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« Dellers on Reason | Main | In which I catch a Turner »
Tuesday
Sep272011

Guilty men and guilty women

I've just been sent this video and transcript of Baroness Worthington speaking at an seminar called the CDKN Action Lab (H/T Barry Woods). In it she explains the roles she, David Cameron and David Milliband played in bringing the UK's Climate Change Act into being. When the time comes to point the finger of blame this will be a good place to start.

I started out in climate change, possibly like other people. My main passion after leaving university was environmental protection and biodiversity and habitats protection and species conservation.

I think it was around the mid-90s when I realised that all the work I had been doing to try and conserve species and habitats was about to be hit by this massive tidal wave of a problem which was global climate change. And, it was quite soon after that I tried to shift from the work I had been doing on legal protection of species and habitats to working on climate change, and I was fortunate enough to be employed by Friends of the Earth as their UK climate change campaigner. So that was my very first job that was specifically looking at climate change.

And after joining... I started to get very interested in the data...so I’m a little bit of a data geek I’m afraid. I like spread sheets and numbers. And I feel safe knowing the number tell you something and you can rely on them hopefully. So I looked at what was going on in the UK’s emissions history...of its record. And I realised that although we had been doing reasonably well in reducing our emissions. It had nothing to do with government policy. It was almost an accident, and it was largely down to the shift to gas. We discovered North Sea gas, we exploited it and built a lot of gas fired powered stations and those replaced pretty filthy old coal powered stations and we had a double benefit. So not only is gas a much cleaner fuel, but the stations themselves were newer and more efficient. So the government was very happy telling everyone, “We’ve got climate change licked, you know, were are doing very well". But actually it was an accident of economic policy. Nothing to do with the environment really.

And, so what then happened was in 1997 we had a Labour Government come into power. And their view of the world was slightly different to the preceding government and they actually brought in a moratorium on the building of gas fire powered stations, because they could see what was happening, which was essentially our coal base was being destroyed. Our miners were being put out of work and our power stations were shutting down. So they stopped the building of gas.

And pretty much things stood still for a while and what then happened was emissions started bouncing around a bit. So global commodity prices started shifting and you would see that if coal was particularly cheap, and gas was very expensive you would see these sudden spikes in our emissions when everyone switched back to coal. Those power stations that had been there since the 60’s were turned back on re-powered and started producing electricity again and this meant that really as a country we had no real control over our admissions.

We like to think we have this very sophisticated handle on the mitigation of climate change, but actually we were really at the mercy of global commodity prices. And, I felt that this was something that needed to be addressed if we were going to really seriously track down our emissions steadily over several decades we needed levers and tools which would enable us to control these forces...these uncontrollable economic impacts.

So, it was also slightly coloured by my background which I had been working on a campaign for new laws for biodiversity and I felt a legal solution for climate change was needed. The government policy at the time was to have policy documents. Every five years they would produce, a very nicely produced, very well written, very well meaning, but actually full of tiny, little policies. You know, a little bit of energy efficiency here, possibly a little bit of support for renewables over here, but no comprehensive view of: What are the big drivers of the economy? How do we get a handle on making these go in the right direction?

So we had two of these lovely looking climate change programmes, which did nothing really to drive emissions down and we at Friends of the Earth wrote a submission in the review before the third one to say, “Look guys are going to have to stop doing this and start a new approach, because this bottom up kind of tinkering with bits of policy is not delivering." And so we wrote a document which called for the introduction of carbon budgets, which is not a new idea, anyone who knows how the Kyoto Protocol works knows that, that sets the world’s carbon budgets. It says this is the amount we should be emitting as developed countries. And over this five year period you developed countries have to stay within that carbon budget - you can trade, but you know there’s a limit on how much you can emit.

So we thought take that idea and make it a national policy, so we will create a legal framework, with the UK Government is not just facing one five year budget created by the UN, but a succession of five year budgets leading out all the way to 2050. So that you have a line of emissions that’s known in advance, that is reducing over that period of time and everyone will...that will be a legally binding commitment. So that was Friends of the Earth’s suggestion.

And as with anything, when you are an NGO and you’re on the outside lobbying...you kind of hope that you are going to have an impact, you’re never really very sure. So we sent this document off. We had some signs that it was being well received, Elliot Morley who was environment minister at the time invited us in, and you know, he is a lovely man and said, “This is the sort of thing we should be doing”, but we never really thought he’d have the power to do it.

But, then something changed, we then had a newly elected leader of the opposition. So David Cameron came in and wanted to reinvent the Conservative Party. And he decided to take an environmental theme. He changed the logo to a tree and he’d obviously listened to the focus groups. He’d realised that the environment was actually an issue for the electorate. So he was lobbied by the Friends of the Earth and he said, “Yeah, I’ll deliver you a Climate Change Act. If you vote me in I’ll give you the bill you want that will bring in this legal framework.” And that was hugely important, that Friends of the Earth campaign that enabled that got the opposition to take up this policy was really important.

At the same time David Miliband had just been made secretary of state for the Department of Food and the Environment and Rural Affairs I think it was then, the bit of government that did climate change. And he was also a young very powerful, dynamic character and he wanted to make his mark and I think initially he was quite sceptical about needing legislation, but there was David Cameron saying he would deliver a bill. So very quickly it became Government policy that they would also deliver a bill.

So already you can see that this process for change was dependent on things that you could not have predicted. That you needed certain characters in certain positions to really take this agenda forward. And, the degree of luck really involved was really quite astounding. And, it did really come down to these personalities these big people who wanted to make a difference.

So by the time David Miliband joined DEFRA, I had left Friends of the Earth, having set up the campaign, I spent some time in a power company learning how things work there, which was very interesting and they had then seconded me into DEFRA. So when David Miliband arrived and said, “Right it looks like we are going to have to have a Climate Change Bill, who do we know in the department who can help us with this?

Then someone said, “Well, Byrony wrote the document that Friends of the Earth, that kicked this whole thing off. Why don’t we get her in and see if she can help?” So I got shifted off my...I was doing some work on public awareness and a campaign about educating about climate change and told, “Right, you’re going to be part of a team of civil servants. We want you to draft a bill.”

And I mean it was quite a challenge. We were a team of I think about eight of us working full time - tasked with preparing a draft bill, and not just a fairly large bill but also in a quite short period of time David Miliband was convinced he was going to be reshuffled off to another department. So he wanted action fast. So he said,”I want this bill in three months”. So the lawyers all said,”No, no, no... you can’t get a bill done in three months. It will take six or may be a year”. And we said, “Well, we’ve only got three months so let’s try it.

And that speed was another key factor, that looking back on it was really important, because one thing that Whitehall is very good at doing is producing huge amounts of documents, and papers, and concepts, and notes, but if you are moving fast often if you bombard people with huge amounts of information they will usually find a couple of things that they object to and then you have to have a process of negotiation on those one or two issues as opposed to the minute of every single clause, every single policy.

So we were fortunate in away that, because.. Let’s not pretend that the Government was united in wanting this. The Department of the Environment was very in favour, DFID was in favour, FCO was pretty much in favour, but certainly the Treasury thought this was a terrible idea and the Department of Business thought it was a terrible idea and largely because they felt the UK acting alone would be really detrimental to our competitiveness. And here we were proposing a self-imposed target that was going to last until 2050. And it would introduce costs and force businesses to move overseas...and the world was going to end, according to the Treasury. And we kept saying, “We don’t think that’s true. It’s all very moderate, very manageable and it’s important, because we have got to show leadership”, and it was.

So we ended up arguing with the Treasury more on the principle than on the detail. Because we were moving so fast that they had may be one or two policy people covering our brief, whereas we had a team of lawyers and us and all our special advisors and we were - basically, were able to outwit them a little bit by moving quickly so that was another element that led to it being successful.

And the draft bill come out with I think elements that were true to the Friends of the Earth concept. Friends of the Earth always wanted it to be more ambitious, or slightly different in its format, but it had the basic premise there which that was a legally binding cap, that would make the whole government responsible for delivering emissions reductions.

It had adaptation clauses in there. It had enabling powers that meant that in the future if the government wanted to introduce policies to constrain emissions they could do so easily.

And importantly it created an independent body called the Committee on Climate Change who would advise the government on how the budgets should be set and met over time. And those elements, those sort of key elements are what are now in the bill today.

And I think, where are we now? 2011. It was finally signed off by parliament in 2008. And has it made a difference? Well, I think the major difference it’s achieved is it’s made government take this issue more seriously. I don’t think it’s necessarily driving down emissions exactly the way we wanted it to, but every department now has a responsibility towards meeting the requirements of this bill.

There is an independent body - the Committee on Climate Change - who are able to talk to the media and create a sense of pressure on government to do the right thing. And we will know in the next few months, the fourth carbon budget is going to be set. Now the proposals from the committee are quite impressive they are quite tight, they are quite challenging and we are going to be seeing now how government is going to respond when that goes through parliament in terms of, will government stay true to its ideas of being a green government? And back a tight fourth carbon budget. So we will see what happens in the next few months. And actually, I should say my role since doing all this - I’ve just been made a baroness so... in the House of Lords and so my role having being involved in this, in quite a number of ways, my final role will be seeing how it goes through in the House of Lords and I’m hoping to be able to use my position to make sure it is as tight as it possibly can be.

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Reader Comments (172)

@Mike Jackson Oct 2, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Somewhere in the Climategate files there is at least a hint of a connection between climate scientists and activist NGOs. When I can dig it out again, I'll post it.

Here's one example from Nov. 1997 [subject line was "ATTENTION: Invitation to influence Kyoto"] - an "after the deadline" reply from Tom Wigley in response to the chain e-mail circulated by Mike Hulme and Joseph Alcamo, that seems to fit the bill:

After endorsements from many hundreds of other European climate-related scientists are collected (and we hope that you agree to be one of these), the Statement will be brought to the attention of key decision-makers (e.g. EU Kyoto negotiaters and Environment Ministers) and other opinion-makers in Europe (e.g. editorial boards of newspapers) during the week beginning 24th November. The UK and other European WWF offices have agreed to assist in this activity, although the preparation of the Statement itself has in no way been initiated or influenced by WWF or any other body. This is an initiative taken by us alone and supported by our 11 Statement sponsors.
[...]
We would very much like you to endorse this Statement. Unfortunately, at this time we can no longer take into account any suggested modifications. Nevertheless, we hope that it reflects your views closely enough so that you can support it.” [emphasis added -hro]

Source

Oct 3, 2011 at 7:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

www.eastangliaemails.com is still down but here are more examples of politicised science from the team:

http://www.galileomovement.com.au/docs/100523%20Archibald%20Ch.8%20Why%20did%20so%20many%20scientists%20get%20it%20wrong.pdf

Oct 3, 2011 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

This probably won't work but here goes:

link here

Oct 3, 2011 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Sorry, this is a digression from the topic, but BBD asked a question and I think it needs answered.

BBD - I agree that 2-3C is probably unlikely, but there does seem to be a fair body of evidence for the MWP to have been 1-2C warmer than current temperatures, in Greenland, Europe and much further a field for that matter. Here are just a few links I have collated, I am sure there will be many more:

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

climate MWP, RWP, Minoan, Holocene optima from GISP - http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/lappi/gisp-last-10000-new.png

climate MWP - tree ring paleoclimate study paper - California was 3.2C warmer than today in the MWP. Reference: Millar, C.I., King, J.C., Westfall, R.D., Alden, H.A. and Delany, D.L. 2006. Late Holocene forest dynamics, volcanism, and climate change at Whitewing Mountain and San Joaquin Ridge, Mono County, Sierra Nevada, CA, USA. Quaternary Research 66: 273-287.
- http://co2science.org/articles/V10/N4/C3.php

climate - MWP warmer in Georgia, Caucasian monestry high altitude kept cattle well above present arable limit. Climatic optima in the mountains of Georgia during Middle Age: results of palynological investigation of Navenakhari settlement and Betlemi monastery - http://www.inqua2011.ch/?a=programme&subnavi=abstract&id=2042&sessionid=8

climate - MWP Scandinavian Scots pines tree rings study - Dendroclimatology Improving a tree-ring reconstruction from west-central Scandinavia: 900 years of warm-season temperatures. Björn E. Gunnarson, Hans W. Linderholm and Anders Moberg - warmer/just as warm 900 years ago - abstract and pdf - http://www.springerlink.com/content/r6783q20q4u56t68/

climate - MWP - Canadian Rockies - Dendroclimatology - Summer temperatures in the Canadian Rockies during the last millennium: a revised record. B. H. Luckman and R. J. S. Wilson - abstract and pdf - "The reconstruction shows warm intervals, comparable to twentieth century values, for the first half of the eleventh century, the late 1300s and early 1400s. The bulk of the record, however, is below the 1901–1980 normals, with prolonged cool periods from 1200 to 1350 and from 1450 to the late 19th century. The most extreme cool period is observed to be in the 1690s. These reconstructed cool periods compare well with known regional records of glacier advances between 1150 and the 1300s, possibly in the early 1500s, early 1700s and 1800s. Evidence is also presented of the influence of solar activity and volcanic events on summer temperature in the Canadian Rockies over the last 1,000 years." - http://www.springerlink.com/content/bdn8n4ldrk6h1u5g/

climate - MWP warmer 1000 years ago - Saragasso Sea:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/274/5292/1503.abstract

climate - MWP just as warm 1000 years ago, Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, Nature 2009:
http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=59106&ct=162

climate - MWP and Minoan warmer - http://epic.awi.de/Publications/Ste2009a.pdf

climate - A 2,300-year-long annually resolved record of the South American summer monsoon from the Peruvian Andes (which also suggests MWP and LIA were extant in Southern Hemisphere): http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/05/02/1003719108.abstract

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

I still find it astonishing that you are so concerned about the rise of 0.5C since 1979, which I very much doubt can all be put down to CO2.

the mysterious 1980's

Oct 3, 2011 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

BBD,

I have just come back to this and found out that lapogus has already largely answered your question. However, one thing that stuck in my mind was a BBC radio broadcast some time ago that reported on an archeological excavation in, or near, York. If I remember correctly this identified ancient vines that produced grapes for red wine that required temperatures 2-3 degrees higher than modern times in order to flourish.

I have searched for a reference to this but have not yet found it (can anybody help?). However, I think it is sufficiently important that I keep searching (I will contact York University). If / when I find anything I will get back to you on "unthreaded".

Oct 3, 2011 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

lapogus

Thanks for the various links (some of which I've seen; others not). Allowing for regional variation, none constitutes evidence for a NH MWP warmer than the C20th. As I understand it, the current understanding is that there was parity between the two.

An unexplained (except by RF from CO2) 0.5C increase in GAT in just 30 years is troubling.

Roger Longstaff

Thanks for coming back on this - let's follow it up. It's one of those 'climate factoids' that gets bandied about but seems a bit hard to back up. Local viticulturists tell me that vines suitable for red wine production can be grown across much of England so long as they are carefully located. That said, even here on the South coast, white wines are superior.

Oct 3, 2011 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD - your question to Roger was: "What evidence can you provide that the MWP was 2-3C warmer than the present in Greenland or the UK? Or anywhere else?"

I listed number of studies from a range of locations (Greenland, Europe, North America, the Carribean/Atlantic and the Indian Pacific) which concluded the MWP was warmer than present. The California study which concluded it was 3.2C warmer.

You then come back with:
"Allowing for regional variation, none constitutes evidence for a NH MWP warmer than the C20th."

My mind boggles at your ability to move goalposts and so readily dismiss research which makes a mockery of the idea that the MWP was just a little local anomaly in Europe and nowhere else.

Oct 3, 2011 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

lapogus, I fear you threaten to disturb the enjoyment of a good crisis scenario! It is a marvellous feeling to think you are on to something that others need to be alerted to, and that it is urgent and even heroic to do this 'alerting'. Part of the problem of climate alarmism which it shares with all the other alarmisms in recorded history, is that it can be jolly interesting and enjoyable to promote it. You get the undivided attention of others - those who give you the benefit of the doubt, those who are just trusting individuals, those who are inclined to pessimism, those who feel we all deserve to suffer in some way, and of course those who can see personal or organisational advantage in what you are saying. You also get some opposition and that is a spur to more campaigning, since clearly they have not yet 'got the message', and/or 'you have not been getting through to them'.

Oct 3, 2011 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

lapogus

I listed number of studies from a range of locations (Greenland, Europe, North America, the Carribean/Atlantic and the Indian Pacific) which concluded the MWP was warmer than present. The California study which concluded it was 3.2C warmer.

You then come back with:
"Allowing for regional variation, none constitutes evidence for a NH MWP warmer than the C20th."

My mind boggles at your ability to move goalposts and so readily dismiss research which makes a mockery of the idea that the MWP was just a little local anomaly in Europe and nowhere else.

I'm not suggesting that the MWP was a European phenomenon. Just that the NH warming looks to have been about equivalent to mid-C20th conditions.

A number of the studies you mention do not conclude that the MWP was warmer than the present (below). Those that suggest higher regional temperatures (eg Millar et al. 2006) do not argue that they are representative of global temperatures.

That is why I said: allowing for regional variation, none constitutes evidence for a NH MWP warmer than the C20th (emphasis added). Your mind should not be boggled.

- Dendroclimatology Improving a tree-ring reconstruction from west-central Scandinavia: 900 years of warm-season temperatures. Björn E. Gunnarson, Hans W. Linderholm and Anders Moberg

http://www.springerlink.com/content/r6783q20q4u56t68/

The MXD chronology shows a stronger relationship with temperatures than the TRW data, but the two chronologies show similar multi-decadal variations back to ad 1500. According to the MXD chronology, the period since ad 1930 and around ad 1150–1200 were the warmest during the last 900 years. Due to large uncertainties in the early part of the combined MXD chronology, it is not possible to conclude which period was the warmest.

- Summer temperatures in the Canadian Rockies during the last millennium: a revised record. B. H. Luckman and R. J. S. Wilson

http://www.springerlink.com/content/bdn8n4ldrk6h1u5g/

The reconstruction shows warm intervals, comparable to twentieth century values, for the first half of the eleventh century, the late 1300s and early 1400s. The bulk of the record, however, is below the 1901–1980 normals, with prolonged cool periods from 1200 to 1350 and from 1450 to the late 19th century. The most extreme cool period is observed to be in the 1690s. These reconstructed cool periods compare well with known regional records of glacier advances between 1150 and the 1300s, possibly in the early 1500s, early 1700s and 1800s. Evidence is also presented of the influence of solar activity and volcanic events on summer temperature in the Canadian Rockies over the last 1,000 years.


- 2,000-year-long temperature and hydrology reconstructions from the Indo-Pacific warm pool. Delia W. Oppo, Yair Rosenthal & Braddock K. Linsley

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v460/n7259/full/nature08233.html

Our record from the Makassar Strait, Indonesia, exhibits trends that are similar to a recent Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction2. Reconstructed SST was, however, within error of modern values from about ad 1000 to ad 1250, towards the end of the Medieval Warm Period.

From the link you provided it looks as though Oppo thinks that the MWP was equivalent to the C20th, although this feels like someone trying to drum up interest ;-)

http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=59106&ct=162

Temperature reconstructions suggest that the Northern Hemisphere may have been slightly cooler (by about 0.5 degrees Celsius) during the 'Medieval Warm Period' (~AD 800-1300) than during the late-20th century. However, these temperature reconstructions are based on, in large part, data compiled from high latitude or high altitude terrestrial proxy records, such as tree rings and ice cores, from the Northern Hemisphere (NH).

[...]

Oppo comments, “Although there are significant uncertainties with our own reconstruction, our work raises the idea that perhaps even the Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions need to be looked at more closely.”

[...]

“The more interesting and potentially controversial result is that our data indicate surface water temperatures during a part of the Medieval Warm Period that are similar to today’s,” says Oppo. NH temperature reconstructions also suggest that temperatures warmed during this time period between A.D. 1000 and A.D. 1250, but they were not as warm as modern temperatures. Oppo emphasizes, “Our results for this time period are really in stark contrast to the Northern Hemisphere reconstructions.”

- A 2,300-year-long annually resolved record of the South American summer monsoon from the Peruvian Andes. Broxton et al. (2011 )

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/05/02/1003719108.abstract

This unique sediment record shows that δ18O peaked during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) from A.D. 900 to 1100, providing evidence that the SASM weakened considerably during this period. Minimum δ18O values occurred during the Little Ice Age (LIA) between A.D. 1400 and 1820, reflecting a prolonged intensification of the SASM that was regionally synchronous. After the LIA, δ18O increased rapidly, particularly during the current warm period (CWP; A.D. 1900 to present), indicating a return to reduced SASM precipitation that was more abrupt and sustained than the onset of the MCA.

Oct 3, 2011 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

lapogus

WRT your Jo Nova reference for:

climate MWP, RWP, Minoan, Holocene optima from GISP

The graph is not the same as the one shown in Alley (2000) but is apparently derived from the same data. This has me puzzled. Can you clarify?

Oct 4, 2011 at 12:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD - I am not sure what you are getting at. The MWP, RWP Minoan and Holocene optima are clearly discernible on the Alley graph, but the Lappi graph has just goes back 10k years as opposed to Lappi's which goes back 20k. It is the same data, and same scale, just that by starting at 10kya it allows a closer look at the Holocene variations. I am puzzled why you cannot see this.

Oct 4, 2011 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

lapogus

Sorry. Exhaustion. Comment withdrawn:

lapogus

WRT your Jo Nova reference for:

climate MWP, RWP, Minoan, Holocene optima from GISP

The graph is not the same as the one shown in Alley (2000) but is apparently derived from the same data. This has me puzzled. Can you clarify?

Oct 4, 2011 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

lapogus

Just respond to Oct 3, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Oct 4, 2011 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

So there is some uncertainty amongst some of the papers I listed regarding whether the MWP was warmer than present, or just as warm. So what? It makes no difference in any case - as Phil Jones himself accepted in his BBC interview
if the MWP was just as warm as today then today's temperatures are not unprecedented.

But I am of the opinion that the MWP was warmer then now, and global. Indeed, this was the accepted view by archaeologists and climatologists until the team came along with their hockey stick, not that consensus means much nowadays. Lots more research here - http://www.co2science.org/subject/m/subject_m.php.

Do you have a link for the retreating glacier in Alaska which as it melts is revealing tree stumps which are wood - (not fossils)? This is irrefutable evidence that the climate was warmer than now, and that we are still coming out of a cool period. But I don't have a link for this and am not sure if the ice covered forest dated from the MWP or RWP or before.

Either way, I think we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

btw - if you have 10 minutes, could you give me your thoughts on this video, which literally takes the lid off the CO2 in a bottle and heat lamp experiment and suggests that CO2's warming effect is negligible at most, and that it is just gravity through the heat of compression which keeps at Global Average SURFACE Temperatures at 14-15C.
I can't find a fault in it. It also squares with the assertions in this article. I have only skimmed the latter, but the central point [... any heated gas emits infrared. There's nothing unique about CO2...] does seem rather difficult to refute. Interesting and both staggering if they hold up.

Oct 4, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

lapogus

So there is some uncertainty amongst some of the papers I listed regarding whether the MWP was warmer than present, or just as warm.

No. Most of the sources you provide argue that the MWP was equivalent to the C20th average. Not the last two decades. Also, you ignore the causes of the MWP (solar, volcanism) which are not in play now. That's a very serious omission in any analysis.

But I am of the opinion that the MWP was warmer then now

This is not supported by the evidence, but you are of course entitled to your opinion.

Do you have a link for the retreating glacier in Alaska which as it melts is revealing tree stumps which are wood - (not fossils)? This is irrefutable evidence that the climate was warmer than now, and that we are still coming out of a cool period. But I don't have a link for this and am not sure if the ice covered forest dated from the MWP or RWP or before.

There are lots of examples of very ancient ice melting, but I'm not sure which glacier this might be. Either way, I think you are misinterpreting this badly. When things that have been frozen since just after the Holocene Thermal Maximum are revealed by ice melt, we know that it is now warmer than at any time since then.

Nothing since, including the MWP, was warm enough to melt the ancient ice.

So the 7000yr old, continuously frozen timber revealed by the retreat of glaciers in Garibaldi Provinical Park in Western Canada are indicators of the extremely unusual climate conditions now.

Remember that the HTM was a time-lagged response to the Milankovitch-initiated warming that terminated the last glacial. There is no analogue in modern climate for the HTM. Something else is happening.

The David Lappi GISP2 graph you often link to is misleading.

I've not followed this up properly until now, but your use of it - again - has made me make the effort.

As you doubtless know, the graph is actually a copy of a figure from a WUWT article by Don Easterbrook. Lapi appears to have either fitted a 2nd-order polynomial to it, or drawn an approximation by eye.

The problem with this graph is that the last data point is not 2000AD, nor is it (2000 -95). Alley (2000) - the original source for the data - uses 1950 as 'the present'. The final data point in the series is 1855.

When warming over the last 155 years is taken into account, the picture changes dramatically. Note the blue crosses, especially the value for 2009. The full explanation for Easterbrook's error (and Lapi's perpetuation of it) is here.

If I were being uncharitable, I'd have to say that Easterbrook cooked this one. Lapi either knows no better, or deliberately perpetuated the misrepresentation. Jo Nova and WUWT provided the platforms for large-scale dissemination. All have contributed to creating and spreading confusion, which is a pity.

I've gone to the trouble of working through most of the references you provide to show how important it is to check the facts. You are (unintentionally, I am certain) misrepresenting most of these sources as supporting your claim that the MWP was hotter than the present. You need to be more sceptical.

Oct 4, 2011 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD - I was fully aware of the Lappi graph present being 1905, it is obvious from the x axis so didn't mention it. I was not aware that 'present' for the GISP data was actually 1950, so the effective end date on the graph is 1855. So looking at some reliable historic datasets (which I know you won't like because they haven't been statistically tortured) I see that temperatures did not rise much in Europe or North America in the period from 1855 to 1905. Maybe half a degree at the most. So an additional 1.5C in total. So add that to the Lappi curve and it is still below the MWP peak.

I am sorry if I troubled you - but it was you who asked for some evidence of the MWP being warmer than present, not me. If you wish to pick holes in everything that doesn't fit the "CO2 will kill us all by tea-time" meme than that is up to you. I note that as usual you ignored the papers which concluded the MWP was clearly warmer than present. I had a feeling at that I should not have bothered to post the links.

As for it being MY assertion that the MWP was warmer than today, I think you will find that Hubert Lamb did quite a lot of work on this subject which was respected enough to be featured in the IPCC 1st Assessment Report, (when the organisation could still claim to be scientific, rather than political). Unlike others here I have do not regard you as a troll, but your intransigence is making you just as insufferable. You need to be less gullible.

Oct 4, 2011 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

lapogus

I note that as usual you ignored the papers which concluded the MWP was clearly warmer than present. I had a feeling at that I should not have bothered to post the links.

Millar et al. (2006) doesn't claim that what may have happened in the Sierra Nevada is a proxy for global temperature. The Kvavadze study doesn't claim that southern Georgia is a proxy for global temperature. Keigwin (1996) argues that SST in the Sargasso Sea was 1C higher during the MWP than the C20th and suggests that it indicates at least a hemispherical event.

I agree that the MWP was global, but not that temperatures rose simultaneously around the globe as they are doing now.

It's reasonable to say that some regions were as warm or warmer than they are now between 800 - 1300 CE (although not for the entire period). But pointing to a handful of regional studies and saying, look! 'the MWP was warmer than today' is going too far.

I can't face Stenni et al. (2009) tonight but it's focus seems to be rather further back in time than the MWP. Perhaps you could indicate the relevant bits?

Unlike others here I have do not regard you as a troll, but your intransigence is making you just as insufferable. You need to be less gullible.

I am trying to be thorough and honest, not intransigent or insufferable. As for being gullible, I can't deny it. I got fooled too, for a while.

Oct 5, 2011 at 12:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

HWP > MinoanWP > RWP > MWP > CurrentWP. And the Current WP is due for about 30 yrs. of chill-out.

As for causality, here's a signals processing analyst, Norm Kalmanovitch:
"The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration which is another time series shows a smooth accelerating increase ending in a linear trend of about 2ppmv/year over the past decade. This time series does not contain this predominent 65 year period so increase in CO2 concentration cannot be the driver of observed global temperature change; full stop!"

Oct 25, 2011 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrian H

What a revelation reading the comments here. Nothing but ad hominem attacks, apparently because the commenters are afraid that a climate change bill might hurt... what, their businesses? their tiny minds? What are they afraid of?

Nov 2, 2011 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlgernon Tugmuscle

I hereby dub Her 'Lady Sandbag'

Apr 1, 2012 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuartG

Worthington = Carbon Trader's Whore!

Apr 2, 2012 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterFay Tuncay

It’s fun.Very worth to read.

May 16, 2012 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterHerve Leger Dress

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