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Quote of the day

Paul Krugman, stand-up comedian:

Back in 2009 climate skeptics got hold of more than a thousand e-mails between researchers at the Climate Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia. Nothing in the correspondence suggested any kind of scientific impropriety...


Beddington quotes

Some excerpts from the Beddington's letters to Lawson:

The significance of urbanisation on the global temperature record is not contested by the vast majority of climate scientists. Most stations are not affected by the urban heat island effect and there are well-established ways of taking the effect into account for stations that are (such as comparing temperatures on still and windy nights and excluding urban stations). I refer you to my previous response for further information on this issue.

I should clarify that I did not seek to defend the original hockey stick analysis; I am aware that there are issues and uncertainties associated with it. suggested that scientists at CRU delayed the release of temperature data they held. I hope that I can clarify this by laying out the situation as I understand it. The majority of the data in the CRU dataset are derived from the same freely-available raw data sets used by NOAA and NASA. However, the CRU dataset was compiled with the aim of  comprehensiveness and therefore also includes data derived from station data obtained directly from countries, institutions and scientists on the understanding that this would not be passed on.

It is true that global average temperature has remained roughly constant over the past decade, but this in no way undermines the evidence that greenhouse gases are causing warming

[In response to Lawson's suggestion that models didn't predict the slowdown in warming] It remains very difficult, however, to predict year to year changes caused by short-term, internal processes in the climate system such as ENSO – primarily because the climate system is chaotic.


Lawson jousts with Beddington

The Guardian carries a report about the correspondence between Nigel Lawson and Sir John Beddington over Lawson's book, An Appeal to Reason.

This is fascinating stuff and the whole article needs to be read. 



Zero Waste Scotland

Tim Worstall, writing at the Adam Smith Institute blog, looks at a new way of measuring the (alleged) benefits of recycling - looking at the carbon footprint - and finds much to applaud.

Full marks to "Zero Waste Scotland" for this idea. For as we keep being told, we've got to recycle in order to stop the planet burning up. Therefore, as you would think people would already have cottoned on to, we should be measuring what we recycle and how by how well doing so stops the planet burning up. That everyone should have done this earlier is true but more joy in heaven over one sinner repentant etc.

Tim's prediction is that once the new scheme has demonstrated unequivocally that all this recycling we are doing has a higher carbon footprint than landfilling it will be quietly dropped.

Meanwhile, Andrew Bolt-style questioning is catching on, at least in one small corner of England. The Englishman has written to Zero Waste Scotland to find out how much their scheme will cool the planet.


Thought for the Day

The BBC's Thought for the Day, the religious three minute spot each morning, today covered the trustworthiness of statistics, in what might be read as a commentary on Sir John Beddington's call for intolerance.

File below.


Thought for the day


Intolerant correspondence

There has been some correspondence in Nature, picking up on Sir John Beddington's earlier comments about being intolerant of people who dare to question scientists. Two letters were published together with Beddinton's response. Here's an excerpt from one of the letters, from Brian Wynne

Click to read more ...


More Flannel - Josh 88


Flannery's admission

Another remarkable interview from Andrew Bolt, this time with top CAGW guy, Tim Flannery. Bolt manages to extract the remarkable admission that nobody will know the effects of emissions cuts for a thousand years.


Flannery: Just let me finish and say this. If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years because the system is overburdened with CO2 that has to be absorbed and that only happens slowly.



Paul Dennis on Iain Stewart

Paul Dennis posted this in the comments. It's always nice to have some opinion from an expert, and I thought it was striking enough to turn into a head post.

The Iain Stewart article posted on the Met Office website is both misleading, highly selective and largely in error in its presentation of data. Misleading in the presentation of graphics that supposedly represent the timings of mass extinction events in relation to atmospheric CO2 levels. The plot shows extinction events occuring at local maxima in CO2 levels e.g. late Cambrian, Ordovician and Devonian amongst others. The reality is that our knowledge of past CO2 levels during these times is incomplete at best and certainly lacks the resolution in both time and CO2 level to highlight local maxima.

Click to read more ...


Comments fix

Squarespace have now deployed a fix to deal with the commenting issue. Readers who are affected will need to clear their caches and cookies for it to take effect.

Please let me know if this doesn't have the desired effect.


Diary dates

A couple of interesting events at the Royal Society later this year:

10-11 October 2011

Warm climates of the past - a lesson for the future?

In several periods in Earth's history, climate has been significantly warmer than present.  What lessons about the future can be learnt from past warm periods?  The answer depends on the quality of reconstructions of past climates, our understanding of their causes, and the validity of climate models which aim to reproduce them.  This meeting will address these exciting and challenging issues.

12-13 October 2011

Reconstructing and understanding CO2 variability in the past

A number of proxy methods are used to infer past atmospheric CO2 concentrations, such as fossilised leaves, paleo soils, and isotopes in ocean sediments.  Each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses and methodological uncertainties. This meeting will aim to compare methods and their available records, leading to a deeper understanding of the processes which influence the proxies and the Cenozoic record of atmospheric CO2.



Stewart on geologists

Iain Stewart is best known as the guy who fronted the BBC's Climate Wars programme. Remember that?

Where did you get that graph from?

Click to read more ...


School brainwashing works

The BBC has just published the results of an opinion poll of schoolchildren. Asked to rank the biggest risks facing the world today, children seemed impressed by arguments for catastrophic global warming, placing it second behind terrorism, with 49% suitably scared.

I guess the relentless propaganda pumped out by schools and the BBC has had some effect.


Best keep quiet

Lots of fun is being had over the preliminary findings from the Berkelely Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST). The project team had made an announcement stating that they had processed 2% of the data through the algorithm and found the results showed warming.

Click to read more ...


Biofuels cause starvation

That's according to the head of Nestlé, the global food conglomerate:

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestlé, lashed out at the Obama administration for promoting the use of ethanol made from corn, at the expense of hundreds of millions of people struggling to afford everyday basics made from the crop.

Mr Brabeck-Letmathe weighed in to the increasingly acrimonious debate over food price inflation to condemn politicians around the world who seem determined to blame financial speculators instead of tackling underlying imbalances in supply and demand. And he reserved especially pointed remarks for US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, who he said was making "absolutely flabbergasting" claims for the country's ability to cope with rising domestic and global demand for corn.

Read the whole thing.