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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)

Further to one of my previous posts (Apr 15/1.32pm) I wrote to our local Stagecoach office asking whether they had read the Chatham House report and what their reaction was in terms of CO2 emissions and world commodity prices.
I had a prompt reply from their MD to the effect that he hadn't read the Chatham House report, and he understood my concern about CO2/commodities - however their buses ran on biofuels produced (mainly) from waste..
Just hope there's enough 'waste' to keep fuelling their buses...!

Apr 17, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Marion

I agree that Richard is being policy prescriptive.

And He is now advising sceptics on how to be sceptics - http://www.myclimateandme.com/2013/04/09/new-research-suggests-transatlantic-flights-to-get-more-turbulent/#comments

You see the only debate that you can have with Richard is the one that he frames. Interesting. Very interesting.

Apr 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

Sherlock, have Stagecoach checked the biofuel they use for horse DNA?

Apr 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM | Registered Commentersteve ta

Absolutely correct, Marion.
When you see the lengths that many climate psientists go to conceal, obfuscate and lie, you know that they are corrupt.

As a matter of interest I supported an individual who attempted a private proscecution of a climate psientist.
We submitted written evidence and had a meeting with the Police, subject experts and lawyers.

The case was not pursued.

Now here is the kicker- the reason.
On the grounds that lawyers for the psientist could argue that they were simply incompetent, rather than malicious!!

Apr 17, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Geronimo

Sorry, I realised that I got distracted and didn't answer your question above.

Positive feedback doesn't necessarily lead to runaway - if the overall gain is less than 1 then it can still stabilise.

In addition to the positive water vapour feedback, the Earth's climate system still has a strong negative feedback in operation, as the emission of long wave radiation increases with temperature to the power of 4, so a very large rise in temperature gives an even larger emission of LW radiation (which exerts a cooling effect). This helps counteract the positive feedback from water vapour and stops runaway.

Regarding your other question about why warm periods in the past didn't "trigger" larger warming, this seems to rely on the assumption that there are certain levels of warming (say 1 degree in your example) that, once reached, then initiate additional warming. This isn't the case though - feedbacks are more like multiplying an initial change rather than adding to it - the feedback can happen all the time, instead of waiting for a particular temperature to be reached before kicking in. So the feedbacks would have been taking place in order to help get to the 1 degree warming that you mention. The 1 warming was the final result including the effect all feedbacks, both positive and negative.

Atomic Hairdryer

Apologies to you as well. Yes, land use change in the past could have affected climate, I have published papers on this, including three with Roger Pielke Snr.

Apr 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard, can you explain what caused the medieval warm period based on your models?

...or any other historically observed climate change?

Using a GCM model which takes no account of conditions after its starting point, are you able to predict any previously observed climate change?(one word answer please!)

Apr 18, 2013 at 4:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

@ZT

Depends :-)

Apr 18, 2013 at 8:20 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Re: Apr 18, 2013 at 8:20 AM | Richard Betts

"Depends :-)"

So, RIchard, there's hope for you yet - perhaps you're learning from the highly esteemed Professor Bob Carter.

Isn't this his answer to the question of whether or not there is global warming.

His emminently sensible response is "It depends" ie depends upon what period is being taken into account. Something you seem to have ignored in one of your previous replies preferring a 'science is settled' approach instead!!!

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Re: Apr 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM | nTropywins

Thanks for the link - made for very interesting reading.

http://www.myclimateandme.com/2013/04/09/new-research-suggests-transatlantic-flights-to-get-more-turbulent/#comments

And totally agree with you that

"a scientist would add that there has been no warming for the last 15 years.

Science is about being objective and telling the whole story not just the bits that fit a particular narrative."

Unfortunately Climategate revealed just how 'objective' the Met Office are -

"I can't overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell theirstory. They want the story to be a very strong one and don't want to be madeto look foolish."

http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=2445

It's all about telling 'the story to be a very strong one' and very little to do with accurate forecasts!

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Re: Apr 17, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Don Keiller

"When you see the lengths that many climate psientists go to conceal, obfuscate and lie, you know that they are corrupt."

Totally agree, Don, but I would add 'overly ambitious and don't care who or what they damage' to 'incompetent' and 'malicious'.

Apr 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

ZT: 'Using a GCM model which takes no account of conditions after its starting point, are you able to predict any previously observed climate change?(one word answer please!)'
Richard: 'Depends :-)'

You are pushing politicians to cut green house emissions (Richard: “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.") but you cannot point to successful prediction of previous climates?!

What happened to honesty?

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Marion:

Not sure why you think that Climategate quote says anything about the objectivity of the Met Office. That email was written by someone at DEFRA (see the email address here).


ZT:

You only allowed me one word. Even if I'd said "yes" I would not have been able to point to specific examples, as that would have required more than one word.

But what I was getting at was that GCMs can reproduce past conditions(eg: ice ages) if these were externally-forced (eg: by changes in the Earth's orbit). They can't, however, predict / hindcast specific events that occur as a result of internal variability, as that is just chaos and is unpredictable.

At that 2009 conference you are quoting me from, I wasn't "pushing politicians to cut emissions" - I just wanted to make it clear that some of the scary things being said at that conference were not a foregone conclusion. It was my way of trying to avoid doom-mongering. As it happens, my own research since that conference contradicts some of the more severe impacts scenarios that were presented (e.g.: my paper under reviewhere suggests less risk of water scarcity than the models that were presented in that conference e.g. this paper here).

Perhaps I should make my position clearer. I am convinced that AGW exists but am less convinced than many others about the certainty and/or severity of some of its widely-quoted impacts, at least in the near term. There are enormous uncertainties in future impacts of AGW, and while the risks could be reduced by reducing emissions, the act of reducing emissions also has consequences, and so it does not automatically follow that urgent reductions should happen at the expense of other aspects of human and ecological wellbeing. We may be able to adapt, at least for a while. It may be that economically and ecologically it is better not to rush into things, especially if some of the proposed solutions (like biofuels) have a serious risk of doing more harm than good - however I don't know enough about economics to feel that I have a properly informed opinion, and I remain open-minded.

Apr 18, 2013 at 7:53 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Hi Richard,

Your statement (above):

"At that 2009 conference you are quoting me from, I wasn't "pushing politicians to cut emissions" - I just wanted to make it clear that some of the scary things being said at that conference were not a foregone conclusion. It was my way of trying to avoid doom-mongering."

is contradicted by this statement from the conference:

“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.”

As far as I can see, either:

1) you say different things to different groups

or

2) you have changed your mind

If '2' have you updated your advice to politicians?

On GCM predicting ice ages - that is not so much the GCM as an input to the GCM (average planetary position relative to the sun). Has there ever been a recorded incident of a GCM predicting a historically observed climate variation (e.g. the Medieval Warm Period, etc.)?

Apr 18, 2013 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Hi ZT

I've changed my mind on water availability - based on more recent research I do not think it is such an issue as before, see my paper that I mention above. Yes, I have updated my "advice to politicians" - the above paper has been sent to DECC and DEFRA and I have also explained to work to them face to face.

Testing the ability of GCMs to reproduce climate variability in the past is tricky because unfortunately "historically observed climate variations" only extend back about 150 years or so - before then we are into the realms of palaeoclimate reconstructions, which become increasingly uncertain the further back in time they go - as readers of this blog are of course well aware....! :-) Also the external forcings also become more uncertain for centuries back. Therefore I don't think any particularly useful conclusions can be drawn from comparing GCMs with paleaodata for the MWP or other similar events.

Thanks for the interesting questions!

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Hi Richard,

So we're not doomed (except by misguided efforts to solve a problem which may not exist), you've update the politicians, and GCMs cannot be tested against relevant historical data. Sounds good! Now we just need to throttle back the climatology overspend by 95% per year.

ZT

Apr 19, 2013 at 1:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Hi ZT

Climatology is about much more than whether we are doomed or not.... a key focus these days is improving the models to be able to give useful forecasts at regional scales for the next few months to years (ie: which is more to do with natural variability than AGW). Current models do reasonably well in a few places such as West Africa, obviously less well in the UK.

This does require comparison of the models with historical data relevant to this issue (ie: the instrumental record, not palaeo)

IMHO improving estimates of impacts and risks of long-term climate change (which does include AGW as well as natural variability) is also important in order to inform adaptation. eg. some long-lived infrastructure (eg: flood defences, nuclear power stations, railway lines) need to be resilient against weather extremes, so there needs to be an estimate of the magnitude and likelihood of these extremes. This is clearly extremely difficult as the uncertainties are so large, so to avoid spending billions on unnecessarily high levels of resilience, we need to narrow the range of uncertainty. In recent work on the Thames Estuary, for example, there was already a "worst case" scenario under consideration, and there was worry that this might need to be increased, but it turned out that it didn't. So there's a few billion saved in not rushing ahead with a new Thames Barrier.

This is why it is important to have a grown-up conversation about all this. There is a middle ground between "we're all doomed" and "it's all fine, nothing is changing" which climate science can help inform.

Apr 19, 2013 at 8:48 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard, I'm intrigued. Just how do you "improve" GCMs that;

a) show little skill in "hindcasting" past variability- as you, yourself, state
b) NO skill in forecasting the future- as evidenced by the dismal failure to predict (sorry, project) the 15 year plus standstill in global temperatures?

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." --Nils Bohr, Nobel laureate in Physics

Apr 19, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Re: Apr 18, 2013 at 7:53 PM | Richard Betts

"Not sure why you think that Climategate quote says anything about the objectivity of the Met Office. That email was written by someone at DEFRA (see the email address here)."

It may have been FROM someone at DEFRA, Richard, but it was addressed TO someone at the Met Office, among others and interesting to note the timeframe - May 2009, and although this particular mail concerns the Weather Generator report the Met Office certainly seems to have taken the advice to heart when it produced in October 2009 the booklet entitled "Warming, Climate Change - the Facts" with the super-exaggerated hockey-stick on Page 4.

http://people.virginia.edu/~rtg2t/future/gcc/UK.Met.quick_guide.pdf

and wasn't it Sep 2009 that you attended the International Climate Conference in Oxford, perhaps we should remind ourselves of the 'Conclusions' from your presentation (the most important bit of a presentation, containing a summary of the message you want to put across) -

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


...... so, the very last item 4C by 2060

Certainly the 'strong story' that the Government is so keen on!!!

And it manages to generate the required headlines before that crucial Copenhagen conference in December -

"Met Office warns of catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes

• Study says 4C rise in temperature could happen by 2060
• Increase could threaten water supply of half world population "

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

Hard to reconcile with your words above, Richard,

"At that 2009 conference you are quoting me from, I wasn't "pushing politicians to cut emissions" - I just wanted to make it clear that some of the scary things being said at that conference were not a foregone conclusion. It was my way of trying to avoid doom-mongering. "

Apr 19, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

And just to put it further into context - interesting to see the latest forecast from the Met Office

"Booker: another fine Met they got us into"

'In his main piece today, Booker has a side-swipe at the Met Office and its attempt to bury bad news on Christmas Eve last, when it revised downwards its predictions for temperature increases for the next five years, displaying a revised graph to replace earlier higher predictions.

In 2011, the Met Office's computer model prediction had shown temperatures over the next five years soaring to a level 0.8 degrees higher than their average between 1971 and 2000, far higher than the previous record year, 1998. Whereas the new graph shows the lack of any significant warming for the past 15 years as likely to continue. Apart from how this was obscured by the BBC, there are several reasons why this is of wider significance for the rest of us.

For a start, it is not generally realised what a central role the Met Office has played in promoting the worldwide scare over global warming. The predictions of its computer models, through its alliance with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (centre of the Climategate emails scandal), have been accorded unique prestige by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ever since the global-warming-obsessed John Houghton, then head of the Met Office, played a key part in setting up the IPCC in 1988.

A major reason why the Met Office's forecasts have come such croppers in recent years is that its computer models since 1990 have assumed that by far the most important influence on global temperatures is the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Yet as early as 2008, when temperatures temporarily plummeted by 0.7 degrees, equivalent to their entire net rise in the 20th century, it was already clear that something was fundamentally wrong with this assumption.

The models were not taking proper account of all the natural factors governing the climate, such as solar radiation and shifts in the major ocean currents. Even the warmists admitted that it was a freak El Niño event in the Pacific which had made 1998 the hottest year in modern times.

But the Met Office was not going to abandon easily its core belief that the main force shaping climate was that rise in CO2. As its chief scientist, Julia Slingo, admitted to MPs in 2010, its short-term forecasts are based on the same "numerical models" as "we use for our climate prediction work", and these have been predicting "hotter, drier summers" and "warmer winters" for decades ahead.

Hence all those fiascos which have made the Met Office a laughing stock, from the "barbecue summer" that never was in 2008, to the "warmer than average winter" of 2010 which brought us our coldest-ever December, to its prediction last spring that April, May and June 2012 would probably be "drier than average", just before we enjoyed the wettest April and summer on record.

Such a catastrophic blunder is scarcely mitigated by the Met Office's sneaky attempt to hide that absurd 2011 graph. One day it will be recognised how the Met Office's betrayal of proper science played a key part in creating the most expensive scare story the world has ever known, the colossal bill for which we will all be paying for decades to come.'

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83508

Apr 19, 2013 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Marion

2 excellent posts

meanwhile over at myclimateandme a post I did this morning is languishing in moderation

and it will no doubt stay there over the weekend

I think to be fair to Richard, he has changed his position. I think it is also extremely difficult for him to defy the party line, so he has to be very careful what he admits in a forum such as this. The final paragraph of his post at Apr 18, 2013 at 7:53 PM and his acknowledgement of the strong built-in negative feedback of cooling to the power 4 in his post at Apr 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM are indicative of someone who is, on a personal level at least, open to reasoned debate. The Met Office will be a harder nut to crack.

Apr 19, 2013 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered CommenternTropywins

Don

Well you improve GCMs by continuing to gain further understanding of the climate system by comparing the models against observations, finding out why the models do a good job in some places / timescales (e.g.: seasonal forecasts in West Africa, and also north east Brazil) but not in other places, and using this to improve the representation of the physics within the models. It helps that we can test many aspects of the improvements by seeing how much the skill of weather forecasts improves (it's the same models).


Marion

The brochure you link to is no longer used by the Met Office - it's not on the website any more (which is why you had to link to a copy kept by elsewhere) and paper copies are no longer distributed. We accepted that there were errors in it, eg. the graph you mention didn't show the uncertainties properly.

But if I'm expected to defend the objectivity of the Met Office against what somebody in a government department wrote to a colleague of mine, over which my colleague clearly had no control, then I think this conversation has run it's course. It was good talking to ZT in the end, but sadly you seem to have reverted to childish attempts to score points by digging up discontinued material and claiming that things other people have said in emails somehow reflect on their recipients. (By your logic, you are now associated with the opinions I have expressed here, simply because you have read them :-) )


nTropywins

I'll look out for your post at MC&M (and thanks for your reply to my post there a day or so ago). I don't have moderation control there I'm afraid - I don't run the website, I just help out on science advice - but hopefully one of the MC&M guys will get to it soon. See you there, and/or on another thread here at BH sometime. Have a good weekend!

Apr 19, 2013 at 7:31 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Re: Apr 19, 2013 at 7:31 PM | Richard Betts

:-) For shame, RIchard, I would have thought you could have come up with a better response than this -

"sadly you seem to have reverted to childish attempts to score points by digging up discontinued material and claiming that things other people have said in emails somehow reflect on their recipients"

Accusations of 'point scoring' is one levied by politicians when they can't think of an adequate response.

And as for the lack of objectivity by the Met Office that has been amply demonstrated by the Met Office itself in its need to establish CO2 as the main culprit, or are you forgetting -

"A major reason why the Met Office's forecasts have come such croppers in recent years is that its computer models since 1990 have assumed that by far the most important influence on global temperatures is the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide...hence all those fiascos which have made the Met Office a laughing stock, from the "barbecue summer" that never was in 2008, to the "warmer than average winter" of 2010 which brought us our coldest-ever December, to its prediction last spring that April, May and June 2012 would probably be "drier than average", just before we enjoyed the wettest April and summer on record".

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83508

But then again you have a history of defending the indefensible such as Karoly's activities, your own support of the notorious Julia Slingo petition and the criticisms you have levied at Donna Laframboise and Steve McIntyre, even so far as asking the latter wheter or not he was simply a 'gratuitous troublemaker' when anyone who had read any of Steve McIntyre's posts would know this is very far from the truth.

'Ye shall know a man by the company he keeps'. (or in your case the company he prefers!!!)

Apr 20, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Just came across this Richard - you may find it useful.

http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/20/10-signs-of-intellectual-honesty/#more-11583

They all apply but particularly -

"6. Demonstrate consistency. A clear sign of intellectual dishonesty is when someone extensively relies on double standards. Typically, an excessively high standard is applied to the perceived opponent(s), while a very low standard is applied to the ideologues’ allies.

7. Address the argument instead of attacking the person making the argument. Ad hominem arguments are a clear sign of intellectual dishonesty. However, often times, the dishonesty is more subtle. For example, someone might make a token effort at debunking an argument and then turn significant attention to the person making the argument, relying on stereotypes, guilt-by-association, and innocent-sounding gotcha questions.

8. When addressing an argument, do not misrepresent it. A common tactic of the intellectually dishonest is to portray their opponent’s argument in straw man terms. In politics, this is called spin. Typically, such tactics eschew quoting the person in context, but instead rely heavily on out-of-context quotes, paraphrasing and impression. When addressing an argument, one should shows signs of having made a serious effort to first understand the argument and then accurately represent it in its strongest form.

9. Show a commitment to critical thinking. ‘Nuff said.

10. Be willing to publicly acknowledge when a point or criticism is good. If someone is unable or unwilling to admit when their opponent raises a good point or makes a good criticism, it demonstrates an unwillingness to participate in the give-and-take that characterizes an honest exchange. "

Apr 22, 2013 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Hi Richard,

Let me summarize...

GCMs are useless. They cannot be shown to be able to predict anything. Possibly their merit is in explaining what is already known - but that is not very useful for planning purposes. Predicting ice ages is not impressive - in fact it is a distortion - as the models take as input information about the position of the planet relative to the sun. So claiming that this is a prediction is misleading.

Your post (i.e. where you work) requires that you place 'faith' in untestable models. So, more than likely, you simply cannot be honest about GCMs (not without looking for another job). That much is clear.

I am sure that politically you are very adept and successful at reaching median consensus positions that balance many competing interests. These are important skills and they are needed. However, these skills are used in politics not in science.

And erroneous science is no basis for making decisions.

Eugenics and Lysenkoism are two examples of bad science that cost millions of lives. They were pushed by politically astute people navigating complex decision making landscapes.

Climatologically is bad science, and climatology biased policies are already killing people. 'Investing' in windmills and wood chipping plants means that money can not be spent on medical care or fuel. Forcing developing nations to rely on inefficient and costly energy sources similarly kills people.

Mentioning these things is not 'lowering the tone', you and your policy oriented statements are propping up a corrupt system (much like Lysenkoism was corrupt) and that is causing a nation to squander resources (while enriching a minority of people e.g. Slingo, yourself, and Lord Deben).

Scientists generally don't care if they are 'wrong' - they simply say 'I thought X because of Y but I did some additional experiment(s) and now we know that X was wrong'. Once X is known to be wrong - no amount of politically cleverness is going to revive X, it is known to be wrong, and people move on.

Politicians very rarely admit to making mistakes, or mistaken conclusions, because their opponents will use any such admissions in election contests.

When you refuse to condemn groups, like Marcott's, who are either dishonest or foolish in their reasoning, and reading the relevant paper and analysis takes less time than writing any one of your outreach blog-postings, you are demonstrating that you are not interested in science. You are demonstrating a politician's instinct.

That is my summary - what am I missing?

ZT

Apr 23, 2013 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Apr 23, 2013 at 1:08 AM | ZT

The view from here, ZT, is that your excellent summary covers the ground quite succinctly. But if I might be permitted to add a few more questions, Richard's answers would, I hope, round out the picture ...

Richard appeared to object to Marion mentioning an October 2009 Met Office brochure, "Warming, Climate Change - the Facts":

The brochure you link to is no longer used by the Met Office - it's not on the website any more (which is why you had to link to a copy kept by elsewhere) and paper copies are no longer distributed. We accepted that there were errors in it, eg. the graph you mention didn't show the uncertainties properly.

I hadn't actually seen this brochure before (although now that I have, I do recall seeing something shorter but similar on the Met Office site some years ago, and as I recall it was introduced by Julia and written by Richard). But a very funny thing happened on my way to pasting the title above ... after I had carefully selected the title with my mouse, my cat decided to intervene and instead of copying, I found myself searching Google for the selected text, which returned:

About 55,400 results (0.37 seconds)

It was even on e-bay! Well, at least for a while, but alas:

Item 360227229693 is no longer available.
50 items found similar to 'WARMING CLIMATE CHANGE THE FACTS MET OFFICE'

In light of this, perhaps Richard could tell us:

a) when were the errors recognized?

b) when was this (coincidental, I'm sure) just-in-time for Copenhagen document withdrawn from "paper" circulation?

But most importantly:

c) where on the Met Office website might one find the list of errors and omissions - and/or the replacement recitation of alarmist propaganda brochure?

But speaking of .pdfs in circulation ... a few days ago I came across a paper by "climate diplomat", John Ashton. It was evidently a speech he had delivered earlier this month at the Met Office, Exeter. The title he chose was, "Climate Change and Politics: Surviving the Collision".

Ashton seems to think that you folks at the Met Office are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well ... not quite, merely:

a jewel in the crown, of British science and global science ... [whose] excellence is an asset for British diplomacy, enhancing our soft power leverage on climate change all over the world

Assuming you were in the audience for his performance (and if you weren't, perhaps you could check with your colleagues), do you recall whether anyone asked him what he means by "leverage on climate change" (regardless of whether its "power" is soft or hard)? If so, what was his response?!

I'd also be interested in knowing your reaction (and/or that of your colleagues) to his:

[...] here is a challenge that is Promethean. We have stolen the secret of fire for our own use, unleashing punitive forces inherent in the system of which we are ourselves part. Dealing with this is imperative, because if we don’t the consequences could soon become unmanageable, perhaps even jeopardizing the system conditions within which civilization itself can flourish.

And as we look more deeply into the picture, it urges us to summon a response that is transformational, because the entire modern economy is organized around the energy system. Making that system carbon neutral will reconfigure the economy, and the power relations embedded within it. Furthermore we must accomplish this urgently, in little more than a generation, while building resilience to the climate insecurity we can no longer avoid.

Promethean, imperative, transformational, urgent. [emphasis added -hro]

So, what was the overall takeaway message you and/or your colleagues got from his almost 5,000 word peroration?!

And ... shifting gears ... one more question, Richard ... Considering all the known problems with Gergis et al (2012) - including its current status - what on earth prompted your decision to tweet about the least important part of Steve McIntyre's posts on PAGES2K? Your initial tweeted assertion:

Steve McIntyre's comment about "pressure" on Nature to accept PAGES2K seems to be entirely speculation

was probably correct - albeit "entirely" superfluous and hardly worth mentioning, considering the context and prior acknowledgement:

The PAGES2K article has its own interesting backstory. The made-for-IPCC article was submitted to Science last July on deadline eve, thereby permitting its use in the Second Draft, where it sourced a major regional paleo reconstruction graphic. The PAGES2K submission used (in a check-kited version) the Gergis reconstruction, which it cited as being “under revision” though, at the time, it had been disappeared.

The PAGES2K submission to Science appears to have been rejected as it has never appeared in Science and a corresponding article is scheduled for publication by Nature. It sounds like there is an interesting backstory here: one presumes that IPCC would have been annoyed by Science’s failure to publish the article and that there must have been considerable pressure on Nature to accept the article. Nature appears to have accepted the PAGES2K article only on IPCC deadline eve.

I also don't know quite how your initial assertion suddenly morphed into others "suggesting that the peer-review process was compromised". But since you launched the "peer-review query", considering that PAGES2K has 77 authors, I think Steve's further observation:

one also wonders where they located reviewers that were unconflicted with any of the authors.

is worth noting, wouldn't you agree?

Apr 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Shame Richard tried to brush over the Met Office/Defra connection - when the Met Office Statement of Accounts is quite clear about the relationship between it and various govt. departments -

"How is the Met Office continuing to drive climate‑change science?
We have a vital role to play in developing and communicating information about climate change.
We were the trusted partner of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), chosen to brief
ministers and other participants at last November’s 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) in Durban, South
Africa. And we’re doing the same in the lead up to Rio+20 — the United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development that takes place in Brazil in June 2012.
Although global economic challenges have led some to engage less with climate change and its effects, one
simply can’t escape the fact there are more extreme weather events occurring globally. We are grateful that more people appreciate that what we’re doing at the Met Office is critical. The recent £60 million investment
in a three‑year programme of Met Office climate science by DECC and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) highlights how important they consider it that we understand the challenges of climate change....."

(Robert Napier, Chairman of the Met Office Board)

http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc01/0122/0122.pdf

So it's thanks in part to Defra for £60 million investment and remember that Defra featured in the Climategate mails -

""<2495> Humphrey/DEFRA: I can't overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don't want to be made to look foolish."

- context re. the Weather Generator

(the sites of the validation stations are quite interesting!)

http://ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk/media.jsp?mediaid=87941&filetype=pdf

Apr 24, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

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 steveta


Did you notice that it seems to be a two-engined jet onto which someone has photoshopped another engine alongside the original engine - to my eyes, the added engine is not parallel to the original. Very strange.

Apr 24, 2013 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

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