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« Quickfire Bob | Main | For whom the bell Tols »
Sunday
Sep122010

Jones in El Pais

This is my adaptation of a part of a machine translation of an interview Phil Jones gave to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Q. How do you think Climategate will be seen in 20 or 30 years? Do you think it will be important or considered a story?

R. I hope people will be back to believing in science, but I think it will take some years. There are two different cases. Many people believe that the planet is warming. It is ridiculous to question the warming, which is clear and no scientist disputes it.  Then there are people who say that even so is not due to human activity.

Q. The debate about the influence of man is relevant?

A. There are scientists who still doubt it, but they are few. And when asked how to explain the warming that has occurred they have much difficulty because it is very difficult to find a rational explanation other than greenhouse gases.

Q. They say that there was a similar warm period in the Middle Ages.

A. We need more evidence on that period, about which information is very limited, and only for the northern hemisphere.

Q. But there were periods as warm as the present.

A. Yes, but we know why there were warm and cold periods in the past. The amount of solar radiation was different and so we will have ice ages in the future.  These processes are still happening and will continue, but they have a completely different timescale to humans.  Here we are talking about climate change in a century that is very fast compared to the past.

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Reader Comments (77)

I count myself amongst the few.

Jones seems to have got over his death-wish, but nevertheless he is still talking a load of b******s (scientific word widely used in industry).

Sep 12, 2010 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

So we have not reached any unprecedented state, it is just an unprecedented rate of change?

On what basis is he saying that?

Sep 12, 2010 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

And who is talking about climate change in a century...... them bloody computers that have been fed with a load of (scientific word widely used in industry)

Sep 12, 2010 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

I bet Phil's mum will be along in a while to tell us what a good boy he is.

Sep 12, 2010 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Shub:

Do the laws of physics concerning "greenhouse gases" include a term for the rate of change of the gases? I'm not aware of any equation like that.

Sep 12, 2010 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The leopard hasn't changed his spots. The anti-scientist returns with the same lack of remorse that a mafia hitman has. What a truly despicable man he is!

Sep 12, 2010 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr John

PB
Jones is saying the past might have been as warm as today - the very opposite of the hockey stick rhetoric of 'we have reached a state never before attained". Apparently now, only the rate of change of global temperature is unprecedented.

Phil Jones says: "Here we are talking about climate change in a century that is very fast compared to the past."

That was my question. Maybe I was a bit too terse. :)

Sep 12, 2010 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

Phil Jones


Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

C - Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.

Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I've assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm

Sep 12, 2010 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterE Smith

"I know nooooothing. I'm from Baaaarthelona."

Sep 12, 2010 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterPops

E Smith: Well done that man. When they are forced to admit the facts, record, store and produce at useful moments.

Sep 12, 2010 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Wood

"Modelers claim to have simulated the warming and cooling that occurred before 1976 by choosing among various guesses as to what effect poorly observed volcanoes and unmeasured output from the sun have had. These factors, they claim, don't explain the warming of about 0.4 degrees C between 1976 and 1998. Climate modelers assume the cause must be greenhouse-gas emissions because they have no other explanation. This is a poor substitute for evidence, and simulation hardly constitutes explanation." - Richard Lindzen
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek/

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Phil Jones uses the term "scientist" too indiscriminately. The term should be limited in application only to those who employ the scientific method. Jones has already proven, repeatedly and definitively, that he has no interest in the scientific method.

Frankly, I have no interest in the wild-ass speculation of people who reject the use of the scientific method. They certainly aren't scientists in any traditional understanding of the term.

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:18 AM | Unregistered Commenterstan

"UK Investigation Completely Debunks Global Warming Science"
12 September 2010

"Under oath, in front of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology, Lord Oxburgh testified that it is impossible to reconstruct an accurate global temperature record over the past 1,000 years. Especially one that could claim modern climate is significantly different from that seen over the last 1000 years."

http://networkedblogs.com/7LqRv

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

I thought this was a more measured interview and indicates to me that Jones has learned from his previous mistakes.

Sep 13, 2010 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

I spotted this last week when catching up on my magazines:

New Scientist, 31 July 2010 Page 10 in article titled "Climategate
scientist breaks his silence", Dr. Phil Jones Says:
"I don't hold a world view - that's ridiculous".

New Scientist, 7 August 2010 Page 40 in review of "Why Beliefs
Matter: Reflections on the nature of science" by E. Brian Davies
"World views can be evaluated, compared and changed, but you cannot
avoid having one".

I've sent it to Private Eye for the "Just Fancy That" column, but don't know if they'll use it.

Sep 13, 2010 at 5:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRogerT

Hi all!

While on a break from my creative writing, I decide to drop in and see what fiction the real world may have to offer. I was not disappointed. I must hand it to good ol' Phil. He is always good for a laugh!

However, I have some terrible news. I went outside and noticed that my oak tree has already set a large number of acorns and that those that have fallen are quickly being grabbed up by the squirrels, who usually ignore them. Then I looked overhead and saw the Canada Geese headed south, and it is just mid-September. And worse, I saw not just one but three very furry caterpillars. Panicked, I rushed to my computer and sure enough, all four were indicators of a cold winter. This, of course, from a well established scientific journal, The Farmers Almanac

If one of you happen to have Phil's email, assuming that it wasn't hacked again, why don't you send him the URL? It might give him a clue. I am looking for furry tailed raccoons and such, and although we don't often get fogs up where I am we did have one in August, so things look really bad this year.

Gotta get back to me Irish Fairy Tales. I have had enough of Global Warming ones for a while.

PB thanks for your concern. I am simply busy with my writing. I have a spider I have to figure out a name for. And NO, I will not name it Phil.

Sep 13, 2010 at 5:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

u would think the MSM rhetoric would cool down, given the damning critiques of the "enquiries" and so on, but not in the least. this one has the requisite grantham quotes underneath it and manages to mention those "deniers" of "climate change", whoever and wherever they are (not on this planet methinks). the" independent" has long considered itself a newspaper for intellectuals of sorts. no wonder its circulation has dropped another 11% or thereabouts in the past year. they just can't help themselves:

12 Sept: Independent: Matt Chorley and Jonathan Owen: Britain must adapt to 'inevitable' climate change, warns minister
Her (Caroline Spelman, the Tory Secretary of State for the Environment) comments will be seen as an attempt to address the growing threat posed by rising temperatures without confronting climate change deniers. Ms Spelman's plea for action will coincide on Thursday with the launch of the latest report from the Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) of the Climate Change Committee, which advises the Government on preparing for the impacts of global warming. The report will warn: "If we wait, it will be too late." ...
In official "best-case" scenarios, the UK would experience average temperatures up to C hotter in summer, and 10 per cent more rainfall in winter, by the 2080s. "Worst-case" projections predict temperature increases of 4C. ...
Scientists claim that Britain is capable of adapting to a rise in temperature of C but no more, and they will urge ministers not to neglect the need to curb emissions...
Ed Miliband, the party's climate change spokesman, urged against negative messages being used to change behaviour. "Martin Luther King said, ' I have a dream' – not 'I have a nightmare'...
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/britain-must-adapt-to-inevitable-climate-change-warns-minister-2077175.html

btw what is it with the "C hotter" that they've used before? is this an accepted substitute for 1 degree celcius or something?

Sep 13, 2010 at 6:18 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

I've always felt that PJones is always honest - in his interviews. You know honest, as in internally consistent.

Read the interview - he is reading Naomi Oreskes now. I am sure he feels justified and driven into the arms of his fellow climateers - from Climategate. And now, he is reading Oreskes - like pressing the reset button of his brain.

What a tragedy and mess this all is - the very people who can lend a skeptical voice, driven away by the likes of Oreskes and whoever else.

Sep 13, 2010 at 6:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

"I hope people will be back to believing in science"

Confirmation that the "science" of these guys is a form of religion.

Sep 13, 2010 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Don Pablo;

Glad to hear you are well and flourishing. I hope you will publish your Irish Fairy Tales. What will you call the book? The Hurley Illusion perhaps?

Sep 13, 2010 at 7:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

pat at 6:18 AM
That’s at least the third time the Independent has used “C hotter” or the like. I think it’s journalist talk for “I don’t know what I’m talking about. Editor: please fill in with an appropriate figure”.
Note the subject of the article and accompanying editorial. We’re going to spend billions on preventing temperature rise, and since that won’t work, we’re also going to spend more billions siting town halls and fire stations on hills, out of reach of the floodwater.
These people are in a Monty Python world of their own. Governing ours.

Sep 13, 2010 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

"They say that there was a similar warm period in the Middle Ages.

A. We need more evidence on that period, about which information is very limited, and only for the northern hemisphere."

This would be true if some little inconvenient geographical anomalies were changed. Phil needs to move Africa, Aus, NZ, S. America, and Antarctica into the NH if his rhetoric is to be considered accurate.

Sep 13, 2010 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterpete

If Professor Jones is in need of "more evidence" about the MWP he might like to try CO2 Science. I append their website address to make life easier for him
http://www.co2science.org/
They have a "Medieval Warm Period Project" and update every Wednesday. The synopsis for last week reads:

Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 873 individual scientists from 518 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Hani Village, Liuhe County, Jilin Province, China. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

That should help the good prof to find a way forward. Not all of the results are from the northern hemisphere either.

Sep 13, 2010 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterSam the Skeptic

Plagiarised from another commenter.

"What he’s talking comes out of the South end of a North facing cow".

Sep 13, 2010 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

Phil Jones says

"Here we are talking about climate change in a century that is very fast compared to the past."

I wonder on what evidence he bases that, given that we have moved on from the hockey stick

He also confirms that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming. and that the warming rates for 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 are "similar and not statistically significantly different from each other".

And I gather he does not suggest that either of the two earlier periods were due to CO2 forcing. So what evidence is he relying on to be so certain that the most recent warming period was caused by a completely different mechanism from the earlier ones, and that even though it was no different in magnitude and ended over a decade ago, it alone was caused by CO2, and is about to return magnified tenfold and imperil our civilisation.

Can he not understand why someone might doubt this?

Sep 13, 2010 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wilson

"So what evidence is he relying on to be so certain that the most recent warming period
(-)
and ended over a decade ago"
Sep 13, 2010 at 11:29 AM | Peter Wilson

More to the point, what evidence are you basing your claim that warming finished over a decade ago on?

Sep 13, 2010 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

ZedsDeadBed

"More to the point, what evidence are you basing your claim that warming finished over a decade ago on?"

Well I would have thought the fact that there has been no warming for the past 15 years, as admitted by Professor Jones, would be a good start.

And if you are going to say 15 years is not long enough to establish a real trend, you will have to explain how the previous 25 years was. Seems pretty arbitrary to me.

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wilson

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Peter Wilson

So, and I just need to confirm this.

You're challenging Phil Jones and asking what evidence he's using, and also trying to claim he's wrong about temperature over the last decade.

When asked what evidence you have that we aren't warming, your unimpeachable source, instead of being a temperature dataset, is, er, Phil Jones.

A wonderful example of the completely one-way scepticism employed by deniers. If it agrees with you, it's right. If it disagrees with you, then strong scepticism must be turned upon it. Regardless of the clear contradictions that throws up.

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

"when asked how to explain the warming that has occurred they have much difficulty because it is very difficult to find a rational explanation other than greenhouse gases."

This is the best example of the "twisted" science practiced by the AGW zealots. It isn't their task to prove their hypothesis true, but the task of others to prove the causes of GW and if they can't, then it "must" be anthropogenically created!! And then he considers himself a "scientist". I pity the man.

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllenC

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:26 PM | ZedsDeadBed

Can you not see the obvious flaw in what you've just written?

Sep 13, 2010 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

"Can you not see the obvious flaw in what you've just written?"
Sep 13, 2010 at 12:56 PM | DaveS

That Peter is trying to attack Phi Jones, and the evidence he uses to attack the work of Phil Jones, is another piece of work by Phil Jones, which in this case, Peter is uncritically happy to assume is correct?

No I can't see the flaw - perhaps you could be kind enough to point it out to me.

Sep 13, 2010 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

He seems to be either uninformed or deliberately misleading in claiming that there is no evidence of the MWP in the SH.
If we are going to grant him the goodwill he and his fellow AGW believers do not grant skeptics, perhaps this lapse can be explained by his being too busy hiding the decline, encouraging people to delete their e-mails and manipulating peer review to actually keep up with the science.
Or maybe Jones is just a craven cynical con-artist who cannot keep track of the many threads of his lies?

Sep 13, 2010 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

ZDB,
The use of 'denier' by true believers like you who wallow in their ignorance and thrive on feeble authoritarian reliance for your faith is rather telling.

Sep 13, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"The use of 'denier' by true believers like you who wallow in their ignorance and thrive on feeble authoritarian reliance for your faith is rather telling."
Sep 13, 2010 at 1:46 PM | hunter

Criticises the term 'denier', and then accuses me of being a 'true believer' two words later.
*facepalms*

Sep 13, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

Re: Don Pablo

PB thanks for your concern. I am simply busy with my writing. I have a spider I have to figure out a name for. And NO, I will not name it Phil.

What about Bob? Multilegged beasty sitting in the middle of a tangled web of deceit? Good luck with the writing, and tell us when it's ready. I've been trying to do a similar tale to reclaim the fey folk from their post-normal, disneyfied versions & back into something people feared :)

Sep 13, 2010 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Re ZDB

Criticises the term 'denier', and then accuses me of being a 'true believer' two words later.

That's the problem with crude lables. Antonyms. Pro-global warming types have spent much time and energy trying to lable their opponents with derogatory names. First it was sceptics, then people twigged that scientists were supposed to be sceptics. Then it was 'denier', but the opposite is believer. Some try 'anti-science', but since when has it been anti-science to ask questions, ask for evidence, expect results to be reproduceable and point out errors?

Sep 13, 2010 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Don Pablo's spider must surely be Michael- see diagram on p. 254 of the Hockey Stick Illusion.

Sep 13, 2010 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

SpiderMann may run into trademark issues :p

Sep 13, 2010 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

zed baby,
I think you are confusing fact with opinion. In an argument, if I believe in one point 'x' of my opponent, and use that 'x' to disprove his 'y', you cannot protest my believing in 'x' because you were the originator of 'x'.

You cannot say: "hey, you cannot use 'x'! That's mine".

True scientific claims (or those deemed true, inside an argument) belong to no one. This includes its originator/founder/discoverer etc. Anyone can use anything.

Moreover, we do not think Phil Jones does not know what he is talking about. I can read a lot of good stuff in between the lines in what he said.

Dont be a true believer. Relax and let you mind experience denialist thoughts. The sky won't fall on your head if you turned into what you call 'denier' for the next 30 years, and the climate system will be here, waiting for you/us, to understand it.

Sep 13, 2010 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

Forthwith the spider shall be named Bristlecone.

Sep 13, 2010 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterI'm Spartacus

ZBD,
So you deny being a true believer?

Sep 13, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

The last question in the interview with El País (my translation):

Q. An independent investigation concluded that the hockey stick graph, which showed a very sharp temperature increase in the 20th century, was misleading.

A. That diagram wasn't for any scientific work nor is it in the last IPCC report. It was for the annual report of the World Meteorological Organization from 1999. It was made for a non-scientific public, therefore it was relatively simple. Sometimes we are asked to write in simple terms for a broad public, and sometimes it is difficult to put warnings and still make it interesting for the general public.

Could Jones have misunderstood the question, or has he just redefined what the hockey stick graph is?

Sep 13, 2010 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterFeedback

"...Last week he chatted on the phone with this newspaper..."

I wonder if UEA press office were involved in, or sanctioned, that interview? I'd have thought the best strategy at the moment would be for CRU to keep their head down and get on top of their dataset.

Sep 13, 2010 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

ZedsDeadBed

"That Peter is trying to attack Phi Jones, and the evidence he uses to attack the work of Phil Jones, is another piece of work by Phil Jones, which in this case, Peter is uncritically happy to assume is correct?"

Actually I don't assume he is correct, I know he is in this instance because, for once, he has simply admitted what the data says. My point in quoting Prof Jones was to illustrate that that fact that warming has currently ceased (whether permanently or not) is accepted by both sides of the argument, and is not controversial as you seemed to believe in challenging my statement to that effect.

I'm surprised you didn't pick up on this

Sep 13, 2010 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wilson

Sep 13, 2010 at 9:11 PM | Peter Wilson

So what evidence are you basing your claim that we started cooling over a decade ago on? It runs contrary to every temperature dataset I've ever seen. Can you point me to something other than a quote from someone you claim is unreliable to support you?

Sep 13, 2010 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

Zed,

So what evidence are you basing your claim that we started cooling over a decade ago on? It runs contrary to every temperature dataset I've ever seen.

Depends what you think you're looking at. I chat with people that think monthly anomaly figures like UAH's +.51C for August means the global average temperature has increased by that amount. Warming/cooling is relative to the baseline picked, so 1979-98 average for UAH. The UAH plot given here-

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/09/august-2010-uah-global-temperature-update-0-51-deg-c/

shows the 'lack of statistically significant warming' over the last decade but probably too early to call cooling. If the anomalies go negative for a while, then that's a more obvious sign, and bad for carbon traders. I think with the way the ocean and atmosphere temperatures are going though, we will see some cold years and more snow.

Sep 14, 2010 at 12:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

If Phil Jones has contradicted himself, he has impugned his own credibility. It isn't necessary to choose which of the contradictory statements one believes (or one can even disbelieve both), for the contradiction to expose his lack of credibility.

Sep 14, 2010 at 1:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterstan

@atomicdryer: The opposite of scepticism is gullibility.

@ZDB: Denier was and is intended to associate those who question the extent and danger of a 1.2C degree rise in temperature caused by CO2 put into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels with those who deny the holocaust. If you are calling someone a denier then they are clearly denying what you beliieve to be true, else you have a logical non-sequitor.

Sep 14, 2010 at 6:44 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Sep 13, 2010 at 10:31 PM | ZedsDeadBed

I didn't say cooling, I said lack of warming. I don't have to quote anyone except the raw data from UHA and RSS, or even CRU to prove that, its simply a result of observations of the real world. Not a model

The fact that Prof Jones is at least honest enough to admit the obvious is to his credit, despite his many well known transgressions, but not yours obviously. You are clearly in denial of the science of climate observations:)

Sep 14, 2010 at 7:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wilson

I meant UAH, not UHA. Too much coffee!

Sep 14, 2010 at 7:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wilson

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