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Diary dates: Laframboise European tour

From Donna's blog

This Thursday, I’ll be addressing the International Conference on Climate and Energy, which is being held in Mannheim, Germany (info here).

Also on the program: meteorologist Richard Lindzen, geologist Sebastian Lüning, astrophysicist Nir Shaviv, and solar physicist Henrik Svensmark.


Click to read more ...


Barton Moss protestors: "Give us gas"

Amusingly, the Barton Moss antifracking protestors have put out an urgent appeal because their protest camp has run out of gas for its cookers.

The camp’s supply ran out Sunday morning and they tweeted from their account @BartonMoss “#bartonmoss URGENTLY needs water and gas for the cooker if anyone can help”.



Lucas: unconventional gas "no worse"

"It's not that fracking itself is necessarily worse than ordinary gas extraction. It's the fact that we're just about to put into place a whole new infrastructure for a whole new fossil-fuel industry, at exactly the time when we need to be reducing our emissions." The problem, in other words, is climate change.

...Lucas accepts that we do need gas to tide us over, "but I would prefer to keep importing it from Norway, for example, because it will be easier to turn that tap off than it would be to dismantle an entire new industry that we had deliberately incentivised. That's why Balcombe felt so important, because it is literally on the frontline."

Caroline Lucas breaks with the rest of the green movement over fracking safety


"No sexing up here" says IPCC

The IPCC has issued a statement disputing some of the claims about the sexing up of the Summary for Policymakers made in the Mail on Sunday yesterday. This is the guts of it:

The Mail on Sunday also quotes some passages from the Working Group II Summary for Policymakers on migration and refugees, wars and conflicts, famine, and extreme weather, which it claims are “sexed up” from statements in the underlying report. In doing so it misleads the reader by distorting the carefully balanced language of the document.

For instance, the Mail on Sunday quotes the Summary as saying climate change will ‘increase risks of violent conflicts’. In fact the Summary says that climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts by amplifying factors such as poverty and economic shocks. The Mail on Sunday says the Summary warns of negative impacts on crop yields, with warming responsible for lower yields of wheat, maize, soya and rice. In fact the Summary says that negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts, with wheat and maize yields negatively affected in many regions and effects on rice and soybean yields smaller in major production regions.

The references to the underlying report cited by the Mail on Sunday in contrast to the Summary for Policymakers also give a completely misleading and distorted impression of the report through selective quotation. For instance the reference to “environmental migrants” is a sentence describing just one paper assessed in a chapter that cites over 500 papers – one of five chapters on which the statement in the Summary for Policymakers is based. A quoted sentence on the lack of a strong connection between warming and armed conflict is again taken from the description of just one paper in a chapter that assesses over 600 papers. A simple keyword search shows many references to publications and statements in the report showing the opposite conclusion, and supporting the statement in the Summary that “Climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence…”.

The points in the second paragraph seem to me to fall into the category of "distinctions without a difference". As for the third, I'm not sure why the number of papers cited in the chapter is of any relevance at all - the question is how many papers support the conclusion in the Summary for Policymakers and how many contradict it. Perhaps readers with the time to do so can investigate.

More pertinently, one has to wonder about the wisdom of the IPCC in incorporating woo like this in the report in the first place.


More Lewdness

The Lewandowsky affair shows no signs of dying down. Following Frontiers' decision to kill off the 'Recursive Fury' paper once and for all, Lewandowsky has responded by setting out his thoughts in a post at his own blog.

In this version of events the original retraction notice was agreed between the legal teams of Frontiers and the authors (is it normal to get the lawyers involved for this kind of thing?) and Lewandowsky is highlighting discrepancies between what was said in that document and what Frontiers claimed in its subsequent clarification notice.

Click to read more ...


The closed archive

While looking for something else I chanced upon the Royal Society's webpage documenting its official records. On a whim I looked at the record for the minutes of the Science Policy Advisory Group and was surprised to see this:

Although the society's archives are not public - it is a private organisation, at least in form - the statutes give the Fellows a right of access.

Click to read more ...


The climate mob targets Tol

David Rose has another stunning piece in the Mail on Sunday, this time describing the smear campaign against Richard Tol, whose temerity in trying to distance himself from the sexing up of the WGII Summary for Policymakers has incurred the wrath of the climate mob.

The spread also features a useful analysis of the changes wrought by the political intervention into the SPM drafting process and documents some cynical and entirely predictable dishonesty from Bob Ward.

Read it here.


The Lew letters

Steve McIntyre and Barry Woods have published their correspondence relating to Lewandowsky's paper- Steve's complaint to Frontiers in Psychology and the University of Western Australia about breaches of the various ethical codes and Barry's attempts to get hold of the underlying data from the University of Western Australia.

This correspondence and the failure of the university to act upon any of it suggests that the problem at UWA is not restricted to one rogue researcher. The ethical failures seem to go right to the top.



Ed Davey leads the charge to nowhere - Josh 269

H/t Richard Drake and Robin Guenier for describing Ed Davey, our lost and confused Energy & Climate Change Secretary, as a Solitary Lemming - see here. Ed has been saying that "Britain must lead the international battle against global warming". It's not been a good week for the Lib Dems has it.

Cartoons by Josh


The final Frontiers

Frontiers, the journal that published and subsequently retracted Lewandowsky's notorious 'Recursive Fury' paper has issued a statement in an apparent attempt to draw a line under the affair. It at least seems to have put an end to suggestions that threats of libel action had anything to do with their decision. In fact the statement could be construed as "throwing Lewandowsky under the bus".

Retraction of Recursive Fury: A Statement

(Lausanne, Switzerland) – There has been a series of media reports concerning the recent retraction of the paper Recursive Fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, originally published on 18 March 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned. But given the extent of the media coverage – largely based on misunderstanding – Frontiers would now like to better clarify the context behind the retraction.

Click to read more ...


The Economist goes all lukewarm and pragmatic

In a must-read article, the Economist has decided that climate is no longer the only problem in the world and that decarbonising the economy in a futile attempt to stop climate change is a fool's errand.

Until now, many of them have thought of the climate as a problem like no other: its severity determined by meteorological factors, such as the interaction between clouds, winds and oceans; not much influenced by “lesser” problems, like rural development; and best dealt with by trying to stop it (by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions). The new report breaks with this approach. It sees the climate as one problem among many, the severity of which is often determined by its interaction with those other problems. And the right policies frequently try to lessen the burden—to adapt to change, rather than attempting to stop it. In that respect, then, this report marks the end of climate exceptionalism and the beginning of realism.

On the policy front at least, we seem to be getting somewhere.

Read the whole thing.


The Lords on Working Group II

There was an amusing exchange in the Lords this morning, when Matt Ridley questioned Baroness Verma about the Working Group II report (from 24 mins)

Click to read more ...


Who are the deniers now?

In the Spectator this week, Matt Ridley looks at the Working Group II report and notes the similarities between the IPCC's new line and that advocated by frontlines sceptic like Nigel Lawson.

Nigel Lawson was right after all. Ever since the Centre for Policy Studies lecture in 2006 that launched the former chancellor on his late career as a critic of global warming policy, Lord Lawson has been stressing the need to adapt to climate change, rather than throw public money at futile attempts to prevent it. Until now, the official line has been largely to ignore adaptation and focus instead on ‘mitigation’ — the misleading term for preventing carbon dioxide emissions.

That has now changed. The received wisdom on global warming, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was updated this week. The newspapers were, as always, full of stories about scientists being even more certain of environmental Armageddon. But the document itself revealed a far more striking story: it emphasised, again and again, the need to adapt to climate change. Even in the main text of the press release that accompanied the report, the word ‘adaptation’ occurred ten times, the word ‘mitigation’ not at all.

Amazing. Read the whole thing.


Ward versus Tol

I am somewhat in awe of Channel Four news. I mean, Bob Ward writes a post criticising Richard Tol on an obscure page on the LSE website and Jon Snow, Cathy Newman et al leap into action to interrogate Tol on air. Not only that, but Ward is invited on to put his own case to Tol and Newman repeatedly accuses Tol of "having an agenda" because he is an unpaid adviser to GWPF while Ward, the paid mouthpiece for a wealthy environmentalist, is given a free ride. All that from a blog post!

I must say, the interview was distinctly uninformative, with Newman and Ward apparently trying to suggest that because Tol's paper is the only one showing benefits from warming (there are only two that have examined the case of warming of 1°C), his allegation of scaremongering by the IPCC is wrong. If ever there was a non-sequitur this is it. As Tol points out, the other studies for warming of a few degrees show net harm that is indistinguishable from zero. Calls for panic are indeed over the top.


Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok have just launched, a new website to document the responses to their GWPF report of the same name. Of particular interest is a post outlining Jonathan Gregory's claim that he had shown that the method used by Lewis underestimates climate sensitivity.

It seems that (surprise, surprise!) Gregory's case is based on the output of a climate model, although he neglects to say so. To put forward a hypothesis and to claim it as a proof is shoddy stuff, but all too predictable in the world of climate science.

Reading between the lines it looks as if Gregory has misunderstood the Lewis method and is now rather stubbornly refusing to admit that his mistake.


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