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  –  TonyN]

For a profile of Peter Taylor follow the link;

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

  1. TonyB, PeterM, Bob_FJ and JH

    To get our discussion back on our topic (Peter Taylor’s book), the question was raised by both Minister Wong of Australia and Dr. Pope of the Met Office, on the importance of “natural variability” (a.k.a. “natural climate forcing” factors) in determining our planet’s temperature.

    These are cited by both Wong and Pope to be the cause of the observed recent cooling despite record increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

    On p. 31 of “Chill”, Peter Taylor points out

    Thus, to be certain that ‘global warming’ (by which I now mean the late twentieth century rise in the global instrumental record) is not mainly due to natural factors operating at the same time as the rise in carbon dioxide emissions requires that these natural factors be adequately known. Yet it is clear from IPCC Working Group Reports that a sufficient level of scientific confidence does not exist and there is no consensus on the matter. In this respect, the IPCC Working Group Reports contradict the Summary Report.

    The Summary Report (p.4) is very clear in its statement regarding the natural radiative forcing factors. These are specifically limited to direct solar irradiance alone, and are estimated to have exerted a radiative forcing of 0.12 W/m^2 over the entire 250+ year period starting in pre-industrial 1750, while the total of all anthropogenic factors (primarily CO2) have exerted a net radiative forcing of over ten times this level at 1.6 W/m^2.

    As Peter Taylor points out, the AR4 working group report is less certain.

    In Chapter 2 we read (p.188):

    However, empirical results since the TAR have strengthened the evidence for solar forcing of climate change by identifying detectable tropospheric changes associated with solar variability, including during the solar cycle (Section 9.2; von Loon and Shea, 2000; Douglass and Clader, 2002; Gleisner and Thejll, 2003; Haigh, 2003; Stott et al., 2003; White et al., 2003; Coughlin and Tung, 2004; Labitzke, 2004; Crooks and Gray, 2005). The most likely mechanism is considered to be some combination of direct forcing by changes in total solar irradiance, and indirect effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the stratosphere. Least certain, and undergoing debate as discussed in the TAR, are indirect effects induced by galactic cosmic rays (i.e. Marsh and Svensmark, 200a,b; Kristjánsson et al., 2002; Sun and Bradley, 2002).

    And on p. 193 we read further:

    Because the mechanisms are uncertain, the apparent relationship between solar variability and cloud cover has been interpreted to result not only from changing cosmic ray fluxes modulated by solar activity in the heliosphere (Usoskin et al., 2004) and solar-induced changes in ozone (Udelhofen and Cess, 2001), but also from sea surface temperatures altered directly by changing total solar irradiance (Kristiánsson et al., 2002) and by internal variability due to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (Kernthaler et al., 1999). In reality, different direct and physical processes (such as those described in Section 9.2) may operate simultaneously.

    The direct RF due to increase in solar irradiance is reduced from the TAR. The best estimate is +0.12 W/m^2 (90% confidence interval: +0.06 to +9.30 W/m^2). While there have been advances in the direct solar irradiance variation, there remain large uncertainties. The level of scientific understanding is elevated to low relative to TAR for solar forcing due to direct irradiance change, while declared as very low for cosmic ray influences (Section 2.9, Table 2.11).

    And moving to the cited Chapter 9, Section 9.2, we read (p.677)

    There are also large uncertainties in the magnitude of low-frequency changes in forcing associated with changes in total solar radiation as well as its spectral variation, particularly on time scales longer than the 11-year cycle.

    And on p. 678

    The uncertainty in the magnitude and spatial pattern of forcing differs considerably between forcings. For example, well-mixed greenhouse gas forcing is relatively well-constrained and spatially homogeneous. In contrast, uncertainties are large for many non-greenhouse gas forcings.

    And on p.679

    Uncertainties also differ between natural forcings and sometimes between different time scales for the same forcing. For example, while the 11-year solar forcing cycle is well documented, lower-frequency variations in solar forcing are highly uncertain. Furthermore, the physics of the response to solar forcing and some feedbacks are still poorly understood.

    There have been several studies (cited earlier) by solar scientists on the solar forcing impact on past climate, many of which are referenced by IPCC in its Chapter 2, dealing with solar variability. These studies have estimated that around half of the observed 20th century warming of 0.65°C can be attributed to the unusually high level of solar activity. This is obviously not consistent with the IPCC estimate of solar radiative forcing of only 0.12 W/m^2 (1750 to present).

    The IPCC estimate for natural radiative forcing shown in the SPM report is based on the measurable changes in direct solar irradiance alone, and excludes all the other mechanisms linking climate with solar activity, which are cited by IPCC above: changing cloud cover from changing cosmic ray fluxes modulated by solar activity, solar-induced changes in ozone from UV radiation, sea surface temperature changes due to solar radiation, internal variability in ENSO (most likely related to longer cyclical changes, such as PDO, and quite possibly also tied to changes in solar activity).

    Other studies have shown a link between ENSO and the sun. One paper cites the sun’s influence on the upper troposphere resulting from UV radiation on ozone (as mentioned by IPCC above). This results in a change in cloud cover, which accounts for the change in sea surface temperature in the tropics during warming events, a change that apparently feeds through to high latitudes.

    The point of all this is that IPCC has done a thorough job of investigating anthropogenic radiative forcing factors and their potential impact on climate. On the other hand, the natural radiative forcing factors have been grossly underestimated (or even ignored) by IPCC.

    It is true that IPCC has conceded that its “level of scientific understanding” of solar forcing (from direct solar irradiance) is “low”, and is even “very low for cosmic ray influences”. At the same time IPCC states, “cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty”.

    Despite all this uncertainty, the current cooling is, however, being attributed to “natural variability”, which is just another way of saying “natural climate forcing factors”, and these have supposedly more than offset the expected warming from record increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    This high level of impact of natural climate forcing factors as observed most recently as well as the expressed uncertainties regarding these natural factors underscore Peter’s statement that to be certain that late 20th century

    “global warming…is not mainly due to natural factors operating at the same time as the rise in carbon dioxide emissions requires that these natural factors be adequately known”.

    And it is very clear that they are not adequately known today, so we cannot conclude that the cause of the late 20th century global warming has been anthropogenic.


  2. Peter Geany,

    A well written post. I do not and have not had issues with any of the data presented. My issue has always been with how it is interpreted. My work does involve data analysis, but especially analysis of logic, reasoning and language. I can easily provide you with well reasoned arguments using reliable data which explain conclusively why the UK should dump all its waste on developing countries. In fact writing that very article (for Australia) is one of the first things we teach young economists. Once they have mastered the values of economics, only then do we bring in ethics and social phenomenon and let them decide if it an acceptable idea or not. The idea is to “make sure you can walk before you run”. As for the language, don’t think I haven’t noticed your subtle twists. Sceptics vs. Alarmists has connotations of cool, rational arguments versus emotional and ill informed arguments. I do not accept your use of terminology and find it an insulting impediment to reasoned debate.

    Your challenge on CO2 is a classic logic trap. At the start you have already characterised the information available as misinformation. I will not rise to the challenge, except to point you in the right direction. There is plenty of research and discussion on the topic; I just hope you are staying away from blogs.

    I’m also surprised you are standing behind Max, who is accepting his authority without critically reviewing it. The Fielding panel is using a useful trick, which is to debate a caricature of your opponent rather than the real thing. They claim “It is the IPCC who have previously denied the effect of natural variability.” When it is a blatant lie. The IPCC has downplayed the effect. There is a very big difference between the two. I’m really starting to come around to the non-solar irradiance argument as it is plausible, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is an idiotic move. It assumes a world of 0 and 100%, so if it is not 100% it MUST be 0%. If your opponent does not stick to the simplistic position you have given them (which is not their actual position) then they are wrong and stupid. The same thing goes for the Hadley data, which “is the criterion of judgement that both politicians and the public are familiar with”, but is not actually the whole argument in a nutshell. I am surprised by Max, as previously he did not show these characteristics. From this observation my guess is he is just parroting the debate, and not thinking about it himself.

    The thing that gets me is that you guys MIGHT have a point, but as Wegman said: Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.

  3. TonyB

    Your study of pre-1850 temperatures across Europe (260) points out that we have seen swings in temperature for many centuries, with an underlying slight warming trend as we have emerged from the Little Ice Age.

    The post-1850 record confirms the same cyclical trend. The cycles can be shown roughly with a sine curve with 60-year cycles on a tilted axis that shows warming (since 1850) of 0.04°C per decade on average.

    The late 20th century warming cycle (being attributed to AGW) is actually nothing more than a continuation of this oscillation. Whether the current cooling is the start of a new downward cycle (driven by natural forcing factors) remains to be seen, but based on the past record it appears “more likely than not” (to put it into IPCC parlance).

    Peter Taylor’s book discusses these shorter cycles as well as the longer cycles that resulted in the Roman Optimum, the Dark Age Minimum, the MWP and the LIA. Possible explanations for these cycles are also postulated. This would suggest that the underlying long-term warming trend we are now observing is also part of an even longer-term oscillation.

    Your data show that these shorter temperature swings occurred before the current Hadley record started in 1850 (and long before humans were putting large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere).


  4. JH

    I believe you may have misinterpreted or misunderstood something I have written.

    We are not talking about “black/white” or “0%/100%” options here, JH.

    Life (as well as our planet’s climate) is more nuanced than that.

    IPCC has given natural forcing factors a “weighting” of 0.12 W/m^2 since 1750, while assigning a “weighting” of 1.6 W/m^2 to anthropogenic forcing (primarily CO2). This is roughly 3%/97% (not 0%/100%).

    Now Wong and Pope tell us that these same natural forcing factors (a.k.a. “natural variability”) have more than offset the warming resulting from record increases in atmospheric CO2. This requires (very roughly) a 67%/33% solution (so also not 0%/100%).

    Neither statement is a “O%/100%” statement, but the two are obviously not in agreement with each other. And that is the point.


  5. JH

    You wrote to Peter Geany (277):

    The thing that gets me is that you guys MIGHT have a point, but as Wegman said: Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.

    Yes. Wegman was referring to the Mann et al. hockeystick, which purported to show that there was essentially no MWP or LIA, despite all the evidence from all over the world to the contrary.

    I do not believe that you can apply that to Peter Taylor’s book (the topic of this thread) however. His method appears to be very thorough and precise.

    Read the book and you can see for yourself.


  6. After nearly three weeks away, I’m astonished to see that this thread has attracted so many comments, the majority of which seem to long, thoughtful, well informed, and even on topic. But I would not claim to have read every one of the 70,000 plus words invoved.

    Thanks to Peter Taylor (and also to Tony B who introduced him to HS) for initiating such an interesting and wide ranging discussion.

    Re: JH #277

    I just hope you are staying away from blogs.

    If you have such a low opinion of blogs I wonder why you have contributed several thousand of the words here that I have just ploughed through? That does not mean, of course, that your contributions are not welcome. Indeed it is always useful to have someone around who challenges the views of the majority of contributors here.

  7. The GHG/Natural forcing ratio was exactly what Peter Taylor was talking about all the way back at post 20. REF:

    “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.”

    JH: I don’t know if Alarmist really has a negative undertone as AGW proponents have claimed they are ‘sounding the alarm’, have they not? A google search of “global warming sounding the alarm” certainly brings up enough articles that claim to be doing that very thing. :)

    Still, for the sake of peaceful and productive discourse, we can back off the title of alarmist. What would be a better distinction? Concernists? AGW Believers?

  8. JH 277
    Perhaps I was not clear enough about the carbon cycle. As the article you directed me to states, much is still not understood about the carbon cycle. This is very true and not in dispute. But the article was written from the point of view that CO2 is a driver of climate. I don’t see much evidence that this is so. So the point I would make is this; this article suffers from the same problem that 99.9% of all articles discussing climate change in that it assumes something that is unproven and for which no credible evidence exists.

    Our climate is continuously changing, and we would like to understand how this works. If you examine all the available data as Plimer and Taylor amongst many others have done you find many more plausible explanations for change for which we have corroborating data. If we get step one correct we may then be able to sort everything else.

    My use of the words sceptic and alarmist are I believe quite reasonable. The pro alarmist grouping in the main has no real down to earth interest in the environment, or the many and disparate schemes for protecting it, but is focused on the grand scheme as exemplified by Kyoto, and of demonising carbon by scaring the public into agreeing to higher energy costs and tax. No better example of this could be found than the misuse of taxpayers’ money by the advert being broadcast by the UK government on UK TV tonight. It is factually incorrect, and given the current environment here will further alienate the electorate. If you have another suggestion I would love to hear it.

    For me I’m an engineer and have spent most of my life discussing problems with people who have no clue as to what I’m talking about most of the time. It has been my experience that people only listen properly when it’s costing them money and you have a solution that will save them money.

  9. Re: terminology.

    Maybe we could let the alarmists themselves decide what they want to be called. Yes the word ‘alarmist’ seems pejorative.

    The alarmist position is based on a little bit of thinking and a whole lot of feeling. As such its hard to pin them down on exactly what they do believe other than “bad stuff may happen some time in the future and it’s probably already happening and it’s all our fault”. You could ask 20 believers what the temperature will be in 2020 and get 20 answers. Or sea level.

  10. JH


    Not that it matters for the discussion, but IPCC has given a 7%/93% natural/anthropogenic answer (not 3%/97%), compared to the 67%/33% natural/anthropogenic answer given by Wong/Pope.

    Still a big difference.


  11. JasonHart, Peter Geany, Jack Hughes

    Choosing labels for groups of people who represent two opposing sides in a debate is always fraught with danger.

    We have “optimist” / “pessimist” (which applies to the AGW debate in the broadest sense), but the problem with that choice is that both sides will agree that the other is an “optimist” or “pessimist”, but will choose the label “realist” for themselves.

    “AGW skeptic” suits me just fine. It defines me as someone who is rationally skeptical of the AGW premise. I prefer that to “climate denier”, “flat earther”, “obstructionist”, or many of the other names that I have been called.

    “Warmer” is neutral, but may not be acceptable to many (because of the “bed warmer” connotation). “Alarmist” does include a connotation of fear mongering or fear, which goes beyond purely rational acceptance of AGW, but I think that “AGW believer” should be acceptable to all those who believe the premise that AGW is a potentially serious threat caused principally by human CO2 emissions.

    Just my personal thoughts on this.


  12. Jack Hughes

    You wrote:

    You could ask 20 [AGW] believers what the temperature will be in 2020 and get 20 answers.

    Yes. But it goes even further than that.

    Most AGW believers will tell you that we are in danger of having a much warmer world (due to AGW) and that this will be basically “bad” for human society, for the survival of other species and for our environment.

    But if you ask an AGW believer what he/she would regard as the perfect “Goldilocks just right” globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature for our planet he/she has no answer (believe me, I’ve asked AGW believers exactly that question and have never gotten a straight answer).

    Is the “Goldilocks optimum” the temperature (as measured by Hadley) of 1998, or the one of 2008 (0.2C lower)? Or the one in 1944 (0.2C lower than 2008) Or is it the temperatures for these years as measured by GISS? Or is it a temperature 0.5C warmer than today, 0.5C colder than today, and on what basis has this temperature been chosen as the optimum?

    I have still to get an answer other than “it would be bad if it gets much warmer”.

    Maybe one of the AGW believers on this thread will surprise me with an answer.


  13. Ahm Nee

    I see you have made exactly the same suggestion of “AGW believers”

    Looks like we are on the same track here.

    Would you also agree with “AGW skeptics” for the other side of the debate?


  14. Is the “Goldilocks optimum” the temperature (as measured by Hadley) of 1998, or the one of 2008 (0.2C lower)? Or the one in 1944 (0.2C lower than 2008) Or is it the temperatures for these years as measured by GISS? Or is it a temperature 0.5C warmer than today, 0.5C colder than today, and on what basis has this temperature been chosen as the optimum?

    I’ve asked the question of many “laymen”……to provide a number regarding temperature increase since 1900 and the most prevalent answer is “I don’t know”.

    When I tell them that the “official” Jimmie Hanson number is about .6 degrees, they are astonished and ask how anyone can possibly determine the average temperature, averaged over the entire globe, averaged over the last 110 years with that degree of accuracy.

    The problem, I think, is that most people tune in to the most popular variety show only absorbing bits and pieces of propaganda fed to them by the state run media that floods the commercial breaks and is “subliminally” inserted in popular culture. The doe eyed baby seals and “cute fuzzy” polar bears also pull at the heartstrings. The big money is behind the global warming industry and Madison Avenue is very good at manipulating public opinion.

    9 of 10 “news” channels in the United States are self admittedly “Leftist” and parrot the current administration’s talking points.

    Most people will simply read the headlines of the newspaper stands quickly and absorb the sensationalist headlines without actually digging down through the body of the article to determine an objective opinion.

    The majority of people simply don’t know the details……(and probably really won’t care until their ox is gored).

    A lie told often enough becomes the truth. – Lenin

  15. Brute

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with your statement concerning the 20th century temperature rise

    When I tell them that the “official” Jimmie Hanson number is about .6 degrees, they are astonished and ask how anyone can possibly determine the average temperature, averaged over the entire globe, averaged over the last 110 years with that degree of accuracy?

    I am sure that TonyB will agree that this is highly questionable (and will be able to explain why).

    I like the simplicity of the Lenin quote. Here is a slightly longer one by another great user of propaganda:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    Joseph Goebbels.

    Sounds scary.


  16. Max,

    The correct term is “Scientific Rationalist”.

    You could say that a scientific rationalist ‘believes’ in: Relativistic quantum mechanics, Darwinian Evolution, The wave/particle duality of light, DNA as the carrier of chromosomes, etc

    Is it a belief system in the sense that some people believe in a God? I would argue that it is quite different. If there is a ‘belief’ it is in the power of human intelligence rather than a supreme supernatural power.

    The attempt to attach the word ‘believer’to those who accept mainstream science, closely follows the tactics of creationists. For them, Darwin’s theory is just a belief system too and they could argue that one is not superior to another.

  17. I’ve listed many problems with AGW which have been consistently ignored. ‘Believers’ I don’t mind, there is a leap of faith, just as anyone who accepts evolution is technically an ‘evolutionary believer’. It does have a nasty connotation of stubbornness, but I can’t come up with anything better. I would suggest sceptic is relevant to both sides of the argument, and will call you guys ‘agnostics’.
    Is that fair?


    I’m actually procrastinating. My current research project is hitting a critical stage and every now and then I need a break. That said it has been interesting to revisit the topic and this forum is useful for providing much needed criticism, even if a lot of it is of poor quality. For onlookers, I don’t think it is of a high enough quality to replace official sources and proper authors.

    Peter Geany,

    You can’t talk about CO2 without talking about the whole system, as Max is doing. The nature of the problem is that it is ‘unprovable’, just like my superbunny conspiracy. I disagree that ‘no credible evidence exists’. I’m not going to elaborate, but if you follow Max’s arguments he has described the process accurately enough to provide ‘credible evidence’. The question is not about ‘if’, but ‘how much’.

    Concerning the ‘alarmists’, we might be talking about different people as we are in different countries. I have never met anyone who fits your stereotype. In our last election climate change was the main issue and kicked the previous agnostic government out of power. This was driven by grassroots movements run on ideas of responsibility and not fear. The ads were funded by citizens, which I definitely agree is a better idea.

    As for alternatives to Kyoto, I agree that it is not the best solution and has been (and will be) muddled by politics. I am involved in a trial of a community based currency which derives worth from GHG abatement. It doesn’t matter if you believe or not, as value is value. I am also reviewing another global initiative which may be better than Kyoto, but is not ready to be released yet. Also don’t forget taxes come back, it is redistribution, not complete destruction, of wealth.

  18. Max,

    I am pleased to see you return to your original level headedness. I hope you realise in doing so the flaws of the Fielding panel’s argument and language. The solar dimension is proving to be fascinating and I am very interested to see how it progresses. It appears that the IPCC may have to scale back their assessment. They also might not. Wong has, and, as you noted, it is a big difference. Please don’t use an improvement of knowledge as an excuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The current global response is classic risk management given uncertain information, and given the current information I stand by it, as do the majority of world leaders with the support of their electorates. As the information changes, I hope people from both sides will adjust their position accordingly. I know I will. There are no lies or conspiracies, so using those quotes are misleading bordering on fraudulent. It is these lapses of good sense which make me want to call you names and disregard everything you say, even if there is a gem of knowledge buried in your argument. It’s just not worth the hassle to get it out.

    As for the ‘Goldilocks just right’ question. If you asked me on the street, I’d call you an idiot and walk away.

    Jack Hughes,

    “Bad stuff may happen sometime in the future and it’s probably already happening and it’s all our fault”

    Not very eloquent, but it’s my position. Note I do not understand this statement as saying the probably already happening is all our fault, but just the bad stuff in the future. It’s based on thinking up until the point I decide it’s a bad idea which should be stopped, which is based on morals. Mind if I do it for you?

    “Bad stuff may happen in the future, but we aren’t sure if it will or if it will be bad. Stuff’s been happening and it might or might not be our fault, but we aren’t sure. “

    Reads like the same position with more emphasis on the uncertainty. It does not say “bad stuff will not happen in the future because of our actions today”. Given this reality I would still make the same choices. Is this a fair statement? If so I’d argue that we are all in agreement, except for how we use the limited information. I choose the cautious route; the agnostics choose the reckless route. Even if the IPCC turns out to be dead wrong on everything, I will not regret my choices, but I will change them for the future.

  19. “Bad stuff may happen in the future, but we aren’t sure if it will or if it will be bad. Stuff’s been happening and it might or might not be our fault, but we aren’t sure. “

    The definition of faith.

    Judging from this statement, I’d imagine that you are a committed Christian? After all, the majority of the people in the world believe in a supreme deity and life after death and anyone would be a fool not to go along. Of course, unless you’ve been to seminary, you’d have no real “advanced training” in the subject so you’d take the advice of the “professionals”, right?

    I’ve heard this argument time and again from the Warmists…….that unless a person is a “Climatologist” you’re unqualified to have an opinion and because the “consensus” is that God exists, it must be so.

  20. JH

    Shame on you (293). Calling someone “an idiot” (whether they ask you a simple question on the street or on a blog) is impolite.

    What is the “Goldilocks just right” perfect “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature” for our planet, JH?

    You have no notion, apparently.

    So how can you know that an upward (or downward) deviation from our current temperature will be a “good” thing (i.e. getting closer to the “Goldilocks just right” perfect “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature” for our planet) or if it will be “bad” (i.e. moving away from the “Goldilocks” optimum).

    If you cannot even answer this simple question then your modified statement:

    “Bad stuff may happen in the future, but we aren’t sure if it will or if it will be bad. Stuff’s been happening and it might or might not be our fault, but we aren’t sure. “

    should actually read

    “Good or bad stuff may happen in the future, but we aren’t sure whether it will actually happen, or whether it will be good or bad, in case that it does really happen. Stuff’s been happening (both good and bad) since the world began and it might or might not be our fault, but we aren’t sure. “

    Get the subtle difference here, JH? (I am assuming that anyone besides an “idiot” can do so, and I am definitely not calling you an “idiot”.)


  21. Peter Martin

    You wrote:

    The correct term is “Scientific Rationalist”.

    That is one version of the “correct term”

    Another (which I actually prefer) is “Rational Skeptic” (or “sceptic” for Brits, Aussies, etc.).

    See Wiki:

    Scientific skepticism or rational skepticism (also spelled scepticism), sometimes referred to as skeptical inquiry, is a practical, epistemological position in which one questions the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence.

    So I prefer the categories “AGW Believer” for those who believe in the AGW premise, i.e. that AGW is a potentially serious threat, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, and “AGW Skeptic” for those who are rationally skeptical of this premise.

    Do you have a problem with these classifications? If so, what is your problem?


  22. JH

    No. “AGW Agnostic” is not a suitable description for those who are rationally skeptical of the AGW premise.

    “AGW Skeptic” describes it much more accurately.

    If you have a better one than “AGW Believer” for those who believe in the AGW premise, let’s hear it.

    I would submit to you that “believing” in the premise that AGW is a potentially serious threat, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, requires a “leap of faith”, as the empirical evidence to support this premise is (so far) lacking.


    Or can you show me this empirical evidence?


  23. Max: re these labels, note that Peter Taylor (post 93) says, “On the whole ‘denier’ and ’sceptics’ language – I prefer the longstanding word ‘critic’”.

  24. Brute,

    I am an agnostic atheist. I was not raised as any religion and was left to make up my own mind. Please either join this conversation properly or take your ill-informed stereotypes elsewhere, I have already explained how I came to my opinion and I am not just relying on a consensus. You guys really need to get out of your circles and interact with real people, you keep inflicting arguments on me which are not mine, but are poor caricatures of a fabricated and simplified ‘opposition’ which can be easily defeated.

    You know I punched out Mike Tyson once? I drew him on the wall with crayon. It was about as successful as your post.


    How can there be a ‘perfect’ state? The world is dynamic; we have to deal with it.

    Why is agnostic inappropriate? Is it the connotation to religion, because ‘believer’ has that too? Is the connotation of an open yet unconvinced mind offensive to you somehow? I consider myself a sceptic, so you can’t claim the monopoly on that. Critic is appropriate.

    I get the feeling the second quote has been misread. I was trying to construct a short summary of your position. If it is wrong please correct it. Going over the arguments again I really am starting to wonder if you guys actually have a position beyond “we don’t know shit”. The solar forcing argument is plausible but uncertain, and is the closest you have come to any constructive opposition. Recent observations of cooling (from a record high) do not have the statistical power to tell us anything. Otherwise you’re shooting everything and anything down without providing viable alternatives. I reckon I could make you argue the sky is not blue so long as I connected the sky being blue to climate change somehow. “How do you really know what “blue” is? we might all see a different colour, but have all agreed that things that colour are “blue”…”

  25. Re: JH #299

    I am an agnostic atheist. I was not raised as any religion and was left to make up my own mind. Please either join this conversation properly or take your ill-informed stereotypes elsewhere, I have already explained how I came to my opinion and I am not just relying on a consensus. You guys really need to get out of your circles and interact with real people, you keep inflicting arguments on me which are not mine, but are poor caricatures of a fabricated and simplified ‘opposition’ which can be easily defeated.

    Please see the blog rules. I decide who takes their comments elsewhere and your rudeness is becoming irritating.

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