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« Phew | Main | Behold, a Gordian - Josh 261 »
Tuesday
Mar042014

Painter slipped

James Painter has an amusing article in The Conversation, the left-wing campaigning website paid for by your taxes.

In it he writes about certainty and uncertainty in the global warming debate and takes issue with Nigel Lawson's appearance on the Today programme (along with just about every other left-wing campaigning academic it seems).

Framing the climate challenge as risk assessment has been gaining considerable traction among some politicians. Lawson’s response to the question was to argue that even if there is a problem of global warming, it will have only marginal effects.

It is worth asking how he can be so certain of this low likelihood, what his level of confidence is and on what science it is based. This is what would be required by any risk assessment: he would have to show how he had come to this risk evaluation and why he was so confident in it, when so many other scientists are saying the impact could be huge. In any case, merely saying “nobody knows” doesn’t make his case.

You would think that someone with the luxury of an academic position, someone with the time to read and read and read, would actually have taken the time to discover what sceptics think about climate sensitivity rather than just writing and writing and writing about his ignorance on the subject.

He could start here. Oh yes, and watch this space on Thursday for some interesting developments on this front.

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Reader Comments (55)

"This is what would be required by any risk assessment: he would have to show how he had come to this risk evaluation and why he was so confident in it, when so many other scientists are saying the impact could be huge."

I think he might usefully talk to the IPCC, who claim figures for risk (95%+, 'very likely' etc.) without once explaining how they come to these conclusions. I have always assumed it is by show of hands, or perhaps with a Ouija board, but then I am not allowed to be in the meetings, being just a taxpayer.

Mar 4, 2014 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterSoarer

It is strange that the alarmist go on about risk assessment and AGW, pointing out about insurance, however other areas where we have similar (or much greater) probability disaster is completely ignored. The chance of a meteor or asteriod hitting the Earth - why are we not spending billions on that. There is a chance of damaging earthquakes in the UK so why are we not building earrthquake proof houses? Given the fact that we have had endemics before (e.g. flu) which has killed millions, why are we not spending trillions on prevention. Etc.,etc.

The non-scientists do not seem to understand assessment of risk, probability of occurence and cost benefit!

Mar 4, 2014 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

For scientists, 95% certainty is taken as a gold standard

Tell that the those working at the LHC.

Quite clearly Painter does not understand the meaning of risk as he thinks it is the same as chance. In fact I don't think he understands the difference between any of the terms he uses, such as uncertainty, confidence, probability, chance and risk. He should stick to journalism.

I now see CQ has said it before me.

Mar 4, 2014 at 8:45 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I'm struck before reading any of Painter by the slogan in the photo:

There is no planet B

And therefore we should do something right now, however stupid?

Mar 4, 2014 at 8:47 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

He could try reading Lawson's book.

Comment posted at Conversation.

Mar 4, 2014 at 8:54 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Am struggling to associate honesty with Painter.

He's been quite in the habit of writing about skeptics without including any quote by them (see my essay on Painter's 2011 "Poles Apart" report - which I aptly titled "The Unknown Skeptic").

At the time I thought he was just too afraid of being contaminated by skeptical words. Somebody suggested a family matter, but three years later a display of the same asinine ignorance is really unbecoming of a trustworthy journalist and researcher.

Mar 4, 2014 at 9:02 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

"the impact could be huge"

Which is, of course, another way of saying "nobody knows"...

Mar 4, 2014 at 9:02 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I always thought that in UK and likely most everywhere else the rulers wait for something to happen first e.g major flooding/paedophile stuff and so on. That means a few citizens get killed, injured or loose a lot in many ways. Thats a risk assessment outcome if you like...of the minor kind it would appear?

Or, let a few die, sympathise here and there but don't care really. Talk a lot about learning lessons ...again and again and again! But don't learn anything at all.

Suddenly we get the catastrophic outcome - CAGW. Billions of bucks are released along with as much abuse as possible to anyone who might ask questions.

Fix the roof while the sun shines? No...fix the wallet 1st.

Mar 4, 2014 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Paul,

Where are the comments? I can't see any?

Regards

Mailman

Mar 4, 2014 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Philip Bratby: Good comment over at the Conversation. I was particularly struck by the un-recognised (by the author, John Russell) irony in the comment in response to yours:

"Maybe if more scientists were better at explaining the facts to the general public—and more willing to come forward to communicate with the public—it wouldn't be necessary for journalists to write such articles."
[my bold]

Of course, John Russell would not be aware of what scientists like Phil Jones and Michael Mann think about data-sharing.

Mar 4, 2014 at 9:56 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I'm struck before reading any of Painter by the slogan in the photo:

There is no planet B

And therefore we should do something right now, however stupid?
Mar 4, 2014 at 8:47 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

It is indeed a strange thing to say, since he clearly comes from planet Zog.

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Long time & regular reader - first time poster. Be nice.

Painter's argument seems to be that Lawson needs to make a case for not taking action rather than the requirement being to justify the policy. Robert Pindyck (Professor of Economics & Finance at MIT) summarises the current position on this point rather nicely (Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 7(2), 2013, pp. 234–235).

"I have argued that the economic case for stringent GHG abatement cannot be made based on “most likely outcomes” (i.e., distributions for temperature change consistent with the IPCC [2007]) and the economic impact functions
used in most IAMs (which were also surveyed by the IPCC) ... (A)ny case for stringent abatement must be based (instead) on the possibility of a catastrophic climate outcome. And a “catastrophic climate outcome” does not simply mean a very high increase in temperature and rising sea levels; what matters is whether the economic impact of those physical changes would be catastrophic. Furthermore, simply stating that such an outcome is possible is not enough. We need “plausible” estimates of probabilities of various temperature outcomes, and “plausible” estimates of large economic impacts from those temperature outcomes. Thus far, the claims of likely catastrophic outcomes that I have seen (made largely by climate scientists, not economists) relate to temperature and other physical processes
(such as climate variability and changes in sea levels). Generally absent is a clear analysis showing that the economic impact of these physical changes would be so large as to be catastrophic. Completely absent (to myknowledge) is any analysis that puts a climate catastrophe in the context of a set of potential global catastrophes."

So - CAGW alone, with significant economic impacts, justifies a stringent economically-justified policy response and the case for this has not been robustly made either way. Where does the burden of proof lie?

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterHoblinMango

HoblinMango,
See my comment. Lawson has written a book doing exactly what you and Painter are asking for!

Now, ask yourself this question - why does Painter not mention this in his article?

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:05 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Maybe we ought be clearer.

There is no possibility of arguing with Painter.

Painter will singularly refuse to hear, mention, write about any argument that could be made in response to his knowledge-free statements. Then he will write and write and write about how nobody has made any argument he has ever heard, mentioned or written about.

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:07 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Painter's rant is just so much rubbish! In response to Lawson's "Nobody Knows", he argues, for instance, that because 'research science' is naturally full of uncertainties ("where uncertainty is ingrained") it gives scientists 'direction'. That is, they may be uncertain as to the cause of AGW but they're absolutely right about what to do about it: cut CO^2 - at great expense.

If that's what he thinks of Lawson's balanced approach: "Nobody knows" (although, painter argues that Lawson, not being a scientists, is not qualified to comment), how will he respond to Patrick Moore's statement that "there is no proof"?

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:09 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

If Painter says Lawson isn't qualified to comment because he's not a scientists, well, neither is Painter, so he should gracefully shut up and consign his body to science, or scientists.

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:17 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Painter could start by answering his own questions: 'It is worth asking how he can be so certain of this HIGH likelihood, what his level of confidence is and on what science it is based. This is what would be required by any risk assessment: he would have to show how he had come to this risk evaluation and why he was so confident in it, when so many other scientists are saying the impact MIGHT NOT BE huge.'

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterColin

The point is that 'decarbonisation' of the world's economy brings certain and massive costs in terms of human life-span and material well-being forgone. Economic growth creates extra lives to be lived and longer and healthier lives. Expensive, interrupted, low-level energy kills growth and costs lives.

To justify an enforced a switch to feeble and unreliable, and expensive, energy sources requires a great probability of catastrophe if no switch is made. No evidence of certain catastrophe exists. The models may predict it - actually they merely project a small, steady and slow rise in temperature - which has not taken place.

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Sydney

Since climate change is natural and not CO2 driven how can we hope to affect it?
All empirical data shows that climate is solar driven.

Painter et al live in a dream world.

Mar 4, 2014 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

It was 'interesting' to note that Lord Lawson's brief appearance on the Today programme or more accurately criticism of him being allowed to air his views occupied not one but two slots in consecutive weeks episodes of the Radio 4 'Feedback' programme. Strange how irate some of the callers were that a non scientist should be allowed to speak. It had me shouting at the car radio - How qualified is Harrabin then??? Everything he spouts is taken as gospel, and of course we could mention many more of his ilk. It would be interesting to check the backgrounds of those callers. I believe someone did that for an Any Questions show on the topic a few months ago and all were fairly well known if not notorious green activists who managed to get on air.

Mar 4, 2014 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterNick Darlington

Nick Darlington

Non scientists are all equal. But some non scientists are considerably more equal than others. It does help not to be any too sceptical as well.

Mar 4, 2014 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

A couple of videos that offer a bleak view for humanity.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av_DAeTP6r4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quh8KmQR9-M

Mar 4, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Registered Commenterperry

Well we can be sure he's not going to read this either. It's the wilful ignorance of these alarmists that is most vexing. Why do most lefties automatically have to believe in catastrophe anyway? Why can they cleanly dissect everything wrong with free-market enterprise and crony capitalism but not even contemplate reading the numerous economics papers written which state that mild warming, ie up to 2.5 degrees, is unquestionably beneficial - as every historian already knew? The entire science of Dendroclimatology is based on the fact that things grow better when it's warmer! Seemingly they accept Nick Stern's outlier views on this issue when they would usually violently disagree with him on every other capitalist issue and despite him having blatant conflicts of interest. I mourn the passing of Alexander Cockburn, whose brilliant work I often read; one of the very few lefties who could see through the hype and bluster of AGW. While AGW hysteria causes money to flow from the poor to the rich, these ignorant pseuds think it isn't flowing fast enough.

Mar 4, 2014 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Lawson's perfectly reasonable and moderate remarks on that Today programme have caused quite a stir. That is what is informative here. It points to the existence of an appreciable number of tense, perhaps even highly-strung, people so unsure of their precious alarm-faith over climate that they react with horror and outrage when they hear of heresies being spoken, no matter how gently, in locations they thought of as their own, such as the BBC's Today programme.

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:02 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I'll self quote to explain the ridicule that Painter is capable of covering himself with in his quest not to listen to skeptics,

Skeptics are so bad in fact, Mr Painter and colleagues couldn't bear quoting them in his report on skeptics and the media ("Poles Apart"). Chapter 2 is titled “The Nature of Climate skepticism” and 18 pages long. Still, the first mention of a skeptic (Pat Michaels) is after four-and-a-half pages. Among the first things we learn, his “about 40 per cent” funding from “oil industry sources”. No other quotes are provided, and there is no description of what he is skeptical about.

Zilch more is given about Steve McIntyre, whose voluminous blog Climate Audit is mentioned but not quoted (a description of McIntyre’s “skepticism” is taken from “one US magazine”).

Of Lord Monckton, “Poles Apart” speak of “anti-communist ideology” before everything else. No quote by him either. Finally, Bjorn Lomborg. Guess what? No quote by the Danish scientist. The chapter about skepticism chugs along with a single direct quote by a non-warmist, “Joe Bast, the head of climate skeptic Heartland Institute” but his printed words (to Nature magazine) are not about skepticism.

No much luck in the rest of the chapter with Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), Ian Plimer, etc etc. (note that there is a quote from Benny Peiser of the GWPF at page 14 – but blink and you’ll miss it; it’s the only quote that is buried in the text!).
Even the Bibliography points to a single skeptical work, in French.

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:04 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Talking of risk - it appears that the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett, has just declared from his long ownership and surveillance of insurance companies that "climate change" does not appear to have led to extremes of weather and lots of insurance claims. "If you are writing hurricane insurance, it's been all profit". As his company owns the massive insurer-of-insurers company Gen Re, that seems a pretty solid statement.

Buffet is usually seen as a liberal - but he is above all a financial realist . (He has previously opposed the Keystone pipeline, evidently - but then he has competing interests in other pipelines and railroad companies)

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/03/warren-buffett-climate-skeptic.php

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

"Even the Bibliography points to a single skeptical work, in French."

Omnologus, you are a very witty man. Best laugh I've had all day.

You remind me of Andrea Camilleri.

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Are we still going to be having this dispute twenty, thirty years hence..? (Well - I won't, that's for sure, but you know what I mean...)
As the 'threat' of global warming/climate change/this week's definition refuses to manifest itself, will the alarmists' voices get more and more shrill..? Will they start invoking 'other' doomsday scenarios (pandemics; plagues of locusts, etc..)..?
We've had Mann's hockey stick; Gordon Brown's 'Fifty hours to save the planet' (how well that turned out); every bit of 'weather' reported in the media being due to climate change; the missing heat's all gone into the deep ocean - what next, I wonder..?

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

In the bad old days of evidence based decision making, someone coming up with an assertion of a huge future cost due to a newly discovered risk would have to offer actual proof.
The "Boy Who Cried Wolf" was a lesson in this. And "The Emperor's New Clothes" was a lesson in critical thinking skills.
Now, the boy is under indictment for putting an endangered species at risk even though no wolf was harmed, and the Emperor hired the press to ridicule the boy, while the Royal Tax Collector went after the boy's dad.

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

The greenhouse conjecture is demolished by the Loschmidt effect.

It is wrong to assume Loschmidt's gravitationally induced thermal gradient does not evolve spontaneously in a gravitational field. It is the isentropic state of maximum entropy with no further unbalanced energy potentials. You cannot explain why the Venus surface temperature rises by 5 degrees spread over the course of its 4-month-long day with any radiative forcing conjecture or greenhouse philosophy. The Venus surface receives barely 10% of the direct Solar radiation that Earth's surface receives. It would need over 16200 W/m^2 if radiation were heating the surface. Then, during sunlit hours it would need an extra 450W/m^2 to raise the temperature from about 732K to 737K. On Earth, if isothermal conditions were supposedly existing without water vapor and other greenhouse gases, then the sensitivity to water vapor would be about 10 degrees per 1% atmospheric content. But there is no evidence that a region with 1% above it is 30 degrees colder than another region at similar altitude and latitude with 4% above it. The effective surface layer of Earth's oceans may be considered to be only 1cm thick, or even if 10cm thick it is still very transparent to insolation. But a black or grey body does not transmit radiation, and the surface layer absorbs less than 1% of that incident solar radiation. So the S-B calculations are totally incorrect and planetary surface temperatures cannot be calculated using such.

This is where the error crept in in 1985 ...

<I>"Coombes and Laue concluded that answer (1) is the correct one and answer (2) is wrong. They reached this conclusion after finding that statement (2a) is wrong, i.e., the average kinetic energy of all molecules does not decrease with the height even though the kinetic energy of each individual molecule does decrease with height.

These authors give at first a qualitative explanation of this fact by noting that since both the kinetic energy of the molecules and the number density of molecules decrease with height, the average molecular kinetic energy does not necessarily decrease with height."</I>

This is absurd. They had the mean kinetic energy decreasing in each molecule, but then they divided again by the number. Try calculating a mean by dividing twice by the number of elements. A glaring error. The Loschmidt effect has NOT been debunked by this nonsense.

Velasco, S., Román, F.L., White, J.A. (1996). On a paradox concerning the temperature distribution of an ideal gas in a gravitational field, Eur. J. Phys., 17: 43–44.

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterD o u g    C o t t o n  

My inbox has had enough of Doug Cotton's obsessions. Please mark him as 'troll'.

Mar 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

I have asked this question before and have never had a satisfactory answer. Why aren't politicians and the media as interested in the threat of existing antibiotics becoming useless as they are in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming? We know that there has been no global warming for nearly two decades. On the other hand we know that an increasing number of bacteria are developing resistance to existing antibiotics and there are not many new antibiotics in the pipeline.

Unless bacteria are going to stop evolving, the problems of antibiotic resistance are bound to get worse. We can be a lot more certain about that than we can be about the future course of climate change. Do we really want to live in a world where infections that are easily treatable now become killers? Although the development of new drugs is very expensive, it would be much less expensive than our laughable efforts to combat climate change. On any interpretation of "the precautionary principle" we should be encouraging research into new antibiotics and other possible methods of treating infections, e.g. the use of phages which are viruses that can infect bacteria, as well as simple measures such as improving hygiene in hospitals to try and prevent infection with multiply-resistant bacteria in the first place.

Why the double standards when it comes to CAGW and other threats?

Mar 4, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/03/04/Irish-Health-Dept-Warns-of-Wind-Turbine-Dangers

Off topic but thought worth drawing to your attention.

I paraphrase, Ireland's Chief Medical Officer satates that wind turbines are bad for people the Irish Environment Agency says he's wrong ?

Mar 4, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

The argument that we don't know there is a problem but just in case we are going to spend a very large sum of money to prevent it is no different to the argument that we don't know if there is a problem but not spending any money on it may cost us a large sum of money in the future through our inaction.

Except in the latter case the cost is deferred to a future generation likely to be richer/higher standard of living and more able to afford it.

Everything else is arguing discount rates, likely cost of CO2 effects if unmitigated, cost of mitigation and probabilities of occurence. All of which are unknown too.

Lindzen has it right - do nothing for 50 years and then decide.

Mar 4, 2014 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

Roy, this point is made in Lawson's book - though not specifically about antibiotics:
"greatest flaw in this approach... large number of possible catastrophes waiting to happen... nuclear holocaust, flu pandemic..."

Mar 4, 2014 at 2:42 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Article in "The Conversation" denounces those who have "non-allowed" opinions.

Does he have a faulty irony meter?

Mar 4, 2014 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

Roy: Why the double standards when it comes to CAGW and other threats?

None of the other threats (antibiotics etc) need a solution that requires an entirely new framework of control that remodels society (purely coincidentally, of course) along a socialist/communistic central planning and control model.

If the solution to global warming was more free market, the usual suspects wouldn't be interested. It is the usual 'beneficial crisis'.

Mar 4, 2014 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Oil companies fund the Heartland Institute.

Oil companies fund Big green. Oh - and the taxpayer does too. Why? Because the Oil Companies themselves couldn't afford Big Green on their own.

Mar 4, 2014 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Succinctly summed up, Stuck Record. There is also the consideration that quite a few Green aspects are - or can be dressed up as - desirable in their own right. Instead of fossil fuels or nuclear power with all its contamination, there's clean solar or wind power; instead of driving round in a smelly tin can - get out in the fresh air and walk; care for the planet and our inheritance and the wildlife etc etc. I know there's a lot of bollocks in there, but there is some truth as well.

Mar 4, 2014 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

It always bothers me when the language in an allegedly scientific article is indistinguishable from the language in a late-night infomercial. "Act now before it's too late" and the many variations on that theme are distinctly propagandist attempts to convince people not to think rationally before making a decision.

"Framing the climate challenge as risk assessment" is just another way of saying "rationally discussing options" as opposed to "panicking and doing something, Anything no matter the cost."

Mar 4, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterGH05T

Roy, you need to stop worrying about antibiotic resistance and Superbugs, which are beat-ups beloved of the tabloids that have been going on for years.

I first took Amoxcyllin (or whatever it is called today) as a kid, decades ago. It still works today, in the vast majority of cases, as it did then.

The main problem is Golden Staph, which periodically invades hospitals, and has nothing to do with screaming headlines about Superbugs.

Mar 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

" . . .when so many other scientists are saying the impact could be huge."

Consensus-citing again. I would like these people to start naming names. Precisely who is saying the "impact could be huge" and what are they basing that speculation on?

Mitigatory measures are ongoing throughout Western Civilization. Energy efficiency, alternative sources, abandonment of coal, etc. It's quite likely we long ago exceeded any reasonable amount of expenditure based on rational risk assessment. But then, uncertainty rules, doesn't it?

When pressed, the thermophobes themselves retreat into admitting, "Nobody knows."

Is it really unreasonable, given that the "stasis" (the word used by the American Physical Society) is ongoing and shows no sign of ending, to wait until we have more confirmational data, one way or the other?

Meanwhile, climate scientists are out there looking for the "culprit" (Trenberth's word)-- the perpetrator who vandalized their theory of CAGW.

Mar 4, 2014 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

" . . .when so many other scientists are saying the impact could be huge."

Consensus-citing again. I would like these people to start naming names. Precisely who is saying the "impact could be huge" and what are they basing that speculation on?

Mitigatory measures are ongoing throughout Western Civilization. Energy efficiency, alternative sources, abandonment of coal, etc. It's quite likely we long ago exceeded any reasonable amount of expenditure based on rational risk assessment. But then, uncertainty rules, doesn't it?

When pressed, the thermophobes themselves retreat into admitting, "Nobody knows."

Is it really unreasonable, given that the "stasis" (the word used by the American Physical Society) is ongoing and shows no sign of ending, to wait until we have more confirmational data, one way or the other?

Meanwhile, climate scientists are out there looking for the "culprit" (Trenberth's word)-- the perpetrator who vandalized their theory of CAGW.

Mar 4, 2014 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

We don't need no stinkin' risk assessments, we're content to follow the herd over the cliff.
===============

Mar 4, 2014 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

"Lindzen has it right - do nothing for 50 years and then decide."
Mar 4, 2014 at 2:18 PM | ThinkingScientist

Indeed. Between two or three decades ago, I recall John Kettley presenting the weather forecast on TV when the TV anchor asked him what he thought about this global-warming thing. He shifted uneasily before cautiously answering with a "I think we'll know in about 50 years". A model of scientific caution by today's standards.

Mar 4, 2014 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

For great claims its normal to expect 'great evidence' to support them .
And so far 'the cause ' has failed to do that , indeed often it offers emotion, rhetoric or BS as its answer and that is often because the evidence it does have is far from 'great'

Mar 4, 2014 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

My response: "

If there is even the slightest chance burning fossil fuels causes warming, and that warming might prevent the end of the Holocene Interglacial, we MUST burn as much fossil fuel as possible for the sake of the children and their children and their grandchildren and their great-great ...."

Mar 4, 2014 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

I'll probably get snipped for this.....

"i.e. flying in the face of virtually all scientific evidence, keep using fossil fuels as much as possible." - and why not? What catastrophe will come about in the next 50 years that man cannot recover from? Worse than WWI or WWII? Worse than Stalin? Get a grip woman.

"Oil companies fund the Heartland Institute, who fund Richard Lindzen, and then you buy it hook line and sinker, believing the whole time that you're some sort of sceptical thinker, when in reality you're just a sucker." - So what?
Oil companies funded Phil Jones. Grantham funds a lot more with a lot more. Greenpiss is funded by NGOs. SO WHAT. The truth is FREE. "In reality, you're a sucker" - and I'm a Guardian typesetter.

Mar 4, 2014 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

"That would be the extremely high probability of worldwide human deaths, misery, and largescale species extinction." - and when you can find that specific quote in AR5, Z, you'll have some props. But you can't, can you. It's purely your own interpretation placed on it from your addled, sceptic-hating political perspective.

BTW....what did you think of Dr Patrick Moore's statement to the Senate? "There is no proof". - have YOU found it?

Mar 4, 2014 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I first stubbed my toes on Risk Assessment when I travelled to the UK to teach for a few years before retirement from the profession. After years of successfully running all kinds of school camps and other co-curricular educational activities in New Zealand high schools as a Head of Department, I was faced with the requirement to fill in an absolutely riduculous document before taking a coach load of Year Ten puils to the Tate Modern for a day trip. When I told the member of Senior Management making the demand that I had fully planned the day and had briefed the pupils and staff going on the excursion, I was told in no uncertain terms of the 'absolutely essential nature of risk assessment and if I did not file the completed document and have it signed off by the Head Teacher, I could forget about the group boarding the coach.'
It was at that moment that the awful realisation dawned of what had happened to British education - it had been taken over by politically correct risk-averse clerks who posessed no skills or knowledge beyond shuffling paper and frightened of being held responsible for anything.

Mar 4, 2014 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

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