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« Hiding your light | Main | A clean bill of health for shale? »
Thursday
Feb042016

Settled science bites

Sceptics have often pointed out that if the science of global warming is "settled" then it's clearly not necessary to spend a fortune researching it. The government down under now seems to have taken this message on, announcing that jobs in the ocean/atmosphere divisions at CSIRO are to be slashed. Their reasoning could have come straight from the pages of this blog:

The cuts were flagged in November, just a week before the Paris climate summit began, with key divisions told to prepare lists of job cuts or to find new ways to raise revenue.

"Climate will be all gone, basically," one senior scientist said before the announcement.
 

In the email sent out to staff on Thursday morning, CSIRO's chief executive Larry Marshall indicated that, since climate change had been established, further work in the area would be a reduced priority. 

It was Lord May who said to Roger Harrabin "I'm the President of the Royal Society and I'm telling you that the science is settled". I wonder if he is reconsidering the wisdom of those remarks.

 

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Reader Comments (71)

Unfortunately, the science isn't settled.
The climate is very complicated. And it's of interest to mankind.
And knowledge of the climate's workings is of practical benefit to the whole world.

That's what these over-confident climatology hucksters have brought us to.
A loss of real scientific research.

It was predicted. And it's sad.

Feb 4, 2016 at 9:28 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

I'm guessing that you're referring to this:

'I remember Lord May leaning over and assuring me: "I am the President of the Royal Society, and I am telling you the debate on climate change is over."'
http://www.bbc.com/news/10178454

At least in that telling, he didn't say that "the science is settled". Still, according to Bishop Hill he said it and google doesn't know the difference. That's how history gets written.

But hey maybe getting the details right "doesn't matter"(TM) after all.

Feb 4, 2016 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJK

- "I am the President of the Royal Society, and I am telling you e debate other climate change is over" seems a stronger statement than the science is settled and a massive appeal to authority - but hey ho.

Feb 4, 2016 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I'm sure that somewhere I have a Government document/statement dating from about 2008 which told me "the science is settled". Billions have subsequently been spent in the UK studying the settled science.

Feb 4, 2016 at 9:45 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Anyone who claims this science is settled hasn't looked at the paper published by Cess in 1976, based on an elementary radiative physics 'mistake', and the paper published by GISS to justify Cess' conclusions. The fake 'negative convection'. used in GISS' paper was admitted by Hansen in year 2000 to an AIP interviewer to have been a 'fudge'.

But May was a population biologist, a spreadsheet junkie, miles away from practical heat transfer physics.

Feb 4, 2016 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

@ JK

It was that great Nobel Prize winner Al Gore who claimed that "the science is settled." I don't recall many climate scientists rushing to contradict him. They were perfectly happy with the impression he was trying to create and many defenders of "the consensus" still are.

The Science is Still Settled
http://www.thescienceisstillsettled.com

I have often wondered why climate scientists should want grants for research in a "settled science." Not many astronomers apply for grants for research into Kepler's laws of planetary motion.

Feb 4, 2016 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

As can be expected, the Aussie climate scientists seem to be now starting to claim that the science is not 'that' settled:
http://joannenova.com.au/2016/02/csiro-wipes-out-climate-division-350-scientists-to-go-since-its-beyond-debate-who-needs-em/

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterPethefin

I believe that in 1997 Sir Robert Watson, then Chief Scientific Adviser at Defra, said:

The science is settled

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:06 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

'The government down under now seems to have taken this message on, announcing that jobs in the ocean/atmosphere divisions at CSIRO are to be slashed.'
A correction needed here. The decision was made by CSIRO management in response to cuts to their overall budget. That budget was brought down in May last year, and the next one will be brought down in May 2016. The CEO has flagged a shift of emphasis to research into adapting and finding solutions to the climate change, the science of which is 'settled'.
There will still be climate research in universities.

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

JK @ 9.38: If we are going to nit-pick over historical accuracy, you need to note the age of the quote and indeed the reliability of memory. Harrabin posted his statement in May 2010. Lord May was President of the RS to 2005. Therefore the comment predated that. The "debate" was over when the Whole World decided, at Rio 1992 to embrace the Global Warming Narrative. The core POLITICAL agreement has barely altered since. However Paris 2015 made a subtle change. By making "mitigation" physically, logistically, economically and, most importantly. politically impossible, the focus changed to "adaption". The action by CSIRO, in abandoning the propaganda production process, has signalled that AGW is becoming politically toxic as the concomitant energy policies wrecks the aussie economy.
The US presidential election is following the same pathway and the UK must follow as the destruction of its energy supply becomes more obvious. In this respect "the science" is no longer relevant or needed.

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterDiogenese2

Diogenese2
Very well put.

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Well I guess those scientists are now free to study petards and the best way to get hoisted by them.

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"As a climate scientist, I am often asked, “Do you believe in global warming?” Climate change, however, is not a matter of personal belief. Instead, among experts, it's just settled science that people are changing the climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, reported in 2001 that, “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
http://legacy.sandiegouniontribune.com/uniontrib/20060712/news_lz1e12somervi.html

The 'we never said it was settled' is just another example of how these scientivists contradict themselves all the time about almost everything: eg.

First they make a big noise about 1998 being a cherry-pick of an el nino year, then the el nino year of 2015/2016 is cherry-picked by them.
State the Antarctic is really warming and shrinking, then about-face and state it's cooling and growing because of global warming.
One day the Satellite is the best data available for sea level rise, next day its the worst for temperatures.
The Arctic is the best place to look for warming of today but the worst place to look for warming of the past (because it's only as warm today as the 1930's).
The Antarctic by contrast is clearly the only place to look for past climate change due to CO2/temperature correlation (just ignore everything else that disagrees, including the Arctic cores) but the worst place to look for modern climate change because its cooling).
State that the pdo and the sun have little effect on present-day climate then later blame them for the pause in warming.
Predict massive warming to come from Chinese fossil fuel use then blame the pause in warming on Chinese fossil fuel use.
State that an drought is caused by global warming then that the following flood in the same year in the same place is also caused by it.
There are dozens more such examples. Basically they will say anything at any time...much of it pulled directly from their rear ends.

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

for those with a bit of BASIC , here is the replacement for the 'CSIRO 350', with an example at the end


Function GetReason(EventToAttribute as string, EventHyperbole as string, YearsLeft as integer)

dim myOutPut as string
myoutput = EventToAttribute & ", has been shown to be caused by GlobalWarming. This is " & EventHyperbole & ". We only have " & YearsLeft & " to save the planet for our children. And their children"

GetReason = myOutPut

end function


Call GetReason("Floods in Australia", "Unprecedented", 15)


Pressrelease = "Floods in Australia, has been shown to be caused by GlobalWarming. This is Unprecedented. We only have 15 years to save the planet for our children. And their children"

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

At one time, now it seems so long ago the science of Meteorology attempting to predict short range weather forecasting and the noble endeavour of making such, as accurate as men were able. Therein, the study of the physics and mechanics of the atmosphere was a disciplined and varied subject subjected to and rightly rigorous application. Computerised statistical weather modelling became a subject within a discipline and no doubting it, is, was a useful tool but models is only models and the weather is yet as incomprehensible as it is with certainty predict - though the basic atmospheric physics and reasons for atmospheric turbations are fairly well understood, we don't know or see the full picture.

Research into long range climate prognostication only burst onto its (meteorology) radar latterly.

I was never sure about the practical applications nor, what use was attempting to fathom the climatic conditions for the distant future if we couldn't understand the processes and quantify the inputs and outputs of chaotic atmosphere and with the Solar and oceanic influence thereof.
Predicting what will happen fifty, a hundred years down the line? Well....... my guess is as good as yours. What I will say with certitude is that, we are in a warming interstitial of an ice age, at some point and we do NOT yet know the trigger - it's going to get very, very, very cold again.
The science of ice is certainly predicted, we just don't know when - nothing is ever settled in science.

Feb 4, 2016 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Perhaps the Aussie govt decided that the quality of predictions coming from CSIRO was no better than those highlighted by the Bish in his Fun with Flannery post.

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

@JmesG: no-one with any sense claims climate does not change and that some was manmade (it stopped 18 years ago). The Enhanced GHE is simply wrong, easily proved by any competent scientist.

Real AGW was Asia increasing aerosols - the same mechanism gives Milankovitch amplification. The water cycle reduces CO2-AGW to near zero. Alchemists must retrain; Imams perhaps?

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

As so often happens, Josh get this just right.

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:16 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

As JoNova says, isn't karma a bitch? The cockles of my heart are going to be warmed quite nicely this coming winter here in Oz by the sight of Karoly and Steffen and the teeming hordes of pseudo scientists being kicked off the climate gravy train. As TinyCO2 said, alternative uses for their petards would be a fruitful line of inquiry.

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:21 AM | Registered CommenterMique

Of course there's always the fear that we'll end up with an immigrant climate scientist problem driven by policy change. I suggest we make sure that they are held offshore in a camp, where they can be repatriated once the current scientist employment crisis is over.

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Am I misremembering but wasn't Lord May the alleged chairman of the BBC Group of 28 meeting? The one that discussed settled climate science and the validity of the Hockey Stick?

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

So if h science is settled and the climate scientists can all go home, do we now need the IPCC?

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper

Scientists gave a “sigh of relief” when the Paris deal was signed off, he says. “At least now we can finally agree there’s an issue and we can do something about it… ”though it’s still a question about how.

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:54 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Great news.

Now let's hope that the ecoloons at DECC/Tyndall Centre etc. get similar treatment to the astrologists at CSIRO.

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Athelstan

Living in Exeter as I do, I have a friend who mingles with many scientists and business people (he owns a taxi firm).

One thing I heard was that there was a rift within the Met Office. Some scientists in one group are not happy with another group. I thought this was just a typical interdepartmental thing but from other people I've heard that it is a Weather people against Climate people.

It may just be down to who gets the biggest chunk of money. Or it may be more fundamental than that.

Feb 4, 2016 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

@ Phillip Bratby: Actually, I seem to recall that message coming from the lips of one David Milliband at a meeting in London around that time, followed by a scientist heckling with the word "Rubbish!" from the audience. accommpanied by other mutterings within the auditorium!

Feb 4, 2016 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Could this defunding be caused by the fact that the researchers can no longer hide the fact that the wrong answer keeps coming up? We are suddenly going to have a large number of scientists who are not tied to the party line by their income being under threat. It could be a bit of a problem for the alarmists if some of these guys start speaking out.

Feb 4, 2016 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Good point Stonyground. No professional scientist accepts the IPCC's Enhanced GHE claim. Furthermore, the Met Office fight is apparently between the scientivists tied to the 'Kirchhoff's Law' method devised by the MO to replace fake 'negative convection', but still wrong science, and those diluting grossly exaggerated CO2-AGW with solar effects to predict weather!

Feb 4, 2016 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Totally off subject :)

I was reading a spy story. In the spy story, the intelligence services had discovered a high profile group of people working against the public interest.

The problem was that if they prosecuted, it would have revealed just how intrusive their surveillance had been and alert other similar groups to the all domineering hand of the state. How then, does one destroy such a group whilst not revealing one's hand. Any ideas?

Back on subject ...

Didn't this decision coincide with the UK's decision to get rid of climate diplomats pull funding on wind and a few other similar moves now too many to remember?

Feb 4, 2016 at 12:49 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

TinyCO2: " I suggest we make sure that they are held offshore in a camp" .

Back in the 1970s we were all told that even setting off a few nuclear weapons would lead to a nuclear winter and the scenario was mass starvation - so not just any winter but a particularly bad series of winters.

Then a few generations later we are being told that there is absolutely no way to stop global warming.
1970: "Climate so sensitive even a few nuclear weapons will cause severe enduring cold
2010: "Climate so insensitive it is impossible to cause cooling" (but warming is very easy).

As such, I've long suggested that all those who are gullible enough to believe CO2 causes warming should be invited to a small desert island a long way from anyone else (with a tower - as they always have towers in the films) - where we could demonstrate our solution to their "problem".

I guarantee global warming will not be seen as a problem after that - and the world will certainly contain fewer gullible people!

Feb 4, 2016 at 12:57 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

"Climate will be all gone, basically," one senior scientist said before the announcement.

I guess that's called climate change. It's worse than they thought.
Plus ça climate change, plus c'est la même chose.

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Australia is in a bit of a bind financially. During the Chinese boom years, they did extraordinarily well supplying resources to fuel the boom. They used extra tax revenue to build capital intensive water desalination plants to deal with the "permanent drought" that ended as plants came on line creating several multi-billion dollar white elephants. The Chinese economy has gotten worse, particular on the infrastructure side which was fed with Australian resources. As a result the Australian budget deficits have recently been revised to 50% higher than they were expected to be only a year ago. CSIRO's cutbacks are probably just a small part of the overall budget cutbacks made necessary by a loss in tax revenue and elimination of their climate science division may be partly the result of poor policy predicated by poor predictions.

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

I think it is hilarious.
Sacked for Lying, but for all the wrong reasons, ie the belief in their own lies.
Perhaps the Warmists will be a bit more careful from now on.

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

"The science is settled". Didn't Ed Miliband say that on camera at a press conference around 2008 Climate Change Act time?

If there was a ban on Government, and local Government spending on climate science research, would anyone notice? Think how much money would be saved, that could be spent on worthwhile causes.

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I wonder who will select those for the chop? Will it be dyed in the wool climatologists leaving or will it be an excuse to clear out the more inconvenient youngsters who are starting to question the established science? The in a couple of years CSIRO will grow again, as bureaucracies do, with only true believers allowed.

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterauralay

Karma-squared

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

Nuclear winter claims were the same mistake as in the climate models: Sagan and Pollock's 1967 aerosol optical physics is wrong, near doubling cloud albedo because they failed to understand the real physics. So it was with the nuclear winter - gross exaggeration. Sagan the shyster has a lot to answer.

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

@ MikeHaseler

...The problem was that if they prosecuted, it would have revealed just how intrusive their surveillance had been and alert other similar groups to the all domineering hand of the state. How then, does one destroy such a group whilst not revealing one's hand. Any ideas?...

You put someone in on the inside with a remit to screw up the process - an agent provocateur.

This is how most internal state intelligence works in practice. Of course, it is in the agent's interest to exaggerate the problem, and then to encourage hotheads to do something silly so that a spectacular set of arrests can be made, and the Service can justify its budget.

Consequently, a lot of the so-called 'threats to our democracy' are actually young stupid teenagers being manipulated by police and intelligence agents into plotting impossible crimes so that a continual climate of fear can be produced..... as you can see by looking at the news...

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

This is excellent news for mankind. These brilliant scientists have, in a few short years, worked out completely how the Earth's incredibly complex and chaotic climate works. Not only that, they have bequeathed us their amazing computer models that predict the future with total accuracy. These fantastic minds will now be re-deployed to other fields. I predict that very soon we will have cures for cancer, aids and the common cold; limitless electricity from nuclear fusion and cheap interstellar travel.
The future is indeed bright.

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

I thought this was just a typical interdepartmental thing but from other people I've heard that it is a Weather people against Climate people.

It may just be down to who gets the biggest chunk of money. Or it may be more fundamental than that.

That is a quite fascinating snippet Mr. Micky H Corbett and thank you for mentioning it. Would that, we could listen in to the debate and those many conversations.

It could very well be all about funding and money but my feeling is, the division is more to do with the frustration of Meteorologists and atmospheric physics ie science, versus politics and alluding to the hearsay of the eco-church and their ideology of statistical prognostication.
I am, albeit faintly, reassured that, within the walls of the Met Office Hadley centre there are some conscientious and right thinking people.
However, one must also reflect on the actualite - these guys are never likely to allow these tensions to surface in open and public debate. As has been highlighted in Australia, where even up here in global warming central (ie the UK) - increasingly these sorts of well paid sinecures will be harder to come by. Indeed, the sitting Chancellor be it Osborne or someone else (anyone.... please) will have to retrench sooner rather than later, as the world enters a period of great political and financial uncertainty.

Feb 4, 2016 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

JUST A MINUTE:: 350!!!!

... could that be a subtle - or indeed not so subtle reference to the notorious 350 organisation (the ones that advocated blowing up children and anyone else that was sceptical)

Feb 4, 2016 at 2:01 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

The science is indeed settled - AGW is bunk. But I'm not sure that's what Lord May meant.

Feb 4, 2016 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNigel

Dodgy Geezer: "Consequently, a lot of the so-called 'threats to our democracy' are actually ... it is in the agent's interest to exaggerate the problem,..., and the Service can justify its budget."

I believe the standard reply to that is "that may be true across the river, but we couldn't possibly comment".

Feb 4, 2016 at 2:04 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

[Steve Jones] Thanks for a great chuckle :)

Feb 4, 2016 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Gouldstone

auralay

I wonder who will select those for the chop? Will it be dyed in the wool climatologists leaving or will it be an excuse to clear out the more inconvenient youngsters who are starting to question the established science? The in a couple of years CSIRO will grow again, as bureaucracies do, with only true believers allowed.

An important point which must not be overlooked. There is the danger that by dispensing with the detection/attribution aspect of climate studies, the idiocy we have now could actually be locked in, at a time when more rational scientists are beginning to determine lower climate sensitivity than that which is popularised as "settled science."

As sceptics, we *know* the science isn't settled, the debate is NOT over. We shouldn't celebrate the end of the debate by force any more than with hyperbole.

Feb 4, 2016 at 2:18 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

But Flannery was wrong on everything.

This is all very confusing.

Feb 4, 2016 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

If you had people like the rappers here on your payroll as 'climate scientists', would you not be tempted to close their department down? Some at least of them were ex CSIRO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiYZxOlCN10

Or if they were involved with this: CSIRO's child-scaring kit

Feb 4, 2016 at 2:43 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Funny that the Liberals in Aussie are right wingers.

Feb 4, 2016 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I'll reserve judgment on this one. Long experience in corporate america shows me that the favoured ones will be rehired as consultants at even higher salaries while the dissidents and suspected heretics will be "managed out". In the end little will have changed. Hope I'm wrong.

Feb 4, 2016 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris moffatt

These fantastic minds will now be re-deployed to other fields. I predict that very soon we will have cures for cancer, aids and the common cold

Nah. Genius like this, with a proven track record of success in predicting the future, will get jobs predicting the oil price in 100 years' time - which, in fact, must be an input to their models, otherwise how would you model demand and hence consumption and hence emissions?

If any of these mghty intellects had been in oil trading, they'd have foreseen $146 in 2008, $36 later in 2008, $115 in 2013 and $29 this year. They would by now have worked out what the price of oil will be every year for 100 years, and would be making money that made the stakes in The Big Short look positively penny ante.

They will be lining up the 'phone interviews with Glencore and Trafigura as we speak.

Feb 4, 2016 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

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