Peter Taylor’s CHILL: a Reassessment of Global Warming Theory is really two books in one. The first part covers the science of climate change in exhaustive detail and provides an alternative to the orthodox view. Taylor, who has impeccable green credentials, describes “the technocratic and communalist approach” in a masterly analysis of how we arrived at this point through “a combination of zealotry which somehow has managed to portray the science as unequivocal when it’s not”. The second part covers policy, politics and remedies.

A main theme of the first part of the book is that we take too linear a view of
climate-trend projections, without recognising past patterns and cycles
which could include future cooling. I am comfortable with that notion, as any observer of history is provided with clear evidence that climate oscillates in numerous
cycles of warm and cold periods.

Readers who believe Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, and who consider the IPCC
climate assessments are factual, unbiased and objective, will not like this
book. As Taylor says: “It is clear to me that IPCC has made such a forthright commitment to the standard (Co2 ) policy model, that it has a biased attitude to new data that does not conform to that model.” And:

“It is striking that a small group of men working behind computer screens created a virtual reality in which the future climate became the enemy of mankind. That original cabal was likely innocent of any underhand motivation and genuinely believed mankind faced a threat and that they would sound the alert and potentially stave off disaster. But sociologists will go a little bit further and look at the social environment that pawned the very concepts of the climate game, many of which we take entirely for granted. For example the notion that humanity itself can be under threat or that the planet might need to be saved. These are very recent notions, at least from a societal perspective, and do not bear closer scientific scrutiny. “

This book is a breath of fresh air in pointing out the numerous contradictions in the orthodox climate science camps that believe themselves uniquely exempt to the notion that they should actually prove their scientific hypotheses – that by altering the climate and doubling Co2 emissions, mankind will cause a rise in temperatures of up to 6 degrees C.
The author clinically examines areas of uncertainty, plain misunderstandings, and assertions in the existing ‘consensus’ by reviewing numerous high quality ‘contrarian’ papers that rarely receive much coverage in the science and popular media, which is obsessed with the notion of anthropogenic global warming. Climate science is a very small world with authors frequently peer reviewing each other’s papers, some of which might be based on their own work in the first place (Google US Congress hearing by Wegman). Also, they often pronounce on subjects of which they have little
knowledge. When talking of Solanki – a leading solar scientist – Taylor comments:

“This is another classic example of senior scientists publishing in the peer
reviewed literature and commenting on issues entirely outside of their field,
such as carbon dioxide and atmospheric physics, without reference to other
entire fields of relevant climatology, seriously compromised by
compartmented approach or political correctness in the face of
‘controversial’ science.”

That Taylor – and many other commentators –  believes that even the IPCC’s
lowest Co2/temperature rise scenario exaggerates its case by at least a
factor of three is amply illustrated, and as the author demonstrates, sea
levels and temperatures have obviously not read the IPCC’s script.

Having demolished what currently passes for peer reviewed and settled
science, Taylor moves on to remedies and the consequences of the politics in
the second part of his book. He argues that we are not doing enough to adapt to
inevitable changes, and that in particular we are vulnerable to the climate
cooling, for which there is no ‘Plan B’ whatsoever. The author believes many
of the actions for mitigating the supposed impacts of warming are counter
productive. He stresses the need to create ‘resilient systems’ to cope with
all eventualities. As the author says in examining the ‘collusion of
interests’ he has identified; “I can see how it works to everyone’s interest
to believe in the scary climate story.”

This excellent but lengthy book deals with a difficult subject and therefore
its structure is especially important to ensure accessibility and achieve
the influence it deserves, but in this there are problems. For example,
omitting the chapter number at the head of each page yet referring to
chapter numbers in the text was irritating, as wer the constant references to
papers placed on the author’s web site. As much of the science is complex
and multi-layered, it cannot be read like a novel at one go, so it would be
useful to provide a chapter summary. Also I felt it was missing a chapter on
the IPCC’s politics, rationale and peer review processes, that would
illustrate how they became part of the ‘collusion of interests’ intent on scaring
everyone to death when really we have far more important things to worry
about. Nevertheless, the book remains essential and provocative reading.

Finally, to extract from the major review of the science in the first part
of the book is not easy, given the volume of material covered. But here is a
dip into the section on ocean cycles (page 131), which illustrates the tone
of the message:

“The oceans play a crucial role in the absorption and dissipation of heat
over decadal and millennial timescales and with distinct cyclic patterns.
These patterns are poorly understood and not replicated in global warming
models, and any conclusions drawn with respect to those models being able to
isolate an anthropogenic global warming signal must be regarded as unproven
and unlikely”.

These are brave words from a career environmentalist who has managed to keep his head when all around him are losing theirs.

CHILL: a Reassessment of Global Warming Theory
Peter Taylor
Clairview Books, 2009, 404 pages
£14.99 Pbk  ISBN  978 1 905570 19 5

[or try www.abebooks.co.uk  –  TonyN]

For a profile of Peter Taylor follow the link;

http://www.clairviewbooks.com/pages/viewauthor.php?id_in=29

421 Responses to “Peter Taylor’s CHILL: an environmentalist’s very cool look at global warming”

  1. Let me start the ball rolling with a very direct question to Peter Martin.

    Throughout the time I have been blogging here you have been querying the political motives of myself and others here. You seem to be convinced we must be rabid right wingers in the pay of big oil who have not examined the science of climate change, even though we have told you constantly we do not have the political motives you ascribe to us.

    Personally, I am interested in the scientific truth, especially as following the path we currently are rushing along has a lot of unintended consequences. These include sidelining things that really do matter, or will cause environmental damage in itself-such as smothering the precious countryside of the UK in windmills to reach our crazy co2 targets.

    A profile of Peter Taylor’s achievements are in the link close to the bottom of the post. So my question to you Peter Martin is what do you believe his political motivations to be?

    Peter has impeccable green credentials and I suspect he is uncomfortable with the broad church querying the AGW theory as it includes sceptics and ‘deniers.’

    The fact that he chosen to speak out reflects great credit to him and speaks volumes of his concerns.

    tonyb

  2. TonyB: an excellent review – thanks.

    The book is not perfect – I think, for example, that it’s over long, rather repetitive and assumes rather too much prior knowledge. Nonetheless, I agree it’s “essential and provocative reading” and I strongly recommend it. But I warn potential readers: I found it very disturbing.

    As you say, Taylor has fine green credentials: an ecological scientist, social anthropologist and long-time active environmentalist, having advised and acted as lead advocate for, in particular, Greenpeace for many years and having worked with UK government departments, the European Commission and Parliament and the UN. His expertise includes nuclear operational risk, marine and atmospheric pollution, wildlife conservation, renewable energy and, of course, climate change. He believes strongly in sustainability, in wildlife conservation, in community and in local, especially rural, decision-making. He is a fervent opponent of big corporation and government bullying and control re environmental issues.

    But, after his penetrating critique of AGW and the claimed “consensus” – largely by reference to sources and data provided by the IPCC itself, he shows how Western society has created a monster, comprising government departments and agencies, massively well-funded corporate NGOs (Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the World Wildlife Fund, etc.), bankers and financial manipulators (greedy for the pickings from carbon trading), computer “experts” and consultants, scientific institutions, academic bodies (desperate for funding), huge industrial complexes (the nuclear power industry, “renewable” energy technologies, power distributors – even, paradoxically perhaps, the oil conglomerates) and, not least, the mainstream media. Because it’s “saving the planet” and “knows” what is best for people, this monster feels entitled, often with the best of motives, to sweep aside the barriers set up to protect local interests – thereby threatening landscape, wildlife, biodiversity, community and human values and freedoms and, by further damaging an already weakened economy and ignoring the real threats from a naturally changing climate, making countless people vulnerable to increased poverty and famine. It seems unstoppable – as he says,

    Green is fast emerging as the new Black. I despair a little at the emotional brutality of a formerly sensible environmental movement. Even wildlife conservation organizations and the culturally aware development aid groups have joined the crusade against climate.

    He sees little prospect of that momentum being halted – unless, that is, the whole system collapses. And that, he suspects, could well happen. But, if it does, it would not be pleasant.

  3. Some more on the UN, NGO’s and global governance, ironically on a conspiracy website.

    http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/NWO/Global_Governance_1.htm

  4. Robin

    Thanks for your comments. I would agree that it is overlong, and I think it would benefit by having a summary at the end of each chapter,after all ‘CHILL’ can not be read like a novel, and if it takes some days to get through a chapter much of the meaning might be forgotten. However these are nitpicks.

    The overall message is very interesting both from the science and from the overall dissection of how AGW has taken over the green agenda, squeezing out far more important matters. You have outlined these very well in your post.

    This must be a hard message for Taylor to give out, and the fact he has written this book-and presumably alienated a lot of his natural allies- says much about his deep felt concerns.

    Peter Martin constantly accuses us here of having some sort of political motivation for refuting AGW. Consequently I would really like to know what Peter Martin thinks Peter Taylors political motives are, as the man has credentials that mark him out as a committed environmentalist.

    Perhaps you can tell me what you think the authors political motives might be as PM seems very reluctant to answer this question himself.

    tonyb

  5. DennisA

    That is a really interesting site. I have blogged here about Agenda 21 (part 2 of the link) and found out who was on the committees and what their day to business was all about.

    If Brute is reading this I think the content will reasonate with him in particular, but it describes very well as to what has been happening to promote the green agenda-accidentally and deliberately.

    tonyb

  6. TonyB: you ask me what I think Taylor’s political motives are. Well, it would be presumptuous for me to speak for him. But I suspect they may be similar to mine. The latter were demonstrated by a survey posted a few months ago by JZ Smith (the senior commentator on the Harmless Sky New Statesman thread), which established that my general political views are what Americans would call “liberal”. Regarding green issues, I am a committed environmentalist (manifest by some of my charity work) who fears and opposes the dangerous and seemingly all-powerful AGW monster I defined in my post 2 above – a monster I have characterised as an irrational secular religion. I am angered by the threat it represents to our landscape, wildlife and biodiversity, to our sense of community and thus to human values and freedoms. In particular, I am angry that this monster, by ignoring the immediate needs of countless already desperately poor people and the threats of a naturally changing climate, is condemning such people to increased poverty and famine.

  7. Robin,

    I think you really mean your politics are what the Europeans would call Liberal, or sometimes Classical Liberal to emphasise the point, not what the Americans would call ‘liberal’. If you aren’t sure of the difference you might want to look up Hayek on the subject.

    The American use of the term is quite incorrect in Hayek’s opinion, and I’d say he was right. It means Social Democratic (in the broader sense of the term) in European terms.

    I don’t know Richard Taylor’s views. He may be one of the exceptions, but generally speaking the AGW denier crowd have a belief in Classical economics (return to ‘sound money’ and the Gold standard) , a belief that Government should not intervene in the economy, a hostility to Trade Unions, a strong belief in the free market, and a general dislike in the idea of any use of the taxation system to redistribute wealth or income in society.

    That ties in very nicely with the idea of the ‘con-trick’ perpetuated by government to raise yet more taxes.

    Of course the above beliefs aren’t inconsistent with certain ‘liberal’ attitudes either. Such as that anyone should be allowed to consume whatever drugs, or engage in whatever sexual practices, they choose to. Why should governments decide?

  8. PS I didn’t mean Salma Heyek. I meant this guy:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek

    Although, if I had to choose who to spend an evening with………

    PPS I didn’t mean Richard, I meant Peter Taylor. But I’ve never heard of him. Wikipedia suggests he might have once managed Brighton and Hove Albion FC. He’s probably not the same person, but I doubt if he’s any more qualified in Climate science than the football manager.

  9. Peter

    I am sure your tongue is firmly in your cheek when you suggest that Chills’ Peter Taylor knows as little -or as much- about the climate as the Taylor of football fame.

    Please click on the link at the foot of the review for a synopsis. Further details of the non footballing Taylor are available by then clicking on ‘Chill’ at the foot of the page.

    This from there:

    “PETER TAYLOR is a science analyst and policy advisor with over 30 years experience as a consultant to environmental NGOs, government departments and agencies, intergovernmental bodies, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the UN. His range of expertise stretches from pollution and accident risk from nuclear operations, chemical pollution of the oceans and atmosphere, wildlife ecology and conservation, to renewable energy strategies and climate change.”

    W Jackson Davis Professor emeritus at the University of California and author of the first draft of the Kyoto Protocol said;

    “…at the very least Taylor raises issues and questions that must be addressed conclusively before global warming can genuinely be regarded as ‘truth’ inconvenient or otherwise. This book is a must read for everyone on all sides of the climate change issue.”

    It is clear that you have firmly embedded in your mind the belief that all who disagree with your viewpoint are extreme right wingers in the pay of big oil.

    I don’t recognise your description ‘generally speaking the AGW denier crowd…’ as applying to me and-from what others have said here-
    I suspect others will also disagree with your sweeping generalisations.

    Can I refer you to my previous comment where I made a distinction between ‘sceptics’-who have thought deeply about the subject and ‘deniers’ who probably haven’t. Until you are able to make this distinction you just won’t understand that we do not all possess the overiding political motivations you believe drives our position on the subject.

    Certainly in the case of Peter Taylor (the non footballing one) his career eloquently demonstrates where he is coming from.

    Anyway, why don’t you take Professor Jacksons’ advice and actually read the book?

    tonyb

  10. TonyB

    Thanks for a very interesting review of Peter Taylor’s book.

    Like Peter Martin, I am not a scientist specializing in the recently created field of “climate science”. Nor am I a computer programmer who has worked on climate models and confuses their outputs with real scientific data.

    But I find Peter Taylor’s book refreshing. There is no hype. There is no hysteria. The scientific data presented are logical and well explained. The case for natural, cyclical causes for our planet’s many changes in climate and the combination of many naturally occurring factors as the underlying cause for the most recent warming is compelling.

    It is every bit as logical as, and considerably less convoluted than, the case made for AGW as the principal driver.

    The case for a possible future cooling as these natural factors reverse is well presented, as is the premise that this could create far greater hardship for human society than a bit of warming.

    I did detect a bit of sadness on the part of Taylor, an environmentalist of many years in his own right, that the environmental movement has been effectively “hi-jacked” by the politicians, some activist lobby groups, the media, plus the computer programmers and climatologists, all of whom are driving and thriving from the multi-billion dollar AGW business.

    It is a “must read” for anyone who wants to be informed on the scientific and political issues surrounding the ongoing debate on climate change.

    Max

  11. It is heartening to follow intelligent comment on my book – I haven’t seen all the posts – especially the one about my ‘politics’ – but I am grateful for the opportunity to enter the discussion – my time is a bit limited for follow up but I will do my best.

    First: the politics! Many years ago – on finding that the Institute of Social Anthropology at Oxford was not going to be radical enough for me to study scientists ‘as a tribe’ with all their rituals, I left that avenue and set up my own research group – The Political Ecology Research Group – with the aim of putting scientific (I also trained as an ecologist), planning, engineering and legal expertise at the service of communities threatened by hazardous industrial development – we had not ‘politics’ as such – only the desire to make life safer and development more sustainable. PERG developed into a network of scientists worldwide – all of whom were activists of some form. Our concern was less with academic research, more with effective action. As an interdisciplinary group we dealt with most of the major ‘green’ issues – energy, ocean pollution, deforestation, acid rain, toxic chemicals…..and I gained a certain expertise in the analysis and critique of computer models. We always chose our work carefully – generally in partnership rather than on consultant type contracts. We covered a very wide spectrum – Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF, Town & Country Planning Association, Trades Unions (Mineworkers, Emergency services, Police etc) and eventually were commissioned to advise governments (UK and many foreign). Once we worked with a major corporation – the CEGB on carbon sequestration and forestry. We usually set the agenda.

    In later years I became more creatively pro-active – setting up biodiversity initiatives and advising government agencies – e.g. Countryside Agency, Forestry Commission; and voluntary bodies such as the National Trust. I have been writing for the journal ECOS (British Association of Nature Conservationists) for about 15 years, and in 2005 published ‘Beyond Conservation’ a radical re-appraisal of the biodiversity paradigm.

    I have never belonged to a political party, nor been funded by any industrial or financial interest. I will advise anybody – as long as it is worth my time in the sense that the client seeks to do something to make a real difference in the world on behalf of both community and biodiversity. I evaluate technology according to these criteria.

    My prime motivation for writing ‘Chill’ was to weigh-in on the issue renewable energy in the countryside. Some terrible ‘least cost’ decisions are being made – such as giant aerospace turbines in wild places – because there is a sense of urgency to avert some future climate catastrophe. I decided to have a look at the science to test just how much time we had. What I found shocked me greatly.

    Qualifications: I am an ecologist (Oxford, 1970)- with wide experience of ecosystems analysis – that includes oceans, atmospherics, forests…etc., and I have critiqued and also used computer models of oceanic and atmospheric systems. In 1996, a government agency commissioned me to review climate science with regard to its particular policies – and I warned them that the models were flakey and that the UK could cool, even if the planet warmed. So – whilst i would not call myself a climate scientist, I would suggest from my experience that most climate scientists are very narrow in their speciality, and this pertains particularly to government advisors – many of whom do not know the field. It even applies to our own dearly beloved MetOffice – which last year received me cordially for discussions on oceanography – they were not aware of the important science of the jetstream and the correlations and suggested mechanisms of how the jetstream shifts with the sun’s magnetic status (and UV output) – only in the last two years have they begun to incorporate ocean cycles into the models (after much criticism).

    After three years of forensic review, I would gladly debate with any climate scientist – indeed, a whole panel, and guarantee to hold my own. But I am not out to score points – my purpose is to change policy. I am deeply concerned that the northern hemisphere will cool over the next decade – food supplies will be compromised and there will be much suffering unless there are contingency plans.

    These are then my politics and my qualifications. And recent science is supporting my assessment – the sun is still spotless/oceanographic papers are now supporting my 80/20 view of the percentage natural/GHG drivers for ‘warming’/the latest models show cooling for the next decade (and they are still not modelling the whole system).

    The next task is to persuade government (the ‘greens’ are hopelessly closed-minded) that wind turbines and tidal barrages must be a LAST resort – there is no rush – we need to invest in demand-reduction and resilient systems, and work out a new development model that is not consumption based (for the ‘developing world’). I know a great deal more than most about nuclear risks – and in my view, they can never be justified. The problem ahead is ‘denial’ – that renewables can meet the energy crisis (they can’t), that the development model works (it doesn’t) and that cooling is possible (it is already here).

    My website http://www.ethos-uk.com features my ecological work, and will carry updates on the book.

    Thanks again for all the feedback and I hope to view the site regularly.

  12. Peter Taylor

    I enjoyed your book, as posted previously.

    You mention your concern with the idea of adding nuclear power generation capacity to cover growing demand (as France is doing).

    Would you still be concerned if the nuclear waste problem could be essentially resolved by introducing fast breeder technology, for example with thorium fuel?

    I understand from various published data that fast breeder reactors (FBR) are being tested in several countries today and that measures can be incorporated to eliminate the proliferation risk. I also read that the costs of FBRs are still not competitive with current nuclear generation plants, but I wonder if these are comparable if one includes the full costs (including risk costs) associated with waste fuel reprocessing / disposal.

    I am not in any way connected to the nuclear power industry, nor am I concerned about CO2 from coal (or natural gas) fired power plants, since I believe that the atmospheric CO2 level one might theoretically expect from the combustion of all optimistically estimated fossil fuel reserves on our plane would be around 1,000 ppmv, resulting in a hypothetical GH warming of around 1C.

    However, I would think that nuclear power generation could provide another leg to stand on, especially if fossil fuel resources start to become scarce.

    If and when you have the time, I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Max Anacker

  13. Peter Taylor,

    You say that “I know a great deal more than most about nuclear risks – and in my view, they can never be justified.”

    That doesn’t sound very scientific. Can you back up your “view” with referenced scientific evidence on the relative safety of nuclear installations in comparative terms. Yes, by all means include Chernobyl and 3 mile island.

  14. Peter Taylor,

    Another question. Of course the earth’s climate is a complex semi chaotic system which cannot be adequately be modelled by simple equations, but nevertheless, the issue of atmospheric CO2 concentrations can be understood by non climate scientists and without the aid of supercomputers.

    Ian Plimer, a well known climate sceptic, has claimed that if there were no CO2 in the atmosphere that the temperature would be 18deg C cooler than it is now. In other words CO2 contributes 55% of the natural GH effect of 33 degC. I personally wouldn’t put it quite that high.

    The true figure may be somewhat lower, but even so, how can it possibly be safe to allow the concentration of CO2 to double over the course of this century from its pre-industrial value of 280ppmv to 560 ppmv?

    Can you provide any scientific references at all to support your answer?

  15. Peter Taylor:

    Many thanks for taking the time to provide more, and very interesting, background to why you wrote Chill.

    You say that your purpose is to change policy. Are there any policy-makers in the UK who are still prepared to listen to arguments that do not conform to the orthodoxy as set out by, say, the Royal Society?

  16. Peter Taylor:

    It’s interesting (and worrying) that a cooling period is now being mooted as a realistic short-term possibility – see the recent New Scientist story here.

    It would seem obvious that an official rethink is needed now and, although I am not optimistic, there may be signs of a slight attitude change – see my note (here) on this morning’s BBC Today programme discussion.

  17. Robin

    I have long believed we need a plan B as well as a plan A. To that I think I would add a plan C to cater for non climate related eventualities such as a Carrington event.

    tonyb

  18. TonyB:

    I agree. But these plans would have to be drawn up and implemented by the current and next governments. And, as they wouldn’t even contemplate it without a complete and unequivocal change of heart at the IPCC, Royal Society – etc. etc., it’s vanishingly unlikely. Perhaps “utterly inconceivable for many years” is closer to reality.

  19. I will attempt to answer some of these questions.

    Manacker:

    On nuclear risks, Fast Breeder reactors, nuclear waste etc – its not so easy to provide you with workable scientific references as most of the material I have published is in the form of consultants reports or papers in obscure journals that would require a few days in the British Library to track down. If you email me at the mailing address on my website at ethos-uk.com I can mail you a full list – there would be about 20. They range from the UK government’s Holliday Commission on nuclear waste disposal to the regional State Government of Lower Saxony’s review of nuclear waste reprocessing, various European Commission reports and proceedings of conferences on risk assessment. In the refereed literature there are article in Land Use Policy and in Nature on the consequences of aerial releases from major accidents. The Irish, Swedish and German governments have all commissioned work from either myself or my former group. In the German case, our review led directly to the abandonment of nuclear waste reprocessing in Germany (and we suspect also of any plans in Sweden) – because of the extreme consequences of a major loss of containment, and the high costs of making the process fail-safe. Neither the French or the British reprocessing plants are fail-safe – and everyone else has backed off from reprocessing fuel, bar the Japanese. You need to reprocess fuel in order to drive a Breeder programme. Way back in the 80’s Prof Colin Sweet edited a book ‘The Fast Breeder:Needs costs and risks’ in which I have a chapter that outlines the hazardous nature of the fuel cycle. Aside from waste problems, the Breeder is extra-ordinarily dangerous in operation – using liquid sodium coolant and a steam generator separated by stainless steel welds in the heat exchangers. It is also a myth that the Breeder creates its own everlasting fuel supply – the financial cost is huge and the money would run out long before the fuel.

    It would take only one accident (on the scale of Chernobyl) to so contaminate central Europe it would devastate the economies. No other fuel source poses this kind of risk. So it is a choice!

    My article in Nature (1978 I think!) tackled ‘How the odds are stacked against the opponents of nuclear power’ – for example, by official secrecy and denial of access to safety reports, as well as media bias. Almost all licensing criteria were created in secrecy, with Parliament told that UK reactors were ‘fail-safe’. No reactor is fail-safe (I.e. if the system fails it moves to a safer condition). The licensing criteria are easily met by modern reactors – but only because they were set in order for that to be so. There is a whole discussion here – and it is in some of my writing from the 70s and 80s.

    Tempterrain:

    When I was looking at the natural CO2 component I found numerous references that gave a wide spread – from 2% to 20%, but not as high as 55%. All of these were secondary reviews, with very few attempting a primary analysis – Jack Barratt in Energy and Environment gives a good summary and I reference this in Chill. He went for the 20% figure (of 33 degrees – hence about 6 degrees). But this is in any case not helpful in working out a doubling because of what is loosely called the ‘saturation’ effect- a misnomer for the logarithmic relation of CO2 increase to temperature – i.e. each additional unit of gas has a diminishing power to effect the temperature. It is a controversial area and I discuss it briefly in Chill. The lowest estimates for a doubling are an 0.5 degrees addition. How much higher it goes depends upon feedbacks in the model of the ocean-atmospheric system, especially the role of water vapour, clouds, and positive loops that might release methane from sediments and peat-bogs.

    Robin Guenier:

    On cooling and official thinking. Firstly – behind the scenes of officialdom, even in the upper reaches of the MetOffice, there are many people who think that natural cycles are primarily responsible – there are scientists who privately voice that opinion at the highest levels of the media and government whenever there is a private opportunity to do so. What will happen will depend upon how policy makers and media management see the wind blowing! As with the Berlin Wall, it might all change very quickly, despite the edifice that looks so solid and unassailable.

    I have myself been beavering away for several years sending material to media contacts and the MetOffice. I agree, however, that government is duty bound to listen more to the Royal Society and IPCC. I am hoping my book – whch contains many extracts from the IPCC, will show that the IPCC working groups have never been in consensus on the key issue of causation, and this has been systematically distorted in the Summary for Policy Makers. Shocking as it may seem, the top people in the Royal Society, and the government’s own chief advisors are not aware of this and have never read the full reports of the IPCC.

    I reckoned in my book that not until the globe actually began cooling, would there be a rethink. The New Scientist this week confirms my chapter on ocean cycles – the North Atlantic will enter a cool-cycle and this will depress global temperatures. The team (in Germany) that modelled this are still not working with all the cycles (the Pacific Decadal Oscillation – for example) – nor are they looking at solar effects and the potential of a Maunder-type minimum. Anyway- science is now saying that the globe will not warm for another 10 years – but after that ‘warming will return with a vengeance’ – meaning the even stronger GHG effect will combine with the upswing of the ocean cycle. There is a logical flaw – if the current ocean cycle is stronger than the GHG effect, then the warming upon which the models were validated, could also have been amplified by the ocean effect (which the old models did not incorporate) and hence the GHG effect is not as strong as IPCC think. They assume – see Fig1 in their report and in my book, that all of the post-1950 warming is non-natural and due to GHG. I reckon it is 20/80, GHG/natural – and a recent oceanographic paper comes to the same conclusion. This means that what the natural cycles do next dictates the future temperature probably for the whole of this and the next century.

    Already the Arctic Sea summer ice is at least 10% up on last year, and that year was 9% up on the previous record low. The MetOffice are now agreeing that the record ice-loss was due primarily to ocean cycles and not GHG.

    There is now very little reservoir of warmth left in the northern oceans – this warmth is redistributed to continents by westerlies. The USA is already much colder and crop production in the northern grain belt is lower. Next will be western Europe as the Atlantic cools. Summers will be cloudy, cool and damp with high risk of mildew and blight; winters will get longer and much colder and drier. This might last only one decade – but if the sun continues to hibernate, that cool period could last three decades. The northern hemisphere grain belt feeds those countries currently in food deficit – this was another main reason why I wrote the book – with planning, much suffering could be avoided.

    TonyB:

    On the Carrington event – it is incredible that a science-based civilisation should build something so incredibly vulnerable to a simple, regular, cyclic propensity of the Sun to discharge plasma. In a matter of minutes, the global grid could go down and be irreparable over timescales of several YEARS. No water in the taps, no sewage disposal, no fuel in the pumps, all transport that relies on computer chips would simply grind to a halt. No TV. No GPS – no shipping. No food, no hospitals, no warmth. Only the military and nuclear power stations are protected from such an Electro-Magnetic Pulse – and I am not so sure the latter could guarantee their diesel back-up generators for more than a few weeks to keep the reactor cores from over-heating and melting down….

    How likely? Well – my inexpert eye notices that in 1859 the solar status was not disimilar to today – a quiet period might presaqe a build-up under the surface. The one single ‘real’ sunspot this year on July 4th was also ‘flaring’ if briefly. The Carrington event is simply a very large solar flare that gets funneled down the sun’s magnetic tube lines and accelerated – I would suggest it is already ‘set up’ to do this and would look to August 2010 as the beginning of the danger period when the solar cycle should bring any spots closer to the solar equator.

    After that – i don’t think ‘climate change’ will feature much in the media.

  20. Peter Taylor,

    I notice there wasn’t a single reference to any published studies on either the safety of nuclear reactors or on the climate sensitivity of 2x C02.

    I don’t know what your scientific credentials are, but if you’d been at Oxford University I’m sure you must have been taught to avoid sentences such as “I think …….”

    Try this for size on the relative safety of nuclear power:

    http://www.cna.ca/english/pdf/Articles/ScherrerInstitut.pdf

  21. Peter Taylor,

    What about graphs at Oxford University? Didn’t they teach you that they are useful when studying long term trends?

    Who are you trying to mislead with this sort or statement “Already the Arctic Sea summer ice is at least 10% up on last year, and that year was 9% up on the previous record low.” ?

    Why didn’t you reference this graph from NSIDC if you are genuinely interested in information rather than disinformation?

  22. Peter Martin:

    Abuse doesn’t win arguments.

  23. TonyN

    Peter is being very disagreable this morning.

    Perhaps he would elaboraTE on why he thinks a thirty year satellite record (which starts from a high point for ice) is indicative of very long term trends in arctic ice cover.

    Incidentally, despite the expenditure of yet more vast sums on the local newspaper there has been no futher news on the Met office sell off.

    Tonyb

  24. Peter Taylor

    Thank you for your very comprehensive summary on the dangers associated with the FBR technology. From what you have written, it appears that the press releases one sees on the various prototype reactors in operation gloss over these risks. They also appear to be optimistic in their forecasts of the operating costs, claiming only a slight cost penalty vis-à-vis conventional nuclear power generation (including spent fuel disposal/reprocessing). I will accept your expert conclusion that this technology is still associated with too many high impact risks today to be a viable commercial alternate, until these risks can be resolved and definitively eliminated.

    You mention a study made for the Lower Saxony state government. I was living in Lower Saxony at the time of the construction of the first large-scale (600 MW) nuclear plant near Stade in the early 1970s (since decommissioned, I believe). One of the safety criteria at the time (studied by the Bundesamt für Materialforschung, BAM, in Berlin) was that the concrete containment housing had to be strong enough to withstand a direct hit from a military Starfighter jet (these were crashing from time to time during that period). The BAM expertise concluded that this was the case, and the plant was granted an operating permit.

    I am still curious how the French are able to rely by over 70% on nuclear power without any problems (other than the potential problems that could arise from fuel reprocessing, to which you referred), but I suspect that this may be based as much on political rather than scientific or technical deliberations. Switzerland (where I live) is now going through the throes of deciding what the role of nuclear power should be in its future electrical power generation strategy (also primarily a political discussion). I believe that these deliberations would be far more meaningful if one could eliminate the (in my opinion) foolish fixation on carbon dioxide emissions and concentrate on long-range considerations of the availability, costs and true environmental impact of various energy sources. But, again, that has more to do with politics than with real scientific considerations in my opinion.

    One question: do you think that nuclear fusion will ever represent a viable source for electrical power generation? What do you think the obstacles will be to develop this source?

    Thanks again for your response.

    Max Anacker

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