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« An analysis of the energy crunch | Main | Looney green tunes »

Misconceptions and mislabellings

So, some minor brouhaha this morning over Roger Harrabin's piece about Richard Tol this morning. In it, Richard is quoted as follows:

Prof Richard Tol predicts the downsides of warming will outweigh the advantages with a global warming of 1.1C - which has nearly been reached already.

This is contrasted with Matt Ridley, quoted as follows:

Matt Ridley, the influential Conservative science writer, said he believed the world would probably benefit from a temperature rise of up to 2C.

And if you refer to the transcript, which Roger has helpfully made available at Joe Smith's Climate Creativity site (!) you can read this:

RH: I mean I’m intrigued on this because other contrarians are talking about, ‘Oh well, we’ll have benefits up to two Celsius.’ Matt Ridley, for instance, says, ‘Oh, anything up to two Celsius of warming, the earth will probably benefit.’ Do you disagree with that? [CB: Matt Ridley and Richard Tol are both advisors to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate skeptic lobby group based in the UK]

RT: I think that’s a bit too optimistic, yes.

RH: But I think he references you in order to make that conclusion.

RT: All sorts of people put all sorts of things in my mouth. I would not hold it against Matt Ridley. I mean compared to what other people have put in my mouth, Matt is actually a good guy.

I get the impression that Richard has subsequently thought about this and has realised where this misunderstanding arises.



Take a look at the well-known Figure 1 from Richard's 2009 paper.

As you can see, Matt is talking about where the line crosses zero again, and Richard about the maximum. So no, there's not really a difference of opinion here at all. Indeed Richard has said that he misspoke...


This is a bit unfortunate for Roger, who has an article under his byline describing a difference of opinion between Matt and Richard that doesn't actually exist. You can see why he would have written what he did though.  It's a bit of a car crash really. A lot of correction of the record is going to be required.

But there's one other wrinkle here that bears looking at. Just read the first sentence of the caption [emphasis added].

Figure 1 shows 14 estimates of the global economic impact of climate change, expressed as the welfare-equivalent income gain or loss, as a function of the increase in global mean temperature relative to today.

So how does this equate to the "nearly reached" in Roger's article? Is the caption wrong? I'm confused.

[Update: In the comments, ATTP says that the figure caption has been amended in a correction to "relative to preindustrial"]

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Reader Comments (72)

It's just sh*t stirring and filling in time to get salary/expenses by Harra..bin.

"Society 'to be hit by climate change' "

Perhaps the BBC luvvies spend time reading that website junk...likely most of us don't and many just won't understand whats being pushed out anyway. Society to be "hit" ?

Nov 16, 2015 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

You do realise that there is a correction to Richard's 2009 paper as some of the data points were incorrect. It is paywalled and I can't seem to download it, but there is a relevant discussion here.

Nov 16, 2015 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

I look forward to Roger Harriban correcting the misleading statements in his article.

In particular, I look forward to him pointing out that, from his own work on the subject, Richard Tol believes that they will be no incremental cost under temperatures that are 2 degrees higher than in 2009 and that we are NOT nearly there. That we are in fact 2 degrees away from there (still as at 2015).

What chance of that?

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

The 2°C 'we must keep under' is being taken from 1850 and not 1950 in current news stories. When the 2°C was plucked out of thin air - what was was it supposed to be relative to?

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

IMHO the important part of the interview is the contrast between Tol providing a verified solution to climate change (=development) and Harrabin obsessed on climate p*rn and unknowable monsters evoked by massive methane releases who knows when.

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:28 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Is that relevant to the point at issue?

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:28 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill


Yes, the climate porn point jumped out at me too. I may write something about it later.

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

what was was it supposed to be relative to?
Nov 16, 2015 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2
What would you like it to be relative to? All options are on the table. Fill in the form and send it with your credit card number to ...

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:31 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

You have to feel for Tol, trying to remain credible with academe and the denialists at the same time.

He's failing dismally, but then it is an impossible task.

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered Commentergubulgaria

So how does this equate to the "nearly reached" in Roger's article? Is the caption wrong? I'm confused.

As I said, I can't access the correction, but according to this post (which, by the way, is an interesting read)

In the original Figure 1, the x-axis is labelled temperature change relative to ‘today.’ In the new Figures, the x-axis is labelled as temperature change relative to pre-industrial temperatures. The term ‘pre-industrial’ derives from climate scientist’s interest in anthropogenic influences on CO2 levels and they usually assign a date of 1750 as the last time natural CO2 levels were observed. A temperature change of 0 relative to pre-industrial temperatures, existed in 1750. On the newly labelled x-axis, we are ‘today’ at +0.8C.

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Okay, I've managed to access Richard's correction that he published last year. The figure caption to the figure that is essentially the same as the one shown in this post says:

Figure 1 shows 14 estimates of the global economic impact of climate change, expressed as the
welfare-equivalent income gain or loss, as a function of the increase in the annual global mean surface
air temperature relative to preindustrial times.

I have no idea which one is right, but presumably one of them must be wrong.

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

So looking at the worst case curve on the chart it shows a 13 % decrease in GDP at 3 deg C. Even if that were true instead of working a 35 hour week one could work an extra hour per day to produce the same GDP and we'd still not have to send children up chimneys as the Victorians did in the halcyon days of no warming. If minds were focussed on the use of technology to mitigate any effects and use more automation then I'm sure the extra hour per day could be reduced. Or am I just a pragmatically minded simpleton?

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Apropos, the updated Tol graphic.

I can't vouch for the accuracy, but I trace this:

from here:

It appears that the explanation of the temperature axis has been re-defined as "relative to pre-industrial", placing us at the peak of the media curve plotted.

So, presumably, what could be said is that:

a) AGW has been net positive for us until now. (that in itself is still a contrary, or "denier" claim)
b) the marginal effects will be negative from this point
c) the total effects will continue to be net positive for another 1 degree of warming.

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

I know its probably sheer prejudice, but I have to say that 'by their beards shall ye know them'

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Smith

Ah, I don't think I'd seen that. It makes more sense that way.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

IMHO the important part of the interview is the contrast between Tol providing a verified solution to climate change (=development) and Harrabin obsessed on climate p*rn and unknowable monsters evoked by massive methane releases who knows when.

Nov 16, 2015 at 10:28 AM | omnologos

Quite so. And it would appear that there was a massive methane release in Edinburgh earlier today.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

son of mulder - you're getting near the dangerous bits of Tol's interview.

Imagine if the word came out, that the First World will do fine whatever happens, and the Third World will suffer (because of underdevelopment)...and yet, the First World is being asked to pay up now in order to support massive societal changes and reduce carbon emissions rather than, say, making sure at first the Third World gets developed enough to withstand all that climate change has to throw at it?

I would expect the total amount of votes for any political party supporting such idea to be in the dozens in the First World, if not zero, with even the candidates having doubts about voting for such asinine ideas.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:27 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Yes, the original caption was wrong. I've apologized many times for that already, but bears repeating: Sorry.

You can see that the caption is wrong by considering the origin: No climate change => no impact of climate change. All these numbers are relative to pre-industrial times.

During the interview, and after, Harrabin tried to get me to disagree with Ridley. Matt and I disagree on many things, but not here: Matt referred to the point were the impact turns negative (about 2K), I referred to the point where the incremental impact turns negative (about 1K). You can also refer to the point where the impact turns significant and negative (about 4K).

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Ah, so there we have it.

A misunderstanding, about two people saying different, but consistent, things about the same information.

And Harriban parlayed that into "denier is proven wrong", without digging any further. All the qualities you want in a professional reporter. Especially one grounded at the BBC.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko


Matt and I disagree on many things, but not here: Matt referred to the point were the impact turns negative (about 2K), I referred to the point where the incremental impact turns negative (about 1K). You can also refer to the point where the impact turns significant and negative (about 4K).

Except you seem to be referring to your 2009 paper. Your correction, published last year, that includes some corrected data points and some new data, is barely positive for any level of warming. Okay, your 95% confidence interval does just include positive values between 0 and 2C, but it would seem to be a bit of a stretch to argue that there will be positive benefits for up to 2C of warming, when according to your own analysis the chance of that happening - as I understand your correction - is less than 5%.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

The proposition that an average temperature 2ºC above pre-industrial levels would be unprecedented and lead to catastrophic consequences is drawn in stark ignorance of recent climate history.

During the last million years there have been ten episodes comparable to, and sometimes warmer, than today's. These ten "inter glacials" have had a duration in the order of 10,000 years, while the full glacial cycle lasted in the order of 100,000 years. Climatic conditions as warm as we experience today have been relatively short lived and are atypical of the Pleistocene as a whole.

During the previous interglacial ice cores concur that during the warmest part of the last ( Eemian) interglacial Greenland temperature was about 5ºC warmer than at the present day. The thermal maximum of the Upton Warren (UK) interstadial shows that between 43,000 and 40,000 radiocarbon years before present average July temperatures in Central England were around 18ºC. That particular warm interval was quite short lived lasting only about 1,000 years. Contrast this with the mere century of warming that has been used to promote hysterical concern today. During the Eemian temperature decline there was more than one period of over 1000 years when the temperature warmed by a few degrees but these were short lived reversals of a multi millennia cooling trend.

The maximum temperatures attained in the four most recent interglacials have been as high or higher than those at present and ice core data indicates that in the Eemian and Sangamonian temperatures were 3ºC higher than today with July temperatures in southern England 4ºC and Ontario 2-3ºC higher. Interestingly during these warm periods winters were colder than now.

Even in the present interglacial in high northern latitudes temperatures were likely 3-4ºC above modern values. Forest reached the Arctic coast of Siberia about 9,000 C14 yrs before present indicating a warmer than present climate and by the end of the middle Holocene the pine tree line was at least 100 km north of its present position,

Since 3,000 C14 years before present the climate has become cooler and during the last 1000 years unfavourable climate conditions have resulted in the development of tundra and forest tundra in areas that were previously forest. A warm and wet climate developed in Asia from 7500 to 3500 years ago and the climate has been cooling there since 3,500 years ago.

In Europe the highest altitude tree lines were several hundred meters above present levels and the high stands occurred between 6,000 and 3,000 years ago. It is abundantly clear that average temperatures 3-4ºC higher than the pre-industrial average in Eurasia are neither unprecedented nor harmful.

The perception that human emissions of CO2 have overwhelmed all the other major influences on climate is pure hubris and can only result from ignorance of climate history - wilful or otherwise. IMHO the human race has much more to fear and lose from long term cooling than from short term warming.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaleoclimate Buff

Wottsywotts: We've been over this before. The correction do not change the results. The new data points do. The new data points also change the specification and, hence, estimation. JEP allowed a correction and minor update, but not a major update. The major update is here:

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

This change in the axis does not make any sense. The lines should all converge at the relative temperature level of the point of modelling with an economic impact of zero.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterAl

Yes, I now we've been through this before. I also believe that it's been pointed out to you that consistent with wrong, is still wrong.

Nov 16, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

For some reason I suspect that this "mistake" by Harrabin will be the least of the flaws in his three part end-of-the-world extravaganza.
This may be a mere footnote in the Abolish the BBC License Fee campaign that Roger is so keen to facilitate.

...and Then There's Physics, have you ever seen Annie Hall?

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:04 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

It's all irrelevant anyway, as David Evans has now shown that the sensitivity to CO2 to be an order of magnitude less than previously thought (as in the models). So we'll never reach 2degC due to CO2. As physicists have been saying all along - the physics of the "atmospheric greenhouse effect" is wrong.

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If we are halfway (debatable) to the 2C (theoretical guesswork) rise in global temperatures and no one has noticed any harm, who gives a flying fig leaf anyway?

Polar bears do not seem to have noticed a change in habitat, and sub Saharan Africa is getting greener. Any economist, whether Tol or Stern, has been using dodgy information from climate scientists, but on balance, Tol has proved more reliable than Stern, so climate science seeks to embarrass Tol. Isn't that the point that aTTP has just proved?

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

There's another tweak to consider: the critical thing is 1 degree relative to what. TTTP rightly points out that Richard Tol's measure is relative to pre-industrial ie pre 1750.

Harrabin is trying to claim that this has been reached already -"1C - which has nearly been reached already". But this is based not on the 1750 temps but on the recent Met Office revision to an average of 1850-1900 ie they've cooled the past to make the present look warmer. And it assumes the higher temps expected this year because of El Nino.

This is not what Tol's impacts are measured against. Relative to 1750 the temp increase is generally thought to be 0.8 degrees C.

Just another way in which Harrabin is misleading his readers.

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Savage

The 'relative to pre-industrial times' phrase is doubly misleading.
1. It creates the false impression that in 'pre-industrial times' the average temperature was constant.
2. It creates the false impression that we know what the average temperature was in 'pre-industrial times'.

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:36 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

son of mulder
Your 13% does not take into account changes in technology (which you admit) but neither does it take into account the increased productivity in those countries that stamd to benefit from the development that ought to take place in the beneficially warming world.
Always assuming that we don't kill off this development (or the people) with our insane obsession with decreasing CO2 levels and denying the "developing" countries the cheap reliable energy they need to develop.
So you either follow the path of development for a win-win situation or the path of eco-luddism for a lose-lose situation.
No contest.

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:43 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Zero real science has been done on what amount of warming would be beneficial so all those numbers are the purest guesswork from economists most of whom did not predict the recent financial collapse or the shale gas boom and whose models are widely admitted to be unfit for purpose. Meantime most impacts studies just ignore any benefits at all; such as longer growing seasons, greening of the planet, reduced cold-weather deaths, better crop yields etc. in favour of unremitting pessimism. The illogical and indefensible meme that wet areas get wetter and dry areas get drier has even stuck despite all opposing observations and the inescapable conclusion that cooling must therefore be jolly good for us.

But the medieval warm period and the Roman warm period are long-known to have produced longer skeletons and healthier diets, usually indicating that warming was good for us. Paleoclimatology is based on the fact that trees grow more in warmer periods. For a thinking person there is no doubt that warming is better for us; it's why we holiday and retire in warm spots and it's why those on the Med live longer than the rest of us. Even Arrhenius and Callander, the originators of the manmade warming meme, thought the warming would be beneficial.

That only Richard Tol has bothered to consider even the idea of beneficial warming is an appalling indictment of modern academia. This widespread denial of all the accumulated historical and current evidence about beneficial warming is more to do with the overriding objective to force energy policies that will undoubtedly do more harm than good. Oh for a few more honest academics....

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Am I guessing correctly that the "climate porn", is Harrabin trying to get anything & everything into his little piece, which is what it seems to me? Dragging "Mediterranean" into it seems to me he's trying to get Syria/Iraq into the equation!

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

James G
A definite +1 for that post!

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:00 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Economics boffin, Richard Tol says temperatures are about to go through the roof. Show us your model !

"Richard Tol from Sussex University believes discussion over the impacts of a 2C temperature rise is largely irrelevant as the world is likely to warm by between 3-5C, because politicians at the forthcoming Paris climate summit won't be willing or able to make the scale of cuts needed to keep temperature rises under 2C.

He says a rise of 4C would be undesirable but manageable for Europe and all nations rich enough to cope with the costs of adaptation. The best way of combating climate change, he told BBC News, was to maximise economic growth."

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

In addition to what P. Buff said; the temperature during the whole of the planet's history has ranged from roughly 10 deg C colder to 10 deg C warmer than today. There is no reason to believe that the Earth will have a different experience during the next 4 billion years. The most common temperature was the 'hothouse' 10 deg C warmer and so at some point Humans will experience temperatures that will change sea levels, vegetation, land masses, Flaura and Fauna and lots more. Unless we believe we can stop the cycles then we had better hurry up and learn to adapt.
Interestingly it seems that human beings always find a way to adapt but civilisations do not ^.^

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I usually have time for Professor Tol.
But can he explain what "downsides" we are already experiencing?

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

For example, it is generally reckoned that malaria incidence would be 10% lower if climate were as it was 150 years ago (and everything else is as it is now).

Nov 16, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

The whole programme is a stitch up. There is absolutely zero evidence that humans beings have a measurable effect on global temperatures and in my opinion, there never will be.

In the wake of the horror and deep embarrassment of Climategate, James Lovelock threw in the towel and told the truth about climate science in this Guardian interview.

"on CRU scientists

I was utterly disgusted. My second thought was that it was inevitable. It was bound to happen. Science, not so very long ago, pre-1960s, was largely vocational. Back when I was young, I didn't want to do anything else other than be a scientist.

They're not like that nowadays. They don't give a damn. They go to these massive, mass-produced universities and churn them out. They say: "Science is a good career. You can get a job for life doing government work." That's no way to do science.

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done

on computer models

I remember when the Americans sent up a satellite to measure ozone and it started saying that a hole was developing over the South Pole. But the damn fool scientists were so mad on the models that they said the satellite must have a fault. We tend to now get carried away by our giant computer models. But they're not complete models.

They're based more or less entirely on geophysics. They don't take into account the climate of the oceans to any great extent, or the responses of the living stuff on the planet. So I don't see how they can accurately predict the climate.

on predicting temperatures

If you look back on climate history it sometimes took anything up to 1,000 years before a change in one of the variables kicked in and had an effect. And during those 1,000 years the temperature could have gone in the other direction to what you thought it should have done. What right have the scientists with their models to say that in 2100 the temperature will have risen by 5C?

The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they're scared stiff of the fact that they don't really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show.

We haven't got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn't got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They've employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear.

on scientists

Sometimes their view might be quite right, but it might also be pure propaganda. This is wrong. They should ask the scientists, but the problem is scientists won't speak. If we had some really good scientists it wouldn't be a problem, but we've got so many dumbos who just can't say anything, or who are afraid to say anything. They're not free agents.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

@Leo - More like shear prejudice.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

Nov 16, 2015 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Further to the important points made, one only has to consider the history of mankind.

Man's ancestors have been around for more than 2 million years, and ancient my for hundreds of thousands, but it is only in the Holocene that real development and advances take place, and indeed, from the Holocene Optimum. the change from Bronze age to Iron age, modern agriculture and all advanced civilisations have taken place since the Holocene Optimum.

If one wants to look at the development of western civilisations, it can be seen to be temperature related; Egyptian, Minoan. Greek, Roman, northern European. the only great high northern latitude civilisation was the Vikings, and no coincidence that this happened in the Viking Warm Period (MWP). One will also see the achievement of skills and advancement to the iron age following the same temperature curve.

Now Stonehenge is a wonderous monument and achievement, but it pales beside the Pyramids. In fact, the mere fact that we still do not today understand how the pyramids were build attests to how remarkable these structures are, and they were build to approximately the same precision that we achieve today with our modern skyscrapers. The base of the pyramid (which was carved out of the bedrock using copper chisels) extends over 230 metres and is level to within 2.1 cm ie., 1 in 20,000. In fact the entire pyramid complex extends to over 900m and is built to the same demanding standards.

Now both structures were built at approximately the same time, and it is no coincidence that the Egyptians could achieve what they could achieve (wonderful things, one should look at some of their jewellery) and those living in Southern England could only achieve placing a dozen or so large rocks one on top of another, and without substantial dressing at that. It is all down to the different climate. The Egyptians did not have the daily struggle to survive, the Climate was benign and it was a time of plenty. This enabled them to learn significant skills, writing etc and to pass down skill sets from father to son (no offence to women, who were regarded highly in Egyptian society and who could own property and pass this on). However by contrast in Southern England, it was a daily chore simply surviving, getting from one day to the next and so only survival skills were passed on. This is why no complex buildings were built.

Everything we know about life on this planet suggests that warm is good and cold is bad. All large land animals live in warm climates, and those animals that live in the Arctic have to hibernate since they cannot survive living through the winter, and need to put themselves in some form of suspended animation hoping that they will wake up when warmer and more liveable conditions return. The greatest bio-diversity is found in tropical rainforests, and the least on the Antarctic plains. Cold blooded animals have to bask in the sun to warm up before they can move quickly and hunt etc. Go back further in time, when it was warm say in the time of the dinosaurs, and one sees that life could grow to enormous size.

There is absolutely nothing of substance to fear from a warming world. It would be a god send. There may be a need for some countries to take limited action with respect to rising sea level, but that adaption is not complex and, given that sea level rise will be gradual and slow, much of it can simply be achieved by allowing cities to build away from the river estuaries on which they are currently build, and to not renew buildings which are too close to the 'shore' line, when those buildings fall into disrepair. Unlike the pyramids, our skyscrapers of today will not be standing in 5000 years, and most buildings have a life expectancy of little more than 100 years (and if not architecturally important, even less than that).

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

When I talk in detail about the Pyramids, I was talking solely about the Great Pyramid build for Khufu in about 2580 - 2560 BC, and when I talk about the Pyramid Complex, I am referring to that particular pyramid (and its own specific complex of which mainly only foundations now exist and not the temples that they supported), and I am not referring more generally to all 3 pyramids on the Giza Plateau which extent over a far larger area.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

One thing I find interesting is that while the government frequently attributes poor economic growth numbers to unusally cold weather, I can't recall anyone ever blaming unusually hot weather for bad economic numbers.

Nov 16, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois


you say " I also believe that it's been pointed out to you that consistent with wrong, is still wrong"

Just like Somerset floods and other "extreme" weather events being consistent with anthropogenic global warming ( aka Climate Change).

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

r v, indeed, from the year dot until some time in the 1980s, warmer climate was regarded as good and colder as bad.

Key people in the history of climate science have said this, including Arrhenius, Callendar and Manley.

There is a textbook called "Atmosphere, Weather and Climate", in which the 1970 edition says
"Unfortunately the latest evidence suggests that the warm period of the 1920s and '30s has come to an end."

That sentence was expunged from later versions.

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:14 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Paul Matthews, it does seem that only those that believe in climate science alarmism, foresee any problems. As climate scientists have failed to forecast anything correctly, why should anyone place any trust in anything emerging from Stern and his collaborators from within the Lonodon School of Economics? People have always made money from the false fears, political fabrications, and artificial markets created by manmade cults.

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Richard Tol:
Re. malaria
"For example, it is generally reckoned that malaria incidence would be 10% lower if climate were as it was 150 years ago (and everything else is as it is now)."

But of course everything doesn't stay as it is now. Yes, incidence of malaria is positively correlated with rising temperatures, but it is much more strongly correlated (negatively) with income.

Which only goes to reinforce your point: economic growth is a much better way of eradicating malaria than regulating the climate by building windmills.

Nov 16, 2015 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Savage

@Chris: Agreed.

Nov 16, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

@Richard Tol on climate affecting malaria rates "generally reckoned that malaria incidence would be 10% lower "
Can you give me a source for that ?

Malaria 584 000pa deaths (estimated..down 60% since 2000)
- 90% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa. ..80% are in under 5s

AIDS about 1.5 million pa
(AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 35% since the peak in 2005)

a paper I find is Climate change and the global malaria recession Nature 2010
vs this The Malaria Myths of Climate Change. "The third myth is that climate change is already causing an increase of malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Nov 16, 2015 at 4:06 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

So a downside that we are experiencing NOW is that malaria might be even lower if we weren't putting money into ineffective climate programs
..cos that money might be improving the actual economy in malaria areas ? instead of flowing into Sicilian businessmen's pockets

Nov 16, 2015 at 4:12 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Good grief!

To my mind, the only question that deserves an answer in this (the first of Harrabin's much anticipated series of three hops, skips & pre-programmed jumps) is: How many little angels can dance on the head of a Harrabin Pin™?!

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Nov 16, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

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