Thursday, November 13, 2008

Foolish views on climate change being promoted at Quadrant

Recent issues of Quadrant contain a number of ‘denialist’ views on climate change issues that will leave those concerned with the implications of climate change troubled. Quadrant could analogously act as an outlet for the flat earth society and the outcome of supporting such a similar sustained attack on scientific logic would make no more sense than supporting climate change denialists without offering anything in the way of the majority accepted-science contrary view.

The most recent article by Bob Carter follows efforts by Ray Evans (here and here) and papers by Ian McFadyen (here) and William Kininmonth (here). All are attempts to debunk the global warming hypothesis as phoney science. None of the Quadrant contributions provide a mainstream contribution to recent climate change debates and indeed the minority views of these denialists are not set in the context of the broader debate.

The denialist studies are surprisingly weak in terms of their force of argument. The authors apparently reject numerical model building of the type carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the grounds that the IPCC relies on a scientific consensus (not in itself something reprehensible), that some parameters used in the modelling are not known with certainty (true of most modelling!) and that the models used contain biases consistent with the anthropogenic warming hypothesis (somewhat unfair since they do account for natural radiative forcings).  The authors implicitly question the incentives and integrity of researchers carrying out these mainstream studies while complaining at the same time they they themselves arec under the same sort of credibility attack from mainstream scientists. Moreover, it is true that prominent members of the climate denialist camp, such as Fred Singer, have also in the past denied connections between passive smoking and lung cancer. Singer has also denied that the ozone layer is being depleted and denied that there is a connection between this depletion and the incidence of cancer.  All of these claims have been refuted by mainstream science.

It is difficult to make much sense of the denialist claims with respect to climate given that there is an abundance of different types of evidence supporting the claim of substantial anthropogenic induced rises in temperature over the past 100 years. For clarity I summarise this below.

The denialists represented in Quadrant however largely ignore this mainstream literature or treat it dismissively and cite only evidence and counter-claims that they see as supporting their position. However many of the views they exposit are rejected by mainstream scientists and have been repeatedly refuted as they are endlessly recycled. For example, their claims that warming has not occurred since 1998 and that the Hockey-stick graph is a fiction have themselves been refuuted using careful statistical study. The claim that temperatures have not increased since 1998 were rejected in the Garnaut Review - Garnaut commissioned two respected econometricians to test the claim - and in a suibsequent careful study by meteorologists Robert Fawcett and David Jones. While denialists might not agree with these counterarguments they cannot simply ignore their existence and declare as an uncontested and obvious fact that temperatures have not increased since 1998.

The claim that the 'hockey stick' wrongly suggests a recent, distinctive sustained rise in temperatures is not something that supporters of the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis necessarily rely on to support their position – as the Stern Review points out there is much additional evidence - but the specific objections raised by denialists have been broadly rejected - with some qualifications - by groups such as the National Academy of Sciences. Why has this counter-evidence and the counter-views not been cited in the Quadrant articles? It is not self-evident truth that current global mean temperatures are simply a repeat of past recent experience in terms of peaks.

The denialists present themselves as a persecuted minority whose views are being marginalised by groups such as the IPCC and by most of the 2,500 climate scientists who contribute to the IPCC work. This is an unfair characterisation and a slur on the integrity of these workers. Most scientists do accept that climate change is anthropogenic though it is recognised that a small minority group dispute this consensus conclusion. But practical climate change policy calls for decisions and, utilising a 'balance of probabilities' argument, the consensus view is being relied on for public policy purposes not the view of a tiny group of scientists who reject the mainstream science. Indeed, it is difficult to see what other approach might conceivably be adopted from the perspective of policy. The insights of science are never final and it is almost certain that current climate science views will be refined and perhaps even revised dramatically. But that there is not scientific certainty on climate change does not mean that action to deal with climate change should be stalled. Indeed, if the principle that no action in this world could be taken without definitive absolute certainty, not much would ever happen.

For non-scientists such as myself who are forced to make judgements on climate change in order, for example, to make informed electoral choices the responsibility is to be as informed as possible and then to respect the consensus views of mainstream science. This is not to say that these views may not be one day overthrown by new scientific findings – it is the duty of scientists to probe and attack each other’s work – but this does not mean that citizens should endorse the views of a minority of scientists who hold what seem to be implausible views at odds with standard science.

Indeed it seems that the denialists are behaving in a strident and seemingly irresponsible way in rejecting the consensus science on climate change without at least assembling and taking seriously the alternative consensus evidence and presenting the debate in a balanced way. Why do they not consider the possibility that they may hold erroneous views that, if they were accepted, would impose huge damages on our children and on future generations? Is it only that their views have finally not been accepted in public debates that makes these minority-view scientists strike out with their strong claims?

The upshot of the denialist position is that attempts to prevent ‘human-caused global warming’ will be a ‘costly, ineffectual and hence futile exercise’ (Carter). Therefore climate change, if it does occur, should be addressed solely by adaptation policies so that society learns to live with heating effects. These claims about the primary role of adaptation and of the infeasibility, expensive climate change policies will be discussed below.

First let me cite from a standard text, Gordon Brown’s Ecological Climatology, what are the conventionally understood facts on climate change science. These views cannot be accepted by denialist scientists since they imply that their core beliefs are false.

1. The earth’s mean surface temperature has increased by 0.74oC between 1906-2005.
2. The rate of warming over the last 50 years is almost double the rate over the whole 100 years. The latter half of the twentieth century was probably the warmest in 1300 years.
3. 11 of the 12 years from 1995-2006 are among the 12 warmest since 1850.
4. Not only air temperature but oceans and ground temperatures have increased.
5. Spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere has decreased with lakes and rivers freezing later in autumn and thawing earlier in spring.
6. Glaciers and permafrost are melting and Artic sea ice is shrinking.
7. Increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases are a positive radiative forcing that has warmed climate.
8. It is extremely likely that humans have exerted a substantial warming influence on climate. It is extremely unlikely that natural radiative forcing (solar irradiance plus volcanic aerosol) have had a warming influence comparable to that of anthropogenic radiative forcing.
9. Climate change models that include only natural forcings do not explain the late twentieth century warming while models that include anthropogenic forcings such as greenhouse gases and aerosols do simulate the warming.
10. The balance of evidence suggests that annual global mean surface temperatures will warm by from 1-6oC by 2100 in response to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.

These widely accepted views contradict denialist claims. Denialists who wish to have their views taken seriously should at least admit that these are consensus views and consider them seriously because wrongly rejecting these views can have serious implications in terms of social costs.
.
The claims by the denialists that climate change can be dealt with entirely by adaptation rather than mitigation and that climate change measures will be prohibitively expensive and infeasible can be decisively rejected.

There is nothing a priori wrong with the claim that adaptation policies alone can deal with climate change.  But the empirical evidence on costs suggests that this approach is not viable. Adaptation policies alone will be insufficient to address the impacts of climate change partly because of impacts of change on the natural world. For example, there are extreme problems of facilitating biodiversity adaptations to climate change given rapid projected rates of temperature increase and the fragmentation of natural landscapes that inhibit natural 'migratory' adaptation responses. In addition, adaptation responses that would be called for to adapt to such things as sea level changes, changes in the agricultural sector and 'heat island' effects in cities are often concentrated in developing country megacities with low ability to invest in adaptation. Even in wealthy countries such as Australia it would be prohibitively expensive to protect the whole coastline from sea level change changes contingent on climate change.

That mitigation efforts to thwart drastic climate change will be prohibitively expensive is rejected by major recent reports. Unmitigated climate change of 6oC would involve catastrophically large costs as suggested in the Garnaut Review -  respected organisations such as the International Energy Agency in its recent World Energy Outlook 2008 forecast temperature rises of up to 6oC. Every aspect of modern life would be destabilised by such temperature changes and global as well as national welfare would be lower in 100 years than now. This is a catastrophic outcome that is worth focusing on even it it is a relatively low probability event because of the extraordinary costs associated with it.  Rates of mean warming of more than 3oC would be very likely (Stern estimates the probability as 0.69) with the 550 ppm emmission targets that are endorsed in reports such as the Stern and Garnaut Reviews.  The best science that we have suggests that this degree of warming would be associated with the destruction in Australia of the Great Barrier Reef, the Victorian Alpine biodiversity habitats, Kakadu National Park and irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin.  If the minority view of the denialists were accepted as the basis for public policy and it were wrong the costs would be extraordinarily high.

At a discount rate of 2.7% the Garnaut Review estimate that discounted costs of targeting 550 ppm emission targets by 2050 are 3.3% of discounted GNP while the costs of aiming for 450 ppm targets are 4.2% of GNP. These are significant costs but not prohibitively so. The Stern Review reaches much the same conclusions - the costs of not acting strongly enough to deal with climate change greatly exceed the costs of taking decisive action to address it.  Accounting for risks of catastrophic change Stern computes the cost of not addressing climate change as a permanent loss in consumption per head of 5-20% whereas the permanent cost of stabilising emissions at between 500-550 ppm would be around only 1% of GNP.

The question whether climate change mitigation is feasible or not turns on the question of community and political will and whether or not an agreement can be forged at the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen next year to significantly cut developed country emissions and to reduce the growth rate of global emissions. Garnaut’s assessment is that a 550 ppm target is more feasible than a 450 ppm target because of high offsetting growth in developing countries that will tend to swamp reductions in developed countries. With the policy framework he suggests an equal per capita emissions target across all countries can be achieved although the scale of reductions becomes harder with a long-term 550 ppm target. The argument for the desired global level of emissions cutbacks is can 'optimal insurance' argument - how much are society's prepared to pay to help prevent the possibility of a severe long-tailed catastrophic climate future.

Efforts to forge an international agreement to cut emissions are not helped by claims that anthropogenic climate change is 'phony science' so that efforts to control emissions should not be made. The views of the denialists need to be exposed for the delusions they involve and for the narrow perspectives they represent in the area of climate science. These minority views offer the potential for substantial risks to society if they were adopted and proved to be wrong.

One can ask why are these conservative denialists so strident and seemingly irresponsible in rejecting the consensus science on climate change without at least assembling the alternative consensus evidence? Why do they not consider the possibility that they may hold erroneous views that, if they were accepted, would impose huge damages on our children and on future generations? One can conjecture that it is only that their views have finally not been accepted in public debates that makes these minority-view scientists strike out in the way they have.

39 comments:

sir henry casingbroke said...

This is an excellent post Harry, one of your best. This is what happens when ideology enters a scientific debate, a new kind of Lysenkoism.

observa said...

If there is this denialism of AGW, it has been more than outweighed by the current denialism of the true believers that an ETS and all the derivatives that can possibly sail with it, not to mention the counterproductive incentives associated with them, will seriously address the problem. That is the real dilemma now.

Tony of South Yarra said...

Quadrant provides a rare forum for the sceptical point of view - not at all surprising given the vast number of 'fearless advocates for the uncontentious' on the other side of the debate.

You cite the "abundance of different types of evidence supporting the claim of substantial anthropogenic induced rises in temperature over the past 100 years - this is summarised below", but fail to mention that each of these too are controversial or disputed to some degree.

Spiros said...

"The views of the denialists need to be exposed for the delusions they involve"

This would be true if the denialists had credibility and influence. But they don't. The denialists write their stuff in the house journals of the funny people, Quadrant and the Australian, but so what?

They should simply be ignored. Debating them is like debating the people who think 9/11 was a CIA/Mossad operation. It's just a pointless waste of time and energy.

'Exposing' the denialists is just a distraction. It's already been done, again and again. They've already got zero credibility, so further exposure is just wasted effort.

On the other hand, there are battles to be fought. The smart denialists (not the ones published in Quadrant) have shifted ground. They don't publicly deny the science. They instead advocate policies of delay and obfuscation which in effect would mean not doing anything about climate change.

These are the people who now need to be exposed.

Steve said...

Harry, a question. There has been a bit of stuff around lately saying that that financial crisis is having (or will have) a major destabilising effect on the price of carbon under trading emission schemes. Also, the role of speculative traders, who (so the argument goes,) contribute nothing of worth but are largely parasitic on the "real" economy of the production of goods and services is getting renewed criticism too. But isn't the creation of that sort of parasitic role one of the major criticisms of ETS?

In short, are we going to see more argument soon for carbon tax as a simpler, less easily corrupted system than an ETS as a result of this current finance market mess?

Spiros said...

Steve raises an excellent point.

The case for an ETS is that risks over time can be covered, something you can't do with a carbon tax.

But there was good case for financial instruments that spread the risk of house mortgage defaults, and look how that turned out.

And even the theoretical case for an ETS assumes that the emissions can properly be measured and accounted for.

observa said...

Not wrong steve and here's a taste of international finance smacking their chops at the very prospect now-
http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20081027005319&newsLang=en
Goldman Sachs fresh from the bailouts of the financial sector forging ahead with new 'strategic alliances'.
In particular-
“Goldman Sachs is committed to leveraging the first-mover position of Blue Source and its extensive experience and relationships to provide best-in-class risk management to North American voluntary and compliance buyers,” said Leslie Biddle, Global Head of Commodity Sales at Goldman Sachs. “Interest in the pre-compliance carbon market in the US is growing rapidly and we are excited to be able to offer our clients immediate access to a diverse selection of emission reductions to manage their carbon risk.”
Can you believe these left/green oxymorons cuddling up to this kind of stuff? Sheesh!

observa said...

Welcome to the next BIG THING in financial derivatives now denialists- Carbon Credit

Blandy said...

Spiros,
"'Exposing' the denialists is just a distraction. It's already been done, again and again. They've already got zero credibility, so further exposure is just wasted effort."

Maybe not. These people vote, they can communicate with other people who vote, and generally get more than their share of media exposure.

I think there's much to be said for continuing to criticise climate change denialists and exposing the holes in their arguments.

hc said...

Thanks all for comments which have been unusually kind. I agree with Blandy rather than Spiros that these sorts of efforts are worthwhile if only to prevent back-sliding on important issues.

Observa, The ETS is part of the solution - government promotion of new technologies and promotion of acceptance of new technolgy also important.

I cannot agree Tony. The point is to try to get at the truth.

I have been reading about incentive issues associated with the Clean Development Mechanism under Kyoto. You have a point Steve and Observa - it is largely new territory and I don't think you can throw your hands up yet.

If the incentive problems become severe enough then we will need to think about fixed carbon taxes rather than cap-and-trade.

sir Henry casingbroke said...

Prof Bob Carter's point in the Quadrant article to which he returns time after time is that you can't trust the scientists of a view that global warming is anthropogenic because they are part of an ideological cabal, committed, as it were, to a conspiracy.

The article is replete with accusations of censorship, empty rhetoric, alarmism, feel-goodery, and influence-peddling. In other words, Bob reckons nearly every scientist who is of the anthropogenic view, is an ideological fellow-traveller.

Bob on the other hand is as pure as the driven snow and in contradistinction is able to give us a "dispassionate analysis based upon scientific principles, demonstrated facts and a knowledge of the scientific literature."

He also intimates that he is not in any way paid or supported in his views by any vested interests that would profit from maintaining the fossil-burning status quo.

But Bob's CV tells an interesting story, that of an ocean geologist whose interests in weather patterns and climate stem from their effects on currents as it affects drilling in the ocean and his interest in anthropogenism suddenly surfaces about the time of the Stern Report.

After that Bob shifts his energies from stratigraphy of Cenozoic sediments of last 65 million years to the tomorrow world and the lies told about global warming. Like his paper "The myth of dangerous human-caused climate change" published under the auspices of The Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy, New Leaders Conference, for instance.

But if Bob can indulge himself in paranoia, so can Sir Henry.

While generally limiting one's scientific research to the Spring Carnival form guide, I love the sport to occasionally run a furphy to ground.

Like Bob here, the SMH's columnist Michael Duffy is another freethinking and disinterested observer. But he goes further than Prof Bob, who concedes that there is an outside chance there may be global warming, it's just that it is not caused by overusing coal, gas and oil produced by companies run by the chaps who so generously give to the Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy.

Anyhow, Duffy reckons the whole idea of an increase in global warming is a conspiracy by hippies who have taken advantage of gullible rubes like Harry Clarke. Duffy's column "Truly inconvenient truths about climate change being ignored" on page 35 of the SMH, Sat Nov 8, rests its premise on what he claims is evidence from two websites he names, one of them being the authoritative British Met Office Hadley Centre:
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/news/warming_goes_on.pdf

Duffy suggests that a graph on the Hadley Centre website contradicts the chairman of the panel on climate change Rajendra Pachauri whom he quotes saying: "We're at a stage where warming is taking place at a much faster rate [than before]."

Duffy says Pachauri's statement is "completely wrong" and then goes some way to give Pachauri a major serve as a liar and a rogue.

Yet looking at the graph on this website it's obvious that it is Duffy who is telling us a porkie.

The graph clearly shows shows global average temperature anomaly from 1975–2007, relative to a 1961–1990 average.

The lines are coloured black, blue and red. The black line shows the annual figure that bobs up and down but trends up. The Hadley Ctr says the jaggies are due to annual variations such as the El Nina effect.

The graph's red line shows the steep up trend over 33 years. The blue lines show the varying rate of the trend over 10 year periods. The blue lines are in three sections: 1976 to 1986, which is a plateau during an overall up trend either side; and two subsequent periods: 1990 to 2000, a very steep climb, and 1996 to 2006, a climb that is not quite as steep as before, but a climb in temperature nevertheless. The two periods taken together, which overlap, show a substantial climb in temperature.

While Quadrant is read by about 26 people, Duffy has a potential readership of thousands. Thus the only way to deal with him is to post here on Harry blog, that is being read by millions.

Hey people! Duffy's column is total bollocks.

observa said...

'Observa, The ETS is part of the solution -'

No Harry, it's the centrepiece of their international grand plan which hasn't worked so far and if they can get it up and running will degenerate into cow fart offsets, if corn to ethanol and rainforest to palm oil weren't bad enough. Theoretically pretty, but practical nonsense that the likes of the Goldmans will drive a bus through, just like they did with dopey central bankers and regulators with fiat money. When that happens ir will be as intractable to unwind as MDB water rights. Rights I might remind you that went from $300/ML up to $1200 and back down to $400 and where has that got us? Nowhere near the 25% reduction in imports of fuel and lubricants recently when oil hit $145US/barrel. ETS is a sleight of hand scam to handball any price rises to the private sector, so they can continue their moral posing a la Fuelwatch and Grocerywatch.


'government promotion of new technologies and promotion of acceptance of new technolgy also important.'

Just like formal childcare eh Harry? Then there's the brilliant $6.2bill announcement to foster 'green cars' the day before GM asks the US govt for a bailout and Ford and Chrysler jump on the bandwagon. With Mitsubishi gone I guess that only leaves Toyota workers and shareholders to share the spoils. Rudd drives a Prius they tell me.

I'd remind you Hrayy that a few short weeks ago these Govt nincompoops you have so much faith in were telling you interest rates need to be high to ward off inflation, subprime doesn't affect us or our resources because we're all Asians now, our banks are safe and not to worry folks. Have a look at the headless chooks now and they're still forecasting 1.5-2% growth next year. Maintain the faith Harry. Somebody has to.

Tony of South Yarra said...

sir henry:

While Bob Carter may have a demonstrable vested interests in this debate, so do many who advance the AGW hypothesis, including this blog's owner. But pointing that out doesn't help us, as Harry put it, "get at the truth".

Nor do graphs. While they might demonstrate warming - notwithstanding the controversies surrounding their methodologies - they do not show its cause.

Since there is no crucial experiment to prove the AGW hypothesis, it can only be tested by comparing observations against predictions - temperatures must continue to go up. What fluctuations one allows in such a trend is problematic.

But even such predictive success only serves to maintain AGW as one valid hypothesis - of many - which would explain such observed warming.

observa said...

Whether AGW theory proves Gospel or not, there are still very good reasons for shifting taxation to carbon and resource taxing generally, given Ken Henry's astute observation that with 125 Federal taxes the number is likely larger than the No, of Northern Hairy Nose Wombats now. However one thing is abundantly clear from the global financial schemozzle, the last thing we need is more dingbats and their carbon credit grand plan overlaid on that lot. To believe otherwise now is denialist or delusional.

sir henry casingbroke said...

Tony of South Yarra: Both Duffy's and Prof Bob's contentions are not arguments about the mechanism of global warming or the science used to argue the case for either for or against it but ad hominem diatribes about the people and organisations who are on the yes, there is global warming and it is man-made side. Hence I thought I would redress the balance. While Duffy simply lies Prof Bob commits numerous argument atrocities, among them:
. argument by name tagging
. argument by misuse of appeal to authoritative sources/authority - his own
. aforementioned ad hominem
. argument by appeal to ignorance
. fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc
. poisoning the wells argument

Jasper said...

HC, don't know if you have seen this article series from NASA on the global ocean cooling mistake: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page1.php

People often malign the accuracy of climate models, but sometimes they are more trustworthy than the data.

JM said...

Tony of South Yarra wants it all tied up in a nice pretty pink bow:

"Nor do graphs. While they might demonstrate warming - notwithstanding the controversies surrounding their methodologies - they do not show its cause.

Since there is no crucial experiment to prove the AGW hypothesis, it can only be tested by comparing observations against predictions -"

Let me try for you Tony.

In 1896, Arhennius (chemist, Nobel prize winner etc) predicted that temperature was related to the concentration of CO2 as:

dT = CS * ln( dCO2)

or change in temperature is proportional to the logarithm of the change in CO2 concentration (where CS is "climate sensitivity" or the number of degrees increase caused by a doubling of CO2)

Got that?

Ok, now we go to the numbers and the graphs.

CO2 in 1896: ~270 ppm
CO2 now: ~385 ppm

Increase in temperature: 0.7C

Implied CS: about 3 (ie. same number as the IPCC)

Reliability of fit (as represented by the R2 statistic) about 80%

ie. 80% of the increase can be explained by AGW over the last century.

There you have it Tony. Hypothesis, observation, conclusion, proof.

Or as you put it: "tested by comparing observations against predictions"

A 100 year long experiment on a global scale.

Good enough for you?

JM said...

Sorry, I was a little remiss there and forgot to make the final point.

Arhennius's model looks pretty good on the numbers (what Tony calls 'graphs') so what was it he was actually proposing?

He was saying that the well known radiative properties of CO2 combined with the re-radiation of infra-red from the earth acts to warm the earth. And also that any increase in CO2 would increase the temperature of the earth.

This is the theory now known as "global warming" or sometimes the "greenhouse effect".

So numbers (or 'graphs') do have a real world purpose - they act to test hypotheses and ideas.

GW is a tested and proven idea Tony. Not as proven as gravity, but in everyday terms I think we'd count it as proven (especially when compared to any mainstream idea in macroeconomics you'd care to name)

Tim Curtin said...

I find HC’s extended commentary on recent articles in Quadrant by Carter, Kininmonth, et al., as well as most of the Comments, somewhat lacking in point by point rebuttals. Merely restating the conventional wisdom of IPCC, Stern, Garnaut & Co. does not advance the discussion. In particular recycling the modelling results that the IPCC considers as “evidence” is a perversion of science: only observations count as evidence, pace the naïve beliefs of Friedlingstein et al 2006 and Soden & Held 2006 and all the rest, especially Wigley (passim), Enting and Karoly (CASPI 2008) that adding up models counts as evidence. For example, although Garnaut’s Final Report admits “there is no consensus among models as to how climate change will affect the El Niño” (2008c:113) and the IPCC also admits “whether observed changes in ENSO behaviour are physically linked to global climate change is a research question of great importance” (i.e. unsettled, Solomon et al. 2007:288), they both imply that if the models did have “consensus” that would settle the matter. What alone would settle the matter is regression analysis of observed past ENSOs against climate change and the natural variables that do influence the ENSO. Until then we have nothing however many models are paraded.

With all due respect to HC, who implies otherwise, the Garnaut Report actually specifically excluded consideration of satellite temperature data available since 1978 when commissioning its ANU econometricians’ assessment of whether there has been cooling or warming since 1998. HC also omits mention of the Wegman report which exposed manifold statistical shortcomings in the work of the hockey stick team, MBH 1998, or that the NAS report did not in fact validate the MBH abolition of the MWP (it said their reconstructions had no validity prior to 1400).

After those material omissions, HC proceeds to a series of emotional appeals that Quadrant’s authors “should consider the possibility that they may hold erroneous views that, if they were accepted, would impose huge damages on our children and on future generations”. But this applies with even stronger force to HC and his heroes Stern and Garnaut, who also need to consider that if they are wrong, they will have committed both this generation and its descendant to significant costs for benefits that will not emerge if they are wrong, and not before 2100 if they are right. This has nothing to with their dodgy discount rates, as it is true even with a zero rate.

Then HC appeals to authority, in this case none other than Gordon Brown, but perhaps not that Gordon Brown. Neither is that flash with arithmetic. HC’s GB numbers imply that global temp. increased by 1.4oC from 1956 to 2005; according to GISS (November 08) the actual increase was 0.95. GB is right that HADCrut shows that 11 of its 12 warmest years were in 1995-2006, but Hansen’s GISS does not agree, with only 7 (GISS Dec 02 for 1995-2001; Nov.08 for 2002 to 2006).

GB is right, Arctic sea ice was low in late summers of both 2007 and 2008, but that is not the first time, as there was similar shrinkage in the 20s and 30s, but then as now rebounding in the winter. Glaciers have been shrinking for most of the last 120 years, not just since 1976. If this GB has done regressions to show how “substantial” the effect of anthropogenic forcings is vis a vis natural forcings, he or at least HC does not report them.

Then GB as reported by HC appears to refute Svante Arrhenius with the claim “the balance of evidence (sic) suggests that annual global mean surface temperatures will warm by 1-6oC by 2100 in response to increased [unmitigated?] concentrations of GHG”. Arrhenius (1896, Table VII) with his famous equation (misreported here by JM) claimed that increasing atmos. CO2 (hereafter [CO2]) by 50% would raise temperature by on average 3.2oC in the tropics (10 to –10 Lat.), and up to 3.7 in the higher latitudes. JM claims the [CO2] level in 1896 was 270 ppm, and it is now (October 08) 386.25 (seasonally adjusted from the actual 382.98 ppm), an increase of 43%, not far short of Arrhenius’ 50%. Yet GB says we have warmed by only 0.7oC since 1906, well short of A’s 3.2-3.7.

The usual IPCC range for a doubling of [CO2] from the 280 ppm in 1750 to 560 ppm is 1.5 to 4.5 with a best estimate of 3oC. Again this is well short of A’s 5-6oC for a doubling from the 1896 level of 270 ppm. As JM is our resident expert on Svante Arrhenius perhaps he would care to explain the apparent discrepancies.

But as an economist presumably not unaware of T.R. Malthus’ famous claim that while population grows geometrically, food production can never grow more than arithmetically, HC should be intrigued by Arrhenius’ similar claim that even if [CO2] grows geometrically, temperature will increase only arithmetically. The Garnaut report seems to have difficulty with this, with its exaggerated projections of both [CO2] and temperature under BAU (no mitigation). My own view for what it is worth is that both Malthus and Arrhenius were wrong, but in opposite directions. Food production has far outpaced population growth since 1800 – never have so many been so well fed – and clearly world temperature is growing less than arithmetically in response to geometric increases in [CO2]. But world food production will undoubtedly plummet in line with Malthus’ worst fears when the Garnaut Plan for our ruination kicks in with his ETS: the geometric increase in world food production over the last 100 years is demonstrably strongly correlated (r2=.98, DW and t both over 2) with the increase in [CO2]. Even the Garnaut Report’s commissioned study from CSIRO (Crimp et al 2008) shows the powerful effect of elevated [CO2] on wheat yields – but resorts to fictitious long term decline in average rainfall to offset this, and fails to account for the loss of output from the shrinking annual increases in [CO2] it seeks.

HC ends with what amounts to more emotional blackmail: “these [Carter et al] minority (sic) views offer the potential for substantial risks to society if they were adopted and proved to be wrong”. Again, vice versa applies: if the (claimed) majority proves to be wrong (and science never depends on consensus), its malign policies such as the ETS will do untold harm to all of us, even unto countless future generations.

JM said...

Tim Curtin, in a heroic* effort to pile up heaps and mountains of trivia fails to refute three simple facts:

1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas
2. CO2 is the only greenhouse gas that has increased in concentration over the last century
3. Human activity is the only possible cause

Nor has he refuted the basic laws of radiative and thermal physics.

Sorry Tim, increased CO2 => global warming. Nothing will get around that.

* Seriously Tim I'm impressed, that comment must have taken hours for you to put together. In fact, I read it with great interest and spent some time checking out the references you made. Normally, I don't bother as most denialist claptrap bears the hallmarks of BS pretty clearly and ... well life is too short.

But I will call you out on this particularly egregious piece of nonsense - specifically as it is addressed to me and I feel I should respond:

"JM claims the [CO2] level in 1896 was 270 ppm, and it is now (October 08) 386.25 (seasonally adjusted from the actual 382.98 ppm), an increase of 43%, not far short of Arrhenius’ 50%"

My response is this:

1. "seasonally adjusted"???? What the hell are you talking about - I mentioned two numbers over 100 years apart, what possible role do seasons have to play?

2. Arrhenius made no claim of a 50% increase in CO2 over anything like a century timescale - his private belief in 1896 was that it would take about 3000 years of human activity to double CO2 concentrations, but that is absent from his actual paper. What the hell are you talking about? Are you just making this stuff up for rhetorical effect?

3. Even if he had made such a claim, I think most people would consider that an experiment conducted over a century that comes in at 43% as opposed to the prediction of 50% as - let us say - "pretty good". What do you think?

Tim further comments:

"The usual IPCC range for a doubling of [CO2] from the 280 ppm in 1750 to 560 ppm is 1.5 to 4.5 with a best estimate of 3oC"

Yep, 3 degrees per doubling, I think my original comment actually said that explicitely. Good that we can agree on that.

" Again this is well short of A’s 5-6oC for a doubling from the 1896 level of 270 ppm. As JM is our resident expert on Svante Arrhenius perhaps he would care to explain the apparent discrepancies.?"

Ahhhh, perhaps because he was making an estimate 102 years ago based on a simplified model and poor data and he could only get within 50% of the real value?

I think we can do better than that now, and given that we agree on the value of climate sensitivity (3C) perhaps you could stop flinging a whole lot of confusing mud at the wall in the hope some of it sticks and get on with the real task of mitigation and its economic effects.

JM said...

Tim

I want to very closely question you on something because I don't think you know what you're talking about and you're making a meaningless zing in the quise of dismissing my views.

In fact, I think you're flinging noise in the guise of knowledge, which in this case you do not possess.

You said: "Arrhenius (1896, Table VII) with his famous equation (misreported here by JM) claimed that ... [etc]"

You accuse me here of misrepresenting the Arhennius Equation - which is about activation energy in chemical reactions - where I am actually talking about something different: Arhennius's statement about the effects of CO2 which is, quite properly represented in the mathematical form I gave.

Those are two completely different things.

Or perhaps I'm wrong.

Could you please explain why you accuse me of misrepresentation?

To assist you in this endeavour, the Arhennius Equation looks like this:


k = A exp(E/RT)

where

k = rate constant of the reaction (ie. how fast it happens)
A = a proportionality constant
E = activation energy of the reaction
R = the gas constant
T = temperature

Now that equation is

a.) quite different in form from that for GW (it's exponential rather than logarithmic)

b.) has nothing to do with CO2 concentrations

Perhaps you could explain your accusation?

Alternatively, could you explain your apparent (and I'd say very novel) belief that radiative physics is governed by the laws of chemistry rather than nuclear physics?

Tim Curtin said...

JM: 1. The “seasonally adjusted” figure is that for October 2008 at Mauna Loa as reported by them (i.e Pieter Tans); they also produce the actual reading, which was only 382 or so from memory. 2. Arrhenius’ model abstracts from time, and we all know he was wrong about growth of [CO2]. But he made categorical forecats that with 50% increase in [CO2} there would be 3+oC higher temperature. Your original formula was dT as dependent variable, which produces 14oC from your numbers, so I assume you meant T, which produces 14 or so as the actual global temp., depending on your CS which as usual in IPCC speak can always be “tuned” to get whatever answer you want. For example, the IPCC’s CS varies from model to model depending on the amount of alarm they wish to spread. It has no scientific basis, in that outcomes which are 3oC for doubling of [CO2] are stated plus or minus 50%. What is the temperature right now where you sit? Is it 15oC +/- 7.5, i.e anything between 7.5 and 22.5? So have your jumpers and briefs to hand for whichever. Science used to be about precise measurement, eg Einstein’s e=mc^2, has just been reconfirmed, without any resort to ^2 +/- 50%. The Arrhenius hypothesis has been refuted by the observations cited by you and HC. End of story. I know about his other equation, I was using the one you proferred.
Here is another example of IPCC/Stern/Garnaut alarm in this extract from my letter published in the FT (London) last week:

How can Dubai flourish in the heat while cool Britannia falters?
Published: November 19 2008 02:00 From Mr Timothy Curtin.
Sir, I was unusually interested in your very positive editorial on Dubai (“Correcting Dubai”, November 13), if only because it omitted to mention that Dubai's average temperature is 27.5 o C, more than 18 o C above the UK's average from 1960-90 of 9.4 o C. According to Lord Stern and Fiona Harvey, your environment correspondent, not to mention the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a rise in temperature of only 2 o C anywhere will have catastrophic implications for all life as we know it, including biodiversity….
I hope your next editorial on Dubai will explain why it flourishes despite the heat, with its 25 per cent-a-year increase in population through immigrants seeking income despite the heat, while Gordon Brown’s Scotland and England have entered on seemingly terminal decline despite their ongoing “coolth”.

JM said...

Tim, can you just settle down a bit please?

I just asked you to explain what you were talking about, and I can't follow the incoherent gibberish of your response.

The questions I've posed to you are simple

1. Can you refute the proposition that CO2 is the only greenhouse gas that has increased in concentration over the last century, and that the only possible cause is human activity?

2. Can you explain (or withdraw) your accusation that I misrepresented Arhennius's original analysis of the effects of CO2 increases on climate? Personally, I don't give a stuff if he - speaking 112 years ago - got the magnitude wrong by 50%, that's a minor issue, he got the basics right.

Tim Curtin said...

1. “water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas…However human activities have only a small direct influence on the amount of atmospheric water vapour” (IPCC AR4 WG1: 115, 135, second part of this quote is also in Garnaut, p.34). That show the level of understanding of the IPCC’s 2500 or is 25,000 Nobel winning scientists, not one of whom is aware that “fossil fuels” are aka hydrocarbons, so burning them releases both water and CO2. Not knowing that they have never of course attempted to measure the H2O released by burning fossil fuels. The clots who runs the news of SBS, ABC, BBC are equally unaware that when they endlessly rerun their file clips of power station cooling towers, what we see is water vapour, not CO2. But said broadcasters not to mention the 25,000 are equally ignorant. Yet if CO2 emissions are increasing, then so is H2O, pace the IPCC.
2. As to your second point , my answer is in my last already, just try reading it slowly with deep breaths as require

JM said...

"... so burning them releases both water and CO2. Not knowing that they have never of course attempted to measure the H2O released by burning fossil fuels... "

Tim you really have to pick your opponents more carefully - I've worked in the fossil fuels industry on 3 occasions, once as a laboratory manager.

My retort is simple:-

1. measure change in atmospheric moisture content over 100 years. Answer, no change (which is as expected as H2O has a short atmospheric residence time and the equilibrium in the water cycle keeps everything nice and balanced)

2. atmospheric residence time - days in the case of water, as we all know from our everyday experience of clouds and rain, centuries in the case of CO2

3. do you agree that the infra-red absorption characteristics of CO2, measurable in the laboratory and embodied in quite a few common laboratory instruments, combined with the fact that the earths surface re-radiates incident light as heat (ie. rocks warm up in strong sunlight) will necessarilly increase the heat retained by the earth's atmosphere (aka the 'greenhouse effect', aka 'global warming')

4. since the concentration of CO2 has increased over the last century whereas H2O has not, CO2 must be the root cause of the observed warming.

No selective quotation from any report of any kind is going to change these basic facts of fundamental empirical observation.

Are they?

(BTW - your analysis of Arhennius's CO2 relation is laughably wrong, you need to brush up on your calculus a bit. I'm not going to say anything more than this small quibble as it's not central to my point and your errors are obvious to any numerate person).

JM said...

Sorry that should be "fundamental physics and empirical observation"

And yes, in case you're wondering I do come from the Harry Messel School of Physics Discourse. [/in-joke]

Tim Curtin said...

1. Well done, JM, you have solved the measurement problem that defeated IPCC, ibid., 271, except where you have refuted their claim (273) {all} “studies all indicate increases in moisture in the atmosphere near the surface… and a significant upward trend over the global oceans and some NH land areas”. I wonder how that could be? But then you have found that there “is no change”. Can I have your full name and address so I can propose you if not for a Nobel at least for the next IPCC so you can set them straight?
2. How do you know [CO2] stays there “for centuries”? The IPCC and Houghton no doubt foolishly – along with Gavin at RC – think there is an annual flux of around 100 GtC out of the total nearly 800 GtC of [CO2]; given that large annual flux, how do you know which [CO2] molecules stay up forever and which are involved in the flux? Another Nobel for your answer!
3. Yes, but how much? You and Arrhenius give different answers.
4. See (1) above.
5. Your Arrhenius yields 14 for “dT”. Please explain what you mean.

JM said...

[My apologies to readers, this is long, it's boring and it's detailed. But it is - in my view - a necessary takedown of Tim. It's also intemperate, but that's my style - Harry will probably nuke me and I'll have to repost later when I've calmed down a bit]

Re. your response to 1. Please show me any figures, any at all that show an increased atmospheric concentration of water vapour of any magnitude over the last 100 years. There isn't any.

Compare and contrast with approx 40% increase in CO2 over the same period.

Question. Which is more responsible? A 40% increase in CO2 should produce approximately a 1C rise in temperature, temperature increase over the last 100 years? 0.7C or about 1C. Tick

An approximately zero increase in H20 over the last hundred years? Ahhh, I think that means water vapour isn't responsible.

Your response to 4. Ditto above. Show me evidence of an increase in water vapour first, otherwise I won't bother to entertain your assertion that water vapour has anything at all to do with observed warming.

"3. Yes, but how much? You and Arrhenius give different answers."

Thank you for conceding that increasing CO2 warms the earth, thank you for conceding that human activity is responsible.

We're half way there.

"5. Your Arrhenius yields 14 for “dT”. Please explain what you mean."

Tim, Tim, Tim. Learn to pick your fights. And learn your calculus, particularly as from your website I learn that you make calculus a primary component of your criticism of the Stern report. On the evidence of this discussion I'd say your criticism is for the shredder as your knowledge is ... appalling.

And your error is gross.

I said:

"dT = CS * ln( dCO2)

or change in temperature is proportional to the logarithm of the change in CO2 concentration (where CS is "climate sensitivity" or the number of degrees increase caused by a doubling of CO2)"


You said:

"Your original formula was dT as dependent variable, which produces 14oC from your numbers, so I assume you meant T, which produces 14 or so as the actual global temp."

The bold bit is where you went badly, badly wrong.

No I did not mean T. I meant dT, which as anyone familiar with calculus would know even at the high school level, means "an infintesimal change in T". The little 'd' means "infintesimal" or "small change". Standard notation. You're familiar with standard notation? No?

Most definitely NOT T (temperature) itself.

Now you should have got a bit of a clue from words 'change in temperature' and also the variable 'dCO2' and the words 'change in CO2 concentration'.

'change in'. Get it? The change in the variables, NOT the value of the variables themselves*

But let's continue with your analysis. You assume that I really meant

T = CS ln (dCO2)***

ie the temperature of the earth (if CS = 3) is:

3 * ln ( 385 - 270 ) degrees C

= 3 * 4.14
= 14.23C

That's your calculation right? That's what you said: "which produces 14 or so as the actual global temp"

SBWSOABHAW**

But it isn't mine. Nor is it Arhennius's, nor anyone else who has used calculus since Newton or Leibnitz 400 years ago.

There are at least three mistakes here:

1. The first (mentioned above) which asserts that dT = temperature of the earth in degrees C

It doesn't. It means what I said: "change in temperature"

2. That dCO2 means CO2-at-end minus CO2-at-start. I can kinda forgive you this one, but anyone who knows calculus would interpret it as I meant it:

The ratio of CO2-at-end divided by CO2-at-start.

3. Here's the third mistake, and it's a little subtle for those not familiar with mathematics, but a complete bloody screaming howler to those that are.

Where's the zero point?

You have misrepresented the CO2 equation in linear form:

Absolute temp = CS * ln ( CO2end- COstart)

If I do that straight up, I get 14.32. 14.32 what? Celcius?, Farenheit?, Kelvin?, My-Favorite-Uncles-Made-Up_scale? Why should a change in arbitrary scale change the result? That's absurd.

That should have given you a clue that you were misinterpreting something, IN A BIG SCREAMING FROM THE HILLTOPS MANNER.

The simple, mathematical form of your interpretation should have told you that you were wildly, completely, lunar-shot-scale missing the goddamn point.

Assuming of course that you were mathematically literate, which we have now shown that you are not.

Let's re-do the calculation in the real form:

Change in T = 3 * ln ( Change in CO2)

using 270 ppm -> 385 ppm

gives

Change in earth's temperature over 100 years = 1K

(K is Kelvin, the absolute scale of temperature which is what really should be used for this sort of thing - it has the same magnitude as Celcius ie 1C = 1K but a different zero point)

Actual, observed, empirical change 0.7C

Not bad ehh? About 30% out, but increase CO2 by 40%, get about 1 degree increase in temperature.

Increase, NOT absolute value.

So why do you think you made the mistake of thinking a broken calculation of 14.32 pieces of rubbish was the same thing as 14.32 degrees celcius?

Perhaps because you don't know what you're talking about?

Now Tim, I'm gonna take you to the woodshed on this one.

You throw out a farrago of links to trivia that you claim disproves major facts.

We have a words for that sort of thing: "confabulation", "ignorance" and "lack of real knowledge".

And let me get this right, you are the guy who criticizes the Stern Report on it's use of the discount rate (I'm stepping outside of the area of my formal education here, but into an area where I have professional business experience) by quibbling (refer 2nd paragraph of paper) about the use of the terms "discount rate" and "discount factor"

Let me tell you Tim, jargon in the markets is often pretty loose and we have a term for people who make pedantic quibbles - especially those who so badly misunderstand the calculus as outlined above - like you do in your lengthy paper (17 pages) that is 6 letters long, starts with "id", ends with "ts" has two vowels in the remaining letters and is usually rendered in polite company as "unteachable".

The climate problem is real, the economic problem that results from it is real. The economic solutions require serious evaluation and discussion.

What we don't need is - let's face it shall we, amateurs like you (and yes me) making completely ignorant and bogus cases against quite well understood and conventional science, in public with the sole purpose of confusing and confounding the real issues.

I have children, and I expect to have grand-children. I would like them to grow up prosperous and happy.

I own property close to the sea, I would prefer to live out my life here and not have to abandon it in the middle of a collapsing economy.

I am most certainly not going to keep quiet in the face of ignorant clowns who are hindering those aims.

Tim, I believe you've shown yourself to be ignorant. Of basic things that my 15 year old daughter can handle.

Your papers and comments are filled with ignorant (and wrong) hypermathemitisis that confounds and confuses basic science (and I presume economics as well) and as far as I can tell has no discernable purpose other than to earn you a bit of cash for your old age at the expense of everyone else.

[Sorry Harry, I think I've probably violated your comments policy. Let me know and I'll come back and repost in more polite form t/row]


* Why am I having to teach a supposedly educated man basic mathematics? I've got more important things to do.

** "Short Break While Screaming Obscenities And Banging Head Against Wall"

*** I'll leave aside that dimensional consistency has gone completely to hell at this point as that's too technical for a lay audience, but really Tim, what were you thinking? You take a coherent mathematical statement, recast it as gibberish and put it in my mouth asserting that it's "what I really meant"? Is that your style or something?

Tim Curtin said...

JM: You have banged your head aagainst the wall that it's no longer capable of coherent thought. Sad.
Your equation is dt= CS*ln(dCO2), or = 3 * ln(115); ln(115) = 4.744932; which multiplied by 3 = 14.235. So dT = 14.235. Now what is dT? I orginally interpreted it as change in temp, in which case 14.235 seemed a touch on the high side, whether in K, C or F. There is no way your equation yields a temp change of 1.0oC.
As for H2O, you are claiming that fossil fuel combustion produces none of it, or that if it does it's not for long, becasue of increased precipitation. Why then does IPCC assert there has been an observable increases in NH land (where most emissions occur), or if you are right, why does Garnaut say fossil fuel emissions of water vapour mean drought?

JM said...

---------------

Tim: "our equation is dt= CS*ln(dCO2), or = 3 * ln(115); ln(115) = 4.744932; which multiplied by 3 = 14.235. So dT = 14.235. Now what is dT? I orginally interpreted it as change in temp, in which case 14.235 seemed a touch on the high side, whether in K, C or F. There is no way your equation yields a temp change of 1.0oC."

You condemn yourself. You repeat, in detail, exactly the mistakes I accuse you of.

The actual calculation is

dT = 3 * ln (385/270) <--- ******* Note division, not subtraction
= 1.06

Don't use mathematics if you don't understand it.

Don't talk about physics if you don't understand it.

Don't confabulate about economics if you don't understand it.

Don't criticize Stern for using the low discount rate he did unless you've read and understood his reasoning (which is discussed extensively in the report, and was widely commented on at the time of its release - more or less "we only have one world").

And don't go around confusing people on such an important issue.

Particularly after you have proven yourself to be a fool.

Anonymous said...

Tim,
The change in temperature is:

3 * [ln(385) - ln(270)] which due to the properties of logarithms
= 3*ln(385/270)
= 3*ln(1.4249)
= 3*0.354821375
= 1.064 degrees.

Geddit?

Why am I doomed to correct your maths all over teh intertubes? I hereby forbid you from making any arguments in mathematical form for a period of 1 year.

As for why water vapour should rise recently; because it's hotter and there is more evaporation. Positive feedback. If it cools, water vapour levels will drop again.

As for how do we know carbon residence in the atmosphere: isotope ratios.

James H

Tim Curtin said...

JM said at the beginning: “change in temperature is proportional to the [natural] logarithm (ln) of the CHANGE (i.e. 115 ppm on JM’s own numbers) in the concentration of CO2”. Then JM also said Ln(115)*3 = 0.7oC. So James Haughton, you should address your kind remarks to JM. It is true he has changed his tune, and now says it is not the change in CO2 but the RATIO between present and first values. But James, you then got 1.064, which is not JM’s original 0.7, but actually 52% bigger. When you two have reached agreement do get back to me.

BTW, from where do you guys get your 3? My guess is that it is always chosen to yield the desired result. So with more care JM would have picked 2 which does give his result.

But whether JM’s 0.7 or JH’s 1.064, dear old Svante Arrhennius’ has 3.15-3.7 for a 50% increase in CO2 from 270ppm; JM’s data gives 42.3% increase in CO2 since 1896, close enough to Arrhenius’ 50%. So James, why not up your alpha or CS factor to 10, and then you will get SA’s result. Bravo, and QED. James Hansen needs you.

JM said...

Tim, when you're in a hole the best thing to do is stop digging.

You are now compounding your original error - which arose from your ignorant misinterpretation of a commonplace presentation of a physical model (ie. the CO2 relation as I presented it).

You are now just repeating your error - which if you had anything like the knowledge you claim, you would never have made in the first place - by reasserting it.

You are also confounding a physics argument (greater CO2, higher temperature) with arithmetic, and forcing words into my mouth.

Yes. The 100 year increase in atmospheric CO2 is 115ppm.

But that doesn't make your mathematics correct, and simply repeating it won't help. And you can assert as long as you like that your misinterpretation of what I said is actually what I said is going to get you nowhere.

I said what I meant and I meant what I said. You just misread it.

All you are doing is demonstrating your own ignorance.

And the value of 3 for climate sensitivity is the "approved by the IPCC" value, but it is also the consensus value from a wide number of studies done over the past century from a variety of approaches. In the early years, the values varied widely between 0 and about 8 (I think, from memory). And some of those studies were found to be flawed in spectacularly stupid ways, but over the last 30 years or so nearly every one of them has come in around 3.

It's an empirically derived and established figure. No-one really argues with it (except a few people like me who think it may actually be higher and that the empirical data has been confounded by other effects that no longer exist - but that's another argument and I'm not going to advance it here as it's just a personal fear rather anything I can solidly back up).

As to the difference between 0.7 and 1? Meh. The CO2 relation is a simple model, there are other factors. But it is a first order model and the physics underlying it is very, very well established. If you disagree and are right I think you'll find your computer will suddenly stop working as your computer runs on the same physics.

And I've already said I don't care if Arhennius got CS wrong. He got the physics right and different parameters don't take that away from him.

The other factors? They're second and third order. Do we really care? If we had economic models that were this simple and accurate we'd all be drinking champagne.

As Arnie the Terminator said last year "the science is in, there is no argument, we have to deal with the economic and political problems now".

JM said...

Tim

I'm going to make a very serious accusation against you here, but I think I have evidence to back it up.

You're not being honest.

We've just had a debate that is about the difference between

dT = CS * ln ( CO2end/CO2start ) [my version, involves division]

and

T = CS * ln ( CO2end - CO2start ) [your version in this thread, involves subtraction ]

However over at Brave New Climate in comment #8 on 16 August 2008 you say:

"I believe the correct formula for logarithmic growth of Temperature relative to a doubling of Carbon Dioxide is
ln(Ct/Co)= kT. " Note: division not subtraction.

[It's at the start of the 3rd paragraph and the remainder of the thread goes on to knock down your assertions further and I don't want to revisit them here, but suffice to say you appear to have embarrassed yourself just as badly then]

In other words, you quite clearly know the correct form of the CO2 relation and have promoted it in other forums ("I believe the correct formula ...")

But here you come at me with this blizzard of nonsense that not only uses the wrong form, but argues against a form that you have used yourself and assert to be correct

What's going on?

Why do you say one thing in one place, but the opposite here?

Do you actually understand any of this stuff? Or are you simply unable to organize your own knowledge and keep it consistent?

Or are you just making whatever noise suits your purpose on the day?

Tim Curtin said...

JM: This is what you said, not me" In 1896, Arhennius (chemist, Nobel prize winner etc) predicted that temperature was related to the concentration of CO2 as:

dT = CS * ln( dCO2)

or change in temperature is proportional to the logarithm of the change in CO2 concentration (where CS is "climate sensitivity" or the number of degrees increase caused by a doubling of CO2)

Got that?

Ok, now we go to the numbers and the graphs.

CO2 in 1896: ~270 ppm
CO2 now: ~385 ppm

Increase in temperature: 0.7C

Implied CS: about 3 (ie. same number as the IPCC)"
You referred to dC, not to the ratio Ct/Co.

Look we all make mistakes, especially on blogs, isn't it time you admitted you originally stated the equation incorrectly? I applied your version in good faith. Perhaps you could use some good faith yourself. Meantime your diversion has let Harry off the hook, enabling him to avoid responding to all my criticisms of his diatribe against Quadrant.

JM said...

" I applied your version in good faith."

I doubt that. It is now clear to me that you understood what I was talking about from the start and yet you agressively, and repeatedly put conclusions of your own confection in my mouth.

And you stood up to some very agressive language from me where I asserted that you were ignorant and disorganised. Any normal person would have corrected my misapprehension but you chose to leverage it (and disgrace yourself) for some weird agenda of your own.

You have used a mere notational quibble to do that. A quibble that barely exists (and I'll disagree with you that it exists, I don't think it does but maybe I move in different circles).

That doesn't strike me as being particularly honest at all.

In fact, I think it's a waste of everyones time.

And I believe it is clear evidence of intellectual dishonesty, which is particularly worrying given the importance of this issue and your apparent prominence as a denialist advocate.

Tell me Tim. After this little effort, why should I (or anyone else) bother to engage with you at all let alone trust a single statement of yours?

I don't have the time to be bothered with you anymore and I don't think anyone else with any sense should either.

sir henry casingbroke said...

Climate scientist Barry Brook goes to a lot of painstaking trouble to refute all of Tim Curtin's fallacious arguments about (1) GW (2) anthropogenesis. Tim Curtin BTW, has no credentials in science by his own admission but boasts of being "an economist living in Canberra".

While pointing out numerous errors of calculation on which Curtin bases his pseudo-scientific arguments, Brook et.al expose Curtin to be a serial obfuscator.

Those interested in the climate debate should go to the trouble and read the exchange at Brave New Climate blog - as pointed to by JM. It's a perfect example of argument in bad faith:

1. Curtin premises his argument by using false data derived from bad maths.
2. The maths and methodological errors are exposed, point by point.
3. Curtin, responds with a red herring and returns to his original false argument.
4. The errors are again pointed out to him, step by step.
5. Faced with irrefutable evidence, Curtin blithely admits fundamental errors, but makes light of them.
6. Curtin reposts his original argument again based on the false data and calculation, which he has admitted as wrong just up along the thread.
7. This is again pointed out to him.
8. Curtin indulges in ad hominem attacks, full of the sound and fury, aimed at those who pointed out the errors. He then restates his case, again using the false data, which he had already admitted was in error.

Tim Curtin said...

Dear Sir Henry

I see you could not cite a single specific instance of all your allegations. As for ad homs, how is that possible against anons like you and JM? Meanwhile Barry Brook cheerfully uses taxpayers' money (including mine) to run his blog full of attacks on me to which I have no right of reply, having been banned for life from his book of psalms. So much for the Aussie fair go!

Philip Machanick said...

Tim, you are obviously very thick of skin if not of head. You've been shown by detailed argument not to have a clue here, and yet you want detailed references to demonstrate that this is not a once-off. One good place has already been cited.

You mention you've been banned from one blog. Only one? You must be disappointed, having tried so hard. Cheer up. Hone your skills at unsupportable argument, and you may yet land a spot as science reporter on The Australian.

I hear they fire staff there for fact checking, so an opening could appear any day.