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« Grantham style | Main | Speak truth to power »
Monday
Apr152013

Chatham House on biofuels

A new report from the Royal Institute of International Affairs has found that biofuels are pretty much a disaster. Author Rob Bailey declares that they are not sustainable, they are hugely expensive, they are not a cost-efficient way of reducing emissions, and that the EU is going to insist that production is ramped up anyway.

Since the biofuels mandate comes from the EU Commission (which was subverted by the farm lobby), it is, of course, impossible for national governments to do much about this appalling situation. Roger Harrabin tweets that governments will not want to do anything about biofuels anyway because they fear that if they do business will not support future government initiatives.

One wants to weep at the corruption of it all.

 

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Reader Comments (127)

CO2 has shown little correlation with temperature over longer timescales (1000s and milions of years) than the pathetic 25 years, or so, that the IPCC and their hangers on have got their knickers in a twist over.

Apr 15, 2013 at 12:11 PM | Don Keiller

Can you document that This would seem to contradict you.

http://www.warmdebate.com/correlation-between-temperature-co2-statistical-view-drivers

Apr 15, 2013 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

@ Richard Betts 11:41
you wrote

"including what is known and unknown"

BLOODY MAGIC how can it include the unknown? Have you been looking into Senna the Soothsayers crystal ball again?
Apr 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM Anoneumouse

Give him a break.

In any scientific subject there are areas that are well understood, with well developed theory verified and confirmed by experiment. There are areas where the problems can be formulated and maybe solved empirically but where deeper understanding is lacking. These are research problems where the boundaries between the known and the unknown is pretty well understood, so it makes perfect sense to discuss what is unknown.

Likewise, there are problems that have not yet been formulated but where there is no reason to doubt that they can be posed in a precise form. These too can be discussed sensibly.

There may also be areas where our understanding is too limited even to formulate meaningful questions. Even these can be discussed in general terms.

Apr 15, 2013 at 6:23 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

a) Julia Slingo makes 170k pounds per year plus benefits. As 'head of climate impacts' in the same organization - I'll assume that your compensation and pension are similarly non-negligible.
b) Point the finger at politicians and the tone lowering unwashed masses if you want. However, these people are being fed information by you, Marcott, and Lewandowsky (to name a few). (By the way on Marcott et al, you that have stated that you have not had a chance to study such works and cannot be expected to comment!)
c) Why do you do this 'public outreach', during office hours, if not to convince people of your position? Why then try to pretend that this is the politician's position?
d) Why is asking questions lowering the tone?
e) Scientists would never feel uncomfortable with their 'position' they would simply say based on x and y, I conclude z. Criticism of x and y, leading to a new conclusion is cheerfully accepted, and an all round improved understanding of 'z' emerges. No guilt, politics, or outreach required.
f) Those involved in climatology constantly shift their arguments, refuse to acknowledge cheats in their midst, yet maintain their conclusion (that we're doomed unless 'action' is taken)
g) I'm sure that early geneticists (let's use that expression if you'd be more comfortable) or Lysenko-ists similarly piously turned their heads quietly when they saw the horrific consequences of their muddled 'research' and said 'it was all the politicians fault'. (And then changed a few lines on their resumes).

Apr 15, 2013 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

The MetOffice report to government, mid 2012, has, in its final paragraphs, an admission that they don’t know whether AGW causes weather/climate shifts or even if AGW exists.

But though they know they don’t know, they don’t know when they will know and even if, when they do know, whether what they will know will be what their masters wanted to know or not, or vice versa, But meanwhile they will make damn sure that what they say they know will seem to be what their masters wanted them to know... about climate change. I hope that’s quite clear!

Apr 15, 2013 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

Philip Foster
You planning to audition for a new series of "Yes, Minister", by any chance?
Better still, you could apply for a post as Permanent Secretary. With that level of obfuscation you'd be a shoo-in! :-)

Apr 15, 2013 at 8:02 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Bish, you say 'One wants to weep at the corruption of it all.'

I think there are many who want to rage at the stupidity of it all. One slight ray of hope. There appear to be no less than 106 Members of Parliament who have come to the view that wind farms (at least onshore) are perhaps not man's greatest idea - http://www.thegwpf.org/wind-farm-developers-face-wave-opposition/

I have a theory that stupidity can only thrive for a limited time. The lifespan depends on a number of things: how well the perpetrators hide the facts from the public; who else is in on the scam (it always helps if you have a few brain-dead celebs and major media players supporting the nonsense) and crucially how long before the stupidity starts to directly affect the man on the street.

Irrespective of how good Richard Betts' models may be, UK energy policy is stupid. The promotion of biofuels as reported in this blog is just one example of the lengths that policymakers will go to, to demonstrate how monumentally stupid they aspire to be. Other examples abound: shutting down 4 or 5 perfectly good coal fired power stations in the UK whilst the rest of the world builds 1200 over the next few years; indeed the zeal with which policymakers have sought to recapture the romance of 18th century power generating technology would surely give rise to findings of clinical insanity in any but the modern age.

But there are a few encouraging signs that the sun will soon be setting on this particular age of stupidity. The mote has been removed from the eye of some of those who are supposed to report the news. And stupidity on an epic scale sells newspapers especially when Joe Sixpack is told in no uncertain terms that the stupidity is hitting him where it hurts most – unlike most men, Joe’s most sensitive area is his wallet – and those that have been benefitting financially from the stupidity are Joe’s least favourite members of society; MP’s, the landed gentry and foreigners!

Add to that 106 MP’s who somehow or other have managed to see the flaw in basing energy policy on wind powered turbines; the BBC putting out an adverse report on ‘green’ energy; the Economist having a Damascene moment; Myles Allen backpedaling; Hansen retiring; mother Nature cocking a snook in the general direction of the climate alarmists and Richard Betts staying with us all day and one might even have grounds for optimism.

Apr 15, 2013 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered CommenternoTrohpywins

RB says: Ask your MP :-)

I'd be interested to know of examples of when the head of the Met Office, its Chief Scientist, or any other senior member of staff, has gone on record as saying to the government that current understanding of climate, with all its uncertainties and unknowns, does not support a policy of CO2 reduction.

Apr 15, 2013 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Re Richard Betts

This is relevant here because a significant contribution to the expansion of agriculture in the low emissions scenario is the use of land for bioenergy.

Or you could argue a re-expansion in agriculture. One intriguing aspect to the climate debate is that forest clearing is uncovering pre-Columbian earthworks and irrigation systems. So the land had previously been cleared for bioenergy, but in those days feeding people and livestock rather than cars. If land use changes might affect future climates, did they affect the past?

Apr 15, 2013 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Richard Betts,

Delighted to hear you have read The Hockey Stick Illusion. What do you think of McIntyre's criticisms of MBH98?

Apr 15, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

I may have blotted my copybook (my bad, Professor Tol - my heartfelt apologies) but:
It's good to see you back, Dr Betts.
Any contribution from you adds quality to the debate.
Please, please accept that debate may be robust!
Please rise above it - as you seem to do.

Apr 15, 2013 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterHamish McDougal

Re: Apr 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Richard Betts

Don
"So why on earth are we trying to restrict carbon dioxide emissions and screw our industrial economy as well as our agriculture?"

Richard
"Ask your MP :-)"

Perhaps, Richard, it has something to do with the advice our MPs are receiving -

'Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said the new study showed how important it was to try and reduce emissions...."Four degrees C of warming averaged over the globe translates into even greater warming in many regions, along with major changes in rainfall," said Dr Betts. "If greenhouse gas emissions are not cut soon then we could see major climate changes within our lifetimes." '

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6236690/Met-Office-catastrophic-climate-change-could-happen-with-50-years.html

Apr 15, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Marion

Naughty naughty. We all know there is no link between MO output and government policy.

Apr 15, 2013 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenternoTrohpywins

Mike Jackson: (thanks :)
Here is the tail end of that MetOffice report. I love the bit about "making strides..."


Is climate change playing a role?

Wet Summers
In the long term, most climate models project drier UK summers - but it is possible there could be other influences of a changing climate which could override that signal on shorter timescales.

If low levels of Arctic sea ice were found to be affecting the track of the jet stream, for example, this could be seen as linked to the warming of our climate - but this is currently an unknown. The Met Office Hadley Centre, working with climate research centres around the world, is making strides in determining how the odds of extreme weather happening have been influenced by climate change. However, it is very difficult to do this type of analysis with such highly variable rainfall events, so it may take many years before we could confirm how the odds of this summer’s wet weather happening have been altered by greenhouse gases.

We do know that the warmer air is, the more moisture it can hold. We have seen a global temperature increase of more than 0.7 deg C (since pre-industrial times) and this has led to an increase of about 4-5% in atmospheric moisture. This means that when we do get unusual weather patterns such as we’re seeing now, it’s likely there will be more rainfall than the same patterns might have produced in the past. In short, it seems when it does rain, it is heavier.

Taking into account this effect, perhaps it’s not surprising new records like those for this April and June are being set. In fact, the wettest July and November in the records dating back to 1910 happened in 2009, making a total of four record wettest months in the past four years. If wet months occurred randomly, we would expect only one record to have been broken since 2006.

Drought
Neither the development nor the severity of the 2010/12 drought was exceptional compared with historical events, and its climatological drivers have several similarities with past droughts. There is therefore, as yet, no evidence that it was due to climate change and not part of the natural variability of the climate.

As with the wetter summer there is emerging evidence that declining Arctic sea ice may be affecting Euro-Atlantic winter weather patterns in favour of colder, drier winters. There is therefore an urgent need to investigate this relationship more fully.

It is also the case that the trend to higher temperatures across the UK, particularly in spring, as a result of global warming, increases evaporative loss and hence depletes soil moisture. The influence of this on UK water availability needs further investigation.

Apr 15, 2013 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

I have yet to reconcile my views of Richard Betts' reasonable and amiable pronouncements here on BH with the
pronouncements he makes in other places, such as that quoted by Marion. I have seen no evidence that rainfall patterns are influenced by 'emissions' or that longer term trends in global warming are on an upward path.
I am not a scientist of any kind, therefore my untrained mind leads me to believe that when I hear one person making two mutually irreconcilable statements to different audiences that that person is either confused or is bullshitting one or other audience. I have my suspicions as to which audience is being presented with bullshit.
Or have I got it wrong somewhere?

Apr 15, 2013 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Norwich Average Daily June Temperature: 19°C / 66°F
Exeter Average Daily June Temperature: 24°C / 75°F

Perhaps thats why the Metoffice chose Exeter.

Apr 16, 2013 at 12:02 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

An off topic FYI: For a general read on a previous Royal Society enthusiasm (eugenics) see: http://galton.org/essays/1900-1911/galton-1905-socpapers-eugenics-definition-scope-aims.pdf where you can see the agitation that all became 'the politicians idea'...trapped in time.

One G. Bernard Shaw is quoted 'I agree with the paper and go so far as to say there is now no reasonable excuse for refusing to face the fact that nothing but a eugenic religion can save our civilization from the fate that has overtaken all previous civilizations.' He goes on to call for eugenic breeding 'without loss of honour' (...and I don't think it is satirical!). Such fun to treat people like cattle for the good of the planet.

Apr 16, 2013 at 1:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Richard Betts: You could start with this paper: http://climateofsophistry.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/the-model-atmosphere.pdf and then work your way through his older papers.

Apr 16, 2013 at 7:04 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Richard Betts, a couple of recent McIntyre quotes to get you started:

http://climateaudit.org/2013/04/13/new-light-on-svalbard/#comment-413204


A few years ago, a couple of very senior people in the field told me – under drop-dead promises of anonymity – that we had pretty well destroyed the basis of Mannian and similar proxy manipulation and that the only way forward was the development of properly calibrated proxies – a project that they thought might take 10-20 years. Other than IPCC and politics, that was probably a good guess.

http://climateaudit.org/2013/04/14/tingley-and-huybers-exclude-mt-logan/#comment-413199


In our 2005 papers, we showed the effect of no bristlecones using MBH methods i.e. that they didn’t get a stick. This led into a long and arid debate which Mann and realclimate argued in terms of the “right” number of principal components to retain, i.e. that there was some sort of mathematical law requiring bristlecones. The NAS panel recommended that bristlecones be avoided, but Mann used them anyway in Mann et al 2008. In Mann 2008, he argued that he could “get” a Stick without bristlecones, but that recon used contaminated Tiljander; he concurrently argued that contaminated Tiljander didn’t “matter” because he could get a Stick without Tiljander (but this used bristlecones). Ross and I submitted a comment to PNAS which among other points called attention to contaminated Tiljander. Mann blustered and stonewalled the error. Everyone on skeptic blogs understood the trick, but Realclimate and the community pretended that they couldnt understand any problem. A couple of years later, we learned that Mann had slipped an admission into the SI of a different paper that his recon with neither had no skill prior to AD1500, but he didn’t retract the original paper.

Is McIntyre dishonest, delusional, or right?

Apr 16, 2013 at 8:02 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Richard Betts.

Hi Richard I wonder if you could address something for me, my background is in Electrical Engineering and as you know feedbacks are used extensively in electric circuits to provide a range of benefits, I those far of days I can remember negative feedback was regarded as wholly beneficial, but positive feedback was the electrical engineering equivalent of nitro-glycerine and had to be controlled in the feedback loop to avoid giving runaway positive feedback. My question is this, climate scientists have postulated, quite plausibly, the following sequence:

1. CO2 causes extra warming;

2. The extra warming will increase water vapour in the atmosphere;

3. The water vapour will cause extra warming;, which will cause extra water vapour in the atmosphere;

2 and 3 in repetitive cycle until Earth burns up.

So what is it that makes climate scientists believe the sensitivity lies between 2C and 4.5C? Why would the cycle above stop?

And I'll re-phrase my question to you the on a recent thread because you clearly misunderstood it.

We are told that the 1,2C rise in temperature due to a doubling of CO2 over pre-industrial levels is going to trigger a rise in temperature of 2C - 4.5C because of these positive feedbacks.

Now to me, at least, it would seem plausible that we've had rises of 1.2C in the (geologically) recent past, like during the MWP, or the Roman Warm Period, but there is no evidence that these caused the positive feedback postulated by Charney in his original report. Why would that be do you think?

Apr 16, 2013 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"Naughty naughty. We all know there is no link between MO output and government policy."

While looking at what the Grantham institute is involved I found the AVOID program which I hadn't heard of run by the Met Office which states explicitly it gives advice to UK government. They also state a pretty definitive 4C rise by 2100

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/avoid/what-is-avoid

There are lots of articles (and typos ie "...the oceans heat up slower than the land and in high altitudes such as in the Arctic...") on the website. This bit from "a narrative description of a plausible world following climate change" by Nigel Arnell I found amusing. I guess people today don't go on holiday to the Med in August where it is about 40C every day. Also interesting that food prices are a problem after climate change and not today and the likely causes of it.

"Changes in agricultural productivity around the world affect the residents of Midsomer through their weekly shopping bills, with the generally higher and more volatile prices (for example for wheat) most significantly affecting those with the lowest income. Higher temperatures in the Mediterranean mean that more village residents holiday in the UK rather than fly south in summer."

Apr 16, 2013 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

@Richard "My (non-palaeo expert) view on Marcott is that it is an interesting attempt to reconstruct temperatures over the last 11000 years or so, but its significance has been over-sold. It does not appear to support claims of "unprecedented rates of warming" because the time resolution is too low."

So this really is damning with faint praise.
A low resolution reconstruction that shows nothing of real interest.
Makes you wonder just how it made it into "Science" - the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

And this shows precisely why Sceptic blogs like this exist. To try and call to account much of the shoddy rubbish that passes for top-ranked research in Climate "science".

If this paper has been over-sold, as you state, why not tell your political masters this is the case?

Apr 16, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Professor Betts if your view of the Marcott 2013 paper is as you say:

My (non-palaeo expert) view on Marcott is that it is an interesting attempt to reconstruct temperatures over the last 11000 years or so, but its significance has been over-sold. It does not appear to support claims of "unprecedented rates of warming" because the time resolution is too low.

Why does the "myclimate and me" website with which I believe you are associated still claim that "New Analysis Suggests the Earth is Warming at a Rate Unprecedented for 11,300 Years"?

Apr 16, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Alexander K

when I hear one person making two mutually irreconcilable statements to different audiences that that person is either confused or is bullshitting one or other audience.
Or is a Lib-Dem candidate on the campaign trail?

Apr 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Arthur Dent (10:20) while "My Climate and Me" still has the headline up for the Marcott study, if you follow it you'll see that they have removed the body of the entry, explaining that they are after MO advice before reposting it.

I assume that advice (due over Easter according to the site) would be from Dr. Betts.

Somewhat typically, they leave up the headline - why not have a headline retraction as well? But of course that wouldn't support the alarmist cause. It's preciely this behaviour that brings them into disrepute, and I cannot fathom why Dr. Betts wouldn't be furoius at that behaviour.

So it goes.

Apr 16, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

If the Met Office is anything like the Australian CSIRO they would have some sort of gagging order in place.

A scientist in Australia was reprimanded and forced to alter a scientific paper because it conflicted with government view of the science.

CSIRO rules give researchers freedom to discuss their research results, but say they "should not advocate, defend or publicly debate the merits of government or opposition policies". Emissions trading schemes are among the most hotly debated policies in the country at present, with the government hoping to pass legislation in the face of stiff opposition in coming weeks.

"Publishing data is fine. It's when you get into comment or passing judgement on government policy that you run into problems," said CSIRO spokesman Huw Morgan.

http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091106/full/news.2009.1068.html

Richard, does the MO have anything similar in place? is this what is delaying any further comment on Marcott's paper? Or is it professional courtesy to Marcott et al. / Mann et al.?

Because it is now clear to absolutely everyone (except perhaps BBC and other MSM) that the result, loudly acclaimed by the Met office, is dodgy science. It is also abundantly clear to everyone that the Met Office is not keen to acknowledge that there may be any problem with this result.

I think MyClimateandMe will be quietly archived as it is self-defeating in its aims by drawing attention to dodgy science.

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

Apr 16, 2013 at 10:51 AM | steveta

It is Richard's website from the look of 'The Team' - It lists 3 Met Office scientists and a Business Development Manager who sounds in charge of writing the site. It does seem a strange thing to say that Marcott is "over-sold" by his own website

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Reflecting on the CSIRO affair, it makes one wonder whether the PhD thesis could not be published because it failed to show unprecedented warming in recent times.

So the paper was "fixed" and published.

The Met Office can't really see anything wrong with this presumably because it is commonly accepted standard practice in government funded research these days. You simply cannot publish (or draw attention?) to a result which does not support government policy.

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:31 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

Rob Burton, it's just because Richard is so up-front in the website staff list that I would expect him to be furious with the bevaviour of the minions who actually write it.

I find it hard to beleive that he has any direct say in the day-to-day content: it's far too "dumbed down" for that, from the brain-dead site name onwards.

Unless we've misjudged him, and his postings here are all a put-up job and that site reflects his true views. I certainly hope that isn't the case ;(

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

As I said on MyClimateandme

(1) Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, calls on scientists and journalists to STOP misleading the public …

(2) Met Office responds by reporting that “New Analysis suggests the Earth is Warming at a Rate Unprecedented for 11,300 Years”.

(3) Met Office fails to correct this news report despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

And Warren Pearce points out:

"... there is a worry that once headlines hit the media the damage has already been done, and that prominent corrections need to be made in order to uphold scientific integrity."

Now the Met Office appears to be pondering how to make the least prominent correction it can get away with so as not to undermine government policy and not to repair any damage that has already been made in the MSM.

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM | steveta

It's all about accountability, someone's name (the most senior most likely) takes all responsibility for any work and output. I'm really sick of the media cop out 'Scientists from X say....". Who said it? This always then gets picked up and spread around as 'The science says...." often without any link to the original vague assertion.

I remember joking around often with friends while doing my postgrad when a report cam on the TV with 'Scientists from Reading say...". We'd often go that must be us then...

Apr 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

I'm getting worried about the BBC..!
Not only have they published that scathing report about biofuels in full, but now Matt McGrath, their Environment Correspondent, is reporting that the EU is refusing to resue the 'ailing' carbon trading scheme..
Despite at one time trading at 32 euros/tonne, carbon is now at under 5 euros a tonne..
'Inch by inch; row by row...'

Apr 16, 2013 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Jonathan Jones

McIntyre made some valid critiques of MBH98, as did other people. It was a shame the whole thing blew up instead of being sorted out at a level of scientific criticism. Politics is a real distraction from scientitic debate.

Rob Burton

My Climate and Me is not my website, I just help out with the science advice, along with Peter Stott and Kate Willett. Yes, the article on Marcott was removed at my request - I hadn't realised the headline was still there. I'll mention that to them now, as I'm seeing those guys for filming of Barry Woods and myself this afternoon (off to have lunch with Barry in a few minutes actually - looking forward to meeting him in person!)

Marion

I don't think what I said to the Telegraph in 2009 and what I said here yesterday are particularly inconsistent, although people can change their views over time. You need to look carefully at what was a direct quote and what was Louise Gray's take. I gave a statement of my interpretation of the science in response to Louise's question (that changes will occur unless emissions are cut) and she added the bit about it being important to reduce emissions. I try to avoid making pronouncements on that kind of thing as I'm not supposed to be policy prescriptive. And anyway, there's more than one possible policy response to the issue of the climate getting warmer.

Rob Burton (again):

Please read the paper I linked to in my first post here. I disagree with some of the AVOID results by Nigel Arnell, on the severity of future drought.

Apr 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Re: Apr 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Richard Betts

"I don't think what I said to the Telegraph in 2009 and what I said here yesterday are particularly inconsistent, although people can change their views over time. You need to look carefully at what was a direct quote and what was Louise Gray's take. I gave a statement of my interpretation of the science in response to Louise's question (that changes will occur unless emissions are cut) and she added the bit about it being important to reduce emissions. I try to avoid making pronouncements on that kind of thing as I'm not supposed to be policy prescriptive. And anyway, there's more than one possible policy response to the issue of the climate getting warmer."

The direct quote from the Louise Gray article in the Telegraph ie

""Four degrees C of warming averaged over the globe translates into even greater warming in many regions, along with major changes in rainfall," said Dr Betts. "If greenhouse gas emissions are not cut soon then we could see major climate changes within our lifetimes."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6236690/Met-Office-catastrophic-climate-change-could-happen-with-50-years.html

is remarkably consistent with the Oxford University account of the conference -

'In today’s presentation Dr Betts warned that 4 degrees of warming could have extreme regional implications along with major changes in rainfall. He said: ‘If greenhouse emissions are not cut soon, then we could see major climate changes within our own lifetimes.’ '

http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2009/090928_1html.html

But still best to have your own 'take' on the matter, and your 'Conclusions' from the 2009 Conference

Conclusions

• Current CO2 emissions are near (but not above) upper end of IPCC
scenarios
• 4°C global warming (relative to pre-industrial) is possible by the
2090s, especially under high emissions scenario
• Many areas could warm by 10°C or more
• The Arctic could warm by 15°C or more
• Annual precipitation could decrease by 20% or more in many areas
• Carbon cycle feedbacks expected to accelerate warming
• With high emissions, best guess is 4°C in 2070s
• Plausible worst case: 4°C by 2060

http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/ppt/1-2betts.pdf

And the coverage from the Guardian with a direct quote from yourself -

'When they ran the models for the most extreme IPCC scenario, they found that a 4C rise could come by 2060 or 2070, depending on the feedbacks. Betts said: "It's important to stress it's not a doomsday scenario, we do have time to stop it happening if we cut greenhouse gas emissions soon." Soaring emissions must peak and start to fall sharply within the next decade to head off a 2C rise, he said. To avoid the 4C scenario, that peak must come by the 2030s.'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/sep/28/met-office-study-global-warming

You do rather seem to mention that greenhouse emissions should be cut, which sounds somewhat 'policy prescriptive' to me!!

Apr 16, 2013 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

@Richard: there had already been a new title suggested in one of the comments:

World Misled by Climate Scientists

but if you feel that the World was not misled, you could change this to

Met Office Misled by Climate Scientists

or, if you feel that the Met Office was not misled,:

Public Misled by Met Office

Apr 16, 2013 at 1:54 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

Richard Betts

You say " I try to avoid making pronouncements on that kind of thing as I'm not supposed to be policy prescriptive. And anyway, there's more than one possible policy response to the issue of the climate getting warmer."

We appreciate that is must be quite difficult for you to come here and comment but I think that most BH regulars are very appreciative even if they do not necessarily have the same views as you.

Putting aside your position as an employee of the Met Office, do you not accept that the UK's current energy policies are not working? Energy is artificially expensive with all the knock-on effects that that implies and emissions have simply been exported to the developing world. We are in a classic lose lose situation. This is simply a statement of fact of where we are. Is it a fact that you acknowledge as a fellow traveller on the road to enlightenment?

Apr 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenternoTrohpywins

http://climateofsophistry.com/2013/03/08/the-fraud-of-the-aghe-part-11-quantum-mechanics-the-sheer-stupidity-of-ghe-science-on-wuwt/

The above is one of Joe Postma's rants. In it he demonstrates his inability to understand basic arithmetic and common sense.

I wouldn't advise anyone to spend time investigating his theories. He's also, as it happens, a rude and obnoxious jerk, as the linked article demonstrates quite nicely.

And you are quite right to doubt this fool. Apart from being yet another 'nasty piece of work' inhabiting the net, he is just wrong. Arrogant, nasty and wrong .

If we assume that what leaves the 'steel shell' (ignoring radius of said shell compared to planet surface - lets make it insignificant) Then .. (Energy to space) is 235W/m-1* at equilibrium then...

Energy to space = Energy from the surface - 1/2 energy from the surface (do a diagram)

Therefore 'Energy from the surface' > 'Energy to space' by any 'mathematics' (what a dick this guy is - projection much)

So... Energy from the surface must be 2x Energy to space (because half is returned from the shell). Err isn't that exactly what Willis was trying to explain? If we dig down into the Earth in order to extract Gold does it not become hotter the deeper we go?

The guy is a complete loon. Presumably RADAR and a whole host of other things are not real because they don't pass his bullshit logic test. Seriously ... he claims knowledge of Physics and Maths?

Apr 16, 2013 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Richard Betts: "I'm not supposed to be policy prescriptive"

Richard Betts: 'If greenhouse emissions are not cut soon, then we could see major climate changes within our own lifetimes.’

What is it called when you say one thing to one group and a contradictory thing to another group?

Apr 16, 2013 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

@ZT you have come to the same conclusion as I about our mutual friend:-)

Apr 16, 2013 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Marion, ZT, Don,

I don't think I'm being inconsistent - the statements from 2009 about the consequences of not reducing emissions are simply describing the scientific evidence as I saw it. Saying that major changes will result from ongoing emissions is not the same as saying that emissions must be cut - we (society) could instead just decide that the consequences of reducing emissions are worse than living with a changing climate and adapting to it. This is why I've been looking at the effects of including bioenergy in the paper I mentioned at the top of this thread.

Is Richard Tol reading this? He is someone who accepts the basic science that climate change is occurring and can be expected to continue, but is of the view that this doesn't automatically lead to the need for urgent emissions reductions (at least, that is my reading of his views, is that correct Richard T?)

It's also worth reading Roger Pielke Jnr's thoughts on this - he quite clearly explains that a particular scientific result doesn't automatically lead to any particular policy outcome.

Unfortunately the assumption that science leads directly to specific policies continues to be propagated. For example, the Copenhagen Accord talks of "the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius". But this is not a scientific view, it is political view informed by interpretations of science and economics and also value judgements.

Apr 16, 2013 at 9:13 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard Betts is quite right in his comment above. Saying "If greenhouse emissions are not cut soon, then we could see major climate changes within our own lifetimes" is not being policy prescriptive; saying something like "we must cut greenhouse emissions soon so that we will avoid major climate changes which are otherwise inevitable within our own lifetimes" would be.

Apr 16, 2013 at 9:21 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Thanks Jonathan. So you're thinking that a quote like this might be more appropriate?

From: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/09/28/204719/uk-met-office-catastrophic-climate-change-could-happen-with-50-years/?mobile=nc


Dr Betts added: “Together these impacts will have very large consequences for food security, water availability and health. However, it is possible to avoid these dangerous levels of temperature rise by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. If global emissions peak within the next decade and then decrease rapidly it may be possible to avoid at least half of the four degrees of warming.”

A DECC spokesman said: “This report illustrates why it is imperative for the world to reach an ambitious climate deal at Copenhagen which keeps the global temperature increase to below two degrees.”

Richard Betts: Don't worry - you are consistent - what you say depends on the group you are speaking to. I recommend a career in politics or lobbying at the Grantham Institute.

Apr 16, 2013 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

If greenhouse emissions are cut soon, then we could see major climate change within our lifetimes.
If greenhouse emissions are not cut soon, then we could see major climate change within our lifetimes.

These two statements seem to me to be of equal, and very modest, merit*. Both give an importance to greenhouse emissions that has yet to be made credible. Both use the weasel word of 'could' and the undefined qualifier 'major' and the undefined term 'climate change'.

Furthermore, we do not need 'basic science' to know that climate is changing on timescales of most immediate interest to us. A history book can do that for us all by itself, or a conversation with an older person with a reliable memory, or a diary keeping note of local weather over the years. On that range of timescales, climate has always changed. On larger ones, say several thousand years or more, we need recourse to science - to geology, to astronomy, and to atmospheric history however estimated.

*We could see major climate change in our lifetimes. is a more respectable sentence in my opinion.

Apr 16, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

ZT, I would disagree with some of Richard's statements above, but they are not policy prescripive. By contrast the statement from the "DECC spokesman" clearly is policy prescriptive. There is a very obvious difference.

Apr 16, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Don

have you ever thought about taking courses in influencing people ...rather than just abusing them? What precisely do you and others hope to achieve by hectoring Richard Betts? Perhaps it makes you feel good in yourselves but it does precisely nothing to bring the different sides of the discussion together. Similarly, the people who ask Richard Betts basic questions about climate sensitivity....

Apr 16, 2013 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Jonathan - I disagree.

With: 'However, it is possible to avoid these dangerous levels of temperature rise by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.'

Richard is advocating a very particular response to the danger that he is outlining. I don't see Richard exploring any other 'possibilities' - in this context 'possible' is suggesting that the single viable option to avoid danger is reduced emission.

This is all very policy prescriptive, which is what one would expect from a politician. (As is the attempt to shift responsibilities to others Richard Tol, Pielke, MPs, etc., enthusiasm for parsing language, etc.).

Apr 16, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Diogenes "have you ever thought about taking courses in influencing people ...rather than just abusing them?"

I would like to think I started off pretty civil in the climate "debate" some 5-6 years ago.
When I politely asked for data, from climate psientists, I was given the bum's rush.
When I persisted, through official channels, climate psientists debated how they could make trouble for me
at my place of work.
When I continued to ask, they upped the ante by asking for a Court hearing (which I won).
I have since been placed on a "Deniers' database and received hate mail.

My patience became exhausted some time ago.
I became fed up of taking the crap from climate psientists and their mindless followers.

So my answer is why should I care about their feelings when they so clearly don't give a stuff about mine?

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Trying to 'influence' someone whose salary depends on the concept of pushing 'climate change impact' - sounds a little ambitious.

Science isn't about influencing, lobbying, or outreach - it is about facts and explanations. An argument about facts advances knowledge. In contrast lobbying outreach word parsing activities dressed up as science (E.g. climatology, eugenics, and Lysenkoism) result in misery for the majority and plum jobs for the high-priests.

Apr 17, 2013 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

I hope we can put more faith in the MO climate science that it's web design.

Anyone who has looked at My Climate and Me recently may have noticed how slowly it loads into a browser. I'd hate to think how this looks on a slow internet connection.

The reason is simple: a 5626x3744 image of an aircraft as the picture under the first story (which incidentally is a nonsense story anyway, but we expect that).

I didn't know such incompetant web designers existed in this century - certainly not for a so-called professional organisation like the met office.

Apr 17, 2013 at 11:15 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

Apr 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM | Don Keiller

Well said Don. It is a very difficult line to tread. When we see the complete and utter garbage uttered by cretins like Jeremy Grantham and we know the harm these mofos are doing to our country, it is difficult to maintain a civil tone. Sometimes we need to rage, metaphorically speaking.

So, keep on keeping on.

Apr 17, 2013 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

Re: Apr 16, 2013 at 9:21 PM | Jonathan Jones

"Richard Betts is quite right in his comment above. Saying "If greenhouse emissions are not cut soon, then we could see major climate changes within our own lifetimes" is not being policy prescriptive; saying something like "we must cut greenhouse emissions soon so that we will avoid major climate changes which are otherwise inevitable within our own lifetimes" would be."

Jonathan, I disagree too, BOTH are policy prescriptive. Does the general public really have to parse every statement issued by the Met Office to guage their true meaning? The intent is clear!! Nor does the real science warrant the alarmist statements being made by the MO nor the horrific effects that are being imposed on the masses because of them. People are DYING because of these ludicrous policies that are simply based on political ambition. Just as the EU grew by stealth so too is the UN.

Many of our elderly simply can't afford their inflated energy bills and yet are having to fund via taxes the massive green growth industry that is pushing money into the pockets of the wealthy and further powers to the UN, that is subsidising these nonsensical 'scientific' studies that McIntyre can so easily demolish (much to the chagrin of our so-called 'scientists').

Indeed it is this fundamental dishonesty that infects so much of this particular area of science that I find so abhorrent. McIntyre put it well -

"When I see handwringing by climate scientists about “climate communications” [Betts had recently written an article on just that topic!!], the commentary always overlooks one of the most obvious requisites for successful communications: honesty even to critics. Unfortunately, the proven untruthfulness of the Met Office and CRU in something as simple as FOI requests corrodes their credibility on other topics."

http://climateaudit.org/2012/01/31/geoffrey-boulton-and-ipcc-secrecy/

Apr 17, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

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