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Discussion > What if the slayers are right?

TBYJ: Are you saying that you don't like my three-way categorisation:

1. Lindzen GHE
2. Slayer
3. Gassy

because it dignifies N&Z with too much stature? For me, if Gassy is alongside Slayer it doesn't confer automatic promotion to anything more than Martin's gobbledegook to the power of tosh.

Likewise, I don't mind recasting my original question (in fact it was some way down the first page) to

So, if the policy outcome is the same and one approach is much more likely to be true than the others, are there any downsides in some sceptics giving the impression that the slayer or gassy options are fundamental, make or break issues in the debate?

Do you object to this? For me it's totally in the spirit of the title. In other words, I think:

1. it's best not to include N&Z under slayers
2. it's helpful to include them in what is for me the key question of this thread.

One thing that is of considerable interest is whether, because N&Z apparently find a (pressure-based) GHE that has a far greater effect (in °K), compared to an earth without atmosphere, than any traditional view of the GHE, they are more concerned about man's carbon emissions than lukewarmers, let alone Lindzen.

That question is surely worth asking, even if you consider the theory extremely shaky - which I also do, from a position of less knowledge but what I'd consider sensible conservatism about any new theory.

Thanks for your engagement so far and here's hoping it can continue!

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:14 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I think the category of slayer simply needs to be expanded to include all people who believe the standard radiative GHE is non-existent or of small and negligible magnitude, for whatever reason. Just call it 'alternative to standard theory'

The reason I say this is not because I don't like N&Z or think it's unimportant. The idea of your original post wasn't to group and rank the positions on scientific credibility, but on political outcome if adopted by the establishment. There are variations within each group, but on policy outcome alone, it's the same whether you believe pressure causes heating and is therefore not dangerous or there is no heating and is therefore not dangerous.

It's the danger which drives the policy outcomes, so you could just as easily split the three into 1 AGW = some danger (CAGW being extreme danger), Lukewarm = negligible or manageable danger, Alternative = no danger whatsoever

This seems a better split than the technical reasons for a particular stance.

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

TGYJ: OK, I'm prepared to rewind and do as you say. And I'd like to add the two categories you suggest, in this way:

1. Enhanced GHE
2. Lukewarmer GHE
3. Lindzen GHE (could be Roy Spencer and others so rename?)
4. Slayer (negligible GHE or none)

My questions have all been about the difference in policy terms of 3 and 4 and, if there is no difference, whether it matters if some sceptics give the impression that the choice between 3 and 4 is crucial for the whole debate. Of course I think it does matter if they do, enormously. Otherwise I wouldn't have had the problems I did with mydog and I wouldn't have begun this thread. But I won't restate that all now. How does the above look?

Jan 9, 2013 at 5:21 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I don't think you should split lukewarmer and Lindzen either, manageable danger and 'wait and see because we'll have time' are equivalent in terms of policy outcome, but that's not important, as you point out, it's about the framing of the 'slayer' question as a deal-breaker you are exploring.

I think you've demonstrated the quandry they are in, exchanging their idea of truth for possible victory. In any case, I think as time goes on, mainstream opinion will converge somewhere in the Lindzen / lukewarmer area anyway, and that won't be because of the slayers, it'll be in spite of them. My opinion, only, obviously.

Jan 9, 2013 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames


as you point out, it's about the framing of the 'slayer' question as a deal-breaker you are exploring

Well put. Being very pleased with this thread, which has strayed off topic and returned in a delightfully amiable manner, I've been mulling over the analogy of the chocolate teapot. Expect another discussion with that title in the morning - but I thought it important to point to a proper experiment before we began.

Jan 11, 2013 at 12:28 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

And here it is: The chocolate teapot. Whereas this discussion has been about whether there is any difference in the policy goals of the slayers compared to Lindzen and lukewarmers, who are perfectly happy with a low-sensitivity GHE, the new page is about the consequences to the overall debate of putting any weight publicly on slayer 'science'.

Jan 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake