Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« ATI responds | Main | Zorita interview »

Climate cuttings 58

There has been a sudden flurry of articles on climate today, which I dutifully round up for you now.

Concerned scientists writing to protest at the various attempts to get hold of Michael Mann's emails is a story we have heard before, but another missive has been made public today, with the AGU and others telling the university of Virginia that they are worried that personal letters may be disclosed unnecessarily. UVa is due to respond to the American Tradition Institute's FOI request on 20 August.

Fans of the use and abuse of statistical significance in the temperature records will want to read the latest paper by Mahlstein et al, (co-authors include the IPCC's own Susan Solomon). It is claimed that significant warming of the Earth will be seen first in the tropics.

The Grantham Institute has published a paper on uncertainty in science, with the focus on climate.

Renewables are booming according to the TPM website. In England glazing businesses are doing well too.

Ars Technica takes a pop at Roy Spencer and his recent, much-discussed paper.

A new paper examines what might happen if aerosols are pumped into clouds. The conclusion is that they will reflect more light apparently.

And lastly, Jeremy Grantham says we're in trouble. Big trouble. Surprising, eh?

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (15)

Top marks for your deft allusion to the Broken Window Fallacy. I'll bet it would go straight over the heads of the author of that blog.

Aug 11, 2011 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Renewables are booming

Throw enough taxpayers money at it and any industry will boom. Stop throwing taxpayers money at it and the industry will go from boom to bust in an instant. Get your money out fast, because there is no spare taxpayers money in the pot to waste on subsidising grossly uneconomic renewables.

Aug 11, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

11 Aug: Toronto Star: Robert Benzie: Europeans complain Ontario’s green energy policies are protectionist
In Brussels on Thursday, the EU announced it is complaining to the World Trade Organization over subsidies Queen’s Park gives renewable energy producers that use domestic goods.
“This is in clear breach of the WTO rules that prohibit linking subsidies to the use of domestic products,” it said in a statement...
Energy Minister Brad Duguid made no apologies for the province’s green energy program, which has led to $20 billion in investment and created 20,000 jobs — and should generate 30,000 more by the end of next year...

8 Aug: Contra Costa Times: Munroe: U.S. clean energy’s bubble set to burst
“The global clean-energy industry is set for a major crash.”
– Devon Sweezy, Breakthrough Institute, July 7, 2011
Why? The answer is simple. Clean energy today is more expensive and less reliable than coal- and natural-gas-based energy. Large subsidies artificially maintain clean energy’s price competitiveness. These subsidies are likely to cease in a few years because of severe budgetary cutbacks proposed for coming years…
The clean energy industry experienced spectacular growth between 2007 and 2010 in response to $80 billion worth of direct government investments and tax credits that the stimulus program pumped into the industry…
The crash in clean energy will also spread beyond the U.S. because of fiscal problems in Europe. Clean-energy subsidies have recently been cut in Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the Czech Republic, and more cuts are likely to come…
It is amazing to me that, despite decades of activity in clean energy, most of the global clean-energy investment has gone into existing technologies that are not competitive with conventional sources without subsidies...

11 Aug: Tim Devaney: Washington Times: No friendly skies between U.S., EU
Dispute centers on carbon-trade program
Airlines from around the world that fly into and out of the EU are fighting to overturn a new rule that would cost them billions of dollars for their carbon-dioxide emissions, not just over European skies, but during the whole trip…
The U.S. has joined China, Australia, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates in protesting the move, saying it violates international law, which calls for a regulator like the International Civil Aviation Organization to make these decisions…
This has led ETS opponents to believe that the program has little to do with airlines reducing their carbon footprint, and more to do with debt-strapped European governments scrambling for money.
“It’s a cash grab,” Mr. Lott said. “This tax isn’t necessarily going to improve the environment. The EU has made no promises that the money is going to be spent on improving the environment, or improving the efficiency of the aviation system.”…
The EU expects to pocket between $49 billion and $82 billion.

Aug 11, 2011 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

We'll reach peak bullshit the day Jeremy Grantham loses the power of speech

Aug 11, 2011 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterFergalR


"Energy Minister Brad Duguid made no apologies for the province’s green energy program, which has led to $20 billion in investment and created 20,000 jobs — and should generate 30,000 more by the end of next year"

So if my arithmetic is correct, 1 million dollars subsidy per job "created"?

It should be described as a green energy pogrom.

Aug 11, 2011 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

Grantham the Neo-Malthusian. Mathusians have always been wrong because they don't account for the fact that there are advances in science and technology. The really serious problem we have today, that we have perhaps never had before, is a movement that wants to hamper progress. Having discovered how to harness the energy in the nucleus in the 1940s and 1950s it is incredible that we have for decades had folk trying to stop the introduction of this technology. Now we have immoral feed-in tariffs paying over 30 times the producer price of a nuclear generator to produce a commodity (unit of electricity) for having it produced inefficiently. We left the wind powered age behind us over 150 years ago (or so we thought) because coal, then oil, then nuclear were so much better. Grantham says 'invest in commodities' for the next 10 years. But a unit of electricity is effectively a commodity and with the advance of technology the price of that should be going down, not up. It is an uneconomic intervention in the market that is distorting the price.

According to books published in the 1970 and 1980s we should have completely run out of nickel on the planet by now, as well as lots of other commodities. But new technology has always enabled more efficient extraction and processing (and prospecting) so that deposits that were once unworkable become viable for extraction. When Grantham talks about potassium (in potash) (from an exploding star) being worked out he is simply talking hogwash. What he means is that the deposits that are just lying around on the surface might become exhausted. But there was once a time when everything was just surface mined, and now we can extract from deep mines and the seabed. What's more, there is an awful lot of stuff deeper in the earth, and we are literally scratching the surface. If we don't have Luddites trying to put the brakes on progress, and don't keep pandering to the Greens and the Precautionary Principle, there is really no chance that we will run out of what is needed to sustain a growing population. I blame scaremongers and Malthusians like Grantham who uses his wealth to pervert progress for any coming problems. The world would be a much better place without his sort.

Aug 11, 2011 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

When western voters finally see Asian economy after Asian economy zooming past them, and themselves becoming ever more impoverished, their political 'leaders' will finally have to wind back their absurd climate fantasy and get back to reality.

Whether that will be 'too late' or not, depends on your point of view.

Aug 12, 2011 at 3:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

The abstract for Mahlstein et al includes the following statement:

"We also show that a local warming signal that exceeds past variability is emerging at present, or will likely emerge in the next two decades, in many tropical countries."

By saying "is emerging" it sounds as though they can't actually be sure and by saying "will likely emerge" they sound like they are hedging.

It still amazes me that there are people that actually think this sort of guff is science.

Aug 12, 2011 at 7:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Just read a bit further into Mahlstein et al. I now discover:

"Twenty-three atmosphere ocean general circulation models (AOGCM) are used in the analysis"

So the paper is all about what might happen in the parallel virtual world of computer models. They need to get out more and see what the real world is doing.

Aug 12, 2011 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Ars Technica
"To climate change critics, however, the continued use of existing models appear increasingly delusional, which will undoubtedly feed into some of the more extreme conspiracy theories that have sprung up regarding climate science."

Yet he does nothing in the article to show how the models are out of touch with real life and also, despite knocking Spencer's work,to show where Spencer is wrong. He even answered them here..

Hell, if nothing else they are repetitive! If only they could produce something original and true! I must admit that Ars (!), "the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, a short-term climate event. " made me smile. All that was missing from the sentence was "an event that has little effect on weather/climate"! Face slap time again!

Aug 12, 2011 at 7:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

On the Grantham paper, by Seamus Bradley. I skimmed through. Not a bad paper. Strangely written in the first person giving it the air of a school project. No mention of our friend BW. Quite a good overview of the uncertainties faced by computer modellors of complex systems, using climate as an example. Does not go into whether or not the climate models are reliable, or make any particular case for believing AGW predictions. Not controversial. (that's from a skim, so might have missed something).

Aug 12, 2011 at 7:39 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Off topic but, your quote "In England glazing businesses are doing well too." isn't this the fallacy of the broken window in action?

Aug 12, 2011 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

So we should be able to detect a significant signal in the warming by 2020 in the tropics.
Excellent - can't wait to see this.

. . . so why are we spending all this money now on a theory which todate we cannot validate?

Just a thought!

Aug 12, 2011 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurious from Cleethropes

Re the Ars Technica "pop" at Roy Spencer: Ars Technica very misleadingly misstates the differences between most "skeptics" and the IPCC folks. Ars Technica says:

"In short, it's not simply a matter of an audience selectively picking information; depending on where people do their reading, it's possible for them to occupy two entirely separate scientific realities. In one, the consensus view of greenhouse-driven climate change remains strong, while in the other, Spencer's paper joins a long list of results casting doubt on the conclusions of the IPCC."

This appears to equate "casting doubt on the conclusions of the IPCC" with not accepting that greenhouse gases warm the climate. Roy Spencer and most published "skeptics" don't disagree that CO2 warms the climate, they disagree about the magnitude because they disagree about the feedbacks.

But if you believe Ars Technica, if you are on the Spencer side of the debate, you occupy a different scientific reality and don't believe that greenhouse gases warm the climate. A clever misstatement to make "skeptics" look bad, to imply that they don't accept the basis science of greenhouse gases. We do, though: we just don't buythe feedbacks in the GCMs (global climate models). And we have several decade long temperature trends (called "reality" in other contexts) to back us up, unlike the IPCC.

Aug 12, 2011 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

came across this interesting new venture by the UK Met Office:
Nothing wrong with it in itself of course but it demonstrates the conflict of interest within the Met Office between making climate forecasts/prognostications and benefiting from them (climate consultancy services, data provision etc).
I think a key reform that's needed is separation of weather data/short-term forecasting from climate research/forecasting so that the former is more analagous to independent statistics agencies (appreciate their record isn't stellar but it's a lot better and more transparent than if their work was being done by, say, the insurance industry or CBI).

Aug 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered Commentercarbonneutral

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>