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AR5 hearings

This thread is for discussion of this morning's AR5 hearings. At 9:30 we will have Brian Hoskins, Myles Allen and Peter Stott, with the sceptics - Lindzen, Laframboise and Lewis - following at 10:30.

I gather there is to be another panel in due course which will feature representatives of the learned societies.

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Reader Comments (96)

Something's weird for me Bish.

Video window is flickering and mirroring your text upside down!

Jan 28, 2014 at 9:17 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Hoskins admitted that IPCC are fallible human beings and seemed to refer to the hockeystick as a “mistake”.

Jan 28, 2014 at 9:43 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Tough question from MP John Robertson about wide range of climate sensitivity.
Myles Allen claiming CS not important! Says it's like Katie Price.

In case anyone else has difficulty with the video, it's also available at
HT @andiemeanie

Jan 28, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Myles Allen: Transient climate response is much more important than the climate sensitivity which “actually doesn’t matter very much”.

Jan 28, 2014 at 9:50 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Am I to take it that since climate sensitivity is not playing by the rules transient climate response is the new kid on the block?

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:05 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Is the down-playing of climate sensitivity an attempt to undermine Nic Lewis?

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:10 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Have we got a problem with posting again? two posts I've made have failed to appear. I have now logged on to BH so will see if this comment appears straight away....

Yes...a comment made when logged in appears OK. A comment made when not logged in does not.

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:17 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

So, I'll try again with my comment about John Robertson: Discussing aerosols in climate sensitivity calcs he suggested that the public should be brought into this discussion as they would be able to see it easily. After all, they probably all had aerosols! See at 9:48-ish

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:20 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

So Myles Allen wants us to reduce net emissions of 'carbon' to zero! (10:26)

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Paul Matthews - thanks for the Filmon link, I could only get audio on Silverlight player - so now I am content that it is Peter Stott and not Eddie Izzard who is giving evidence.

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:43 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Excellent questions. Well-done the Committee! I do believe they are going from strength to strength in homing in and exposing the weaknesses and the waffles of the case for dramatic policy decisions. The transcripts promise to be worth raking over to harvest a nugget or two, but the overall impression I am gaining is that the Committee would not in a month of Sundays be inclined to move towards dramatic policy decisions based on this little panel's performance.

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Myles Allen just said he is a 'dyed in the wool' skeptic!!!! 10:55-ish

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:56 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

How does resigning from an NGO effect a change in a scientists political view/activism?

Jan 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

End of round 1. My summary of some of the topics here.

Jan 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Lindzen - a love game there.

Jan 28, 2014 at 11:10 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Nic Lewis: "It's not the science, it's the models."

Jan 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

May I apologise on behalf my fellow Scots for John Robertson MP - what a numptie.

Jan 28, 2014 at 11:33 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

What an egregious tit is Robertson: to Donna: "Not a lot of people would agree with you. You've had your chance to sell your book" )(*^(*)(*_(&*)^*^!!!

Jan 28, 2014 at 11:46 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Robertson did indeed lower the previously high tone, with his inarticulate search for innuendos about money, as well as that snide remark to Donna. But the three panelists are coping with that, and with Yeo's inanities, and are getting some great points stated - I've noted more than dozen so far.

Jan 28, 2014 at 12:04 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Everyone should watch at 12:05 when it kicks off between Yeo and Lindzen. !!! Like big time. Great watching.

Jan 28, 2014 at 12:07 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

The empirical evidence is that net positive feedbacks are low or absent. In such a scenario climate sensitivity = transient climate response.

Jan 28, 2014 at 12:29 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

Lindzen said climate scientists aren't as bright as other scientists. That's going to provoke some fun.
I have written a summary of some of part 2. There is also a rather one-sided report at RTCC.

Jan 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

One of the great things Lindzen got across - if only the MPs would listen and take it on board - was that if (as in: IF) there was a problem (CAGW), and you did whatever you thought necessary in the UK to ameliorate it by spending Billions, you would make no appreciable difference to the UK's climate and none at all to the globe. But (as in: BUT), the actions you would take would have a hugely deleterious affect on your people. (I paraphrase)

Jan 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Harry, yes, it was interesting to see Lindzen, a physical scientist, using what I think of as the Robin Guenier argument. I suppose it makes a lot of sense to do that if talking to politicians.

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

There was no knock-out punch from either 'side', so the contest has to be decided on points. Points may to some extent be in the eye of the beholder, but to my eyes, the 3Ls made at least a couple of dozen good ones, while the ASH team were largely, and not very convincingly, on the defensive. If the committee is a rational one, I think this hearing today will serve to have broadened and deepened their grasp of key issues, and to have shifted them away from the sort of dumb deference to the IPCC that has so disfigured such as the Royal Society in its political posturings for example. Both panels deserve our admiration for remaining courteous and to the point throughout. I think the hearing did credit to Parliament, and to the panelists.

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Paul Matthews

"Lindzen said climate scientists aren't as bright as other scientists..."

My concern is more on how bright our politicians are.

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:06 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Yeo: Do you have any anxiety that controversies that arose from previous reports - take the hockeystick graph which seems to be referred to quite frequently - do you have any anxieties that those sort of controversies may cast doubt on the conclusions reached in AR5?

Hoskins: I think there is a concern always that mistakes have been made, as in some cases, or maybe an accentuation of one view, and it’s a group of people and mistakes will be made and that should not reflect on anything in the future for that body, and of course we should all be sceptical and we are all sceptical the whole time, so probing it must go on, and it’s not going to be taken as the Bible, but it should be taken as the view of a large group of scientists of a diverse range of where scientists come from, and this is the consensus view given by them.

“Probing must go on”. That sounds like a pat on the back for Andrew Montford from a distinguished Professor at the Grantham Institute. I wonder what Bob Ward thinks?

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:22 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Paul Matthews:

it was interesting to see Lindzen, a physical scientist, using what I think of as the Robin Guenier argument.
..which Robin made in a written evidence, and which some of the MPs may have already read.

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:26 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff, at one point Hoskins (Grantham Institute Imperial) made it very clear that he distanced himself from Grantham Institute LSE and remarks they made.

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:35 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Paul Matthews:

Unsurprisingly, I was flattered that the great man deployed what you kindly described as "the Robin Guenier argument". And, as many here know (because I keep banging on about it), it does make sense, when discussing the matter with policymakers, to leave sterile arguments about the science to one side and focus on the practical reality that - even if AGW is a problem - a reduction in Britain's 1.3% share of global emissions cannot possibly make any significant difference to global temperatures. Plus of course the second reality that current UK policy is both damaging and potentially disastrous.

But my argument goes further: my third reality is that, as it's clear that countries responsible for over 70% of emissions (arguably over 80%) have no intention of committing themselves to CO2 cuts, anything we do is, in any case, completely pointless.

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Geoff: " .. which Robin made in a written evidence"

I'm afraid that's not really accurate. My evidence was essentially about the 97% claim - a different matter altogether.

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:49 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Pity it wasn't possible to add Julian Flood's 'Chihuahua of Doom' illustration to back up Robin and Lindzen, bearing in mind that the committee chairman is a Suffolk MP!

Jan 28, 2014 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It was good to make it to the Grimond Room - late in the first half - and to be able to shake Richard Lindzen and Nic Lewis by the hand and thank them both for their contributions at the end. The first time I've been in the same room as either, as far as I am aware.

As others have said, it got powerful towards the end. The 3 Ls worked well together, I thought. It's true that Lindzen 'did a Guenier' but I think he's been doing that since days immemorial so perhaps we should say Guenier has been doing a Lindzen! And Robin's right that he wants to go further - into China and the 70% who aren't going to change - but remember that this session was ostensibly about AR5 WG1 only. Dick and Donna (the alliteration never ends!) got a lot more policy-related in that one might have expected but of course Yeo was keen to clarify that Laframboise was talking about WG2 at one point and by implication rule it out as irrelevant.

One of the more warmist MPs came up to Lindzen and Myles Allen at the end, while I was in that circle, and made a point of saying that his mind was still open. I don't think that would have happened a few years ago. Glacial rates of change but then, what's new with climate! It was also interesting to hear Allen having a go at Lindzen for saying 'our people are crap' as Myles put it. 'We won't attract good people if you say that!' Lindzen responded, in his mild, ironic way, that he hoped very bright youngsters would see the situation as an opportunity.

But when I thanked the MIT man, just after this, for his contribution going right back to 1988 (is it, I asked?) he sighed and told a nice anecdote about a noted mathematician who admitted in the preface to a new edition of his masterwork that he had finally lost interest in his subject, hence the bibliography was still only 160 pages! (Or items, I can't recall.) It must get mind-numbingly boring for the guy, dealing with the likes of Yeo and co, which is why I was glad to express gratitude.

I saw Jonathan Jones, Ruth Dixon, the Bish, Matt Ridley, Philip Foster and Piers Corbyn sitting though it all and there were no doubt others where my pattern matching algorithm for faces to nyms wasn't up to the job or lacking sufficient data. Looking forward to the session in the pub this evening very much.

Jan 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

From the little I’ve seen so far of the sessions, it looks like the pub meeting tonight could be one of those key events in world history that no-one realised was so important at the time.
If you can’t all agree to form some kind of association that the BBC would be obliged to take notice of, can you at least agree on a secret handshake, and possibly a sceptic song?

Jan 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Does anyone know where/when the complete video might be available on-line? I was watching at home on the big telly via BBC Parliament Channel but unfortunately they switched off the live feed at 11.30 am (owing to the session running late) and I missed the later part. I particularly want to see Lindzen vs Yeo at 12:05....

Jan 28, 2014 at 3:41 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Regarding the relative importance of TCR vs. ECS, I agree. In fact, I've made that point myself in the past. ECS is about the long-term, "steady-state" response to a change in forcing. Most GCMs take a millennium or so to approach this point. TCR is about the immediate to short-term response, traditionally defined as the change in temperature at the end of a 70-year change in CO2 concentration of 1%/year, which due to compounding, yields a doubling. As I don't believe that human power sources will remain mainly fossil-fuel based for a millennium, I don't expect that CO2 levels will remain elevated long enough that the ECS equilibrium will be attained. Given that premise, TCR is more directly relevant to the magnitude of the effects to which we will need to adapt.

While TCR and ECS are both sensitivity measures, ECS figures have always been the more popular of the two siblings. The Charney report in 1979 didn't even consider transient response. [Of course, it was early days for climate models at the time.] Generally speaking, TCR and ECS are linked; models with high ECS tend to show high TCR as well. Forster et al. (2013) provide the ECS and TCR values for 23 of the CMIP5 models. ECS ranges from 2.1 to 4.7 K, with a mean of 3.2 and median of 2.9 K. TCR ranges from 1.1 to 2.5 K, with mean and median both 1.8 K. The ratio of TCR to ECS varies from 44% to 74%. [A regression over the Forster et al. subset gives TCR ~= 0.56 + 0.39*ECS with R^2=0.67.]

By way of comparison, Otto et al. 2013 give an observation-based best estimate of TCR as 1.3 K, providing a range of 0.9–2.0 K. So as with ECS, GCMs give a higher value for TCR than observations.

Jan 28, 2014 at 3:47 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Hmm. Last post has disappeared. Anyway, can't get the video to work on any of Chrome, Firefox or IE. And the link above to filemon just takes me to a menu with repeated entries of the same thing. Can anyone provide a direct link to the hearings (assuming this gets posted that is!)

Jan 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

Richard: Would love to be a fly on the wall in the pub! I'd especially like to hear what you all thought of Yeo's attempt to get Lindzen to give him a yes/no answer to the ridiculous, "don't you agree the the last decade has been the warmest ever and that therefore AGW has not stopped?"

Jan 28, 2014 at 3:57 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

geoff: We tried the secret handshake and failed but the sceptic song is a must-do! And yep, I agree, it might just be a significant time, crooning and all.

Jan 28, 2014 at 3:59 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

It’s all at the Bish’s link marked “mobile users may need to go here” under the screen. Then tap on the double arrow until the rainbow disappears.

Jan 28, 2014 at 4:00 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Harry: Yeah, a fascinating part of proceedings. I won't write more about it now but I'm sure it will come up this evening. There are two other subjects I touched on with Lindzen that I may also write about when I've had time to digest. But pub first!

Jan 28, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

BBC Parliament Channel but unfortunately they switched off the live feed at 11.30 am (owing to the session running late)

How very convenient for them. The schedule is suddenly sacrosanct when it happens to deny sceptics airtime.

(Had to register to post, site is dropping unregistered posts)

Jan 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM | Registered Commenternw01

Has there ever been a more disagreeable example of ignorance, arrogance, nastiness and corpulence than John Robertson? Astoundingly offensive, astoundingly smug, astoundingly thick. And, needless to say, wholly incoherent. What have we done to deserve such 'public servants'?

Jan 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM | Registered Commenteragouts

We elected them. And one of the useful points that Robertson made was that it’s the duty of scientists to make things clear to “thick, smug” people like him because we elected them.
That’s the beauty of democracy. Sometimes the refined and intelligent are obliged to treat the ignorant and corpulent with respect.

Jan 28, 2014 at 4:47 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

From near the end of the first session, just after Allen has said that many of his colleagues think he is a climate sceptic..

Graham Stringer: I took some interest in what happened at the UEA on another committee and it was absolutely clear that Professor Jones and his colleagues couldn’t reproduce their work and they weren’t prepared to share the information and the data sets that they had. Two questions: do you think that was typical of the way climate scientists work, and do you think that has damaged climate science generally?
Allen: I absolutely couldn’t comment on the allegation you’re making about Professor Jones and his colleagues
Stringer: It’s not an allegation, it was part of..
Allen: No, but I wouldn’t want to get into a discussion of that, because I’m not party to that evidence, so .. um, it’s absolutely not the way science works, of course not, and one of the benefits of the IPCC process is that it does encourage sharing between groups [...] looking at model output and so forth, and that”s obviously beneficial [...] I think that climate science is remarkably collegiate in the way it approaches problems.
“Collegiate” is one word for it, I suppose. Allen’s refusal to answer the question on the grounds that he’s not familiar with the evdience reveals either that he hasn’t read the emails and the subsequent Muir Russell report, or that any disagreements between colleagues are not going to be revealed to a mere parliamentary committee.

Jan 28, 2014 at 4:49 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

agouts - if it is any consolation, or if it helps you understand the context, there is a long-standing saying in Scotland that if you gave a monkey a red rosette it would be elected with an overwhelming majority in just about any west of Scotland constituency. I am sure there must be a few talented Labour MPs / MSPs (but I can't think of any names off-hand) and these tend to be exceptions to the rule. We are governed by gullible idiots, in Westminster and Holyrood.

Jan 28, 2014 at 4:51 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

What did you expect.
His website claims he is

Working hard to serve the communities of Anniesland, Blairdardie, Claythorn, Drumchapel, Garscadden, Jordanhill, Knightswood, Old Drumchapel, Partick (Meadow side & Thornwood),Peterson Park, Scotstoun, Temple, Whiteinch and Yoker.
Now you may not be familiar with those fragrant parts of the great city of Glasgow but I can tell you that they are places where you do not count the Labour vote; you weigh it!
The essential qualification is being a good party man and preferably not too bright — a rubber duck with a red rosette on it does nicely.
However, oor John must have something going for him because he "inherited" Donald Dewar's seat and Donald was no duck (if you'll pardon the inadvertent pun - I didnae see that one coming!). Not only that he was for a time Parliamentary Private Secretary (bag-carrier or gofer) for Yvette Cooper. That should have been interesting; I wonder if she needed an interpreter.
ALSO ... He is currently Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Nuclear Energy Group and is quoted (thankyou Wikipedia) as being
a strong advocate for the place of nuclear power as part of a balanced energy mix in the UK, saying that it provides "not only the cheapest low-carbon energy and therefore a significant opportunity to meet carbon emissions targets, but also with much greater energy security"
Oh, and he believes in homeopathy as well.
So in fact not quite your run-of-the-mill West of Scotland numptie!

All right, lapogus! So you prefer the 'monkey' version. In my neck of the woods it was always the 'rubber duck'!

Jan 28, 2014 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Re: geoffchambers

> Allen’s refusal to answer the question on the grounds that he’s not familiar with the evdience reveals either that he hasn’t read the emails and the subsequent Muir Russell report, or that any disagreements between colleagues are not going to be revealed to a mere parliamentary committee.

It must be that "any disagreements between colleagues are not going to be revealed to a mere parliamentary committee" since he is familiar with the Muir Russell report. From the Guardian

Possibly the most important criticism in the Muir Russell review is their finding that "given its subsequent iconic significance (not least the use of a similar figure in the TAR), the [hockey-stick] figure supplied for the WMO report was misleading" for not making clear that the tree-ring series had been truncated and instrumental data spliced on.

He also comments on the contents of the emails in Nature. See here.

Jan 28, 2014 at 5:12 PM | Registered CommenterTerryS

Mike Jackson, lapogus;
Ok, you’re Scots, and I’m not. But I hope we can agree in seeing some intrinsic value in having elected representatives who reflect the views of the people who vote for them.
Robertson was very hard on the scientists on the first panel, insisting that they should explain why taxpayers should be financing the policies that flowed from their work, and doing it in a way that would be understood by someone who had great difficulty pronouncing the word “anthropogenic”. The English fought a civil war, and the 13 Colonies fought another, on the question of the sovereign being accountable to parliament and the people for the money he took off them them. Robertson was making the same demands for accountability of the scientists - our new sovereigns.
You wouldn’t get away with calling a climate scientist a monkey or a rubber duck on this site. And anyway, Robertson is our rubber duck.

Jan 28, 2014 at 5:35 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Agouts says: Jan 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM

"Has there ever been a more disagreeable example of ignorance, arrogance, nastiness and corpulence than John Robertson? Astoundingly offensive, astoundingly smug, astoundingly thick. And, needless to say, wholly incoherent."

As I said up-thread, he was particularly rude to Donna about her "selling her book". I bet he hasn't read it, and I hope Donna gives him (and all the committee) a signed copy.

But anyway...I think he's modelling himself on ME Mann. Two cheeks on the....etc

Jan 28, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

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