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. Thank you to those who have said they will buy the book or make others aware of it – apart from the mission, it also pays the bills (eventually, hopefully!!).

    Interesting questions – Peter Geany, on why so many people are so attached to the warming theory – I think this is a very new and powerful phenomenon, a global movement, a shade religious even – because the story (and today someone actually argued that it was such a good story it didn’t matter if it was not true, because it galvanised people into action), serves the belief system – that belief system starts from the premise that we have squandered the planet’s resources, made huge mistakes, brought ourselves to the brink of ecological collapse, and nothing short of this story will unify mankind and precipitate action.

    Now – as a professional ecologist, I happen to agree with the assessment of the situation – not all do, but not the cause nor the remedy. I would not bother much about the cause – I have other truths to fight for, but the remedies are really far more scary than the scary climate story. I devote a chapter on this in the book – biofuels will devestate wild places, biodiversity and tribal peoples, enslave peasants in a low-wage economy, threaten world food supplies; turbines and barrages and nukes are small beer compared to that.

    The believers who argue for simple targets, leave the policy, the deliverance, to corporate players, bankers and bureaucrats – none of whom are known for their heartful approach to these issues.

    I will be away for a few days – but will follow up on the energy policy questions.

  2. Alex Cull 47

    In my opinion the solution to the power shortfall will be to use much of the diesel standby generators in a power shaving scheme similar to France. Most large institutions such as banks and hospitals have standby sets sitting around doing nothing but getting old. These could be used and the power produced would actually pay to have them updated and replaced. And as the UK is one of the foremost manufacturers of this equipment it would also boost manufacturing. It would turn-over 30 year old out of date polluting engines with today’s super clean replacements. In fact attractive tax inducements could be arranged for entry to the scheme based on the pollution produced and the tariff paid for the power produced. A good many of these standby set are in the 1 MW class, and only need to run for short bursts at peak times on a rotational basis. And the power although pumped into the grid will be close to where it is used, and therefore overall efficiency will be quite high.

    It’s just that some solutions are so blindingly obvious that they are never implemented. A scheme such as this will allow us to plan and build sensible coal and nuclear replacement stations and avoid the stress of taking precipitate and stupid decisions. Anyway I always notice that the carrot works better than the stick, which never works, in the way intended at least. The only thing I can see preventing this type of scheme is the stupidity of our Politian’s

  3. Peter Martin (Tempterrain)

    You wrote to Peter Taylor:

    The sceptics, with their campaign of disinformation, are naturally reluctant to post any sort of graph at all.

    Hold off there, Peter. Along with references to several loner-term studies of Arctic temperatures and se ice extent, I just posted (33) a graph of observed Arctic temperatures over the period 1900-2005 (near the mouth of the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland). This graph shows that the temperature there was warmer in the 1930s/1940s than today. It also shows that the first half of the 20th century showed rapid warming, while the second half showed cooling, and the entire period showed very slight cooling.

    That’s a graph you can read, Peter, and draw your own conclusions about late 20th century warming (and Arctic sea ice decline) caused by higher Arctic temperatures as a result of higher atmospheric CO2 levels.

    The physically observed empirical data do not support your premise, Peter, and the graph I posted (plus the other references I cited) make this clear.

    So do not make silly statements about “campaigns of disinformation” and “sceptics” being “naturally reluctant to post any sort of graph at all”. Your statement is obviously untrue polemic.


  4. Tempterrain

    You accuse Peter Taylor of being dishonest for:

    choosing the low point of 2007 and then working out the % increase in the the following years

    This is precisely what NSIDC does by choosing the high point of 1979 and then working out the % decrease in the the following years.

    Get it?


  5. Peter Taylor:

    I’ve put some notes about showing graphs in comments here

    James P:

    Thanks for the link to Irfanview. Its quite handy.

  6. Every US Senator should get a copy of Peter Taylor’s book before the Senate votes on “cap ‘n tax” there.


    They don’t read the bills that they vote into law…….what makes you think that they’ll read this book?

  7. Max,

    Do you have any reference for your assertion that 1979 was a high point? Yes, it would be good if we had records going back further but that’s when the satellite data starts. If you look at the graph you can see that 1983 was actually the high point.

    If the NSIDC was staffed by people with the same scruples as you guys, and with an equal but opposite political axe to grind, they would have found some reason to discard the data for 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982!

    That they didn’t shows that they are scientists. Just looking for the truthful answer. Whichever way it points.

    Why Illulisaat? How many other weather stations are there in the Arctic? Why not average them all out?

  8. Part two of post to Peter Martin

    link 5

    The Ipcc are not very good at their historic reconstructions and generally view actual observations as ‘anecdotal.’ Like you they seem to believe that history did not start before 1979.

    This examines the arctic melting in the period 1810-1860 -see notes at bottom of article with additional references.

    Link 6

    Max referenced two good studies showing the arctic melting from the 1920’s onwards

    “I will cite two of these studies, which show (a) a warm period during the 1930s and 1940s with temperatures as high as those of today and (b) reduced sea ice extent during this period, which only later returned to the high levels measured at the start of the latest retreating cycle in 1979 (when satellite measurements started), i.e. your point.

    link 7 The melting in the period 1920-1940 is very well documented. I have posted various articles on it including newspaper stories.

    Expeditions to the arctic to view the melting ice became the equivalent of todays celebrity jaunts to the area. The most famous were those mounted by Bob Bartlett on the Morrissey.I have carried extracts from his diary before-remember the observation of the mile wide face of a glacier falling in to the sea?

    There are pathe news reels of his voyages which your parents may have watched in their youth, and books on the subject. Here is a biobilography of material relating to him.

    Why do you not want to confront what history constantly tells us Peter?


  9. Peter Martin

    You ask for references to fact that 1979 was a point of high Arctic sea ice extent. Fortunately we do have records that go back before the satellite record started in 1979.

    Check the Smolyanitsky et al. paper I cited earlier (link below, in case you missed it the first time):

    High point on ice was actually around 1970 with smoothed 6th degree polynomial approximation around 1979. This corresponds well with temperature trends, which show sharp warming to 1940s, cooling to mid-1970s and return to warming to early 2000s (although other regions, such as western Greenland, do not show a close temperature/sea ice correlation, as noted earlier). The Arctic temperatures (several stations across an area covering around 80% of the north polar region) show warming to around 1940s, cooling to mid-1970s and renewed warming to early 2000s.

    These both clearly demonstrate roughly 60-year cycles with a slight underlying long-term warming/declining trend since 1900, as one might expect as we have continued our recovery from the Little Ice Age.

    [N.B. These same 60-year cycles with a slight underlying warming trend are also apparent in the globally and annually averaged surface temperature record, as we have discussed at length previously.]

    Hope this helps.


    PS You asked “Why Illulisaat?”

    Illulisaat was picked because there was a discussion on another blog on the Jakobshavn Glacier (nearest weather station with long-term record is Illulisaat). Bob_FJ had shown that there was no correlation between the glacier’s retreat and global temperatures, and his debating partner told him to check local temperatures instead. This intrigued me, so I did check them and found that (unlike floating sea ice) there was no direct correlation between the retreat of the Jakobshavn glacier and local temperature.

  10. Peter Martin

    my #58

    As you would expect, if there is a part 2 there is also a part 1 ! The Spam filter doesn’t seem to like multiple links. I have tried to repost several times but with no luck. I will leave it a few hours in case part 1 arrives (or indeed the original post in its entirety).

    If not I will repost the links separately. The post needs to be read in its entirety as it answers your comment in #57.


  11. Peter M and TonyB

    Looks like Tony’s post and mine “crossed”, but we are apparently both on the same wave length.

    If NSIDC really wanted to give an unbiased and informative report on Arctic sea ice (rather than an alarmist scare mongering blurb), they would refer to the fact that their satellite record only starts in 1979, that the late 1970s was a period of high sea ice extent, that it had been much lower in the 1930s/1940s and that this appears to be following a 60-year cyclical trend, as far back as the late 19th century, when many of the records started.

    That’s the “whole truth” (rather than just a “piece of the truth” starting conventiently with a high sea ice extent in 1979, attempting to tie the current retreat to recent warming allegedly caused by human CO2 and predicting the impending disaster of “ice free summers” by year 20XX).

    I believe that was the point of both TonyB and myself, if you would care to comment.


  12. Another try

    Peter Martin #57

    We have been through these references many times before Peter, but you don’t seem to want to read them.

    Link 1

    Ice extent maximum- Depends if you are talking winter or summer.

    Link 2 This also;

    Both show a decline from pre satellite-

  13. Peter Martin

    To the significant Arctic sea ice recovery from August 2007 to August 2009 you opined (50):

    “There is just about nothing out of the ordinary in it at all.”

    Hmm… Let’s see if that makes sense.

    In two years the sea ice extent recovered by 17.7% (or 0.94 million km^2).

    If it were to continue recovering at this rate it would exceed the 1979-2000 baseline level in three years (August 2012) and would reach an all-time record level (since 1979) by August 2013.

    So the recovery was definitely “out of the ordinary”, and if it continues at that rate, it would not only be “unusual” or “remarkable”, but could even be classified as “unprecedented” (since the satellite record started, at least).

    So we will have to wait to see if we will have an “unprecedented” recovery of Arctic sea ice, a return to “nothing ordinary at all” or an “ice free summer” within the next few years.

    Only time will tell, Peter, regardless of Mark Serreze’s dire “ouija-board” predictions.


  14. Whoops! I wnder if Al Gore would like to ammend his prediction?

    Arctic Sea Ice

  15. A couple of comments before I will be away:

    Arctic temperatures- for ‘Chill’ I reviewed 32 station data provided by NASA’s GISS (googling will lead anyone to the data sets which can be downloaded station by station) – and at the time, most data did not go beyond 2004 – only two sets showed higher temperatures in 2004 or around that date than around 1940. I recently updated my files – looking at 38 Arctic locations with data that includes the 1940 period and is extended to 2009, and 8 stations that either did not go back that far, or did not include the most recent warming post-2004. All 8 of the incomplete stations (no 1940 data) when they had 2009 data showed recent falls, and of the 38 stations, only 9 showed higher temperatures – around 2005-2008, than in the 1940s, and ranging from 10-20% higher. All stations show two clear peaks separated by a 70 year trough centred in the mid-1970s – this is known as the Arctic Oscillation, usually measured as an index of atmospheric pressure differential between the east and west Arctic.

    I intend to write a short report on Arctic surface air temperature and sea surface temperature patterns and make it available on my website – an update of the Arctic chapter in my book.

    Tempterrain: I don’t recognise the New Scientist article you refer to, so let me quote directly from the 12th September issue page10 entitled ‘World will cool for the next decade’:

    ‘Another favourite climate belief was overturned when Pope (I add- head of climate research at the MetOffice ) warned the conference that the dramatic Arctic loss in recent summers was partly a product of natural cycles rather than global warming, Preliminary reports suggest there has been much less melting this year than in 2007 or 2008.’

    This conference in Geneva a week ago, reported results of the latest attempts to put ocean cycles into the GCMs (models) – the Kiel University team found that cooling will likely continue for another 10 years.

    Of course, the official line is that this cooling is merely a ‘blip’ in the general trend, after which as the ocean cycles turn positive again, warming will reach a new record.

    It is gratifying to see that the MetOffice and the modelling community now recognise the power of natural cycles to dampen the signal (I have been criticising them for some time) – however, it is disturbing to see that dogma prevents them making the obvious conclusion that just as natural cycles are now dampening the signal, so they could have amplified it in the first place.

    Tempterrain – you seem to be in denial of this possibility – which is profoundly unscientific. The real issue for science is to unravel the percentage contribution of GHG and the peaking of several natural cycles (AMO, PDO, NAO and the Artic Oscillation). Some oceanographers think that the PDO is the main driver and in its warm phase (1977-2007) of thirty years, it amplifies the el Nino (ENSO). All of these cycles are turning to their cool phase. If natural cycles account for 80% of the driving force, which is my estimate derived from the radiation flux data (short wavelength) to the ocean surface (70% of the planet), then the PDO will counter GHG warming for the next 30 years.

    The warm ocean phases have coincided with peak sunspot activity – now that activity has declined sharply, and IF there is a mechanism linking this solar magnetic flux to cloud patterns (I review the evidence in my book), then this will compound the oceanic cooling and we could enter a new Little Ice Age. Few talk of this possibility, which would be catastrophic for world food supplies.

    If I am wrong – and as a scientist I am happy to admit of the possibility, then global warming by GHG will overide the cooling trend, the current ENSO will peak above 1998 and the ice-recovery will fail sometime in the next three years. If I am right in my analysis – the current el Nino will flatten out and be followed by a precipitous fall to below the long term average, the trend of cooling will deepen, and the Arctic Sea summer ice will recover to close to the long-term average in about 5 years. If the solar field remains low, then I expect deeper cooling as there is evidence that the field affects the location of the jetstream – which i suspect is the main modulator of the accumulation and extraction of heat reservoirs in the upper ocean waters (theory outlined in my book).

    In my view, a real scientific approach – as opposed to one driven by a need to believe something is the case, and one based upon the peer-reviewed literature (200 references in my book)would acknowledge the two possibilities. It is beyond my comprehension that in IPCC 2007, they clearly state that scientific knowledge of natural cycles is very poor, yet they are convinced the post-1950 warming was entirely GHG-driven – a conviction based entirely on models that did not incorporate those cycles because they did not understand them. Now that flaw is admitted and beign remedied – cooling is expected!

    On energy policy (Alex Crull) – asking what we should rely upon in the short term – –

    we can’t build enough wind turbines, nor nuclear stations in the time – only gas – but that is also problematic because other stations are set to close due to EU regulations. In an acknowlewdged emergency, we would keep the coal stations and extend the operation of current nuclear – and of course, USE less – we should attack the problem from the demand-side first. In any case, electricity is 30% of demand and heating needs at another 30% are crucial. Sadly, we did not instigate strict Swedish style housing standards in the 1970s – if we had, our domestic demand would be 30% lower instead of 30% higher.

    In transport – a reduction in speed limits – an enforced 65mph for cars on motorways, 50mph elsewhere, and 55 max for heavy lorries, would reduce fuel consumption by about 10% (transport is roughly 30% of energy demand).

    In addition to reductions, there needs to be social innovation and community action to protect the vulnerable. It is not all about technology.

    Ultimately, western governments are in denial – they assume there is a ‘solution’ to the energy crisis. Maybe there isn’t. If we face that, then we might have some chance of making the right kind of decisions. Renewables cannot save us, and nor can nuclear. We have to use less and pay more, because resources are running out and are more costly to access. If we try to power the unreconstructed system on renewables or nuclear or both, we will render meaningless the term ‘sustainable’ – which has to include community and natural beauty, as well as security, safety and genetic health.

  16. Peter Taylor, just to say many thanks for your response to my #47, and I agree on the need to think about the way energy is used (and wasted!) as well as the way it is generated. A lot of this could be categorised as good housekeeping, but as you say, there are a lot of measures which could have been started long before now but simply weren’t. You mention gas, and the other issue with gas is energy security of course – less an issue with the friendly Norwegians, more an issue with the unpredictable Russians. Truly we have some interesting times in the offing.

    Everyone, re the polar ice, I note that Richard Black has an article on the BBC’s website entitled “Pause in Arctic’s melting trend”. This made me smile – following the same logic, the current economic downturn could also be described as a “pause”, which does sound a lot less threatening.

    Peter Geany, re your #52, a very interesting idea – pressing mothballed diesel generators into use in this way is something that wouldn’t have occurred to me at all. Generally, I wonder what sort of plans large organisations are making to deal with the eventuality of power shortages (if indeed they are making plans.) For instance, the company where I work threw a lot of resources into dealing with Y2K, and the threat of an energy crunch is something arguably far more serious, yet there’s little sign that anyone in the upper levels is thinking about this.

  17. @tonyB

    Heat pumps are mainstream here in NZ (60% of homes).

    Well-designed easy-to-use easy-to-install mass-produced consumer fittings.

    Good info here

    The inside bit looks like a storage heater at floor level or a different style is like a big fan heater up on the wall above head height.

    The outside section is just like an outside air-con unit – because it is one. In fact many models can run backwards to cool your house in summer.

    The UK idea of all those pipes running under the soil to get heat from your garden has just not taken hold here.

    Some are rated down to -15 degrees but I’m told they get pretty crap below -10 degrees. It’s never gone below -8 here in Christchurch. Typically get 3 units of heat for 1 unit of electricity.

    The big thing driving uptake is the alternatives: just burning electricity alone is costly. Burning wood is messy and inconvenient – but cheaper. Also here in chch the council give grants for heat pumps because everyone burning wood can create horrible days in winter when there is high pressure: smoke just sits over the city for days.

  18. Peter Taylor,

    You mean this article?

    So, why can’t you reference it then? How hard is it to copy and paste a link?

    The idea is that we can look at any quotations in the context that they were actually written.

  19. PS to Peter Taylor

    Would you care to make this interesting?

    “the long term average, the trend of cooling will deepen, and the Arctic Sea summer ice will recover to close to the long-term average in about 5 years.”

    How about a little bet? You just need to define what you mean by “close to the long-term average”.

  20. Peter Martin

    Perhaps Peter Taylor was reading the printed version of New Scientist when he made his quote? I didn’t think you liked it when people cut and pasted.

    You seem to have moved away from a serious study of arctic oscillations by not replying to the information that both Max and I supplied and have moved back on to gambling.

    I can’t remember if anyone here previously took up your offer when you suggested we should replace science with a visit to the bookmakers.

    Do you believe in natural arctic oscillations or are you purely following the short term information from 1979?


  21. Peter Taylor: I see you have offered (in the Guardian) to debate with George Monbiot. You may know that Professor Plimer will be in the UK in November and that the Spectator is hosting a debate in which he will take part, seemingly now without George because – in my view – the Speccie mishandled the negotiation. It is to be held in London on 12 November and chaired by Andrew Neil – details here. Do you think that you and Monbiot might be persuaded to take part? I could understand it if you preferred a one-on-one and it looks as though Monbiot would not appear with Plimer. Nonetheless, it could be an enthralling occasion.

  22. Jack Hughes

    You are right, the UK has gone down a distinctly complex and expensive route with our heat pump/underground pipes fetish.

    In my opinion there is a huge gap for a reputable supplier to sell all sorts of domestic renewables-the trouble is everything is sold through commission driven direct salesmen which makes the price three times as expensive as it need be and makes the installation uncompetitive.


  23. Alex Cull 66

    Large organisations do not pay enough attention to security of power supply unless they are Banks, and possibly hospitals with some sort of legislative axe over them. It’s always the case that senior exec’s have more important issues to deal with and very often contract out the responsibility. This makes it impossible for them to think on their feet.
    My experience is that in some 50% of real power outages the generators fail to perform for a wide variety of reasons, but all usually have the same root cause of never having been run under load. There is almost nothing worse for any engine (or system) than running for long periods under no load. A completely different system whereby the standby generators are linked to the grid and can be properly tested whilst contributing is needed. Currently these sets are hooked up to load-banks and the power produced is turned to heat and light, an absurd waste and very expensive to boot.

    Peter Taylor 65

    Road transport, or at least the contraption used for turning the fuel to energy is an area where I was once expert. Reducing speeds will save fuel and is often pushed hard. However it usually does not work unless other measures are introduced to mitigate the loss of productivity. There is little to be gained in reducing the maximum speed of HGV’s further as they are already slow at 90kph, and whilst the crossover between rolling resistance and aerodynamic resistance is about 75kph, this figure is increasing all the time. For cars these figures are higher, and I’m out of touch with cars so won’t quote the numbers. Excessive speed will burn excessive fuel and the best way of controlling this is fuel tax. As much as I hate it, it’s the best remedy, but only if other road charges are essentially zero or just to cover administration. It’s wrong to burn the candle at both ends as this government does. Al so the public would be more inclined to agree to the fuel taxes if the money raised was used to reduce congestion (saves fuel) and improvement to public transport so that excessively expensive commuter charges are reduced.
    Another area is with real emissions. The current petrol and diesel engines are cleaner burning than a gas engine was back in the days, and this has been accomplished against the predictions of gloom & doom by some manufacturers. A fundamental fact of the internal combustion engines is the more efficiently it runs, the hotter it runs and the more NOx it produces. That emission and especially NOx have been reduced to next to zero is excellent. My push would now to mandate efficiency, pushing the grams per kilowatt hour (g/kWh) figure to places unheard of. It’s been done previously but all the prototypes just could not meet the NOx requirements, but the technology now exists for a leap. Today’s heavy-duty engines are still around the 190g/kWh, a figure first obtained in a production engine 20 years ago.

    It just a case of emphasis, but speed alone will not change fuel consumption on our roads; we have to do something clever, which means I suppose leaving out our Politician’s.

  24. A challenge for Peter Martin

    Let’s follow up on the remark by Peter Taylor on the latest statement by the Met Office explaining that “natural variability” (a.k.a. “natural forcing factors”) has more than offset the AGW from added CO2 from the end of December 2000 to today (mid 2009).

    This very statement, in itself, raises serious doubts concerning the validity of the AGW premise (which Vicky Pope may not have realized at the time of the statement).

    As a cornerstone of this premise, IPCC has told us that “natural forcing factors” only had a radiative forcing impact on our climate since 1750 of 0.12 W/m^2, compared to CO2 at 1.66 W/m^2 (both with no “positive feedbacks”).

    This corresponds to a 2xCO2 radiative forcing (no feedbacks) of 3.7 W/m^2.

    IPCC also stated that “all anthropogenic factors represented a radiative forcing (RF) of 1.6 W/m^2 since 1750, so that anthropogenic factors other than CO2 essentially cancel one another out, and can be ignored.

    IPCC also tells us that the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity with all assumed “positive feedbacks” is 3.2°C on average.

    This corresponds to a 2xCO2 radiative forcing (with assumed feedbacks) of 12.1 W/m^2 (or over 3x the RF without the assumed feedbacks!).

    Mauna Loa tells us that atmospheric CO2 increased from 369 ppmv to 387.5 ppmv from end 2000 to today. At the IPCC assumed 2xCO2 RF of 12.1 W/m^2, this should have resulted in global warming of 0.23°C over the period.

    However, the Hadley record shows us that we had 0.09°C cooling over the period.

    So the “natural forcing factors” have resulted in net cooling of 0.32°C over the period.

    This corresponds to a natural climate radiative forcing over the 8+ year period of –1.2 W/m^2 (or ten times the RF of 0.12 W/m^2 attributed by IPCC to “natural forcing factors” over the entire period since 1750). This is obviously illogical.

    Solar scientists tell us that at least half of the observed 20th century warming can be attributed to changes in solar activity; these, together with possibly related changes in ocean currents, could well represent all of the “natural forcing” required to result in the observed warming since 1750.

    Question for Peter:

    How can we be sure that the observed radiative forcing from “natural variability” during the 8+ year period from 2001 to today was not reversed during the time period from 1750 to 2000, so that the observed warming over this 250-year period can be attributed to these factors rather than CO2?

    Note: In presenting your argumentation against “natural forcing factors” (as recently observed) being the root cause for the long-term warming since 1750, try to pinpoint specific reasons why this cause is not possible, rather than simply throwing in alternate theories to explain this warming (such as AGW).

    Go for it, Peter.


  25. […] “Chill” is reviewed at HarmlessSky. I haven’t read that review as yet. […]

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