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Plus Lynas 

Mark Lynas's willingness to criticise the IPCC seems to have created a great deal of interest. The comments on his blog post are pretty interesting, with Bob Ward on hand to apply the thumbscrews to the waverer and Lynas indicating an interest in reading the Hockey Stick Illusion.

Meanwhile the story has been picked up many others, including the Independent here (H/T Matthu), and also by Judith Curry, who warns Lynas about what he is getting himself into.

I’ve been engaging with skeptics since 2006 (before starting Climate Etc., I engaged mainly at ClimateAudit).  People were suspicious and wondered what I was up to, but the vilification didn’t start until I recommended that people read The Hockey Stick Illusion.  The book itself, plus more significantly my vilification simply for recommending that people read the book, has pushed me over the ledge and into a mode of aggressively challenging the IPCC consensus.  That you are willing at this point to read the book speaks volumes to me.  It is my sad conclusion that opening your mind on this subject sends you down the slippery slope of challenging many aspects of the IPCC consensus.

Shortly after I started Climate Etc., I received this email message from a colleague:

A few years ago, I started interacting with a skeptic who somehow passed through my “ignore skeptics” filter.  He has an engineering degree and is quite knowledgable.  My rationale that “all skeptics are troglodytes” has been tattered, and my view of the climate debate has  irreversibly changed.

Opening your mind on this subject is a slippery slope into listening to what skeptics have to say.  Sure there are alot of crazies out there, but there is some very serious skepticism at ClimateAudit and other technical skeptic and lukewarmer blogs.  I look forward to a growing climate heretics club, where people that generally support the IPCC consensus (either currently or in the past) dare to question aspects of it.

I predict that your actually reading the Hockey Stick Illusion and mentioning it on your blog will get you removed from RealClimate’s blogroll.

The reactions have also started, with Andy Revkin having response from the head of IPCC WG3 and Greenpeace.

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Reader Comments (95)

What other description is there than "energy fantasists"? Even the climate scientists don't try to pretend that wind/wave/solar are the answer to the world's energy problems. That's the prerogative of the eco-extremists who have leapt on the global warming bandwagon as an excuse to have us all return to the "simple life" that existed sometime when and would like to believe that wind power can at some time in the future be a consistent and reliable source of electricity.
If that isn't being a fantasist I don't know what is.
Incidentally as regards where you post, you did try posting at WUWT a few weeks ago or have you forgotten?
They're more disciplined than we are and ignored you. Perhaps they didn't know what Truro was.

Jun 16, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

"you did try posting at WUWT a few weeks ago or have you forgotten?"

No. I didn't.

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

I asked Lynas to support his snide remark suggesting that Steve McIntyre had made errors in the past.

He deleted my comment.

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred Bloggs

Zed, your'e really bad at answering questions but red hot when it comes to asking them. No answer from you regarding my question to you, ages ago, about how many wind-powered ships are in the world's mercantile fleet.
Give it a try, at least. Please.

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

I'm wondering if you missed the bit about losing 100% of your credibility on the topic of renewables if you failed to make a direct and unambiguous response to this:


Isn't it interesting how the energy fantasists have distorted the contents of this report and spun out the (ludicrous, misleading) claim that 80% of the global energy mix could be renewables by 2050?

Interesting because it is, of course, a lie.

The report's real conclusion suggests a hugely optimistic, but at least technically feasible figure of 30% by 2050.

Now why would anyone take 30% and turn it into 80% if they were being honest?

I'd say you were running out of time, as well as credibility.

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

“The report's real conclusion suggests a hugely optimistic, but at least technically feasible figure of 30% by 2050”

Curious that Bob Ward, so keen to defend the IPCC, hasn’t mentioned it so far! I’m sure you’re right, BBD, but then you’ve probably read the thing.. :-)

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

[snip - o/t]

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

"No. I didn't."

Why do I hear that in the voice of Tigger..?

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Shub - without wanting to take away from what you have written, I ought to point out that the engineer degree Diploma of Engineering in Germany is not a lightweight degree: it is an advanced postgraduate academic degree. Because of the generally lightweight idea of a 'diploma' in some countries (e.g. UK) the degree is now termed Master of Engineering. Even now, if done as a postgraduate qualification after, say, a bachelor's degree, it is still known in UK as a postgraduate diploma. I should know - I have such a postgraduate engineering diploma.

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

I did a quick summary of the summary for policy makers

The levelized cost of energy for many RE technologies is currently higher than existing energy prices, though in various settings RE is already economically competitive

Monetizing the external costs of energy supply would improve the relative competitiveness of RE.The same applies if market prices increase due to other reasons

Some RE resources are variable with limited predictability. Some have lower physical energy densities and different technical specifications from fossil fuels. Such characteristics can constrain ease of integration and invoke additional system costs particularly when reaching higher shares of RE

As the penetration of variable RE sources increases, maintaining system reliability may become more challenging and costly

Electricity network transmission (including interconnections between systems) and/or distribution infrastructure may need to be strengthened and extended, partly because of the geographical distribution and fixed remote locations of many RE resources

Figure SPM.5

The levelized cost of energy represents the cost of an energy generating system over its lifetime; it is calculated as the per-unit price at which energy must be generated from a specific source over its lifetime to break even. It usually includes all private costs that accrue upstream in the value chain, but does not include the downstream cost of delivery to the final customer; the cost of integration, or external environmental or other costs. Subsidies and tax credits are also not included.

I'm also seeking funding to write a similar report showing how 80% of the UK's energy could be provided by treadmills installed in every home and workspace. There would be scope to monetize external costs and benefits such as improved public health and fitness. Input from hamster breeders also welcomed.

I still don't see the point of this report other than as an advertorial for the renewables sector. If the objective of the IPCC is the prevention of potentially harmful GHGs, then surely it would have been better to simply focus on comparing low carbon generation. But that probably would have lead to a different conclusion showing more baseload from nuclear and a much smaller contribution from renewables. Some of those still make sense, such as CHP for waste to energy but the 'n' word is verbotten to this report's sponsors. The initial press release and SPM still read like so much spin from the renewables lobby.

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

The Daily Mail has drawn the Carbon Brief's attention.....

which is presumably where Bob Ward got his 'briefing' from.....

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Pretty sure I heard Richard Black in R4 news, taking the line that the solar minimum would only provide a temporary respite from the projected furnace.

Stefan 'Der Alarmiste' Rahmstorf of PIK has already dismissed any major cooling effects from a solar slowdown.

"Here we use a coupled climate model to explore the effect of a 21st-century grand minimum on future global temperatures, finding a moderate temperature offset of no more than −0.3°C in the year 2100 relative to a scenario with solar activity similar to recent decades. This temperature decrease is much smaller than the warming expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century. "

Is that nearly a testable prediction? Dontcha love those 'coupled' models?

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

SFT: Agreed and your point taken.

The point I was trying to make was, that far from being an academic, Teske is a businessman and a campaigner, who sees opportunity for realization of both his world-view and financial ambitions in the nuclear fear-mongering in Germany. His authored reports' titles all suggest that he's been involved in the same sort of scenario-painting for over a decade now. All the above, is no fault of his, but this should not be presented as any part of a policy-neutral IPCC report.

Here is a good interview with Teske (Euractive always have good stuff):

Jun 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

"a coupled climate model"

I.e. twice as inaccurate.

Jun 16, 2011 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


“treadmills “

I recall a doctor* whose children spent too much time in front of the TV, so he adapted an exercise bike to generate the necessary power, freeing them to watch as much as they liked, as long as they provided the energy. They found other entertainment quite quickly, I believe.

*He might have been a dentist. A streak of sadism was probably necessary.. :-)

Jun 16, 2011 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"a coupled climate model"

A double entendre

Jun 16, 2011 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra


"you did try posting at WUWT a few weeks ago or have you forgotten?"

No. I didn't.

I guess that wasn't you commenting in the "Someone is wrong in the MSM about radiation" thread on WUWT on March 20th

Jun 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

When I was a small boy I quite liked coupled models and spent hours playing with a spring-powered wind-up coupled Hornby model set that included a locomotive, a coal tender, a flat-bed wagon, a passenger carriage, a Mobil tank wagon and a guard's van, along with a dodgy circular track that caused frequent derailments. Does the inclusion of the Mobil tank wagon in the set mean that I was under the influence of Big Oil even in those far-off days?

Jun 16, 2011 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K


I think I had the same set. But the Mobil wagon was green, which could explain all the confusion in my life...

Nurse - the screens!

Jun 16, 2011 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


Actually, I doubt it was Zed. Looks more like someone playing silly b*ggers to me.

And LINK to things, please. Makes life so much simpler.

Jun 16, 2011 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"like someone playing silly b*ggers"

Hence the confusion, no doubt...

Jun 16, 2011 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

@ James P

There's no way an authentic Mobil tank wagon would have been green. It would have been red, white or blue or, more likely, a sort of concrete colour whose name escapes me but that was widely used on Mobil real estate because as a backdrop dull colours were preferred to make the brand colours stand out better.

The flying horse's nose was supposed to be parallel to the ground too....

Jun 16, 2011 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka


I've no idea if it was authentic! The loco was definitely green, though...

Jun 16, 2011 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


I had the tank engine set. The loco was in maroon LMS livery and the tanker waggon was an Esso one, black lettering on silver. Happy days.

Jun 16, 2011 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Thank you, Terry S, you got there first. / 17th comment down.
BBD, there is no reason to suppose anyone would pass themselves off as the Truro Troll. Every reason (given the comment) to assume she was plastered ... again.

Jun 16, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson

She said it wasn't her. It doesn't sound like her. She can be disingenuous and slippery on occasion, but I cannot recall any outright porkies. So - benefit of the doubt for now.

Jun 16, 2011 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

This blog is drawing attention to Lynas's landmark blog revelation with some outstanding comments in that thread well done friends. Road to Damascus. Quite exceptional, almost a Judith, and hugely encouraging to see her participate also.

Jun 16, 2011 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

You're a nice person.
When it comes to trolls like Zed, I'm not.
We'll agree to differ (politely, of course!)

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

"I guess that wasn't you commenting in the "Someone is wrong in the MSM about radiation" thread on WUWT on March 20th"
Jun 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM | TerryS

No. It wasn't. You guess correctly. As already stated, I post here and on one other website only.

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

It looks like Lynas' , like Monboit , before him will find out what happens to even the prophets of the AGW faith should they been seen to stray from the path of AGW purity in the smallest way. ANd is going to learn that nothing but total commitment to the AGW dogma is acceptable to far to many supporters of this faith .

True Bob 'fast fingers' Ward is spouting about the Mail on CIF , but its odd that is chose not to use the spinning skills his paid for to say anything about this latest little IPCC 'problem', his certainly a expert in the use of political advocacy as tool of science. So you would think he used it 'right' to post articles to help the IPCC out over this .

Jun 16, 2011 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Mike Jackson


You're a nice person.

Now I've been accused of many things...

Jun 17, 2011 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


Putting aside the silly distractions of question marks and whether you did or did not post at WUWT, do you have anything material to say on the IPCC money-go-round? Can you see how conflicted that is? And do you have even just a twinge of empathy for Mark Lynas?

Mark and Judith appear to be at different stages on a journey away from unquestioning faith in the hypothesis of AGW. They have seen the problems with the IPCC and it has made them ask questions. Asking questions is of course synonymous with scepticism. Do you ever question the IPCC consensus, Zed? Do you ever have doubts about the methods by which this 'consensus' has been put together?

Or do you just shut yourself away from anything possibly dissonant with your long-established cognitive position? Mark seems shocked. Judith also, particularly at the viciousness of response to her daring to question things.

What about you, Zed? What's your take on the irrefutable conflicts of interest that have been exposed?

Jun 17, 2011 at 1:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

I've not read all the links but criticising the authorities is fair game. As a former climate modeller and seeing how pointless something like the IPCC is I can't really see what discussion could be going on now. Even though my former colleagues are way smarter than me, especially Mathematically it does worry me that the AGW circle is so small (ie Head of NERC, Chief Met Office Scientist, Head of Grantham Institute, Key IPCC Author) includes 3 former heads of department at Reading Meteorology department.My former colleagues are definitely brighter mathematically than me, so therefore can walk into lots of relevant private sector jobs with very good pay, so I am just waiting for who will break ranks first from the Grant gravy train that exists at the present moment.

Jun 17, 2011 at 4:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob B

Rob B

Now THAT was an interesting comment.... with a tad too much self-deprecation. I'll bet your story and observations that led you to your conclusion are fascinating. Care to say a little more? By the way, MY math was really poor, but I designed and wrote some really intricate, innovative process manufacturing software.

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert E. Phelan

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:17 AM | Robert E. Phelan

I came from a geophysics/oceanography background (and a year of Imperial Physics I also dropped out from) whereas my colleagues were largely maths/physics oxford/cambridge/imperial very bright people.) I'm sure the private sector will lap them up when all the current funding dries up in 5 years time..... I've learnt loads more having to work in the world where no one wanting what your work meant
no job ;-)

(It really seems like Bryan Hoskins (Head of Dept before Alan Thorpe before becoming head of NERC, might have sold out to Grantham unfortunately when he really is an extremely intelligent bloke.) It must me easier challenging somone like him than a career politician.

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob B

Hi Rob B

Why is the funding to dry up in 5 years' time? Or is that a prediction? Love to hear more about life behind the Warm Curtain, and how you made it out! :-)

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

So in summary I did Imperial Physics for one year followed by 3 years of Geophysics/Oceanography at Southampton and 3 years postgrad meteorology at Reading before dropping out into IT.... so I think I have at least some knowledge of the subject - AGW stuff probably funded my £6k a year grant back in 1993.. which I actually learnt alot from.. (indirectly - It was all Unix stuff) .I think I could do my orginal PHD much better now nearly 20 years on, and I'm actually very tempted to try and get back into research now I feel I could do it much better... But industry funded research is the key... Public sector funding is dead I think as the famous Eisenhower speech suggests... anything else is corruption of science.

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob B

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:47 AM | Gixxerboy

"Why is the funding to dry up in 5 years' time? Or is that a prediction? Love to hear more about life behind the Warm Curtain, and how you made it out! :-)"

a prediction/guess - my work was actually largely followiing Lindzen on really boring Mid Latitide dynamics stuff - I still think we should have some kind of funding for the real 'good geeks' who are just interested on how everthing works - I'm definitely interested in it still 20 years after my study period and following Svensmarks work closely..... I think it is probably correct but will reject it if observations/data reject the hypothesis..

Jun 17, 2011 at 6:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob B

I would have added a lot more, especially through the Steve Mcintyre Yamal period, but surely everyone doubted AGW then, didn't they?? , and if they didn't I would really question there 'scientific' credentials. Science is a state of mind and not a qualification, we can spot each other, and discuss, when necessary. Politics appears to be ruining ALL science at the moment though.

Jun 17, 2011 at 6:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob B

Thanks Rob B.

I don't think you'll find anyone here who would question funding real, open scientific enquiry into climate change. Some of us are 'lukewarmers' who, on balance, conclude that some GW is anthropogenic and some of that is CO2-forced. But that the 'consensus' view is mendaciously overstated and highly politicised.

Good luck if you do revisit your PhD.

Jun 17, 2011 at 6:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

I don' t think I would revisit my PHD Gixxerboy as I am well below a luke warmer.... I would like funding going into thinks like Thorium which might end up with nothing nut potentially a big upside though... From a scirnce point of view I very much value what I do now (just look at the data) as about 3/4 of my job is to do with storing/protecting/analysing data in relational databases which from what I have seen Academia still haven't embraced in a big way for some unfathomable reason..

Jun 17, 2011 at 7:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob B

Rob B its not just the money its power of being able to make policy, or being the go to person for politicians, its the glamor of getting TV and Press etc coverage. For some that is heady mix which cash alone may not buy.

Jun 17, 2011 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR


"I post here and on one other website only"

Why us?!

(That's rhetorical, BTW.)

Jun 17, 2011 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Hector Pascal wrote:

I live in northern Japan (Tohoku), about 38 degrees north. Same as Madrid and Washington. In winter it starts snowing in late December and stops snowing (normally) in early March. Average fresh snowfall per winter is 11 metres. I would really really like an inexpensive and cost effective way to heat my home with cheap renewables. Solar panels buried in snow don't work."

The best use of solar heating appears to me to involve annual heat storage, where abundant summer time solar heat is stored inexpensively in the soil underneath a house. John Hait and Don Stephens have done interesting work in this area- see the links in my name to get started (not my site, just a reference).

Much development needs to be completed before houses can be routinely built using this concept, alas. Renewable heating _can_ be used in high northern latitudes with cloudy winter weather, but annual storage is a must in those areas.

Jun 17, 2011 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Jones

More links on PAHS for hector

Note that annual heat storage does NOT require a hobbit house, just well-engineered insulation and heat transfer systems that can hidden entirely under a normal looking house.

Jun 17, 2011 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Jones

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