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. AhmNee

    The worst part about all this is that not only is much of the data skewed;

    * Global Temperatures to 1850 based on only 20 imperfect stations

    * Global sea level rises based on only three Northern Hemisphere tide gauges whose incomplete data to 1850 has then been interpolated back another 150 years to the standard 1700 baseline

    * Misreprestation of arctic ice-it regularly melts every sixty years or so-we even have Pathe news reel of it happening in the 1920’s to 1940’s

    But even worse is the automatic assumption that man made co2 is affecting the climate so it is then factored into computer models that then prove that all our ills are caused by the very algorithm they have just factored in. Computer models are wrong. Who says so?

    Gavin of Real Climate fame has written an article here.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/indepth/40528

    Extract

    “All climate models are wrong, but some of them are useful” is a profound observation on modelling, but deserves further discussion.”

    That is the most fantastic piece of hubris!

    When the IPCC say climate models are wrong (which they often do as has been frequently cited on the Whitehouse thread), and Gavin (colleague of Michael Mann) says climate models ate wrong, why don’t politicians stop trying to change the world on information that its perpetrators admit is wrong?

    Incidentally a Carrington event is much more likely than a serious near earth strike but I agree with your general point.

    tonyb

  2. Tonyb

    I agree totally. After it was mentioned here, I looked up the Carrington event. The NASA article was both fascinating and absolutely terrifying. I knew that solar flares could have an affect on RF transmissions and interfere with communications and such but the idea of a giant EM burst like that. That’s scarey stuff.

    “Okay folks, by this time tomorrow our technological society will have reverted back to the bronze age. Keep your hands in the car and hold on tight.”

    (I know bronze age may be an exaggeration, but it would have to be worse than simply pre-electronic once you calculate the damage, having to re-establish things like shipping routes, collateral damage…)

  3. Peter Taylor,

    You could well have added the Windscale fire to the list of potential nuclear distasters.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windscale_fire

    TonyB and Max do occasionally get it right and they are correct in saying that the renewable sources of power (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, and hydro) won’t be enough to provide base load electricity supply in the developed countries.

    The choice is between fossil fuels and nuclear fission. If carbon capture and storage can be demonstrated to work then coal power is a viable long term option. However, there is an increasing feeling that it probably never will, and that the research being carried out is just a cover to enable the fossil fuel companies to delay the inevitable and carry on their business, as usual, for as long as possible.

    The long term future for human civilisation has to depend on nuclear power of one sort or another, for the simple reason that the supply of fossil fuels is finite and they will become increasingly scarce and expensive . The path will have to lead eventually to fusion power, maybe in a couple of hundred years, but there is enough Uranium in the ground to keep the lights on until then.

    Of course it’s not without risk, but there isn’t any other choice. It’s better to make that choice now, recognise the science, and accept that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cannot be allowed to reach dangerous levels.

  4. ‘But even worse is the automatic assumption that man made co2 is affecting the climate so it is then factored into computer models that then prove that all our ills are caused by the very algorithm they have just factored in. Computer models are wrong.’

    Bastards. You know I have the very same problem? I believe the heart does not really pump people’s blood; it is actually super-intelligent rabbits that burrowed into the core of the earth who use some technology I don’t understand to move it before the heart does anything! All the models of the circulatory system stupidly force in the hearts influence with no real proof, just some correlation. They only prove the very algorithm they have just factored in. I don’t trust them anyway, because doctors have a vested interest in knowing how people work and ‘doctor’ the data to ignore the tiny tiny delay in response. I’d challenge anyone to prove me wrong, but you can’t without travelling into the core of the earth where the bunny overlords live. ‘Everyone knows that’s not true’ isn’t a proper response either, so don’t think you’d be the first to tell me that.

    ‘Why don’t politicians stop trying to change the world on information that its perpetrators admit is wrong?’
    Because anyone who doesn’t admit their failings is being unrealistic, it just needs to be factored into any decision.

  5. ‘Which is why it struck me as incredulous that we suddenly knew enough about it that we could predict what would happen next year much less decades down the road with any real accuracy.’

    It’s a good point that shows up the common misunderstanding between weather and climate. Climate is an abstraction from long term statistical data – a probability, a generalisation that is not specific to a particular time. Today’s weather has only a miniscule influence on the climate. Climate cannot be used to predict what the weather will be today or any other day. Climate is not just weather in bulk: it is not just weather taken over a longer period. It is easier to say what the general weather conditions will be in July in five years than to forecast the weather on Sunday three weeks from today. The reason is that the former applies climate ideas and so relies on statistical averaging whereas the forecasted weather on a day three weeks ahead must be decided from present, actual meteorological data and an understanding of how the system works. The two predictions are quite different in kind.
    As we move further from the generalities to the particularities of the weather, prediction becomes increasingly difficult.
    The concept of climate is set in a time frame and this debate needs a clear definition or agreement about the parameters of that time frame.

  6. # 179. Delay should be advance.

  7. Clarification: I didn’t mean to imply that climate studies do not use ‘actual’ data.

    AhmNee,

    About the layperon comment. The issue is too complex for us to get into properly, so we all have to rely on others to summarise for us. The trick is then who you listen to, which is difficult as scientists have to get funding and there are firms like http://www.apcoworldwide.com/ out there. It’s the reason Peter has had to list his credentials and instantly makes anyone’s argument personal, which is unhelpful for reasoned debate. I’d suggest that you stay away from blogs and movies and hit up the summaries from the ‘authorities’. It doesn’t take too long and gives you a good idea of how each one sees the issue. It also makes the extreme claims (on both sides) stand out.

    Also I just googled this:
    http://royalsociety.org/downloaddoc.asp?id=1630

    The figures are mostly outdated, but it gives a clear and brief outline of the issue up to 2005.

  8. JH ~179

    Admitting their failing is one thing-that suggests work is basically correct with the odd lapse. Admitting their modelling work is wrong or basically inaccurate- as the main players in climate science do- is quite another. These models are fundamental to the whole science.

    Anyway, tell me more about these super intelligent rabbits…

    AhmNee

    I suggest you look at the credentials and motives of JH’s ‘authorities’ before relying on them as JH suggests. Until very recently the mouthpiece of the Royal Society was a hard core green activist who got involved in politics and idealogy instead of the science (see Channel 4’s Great global warming swindle)which was the subject of a court case instigated by him).

    The climate section of Wikipedia is run by Wiliam Connelley-he is an associate of Real Climate and has been to conferences under their banner.

    Sorry, I do not intend to suggest a conspiracy (although perhaps these super rabbits of JH are the ones to watch).

    Politics and idealogy have become extremely tied up with climate science and it is sometimes difficult to unravel the various strands.

    Some examples of this below;

    Chris Field is one of the Stanford University Global-Warming-Alarm! team headed by Stephen Schneider, a lead IPCC author who says:

    “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole
    truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we
    are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context
    translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting
    loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that
    means being both.”

    As Thomas Kuhn put it in The Road Since Structure: “… – individuals committed to one interpretation or another sometimes defended their viewpoint in ways that violated their professed canons of professional behaviour. I am not thinking primarily of fraud, which was relatively rare. But failure to acknowledge contrary findings, the substitution of personal innuendo for argument, and other techniques of the sort were not. Controversy about scientific matters sometimes looked much like a cat fight.”

    I think you would find it interesting to read the treatise by Thomas Kuhn on “paradigms” and how these influence scientists, often making it difficult or even impossible for them to think “outside the box” of the accepted paradigm.”

    Also read Peter Taylors second section of ‘Chill’ which perfectly encapsultes the often honourable motives-and the less honourable ones- of various of those players involved in the climate science industry.

    Rabbits though. Now it all makes perfect sense.

    tonyb

  9. tonyb,

    By ‘authorities’ I meant on both sides.

    And the middle!

  10. JH

    Ignore the extremists at either end and go for the middle. So just believe me :)

    Would be interested on your take on renewables and base power supplies. See my #173

    Where do we go from here on energy without sinking back into all the ills of ‘pre-industrial,’ which on the whole was much worse than todays world-even if today is not as pristine.

    tonyb

  11. Tonyb,
    Be careful in your search to discredit. The Royal Societies position is a consensus, so it doesn’t matter who the mouthpiece is.

    As for power supplies: Not my place. That’s for the market to decide, which will work properly when we patch up the pollution flaw with carbon trading. The risks of nuclear are well documented, if a country wants to take them they should be able to. Geothermal and hydro can provide base power. Wind, tidal and solar can top up the base load. Microgeneration takes strain directly off the grid. It’s possible to store large amounts of energy without batteries, for example solar energy in summer can pump water up a hill, which then provides a base load all year round. Biomass is looking promising in Australia, we have to plant more trees to fix the hydrological cycle anyway, being able to burn them afterwards is a bonus. Agricultural waste has potential. These all vary depending on the region, but there are plenty of options available. I don’t know that much about the UK’s potential supplies, but Germany is transitioning pretty well. Problem is under the current price structure R&D isn’t very profitable compared to a new coal fired power plant. The current price structure is a market failure, so it should not be used as a basis for CBA.

    I also see base power changing to a more complex system which assesses what power is coming from where and only burns enough coal or gas to fill any gaps.

  12. JH: you say the Royal Society’s “position is consensus”. Er … not quite.

    The Royal Society’s position is important. For centuries, it has been arguably the leading scientific institution in the world and a key reference in matters of scientific controversy. Therefore, one might expect that, on a scientific question of such political and economic importance as climate change, the RS would make an unambiguous, conclusive and authoritative statement. But, strangely, it doesn’t. Here’s the statement at the head of its “climate change” web page:

    International scientific consensus agrees that increasing levels of man-made greenhouse gases are leading to global climate change. Possible consequences of climate change include rising temperatures, changing sea levels, and impacts on global weather. These changes could have serious impacts on the world’s organisms and on the lives of millions of people …

    Not much of a “position” – more like an organisation hedging its bets by staying politically correct while carefully avoiding commitment. Consensus is not a scientific concept (as the RS knows well) and, remarkably, the statement doesn’t even say that the RS agrees with it. Moreover, the subsequent choice of “possible” and “could” is especially weak. Yet all this must surely have been carefully considered. So, on what is arguably the most important scientific issue of the day, the RS backs away from giving a lead – leaving clearer views to a “mouthpiece”. Interesting.

  13. JH,

    Where do you get the idea that “Geothermal and hydro can provide base power.” ?

    This may be true for a very small minority of countries, Sweden and Iceland maybe, who have small populations and particular geographic advantages but no more than that.

    Certainly not the UK.

  14. Robin Guenier,

    To understand the royal Societies position on climate change requires a little more than one cherry picked paragraph.

    You need to spend some time reading their website:
    http://royalsociety.org/landing.asp?id=1278

    They seem to know a little better than you just what a scientific consensus is too:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus

  15. Peter #188

    I find myself reluctanly agreeing with you. Geothermal No-not in this country. Heat pumps perhaps as part of a microgeneration programme. But again we are talking of small bits and pieces. This is no replacement for ‘base’ power. At present that is Gas Oil Nuclear or coal.

    Due to security problems or co2 scares most of those are out. What do we use? The downside of nuclear (apart from safety concerns) is the sheer timescale. You have political inertia aded to the considerable lead in and build time. 15 years for a new nuclear station if we are lucky. What do we do until then?

    tonyb

  16. Peter Martin:

    Hardly “cherry picked” – it’s right there at the very top of its “climate change” web site. If the RS was as certain about dangerous AGW as other parts of their website suggest (and, yes, I have read it), it would hardly have used such non-committal phrasing. As for your “consensus” reference to Wikipedia, here’s a good extract: “Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the scientific method.” Just as I said above, consensus is not a scientific concept (as the RS knows well) and, remarkably, the statement doesn’t even say that the RS agrees with it.

  17. Robin Guenier,

    If you can agree with one paragraph maybe you can agree with others from their website too?

    How about this one?

    “It has become fashionable in some parts of the UK media to portray the scientific evidence that has been collected about climate change and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities as an exaggeration. Some articles have claimed that scientists are ignoring uncertainties in our understanding of the climate and the factors that affect it. Some have questioned the motives of the scientists who have presented the most authoritative assessments of the science of climate change, claiming that they have a vested interest in playing up the potential effects that climate change is likely to have.”

    What are your comments on “A guide to [12] facts and fictions?” Do you agree with this as well? If so, I’m pleased to hear it.
    http://royalsociety.org/downloaddoc.asp?id=1630

    Like a very fussy child you are picking out the all the red M&M’s off the cake! If you are going to quote the RS at least choose a full paragraph.

    Which is ” Scientific consensus is the collective judgement, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the scientific method. Nevertheless, consensus may be based on both scientific arguments and the scientific method.”

  18. TonyB,

    You ask “What do we do until then?”

    For a start it makes sense to not build any more coal fired power stations until “carbon capture and storage” is shown to be more than a piece of spin on the part of the energy companies.

    Natural gas produces approximately half the CO2 emissions as coal per unit of energy produced. Its relatively clean, there is enough to last for at least the next 25 years, and is part of interim solution. Other parts would involve the development of electric vehicles, the electrification of railways,

    There is still a lot of progress that could easily and painlessly be made on energy efficiency. I’ve always wondered why office blocks are lit up at night when there is no one working in them. You don’t need a big change in technology to make people to switch off the bloody lights at night!

  19. You know I’ve been getting déjà vu a lot with this argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kininmonth_(meteorologist)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Monckton,_3rd_Viscount_Monckton_of_Brenchley

    It’s all there. All the arguments we’ve had, a book, a debate with George Monbiot.

    Kininmonth is still going strong and is taken seriously by the mainstream media, for example:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25400914-7583,00.html

    More importantly the debate has progressed. I know it’s just Australia, but its Australia’s top climate sceptics (notice Plimer’s not invited) and the Government Minister for Climate Change.

    Questions and reply.

    http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/wong/2009/pubs/tr20090624c.pdf

    Comments on reply.
    http://www.auscsc.org.au/images/PDF/wongsreplytoquestions.pdf

    I’ve only managed to have a quick look at the comments. I’m an amateur and have picked out a decent amount of flawed reasoning. For example 4.2 uses the reference to Idso & Singer (2009) as if it is final. I’ve already linked the reference if anyone wants to look it up; you can explain to me why it’s better than all the other studies conducted on the matter.

  20. Appendix A of the comments on reply is especially relevant. Notice the hand of
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Soon

    Controversial, but his idea’s stand up to basic logical tests and should not be dismissed. That’s the fun side of politics, doesn’t matter if an idea is funded by a super-bunny conspiracy, if it’s right it’s right. If it’s wrong it’ll just ignore the facts and be said over and over again.
    Reminds me of a tale.. something about a boy and his wolf? Better hope this one’s not the real thing, cause people have gotten really sick of the cry.
    I’m going to watch that space.

  21. This is fun. I just found out who Jennifer Marohasy, who you guys love, is.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Environment_Foundation

  22. Have you guessed yet? #106

    This must be Peter. No one else links so consistently to people we never quote, or whose site we ever visit. This is hardly new though is it?

    Incidentally the head of the Met office has the following affiltations which obviously means we can never take a blind bit of notice of anything they ever produce.

    Robert Napier- Chairman of the Met Office board, is currently, or has been in the past, involved with the following organisations;

    *Chief Executive of the World Wildlife Fund UK (most recent position prior to his appointment to the Met Office)
    *A director of the Carbon Disclosure Project
    *Chairman of the organisation known as Green Fiscal Commission
    *Chairman of the trustees of the World Centre of Monitoring of Conservation
    *A director of the Carbon Group

    Fair swap. Both Jennifers AND the Met offices information will now be offically discounted.

    tonyb

  23. JH

    Your first link didn’t work. Sorry, what point are you making? Ive never heard of the guy.

    Now go to your second link you referenced re Monckton, go to the discussion tab and scroll down. This is much more interesting than the actual link you cited.

    Why do you keep using wiki as the font of climate knowledge? They use ‘verifiable’ knowledge that does not need to be factual information. Have you still not cottoned on to William Connelley?

    tonyb

  24. Does anyone know the source of the raw data in the Fielding graph which is claimed to come from th e Uni of East Anglia in the UK?

    Failing that can anyone explain why its not the same as this?
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/gtc2008.csv

    I may be an oversuspicious sort of person but I’m thinking that they’ve just made it up to suit their argument.

  25. Peter and JH

    JH

    Sorry, I now see the relevance of your comment in #194 in regards to your first link to Kininmonth as I see he is one of the supporters of Senator Fielding. I do not know Kininmonth at all, but am of course aware of Fielding and Carter. Carter’s work I like, but can not pass any comment on Fielding as I haven’t got involved in Australian climate politics-we have enough of our own over here.

    That first link still doesn’t lead anywhere though-perhaps you could provide an alternative?

    Peter

    Presumably your #199 refers to one of the the links that JH gave? I can not see where Fielding made reference to the data you link to, so can not see the context.

    CRU work in close collaboration with Hadley/Met office so I would expect the data they use would be the same as I have linked to numerous times with my graphs-CET.(can repost an xls version if you can’t find it)

    Mid you as PhilJones has ‘lost’the data to 1850 it may not be the same subset as we are used to seeing. There are several versions with various degrees of correction.

    Can you give the link where this data was mentioned by Fielding and the context? Presumably it appeared as a graph rather than raw data?

    tonyb

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