Spot the recycled denial V – Prof Bob Carter

In this series, I aim to teach you to recognise the recycled denialism that is rife in the public arena these days.

I don’t refute this nonsense by constructing a new argument each time which, point-by-point, shows why their claims are not supported by the evidence. This is pointless, since the majority of non-greenhouse theorists (‘sceptics’) blithely ignore any such counterpoints and simply repeat the same arguments elsewhere. Instead I rebutt by hyperlinking to some of the wealth of explanatory material out there on the world wide web. For reasons of general accessibility, the articles l link to are predominantly pitched for a lay audience – but they are consistent in linking to the peer-reviewed primary scientific literature (sometimes I’ll link straight to the journal papers). I focus primarily on the science content of the piece, except where non-science arguments are clearly false and demand correction.

————————-

Prof Bob Carter, one of the most active contrarians in the Australian and New Zealand media scene, has a new Op-Ed published in The Courier Mail. Bob also regularly writes letters to the editor of The Age, The Australian, saying much the same thing as in this Op-Ed – over and over again. He is certainly persistent. Bob is also a member of the Australian Climate Science Coalition, so now we are up to four from that group in the ‘Spot the recycled denial’ series, as he joins Prof Ian Plimer, Dr David Evans and Mr John McLean.

Here are the first few paragraphs:

NATURAL climate changes include warmings, coolings and more abrupt steps represented by the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1977. Meanwhile, lurking in the background lies the threat of visitation of another Little Ice Age.

The Rudd Government’s emissions trading policy deals only with the threat of presumed human-caused warming, and ignores the other all-too-real climate threats. The Government’s intended emissions trading scheme, therefore, does not represent proper climate policy but rather constitutes a human global warming policy – which is an entirely different, and speculative, matter.

For the hypothesis that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming has failed the tests to which it has been subjected. One important test is that global temperature has failed to increase since 1998 despite an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide of almost 5 per cent since then.

So to say that human-caused global warming is proven to be a dangerous problem is untrue, and to introduce policies aimed at stopping presumed warming when cooling is actually under way is vainglorious. An emissions trading scheme also will represent an expensive act of futility, because its introduction will have no measurable effect on future climate. Even worse, the costs of emissions trading will be levied disproportionately against the members of our society least able to afford them.

The full article can be read here

As per the revised format of this series, rather than reproducing the article in full and hyperlinking the refuted claims, I’ll simply list them below with some links to the relevant scientific information or debunking. It will be up to you to look at the original and pinpoint these recycled arguments:

1. A new little ice age is on the way.

[Short response: Presumably he means if the sun gets stuck in its current sunspot low. Yet a simple calculation will show that less than 10 years of greenhouse gas forcing offset the difference between the peak and trough of the solar cycle, so this is not possible without widespread and sustained vulcanism - is he predicting this? A bold prognosticator indeed.]

More information:

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20080804_TripReport.pdf (a must read!)

http://www.skepticalscience.com/heading-into-new-little-ice-age.htm

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn11645

2. Current warming caused by a shift in 1977 in the Pacific ocean.

[Short response: The Pacific Decadal Oscillation has not trended with temperature, and in addition, may simply be an artifact of past El Ninos.]

More information:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/el-nino-global-warming/

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Pacific-Decadal-Oscillation.htm

3. CO2 does not cause significant warming (or climate sensitivity is low).

[Short response: Mainstream view is that climate sensitivity (equilibrium warming for a doubling of CO2) is 1.5 to 4.5C, though higher estimates cannot be discounted. Estimates of low (<1C) sensitivity are not supported by observational, palaeoclimate or modelling studies.]

More information:

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/9/223615/983

http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-sensitivity.htm

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/09/climate-insensitivity/

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/11/cuckoo-science/

4. Global warming stopped in 1998.

[Short response: A recycled argument based on cherry picking a strong El Nino year. Not based on any statistical analysis of the temperature time series, which shows ongoing warming, especially when the ENSO signal is removed. Ignores ocean heat content accumulation, which is the key measure of global warming.]

More information:

http://www.aussmc.org/Is_the_Earth_Cooling.php

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn14527

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Global-warming-stopped-in-1981.html

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/global-trends-and-enso/

5. Costs of emissions trading levied against poor.

[Short response: I guess Bob didn't read the Green Paper. The proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme emissions trading model commits to compensate low income earners in various ways. Or perhaps Bob would prefer Jim Hansen's 100% dividend proposal, which is surely 100% equitable?]

More information:

http://www.climatechange.gov.au/greenpaper/factsheets/fs7.html

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20080604_TaxAndDividend.pdf

6. Cooling is more dangerous than warming.

[Short response: See point #1 for whether we are cooling. But say we are - is Bob right that warmer temperatures are better for biodiversity and agriculture than cool? No, at least not in relation to extinctions during the 540 million years of the Phanerozoic, nor according to agricultural scientists.]

More information:

http://news.mongabay.com/2007/1024-mass_extinction.html

http://scholarsandrogues.wordpress.com/2007/07/23/anti-global-heating-claims-a-reasonably-thorough-debunking/#m17

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn11657

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/1/9/131657/6469

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22883223-421,00.html

7. Abrupt climate changes have occurred in the past.

[Short response: Yes, so? Is that supposed to give us security? It instead suggests that the feedbacks can act to amplify climate shifts and cause non-linear change - 'surprises' - for which there is little time for adaptation. Palaeoclimate studies are therefore critical for anticipating future system shocks. As oceanographer Wally Broecker said: The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks.]

More information:

http://bravenewclimate.com/2008/09/03/a-warning-from-the-ghost-of-climate-past/

http://www.climate.org/PDF/clim_change_scenario.pdf (Pentagon report on abrupt climate change)

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/11/revealed-secrets-of-abrupt-climate-shifts/

http://www.nerc.ac.uk/about/consult/debate/climatechange/summary.asp#paleo

8. Adaptation is better than mitigation.

[Short response: This would only be valid if all of #1-#7 were also correct, which they are patently not. Can we, or other species, adapt our way out of the problem? Unlikely, even at committed levels of warming, and certainly not possible with >2C of warming - many aspects of the geophysical and biological world will be lost as a result of this global temperature rise. See #6 for agriculture.]

More information:

http://bravenewclimate.com/2008/08/14/will-global-warming-cause-a-mass-extinction-event/

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/1/24/18548/9954

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn11658

http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/research/programme3/adaptation2008/index_outputs.html

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30 Comments

  1. But I claim Broecker’s aphorism is misleading, as I think the most obvious image, since most people don’t deal with beasts in the wild, is of a tiger in a cage, with people poking it from outside, who can leave any time they feel like. Hence, I’d prefer:

    The climate is an angry beast, whose cage we’re locked in. We’re poking it with a stick that gets chewed shorter with every poke.

  2. This is an excellent post. I have to say I really like the modified style where you give the short response, and then the links.

    Just out of interest how long would the post-1998 pseudo cooling trend have to last before it was agreed that there must be something else going on. Not that it would prove that anthropogenic emissions don’t cause warming, just that there must be something else going on to force things in the other direction?

    So basically – what WOULD be a statistically relevent timeframe?

  3. Or how about:

    The climate is an angry caged beast… you are in its cage… it IS going to eat you at some stage or other… why would you want to make it sooner rather than later by jumping in its food bowl?

  4. Thanks Barry. This is a very good series of posts that will make useful historical records to follow how the views of the writers you are looking at evolve with new information. in the early part of this decade Bob Carter used to love the Spencer and Cristy’s satellite data showing no warming trend but curiously his views did not change when their analysis was shown to be flawed.

    You will have seen Stewart Franks’ certainty in today’s Australian that the Murray-Darling drought is purely natural: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24331854-7583,00.html. Many of the points you made rebutting Jennifer Marohasy’s article in the Weekend Australian a few weeks ago apply to Franks views http://bravenewclimate.com/2008/08/24/dr-jennifer-marohasy-ignores-the-climate-science/

  5. Thanks also to you Chris, it was thanks to your comment in another thread that I was alerted to this. I was just waiting for a new piece from BC to profile – I knew it was inevitable if I waited, and because it’s all recycled, refuting the current one covers 90% of the material is his previous Op-Eds also.

    John M – I like your analogy better, but being from Wally Broecker (!), so the old one carries greater oomph!

    MattB @2: The answer to how long is here (about 18 years without a new record year is about 5% likely):
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say/ (see the 3rd figure in the post)

  6. While Stewart Franks makes some tenuous claims re: climate change’s role in the Murray-Darling, I find it hard to diagree with:

    “We do know why inflows are so low and why various ecosystems of the Murray-Darling are in crisis: the system is over-allocated and has experienced a growth in groundwater extraction and in the number of farm dams preventing rainfall from becoming run-off. This is due to a failure of planning, management and leadership from the relevant authorities. Under these conditions, when a prolonged drought strikes, the system collapses.”

    Even if we managed to rein in CO2 levels, the M-D is in for a tough future. What irks me is the implication that climate science would be oblivious to all of the other factors that have screwed up the MD.

  7. The problem with articles like Franks’ (I think) is that he’s technically correct to say that you can’t attribute any one event specifically to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. There are always local factors which its impossible to predict at the scale required. You can only look back afterwards and spot a steady trend when you average out the noise. But most people won’t listen to statistical arguments.

  8. I think of it as a simmering pot of water, there are a few bubbles
    comming of the bottom. Now turn the heat up just a little and pick
    a bubble. Is this bubble due to the “old” heat or the
    added heat? I think people understand this, but talk about signals/trends/noise loses them pretty quickly.

  9. MattB @2 (Barry @ 5)

    Tamino also gives a good analysis to the lie that global warming stopped in 1998.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/you-bet/

    What I find really disturbing; scientists like Bob Carter (and I use the term loosely) are quite happy to make bold pronouncements like “GW stopped in 1998″ and say so time and time again on the blogosphere and in the populist media but DON’T publish their critique/s in the recognised scientific journals.

    They lack credibility in the scientific arena but the general public don’t appreciate this, all they see is a well known “climate scientist” disputing the science, they don’t see the misrepresentation, distortion or utter obfuscation.

    No wonder people are confused and angry.

    So what do we do?

  10. David K @9 So what should we do?

    Is it possible that a group of scientists working in CC/GW could band together “a la” Wentworth Group and issue statements to newspapers and other media as to why they disagree with what has been said by the contrarian scientists. I really feel that you have to ditch the academic reticence and be bold and upfront if you want to make an impression on Joe Public. What do you think Barry? Is something like this possible/practical?

  11. Perps says: ***Is it possible that a group of scientists working in CC/GW could band together “a la” Wentworth Group and issue statements to newspapers and other media as to why they disagree with what has been said by the contrarian scientists.***

    There is a rule in politics that generally goes –for any force there is a “countervailing force.” Yes, we are talking politics here and not science. I do wonder how the newly proposed group would be rolled up into the IPCC?

    CoRev, editor
    http:globalwarmingclearinghouse.blogspot.com

  12. Here is a discussion of Bob Carter’s paper: “The Stern review: A double critique”, Part I: The Science Robert M. Carter, C. R. de Freitas, Indur M. Goklany, David Holland & Richard S. Lindzen. World Economics volume 7:165―232

    Discussion by Andrew Glikson – published in World Economics Volume 8, Number 1, 2007, pages 233-238

    (Table and figure not included here)

    No reply was received from Bob Carter for this discussion.

    Carter et al. [1] describe the Stern Report [2] as “neither accurate nor objective”, casting doubt on the extent of global warming, melting of ice caps and the role of greenhouse gases (GHG). They question (1) the “maturity” of climate prediction; (2) “flaws in the alarmist paradigm”; (3) “mishandling of uncertainties”; (4) “scandal of non-disclosure and poor archiving”, and (5) “inadequacies of peer reviews”. As any consideration of the potential economic consequences of climate change depends critically on the physical evidence for this process, my comment is principally concerned with the scientific basis.

    The climate history of Earth during the glacial-interglacial cycles of the last 1 million years provides an essential context for an understanding of current climate changes, including the relations between solar irradiance, greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing, albedo changes and global temperatures. According to Petit et al. [2] the same sequence of events in each glacial termination involved “orbital forcing (with a possible contribution of local insolation changes) followed by two strong amplifiers, greenhouse gases acting first, then deglaciation and ice-albedo feedback”. During the last glacial termination (~19–10 kyr) sharp increase in solar insolation forcing, amplified by feeback by GHG (17―11.5) (Table 1), resulted in mean temperature increase of about 90 C [2].

    Table 1 summarizes mean variation rates of temperature, sea level and GHG concentrations during (A) the last termination (19―10 kyr), (B) the Holocene (10 kyr to mid-19th century), (C) mid-19th century to mid-1970s, and (D) mid-1970s to 2005, based on ice core studies [2], IPCC-2001 and IPCC-2007 [3], NASA-GISS [4], CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research [5], UK Meteorological Office [6] datasets and science journals. Major trends include:

    A. Rates of temperature rise from the mid-19th century are higher than those of the glacial termination (17―10 kyr) by more than a factor of 10, increasing to a factor of 20 and higher from the mid-1970s.
    B. Rates of sea level (SL) rise from the early 20th century (~0.2 cm/yr) are about 20 percent the glacial termination rates (~1.0―1.2 cm/year), accelerating to +0.29―0.33 cm/year during 1993―2005.
    C. Rates of CO2 increase from the late 19th century (~0.6―0.7 ppm/yr) are almost a factor of 50 the glacial termination rates (~0.014 ppm/yr), accelerating during 2000―2005 from 1.8 to 2.1 ppm/year. Rates of CH4 increase (~7 ppb/year) increased by a factor near 150 but appear to have stabilized late in the 20th century.
    D. Increasing rates of sea level rises reflect thermal expansion and ice sheet melting with rising temperatures. The accelerated rise of temperature and GHG concentrations from the mid-1970s is followed by accelerated sea level rise from about 1993, likely reflecting lag effects.

    The above is contrasted to statements by Carter which question global warming, i.e. “Moreover, given that the estimated temperature change over the late twentieth century amounted to only a few tenths of a degree” (p. 171); “In the post-1979 interval, the most recently revised satellite data show little change, especially in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere” … “The trend, such as it is, is at least in part an artifact caused by irregularities such as volcanic eruptions and El Nino events” (p. 172) (referring to Gray, V., 2006, Energy & Environment, 17: 707–714). Carter et al. [1] do not appear to be aware that temperature buffering effects due to high evaporative rates in the tropics and tropical islands, loss of ice albedo in the poles, and other factors, result in that global temperature increases rise rapidly with higher latitude [4],

    Carter et al. [1] refer to a statement: “half the warming over the twentieth century might be explained by solar changes“ [11] and to the potential effect of cosmic rays [12]. However, the role of solar irradiance was summed by Solanki (2002 [8]): “prior to roughly 1980 the solar irradiance on the whole ran parallel to and even slightly ahead of the Earth’s temperature. This is consistent with a causal relationship. After 1980, however, the Earth’s temperature exhibits a remarkably steep rise, while the Sun’s irradiance displays at the most a weak secular trend. Hence the Sun cannot be the dominant source of this latest temperature increase, with man-made greenhouse gases being the likely dominant alternative.”

    From the mid-1970s, temperature and solar irradiance records are decoupled, including mean temperature increase by about 0.5oC (Figure 1). Further warming (IPCC-2007 Fig. SPM-3) took lace since 2000 despite a decline in solar irradiance [9]. This trend is consistent with GHG forcing, which from the mid-19th century induces a total anthropogenic effect of about +1.6 W/m2 [3]. The role of cosmic rays in enhancing nucleation in clouds, with increased albedo, potentially counters increase in solar irradiance [9, 13].

    Carter et al. question the maturity of climate research and projections. This criticism is best answered with a quote from Hansen et al. (2006) ([4] p. 11): “The pattern of global warming has assumed expected characteristics …”, confirming the maturity of climate research. One assumes the critics accept the physical reality of absorption and re-emission of thermal radiation by GHG. Since 1751 roughly 305 billion tonnes of carbon have been released to the atmosphere from fossil fuels and cement production [10], with atmospheric CO2 retention of about 60%, reaching 381 ppm in 2006, namely 36 percent higher than the maximum interglacial level of 280 ppm. With increasing CO2 loss from land due to de-vegetation, drought and fire, and a decline in the capacity of warming oceans as CO2 sinks (1980s -1.9 PgC/yr; 1990s -1.7 PgC/yr [3]), an increasingly larger proportion of CO2 remains in the atmosphere. In particular, vulnerable carbon pools on the scale of many hundreds of GtC, represented by methane-rich high-latitude and tropical bogs and sea bottom methane hydrates threaten major carbon feedback effects.

    Carter et al. [1] discuss the GHG role of water vapor. However, by contrast to the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere (5―200 years) H2O levels vary markedly in time and place. Whereas stronger evaporation over oceans and the tropics with rising temperature increase rainfall in the tropics and subtopics, the opposite effects occur in the dry lower-mid latitudes.

    When a consensus, true or false, emerges in a scientific discipline, it is not sufficient for critics to point out uncertainties and gaps in knowledge, such as always exist in science, for example Darwinian evolution or plate tectonics. The onus is on the critics to attempt to offer alternative explanations for the large database on which such consensus is based. This Carter et al. [1] have not done.

    By using the term “alarmist”, repeated over 22 times through their paper, the critics reflect adversely on the professional integrity of climate scientists. This and other types of derogatory language does nothing to advance the science or logic of their criticism. By contrast, tt is the ethical duty of scientists to draw attention to observations of potential concern to society, be it ozone depletion, the cancer effects of asbestos and tobacco smoking, and dangerous climate change.

    Carter et al. [1] are critical of the peer review system of scientific journals, but do not suggest alternative ways of stemming a flood of uncontrolled material into the scientific literature, opening it to disinformation and interference by vested interests.

    Wallace Broecker, the famous marine scientist of Columbia University, wrote in 1986: “The
    inhabitants of planet Earth are quietly conducting a gigantic environmental experiment … we play
    Russian roulette with climate and no one knows what lies in the active chamber of the gun”. The question is how far will the levels of CO2 , CH4, N-oxide, CFC and HFC, global land-sea temperatures, melting of ice sheets and glaciers, and sea levels need to rise before the critics realize that the delicate balance of the Earth’s atmosphere—the thin lung-like membrane on which advanced life depends—must not be abused as an open sewer for industrial waste products.

    I thank Barrie Pittock, John Chappell, David Denham, Bradley Opdyke, Michael Raupach, Will Steffen and Elizabeth Truswell for comments and discussions.

    [1] Carter, R.M. et al. 2006. World Economics, 7:165-232; [2] Petit, J.R. et al., 1999, Nature, 399:429-436; Segenthaler, U. et al., 2005, Science, 310:1313-1317; Kump, L.R., 2002, Nature, 419:188-190; EPICA, 2004, Nature 429:623-628; [3] 3rd IPCC-2001 and 4th IPCC-2007 Assessments; [4] Hansen, J., et al., 2006, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 103: 14288-14293; [5] Pittock, B., 2006, Climate Change: Turning Up the Heat. CSIRO Publishing; Raupach, M., CSIRO; [6] UK Meteorological office http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/index.html; [7] Solanki, S.K., Fligge, M., 1998, Geophys. Res. Lett. 25:341-344; [8] Solanki, S. K. 2002, Astronomy & Geophysics 43.5 doi: 10.1046/.1468-4004.2002.43509; [9] Bard, E. and Frank, M., 2006., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 248:1-14; [10] http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob.htm; [11] Scafetta, N. and West, B.J., 2006, Geophys. Res. Lett. DOI:1029/2005GL025539; [12] Svensmark, H. et al., 2006, Proc. R. Soc. DOI:10.1098/rspa.2006.1773; [13] Courtillot, J., et al., 2006, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2006.10.032; [14] Fleming, K., et al., 1998, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 163: 327-342; [15] Holgate, S.J., 2007. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34 L01602, doi:10.1029/2006GL028492; {16] UNEP/GRID (UN Environ. Protect. Agency); [17] Nat. Ocean Atmosph. Agency (NOAA); [18] Miller, L. and Douglas, B.C., 2004, Nature, 428:406-409

  13. Barry.

    The point you raise in item (8) is one that particularly gets up my nose.

    Leaving aside inherent hypocricy implicit in the assumption of the truth of AGW that follows with mentioning adaptation, the very idea itself is simply a poor attempt at painting over the rust.

    A complex society such as ours can never fully adapt to all of the anticipated and non-anticipated significant changes occurring in the wake of a big hike in average global temperature, if the root causes of the rise are not first addressed in order to prevent continued increase. Furthermore, adaptation would certainly not adequately occur in many of the planet’s ecosystems, and in their attendant functions that humanity so depends upon. Any attempt at adaptation over mitigation efforts would be no different to situation of the old woman who swallowed a fly, and then swallowed a spider to catch the fly, and then swallowed a bird to catch the spider…

    Selling the adaptation lemon as anything other than a last resort is enough to make even a Ferengi used-car salesman blush, and if anyone seriously considers it to be preferable to mitigation – well, I have a fistful of magic beans going for a song…

  14. Barry, I wrote that piece, and I still don’t believe it! With the NZ election date announced (Nov 8) it’ll be interesting (perhaps alarming) to see if Hide’s scepticism earns him any votes.

    What I find troubling is that the likes of Carter (I refer to him at HT as “the great communicator” because he is extremely slick and plausible sounding – look him up on Youtube) provide a kind of intellectual cover for the sceptic politicians. As long as there is a (well organised) band of seemingly well-qualified denialists out there, politicians and lobbyists can point to them as proving a debate still exists. But the debate (as I discuss here) is a political debate about science, not a scientific debate. That confusion is the goal: teach the debate.

    Kudos for the detailed debunking. An excellent resource.

  15. The Australian contrarian campaign is well organised with the same faces turning up in succession is national newspapers and blogs.
    I’m sure there’s a big Gantt chart on a whiteboard somewhere. :-)

    However – does extra responsibility on the rest of us advancing the affirmative case. We cannot be indulgent – scientifically or politically – or defend poor science either.
    Nor should we overstate a case of certainty.

    A recent example is Stewart Franks op-ed in the Australian yesterday, which I find disturbing.

    It wasn’t what he said – it’s what swags of science and recent science he left out. And obviously I disagree with his conclusions.

    However I would conclude differently that their is a “good case” for “some” anthropogenic influence on AGW on Australian droughts – but I would not claim the AGW has caused recent droughts entirely. Subtle difference.

    And you’ll find this sort of disclosure always exploited by our opponents …. errr colleagues …

  16. Bernard J @13
    Barry didn’t say “Adaptation is better than mitigation” – that is a quote from what Carter said in his article.
    Read again and you will see Barry is saying that it is very unlikely that we can adapt ourselves to the problem.He says it would only be valid if the previous seven statements made by Carter in the article were also valid.

  17. 1. Regarding the argument “Climate changes are common in Earth history”. Earth hisitory is also replete with volcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts. Does this mean humans can, for example, drill and blast nuclear charges underneath active volcanoes, or shoot nuclear missiles at passing asteroids causing fallout on Earth?
    2. Regarding “adaptation” — meaning, we will use the atmosphere as open sewrage for carbon gases, leaving it for others to clean the mess, namely the poor billions on this Earth and future geneations.

    Talk about a Faustian Bargain!

  18. Bob Carter also has an international role, that Barry’s run-down didn’t mention.
    Carter was the plaintiff’s “expert witness” in the case that sought to prevent Al Gore’s video
    being distributed to UK schools.
    He has also testified to US Senate Committee that the dependence of temperature on CO2 is logarithmic (essentially true, and identified by Arrhenius 1896) that going from 280 to 380 ppm
    means that 75% of the warming from CO2 doubling has already happened.
    If you check it, e.g. type “=ln(380/280)/ln(560/280)” into Excel (without the quotes), you find the answer in 0.44, not 0.75. [doing it as a ratio in this way means that the answer doesn't depend on what base you use for the logarithms].
    And of course all this is neglecting “committed warming” which makes even 44% an overestimate.
    Anyway it seems that Carter is prepared to lie under oath about simple maths if he thinks he can get away with it.

  19. So basically – what WOULD be a statistically relevent timeframe? (for cooling) (from MattB @2)

    If you look at the data you see other local peaks at 2002 and 2005. In the CRU data, 1998 is still the highest,while the GISS data have 2005 highest (this was before GISS corrected the US data, but I think the change to the global number was too small to bring 2005 below 1998).
    So it isn’t as if there has been steady cooling.

    Garnaut got econometricians from outside the climate community to have an independent look at the time series to try to skewer this “1998” story in advance.

    WE had a recent editorial in the Australian noting that GISS data had been revised to show that 1934 was the hottest on record, without mentioning that this was for the USA, not for the world as a whole.

  20. Hi Barry,

    This is a little OT from this thread, but I can’t find a more appropriate place to post it.

    Below is a link to a US blog (DailyKos) which discusses the role of climate change denialists in Alaska’s (read Sarah Palin) attempt to sue their Federal Govts for its decision to place the polar bear on the endangered species list.

    It specifically notes the financial support provided by Big Oil to a number of Palin’s ‘scientists’.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/5/1902/72063/35/616261

  21. Pingback: Global Warming Deniers Down Under Get Plimer Promotion | FollowGreen.com

  22. Pingback: Learn About Global Warming » Global Warming Deniers Down Under Get Plimer Promotion

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