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« Embarrassed science - Josh 146 | Main | Nullius in verba »

Traces of Hockey Stick Illusion

Jim Sillars is an influential Scottish political commentator and a former UK MP. His latest article in the Scotsman shows signs of having read the Hockey Stick Illusion:

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched its infamous 2001 report, its chairman did so in front of a huge blown-up poster of the hockey stick. It got six mentions in the text. It was hailed as proof of the link between CO2 emissions and higher temperatures.

The “stick” was garbage. The long handle supposedly showing no significant temperature movement over 1000 years, missed out the Medieval warming period, and the little ice age. Those who proved it garbage were subjected to vicious attacks.

He also uses the Atte Korhola quote that appears as the epigraph to Chapter 17.

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Reader Comments (35)

When the Scotsman dares to publish something quite so annoying to Alex Salmond of the SNP, then the game really is up.

What will happen to his windmill plan now?

Feb 9, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

If we are fortunate, AGW may soon join the ranks of other crank social movements like UFO abductions, Bilderberger conspiracies, eugenics, and such. Then maybe we can get some climate science done. But I am an optimist.

Feb 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

A good piece, especially:

"You don’t need to be a scientist to know that if the sun wasn’t where it is, and did the things it does .. we wouldn’t have a climate to argue over."

Feb 9, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


I guess this just shows that a well thought out, well researched and well written book can have an impact, which is what has happened. Congratulations on a job well done and now being rewarded.

Feb 9, 2012 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

It may in some cases only be a trace element but HSI can be powerful in its effects.

Feb 9, 2012 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Congratulations Bish.

From the article:

Such news is bad news for the global warming lobby, which is a more accurate term than “scientific community”

May I humbly suggest an even more accurate term for this particular backwater of the scientific community:

Catwalk Science

Feb 9, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterrc

Here's a rather interesting comment from Germany:

It looks like the consensus there is collapsing, helped no doubt by the viciously cold continental winter.....

[5 out of the 8 closed-down nuclear plants have been restarted otherwise the Nation would have had major blackouts now the Russians have reduced gas pumping rate. i wonder what will concentrate the minds of our politicians?]

Feb 9, 2012 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose


Yes, indeed, nothing like freezing in the dark to focus the population's attention.

I wonder when the last three nuke plants come back on line.

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Richard Drake says
"It may in some cases only be a trace element but HSI can be powerful in its effects"

I think that it can be said without any doubt, that the feedback from HSI is very positive.

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Mydogsgot no nose.
That is very interesting info about Germany's neuclear power stations. Can you tell me where I might find out more, please

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia



Feb 9, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

German nukes: It came from a comment on a German blog which I cannot now locate.Sorry, need a second source.

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Apologies if it's already been mentioned - but a similar piece of clarity from Ireland.

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commentercaroline

"It was necessary to turn on nuclear power plants not only because of the severe frost due to which the demand for thermal energy has grown, but also because of the fact that part of the energy had to be exported to France which has faced gas supply problems from Russia. The Germany itself has enough energy savings, but the storage is located in the north of the country, while difficult conditions have arisen in the south, therefore it would take several days for transportation alone."

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

The story about the German nukes can be found by going to google news and entering "germany nuclear power" - it's a Times of India story. I tried posting the links but my post is in moderation.

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

If you search for BNN (Baltic News Network) and "Germany nuclear power" you should get an article.

I tried to post the link just now but it seems to be hung up in the mod queue.

There wasn't much detail but the article did say that Germany was re-starting nuclear plants "due to the frost" plus reduced gas exports from Russia to France. The article also asserted that there is ample energy in the north of Germany but that transport problems prevent it from reaching southern Germany in a timely manner.....

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

p.s. I'm sure that brief BNN article is a whitewash, since they make it sound like this is a minor problem, when ofc the reality is that Germany's current "plan" (sic) is to do away with nuclear power plants with no adequate replacements on the horizon.

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

I think Sillars' piece is important. To understand just how important, start by looking at his biog on Wiki - it's a fair account.

Although he is no longer an elected representative, he is generally regarded as an informed and thoughtful commentator by serious politicians of all shades. (He is heartily loathed by others, particularly in the spectacularly intolerant SNP. I don't see that as a weakness.)

I don't share his nationalist politics but they are honestly held; I greatly respect his integrity. (Among the very few Scottish political figures of whom I'd say the same is his wife, Margo MacDonald, but that's another story.)

Sillars was perhaps the first to warn that Salmond was not all he seemed as Big 'Eck began to purge the SNP of opposition to his personal control when he regained the leadership in the wake of John Swinney's failure. What matters here is, I think, that he is the first person prominent in political circles, be they of the left, the right or the middle-of-the-road, what have you, to denounce the AGW agenda from an informed standpoint.

It is simply not possible to dismiss Sillars as a pawn of Big Oil and all that nonsense without making a prize ass of oneself. The Green milieu is, of course, not short of prize asses, least of all up here, but this surely has to be a breakthrough of sorts.

Feb 9, 2012 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

I'm surprised at the lack of comments beneath the article. A year or two ago and there would have been hundreds, mostly by the egregious "Slioch" and associates, repeating the party line ad nauseam.

As it stands at time of writing the comments are 4:1 supportive of Sillars with the dissenting post looking like it was generated by a bot.

Feb 9, 2012 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

MDGNN: "It looks like the consensus there is collapsing, helped no doubt by the viciously cold continental winter.....

Hope you didn't listen to material World on R4 today. See my comment in Unthreaded and take a listen on iPlayer. The noise you hear will be the gnashing of teeth...

Feb 9, 2012 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

While I was thinking about bots and for entertainment I ran "what do you think of climate change?" through cleverbot. It responded with an inscrutable "I like chocolate",

Try it here:

Feb 9, 2012 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterwoodentop

Well ,there`s a programme on ITV tonight at 7:30 "The cost of going green"
I hope they`ve read it.
At least we may be able to get a non-statist view of the issues.
I`ll cross my fingers.

Feb 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterbanjo

>an inscrutable "I like chocolate"

That sounds pretty sensible to me. I shall later be curling up on the sofa with a bar of Herr Lidl's best plain and the HSI. If only warmists would do likewise...

Feb 9, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Chocolate melts in warmist hands......

Feb 9, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

banjo - thanks for the heads up on the ITV programme.

Feb 9, 2012 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

The Jim Sillars article is excellent with just the right weight of common sense and anger.

I do begin to think that the dam might burst before long - and my wife says I am a Victor Meldrew.

I agree with others that HSI might just be an ingredient that takes a little time to take effect. More power to its elbow. Continuing congrats to you Bish.

Feb 9, 2012 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

my pleasure dave

Feb 9, 2012 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterbanjo

According to the Handelsblatt, Germany has restarted 4 old coal powerplants due to the cold.
The India Times article about nuke plant restarts is incorrect.
"Schließlich ist die Situation besonders in Süddeutschland angespannt, weil dort gleich fünf Kernkraftwerke vom Netz mussten und große Stromverbraucher sitzen."
The situation in Southern Germany is especially tight, because 5 Nuclear power plants were removed from the net there.
This was probably misinterpreted by the India Times.


Feb 9, 2012 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterco2fan

Oh noes!!!! george non-biots on the bloody programme.
At least he`s pro nukes

Feb 9, 2012 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterbanjo

banjo: the intro to the ITV 1 Cost of Going Green was very good on the price for the poor to provide eco-bling for the rich, from Monbiot of all people, and on how useless wind power is. Then the detailed report from Jonathan Maitland repeats the most ridiculous carbon/green 'necessities'. I won't watch much more but pick it up afterwards.

Feb 9, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

So in the comments section In the Scotsman

For Misinformation where are these thousands of people getting killed every year
And when exactly was the last big hurricane since Kattrina
And where is the link to the Met Office website where it says all this

You certainly live up to your name Misinformation

If you want real refugees type into Google the word Syria and see what comes up
And if you want to see what the weather is really do look out the window and see all that snow lying on the ground
So exactly where is all this Global Warming

Feb 9, 2012 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

The politically left blog Counterpunch has an article which mentions The Hockey Stick Illusion in a positive light here. Just a reminder that Climate Science is not a left/right issue.

Feb 9, 2012 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon

Jim Sillars via Scotsman

The peculiarity of the global warming lobby is that it is partly funded by governments to lobby governments.

Vahrenholt via Spiegel

In my experience as an energy expert, I learned that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is more of a political than a scientific body. As a rapporteur on renewable energy, I witnessed how thin the factual basis is for predictions that are made at the IPCC. In one case, a Greenpeace activist's absurd claim that 80 percent of the world's energy supply could soon be coming from renewable sources was assumed without scrutiny. This prompted me to examine the IPCC report more carefully.

Donna Laframboise effect?

Feb 9, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

It was a seminal publication Bish, the whole unvarnished truth described in a way that even someone with a nodding understanding of sums and science can easily understand, I wonder what it's gestation periond will be? When the trickle becomes the law, I'm going to send a copy to my GP who's expressed doubts about "this global warming thing", as he called it.

Feb 9, 2012 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

What can I say? It's a valuable reference, and worth every penny I paid for it.

Feb 10, 2012 at 4:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

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