet another indication that history will show that Gordon’s Legacy will be his disastrous stewardship of the UK’s economy and his attempts to spend his way out of problems when he should have done the opposite.

  46. 96
    Robin Guenier Says:

    Oh dear, poor old PeterM: either you still don’t get it or you’re once again trying to divert attention from an issue you are unwilling to face. Not one contributor to this site disputes the plain fact that the climate changes. Therefore, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of empirical evidence demonstrating that obvious fact – it would be a surprise if there were not. What you have abjectly failed to do, however, is refer us to any such evidence supporting the view (a) that mankind’s GHG emissions, and not natural influences, were the principal cause of recent such change and (b) that, if so and if such emissions are not reduced, the consequence will be dangerous climate change. The issue is simple enough, Peter – even you should be able to understand it.

  47. 97
    peter geany Says:

    PeterM There has been a revolt in the Royal Society, the first in 350 years. I guess you have a filter on your browser that filters out bad news. Its on the BBC

    As for the Pioneer Anomoly I just cut and pasted those words, that contained no science one way or the other but susinctly conveyed that there is a problem with our understanding of either gravity, relativity, both, or none. To deny this is bunkum and proves my point. This was the first attempt to prove these theories and a problem has appeared. You obviously know the answer so tomorrow you will be rich and famous

  48. 98
    manacker Says:


    You mention

    empirical parameters as Arctic ice, rising sea levels, historical temperature records

    supposedly as empirical evidence a) that AGW (caused primarily by human CO2 emissions) has been the principal cause of observed warming and b) that this represents a serious threat for the future.

    It is, of course, nothing of the sort. It is simply empirical evidence a) that Arctic sea ice (unlike that of the Antarctic) has receded since satellite measurements started in 1979, b) that sea level has risen by about 17 cm per century since tide gauge records started in the 19th century, with several multi-decadal swings in the rate of rise and slightly higher average rate of rise in the first half of the 20th century (1904-1953) than in the second half (1954-2003) and c) that “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature” has risen in multi-decadal warming and cooling cycles with an underlying warming trend of 0.04C per decade since we have been emerging from the LIA in the mid-19th century.

    This all has nothing to do directly with the AGW premise, as I am sure you will have to agree (if you are truly objective).

    And that, Peter, is exactly the “missing link” in your argumentation.


  49. 99
    manacker Says:


    Regarding your #94 here is link to BBC report on Royal Society by (AGW-friendly) Roger Harrabin entitled: The UK’s Royal Society is reviewing its public statements on climate change after 43 Fellows complained that it had oversimplified its messages.

    But I don’t expect drastic changes just yet, the “big bucks” are still on the AGW side for now.


  50. 100
    Robin Guenier Says:

    Re the Royal Society and its “review” (99), I agree with Max that drastic changes soon are unlikely. Nonetheless, this is a very interesting development – although PeterM would doubtless claim that the “43 Fellows [who] complained that it had oversimplified its messages” were obviously evil “deniers” in the pay of big oil. Changes are unlikely not least because we learn that the Society is “setting up a panel to produce a consensus document”: all we need is another consensus from another panel! But it’s encouraging to hear of one Fellow saying, ” … in science everything is there to be questioned – that should be the very essence of the Royal Society. Some of us were very upset about that”.

    It’s particularly interesting that the BBC’s Roger Harrabin, who wrote the report, is beginning to show signs of objectivity – although he still trots out nostrums such as “Lobbyists funded by the fossil fuel industry … fighting to undermine [the] consensus …” Nonetheless, he gives a lot of prominence to the “feedback” issue, specifically quoting Richard Lindzen. I doubt is Jo Abbess is likely to be happy about that (link).

    Unsurprisingly, this development is reported by Bishop Hill (here and here) and WUWT (here). The comments are worth reading. Also I was intrigued by the BBC Today programme’s interview with Harrabin this morning (link – after 54 minutes). He agreed that, after the EAU debacle, IPCC report questions etc., there are increasingly “grey” areas in climate science and especially re climate models about which there was, he said, “massive, massive uncertainty”. Poor Jo Abbess must have choked over her muesli.

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