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Climate Change by Numbers

I almost gave up on Climate Change by Numbers last night. By ten o'clock I was flagging fast and not really getting a lot from it which is a pity because it could have been brilliant.

The presentation was really well done. I thought the decision to have three different presenters paid off in spades and the producers did well to come up with three such engaging people - Norman Fenton, Hannah Fry and David Spiegelhalter - to front the show. I liked the style of having them completely separate and avoiding the cheesy infills that TV people seem to like so much. The decision to get just a little bit closer to the maths was a good one and the radical step of showing equations on screen seemed like a bit of a breakthrough.

But at the end of the day it was not the programme I'd hoped for and not the programme that the climate debate needs. There are two types of people who are interested in science - those who get excited by what science can do and those who get excited by what it is merely trying to do. Climate Change by Numbers seemed to me to be firmly in the first camp, with many familiar lines from the mainstream case for climate alarm set out in an accessible fashion alongside unusually technical explications of techniques such as kriging and homegenisation. For those of us who are interested in unanswered questions and scientific controversies there was nothing. This was, at the end of the day, a recitation of the global warming catechism with added geekiness.

Only occasionally did we get hints that there might be some interesting questions to examine. For example, just as almost every other climate programme has done, the presenters invited us to be impressed by the match between greenhouse-fuelled climate models and observations. But, and also just like every climate show before them, the presenters skipped past the tuning and the fudging and the impact of the pause. Norman Fenton's allusion to the extreme complexity of GCMs did suggest that there might be something interesting going on but there, unfortunately, the show moved swiftly on. Fenton's blog post on the show hints that he too found this frustrating, listing a whole series of interesting areas that he would liked to have examined and on which I think his statistician's brain could have shed a great deal of light. I guess none of us are fully in control of our own destiny.

In similar fashion, we were invited to be impressed by Hansen's Pinatubo predictions, a case that I have always seen as rather deceptive since it relates largely to the base greenhouse effect (which almost everyone agrees on) and not the long-term feedbacks (which they don't). This could have sparked an interesting exploration of the areas that climate scientists are just beginning to scratch the surface of, but this too was an opportunity spurned.

Clearly this was not a programme directed at me. But I'm not sure who the producers were directing it at either. I don't think it really cuts the mustard as a propaganda piece. Recitation of all these familiar arguments is not going to persuade anyone. And to misquote JS Mill, you really need to have a public clash of ideas to demonstrate the validity of your case and persuade people. Perhaps it was just a geek piece; something that climatologists can coo over and say "isn't the stuff we do cool". If so that's all well and good, but I hope my climatologist friends can understand that this is not for me: I'm from the "what we don't know" school of science.

And no matter how nice the presenters and how whizzy the graphics, I'm going to find the recitation of the climate litany rather dull. Even if they show me some equations.

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Reader Comments (262)

I wonder if the data and spread sheet used in that football attribution model will be made public anywhere. I would be very interested in taking a deeper look at exactly how that devastating piece of pro-CAGW nonsense was put together. That was the only part of the program I happened to see, and it was enough to tell me that they weren't even trying to deal with the issues fairly. To go from finding a correlation in 7-8 seasons' data and then declaring "increasing the wage bill will (95% likely) score you more points"? Garbage. Though also, of course, a fairly accurate reflection of how climate attribution science is done.

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Long

Take the answer you first thought of. Add a few dollops of distortion and misinformation, mix in some dodgy and largely irrelevant pseudo maths, a few scrapings of unicorn horn, sprinkle with fairy dust and stir well. Lo! 0.85 degrees centigrade since 1830 - who'd have thunk it!

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

I didn't watch the show because experience of BBC climate reporting suggests that the Corporation is incapable of being impartial and cannot resist introducing the alarmist messages at some stage.

I anticipated a sort of statistical make-over aimed at attaching independent credibility to IPCC beliefs, akin to putting lipstick on a pig. I felt unable to stomach yet another BBC production with the promise of enlightenment that would end up reinforcing the same dreary messages with never a serious questioning of the obvious flaws, uncertainty and deviation from reality so prevalent in climate science.

At a time when witch hunts, data manipulation and flawed climate models dominate the pseudoscience one would think that there is much to report by an independent broadcaster so besotted with the subject. Hell will freeze over before the BBC reports on the reality.

Clearly, I cannot comment on the programme itself, but by now the BBC has a well established track record upon which I base my viewing decisions. I suspect that my instincts in this case were justified.

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Just after the 0.85 stuff I fell asleep over my cider can, to wake up looking at the Thames Barrier again.

Don't think it informed after the 0.85 and likely caused crushing of many drinks cans....if anything. Sad that, because mathematicians I knew (way back then) were very serious folk. Logic and solid facts, never arty farty stuff!

Is this website getting slugged en route anywhere? Ad Hoc slows/stops?

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

If there is any point made in the show on which someone would like a Parliamentary Question tabled, please let me know. Note that a PQ needs to be very specific, ideally with an answer that is numeric.

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

I didn't like the graphics, as when you have an axis that wobbles all over the place it becomes easy to lose sight of what the data is actually doing. I thought the most suspect part of the show was where it was claimed the hot spot was just where it was predicted to be. I was under the impression that the absence of the hot spot finger print was one of the major flaws in cagw theory. As to who the show was aimed at, I would guess it was the people who have supported cagw for a long time but have recently been having doubts. Someone obviously thinks their hand needed holding so that they stay with the one true faith.

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

"To go from finding a correlation in 7-8 seasons' data and then declaring "increasing the wage bill will (95% likely) score you more points"? Garbage."

Double the wages of every player in the Premier league, and every team will get more points in a season? :)

(Thank you BT & Sky :) )

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

"This was, at the end of the day, a recitation of the global warming catechism with added geekiness."

So, 28-Gate hasn't been rescinded.

28-Gate Hits the MSM

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:41 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

I didn't catch the program. Not sure I will bother now.

Can someone who did see it tell me whether, under all the 0.85 degrees since 1880 nonsense, did the program make it explicitly clear to viewers that only since 1940-50 was there sufficient increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations to theoretically shift the temperature materially?

This is one of the most diabolical pieces of misdirection foisted on less informed viewers, in which it does two things.

- It exaggerates the amount of warming that could possibly be CO2 forced.
- It allows them to dodge completely the fundamental question of how temperatures increased between 1880 and 1930 by the same amount as they increased from 1950 to 1998

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Renouf seems to believe that climate science can only continue to exist, by ignoring all its flaws.

At least Renouf was right about something.

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Only watched just over half of it as I was out enjoying myself singing! It didn't dissappoint, or rather it did, I expected as much in the presentation. I also didn't like the graphics for similar reasons. The bit about the Thames Barrier though was ok. It was designed & built to accommodate a set of specific metoerlogical conditions, an unusually high tide brought about but unusually low pressure in the North Sea moving southward. Similar conditions brought about the severe flooding of 1947, I used to work for the then Thames Water Authority. The issue of flooding is that much flood alleviation works that were scheduled from the 60s & 70s, didn't get built after privatisation (that political decision is not the issue here, per se.) The responsibility for flood defences was left to the EA, which had very little money to carry on with the much needed works!

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Renouf seems to have a lot of faith, in the overwhelming evidence, that was selected.

So did Chris Huhne.

Mar 3, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

I am really intrigued by naysayers. I used to be one. I went on for years banging on about how it is all hype and "not real". I then decided to go and look for myself. There is masses of information in today's technological age, its amazing what you can find out. That sounds facetious but I genuinely find the subject of Climate change fascinating.

Before I continue I am not saying "This is fact" as only time will tell, but think of this...

What is the worst that can happen by believing it? Put to one side the facts or non facts, what is the very worst that can happen if we believe there is a climate change issue and a run away greenhouse effect might make this planet uninhabitable by humans? The very worst that can happen by believing it is we stop something that might or might not happen. We mitigate the risk. Now, what if we choose to ignore this climate change? What then? What is the worst that can happen? What if it is true? Well, we end up with a planet that is uninhabitable by humans...

Now, I have shown zero figures or facts there but I know exactly what side of the fence I am sitting on. I would guess you'd be the same unless you really think a new Venus is required in the solar system and humans are so outdated anyway.

So what to do about it? Care? Care less? Personally I chose initially to care a little more then I chose education. Why are they spouting this? What is the point? So what if we raise the temperature of the globe a few degrees? I then embarked on an OU course and, I find now, every day my eyes are opened to more and more questions regarding Climate Change, it's effects on the human race, on the planet. Its actually a fantastic subject and its taught me to look at the planet I live on with fresh eyes. I feel part of it rather than existing on it (very deep I know). However, I am one person. What if the minority are right and we have a catastrophe on our hands? How to make people listen and explore the subject? This is why naysayers intrigue me. I really want to understand why, given the scenario above, they chose to belittle the subject and choose potential extinction rather than just entertaining the idea of Climate change and mitigating the risk.

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaimon Walker

I haven't seen it, but I'm gonna comment anyway.

Oh wait, my name is not Ken Rice.

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Daimon Walker,

Which of those 'facts' converted you from a 'naysayer' to a true believer?

Your journey sounds unique to me - I know of nobody with any capability to analyse those 'masses' of data who has decided to go with the flow having previously dismissed the political consensus.

If you've got anything that might be convincing, please let us know. There's a massive downside to impoverishing humanity on the basis of at best vapidly weak and at worst fraudulent 'science' - have you considered this?

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

What is so important about Paris, that requires so much advanced propaganda?

Why can't science and maths be used to explain the flaws, rather than obscure them?

Who decided that public opinion can over rule facts?

Warmists believe that correlation proves causation. Why do their arguments get increasingly desparate, and reliant on probability theory, when proper science has failed?

The football analogy can be further extended, to include the loyalty of fans. At the end of a season, the
League position is everything. Skullduggery on and off the pitch, can be justified by the end result, and ignored.

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Daimon, that's a lovely piece of witnessing! I haven't read or heard anything like it since I last attended an evangelical church.

So far we've invested $1.7 trillion in mitigating climate change. That amount of money could have been spent eliminating poverty worldwide. Can you tell us what it DID achieve? Tell us, please, what was the cost of believing so far?

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:27 AM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

@Daimon Walker

Opportunity cost

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Meredith

Richard Tol is Ken Rice someone who has a highly trained understanding of convenient fizzyhics?

Inconvenient fizzyhics are only due to artificially created CO2, and should be banned.

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Simon Hopkinson on Mar 3, 2015 at 11:27 AM

Thank you! So measured, accurate and true.

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:48 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

It wasn't one fact that converted me and it is still not a foregone conclusion that we will all melt into a pithy mess but I think there is evidence to support the numbers.

I know we need the green house effect to allow us to flourish too (so its not all bad) but too much of a good thing is bad. So science is saying "here, the greenhouse effect exists and this is what it does to sustain life. Without it we are a ball of ice floating in space" so I wonder if that science is accepted (is it accepted?) then why not accept there may be a possibility the numbers tell us that this greenhouse effect can get a little out of control? Did we (humans) put probes on Venus? Did we learn anything? What are Milankovitch cycles? How do they impact the subject? What is the number one greenhouse gas? Do we need it? Can we get rid of it?

I don't know about the financials behind mitigating climate change but I do know that governments pay lip service to it in my opinion. If you were really serious about the subject as a government I would want to see more invested in finding/utilising cleaner energy. Why have Thorium reactors not been invested in in a bigger way?

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaimon Walker

Daimon Walker, let me turn what you wrote back on you. Surveys indicate that roughly 50% believe in CAGW. If those 50% banded together and spent twice as much cutting CO2. Then we'd be saved right? Why would you not do that if it meant saving the planet? Simples.

Mar 3, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

@TinyCO2 - I am not 100% sure what you are suggesting? Do you mean why don't the 50% that believe in Climate change do something to cut their carbon foot print? If that is the question then I would say that large scale industrialisation and deforestation cannot be controlled by the individual. On an individual scale I have forgone a car for the past 11 years (only because I can, I live in a city so life without a car isn't so bad, I am not suggesting everyone gets rid of their car!). I do what I can and I could be better still, however, I am asking why are governments not supporting cleaner energy? I am not pointing at wind turbines here, I mean clean energy that we do not currently invest in or utilise. I mentioned Thorium reactors, there is one example, another is the hydrogen fuel cell - why have governments not invested heavily in things like this? Simply put, this doesn't buy votes. Why spend millions, billions, trillions(?) on R&D in cleaner energy? when a government is only interested in "doing what is right" for their term. There is a shortsightedness (IMO) and I am unsure who is shortsighted...

I know I am putting my head above the parapet but all I have for the subject is fascination. To say it is all bunkum could be foolhardy, it could be foolhardy to believe any of it. Who knows? I would just rather investigate various sources and base my assumptions on facts (facts work both ways) rather than just bury my head in the sand and say "its all rubbish, where's me sun cream?"

Mar 3, 2015 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaimon Walker

What's the worst that can happen by believing it? Formerly beautiful wilderness areas of the UK could be industrialised by wind turbines and their power lines. Poor people here could be put into fuel poverty because of 'green' levies. People in poor countries could be kept in poverty, denied our high standard of living. People could be unduly scared by a greatly exaggerated issue. Billions of pounds could be wasted. That's just a few of the things that are happening right now. Nobody here is burying their head in the sand, except perhaps you yourself.

To get back to the programme, there were a lot of impressive-sounding words thrown around - matrix algebra, Kalman filters, Monte Carlo methods, but little real substance, and as Bish says, the real issues were avoided, in favour of fancy graphics and misleading attempted analogies like Apollo and football. There was also much subliminal innuendo, such as images of storms and floods, without any acknowledgement that the IPCC says that any evidence for increases in these is flaky to non-existent.

Mar 3, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

A subtle attempt and Ufa-Film would have been proud of it. On balance, I feel it subtly alienated the bulk audience. Any equation on the screen makes Joe Public channel surf, which only leaves the numerate, who're smart enough to spot the numerical legerdemain.


Mar 3, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

'just bury my head in the sand' ? hmm seems to me that is exactly what you are doing!

Mar 3, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMat

@Simon Hopkinson - if your numbers are anything to go by, the answer is $1.7 trillion. I would also like to know where that money was spent as it was not on making the US a cleaner (in terms of CO2 emissions) country as far as I can tell.

Mar 3, 2015 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaimon Walker

The observations certainly do NOT agree with the theory. The CORRECTED data does because the observed data was ''homogonised'' to fit the theory. It does not make the alarmists correct.

Mar 3, 2015 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

@Mat - I am putting my opinion across. If I were to bury my head in the sand I would be saying nothing.

@Paul - I am totally with you on what you are saying. Earlier I posted that governments pay lip service to this subject and everything you highlighted is what I dislike about the governments apparent efforts to 'fix' the issue.

Like you also say, going back to the program I think it is a hard subject to put across. To be able to appeal to the widest possible audience in a 75 minute show was never going to be easy when tackling this subject. If there was more maths then people would switch off, if there was flashy graphics, people switch off, if there wasn't enough maths people switch off.... and so it goes on.

@John Marshall - I understood that they manipulated the data (or rather built in adjustments) to account for sharp rises in the figures from around the late 30's/early 40's. The readings didn't change the end result, for me it explained away a sharp increase dubiously.

Mar 3, 2015 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaimon Walker


If your electricity supplier overestimates your usage and asks for 400 quid over what it should be, and you have the actual readings you could go back and say no, you've over estimated.

I've done this. It works because I can read my meter and get direct data not extrapolated data.

So when you read about all the wonders of climate science you shouldn't look at the conclusions. You should look at the assumptions and the accuracy of the input data. Because that's what you're supposed to do in science.

In that show last night when they talked about the thread breakages in mills, the statistician could only produce a decent model because he'd painstakingly investigated each mill and produced a suitably accurate data set.

Far too much climate science breaks a fundamental rule if applied maths: don't extrapolate beyond the limits of your function or data.

So before believing in AGW, I'd make sure you checked the methods. When you do you'll probably come to a different conclusion about the "science". Just don't get this realisation near anything delicate or expensive.

Mar 3, 2015 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

While most rare archeological artifacts are irreplaceable, most Physics experiments can be repeated. It might be a waste of time and money, but they can, if necessary, be repeated. It is also fascinating that evidence from old crime cases can be reprocessed, using new techniques like DNA analysis, that were not around when the crime took place, and the results are reliable enough to be used in a conviction.

I put temperature records in the same class as most rare archeological artifacts. Once lost, they cannot be replaced. There is no way that real temperature measurements from the past, as opposed to proxies, can be recreated.

So, why have so many original temperature records been 'lost'?

It is puzzling as so much of Scientific Research is going over the experimental results and squeezing the last drop information from them. And often, it is the surprising results that initiate new research, total unexpected before the experiment started to collect data.

Massaged, 'corrected' data, is altered data. In criminal cases, like murder or fraud, it is the original evidence that is king. In fact, discovering altered or missing evidence is often the first step to finding the culprit. It happens in many TV who-done-its.

I appear to have wondered a little off topic :) Ummmmmm.

But is that why Mathematicians were a safer bet for presenting the programme?

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:08 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

@Micky H Corbett - I think the show had some interesting answers as to why the reasoning behind some of the adjustments came about. WWII being one of the reasons the figures showed a sharp increase in the water temperatures was one piece of reasoning I thought "fair enough but why has the temperature remained high since then?" I'll go back to my earlier point - "What is the worst that can happen by believing it?" if the answer is because it costs a lot to keep throwing money at this then I say why throw money on what they are throwing money at? Its wasteful. My point being the figures show something is happening. It could be these figures are all lies but I doubt it. I don't see that there is a great gain by telling the world there is an issue when there isn't.

My understanding is there is an increase in the Global temperature. This increase may have happened anyway but there has been shown to be an increase attributed to a rise in CO2. CO2 makes up a tiny proportion of the atmosphere. CO2 is a green house gas that we need. We have never had the amount of people on the planet as we have now and CO2 levels are rising (along with other greenhouse gases) due to industrialisation among other things. To ignore it would have potential catastrophic outcomes (note I wrote "potential") but to do something about it, and I mean DO something, not just throw money at meaningless projects wastefully, would mean we mitigate risk and go on living a long happy life.

The program had a near impossible task of getting people onboard in the 75 minutes it had been allocated. I'd like to see a series on the subject. Give it the air time at a time of day people are more likely to be watching, and put it on a channel that is more popular. That would be a cheap start.

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaimon Walker

I guess none of us are fully in control of our own destiny.
Certainly not if Renouf has anything to do with it.
Great disappointment ---- or it would have been if I hadn't already discounted the chance of it being any different. At bottom the idea was good but I think that the presenters, Fenton especially, will be a little disappointed at the way their contribution was treated.
It was a BBC hit piece, marginally better dressed up than usual but still aimed squarely at those (the majority) who don't really understand numbers or statistics or correlation vs causation. So you just need to say things like: there ought to be a hotspot; we found a hotspot; we'll forget to tell you it was only 2mm across - or clubs that spend the most money get the best results, don't they? Well, there you go; global warming's like that. And pass rapidly on while the audience is still trying to work out which thimble has the pea.
It's frustrating because it's dishonest and unnecessary. There is a case to be made for global warming (not a desperately good one, in my view, but a case nonetheless) and a case to be made for looking coolly and objectively at adaptation. There is also a case to be made that the next temperature move will be down and for the need to adapt to that.
Who better to make these cases honestly than the BBC who when they do these things well (think 1970s Horizon) are the best in the business. Programmes like this not only betray what the BBC is supposed to stand for but also the people who pay for it.

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"To be able to appeal to the widest possible audience"


Looks like they targeted you and nailed their target. I'm not sure what you've gained, though. They, on the other hand, have another brick in the wall


Mar 3, 2015 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Three different presenters was a good idea. The background to why certain types of analysis are used was interesting. The way charts were presented was interesting at first but repeating it again and again, wobbly gridlines and all, got dull quickly.

I think it was a little misleading to claim 0.85 C rise since 1880 is the most accurate measure of it. Given the margins of error, adjustments, holes and homogenisations it isn't much of a measurement at all. It is merely the most credible figure the climate science consensus can agree on.

Considering canvas and wood buckets plus the change to engine inlet temps in preference to UHI and station history adjustments was a bit disappointing, though explaining those adjustments would probably take an entire programme on its own.

I'm pretty sure one of the three presenters claimed Arrhenius predicted a 4 C rise if CO2 doubles. I thought Arrhenius revised his figure to 1.5 C.

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

"In similar fashion, we were invited to be impressed by Hansen's Pinatubo predictions, a case that I have always seen as rather deceptive since it relates largely to the base greenhouse effect (which almost everyone agrees on) and not the long-term feedbacks (which they don't). "


Vocanic eruptions may well be something quite different to the so called Greenhouse Effect and warming by back radiation.

Volcanoes spue huge amounts of particulates high in the atmosphere which either reflect, block or absorb incoming solar irradiance. This therefvore acts somewhat akin to a cloud in that this high level particulate matter prevents incoming solar from reaching the ground and thereby preventing incoming solar from warming the ground. Of course, the result of this is some cooling.

The fact that in the immediate aftermath of a volcanic eruption there is a drop in temperatures does not support the back radiation theory of the GHE. It is likely a different process altogether.

In fact there is far less correlation between volcanoes and temperatures than one might expect, and this is why there is so much fudging on the data and claims by the warmists that the impact of volcanic eruption depends not solely on the volume of the particular matter ejected, but also the height of the ejection, the composition of the ejection, the latitude of the volcano, the prevailing season etc etc. Have a look at the list of the largest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century:

We always hear about Pinatubo,

but what about the others such as Novarupta and Mt St Helens?

There were a many large volcano eruptions in the 1930s and yet this is one of the warmest decades on record with a rising temperature trend!

And Pinatubo was not alone in 1991, there was much volcano activity between 1989 and 1994, and one wonders how much of the post 1991 drop in temperatuyres was caused not simply by Pinatubo but by the collective consequence of the volcanic activity between 1989 and 1994.

I would be very wary of alleged model prediction being consistent with Pinatubo thereby establishing that the models have the physics correct.

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

@Bad Andrew - my understanding on this subject was not swayed by the program. I believe it is a subject that has MANY questions to it. A lot of the questions are not answered I merely pointed out that the program had to try and appeal to the widest possible audience. Not sure what you are gaining by calling me out on what I do or don't believe and I am also unsure what wall they are building? To be honest if the only thing you got from all of the information above was "To be able to appeal to the widest possible audience" then this is not going to be a fair discussion.

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaimon Walker

Daimon Walker “I would say that large scale industrialisation and deforestation cannot be controlled by the individual.” But it wouldn’t be individuals it would be 50% of the population.

We have no problem if you guys want to pay for all the renewables and the other green wastes of money. I’ll happily install solar panels and ground source heating if the 50% pay for it. I’ll let you all go vegetarian to balance my meat eating. I’ll let you sit in the dark with just a small tv for entertainment. I’ll let you take a week in Blackpool while I jet off somewhere less wet for a month. I’ll let you don layers and layers of second hand clothes to cope with the cold in your one bedroom flat while I enjoy my nice, toasty multi roomed home. I’ll even wave to you at the bus queue as I drive past.

See, it’s possible for one side of society to put their CO2 where their mouths are… they just don’t want to. So if the convinced won’t do it, why do you expect the unconvinced to do half of it? There are no magic solutions that only turn up if we all believe hard enough.

Incidentally, it’s not climate sceptics who prevent us from having thorium. You need to confront the other side for that one.

(Incidentally I write that having not flown since 2007, having most logical energy saving additions, a car that averages at 50mpg and loads of second hand things in my home).

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

It might help Daimon to calculate the mitigation cost per degree lower temperature in the future.

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I think the problem is that you're trying to have a serious discussion on a site that, mainly, specialises in infantial taunts. If you could bring yourself to criticise Michael Mann a little, mock the IPCC, confuse "almost certainly more than 50%" with "certainly no more than 50%", interpret "all models are wrong" as "all models are completely wrong", and claim that any form of data analysis is fraud and hence completely unacceptable, you may have an easier time here. On the other hand, you might have standards.

Mar 3, 2015 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

@Daimon Walker: What is the worst that can happen by believing it [catastrophic climate change]?

The worst? Well there are a few greens who advocate Pol-Pot-style solutions if they ever attain power.

More realistically? Zero-carbon power is OK when it's sunny and windy, but incredibly expensive if you insist on it 24x7. So everyone in the world would be much poorer, diseases wouldn't get cured, famine would become routine, and desperate people would choose dictatorships again leading to more wars.

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Daimon. So you advocate Nuclear Power development. I suspect that many here do also, maybe even a large majority. A secure power supply is seen as somewhat of an essential amongst the more sensible and as such are also frustrated by the lack of such developments, also in passing, such developments do not have to be linked explicitly to any climate change pressures. However, such enduring solutions have been fought against by various advocacy groups since the time of the great cooling fears. It may be that you are directing your efforts in the wrong direction. Maybe directing them towards the advocacy groups that fight against Nuclear development, largely the same ones who promoted food into fuel before they recanted so maybe some hope of a result there. :)

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

Pot and kettle ATTP

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"I am also unsure what wall they are building?"

It's a wall of bad information designed to mislead a wide as possible audience. I doubt you'll see the people who produced the show answer any of the questions or concerns raised at places like BH. That's a clue for you.


Mar 3, 2015 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

I will acknowledge some irony in my comment, but then I am commenting here :D

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

@ Daimon Walker: When the sums do not add up, one has to take a good hard look at the situation, & revisit the data, one's assumptions, & presumptions. UNIPCC:AR4:2007. Total emissions of CO2 = c754Gt, Human contribution of CO2 = c34Gt, (they are estimates after all). the Human contribution is around 4% of the total, and the CO2 only exists in the atmosphere at a volume 0.04%. 4% of 0.04% is a very small number indeed! Therefore it can arithmetically be shown that 96% of the atmospheric CO2 is from perfectly natural emissions. The so called "Hot-spot" in the lower troposphere above the tropics, (the mutually agreed sign of AGW), doesn't exist, they have been looking for it for over 20 years & they can't find it after all that time. The only place that the "Hotspot", is in puter models. The diagram I did see supposedly showing this looked very much like several modelled outputs published before, it certainly wasn't real-world data! On top of which, the warmist scientists themselves admit there is a "pause" & they can't explain it, other than to gloss over it & claim that their science knew all along that there would be cooling or stagnant periods. The thing is, they didn't predict it in those models either, which suggests they were as surprised as anyone when the pause occurred, & their models have shown pretty much unrelenting warming throughout this century! The last 4 interglacials were as warm or warmer by between 3-5°C, so today's warming is not unprecented, nor unusual!

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit


The irony in your post is clearly unintentional and lost on you.

Yours has been the only infantile post on this thread.

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

ATTP will your faith in Mann be altered by the outcome of a court case, or is your faith in hs work solid?

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Daimon, here's a quote from Bjorn Lomborg which sums up where many sceptics are on this:

"We live in a world where one in six deaths are caused by easily curable infectious diseases; one in eight deaths stem from air pollution, mostly from cooking indoors with dung and twigs; and billions of people live in abject poverty, with no electricity and little food. We ought never to have entertained the notion that the world’s greatest challenge could be to reduce temperature rises in our generation by a fraction of a degree."


Now, please tell me where Lomborg has got this wrong. If you are puzzled by the 'fraction of a degree', google the Andrew Bolt question, or watch the following short video: The 50 to 1 Project. Globally the cost of reducing CO2 emissions to reduce warming by 1C will be about 3.2quadrillion dollars - money well spent? The Climate Change Act is costing the UK £15 billion p.a. , and yet 20,000 old folk die each winter from cold related causes, mainly because they can't afford to put the heating on?

I live in Scotland, and despite last year being apparently being the warmest year evah, we had 3 frosts in August. The ground has been frozen or snow covered for months now, and as I write this is still snowing outside. Our local council is again £1.5 million over budget for road gritting and snow-ploughing. What the f*ck is the problem with 1C of warming? And what evidence is there that CO2 has got anything to do with the recent warming which looks very much like it is just a much needed recovery from the LIA?

Holocene temperatures - GISP2 ice core proxy with 20th Century instrumental data appended.

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:24 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

@Alan the Brit - I don't think many disagree that the warming and cooling of the Planet occurs and is a natural phenomenon. However the rate at which the temperature change has occurred, or rather IS occurring, is a worry. Again, if science gets it wrong then we can count the money "lost" from trying to prove/disprove it. The only way we will know for sure is putting the science and maths to the test. Unfortunately we currently only have one habitable planet so getting it wrong does not mean we can say "oops" and try again.

@ the others that are directing their non-belief of the subject towards me I am happy for you to do that as I think its good we at least have a open debate about it. After all, the "facts" are in some cases questionable. It is a HUGE subject and one we can ignore if we choose (free world). Personally i choose to educate myself on it and no, I don't think I know everything on it. I am open to the debate. What I have read, seen, researched, heard, etc tells me what I need to know.

@TinyCO2 - It's coming across that your problem with "renewables" is the cost implication. I agree with you. I think the governments are wasting money there. I said cleaner and more efficient. For example, I do not agree that wind farms are the answer at all. I was lucky enough to be able to walk (yes walk, no car involved!) Lands End to John O'Groats and one of the things that sadly sticks in my mind is the image of hilltops in Scotland littered with wind turbines. That is not the future. It is wasteful and pays lip service to the subject of green energy. We are a modern world and need energy, we have to have it and I think we should have bucket loads of it. What we also have are governments that have found a nice way to give you just enough. Just enough that you can afford it, and just enough to make it scarce enough to cost something. If you want to focus on energy - you've been played like a fiddle by the governments. If they invested in the right areas, the money they have wasted on "green energy" so far would be delivering cheap energy to your door right now. Why would the government want that? That doesn't make them any money or give them any power.

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaimon Walker

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