Mar 172008


At 10am this morning, the New Statesman finally closed the Mark Lynas thread on their website after 1715 comments had been added over a period of five months. I don’t know whether this constitutes any kind of a record, but gratitude is certainly due to the editor of of the New Statesman for hosting the discussion so patiently and also for publishing articles from Dr David Whitehouse and Mark Lynas that have created so much interest.

This page is now live, and anyone who would like to continue the discussion here is welcome to do so. I have copied the most recent contributions at the New Statesman as the first comment for the sake of convenience. If you want to refer back to either of the original threads, then you can find them here:

Dr David Whitehouse’s article can be found here with all 1289 comments.

Mark Lynas’ attempted refutation can be found here with 1715 comments.

Welcome to Harmless Sky, and happy blogging.

(Click the ‘comments’ link below if the input box does not appear)


10,000 Responses to “Continuation of the New Statesman Whitehouse/Lynas blogs.”

  1. Re: #21 & #23, JZ

    Unfortunately my mother is no longer in a position to swell the numbers. Sorry if I ‘outed’ you when you would have preferred to keep it quiet. How about some more posts on climate change? The most recent one reads well.

    BlogStats suggest that readers at the NS site have followed on over here, so you do have an audience out there. I did ask the editor to include a link in his terminal post, but there was no response.

  2. #24, Tony:

    No problem on the ‘outing’. I was bound to come ‘out’ eventually. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

    Yes, I’ll post more on climate change and some related subjects. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

  3. Bob,

    Benson hangs out at Climate Progress and being that you have a new name maybe you can lure him over. Everything I post there gets kicked off………..


    For Immediate Release: June 17, 2008

    Energy Guzzled by Al Gore’s Home in Past Year Could Power 232 U.S. Homes for a Month
    Gore’s personal electricity consumption up 10%, despite “energy-efficient” home renovations

    NASHVILLE – In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

    “A man’s commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home,” said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption.”

    In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

    In February 2007, An Inconvenient Truth, a film based on a climate change speech developed by Gore, won an Academy Award for best documentary feature. The next day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research uncovered that Gore’s Nashville home guzzled 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

    After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home’s windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the “green” overhaul.

    Since taking steps to make his home more environmentally-friendly last June, Gore devours an average of 17,768 kWh per month –1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations – at a cost of $16,533. By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

    In the wake of becoming the most well-known global warming alarmist, Gore won an Oscar, a Grammy and the Nobel Peace Prize. In addition, Gore saw his personal wealth increase by an estimated $100 million thanks largely to speaking fees and investments related to global warming hysteria.

    “Actions speak louder than words, and Gore’s actions prove that he views climate change not as a serious problem, but as a money-making opportunity,” Johnson said. “Gore is exploiting the public’s concern about the environment to line his pockets and enhance his profile.”

    The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a Nashville-based free market think tank and watchdog organization, obtained information about Gore’s home energy use through a public records request to the Nashville Electric Service.

  5. Absurd claims of alarm
    The Press | Tuesday, 17 June 2008

    Manmade global warming is a myth, and the cult surrounding it will fade into obscurity, but the costs and taxes imposed to combat this imagined menace will remain. (p>In 1998, a peculiar thing happened. Global warming, such as it was, came to an end. Since then, global temperatures have trended downwards, while carbon-dioxide emissions have risen.

    The disconnect between carbon-dioxide emissions and global temperature trends proved what many scientists had been saying for some time, that the two are unrelated. But this should have been intuitively obvious in any case because industrial carbon dioxide represents only a tiny percentage of the atmosphere, so it is hardly likely to be a powerful climatic driving force.
    It stretches credibility to suppose that such a vanishingly small percentage of a naturally occurring minor gas would be potent enough to drive Earth’s climate into meltdown. But it stretches credibility even further to suppose that reducing this fraction by a few per cent would then be sufficient to reverse it.
    If the Earth’s atmosphere were that sensitive to infinitesimal tweaks to its minor constituent gasses, we would not be here today debating it, because the climate would have spiralled out of control millions of years ago when carbon-dioxide levels were some 10 times higher than today.
    In his alarmist movie An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore suggests the Earth’s biosphere is also incapable of surviving slight shifts in temperature, where less than 1deg rise over a century is cause for alarm. But if this were so, mankind would not have survived the Roman warm period, the mediaeval warm period or the 1930s dust-bowl era, when temperatures were consistently higher than today.
    So there is nothing unusual in either higher temperatures or higher levels of carbon dioxide. Indeed, history shows that higher temperatures are entirely beneficial to mankind.
    It was during the mediaeval warm period, after all, that most of Europe’s cathedrals were built, England was balmy enough to be a major wine producer, and Eric the Red colonised Greenland.
    So what is going on? What is so special about carbon dioxide and 0.6deg warming over 150 years that has the political world in such a flap?
    Why is carbon dioxide considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be a polluting scourge inimical to life on Earth when the opposite is true?
    Despite mounting evidence that manmade climate change is a myth and the science behind it is tenuous at best, the issue is so politically entrenched that the United Nations Human Rights Council has made climate change a human-rights issue.
    This astounding development reflects the attitude of Maurice Strong, adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said: “We may get to the point where the only way to save the world will be for industrial civilisation to collapse.”
    Not to be outdone, the United States Undersecretary of State for Global Issues, Timothy Wirth, declared: “We have got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
    Even worse, Richard Benedick, who headed policy divisions of the US State Department, said: “A global-warming treaty must be implemented, even if there is no scientific evidence to back the (enhanced) greenhouse effect”.
    Yet thousands of scientists are scathing of the IPCC’s forecasts and are concerned that science is being manipulated to prove there is a catastrophe facing mankind, when no such threat exists. They warn of the dangers in relying upon computer models, which have proved hopelessly inaccurate, while being used as a basis for massive economic change.
    Dr Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in the Wall Street Journal: “What the public fails to grasp is that these claims (of increased carbon-dioxide emissions) neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man’s responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred.
    “In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating scepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn’t just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn’t happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming”.
    Many scientists are concerned that the IPCC is using the implausible threat of catastrophic climate change to frighten governments into introducing drastic economic penalties for carbon emissions solely to undermine Western democracies, scientific progress and industrialisation.
    According to the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), it is precisely because the IPCC is an entity of the UN and is dominated by socialist political agendas that it is predisposed to produce reports championing the manmade global-warming hypothesis.
    Yet the 1990 IPCC Summary ignored satellite data that showed no such warming, while significant textual alterations were made to the 1995 IPCC report after it had been approved by the scientists.
    The 2001 IPCC report claimed that the last century showed unusual warming based on the infamous “hockey-stick” graph, which was later proved fraudulent by Canadian mathematicians Ross McKitrick and Stephen McKintyre.
    The 2007 IPCC report downplayed the effects of solar variability on climate, implying the Sun’s massive influence is easily overpowered by minuscule artificial adjustments to a minor natural gas. This is a laughable proposition, yet it is considered sufficient reason on its own to bring about huge economic change affecting the lives of billions of people.
    However, as the science behind anthropogenic global warming unravels and the politics based on it becomes untenable, the issue morphs into other hobgoblins: global warming morphs into “climate change” and climate change morphs into “sustainability”.
    The carbon cult will ultimately fade into obscurity and become a joke, but the costs and taxes imposed to combat the imagined menace will remain.
    Meanwhile, the outspoken alarmists who so espoused this carbon-based religion will fade away or stealthily change their tune to sustainability, as though that had been the issue all along.
    “A lie told often enough becomes truth,” as Vladimir Lenin said.

  6. Brute, You want me to visit ClimateProgress?
    Dunno, I’ll think about it because I don’t have nice memories of the place.
    Maybe after a glass or three of Cabernet Merlot, starting on a good mood beforehand.

  7. Hey look, What about Peter Martin? Tell him Benson has retired or something. Either of them, if we could do an Email from all of us saying how much we are saddened by absence.
    How do we get an Email address?

  8. Re: #31, Bob_FJ

    I’ll see if I can contact Peter Martin.

  9. I got a friendly response from Peter Martin who is on an exrended working holiday at the moment and taking a rest from climate blogging. He may look in when he gets home to Australia.

  10. Climate Progress is a complete waste of time, if you want my opinion. I understand that tweaking the “moderator” at CP could be a great deal of fun, but frankly, we’re all above his level. He’s not interested in an honest pursuit of truth, just in forwarding his twisted agenda. He and his site strike me as an example of the very worst that the internet has to offer.

  11. JZ – well, yes, but I think I may have been getting somewhere with my (familiar) observation that all this AGW stuff (and claims about Obama “leadership”) is really a complete waste of time as China, India, etc. are taking zero notice & are emitting increasing amounts of CO2. At least, no one took even the slightest trouble to contradict me. So – just maybe – not a complete waste of time. Perhaps someone was listening. But, there again, perhaps not.

  12. Robin, I agree that you that your posts are spot-on, but I also think that even posting over there gives too much legitimacy to an illegitimate site. I wish there was a more credible “warmist” site where the skeptical view is not met with totalitarianism.

  13. As things seem to be rather quiet at the moment, here’s a question that I would appreciate some views on.

    The cost of oil has rocketed, and there is reason to believe that it will rise further. We are told that this can be explained by basic economic principles; increased demand from the developing world exceeds supply, and expectation of even higher prices has fed through into the futures market. But there could be other factors.

    For the last few years governments worldwide have paid lip service to the notion of reducing fossil fuel consumption eventually, and carbon caps and trading schemes have been introduced.

    So my question is this: to what extent has oil supply been affected by concerns among producers about falling demand in the long term, and how much have the carbon reduction schemes added to costs?

  14. Tony: an interesting question – but I haven’t a clue as to the answer. Sorry.

  15. Robin, I was think about you and how your position on AGW has evolved through this debate. You remind me of Jimmy Stewart’s character in the classic movie “Twelve Angry Men”. If you haven’t seen it please do.

    Your postings on Climate Progress, as you outlined above, remind me of Jimmy Stewart saying, “I didn’t say he didn’t do it, I said it’s POSSIBLE he didn’t do it.”

    Yes, you, as defense attorney have, in my opinion as juror, proven ‘reasonable doubt’ as to the guilt of human-induced global warming. That is why they at CP and other agenda-driven websites edit and ban views that bring up reasonable doubt.

  16. Re: #38, Robin

    That’s a pity, I was rather hoping that you might have seen something.

    No one yet seems to have looked at the problem from this angle, and there could be a very good reason for this; I’m talking rubbish. But I can’t help thinking that nearly a decade of heavy political disapproval of fossil fuels, coupled with threats to do something about consumption, must have had its effect on the strategic thinking of the producers, particularly exploration programmes.

    And carbon trading must, overall, be an on-cost that will feed through to the consumer.

    Then there are fiascoes like this:

    Ever since governments embraced AGW hysteria there has been talk of reducing demand for fossil fuels which seems to have lead to nothing, but is it possible that it is the supply side that has been affected?

  17. Drivers cut back — a 1st in 26 years
    Price of gas only one of the reasons


    Since you’ve asked, I have a couple of thoughts regarding this. I think that oil producing companies and speculators see the writing on the wall and have increased the price of this commodity in order to reap the benefits of high oil prices before the price plunges. For whatever reason, (mass hysteria and personal finances), people are driving less and using less gasoline.

    Another thing that I’ve noticed is that every spring, before the summer driving season, the price of gasoline rises, let’s say 50 cents. The manufacturers say that supply is low due to refineries being shut down and switching to the summer blends…… and then mid- summer, the price drops, say 25 cents, but the trend is always increasing. People are angry at the 50 cents increase and relieved at the 25 cents decrease…..(not giving a second thought that they are still paying 25 cents more over last year). They are almost thankful that the price went down a Quarter of a Dollar, (just after rising a Half a Dollar)……A pretty good scheme, don’t you think?

    Either way, due to population increases and the number of cars on the road rising, demand will always be increasing….even if the oil companies left the price as it is; they would sell more gasoline as more consumers enter the market(s).

    The ironic thing is that high oil prices cause higher oil prices. EVERY company passes along the cost of doing business to their customers. Oil companies must pay higher refined fuel prices……the cost of tanker fuel rises causing their overhead to rise which they pass along to the end user…..a vicious cycle.

    I’m not an economist, but to consider all of the motivations and nuances is fascinating.

    Gasoline is still a bargain in my opinion. I cannot understand why people will complain about $4.00 a gallon gasoline when they will happily pay $2.50 for a cup, (16 ounces) of coffee. At that price, a gallon of coffee would cost $20.00. People will gladly pay $1.50 for a bottle of water, which would make the price of a gallon $12.00.

    Think about the costs involved with producing a gallon of gasoline. Drilling, Pumping, Shipping from the other side of the world, Refining, Taxes, Oil rigs, Exploration in some of the most God forsaken places on Earth…….all of the energy and people involved. Gasoline should cost more than it does……….Oil is still a bargain and the cheapest way to get things done……(for the time being).

    Also, governments don’t object to higher gasoline prices. Higher prices mean increased tax revenue, (18% of $1.00 is $.18……..18% of $2.00 is $.36)….more money for politicians to play with……

  18. Tony,

    Why does my type turn into alien language when I cut and paste from Word?

  19. Nevermind, now it’s correct.

  20. It is, in my view, more useful to challenge the position of a confirmed AGW believer than to exchange views with other sceptics – enjoyable as that may be. Therefore, I am tempted to respond to an article in yesterday’s Financial Times:
    The difficulty is that it makes so many misleading assumptions and contains so much questionable material that I’m finding it hard to formulate a sensible reply within, say, 200 words. Any comments?

  21. Re: #41, Brute

    The fall in road miles in the States is interesting when you consider that, in real terms, the price of oil has still not passed the 1981 level and the four causes of less driving given in the USA Today article do not include concern about AGW.

    Back in the 1970s and 1980s the oil market was far less efficient than it is today. OPEC could influence prices by regulating supply, but with increased production from other parts of the world their influence has waned.

    All markets are affected by sentiment, often irrationally. They can be talked up to unreasonable levels when traders are optimistic and talked down when morale is low, more or less regardless of fundamentals.

    What I was trying to explore with the question that I posed in #37 was the relationship between sentiment and the present high oil prices. If you tell the fossil fuel producers that the market for their products will not be allowed to grow, and indeed must be cut back to levels of two decades ago, surely this must effect their attitude to increasing production and their expectations of future demand. And when traders in the futures markets see supply failing to keep pace with demand, they know exactly what to do.

    In addition to this, a completely artificial market in carbon credits has been created as a result of political concerns rather than financial need.

    For at least the last century, the most fundamental requirement of a healthy world economy has been cheap, plentiful and growing supplies of energy. What I am wondering is whether energy prices would be where they are today if fear of AGW had never happened?

  22. Hey Guys,

    Thanks to BobFJ (alias Black Wallaby) I’m back on the new site.

    Will get up-to-date and keep in touch.

    Too bad David B. Benson and his predecessor Peter Martin have copped out.


  23. Max,
    I for one, and probably the others here look forward to you rejoining the debate when you have caught-up!

  24. Welcome Manaker

    See #32 & 33 for news of Peter Martin. He may be back!

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