Feb 142010

Two remarkable documents were published on the BBC website on Friday night. One is a long interview with Phil Jones conducted by  Roger Harrabin. This does not seem to have been the usual head to head affair, but written answers to written questions over a period of several days, some of them provided by sceptics. Therefore there is no scope for Jones to claim that he was panicked into hasty responses or that he has been misquoted:

Q&A: Professor Phil Jones

The other is Harrabin’s shorter summary of the interview, although it does contain one revelation that is not in the other document:

Climate data ‘not well organised’

To say that these are  explosive would be to wildly underestimate the potential impact of their content. Phil Jones, and his research, has had a huge effect on the IPCC process and the climate change community during a decade that spans two IPCC assessment reports. What he says matters.

Jones is not only one of the world’s most influential climate scientists, he is also a major opinion former within his field of research and beyond. This is a man whose word has carried great weight with journalists, activists, administrators and politicians as well as with other scientists.

So why is this interview so important?

If you try to identify the core scientific evidence on which current alarm about anthropogenic climate change depends, then it is possible to come up with the  following short list:

  • The greenhouse gas hypothesis; increased Co2 in the atmosphere causes warming.
  • There has been an unprecedentedly rapid rise in global average temperature  during the 20th century.
  • Current temperatures have reached levels unprecedented during the last 1000 years at least.

The first item describes a mechanism by which human emissions of Co2 could cause the climate to change. The other two provide crucial evidence that is necessary to substantiate the green house gas hypothesis. Without them, it remains no more than a theoretical possibility, and just because something could happen, it doesn’t mean that it has happened, is happening, or will happen.

Whether you count in Pounds Stirling, Euros or US Dollars, hundreds of billions, perhaps more than a trillion, have already been invested an efforts to stave off this perceived catastrophe and to fund the science that has brought it to our attention. We really do need to know whether this research will stand up to scrutiny by people other than those who produced and promoted it; the climate science community and the IPCC. Up until now, public consent to measures that can and will effect all our lives has been achieved by claims that the science is settled, the debate is over for all rational people, and there is a consensus among scientists that global warming has occurred, and is occurring as a result of human Co2 emissions. We are told that we mus believe what we are told about global warming because the IPCC has assessed the research thoroughly, objectively and in a transparent process, to the extent  that they can guarantee its quality.

Jones’ main expertise is the surface temperature record, the analysis of thousands of vast amounts of data from weather stations all over the world dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. These apparently tell us that rapid warming has occurred during the latter part of this period.

The Climategate emails released in November show all too clearly the lengths to which Jones and his colleagues at the University of East Anglis were prepared to go to in order to avoid releasing to sceptics the data on which Jones’ estimation’s of global temperatures are based. Ever since then, the IPCC and others who seek to ward off any criticism of the science of global warming, have repeatedly said that even if there is a problem with Jones’ data, there are two other institutions, NASA GISS and NCDC, that have reached the same conclusions, therefore there is nothing to be concerned about.

In Harrabin’s summary of the interview, he reports that Jones is no longer able to identify where all the data used in his research came from:

“We do have a trail of where the (weather) stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be,” he admitted.

That’s similar with the American datasets. There were technical reasons for this, with changing data from different countries. There’s a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data so it can be very difficult. We have improved but we have to improve more.”

My emphasis

Climate data ‘not well organised’

If the other two surface temperature records suffer from the same problem as the one that Jones compiles, then that means that there is not a single estimation of global surface temperatures for the last 150 years that can be validated from the original data that was used to construct it. In science, everything must be validated and nothing can be taken on trust. The most critical test of research findings is that others can replicate them. Without a full set of data this cannot be done convincingly.

In the second bullet point at the beginning of this post, I drew attention to the importance of knowing what has happened to surface temperatures during the last hundred years. It is not too much to say that the credibility of the last two IPCC assessment reports depends entirely on this research. Unless it can be shown that global temperatures have increased anomalously during a period when levels of Co2 in the atmosphere have increased, then it is not possible to determine that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have had any impact on global temperature.

In Question O of the BBC interview, Jones is quizzed about his career. He says that he has publishesd over 270 peer-reviewed papers on different aspects of climate research; a very impressive record. The peer review process does not usually involve the detailed inspection of data, and according to Harrabin’s report, Jones’ colleagues say that his record keeping is disorganised and they seem unsurprised about the problems with the surface temperature record data. A great many of these papers will have been relied on in the IPCC reports and elsewhere. One cannot help wondering if Jones, who has apparently failed to keep adequate records of in his most important field of research, instrumental surface temperatures, has also failed to keep proper record of other studies? How many of these other papers can be validated? This is not to suggest that they are worthless, only that it is necessary in science to be able to verify results by reference to the data.

Given what we now know about Jones’ disorganised working methods, and the lengths that he has been prepared to go to in order to avoid scrutiny by critics, it is reasonable to expect that the IPCC would want to subject any papers authored by Jones that have been relied on in their assessment reports to detailed re-evaluation. This is only likely to happen if there are irresistible demands that they should do so.

Turning to the question of whether surface temperatures at present are higher than they have been during at least the last thousand years (third bullet point) we have to consider Michael Mann’s  Hockey Stick graph that has probably done more to persuade people of the credibility of warnings about global warming than any other single piece of research. Many of the more sensational Climategate emails are devoted to the efforts of Jones, Mann, and other IPCC luminaries, to make sure that no research casting doubt on the validity of this graph should see the light of day or be given a fair hearing.

It is to the Hockey Stick graph that the IPCC turned for evidence that the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures may well have been higher than they are now, does not in fact exist or was merely a regional phenomenum of no importance.  Although Jones was not directly involved in the original study, he has contributed to other palaeoclimate studies, so it is reasonable to expect him to provide a well informed and spirited defence of Mann’s work. In Question G he is asked about the significance of the Medieval Warm Period in determining whether recent temperatures are unprecedented. This only yields a discursive answer that avoids the main thrust of the question, but in so doing makes it clear that there is much uncertainty about this research.

Once again, this is a long way from the line taken by the IPCC, and the doubts that Jones appears to have are amplified in Question N:

When scientists say “the debate on climate change is over”, what exactly do they mean – and what don’t they mean?

It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don’t believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.

There is little that I can say about this other than it is breathtaking to hear such doubts from a leading climate scientist and IPCC functionary. They are at odds with whole thrust of the last two assessment reports, and the deluge of self-aggrandising propaganda that has emanated from that organisation and its supporters.

Another of the concerns that the Climategate emails raise is that Jones and his colleagues may have manipulated the peer review process in order to suppress research that might threaten their own findings and the case for anthropogenic climate change. In Question S, Jones reveals that, since 2005, he has reviewed some 43 papers and it is reasonable to suppose that these would not involve trivial matters of research. A scientist of Jones’ stature would [A.G.F1] not be expected to waste his time on such matters.

If Jones was at the centre of attempts to subvert the peer review process, and we will have to await the results of the two Climategate enquiries that are already under way before we know whether this is the case, there must be doubts about any reviews that he undertook. It is a requirement of the IPCC review process that the assessment reports should only rely on peer-reviewed research.  In view of this, surely it is necessary that the IPCC should reconsider any papers of which Jones was a reviewer that have been used in their reports if he is found to have behaved improperly? But are they likely to do this?

There are a couple of other things in the interview that point to areas of concern that should now be investigated either by the IPCC or, more appropriately, by an independent body.

In answer to Question Q, which deals with the notorious ‘trick’ to ‘hide the decline that is mentioned in the Climategate emails, Jones confirms that this was to do with splicing instrumental temperature records on to palaeoclimate records. What is interesting is that he says that this was done at the request of the World Meteorological Organisation, a UN agency and, with UNEP, one of the parent bodies of the IPCC. It would be very interesting to know why they requested that this should be done?  There is a tendency for palaeoclimate reconstructions to show declining temperatures at the end of the 20th century whereas the instrumental record shows a sharp increase. Given the ever-increasing suspicions about the IPCC’s methods, and the way in which climate research has been conducted over the last decade, surely this is a question that must be asked again and again until it receives a credible answer.

By this stage, it actually becomes difficult to believe your eyes as you read what Jones has to say. About eighteen months ago, Richard Lindzen suggested that there had been no statistically significant increase in global temperatures since 1995. The climate science community greeted this with derision. Now, in answer to Question B, Jones agrees that this is correct. What he does not say, and was not asked, is why the most recent IPCC report made no mention of global warming stalling in spite of their having more than a decade of data to work with at that time. All the talk in the report is of inexorably rising temperatures.

Lastly, here is Question L:

Can you confirm that the IPCC rules were changed so lead authors could add references to any scientific paper which did not meet the 16 December 2005 deadline but was in press on 24 July 2006, so long as it was published in 2006? If this is the case, who made the decision and why?

No answer. Question should be put to the IPCC.

This refers to the inclusion in the last assessment report of a deeply flawed paper by Wahl and Ammann, which claimed to replicate Mann’s Hockey Stick graph, and by so doing discredit MacIntyre and McKitrick’s criticisms. The labyrinthine events that lead up to this paper being cited are too complex to explain here but, given Jones role in the creation of the IPCC report, and the revelation in the Climategate emails of attempts to suppress criticism of the Hockey Stick, it is hard to believe that he did not know the answer to this question. It remains to be seen whether the IPCC will provide answers. If they do not do so, then their credibility will become even more damaged. This is not a matter that can be passed off as a minor mistake.

Over the last few weeks there have been a steady stream of revelations that claims made in the IPCC report are not backed up by scientific evidence. So far all these have related to the second section of the report compiled by Working Group II and entitled “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”. This is where the most scary material about the supposed effects of climate change are to be found. Disappearing Himalayan glaciers and burning Amazon rain forests are newsworthy. But this section of the report only has meaning if it can be shown that there is robust scientific evidence that humans are,in fact,  changing the climate. For this one must turn to the first section, “The Physical Science Basis”, compiled by Working Group I, of which Jones is an influential member.  Although the recent criticisms of the  WG I report are extremely damaging to the IPCC, these are as nothing compared to the likely  impact if similar problems are identified in the WG I report.

Phil Jones’ interview with the BBC is therefore important because of what it reveals about uncertainties in the most fundamental science that underpins concern about global warming. In the immediate aftermath of Climategate, the Chairman of the IPCC said that he would launch an investigation, but later backtracked on this.

If there are now doubts about the integrity of all three of the surface temperature records, and from what Jones has that  seems very likely,  then the IPCC’s claim that there has been rapid warming  during the last century has no credible foundation. If the palaeoclimate reconstructions of temperatures, which the IPCC rely on to show that it is warmer now than at any time in the last thousand years are fraught with uncertainty as Jones suggests, they cease to provide viable evidence that anthropogenic warming is happening. As I suggested at the beginning of this post, the greenhouse gas hypothesis will no longer be supported by the most compelling evidence that the IPCC has been able to present.

In the BBC interview we are seeing one of the pivotal figures in climate science making statements that would have been branded as ‘climate denial’ if they had been published just three months ago. The uncertainties that Jones is now prepared to admit to strike at the heart of all that the IPCC has been telling us with such apparent authority for the last decade.

There must now be grave doubts concerning what we have been told about the recent warming as recorded by weather stations and about our ability to compare current temperatures with other periods during the last thousand years.  There is circumstantial evidence that there may have been malfeasance in order to include convenient research in the WG I report and that in Phil Jones view, the debate about climate change is not over, the science is not settled, and there is no consensus among scientists that anthropogenic global warming is real.

On the strength of this interview alone, it is hard to see how a full investigation of the IPCC can now be resisted.

79 Responses to “Phil Jones torpedoes the IPCC”

  1. Brute

    You are right (24).

    AGW is not dying a fast death.

    Too many influential people have simply invested too much into the AGW craze for it to simply lie down and die.

    There are hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars at stake here, with too many individuals drooling at the prospect of getting a chunk of the action.

    The smart guys will figure out how to make a buck out of the upcoming anti-AGW movement and do a quick switcheroo, but many others (especially the ideologues and religious believers) will try to hold on as the AGW craze dies a slow death, struggling and resisting all the way to the end.

    I predict that it will not be a pretty sight.


  2. JamesP (20)

    Apparently the total value of China exports was around $700 billion last year, with a total GDP of $5 trillion, so that would put exports at 14% of GDP.

    I saw a report from 1998, which had exports at 24% of total production, and it is logical that domestic demand has increased more rapidly than exports as the average standard of living has increased, so the 14% number sounds logical.

    China has surpassed the USA as the number one emitter of CO2. Since around 10% of China’s CO2 emission is from cement production (not export related), one could argue that slightly less than 14% of China’s CO2 emissions are due to exports.

    “One quarter” sounds too high to me, as the numbers seem to confirm.


  3. Brute

    I predicted that the death of AGW would be slow and “not a pretty sight”.

    Just check the latest RealClimate contortions following the Jones BBC interview – it is sad to see how these guys are trying to reinterpret everything Jones said to defend the mantra.

    As I said: “not a pretty sight”.


  4. Max/Brute:

    No, the death of AGW will be slow and painful. See my post here – it’s absurd to think that “the fastest growing commodities market on earth” is going to simply fade away. The international money men have found a new and wonderful government subsidised way of making a lot of money. They won’t let go easily.

  5. Robin (29)

    The nice thing about hedge funds (like a crap game) is that you can bet either way.

    I’d say the smart guys are “shorting” carbon credits right now.

    Of course, if the whole carbon offset commodity market craters, then the game is over and nobody makes any money, so these guys will fight tooth and nail to keep this cash cow alive on “intensive care” long after it has stopped breathing.


  6. I know its difficult for you guys to understand the written language sometimes but you need to get it into your skulls that Phil Jones has made:

    * No admissions of the “data not adding up”
    * No admissions of AGW theory being “flawed”
    * No admissions that he, or climate scientists in general, have misled the public.
    * No admissions that “AGW is dead” and its now quite safe to carry on burning fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow
    * No admissions that AGW has stopped in 1995. Maybe Max might like to produce one of his linear regression graphs to show otherwise. Phil Jones said that his calculated figure of 0.12 degC “only just” failed the 95% statistical confidence test. Presumably it would have passed the 90% (the figure the IPCC usually quote) test.
    * No admissions of being caught “red-handed”, or otherwise, fiddling any data. He stands by his data.

    We’ve had the “debate is over” or the “science is settled” discussion before. The guys at realclimate don’t believe that the debate is over or that the science is settled either in the sense that everyone can stop working on the subject.There is no difference between what they and Phil Jones are saying.

    But the debate isn’t between nitwits who have managed to decide that AGW isn’t a problem, even though don’t understand any climate science at all, and people like Phil Jones, James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt. The debate is between the scientists themselves which will happen naturally as new information becomes available. That debate, or discussion, will always continue. That’s the way science works.

  7. Pete,

    Re: #31

    You’re deluding yourself……


    Looks like to me that the European Carbon Exchange was @ 2000 August 22, 2008, @ 970 August 10th 2009 and @ 550 today.

    My experience has been that rich people don’t get rich by betting on long shots or investing money in losing propositions (i.e. risky investments)……they didn’t become rich by acting recklessly or investing in promises of rainbows, lollipops and magical unicorns (or global warming hysteria). Not to say that wise investors don’t lose money, just that when the air begins to escape quickly, people begin to cut their losses and move their money elsewhere.

    People are in business to make a profit……………if saving the planet is a side benefit, then fine.

    However, if they begin to lose money the “saving the planet” nonsense gets swept aside rather quickly and they’ll get out.

    That’s what seems to be happening at ECX.

    Investors (the people that count) are losing confidence in the notion (which includes the “science” behind the “product”).

  8. Max, Reur 28. I too have read through the RC post on Phil Jones and became rather depressed. Potentilla also wrote on this somewhere. Out of curiosity, I tried a gentle post, taking into account that all may last three posts there were chopped without comment. To my surprise it was accepted, but it may be intellectually challenging for the faithful there, it being a tad subtle. I might try something a bit more more direct shortly.

    “There have been various references to the ‘interview’ between Roger Harrabin and Phil Jones. However, here is an extract from the BBC website; my bold:
    “…The BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin put questions to Professor Jones, including several gathered from climate sceptics. The questions were put to Professor Jones with the co-operation of UEA’s press office…“
    It is interesting to read this carefully in full, and to note who is asking the questions.
    Elsewhere it is clear that these were written exchanges over a period including updates.
    In the update in the lead-in to this thread, the following link is given to a CRU statement:
    It is interesting to compare in full, a news item in Nature and what else has also been commented:

  9. Let me say what needs to be said to counter the incomprehensibly arrogant, fallacious, dishonest, and scientifically baseless claims of Jones, Mann, et al.

    Anthropogenic climate change IS NOT HAPPENING. It never was happening nor was it ever even close to being valid science. There is nary a shred of uncorrupted data supporting it and no validated means for gathering the quantity and quality of data required to claim it. 70% of the world is ignored in all temperature records, and even if this were not the case, a loose correlation between a theory and a dataset is not scientific proof to even the worst scientist in the world. And speaking of which, even if there were sufficient data to prove AGW to be a valid theory, I think it is clear at this point that Phil Jones and his merry gang of f@cktards are far too incompetent to deliver the finished product anyway.

    And to all of you low-grade politicians, and people still seeking validation from your mothers, its very nice that you try to make concessions and meet the warmists halfway with your “its still an issue worth evaluating honestly” statements, but GROW A PAIR and a brain to match! THERE IS NO VALID DATA. IT LITERALLY DOESN’T EVEN EXIST. Three of the four most land encompassing countries have insisted that their data, THAT IS STILL BEING PRESENTED AS VALID by Pachauri and his ilk, is falsified and cherry picked. Furthermore, the so called “scientific claims” in the IPCC Assessments have now been debunked as nothing more than the unsubstantiated claims of activist organizations. There is nary an uncorrupted shred of data left to support something that even the whole of the dataset, valid or no, DIDN’T PROVE.

    Its over Johnny. And I hope they hang the perps by the nuts in the public square. I’ll bring my BB gun. Can we move on to a topic that doesn’t make the world collectively dumber now please…?

  10. Tempterrain, first of all it is idiotic to claim that Jones, Mann, Schmidt or anyone else would have a real and honest scientific debate on the topic when they have destroyed data and ducked coutless requests for debates for over a decade.

    Second of all, the confidence intervals and fractions of a degree that you reference are so laughably unscientific that you’ve got incredible nerve giving them lipservice then calling someone ELSE a scientific nitwit. Please enlighten us with one single scientific theory that you are aware of that is rests squarely and infallably on a 90% confidence interval. I wish you were smart enough to know how funny that is.

    I’ve been a physicist for 15 years. I’ve followed this idiotic hoax for the better part of a decade, and I’ve yet to hear anything that would hold up to a fraction of the scrutiny that ALL of the theories and laws of physics and chemistry have held up to for over a century.

    If you are talking about statistical confidence limits, you are not talking about anything that can even be called science. If you think otherwise, you would be best to stop talking at all. Rather than criticizing others for their lack of understanding of the language, you should realize that no amount of fancy language can disguise your utter and obvious lack of understanding of the relevant points, or even what constitutes science at all.

    And before you “language up” some asinine response that attempts only to save face or call me names, why not do us all a favor and share what you believe to be one single shred of uncorrupted REAL SCIENTIFIC DATA that supports your obvious devotion to this non-theory despite all the clear and acknowledged corruption. Should be hilarious.

  11. PeterM (#31):

    The thing to understand about Phil Jones is that he claims no special skills (“not my area of expertise”) re natural influences etc. on the climate – the central issues of AGW theory. Therefore, his views on the theory may be interesting (although wisely he doesn’t tell us what they are) but they are unimportant.

    No, his expertise is supposed to be in gathering, processing and publishing temperature data. We now know he doesn’t do it very well. But, nonetheless, his views on the data are important. And he says that: the rates of warming from 1860-1880, from 1910-1940 and from 1975-1998 were not statistically different from each other; there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995; there has been a cooling trend since 2002; there may be some uncertainty about the surface temperature record (applicable also to the US datasets); and it is possible the MWP was global and could have been warmer than today. That’s what he said (unambiguously, Peter). And, according to you, “the guys at realclimate” agree with him.

    Now, if you don’t think that represents a major shift in the debate, you haven’t been paying attention.

  12. Mannmade Dusgusted (#34):

    The reason why “it’s still an issue worth evaluating honestly” is that it’s not, as you seem naively to think, over. The powerful and entrenched interests – political, institutional, industrial and financial – that are benefiting massively from the AGW theory are not giving up and will be defeated only by reasoned argument, patience and guerrilla tactics. It works: look how (at least in the UK) a recent shift in media attitude (led by the blogs) is causing a shift in public attitude. Eventually politicians have to listen to the public. And it won’t be over until they do.

    A full frontal assault may make you feel brave and honest. But it won’t achieve anything. They’ve been shouting at us for years. It didn’t work. Shouting back at them now isn’t going to work either.

  13. Terrain Stomper (#35):

    You ask Peter Martin (aka tempterrain) for “one single shred of” data supporting the AGW theory to which he is so devoted. Good luck: we’ve been asking for it for years. All he can do is point vaguely at the IPCC report.

    PS: but don’t be too hard on him – he’s our pet alarmist.

  14. Terrain Stomper,

    Oh Not another one! I feel a bit like the guy in those horror films who’s trying to fend off an attack of the Zombies! You deal with one wave but there are always more!

    You what’s your point? CO2 doesn’t contribute to the greenhouse effect? Or the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist? Maybe you think it violates the second law of thermodynamics. If you look back through this thread you’ll be spoilt for choice for possible objections, many of which are mutually incompatible.

    If they were made by anyone with any scientific interest at all you’d find there may well be side arguments between those who were of the opinion that measured warming was caused by solar effects, those who thought it was caused by Cosmic rays and those who tended to the view that there was no warming and the data recorded was distorted by ‘urban heat islands’. Similarly you might expect to find some discussion between denier groups over whether the 40% increase in CO2 since industrial times is itself anthropogenic. There isn’t any.

    Climate change deniers don’t particularly care whether there is any warming or not or what the true explanation may be. Their only interest is in discrediting the message of mainstream science that the 40% increase in CO2 concentrations due to the burning of fossil fuels since pre-industrial times has caused measurable climate change which will only worsen as CO2 levels increase out of all control for the remainder of the century.

  15. Terrain Stomper:

    Ignore PeterM’s red herrings. What we’ve been asking for is evidence (a) that man’s CO2 emissions were the main cause of late 20th century warming; and (b) that further such emissions will cause dangerous climate change. Simple really. Yet he’s failed to produce any such evidence.

  16. Robin,

    What you’ve been asking for is proof rather than evidence. The evidence has been well documented in the IPCC reports and elsewhere. I’m sure you are as capable as anyone else in finding and reading for yourself.

    I’d help you if you were genuinely interested but your only interest is in setting the bar so high that no-one would ever succeed.

  17. Oh Not another one! I feel a bit like the guy in those horror films who’s trying to fend off an attack of the Zombies! You deal with one wave but there are always more!

    There, there Pete. Take heart…….

    Maybe you should try to lure some more Eco-evangelists from Real Climate over here to spice things up!

  18. What you’ve been asking for is proof rather than evidence. The evidence has been well documented in the IPCC reports and elsewhere.


    Do you purchase an automobile sight unseen?

    Would you test the car to make certain that it actually operates before you purchase it?

    I mean, it seems that before the nations of the world delve headlong into spending (additional) TRILLIONS of dollars (of other people’s money)in an attempt to resolve a problem that they should actually make absolutely certain that the problem exists?

    Isn’t that simply good asset management?

  19. PeterM:

    You say, “What you’ve been asking for is proof rather than evidence.” That’s completely untrue – shame on you. All I have ever asked for is a reference to empirical evidence supporting the dangerous AGW hypothesis. We’ve (mainly Max and myself) asked you for it time and time again. And time and time again you’ve failed utterly to provide it: it’s not to be found in the IPCC report (specifically WGI – chapter 9) nor have you identified such a reference elsewhere.

    Far from “setting the bar so high that no-one would ever succeed” all we’re requesting is that the dangerous AGW hypothesis be subject to standard scientific practice – as determined by the Scientific Method.

    You really must try harder.

  20. Robin,

    Look, we’ve been down this road before. I’ve given you the evidence of the empirical correlation between global temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels. You’ve said something like ‘correlation doesn’t prove causation’.

    I’m always being told that its up those who advocate a course of action to prove etc etc

    There are thousands of papers on Global Warming and I doubt if you’ve read any. What would be the point? You wouldn’t understand them. You’re a self confessed scientific illiterate. You don’t seem to be able to give me even a hypothetical example of what you might want. If you could do that I might be able to help you.

    But then you’d just raise the bar a notch or two higher, wouldn’t you?

  21. No, PeterM, that won’t do.

    First, correlation is not evidence of causation. Even you must know that.

    Second, proof is not the issue: science is not a matter of proof. Even you must know that.

    Third, that’s why I’m not asking for proof – nor have I ever done so.

    Fourth, this has nothing to do with hypothetical examples. Science is replete with real examples of hypotheses being tested by empirical evidence – that’s how science is done. That’s all we’re seeking re AGW. There is no reason whatever why the dangerous AGW hypothesis should not be subject to standard scientific practice.

    Fifth, you have failed utterly to refer us to an example of supporting the dangerous AGW hypothesis.

    Sixth, it’s as simple as that – nothing whatever to do with setting bars higher.

    As I said, you really must try harder.

  22. PeterM

    The Harriban / Jones interview speaks for itself and does not require you to give us a “rehash” based on what you would like to read into it, so I will skip over that part of your post #31.

    But then you opined:

    We’ve had the “debate is over” or the “science is settled” discussion before. The guys at realclimate don’t believe that the debate is over or that the science is settled either in the sense that everyone can stop working on the subject.There is no difference between what they and Phil Jones are saying.

    But the debate isn’t between nitwits who have managed to decide that AGW isn’t a problem, even though don’t understand any climate science at all, and people like Phil Jones, James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt. The debate is between the scientists themselves which will happen naturally as new information becomes available. That debate, or discussion, will always continue. That’s the way science works.

    The debate is between (a) those who are rationally skeptical of the premise that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, constitutes a serious threat and (b) those who believe this premise is valid.

    Phil Jones, James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt (whom you listed) fit into the latter (AGW-believer) category.

    Richard Lindzen, John Christy and Roy Spencer fit into the former (AGW-skeptic) category.

    Neither bunch fit into your classification of “nitwits who have managed to decide that AGW isn’t a problem, even though don’t understand any climate science at all”.

    Get it out of your head that those “who have managed to decide that AGW isn’t a problem” are “nitwits” who “don’t understand any climate science at all”.

    Making such a silly claim raises the question of whether or not you, yourself, might fall into the “nitwit” category.

    Stick with facts, where you can, Peter, and leave out the name-calling. It only backfires.


  23. Sceptics do often claim there is no ‘proof’ that we’re causing global warming. But rarely do they say there is no ‘evidence’. The evidence is there in the peer reviewed literature. Are you saying that it isn’t strong enough? If you’re saying it isn’t there you haven’t bothered to look!

    You could start by taking a look at this paper:

    “Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate” by WFJ Evans et al.


    Note the phrase “This experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming”

    So here is experimental empirical evidence of the sort you claim you can’t find. Perhaps, it is you who should have tried a little harder!

    Yes, I agree it’s not ‘proof’ and this paper on its own wouldn’t provide strong enough evidence. But, it is nevertheless a small piece of evidence which, when added to all the other available pieces of evidence, point strongly to an anthropological cause of empirically measured global warming.

  24. Max,

    You don’t seem to like the phrase “Nitwits who don’t understand any climate science at all?” Most people I know don’t understand much climate science either. They aren’t nitwits. But then they aren’t climate change deniers either and don’t rant and rave about Al Gore and how AGW is all a hoax and conspiracy etc. If those who do aren’t nitwits, or f**kwits, what are they? Certainly not rational thinking human beings.

    I’d like to think you were right and that people like yourself Brute, Bob_FJ, Robin, Manmade Disgusted, TonyN and all the rest of you have decided to make better use of your retirement time by signing up for some Climate Science, or even just basic Physics, courses which will help you all better understand the position of mainstreamm science on Global warming.

    Who knows? In a few years time, we might see papers like:

    Brute, Anacker M., Guenier R. A comparison of Empirical Measurements and Climate Models: A new perspective, J. Geophys. Res., 96, 8929-8953, 2015

  25. PeterM (#48):

    1. My posts 44 and 46 make it completely clear that we’re not asking for proof. So why do you keep wittering on about it? Sad really.

    2. No, as I said quite clearly above, we’ve been asking you (time and time again) to refer us empirical evidence that (a) man’s CO2 emissions were the main cause of late 20th century warming; and (b) [assuming you can provide (a)] that further such emissions will cause dangerous climate change.

    3. The Wayne Evans paper addresses neither issue. Max and I have never doubted that there is a “connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming”.

    You really must pay attention.

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