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Deutsche Bank on the MWP

Deutsche Bank has issued a document which purports to "address major skeptic arguments". You know what to expect, but one thing stood out: the treatment of the medieval warm period:

Northern hemisphere temperatures in the Medieval Warming Period (MWP) may have been comparable to today, but the estimates have high uncertainty because there are so few records and spatial coverage is spotty. However, a MWP warmer than the last decade does not challenge the case for anthropogenic warming.

Now this is quite interesting, because Deutsche Bank's advisers, who are from Columbia University, seem to have a rather different take on the issue to the IPCC, who say, as we all know, that modern temperatures are "very likely" higher than any other period in the past 1000 years.

Like Professor Kelly, one can't help but wonder how the IPCC came up with a statement of such certainty based on such limited data.


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Reader Comments (26)

having just glimpsed at the Deutsche bank (Columbia Univ) report, it is the usual BS. For instance the hockey stick is still valid (as confirmed by NAS and Wegman!) and there is no evidence of negative feedbacks. Deutsche Bank are clearly desperate that they will lose a very profitable investment stream if their investors start to believe the "skeptics".

I love the small print:

"Neither Deutsche Bank AG nor any of its affiliates, gives any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained in this document." CYA!

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

There is no respectable reason why Deutsche Bank should be publishing a report about, inter alia, the Mediaeval Warm Period. It should not be their business, in either sense of the word, so the fact that they feel the need to do this is a clear indication that they are up to their necks in carbon trading and renewables scams.

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Deutsche Bank is another organisation that tries to compartmentalise people as either a scientist or a sceptic. The claim that the overwhelming majority of the scientific community accept that human-made climate change is already happening and is a serious long term threat is not backed by evidence.

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It seems the emerald city banksters have peeped out from behind the green curtain!

Someone give Steve Mc some ruby slippers quick!

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete

While it is true that the proxies give unreliable indications as to the temperature, the historical records do not. There is clear evidence in the fact that the Vikings inhabited and farmed Greenland, vines were growing in Northern Britain, historical treelines where higher during the period 800 - 1300AD and much more. You can misinterpret a tree ring width for a particular year but you can't misinterpret a thousand mile treeline moving north.

I am detecting a recongnition on the part of these activist scientists that they now know that the hockeystick is a dead duck, so they're moving the goalposts to where, if they'd been bright enough they should have been, they can say, "Yes there was a MWP, and yes it was warmer than today, but that doesn't mean we're not getting AGW now."

Sep 9, 2010 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

erm...delingpole points out the Oxbridge is advisor to Deutche Bank

"Oxburgh has paid directorships of two renewable energy companies, and is a paid advisor to Climate Change Capital, the Low Carbon Initiative, Evo-Electric, Fujitsu, and an environmental advisor to Deutsche Bank".....

Sep 9, 2010 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused


"Yes there was a MWP, and yes it was warmer than today, but that doesn't mean we're not getting AGW now."

I agree that this is next line of defence - to which the reply is:

if we do not know what the climatic drivers were for the MWP, how do we know these unknown driver combinations are not occurring now ?

Same old question - quantify the influence of CO2 please as against other climate parameters, remembering that we cannot quantify the drivers for the MWP

Sep 9, 2010 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Read the small print when banks are involved....

"This material is intended for informational purposes only and it is not intended that it be relied on to make any investment decision"

And Oxbrige in the pot as well....Monbiot will squirm when this one is brought up! Pass that bowl of carbon credits over, we have run out off peanuts!

Sep 9, 2010 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete Hayes

There should be widespread concern that green banks & pension funds are not valuating their huge pension & growth funds in the same manner as Enron. When it is demonstrated to the EU that the US, Russia, China & the developing world(dysfunctional governments) will never join in a global cap & trade scheme the walls will come tumbling down.

On the topic of the MWP, C3 posted a link to the following article recently that was interesting reading:

Weather chronicler relates of medieval disasters
Rhine ran dry

Duizend jaar weer, wind en water in the Lage Landen (One Thousand Years Weather, Wind and Water in the Low Countries) is a multi-volume standard work by Buisman, who has reached the year 1720 at the end of the just-published part IV. Another three volumes will complete the work.

According to Buisman’s recent findings, the year 1540 was one with an even more severe summer than was 2003. All over Europe, the heatwave lasted, off and on, for seven months, with parched fields and dried up rivers, such as the Rhine. People in Paris, France could walk on the river bed of the Seine without getting their feet wet."

Sep 9, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul in Sweden

The hockey stick is well and truly dead, isn't it?

Sep 9, 2010 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub Niggurath

IPCC AR4 did not say current temperatures are very likely (i.e. 90% confidence) higher than anything in the last 1000 years. They said they are LIKELY (i.e. 60% conf.) in the last 50 years than any other period in the last 1300 years. You should refer to IPCC correctly instead of making up strawmen.

Sep 9, 2010 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSvein S

Quote, "However, a MWP warmer than the last decade does not challenge the case for anthropogenic warming."

The MWP could have been much, much warmer than today whilst such physical evidence can disprove a theory or an hypthesis it cannot disprove a faith, which CAGW is.

There is another motive in play here, the allegations of tax evasion and the connection to Deutsche Bank.

The allegations being that emission rights were bought from foreign companies and were sold via a chain of corporations for the purpose to evade value-added tax.

It would appear that you don't need to construct churches to commit faith-based fraud these days.

Sep 9, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac


It's possible that recent warming was largely caused by human influence and a warmer MWP by natural causes. Therefore, the statement "... a MWP warmer than the last decade does not challenge the case for anthropogenic warming" is accurate. Even if it were established that the MWP was "much, much warmer than today", that would not challenge it either - let alone disprove it.

It would, of course, destroy a claim that current temperatures are higher than any in the past 1,000 years. But that's a different matter

Sep 9, 2010 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

ianl8888 said,

if we do not know what the climatic drivers were for the MWP, how do we know these unknown driver combinations are not occurring now ?

We already know what they reply to this argument - as per Bob Watson, Bart Verheegen, Gavin Schmidt, etc, etc. Something like, "none of that changes radiative physics, if you add CO2 to the atmosphere it gets hotter, so we have to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere".

Their line of reasoning doesn't really go beyond that. It never did. Even the hockey stick, it was essentially seen as a prop to persuade the masses.

Sep 9, 2010 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

On the contrary, there seems to be plenty of peer-reviewed evidence for a global MWP impact, with noticeably higher temps. The original, selected hockey-stick tree rings might have not shown the MWP, but a wide variety of paleo-data does:

Sep 9, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJ. Chev

More misdirection.
The major significance of the MWP is that it deflates the 'catastrophic' element of CAGW.
The lesser significance is that until there is a model which generates MWP without the A for anthropogenic, we know the models are, errr..., not reliable for predicting climate.

Disproving anthropogenic impact is waaay down the list for me. Getting a grip on cause and effect in climate is much more important, as are assessing cost / benefits of possible mitigations, regardless of whether causes are in Nature or in man's activity.

Sep 9, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobbo

I haven't yet read the paper, but it strikes me that Deutsche Bank is on very thin ice here. Investment banks are held to a far higher standard than scientists. If they are issuing analysis to potential investors of carbon credits and other carbon investment schemes and they fail to disclose the fact that there is a raging debate over the science, then they could be setting themselves up for a big securities lawsuit.

Sep 9, 2010 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

The disclaimer is a hoot.

In other words “frankly what’s written here is just a guess and we don’t want you to put your money where our mouths are, in case you decide to sue us at a later date because it’s all a load of poop.”

Sep 9, 2010 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

RG - it does challenge the physical case but not the theological one.

What physical processes drove global temperatures higher during the MWP?

All we know it must have been a definite natural process or an indefinite natural process due to randomness.

What physical processes is driving the current global temperature rise after the LIA.

We are told by warmists that the first 100 years was natural the last 60 or so years anthropogenic due to increased levels of man-made CO2 emissions.

We know from ice cores that it is temperature that drives concentrations of atmospheric CO2, but there has never been any runaway effect due to this process.

We know that the planet has experienced greater levels and longer periods of elavated CO2 without any runaway effect.

There has been no global climate catastrophe due to increased and sustained levels of atmospheric CO2. CAGW is nonsense.

What of a first order effect - AGW as opposed to CAGW?

We know there is no discernable difference between the rates and the periods of global temperature rise and fall from the temperature records of the last 160 years or so. It all looks natural.

We know also there is no anthropogenic signal in the tropical troposphere. It simply doesn't exist. AGW is denied a physical mechanism to warm the planet.

At this moment in time there is no physical evidence to support AGW, that may change.

But there is no physical evidence to support CAGW, that can be ruled out in its entirety.

When a doctrine fails the test of criticism its existence can only continue if it is accepted as dogma.

Belief in CAGW is an act of faith.

Sep 9, 2010 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac


Yours are all good points. As you say, "it all looks natural" - suggesting the AGW hypothesis is unlikely to be valid. And certainly, in the broadest sense, your points "challenge" the hypothesis. But I'm sure what Deutsche Bank meant was that the existence of the MWP does not disprove the hypothesis. And that's correct: the fact that natural influences caused earlier warmings does not prove that human influence cannot have caused the recent warming.

The problem with the hypothesis (that mankind's GHG emissions caused late 20th century warming and, if they continue, the result will be dangerous climate change) is that, as you say, no evidence has yet been adduced to verify it. And it's obviously not possible to challenge evidence when there isn't any. And the principles of the Scientific Method mean that a hypothesis without supporting evidence is of no significance - and there's certainly no requirement to disprove it. But, if it is to be disproved, the best way of doing so would be to show, from direct observation, that natural influences were clearly the main cause of recent warming. So far as I'm aware, that hasn't happened.

It continues, therefore, to be no more than an unverified hypothesis.

Sep 9, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

´´This is problematic because the way the public's views are shaped is critical to future political action on climate change.´´ Deutsche Bank

Again: NOT perception; rather, ´...the way...´ {it is} ´...shaped...´
The question, then: ´´How do we {financial advisors} counsel investors?´´
Tomorrow´s political actions affect today´s financial decisions.
Will future economic/monetary/policy actions be shaped by fear-mongering?

Can we hope financial advisors suggest consideration of science-based assessments?

Sep 9, 2010 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn R

It's not just Deutsche Bank that's after the money. The City of London doesn't want to be left behind in the fight against climate change. There'll soon be Charlie's finger pointing at you saying "your country needs you!" Volunteers to go to the front?


Sep 9, 2010 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I am currently removing all my family accounts from Deutsche Bank. I don't want to support such an agenda. It will cost them quite significantly.

Sep 9, 2010 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

Big money in Climate Change:

“These initiatives are designed to strengthen DeAM’s position as a leader in the rapidly developing market for climate change products, where we have already raised nearly €6bn in assets under management,” said Kevin Parker, Global Head of Deutsche Asset Management and a Member of the Deutsche Bank Group Executive Committee.

Sep 9, 2010 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

On a similar level to this article

- The prosecution in a criminal case first has to present a case, with all circumstantial and heresay evidence being accepted. Then the defence has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that this case is false, or the accused is found guilty. Further, it is quite valid for the prosecution to claim that defence councel are paid to be biased (though not the prosecution) even if the defence are working voluntarily.

What this article ignores is that in science you have to argue your case scientifically. To advocate considerable action to avert a potential catestrophy, the balance of scientific evidence must predict more than a potential weak effect. Showing that one's case is not refuted, without acknowledging the case has been weakened considerably, is a poor substitute for demonstrating one's case.

I explore further at

Sep 10, 2010 at 1:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

There is an old saying which is ALWAYS TRUE:
The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.

Sep 10, 2010 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMeIKnowNothin'

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