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« GatesRLocked | Main | New FOI guidance for universities »
Monday
Sep262011

At the RSE

Tonight, I'm off to the Royal Society of Edinburgh for a discussion forum:

Facing up to Climate Change

Climate change will affect us all, for example in energy, food security, population migration and competition for resources. Scotland, given its long history as a major contributor to rising greenhouse gas levels and access to renewable energy resources, has a role to play. The RSE Inquiry ‘Facing up to Climate Change’ sought evidence from a wide variety of people and organisations to highlight the opportunities of a transition to a low-carbon future and the barriers to change. Lord Turner and Professor Sugden will discuss what the challenges are and what the future may hold.

I wonder if Geoffrey Boulton will be there. I'll be tweeting occasionally.

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Reader Comments (32)

I would be interested in knowing Sugden's opinion.
I remember him as an excellent scientist. He published a very sober paper on the stability of the Antarctic Ice sheet when I was still in Edinburgh
The East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Unstable Ice or Unstable Ideas?
i hope he hasn't changed much

Sep 26, 2011 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPatagon

Major contributor? About 0.2%.

Sep 26, 2011 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

"Climate change will affect us all, for example in energy..."

Well that bit's certainly true. Apparently we all have to help pay for the windmills.

"... population migration ..."

Yes. You lot in Scotland have probably noticed it already. People from the south, flocking up to Scotland to avoid the searing temperatures down here.

"Scotland, given its long history as a major contributor to rising greenhouse gas levels ..."

Yes. It's all those wretched tweed factories. And don't get me started on the amount of Global Warming that's been created by shortbread production.

"... to highlight the opportunities of a transition to a low-carbon future and the barriers to change."

Rationality? Would that be a barrier?

Sep 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Do we read the first two sentences in the way the NPS would have us do or are they 'incontrovertible' for the purpose of the meeting?

Sep 26, 2011 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

I'll be interested to read your report on the proceedings, Bish.

It's now clear that this Great Debate is only superficially scientific; it's actually a major political parting of the ways. Inside the "citadel" are those who prosper from the global warming agenda; on the outside those who are being levied, happily or unhappily. Inside the Citadel, for instance, is WWF, now a major corporation (our friends on WUWT report) with annual revenues over $500m.

I reckon the big question is: Who Benefits; Who Pays. If the RSE's desired "transition to a low-carbon future" is to be made viable by subsidies from outside Scotland they may well be enthusiastic for it.

I once attended a seminar at Nottingham Uni's CICCS, and uttered the words, "...provided, that is, that the threat from CO2 is as serious as claimed." Mouths fell open. It'll be interesting to hear how they receive you in Edinburg.

Sep 26, 2011 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

"Climate change will affect us all"
Nice to see they framed the debate in a cool and calm way ???

Sep 26, 2011 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterzx

I lived in Scotland for two years, one nice west coast summer it ****** down every day... unfailingly coming in from the Isle of Arran.

A bit of heat would do the world of good...

Actually Scotland has some of the best beaches in the world. Is this an opportunity? Costa del Jock?

I think they should begin preparing now... opportunity awaits!!!

Sep 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Somehow I think he's feeling like he's in the stands at the wrong end, judging by the tweets.

Sep 26, 2011 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Patagon

Thanks for that paper.

It has the following passage which should be useful for crackpots making statements about Antarctic ice:

An implication of this view of stepped growth and the ability of the [Antarctic] ice sheet to create conditions suitable for its continual survival is that it is resistant to all but major environmental changes. The kind of change required to remove the ice sheet would be a change in atmospheric or oceanic circulation, such as would accompany changes in the distribution of the continents and ocean basins

Sep 26, 2011 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

WRT Sugden (1996). I think most eyes are on accelerating mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice sheet. Nobody's talking about significant loss from the East Antarctic ice sheet.

There's nothing 'crackpot' about pointing to the WAIS as a highly plausible driver of sea level rise over this century.

Sep 26, 2011 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Shub
What you quoted shows appreciation of the hierarchy of climate controls recognised by Lee C Gerhard et al in the introduction to their 'Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change' Special Publication AAPG no 47, 2001, unfortunately a pricey paper only volume. In effect their hierarchy goes like this

First Order Controls: Cyclicity 1 billion to 10 billion years, effect 25-30 deg C
Greenhouse atmosphere
Solar system geometry
Solar luminosity

Second Order Controls: 10 million to 100 million years, effect 15-20deg C
Global distribution of oceans and continents

Third Order Controls: 10.000 to 100,000 years, effect 5-15 deg C
Orbital and solar variability
Large scale oceanographic oscillations
Long ocean tide cycles

Fourth Order Controls: 10 to 100 years,effect 0-5 deg C
El Nino, La nina oscillations
Volcanoes
Weathering
Regional tectonics
Short ocean tide cycles
Solar storms, flares
Smaller orbital cycles
Meteorite impacts
Human intervention (CO2, CH4)

Sep 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

BBD

I think most eyes are on fuel bills the coming winter.

Sep 26, 2011 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Iliked this bit as well

Huybrechts (1993) has used a sophisticated two-dimensional glaciological model
of the ice sheet to establish that it is resistant to temperature changes. The modelling suggests that
a rise of up to 5C would lead to ice sheet expansion, while a rise in mean annual temperature of
some 17C would be necessary to cause significant deglaciation. Kennett and Hodell (1993) have
shown how the evidence of marine sediment cores is fully consistent with ice sheet stability since the
Miocene and, indeed, rules out significant ice sheet deglaciation in the Pliocene.

---------------------------------------------------

BBD, if you pay attention, no one talked anything about any Antarctic sheet.

Your thought police activities are amusing.

Sep 26, 2011 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Pharos

That too. But when have I ever done anything but rail against lunatic UK energy policy?

It's still not 'crackpot' to view the WAIS as a plausible driver for rising sea levels.

Sep 26, 2011 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Shub

BBD, if you pay attention, no one talked anything about any Antarctic sheet.

I'm puzzled by your comment.

From The East Antarctic Ice Sheet: unstable ice or unstable ideas? (Sugden 2006):

This evidence of long-term climate and ice sheet stability in the Dry Valleys area of the Transantarctic Mountains is supported by the conclusions of other disciplines. Huybrechts (1993) has used a sophisticated two-dimensional glaciological model of the ice sheet to establish that it is resistant to temperature changes.

This study is about the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. However, it is accelerating mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is causing some unease.

Sep 26, 2011 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Philip started a Discussion thread 'BBD: Antarctic ice questions'. I am very sensitive to the accusation of thread-hijacking, which is not my intention in commenting at BH.

In support of this claim, please let's continue on Discussion if you wish.

Sep 26, 2011 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The accelerating mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet seems to have the unusual property of decreasing sea level:

ftp://ftp.aviso.oceanobs.com/

How strange; I am feeling very uneasy myself.

Sep 26, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Silly me; the cold fresh water gushing from both poles is causing a thermosteric fall in sea level. How could I make such a simple error?

Sep 26, 2011 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

BBD, just because you bring it up....

The posting of the Sugden paper by patagon was as an example of sobriety of analysis. The posting of passages from the paper , which I did, was intended again, to underscore the same point - that of his sober analysis.

As long as we are talking of the views of Sugden on the Antarctic, I think we all are well within topic. But, when we venture down to an independent discussion of the Antarctic sheets themselves, we are not.

I find it often, that you tend to miss this type of a distinction.

To that extent, I would agree that I don't think you intend to derail, but because of the above it just happens. (you certainly don't my saying so, you know it, buddy).

Sep 26, 2011 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

As long as we are talking of the views of Sugden on the Antarctic, I think we all are well within topic. But, when we venture down to an independent discussion of the Antarctic sheets themselves, we are not.

Yes, we become a 'crackpot'. At least according to you.

Sep 26, 2011 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Billy Liar -
The recent drop in sea levels is believed to be due to the recent flooding -- where the flood waters originated in rain mostly from ocean evaporation. There was a similar drop, although not as large, after the 1998 El Nino. Of course, we'll see in time if somehow the rising trend has reversed. But for now, I think Ockham favours the flood hypothesis. While steric rise may have slowed or even stopped as the upper oceanic heat content has been relatively flat, the component from melting should be continuing, as Greenland (at least) is reporting that strong melt conditions have persisted. So one would have to invent a reason for a strong negative steric effect, if rejecting the flood hypothesis.

Sep 26, 2011 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Do ask for the prospects of this next winter's crops of cane sugar, rice, and winter wheat in Scotland, given the sub-tropical climate you should already be enjoying with the 10oC rise of winter temperature in high latitudes forecast by Edinburgh's Gabrielle Hegerl's IPCC et al. Apologies for sarcasm, but really why anybody would fret over the top-end range of forecasts by Hegerl and Boulton in frigid Scotland is beyond me.

Sep 26, 2011 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Curtin

Brent Hargreaves
It's now clear that this Great Debate is only superficially scientific;

Most scientific debate has always been "superficially scientific", why should this one be any different? Actually, it is the cost that is unique. I don't remember the argument over Darwin costing the population several trillion pounds.


James Evans
"Scotland, given its long history as a major contributor to rising greenhouse gas levels ..."

It's the sheep and haggis actually.

zx
"Climate change will affect us all"

Yes -- just look in your wallet.

Sep 27, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

How will Scotland's soon to be tropical climate affect the breeding seasons of your two iconic native animals..the sporran and the haggis? Is there a need for the populations to be forcibly repatriated somwhere cooler?

And what about that most annoying of Scottish exports - the bagpipes? Are they perhaps in danger of extinction..to the relief of music lovers everywhere?

These ae weighty and important matters. I wish you well.

Sep 27, 2011 at 12:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Latimer Alder
I had haggis once. As a sausage, it is best left unsubscribed.

Although there is the ancient joke that the definition of "Scottish Gentleman" is a Scotsman who knows how to play the pipes but doesn't, I actually like them. Must be my Celtic blood. Few realized that the kilts, bag pipes and whiskey (uisce beatha) were all invented in Ireland and sent over with the Celtic invaders to Scotland many years ago. I will admit that all were vastly improved by my distant Scottish cousins. However, they really need some cooking lessons --

.

Sep 27, 2011 at 3:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

BBD

I am very sensitive to the accusation of thread-hijacking, which is not my intention in commenting at BH.

As I have already noted several days ago, I do not consider you a troll -- unlike a few I can name -- and oddly I tend to agree with your statement. However, you appear to wind yourself up a bit more than needed, as though you were one of those "angry young men" of the 1970's I remember so well. You overstate your point at times and sometimes belabor the point excessively. You will be much more effective in making your point calmly and succinctly.

Just a friendly suggestion.

Sep 27, 2011 at 3:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra.

Adair (now Lord) Turner is the consummate "quangocrat".

He seems to have popped up in major public roles throughout my (considerable) adult; life nearly always on the wrong side of the argument - stepping effortlessly from one well-upholstered disaster zone to the next.

As Guido pointed out yesterday, it's significant that Adair Turner and Chris Huhne, who were both prime movers of the "Britain in Europe" campaign which tried to railroad us into the Euro, are now leading warmist propagandists.

Quote from their pamphlet at the time:-

“Opponents of the euro have forecast disasters which have in fact never happened and which always looked most unlikely… Euro-sceptics constantly underestimated the competence of Europeans and their ability to organise things properly.”
.


http://order-order.com/2011/09/26/some-more-guilty-men/


...............and now, they're leading the large to national economic self-destruction again.

Are they just slow learners - or do they really hate us?

Sep 27, 2011 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

"Are they just slow learners - or do they really hate us?"

Sweet, Foxgoose! Brightened this late afternoon in Melbourne considerably.

Sep 27, 2011 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

Don Pablo de la Sierra good point, me thinks if they had put it in this way
"Climate change policy will affect us all"
it would have been more honest !

Sep 27, 2011 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterzx

HaroldW

I was just doing a bit of leg pulling.

I think the NASA position is a little weak. On the graph they provide, at your link, of sea level since 1993 there is no comparable drop.

Pehaps, like Trenberth's missing heat, the water is hiding.

Sep 27, 2011 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Of course, the obvious place for water to hide is in plain sight as snow on mountains, glaciers and ice sheets.

I've discounted this hypothesis as being too obvious for climate science however.

Sep 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Billy Liar -
I obviously didn't quite figure out the leg-pulling thing, my apologies.

Sep 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

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