Monday, 28 May 2007

Warmists don't like disagreement

Alexander Cockburn continues counterpunching the warmists in The Nation. Warmists don't like disagreement. Spoils the "consensus."

I began this series of critiques of the greenhouse fearmongers with an evocation of the papal indulgences of the Middle Ages as precursors of the "carbon credits"-ready relief for carbon sinners, burdened, because all humans exhale carbon, with original sin. In the Middle Ages they burned heretics, and after reading through the hefty pile of abusive comments and supposed refutations of my initial article on global warming I'm fairly sure that the critics would be only to happy to cash in whatever carbon credits they have and torch me without further ado. The greenhouse fearmongers explode at the first critical word, and have contrived a series of primitive rhetorical pandybats which they flourish in retaliation.
"Pandybats." Good word => Pandybats were long leather-covered cane like instruments which Irish schoolmasters used as canes. Here's some of the disciplinary explosions conjured up by warmists:
  • Those who disagree with their claim that anthropogenic CO2 is the cause of the small, measured increase in the average earth's surface temperature, are stigmatized as "denialists"...
  • The greenhousers endlessly propose that the consensus of "scientists" on anthropogenic climate change is overwhelming. By scientists they actually mean computer modelers...
  • Peer review, heavily overworked in the rebuttals I have been reading, is actually a topic on which the greenhousers would do well to keep their mouths shut, since, as the University of Virginia's Pat Michaels has shown, the most notorious sentence in the IPCC's 1996 report ("The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate") was inserted at the last minute by a small faction on the IPCC panel after the scientific peer-review process was complete....
  • As for the alleged irrefutable evidence that people caused the last century's CO2 increase, the "smoking gun" invoked by one of my critics, Dr. Michael Mann, and his fellow fearmongers at, the claim is based on the idea that the normal ratio of heavy to light carbon-that is, the Carbon-13 isotope to the lighter Carbon-12 isotope, is roughly 1 to 90 in the atmosphere, but in plants there's a 2 percent lower C13/C12 ratio... once again, the greenhousers have got it ass-backward. The 100 ppm increase in CO2 can't be uniquely attributed to humans because at least as plausibly it could be the effect, not the cause, of the warming that started after the Little Ice Age denied by Dr. Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann.
Look for more in this series when Cockburn returns from flying over the Arctic to "make a direct review of the ice cap" to further annoy "committed greenhousers like George Monbiot" -- "honorary chairman of the King Canute Action Committee, committed to beating back non-existent anthropogenic global warming by tactics which would have zero impact anyway."

Here's Cockburn's complete series so far:
  1. Is Global Warming a Sin?
  2. Hot Air, Cold Cash: Who Are the Merchants of Fear?
  3. Explosion of the Fearmongers: The Greenhousers strike back and out.
UPDATE: Take the Global Warming Test: A quick quiz from 1997 that will test your grasp of global warming. It comes with a caution: "This section contains sound science, not media hype, and may therefore contain material not suitable for young people trying to get a good grade in political correctness."


  1. Eddie visits occasionally28 May 2007, 12:36:00

    I'm curious, PC, what exactly is your position on climate change? Is the planet warming at all? If so, is it simply natural, or a result of solar rays, or what?

    It seems to me you're quite happy to criticise the prevailing science, but you haven't added anything constructive to the debate. And you won't, unless you state your position.

  2. I"ve stated my "position" many times. Look back in the archives.

    "I'm curious, PC, what exactly is your position on climate change?"

    Climate change? The climate has always been changing. Always will.

    There's been periods when it's been far, far warmer than now, and periods when it's been a heck of a lot colder.

    What we're discussing is not climate change but anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I see the recent change in terminology as a recognition that AGW is becoming a more difficult argument to make.

    "Is the planet warming at all?"

    There's a useful short summary of the reliable temperature record at the Swindle webstite, which I paraphrase here, and also a collection of comments on the record.

    In the last century it's been both warming and cooling.

    In the last decade, there has been no clear warming trend in either surface or satellite record (as the UK Met Office and IPCC’s own figures demonstrate). 1998 was an El Nino high, but subsequent El Nino events failed to match it.

    In the last century, the (corrected) surface record warmed 0.3-0.6 degrees C.

    Much of the warming occurred prior to 1940, when human emissions of CO2 were relatively small compared to today. During the post-war economic boom (when one would have expected the temperature to rise) the world cooled, from the 1940s till the mid-70s (again, this is evident from accepted data used by the IPCC).

    But it’s important to look back further in time 1,000 years. The climate record which used to be accepted as the standard account of this period was published in the first IPCC report. But this account posed a problem. A thousand years ago there was time a warm period – apparently warmer than today (known to climatologists as the Medieval Warm Period). This was followed by a relatively cold period (known as the Little Ice Age), from which, over the past two to three hundred years, seem to have made a slow, welcome recovery.

    This was all rather undermined the idea that current temperatures were either unusual or alarming.

    And then there's the question of satellites versus the surface record (with all its attendant unreliability).

    Your AGW hypotheses all suggest that warming should occur in the portion of the atmosphere measured by satellites. It hasn't.

    "If so, is it simply natural, or a result of solar rays, or what?"

    That's your sixty-four billion dollar question, isn't it. It seems to me that the onus of proof is on those who assert that:
    a) warming is catastrophic; and
    b) humans are to blame; and
    c) we can devise models to reliably predict the future; and
    d) the future will be catastrophic; and
    e) we must act NOW to avert that catastrophe; and
    f) that action must consist of government action to back private action.

    For the warmist, ALL of these hypotheses have to be true, and proved to be true. I've seen far too little to prove any of them, and far too much politic--scientific sleight of hand than would be necessary if they were.

    Frankly, the only catastrophic warming that can be seen is in the heavily fudge-factored computer models, and in the increasingly apocalyptic rhetoric of warmists.

  3. Thank you PC for your well stated position.

    It would be interesting to see if any of your warmist posters could come up with a position as clear, persuasive, concise, and logical. Doubt it.

    Well Done

  4. Eddie visit occasionally28 May 2007, 15:47:00

    I notice that the links you've provided are to well-known sceptic sites. Do you believe that information can be trusted?

    The Great Global Warming Swindle has serious errors.

    Here, one of the scientists (himself a sceptic) who took part in the film has accused the film makers of "facricating" data in a graph based on his work on solar forcing.

    Another sceptic, Oceanographer Carl Wunsch, who was interviewed for the film, has filed an official complaint with Wag TV:
    He calls the film "out-and-out propaganda."

    These are serious charges.

    Climate scientists have also panned the documentary. See here for a sample:

    Now, I'm not defending the more extreme alarmism out there. When alarmism is used to sell books or to fund environmental groups, I find it distasteful and inappropriate. I also make a mental note to treat anything coming from that particular group with the proper scepticism.

    It seems to me you need to do the same with many of your own sources, starting with Martin Durkin.

  5. Eddie, those issues over the film have been well canvassed here, and in fact you'll find them discussed at the link that appears at the top right of the page.

    That said, not one of your "charges" invalidates a single one of my points in the comment above.

  6. "Eddie, those issues over the film have been well canvassed here..."

    Perhaps Eddie should visit more than just occasionally?

  7. Eddie visits occasionally28 May 2007, 16:40:00

    PC -- The point I was making is that Durkin has a known propensity to bend if not falsify the data. In one graph from Friis-Christensen, he added 100 years' worth of data in a 400-year-long time series to plug a gap that Friis-Christensen specifically said should remain empty. In another graph, he extended the horizontal axis from 1980 to 2000, later saying "There was a bit of fluff there".

    If any student were caught doing this in a research project, they would face stiff penalties (if not expulsion) and there would be a blot on their name for years to come -- and rightly so.

    If a professional did this, they would be lucky not to be fired, and any further research they published would be tainted by what their peers would rightly regard as unethical if not unscientific behaviour.

    Yet you are willing to uncritically quote his current spin. You even display graphics from his documentary on your front page. Anyone with common sense can see this is denial.

  8. Eddie, you're anti-Durkin fixation is still overshadowing the fact that not one of your "charges" invalidates a single one of my points in the comment above, none of which rely on any of the points you've raised.

    As they say, address the argument, not the person.

  9. Eddie visits occasionally28 May 2007, 18:24:00

    PC -- You don't seem to get the point. Durkin is a dubious source. Your first comment to this thread quoted extensively from the GGWS site. In other words, you're using information from a source proven to be unreliable without questioning its quality.

    If a stockbroker who was publicly shown to have given blatantly false advice in the past turns around and gives you stock tips, do you go out and buy that stock? Apparently you would.

    If you want to base your position on global warming on an unreliable source, then that's your prerogative. But don't then expect me to take your claims seriously.

  10. Eddie visits occasionally28 May 2007, 18:30:00

    By the way, what do you mean by this:

    "Your AGW hypotheses all suggest that warming should occur in the portion of the atmosphere measured by satellites. It hasn't."

    I'm guessing you're referring to John Christy's work, but can you confirm with a reference?

  11. Eddie visits occasionally28 May 2007, 19:10:00

    Whoops, I meant Roy Spencer and John Christy's work on temperature readings in the troposphere, which is actually warming. (S+C were earlier led to believe it was cooling, but after criticisms in the literature, they revisited their methodology and posted new results confirming that the troposphere is indeed warming.)

    I should note that S+C's work is affiliated with one set of instruments; the other set consistently found warming. So, the real debate was over the disagreements between the two instrument sets. This debate is now largely resolved.

  12. Eddie, you have certainly avoided the point.

    I could have taken my verbal summary from anywhere -- I've made a similar summary about half-a-dozen times this week, and I was damned if I was going to type it all out again -- so whatever your view of Martin Durkin your aversion to him is irrelevant. AS I said above, the 'problems' you cite above with GGWS have been addressed here already -- I'm not going over them again.

    In any case, the twentieth century temperature record is ON the record, and that's what I was summarising for you, as asked.

    You've yet to address it.

    Oh, and I trust you email Al Bore regularly to berate him over his egregious lies about sea level and so on? If Durkin's oversights cause you apoplexy, what must Bore's outright lies do to you?

  13. RE: the satellite record, Vincent Gray reports the following:

    There has been a recent attempt to claim that the MSU and surface records actually do agree at

    The claim is based on the finding that a linear regression equation from 1979 to 2000 on both records gives a similar slope. My paper at

    Energy and Environment 2000 17, 707-714

    shows that this claim is spurious, as it depend on the very large temperature spike due to El Niño in 1998, which was stronger in the lower troposphere than on the surface. If you do a linear regression from 1979 to 1997 on both records the MSU is close to zero, showing the greenhouse effect is undetectable in the lower troposphere where it is supposed to happen, while the surface record shows a slope which must have some other cause.


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