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« The energy case for Brexit | Main | Tribunal Dates »

A retwardian precis

At the Royal Society on Tuesday night there was a meeting about the Paris climate agreement. It was chaired by Lord Stern. During the Q&A session afterwards, Benny Peiser asked a question as follows:

Given that the Paris deal isn't legally binding and given that the Republicans have repeatedly declared that they are not bound by the Obama administration's pledges, what would happen to the Paris deal if a Republican candidate were to win the Presidential elections?

Bob Ward decided to precis this in a tweet: extraordinary statement for a normal human being but not, alas, for our Bob, a point made quite forcefully a few moments later:



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Reader Comments (46)

I think we can all agree about Bob Ward's predilection for terminological inexactitudes.

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:10 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Has Bob Ward made an error in his Twitter address by adding in '-w'? surely it should read @retard or was that already taken by another green loonie?.

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhilhippos

Phillip Bratby (Feb 26, 2016 at 10:10 AM), channeling the spirit of Leonard Sachs... ah, The Good Old Days :-)

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

He has a first degree in geology and an unfinished PhD thesis on palaeopiezometry.

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:25 AM | Registered Commenterperry

So what was the answer to Benny's question on the night?

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Untrue and also inaccurate. Hopes need not be pinned on Trump as Cruz is a warming sceptic. Don't know about Rubio.

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterCB

Has 'doing a BobWard' slipped into the vernacular lexicon yet? 'Egregious, exaggerate, misdirect, misrepresent, deliberate, shameless': doing a BobWard.

Feb 26, 2016 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

I can't work out what the point of Bob Ward is. Anyone help? And who would have a Twitter address so close to @Retard?

Feb 26, 2016 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

It's a silent 'w', they are very common in the English language.

Feb 26, 2016 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Ashton

Did Bob's boss Jeremy specify 'moral and intellectual poverty is a must' when drafting the job description?

Feb 26, 2016 at 12:08 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Has 'doing a BobWard' slipped into the vernacular lexicon yet? 'Egregious, exaggerate, misdirect, misrepresent, deliberate, shameless': doing a BobWard.

Feb 26, 2016 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

Actually, Yes. Quite a few people have pointed out that you should "never go full retward". The longer clip is almost three minutes explanation of Bob Ward.

Feb 26, 2016 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Poor Bob Ward, hoisted by his own retward.

Feb 26, 2016 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

CB @ 10.37 am
Marco Rubio is very much against any policy on climate.
Climate policy is split on party lines. For Americans, a Republican President will stop policy, whilst a Democrat President will have to get any legislation past a Republican-controlled Congress - or bypass it.

Feb 26, 2016 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

'what would happen to the Paris deal?'

Countries will continue to pretend they are doing something.

Feb 26, 2016 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Bob Ward makes an excellent case for Americans to vote Republican, or indeed anyone who is not a global warming alarmist.

Interesting that it was not high on the political agenda in the UK last year, especially when you consider what happened to those that were advancing the Global Warming cash cow.

Phobia of CO2 seems to be highly toxic for UK politicians.

Feb 26, 2016 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Not a question of Trump. No republican candidates support the Paris "agreement". However if Clinton is next president (most likely scenario right now) it depends where the senate goes. This isn't being a great year for republican senators with 24 of them up for re-election; and presidential elections bring out more democratic and undecided voters than off years like 2014. And the republicans don't have any record of accomplishment to run on. If we have a democrat president and a democrat senate we are completely done for.

Feb 26, 2016 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris moffatt

Poor Bob. It's always been difficult to convince someone of something when their job depends on their not believing it, as Upton Sinclair nearly put it.

Feb 26, 2016 at 1:51 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

What Paris Agreement?

Bob must be refering to the recent claptrap out of Paris which will possibly be leagally binding sometime in the future. By that time of course our political leader would have secured himself a highly paid contract somewhere within the EU and the European legal beavers will be burning the midmorning oil rewriting and editing yet another draft copy to satisfy 28 countries many with different leaders and different viewpoints as the old guard will have also buggered off to lucrative jobs sourced through the old boys network.

Oh that Paris Agreement.

Feb 26, 2016 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Marco Rubio has had the highest accolade of all he is listed on Barack Obama's website as a Climate Change Denier.
I don't think praise comes any higher.

Feb 26, 2016 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

UN FCC pretends that anthropogenic CO2 emissions will cause a climate catastrophe.

COP21 pretends it has done something that will curtail anthropogenic CO2 emissions and prevent a climate catastrophe.

QED ( quite easily done!0

Feb 26, 2016 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

He has a first degree in geology and an unfinished PhD thesis on palaeopiezometry
I want to be there when he gets the third degree.

Feb 26, 2016 at 3:53 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Retard is probably one that voted for the debate on banning the next American President from coming to the UK. I would welcome him to come over and perhaps visit the LSE to see how the hospitality would be.....

Feb 26, 2016 at 4:08 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Could the Bishop prevail on UKIP to introduce a bill in the Commons for a transatlantic candidate swap with a real estate sweetener ?

We'll give you Donald Trump, Mexico and Canada in exchange for Boris Johnson & Bermuda.

Feb 26, 2016 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Perhaps some scientists lack an appropriate skill set to explain climate change. Many apparently even fail to grasp that a forcing must be time-integrated to produce temperature change. If CO2 is a forcing on temperature, its effect on temperature must be in accordance with the time-integral of CO2 (or the time-integral of a math function thereof).

CO2 has a very tiny effect on average global temperature (AGT). Ignoring CO2 completely but including the factors that matter results in a 97% match since before 1900. This is in spite of the fact that some agencies have changed the data to corroborate a Global Warming agenda.

The factors that matter are identified and the tiny influence of CO2 is quantified at

Feb 26, 2016 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDan Pangburn

Russell @ 7.46pm
Bermuda is a Crown Dependency, whilst the Canadians and Mexicans might beg to differ about being satellites of the USA. Also, Trump has spent quite a lot of time at his golf courses at Turnberry and Aberdeen. Last year on holiday in South Ayrshire I suggested to my daughter than we pop into the Women's Golf Championships at Turnberry, as there was a good chance that she could be photographed with a future POTUS. She was a bit nonplussed when I explained why her chances were high - she might be the only one in the queue.

Feb 26, 2016 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

We'll settle for Mustique.

Feb 26, 2016 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

After all the (now rather tiresome) jokes about 'retard' etc I still would have liked to know what the answer to Benny's question was. Without that the rest of this thread has become a bit of a yawn.

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Hi Russell
You really need some training on bartering. You try to exchange one thing of value for another. This works if both parties consider that they exchange a lesser value for a greater value. Many in the US view Donald Trump as a negative value, with a greater proportion in the UK have similar opinions. On the other hand BoJo has about the highest positive ratings of any politician in the UK. More importantly in the modern age, Trump is humorless, whereas young Boris you can oscillate between laughing at his jokes, or laughing at is failings.
So a more reasonable bargain would be BoJo for Trump, Hawaii and a billion air miles.

Feb 26, 2016 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

OK, you get Canada, but we have to keep Lord Black

Feb 26, 2016 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell


He has a first degree in geology and an unfinished PhD thesis on palaeopiezometry.

I'm on the sunset side of the pond and not totally sure of equivalent educational levels, but I have a master's degree in geology and can look up palaeopiezometry in a textbook. I also have an unfinished PhD (but only because I never started). Does that mean I'm as qualified in "climate science" as he is?

Feb 26, 2016 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

Kevin Marshall

More importantly in the modern age, Trump is humorless, whereas young Boris you can oscillate between laughing at his jokes, or laughing at is failings.

With respect, I humbly disagree. I know that at times there is a difference between British humour and 'mericun humor, but I look at Trump like a loud f*rt in a quiet church; very distracting, quite embarrassing, but funny as h*ll!

I don't know what is going to happen, but he sure has discombobulated the political establishment.

Feb 26, 2016 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

Phil R, I think you would be ruled out from climate science due to over qualification. You might get in if you can lie convincingly though. Many in climate science have built their entire career around lying, so you can fluff out your qualifications with "Underwater Flower Arranging in Zero Gravity" , "101 Useful Things to do with Carbon Capture Technology" or that perennial favourite "the Most Ridiculous Thing Ever to be Blamed Scientifically on Global Warming, AND get Grant Funding for doing so".

Despite widespread mirth and incredulity in proper scientific circles, the last category is increasingly competitive, as funders get more desperate for any proof of CO2 causing any harm at all.

Feb 27, 2016 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie,

Thanks for the encouragement, but (though I'm far from perfect) it's hard for me to lie convincingly (I'm pretty good at lying unconvincingly). I was hoping that not having a Phd (e.g, Ward, Cook, etc.) would qualify me. As far as carbon capture, that happens every year when I plant my garden. Guess what happens when I have a little fire in my back yard! I recycle CO2.

Feb 27, 2016 at 12:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

"the Most Ridiculous Thing Ever to be Blamed Scientifically on Global Warming, AND get Grant Funding for doing so".

A century ago, temperatures were 1 degree C lower, and there as no sign of golf charlie.

Now they a degree higher, and voila- here he is.

I do hope he'll stay still, so can I get out my skull tongs, and apply for a grant to link his condition to the AGW assisted spread of Zika.

Feb 27, 2016 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell


A century ago, temperatures were 1 degree C lower, and there as no sign of golf charlie. Now they [sic] a degree higher, and voila- here he is.

Wow, just wow. Now I am a convert. Not only were you around a century ago measuring temperatures (they were actually publishing papers back then, where is yours?), but you were already searching for golf Charlie. That’s amazing!

I do hope he'll stay still, so can I get out my skull tongs, and apply for a grant to link his condition to the AGW assisted spread of Zika.

And I don’t need to speak for GC or anyone else here, but your gratuitous ad hom about Zika and Microcephaly is both ugly and disgusting.

Feb 27, 2016 at 2:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

Phil R, if I am associated with making the world a degree warmer, and more habitable, I ought to be proud. I wish I had made some honest money out of it. Civilization is doing very nicely as a result.

vvussell is lamenting he did not make as much money out of scare stories about imagining dire consequences for a single degree of warming, as some of the more creative liars in climate science.

Feb 27, 2016 at 2:18 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Phil, how can you expect us to prove golf charlie is an hominim if he keeps running away from the skull tongs?

Feb 27, 2016 at 7:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

I'll let others draw their own conclusions about Bob and the journey he's on.

"I am disappointed that RC has not been more constructively critical of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Whilst the film may be “broadly accurate”, in the sense that it acknowledges climate change is being driven by greenhouse gas emissions, it clearly has exaggerated the immediacy and magnitude of impacts. Here are two examples. When the film discusses the melting of the ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica, it shows an aerial photograph of Manhattan showing it being gradually inundated. Whilst Gore does not mention timescales, the sequence clearly gives an impression of sudden flooding, rather than encroachment over centuries and millenia. Indeed Gore even says “They can measure this precisely, just as the scientists could predict precisely how much water would breach the levy in New Orleans”. You can try to argue that the statements are not explicitly inaccurate, but they are clearly, and probably deliberately, misleading. The second example is the sequence on infectious diseases. The accompanying slides refer to SARS, antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis and avian influenza. If there is a link between climate change and the spread of these diseases, it is not very direct and there are other factors that are far more important. It gives a misleading impression of what is driving the spread of these diseases.

There are other examples. The images showing Katrina are clearly designed to make the audience believe there is a connection to climate change, even though this cannot be proved. It is a tactic that has been used to great effect in the United States, such that the majority of the public now appear to believe that the two are connected.

The scientific evidence on climate change is clear enough without the need for exaggeration. ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ misleads about several aspects of the science, and RC should be willing to acknowledge these rather than defending them as ‘technically not wrong’.

And before anybody tries to cast doubt on my motives, I am definitely not in the ‘denial camp’ (see ). Bob Ward"

Feb 27, 2016 at 9:22 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo

@ CheshireRed

Has 'doing a BobWard' slipped into the vernacular lexicon yet? 'Egregious, exaggerate, misdirect, misrepresent, deliberate, shameless': doing a BobWard.

Feb 26, 2016 at 11:18 AM | CheshireRed

Good suggestion - especially as 'doing a William Connolly' was pretty much the same idea/notion - but such is the fickle nature of "fame" that no body really remembers dear old WC anymore. The same fate awaits Bob Ward - so yes - lets give him his 15 min ;0) -

Feb 27, 2016 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDougUK

I heard that Bob Ward works in an air-conditioned office in London. How green is that?

Feb 27, 2016 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder


I'm quite happy with Ward's Twitter handle - i.e. ret_ward.

If you haven't come across the word 'ret', it's a process used to release the fibres from hemp (for canvas and ropes) and flax (for linen), whereby bundles of the crop were traditionally sunk in a river to rot for a while.

One outcome was that the biological oxygen demand of the decay process caused immense damage to the ecosystem of the river and also made a horrific stench.

This process has been banned in many places, but continues in some parts of the world - note to those who think hemp products are automatically hugely eco-friendly - don't. If they're fine enough to be worn against the skin, chances are they've stuffed up a river somewhere.

Greens wreck the planet once more.

Feb 27, 2016 at 10:18 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

There is a section of the Clean Air Act which would allow any US President to pretty much enforce Paris, Section 115. CU in November. The legal analysis (EINAL) quoted in RR goes

The success of the recent climate negotiations in Paris provides a strong basis for invoking a powerful tool available to help achieve the country’s climate change goals: Section 115 of the Clean Air Act, titled “International Air Pollution.” This provision authorizes EPA to require states to address emissions that contribute to air pollution endangering public health or welfare in other countries, if the other countries provide the U.S. with reciprocal protections. The language of Section 115 does not limit the agency to regulating a particular source-type, or a given industrial or economic sector. Rather, it grants EPA and the states broad latitude to address international air pollution comprehensively through the Clean Air Act’s State Implementation Plan process, increasing administrative efficiency and reducing burdens on regulated companies. EPA and the states could use the provision to establish an economy-wide, market-based approach for reducing GHG emissions. Such a program could provide one of the most effective and efficient means to address climate change pollution in the United States.

Feb 28, 2016 at 1:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

In the olden days, you could finish a PhD at your own pace. Not any more. By the time Mr Robert ET Ward BSc started working on his doctorate, you had to complete within a set number of years. If not, your PhD would qualify as "failed" rather than "unfinished".

Feb 28, 2016 at 7:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

@Richard Tol: So, Ward would be a PhaileD.

Feb 28, 2016 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Eli Rabett, so the Green Blob in the US have successfully circumvented Democracy. What a proud achievement. Why waste money on elections?

The UK does not get to vote on EU Legislation either, and people wonder why the EU is not trusted. This is the type of example that should be brought into the UK's EU in/out debate.

Feb 28, 2016 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Similarly, John Cook submitted his PhD in June 2014

He must have missed the deadline for a major revision

Feb 29, 2016 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

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