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« Oz Met Office hacked | Main | The BBC's week of lies »
Wednesday
Dec022015

Integrity and the climate scientist

Here's an excerpt from Matt Ridley's article in the Times a few days ago.

How unusual is today’s temperature? As I did this weekend, you have no doubt had conversations along the following lines recently: “Hasn’t it been mild? End of November and we’ve hardly had a frost yet!” All true. But then be honest: can you not recall such conversations throughout your life? I can. And here’s what the Met Office had to say about November 1938, long before I was born: “The weather of the month was distinguished by exceptional mildness: at numerous places it was the mildest November on record.” In 1953, November was even milder and there was no air frost recorded in Oxford in the last four months of the year at all.

I am not saying it has not generally become warmer, but that the variation dwarfs the trend. Let’s go back a little further, to the Middle Ages. It used to be argued by some that the “Medieval Warm Period” of about a thousand years ago, when mountain glaciers retreated, vines grew further north and Iceland was widely cultivated, was confined to Europe. We now know from multiple sources of evidence that it was global. Tree lines were higher than today in many mountain ranges, for example. Both North Pacific and Antarctic Ocean water temperatures were 0.65C warmer than today.

And here is a letter from Professor Joanna Haigh in response:

Sir, A quarter of a century after Margaret Thatcher first warned of the perils of climate change, it is disheartening to find columnists in the UK media still confusing weather with climate and anecdote with evidence...

Personal conversations about British November weather cannot be a substitute for global observations of climate change — not only increasing temperatures but ice melt, the migration of wildlife, the acidification of the ocean, and so on. These observations confirm that man-made climate change presents real and increasing risks for the future.

The green establishment is not exactly covering themselves in glory on the integrity front at the moment are they?

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Reader Comments (52)

Rather than deny that there was a Medieval Warm Period, Professor Joanna Haigh ignores it.

No points.

Dec 2, 2015 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

What can you say when the UKMO argues with their own data. Total screw-up.

Dec 2, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Oh, & that rather forgotten about inconvenient letter from Sir Joseph Banks, (PoRS) to the Lords of the Admiralty, written in 1817, regarding the unusual warmth that has much abated the severe cold in the Arctic Circle! Ho hum!

Dec 2, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Professor Phil Jones (UEA) in conversation with the BBC confectionery expert Roger Haribo

The BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin put questions to Professor Jones, including several gathered from climate sceptics. The questions were put to Professor Jones with the co-operation of UEA's press office.

Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

C - Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.

Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?
An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I've assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm

Dec 2, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Anybody can become a professor of climate "science". All you have to have is the ability to be good at lying and misleading people.

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:11 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

From Christopher Booker (2010) concerning Thatcher's book Statecraft (2003) , where she corrected her earlier mistake.

She voiced precisely the fundamental doubts about the warming scare that have since become familiar to us. Pouring scorn on the "doomsters", she questioned the main scientific assumptions used to drive the scare, from the conviction that the chief force shaping world climate is CO2, rather than natural factors such as solar activity, to exaggerated claims about rising sea levels.
She mocked Al Gore and the futility of "costly and economically damaging" schemes to reduce CO2 emissions.
She cited the 2.5C rise in temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period as having had almost entirely beneficial effects. She pointed out that the dangers of a world getting colder are far worse than those of a CO2-enriched world growing warmer.
She recognised how distortions of the science had been used to mask an anti-capitalist, Left-wing political agenda which posed a serious threat to the progress and prosperity of mankind.

In other words, long before it became fashionable, Lady Thatcher was converted to the view of those who, on both scientific and political grounds, are profoundly sceptical of the climate change ideology.
Alas, what she set in train earlier continues to exercise its baleful influence to this day. But the fact that she became one of the first and most prominent of "climate sceptics" has been almost entirely buried from view.

====================================================
So to use Thatcher as some kind of argument 'clincher' is rather misguided and foolish. Haigh needs to read the whole story and not just cherrypick.

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

Thatcher set up the entire edifice of the modern climate industry. The fact that she said something else when she was a powerless, humiliated and scorned nobody is irrelevant.


She also said she didn't believe in monetarism, but she ravaged the economy of this country with it nevertheless.


Thatcher Denies Having Ever Subscribed to Monetarism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuCt_ZdG18U

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I think the reason they spend so much time trying to vilify Matt Ridley when he gets media coverage is that, like Bjorn Lomborg, he comes across as a pleasant, mild mannered, considered, and quite likeable person when making his points.

That frightens them.

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Amazing how they continue to effectively lie over 'ocean acidification'. It's not a serious issue and they know it.

BBC's Matt McGrath has a short scary video where he and a helpful prof' demonstrate 'acidification' with chalk and vinegar! Only at the end does the prof correct McGrath's scaremongering to acknowledge that the ocean is 'more alkaline than tap water'. (Or to put it another way...tap water is more acidic than the ocean!')

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34966672

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

esmiff

I don't care. She realised the whole shebang was being hijacked for devious reasons and lies were being told for political purposes.

Prof. Judith Curry parted company with the IPCC when she realised she was being pushed into an unscientific direction by being asked to declare climate certainty when none is possible - people are allowed to change their minds no matter who they are.

Your personal feelings about Thatcher are irrelevant. Haigh chose to use MT for her own purposes but witheld some of the facts (why am I not surprised).

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

jazznickn - Her personal thoughts in retirement are entirely irrelevant. This is what she actually did.


"History of the Met Office Hadley Centre

The Met Office Hadley Centre was opened in 1990, by the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, when the Met Office was at its previous headquarters in Bracknell.

Prior to the opening of the dedicated centre different areas of the Met Office had been undertaking climatology research. By the late 1980s the Synoptic Climatology Branch was working closely with the Climatic Research Unit to produce an integrated global land surface air and sea surface temperature data set. This was the primary data set used to assess observed global warming by the IPCC in 1990.

Three events occurred in 1988 that assisted greatly in bringing the issue of man-made climate change to the notice of politicians:

A World Ministerial Conference on Climate Change in June hosted by the government of Canada.
A speech in September by Margaret Thatcher where she mentioned the science of anthropogenic climate change and the importance of action to combat climate change.


The first meeting of the IPCC in Geneva in November 1988. Delegates from many countries agreed to set up an international assessment of the science of climate change, together with its likely impacts and the policy options.
In December 1988 the UK Government announced it was committed to extending its influence internationally to provide information about climate change and to supporting appropriate research. Discussions were held with the Department of the Environment to strengthen climate research at the Met Office. This led, in November 1989, to an announcement of a new centre for climate change research in the Met Office — then called the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research


http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/science/hadleycentre/

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered Commenter michael hart

Michael - I think you are right - the goading of Matt was quite disgusting. I'm sure if Al Gore was sat in front of Robinson
the "what do you know you're not a scientist" slur would not have been used. The old Coalmine Owner chestnut came out too but I'm also sure that Al would not have been smeared as a vested-interest Climate Credit trader either.

There would have been one open question followed by an eco-rant - unchallenged.

Dec 2, 2015 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

The reason Lomberg and Ridley are highlighted is that they both have extreme views that around 99% of BBC viewers would disagree with.

In other words, they are straw men.

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

The reason Lomberg and Ridley are highlighted is that they both have extreme views that around 99% of BBC journalists would disagree with.

Fixed it for you

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterstarfish

esmiff

You can cut'n'paste as much as you wish - Haigh was still wrong to suggest that MT was a liflelong Climate Alarmist by only telling part of the story when the must know it all.

Either tell the whole story or none of it.

Yes, MT was naive to expect the IPCC not to become corrupt - especially when the project was set up to find the human-influence on climate ONLY and not the WHOLE climate to include natural forces and cycles as well as human.
The UN needed a reason to proceed on Strong's wealth transfer/control plans and the climate 'angle' was ideal.

The corrupt members of the scientific community spontaneously developed tunnel-vision - amazingly they could ONLY find AGW and it was always worse than they thought - so more money was paid and more AGW was found - isn't that surprising ?

Anyone who could possibly spoil that narrative is shut out - all I'm suggesting is that the tunnel vision continues, no negative comment or thought is allowed, even if these thoughts were realised in retirement.

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

Haigh was still wrong to suggest that MT was a liflelong Climate Alarmist "

I do get your point but she didn't actually say that.


My reason for highlighting Thatcher is to purely play down the idea that AGW is an idea created by crazy eco hippies. Your point is obviously valid wrt to Thatcher's personal viewpoint.

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

The old Coalmine Owner chestnut ...

Gore used to have a mine on his property, too.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB96224176442047890

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

It is hilarious for an alarmist to decry the use of anecdote to disprove climate change when they use it to prove climate change on a daily basis. She also missed the obvious point Matt was making which is that anecdotes are not reliable guides--she got it precisely backwards.

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

Haigh is the co-director of the Imperial College Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment so seems to be a publicist for carbon trader Jeremy Grantham.

On a personal note, having studies at her Institution under real Nobel Prize Winners, not trotskyites advanced because of their political leanings, I am ashamed that it has fallen so low.

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

esmiff

This is what Haigh said -

"A quarter of a century after Margaret Thatcher first warned of the perils of climate change........................."

Half the story.

She was used as a budding Climate Alarmist without the declaration of her later error realization - so by reading Haigh only you would conclude that MT was a lifelong climate alarmist - point stands.

I agree that Hippies are't the only climate nutters. There are a lot of vary smart people in sharp suits who are playing this for all they can make. They don't give a monkey's about the climate but want to be fashionable, liked, rewarded and feel that they alone can 'Save-the-WORLD' - 'hold heroic pose - pause for photo op'. ps love me love my book, film, show, vote for meeeee because I'm all nice.

Others, even more smart, let the eco-nutters, sharp suits, show-biz poseurs, lefty politicians, politico-scientists and other rent-seekers carry out their endgame as planned, like grand masters playing chess.

Those being 'used' don't realise it - or don't care - yet.

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

graphicconception

Al Gore, like his father before him is/was owned and operated by Occidental Petroleum, an oil industry stooge like almost everyone else in AGW politics. Thatcher was an oil executive's wife. Pachauri was a director of the Indian Oil Corporation.

"This dispute is threatening Al Gore's reputation as an environmentalist. He has close ties and a large financial stake in Occidental Petroleum, despite its poor environmental image. His father, Al Gore senior, was on Occidental's board for three decades. As vice president of the United States, his son helped the company win drilling concessions. The one company that has helped make him financially whole and has helped him politically is Occidental Petroleum. Charles Lewis, Center for Public Integrity

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/677105.stm

Dec 2, 2015 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

"global observations of climate change — not only increasing temperatures but ice melt, the migration of wildlife, the acidification of the ocean, and so on."

Should have gone to SpecSavers.

Look no further than her Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna_Haigh
Joanna Dorothy Haigh CBE FRS FRMetS (born May 7, 1954) is a British physicist, professor of atmospheric physics at Imperial College London, and co-director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment.[5] She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society,[6] a former head of the Department of Physics at Imperial College London,[7] and a former president—now a vice-president—of the Royal Meteorological Society.[4][2]


and her Grantham page: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/j.haigh

Her response to Matt Ridley says: "Personal conversations about British November weather cannot be a substitute for global observations of climate change" Well, she would know, as she was "Weather, Editor, 1984 - 1987, Weather, Member of Editorial Board, 1982 - 1984"

I wonder what they used to talk about?

Dec 2, 2015 at 2:14 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

I trust she remembers that weather is not climate when there is a perfectly normal drought or flood somewhere in the world and countless morons (many of them her close colleagues) spout off about it being a result of climate-change. Alas while we expect little but pessimism from activists and most journalists, that climate researchers ritually disinform is a truly depressing indictment of our education system. If warming were ever actually to happen in the UK, manmade or otherwise, then all of history tells us it would be bloody good for us!

As for anecdotes.
http://eciu.net/press-releases/2014/climate-change-risks-and-opportunities-for-the-uk
“In 2013 on my farm we had the wettest winter in living memory, the strongest winds since 1987, the highest tides since 1953. When you see all that come together in a short window you realise that maybe something is going on.”
by Guy Smith, Vice-President of the National Farmers Union at an event co-chaired by Joanna
Haigh. Of course she didn't tell him off because pessimism is 100% acceptable and optimism is not.

And was it her who also said this bunch of half-truths and lies at that conference; "Sea levels have risen by about 20cm in the last century, Arctic summer sea ice is down to two-thirds of levels in 1950s, and extreme weather events are increasing, with more heatwaves, especially in Europe, and evidence of more intense rainstorms"?

The reality:
Sea level has been rising normally since the last ice age and nothing special is happening now. Arctic sea ice and temperature is the same as in the 1930s and now in recovery while the Antarctic is cooling contrary to expectations. Extreme weather events are not increasing anywhere over the longer term as even the biased IPCC had to recognise. There are actually more unusual cold weather events than heat waves in Europe and no unusual heatwave activity anywhere else. You should deal with your own sides lies first Joanna - for the sake of science if not for humanity!

Dec 2, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

That's not the entire letter. On the Times website I can see it continues. I dare say Grantham institute might publish the full version on their pages.

Dec 2, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Here in Scotland there were several frost events in October this year, even down to sea level here on the Solway.
The clue was the white stuff on my car windscreen.
It has on average been warmer this November, but not enough to render the central heating unnecessary.
For the many in fuel poverty in this country this winter her belief that man-made climate change presents real and increasing risks for the future presents real and increasing misery and possible death in the immediate short term.
What a despicable human being she is.

Dec 2, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterroger

Mrs. T is brought up by alarmists in the same way as Winston Churchill is brought up by Europhiles - a debate tactic in a PR war. It is interesting to note that many who railed against there being no alternative in the early 1980s are now screaming TINA in Paris atm...

Dec 2, 2015 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterManniac

For the life of me, I will never understand the unconscionable puerility, coupled with vicious streak of hypocrisy as brainless as it is born of ideological pathology which drives the lefts' demonization of a simple lass from Grantham.

Granted, Margaret Thatcher was not and wasn't mine - cup of tea but I had to admire her powers of indefatigably, if not most of her actual policies. She stood astride the times, really - honestly she was never its authoress. For fecks sakes, get over yourselves.

And it was the Labour [previous] administration who had to call in the receivers - ie the IMF - all Howe did was to reap that whirlwind of stagflation, oil price rises, bankruptcies and a winter or four of discontent.

After the miners and then the print unions were put out of action and into their rightful niches, Britain was freed to get on with 'selling the family silver', the biggest blight on Britain was Brussels and the EU, while Europe protected its big industry Britain did not - the argument is - economically speaking............ who gained MOST from that - clue, its capital is on the banks of the Spree. Another thing, lots of idiots blame Britain's ills on the "Big Bang" but it was Clinton's 'reforms' which blew the hole gaping chasm in the western banking system, when the clown ponce of Arkansas repealed the Glass-Steagal Banking ACT in 1999.

The things I can't really forgive her for [not necessarily in chronological order], privatization of the utilities [as, not for profit organizations would have worked better], kick starting the green mania, signing up to the single European act, continuing with Croslands' comprehensive schooling disaster, all of these were a major tragedy for British people, consumers and the nation.

But hate her? Nah, I always thought that, she was alright - very nearly.

Dec 2, 2015 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I would ask the climate scientists one question: How well do we actually know the global temperature today?

Dec 2, 2015 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimB

Athelstan
I'm with you, pretty much.
The further left you go the more Thatcher becomes evil incarnate, something I have never understood.
It was Scargill that chose to take on the government; the major strikes of 73/74 and 82/84 were avowedly political and Arthur miscalculated not only his own people but the government's resolve not to be screwed again as Heath had been 10 years earlier. Couldn't have happened to a nicer chap!
All the evidence suggests that somewhere in the middle of all this the Left lost what little collective common sense it had left. She was certainly a reformer and reformers tend to get things wrong on occasion. The community charge was only a mistake because (a) it was never properly sold to the people, and (b) Whitehall underestimated the ability of local authorities to fatten their coffers and make central government the fall guys. Most of the rest of what her goverment did was net positive for Britain and ought to have been started 20 years earlier when it would have been a lot less painful!
But whatever your views of the woman, she left office 25 years ago with Britain a damn sight better placed than 11 years earlier, something that no Labour government since 1950 has succeeded in doing. For heaven's sake, can we move on, please?

Dec 2, 2015 at 4:55 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

My reason for highlighting Thatcher is to purely play down the idea that AGW is an idea created by crazy eco hippies. Your point is obviously valid wrt to Thatcher's personal viewpoint.

Dec 2, 2015 at 1:32 PM | esmiff
=============================================================================
Club of Rome, I think you'll find.

Dec 2, 2015 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Weather is a perennial subject of English conversations. Now we have this delightful connection to politics.

Dec 2, 2015 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

I realise that this isn't the same article by Ridley, but I think many of the points are valid. You may want to consider these, before pontificating about the integrity of others. Then again, maybe not?

http://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/analysis-of-matt-ridley-benny-peiser-your-complete-guide-to-the-climate-debate/

Dec 2, 2015 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Climate Scientists: Making squiggly line drawings and then pretending you need to be saved from them (since at least 1970).

Andrew

Dec 2, 2015 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Just look at the smirk on this woman's face.Need I say more look at the state of her hair,if she can't be bothered to even brush it how sloppy her work must be.Female answer to piers corbyn looks only.

Dec 2, 2015 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterbazza

It is interesting that the consensus defense reply was actually not relevant to the skeptical points.

Dec 2, 2015 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Mike,

I think the Poll tax debacle, what the Blue rinse brigade furnished originally in Scotland was politically speaking, a calamity for all right thinking, small c conservatism. Aye, Scotland, it was an appalling miscalculation which reaped a bitter harvest [the SNP] and has sadly burned so many bridges. The English poll tax, was also dragooned and was always going to be deemed unfair - whether the idea was sound or not, it gave 'them' [Heseltine and the dead sheep et al] the excuse to rid the party of her services, but really they were thinking down the line to Maastricht and Maggie would NEVER have signed up to that - whereas Major, he was always a good little EUrophiliac.

Dec 2, 2015 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

@jazznick, Dec 2, 2015 at 1:27 PM

esmiff

You can cut'n'paste as much as you wish - Haigh was still wrong to suggest that MT was a liflelong Climate Alarmist by only telling part of the story when the must know it all.

Either tell the whole story or none of it.


There is no point in debating with esmiff. His strategy is:

Ignore questions, cut and paste related/unrelated text
Post, related/unrelated youtube or other links
Try to change the subject
Even when repeatedly asked to answer direct questions refuse to answer

imho he is an MT hating troll who should be ignored.
See:
http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/11/26/bbc-still-handing-free-airtime-to-greens.html


@Athelstan and Mike Jackson

The further left you go the more Thatcher becomes evil incarnate, something I have never understood.

I agree, the nastiness, vindictivness and hypocrosy of the left amazes me.

They assert the right are nasty, money grabbing capitalist scum who hate* the poor and claim the left upholds free speech and is caring and compassionate, but only if your free speech supports their views, if not you are an evil/racist/bigoted/sexist/misogyinist/religionist/zionist/climate-denier/xeno-and-other-phobe/nazi who should be locked up or killed. The left believe Stalin and Mao executing many times more than Hitler was OK/excusable/best-forgotten as is muslims killing Christians/Jews/Yazidis/non-muslims.

*hate: all the hate I witness is from the left.

I intensly dilike(d) Wilson, Foot, Kinock, Blair, Brown, Miliband and Corybyn as real or potential PMs and the real damage they did to the UK, however I am not consumed by malignant hatred and a desire to celebrate with a party their death.

Pcar

Dec 2, 2015 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

Joanna Haigh appears to be a frequent warmist propaganda letter writer, witness her half-page Daily Mail letter 'Truth about the ice caps scares me as a scientist as a mum'.

Dec 3, 2015 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMr GrimNasty

Joanna Haigh is, of course, right.

There is no way 'Personal conversations about British November weather cannot be a substitute for global observations of climate change. because the reminiscences of British weather have not been properly adjusted to improve their 'quality'.

Any climate scientist kno that. (apologies to Molesworth)

Dec 3, 2015 at 12:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Groan. Need to proof read and preview.

There is no way ...

insert

It is obvious ...

Dec 3, 2015 at 12:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

"I realise that this isn't the same article by Ridley, but I think many of the points are valid. You may want to consider these, before pontificating about the integrity of others. Then again, maybe not?"

I considered it as requested. I don't know what the Ridley/Pieser article was about because NONE of the comments made by the academics quoted had any substantive statements, consisting as they did of comments like "cherry picking" (I believe that has claim to being the most used.

As for the "integrity", or otherwise, of Johanna Haigh I have no strong opinions. I'm sure she's genuinely concerned about climate change, I know she works or a carbon trader who will benefit financially from the climate change scare and she is quite prepared to talk authoritatively outside of her own expertise.

"...not only increasing temperatures but ice melt, the migration of wildlife, the acidification of the ocean, and so on."

The temperatures stopped increasing 19 years ago, the Antarctic sea ice is at record levels.

Arctic sea ice is normal.

Greenland is losing ice at the edges, but going ice inland.

The Antarctic has gained an average of 100,000 gt of ice/year of the last 20 years.

IPCC AR5 asserts that the majority of glaciers are in retreat, but that the retreat started at the end of the Little Ice Age.

Wildlife migration occurs all the time for all sorts of reasons.

Ocean "acidification" is (a) a misnomer, the oceans are alkaline, always have been and always will be (well that's a tad optimistic because I don't know what will happen in the future) (b) either she's ignorant, or she's deliberately using language to frighten the non-cognoscenti. First of all there is no consistent Ph number for the entire ocean, it varies from place to place, but assuming that there the oceans can only be in one of three states, acid, neutral or alkaline. If the Oceans are getting less alkaline, Ph 8.1 last time I looked, then they are more like to be getting more neutral on the Ph scale than more acidic. So if you must make incorrect scientific statements why not say the oceans are getting more neutral. But they're not, they may be becoming less alkaline (basic) but they most certainly aren't getting more acidic and won't be able to do so until the Ph level has dropped below 7.

“In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”

Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Scientists are as prone to "fixing their minds upon one object and (to) go mad in its pursuit" as anyone else. Although I have occasionally come across scientists who assume that because they've acquired knowledge in their own field that they have become omniscient and superior to those who haven't.

Dec 3, 2015 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

As @geronimo says, Haigh's letter seems just dirty PR tricks
It starts with a strawman, doesn't actually tackle any of Ridley's points, and made a load of assertions the avg Dramagreen will believe straight off, but aren't necessarily true.
I suspect Mr Ward dictated it.
(I still haven't seen the full letter)

Dec 3, 2015 at 3:23 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit;"


Their focus hereabouts sems to be a touching belief in the power of their own cliches.

And a consilient disbelief in facts- over factoids - in Matt's case that wine is being made not just in Northumberland, but farther still beyond the northernmost llimits of Roman and medieval British viticulture, in Scotland itself.

Cue bafflegab about Grapes in Greenland, and sundry misquotations and elliptical truncations of Chaucer's dad and Hakluyt.

Dec 3, 2015 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

"Cue bafflegab"

I feel the genesis of cliche.

Dec 3, 2015 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

It just struck me that the Bishop has framed one of the great oxymora of our time:

"Integrity and the Climate Scientist" becomes the oxymoron "Climate Science Integrity"

And the photo is a most appropriate illustrative aid to boot.

Dec 3, 2015 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I don't believe Thatcher was evil - just dumb as a post and stubborn as a mule! Whether you believe she did a net good for the country is possibly dependent on whether you were one of the 40% who benefitted or the 60% who suffered.

Net gain for the country: Controlled the unions and gave us low inflation.
Net loss: Mass unemployment, destruction of industrial base, creating private monopolies/cartels from public ones, pissing away the massive gift of North Sea Oil revenues.

Of course voodoo economics was in vogue then with the USA and the UK. Everyone deep-down knew it was dumb but as long as GDP went up they ignored it was all based on ever-increasing debt and that the chickens would come home to roost at some point. And they are yet still ignoring that salient fact despite the crash! The EU only looks worse because they are trying to tackle the debt now rather than kick the can down the road like us.

It's very easy to assume everything good happens because of Tories and everything bad happens because of Labour or vice versa but then that's just a pseudo-religious conviction. Our dogmatic politics eschews both common sense and on-the-ground-facts so the country needs both left and right so that the idiocies based on the dogma of both are tempered.

Thatcher was allowed to be dictatorial and we are indeed suffering what she started - regardless of what the USA did or did not do. No doubt the Labour party (not the Footites or Blairites) would have been as bad in a different way but we might actually have more emphasis on industry, less on banking and we'd have control over the power stations and national grid paid for by taxpayers. We copied the USA instead of Germany and as a consequence we have a big debt just like the USA. Of course the USA is dynamic enough to re-invent itself and benefits from having the worlds reserve currency; the petrodollar. We however, are facing a future without the prop of North Sea oil, with massive debt thanks to illusory growth from banking and spending, no ownership of our own utilities, ridiculously overpriced housing and with a crazy mass belief that somehow we are better at economics than everyone else despite all the contrary evidence. Frankly without shale gas we are toast!

As for haters; from my standpoint I see as many on both sides. but then what you see depends on where you stand.

Dec 3, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

hunter: "Integrity and the Climate Scientist" I don't think we can call that an oxymoron, most of the climate scientists I've come across have integrity, and believe there will be problems caused by warming. In this context, i.e. foretelling the future, they may be more educated in the science, but have no greater skill than the "ordinary Joe" as Feynman put it. Unfortunately there are fools galore who will believe that scientists are "special" and have powers to foretell the future.

Dec 3, 2015 at 11:24 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo

Attp

I notice that every single comment to the climatefeedback article (whose author seems to prefer anonymity) is sympathetic to it - and you accuse Matt Ridley of cherry-picking! I see nowhere for ordinary citizens to append their own thoughts, but I guess that might introduce a bit too much uncertainty.

The Bish, in contrast to every alarmist blog I've seen, allows all manner of contributions, however daft...

Dec 3, 2015 at 7:29 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

>..scientists are "special" and have powers to foretell the future.

Despite their abysmal track record!

Dec 3, 2015 at 7:38 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

@Athelstan, Dec 2, 2015 at 4:03 PM

Another thing, lots of idiots blame Britain's ills on the "Big Bang" but it was Clinton's 'reforms' which blew the hole gaping chasm in the western banking system, when the clown ponce of Arkansas repealed the Glass-Steagal Banking ACT in 1999

Repealing Glass-Steagal Banking ACT was a minor part of the banking crisis. It was triggered by the failure of: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who were mortgage "banks" and Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers who were investment banks with no retail banking operations, conversely, in the UK Northern Rock was a retail bank with no investment banking operations.

The main cause of the crisis/crash was another Clinton reform pushed for by Obama: changes to Community Reinvestment Act. Thus, FHA quotas for affordable housing loans with no down payment money and poor credit scores, normal mortgage standards had to be waived were significantly increased. Since lenders would not do so on their own, the government strong armed banks into such lending by tying it to their getting permission for mergers and expansion. They also pressured Fannie and Freddie who were hardly in a position to say no and saw opportunity to enhance their bottom line at the tax payers risk.

It is not hard to sell a house to a poor person if he needs no down payment and if the initial terms are tailored to what he can afford. Even better, the "owner" can walk away with no obligations for mortgage/debts/negative at any time. What could possibly go wrong - well now we know. Yet Obama - the architect of the crash - is then voted in as POTUS by, by, by sorry I can't think of a polite descriptor.

Dec 3, 2015 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

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