FT on the IPCC

by Judith Curry

Pilita Clark has written a thoughtful post  at the Financial Times entitled What climate scientists talk about now, with subtitle “As the IPCC prepares to release its latest report, Pilita Clark meets some of the key scientists behind it.”

Since FT does not like cutting and pasting of its articles, my excerpts are very brief, I encourage you to read the entire article:

But there is one thing the final version must include when it is published next month, according to Sir Bob Watson, the British scientist and climate action advocate who chaired the IPCC for nearly six years up to 2002. “I think the current Working Group I report must address in detail the slowing down in the last 10 years,” he said, adding that although the past three decades were probably the warmest in 1,000 years, “there is also no question that it would appear that the rate of change in the last decade or so is definitely slower than the previous two decades.”

“The IPCC must address this because the climate deniers are linking on to this as a reason to say we’ve got all the science wrong. So I think one of the very most important issues is indeed for them to address this issue absolutely head on.”

This issue is so new that it was barely considered when the IPCC first met in 2009 to decide what would be in its next assessment and there is still no agreed name for it. Many scientists have started to call it the “hiatus” or “pause” and though it will be addressed in the final report, there is still no consensus on what has caused it. Some think it is happening because the oceans are absorbing more heat than once thought, especially at very great depths. Others think aerosols, tiny airborne particles from volcanic eruptions or industrial pollution that reflect sunlight away from the Earth could be having more of a cooling impact.

Dr Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is one of several prominent US contrarians who have taken part in past reports but says she would not do so again. The process focuses too narrowly on human impact on the climate, she says, and requires a consensus about its conclusions that can lead to a tribal, group-thinking about the science. “This focus has ­essentially neglected natural climate variability, and has also neglected to assess potential benefits from a warmer climate,” she told the FT.

“Defending the consensus creates temptations to make illegitimate attacks on scientists whose views do not align with the consensus and to dismiss any disagreement as politically motivated ‘denialism’.”

Perhaps the greatest danger to the IPCC, however, is how cumbersome it has become to produce its assessments. The length of time between reports has always made some of its findings slightly outdated, but the process is also increasingly taxing for the volunteer scientists involved. Professor Jonathan Gregory, a leading expert on sea levels and an IPCC report veteran, had been working nonstop the day I saw him at Reading University. “It’s pretty near, I think, the limit of what one can do without it being a job,” he said. “It’s taken a colossal amount of my time this time.”Across the corridor, another IPCC author, Professor Rowan Sutton, was even blunter. “This has been a phenomenally protracted process,” he said. “I’m not sure I would do it again. I mean I don’t think I’ve got the time to do it again really. I do also think that the process needs to change to make it more manageable.”

Earlier this year, Renate Christ from the IPCC secretariat sent a letter to all the governments that commission the panel’s reports asking them to consider  “should the IPCC continue to give priority to comprehensive assessment reports”, with smaller special reports. 

This would be quite a change for a body that has played such a profound role in shaping the way we think about climate change. And it would make the latest IPCC assessment report even more distinct from its predecessors because, depending on what governments end up deciding, there is a chance that this one could be the last of its kind.

Walter Mead

Walter Mead has some interesting comments on the FT article:

We disagree with the way Watson is framing the issue here. The problems that serious critics of the IPCC have had with its work isn’t about getting “all the science wrong.” To be sure, there were some flaws and errors of scientific fact in the last IPCC report, and there will certainly be errors (though hopefully fewer and less tendentious ones) in this report. But errors aside, the pattern seems even clearer now than it did a few years ago: the overall, long-term trend, notwithstanding with a more recent “hiatus” or “pause” as climate researchers are calling it, points to rising temperatures ahead. There are lots of ways this basic understanding still needs to be fleshed out, and it should be fleshed out in an environment of open, vigorous and contentious debate among scientists, without one side trying to throttle the others. The tendency in any establishment to suppress or marginalize dissent needs to be resisted. But as we’ve repeatedly said, it seems clear to us that the fundamental case for global warming is solid.

What isn’t solid, however, are all of the “fiddly bits.” How fast is warming happening? Will it speed up, and by how much? What the economic and environmental impacts be? What other factors besides anthropogenic ones might be contributing to the warming? What complex little mechanisms might slow the process down, or speed it up? And so on. It’s inherent in the nature of a system as complex as climate that these questions will be hard to pin down.

Because the uncertainty is about these “fiddly bits,” and not about the fundamentals, the worry is not about what the science says but about what the policy should be. We need a deep rethinking on the policy front. The problems of climate science need to be disaggregated. How do we help China and India move from coal to less carbon-intensive forms of energy use. How do we accelerate the US shift from coal to cleaner natural gas? How can we accelerate the shift from an industrial economy to an information economy in ways that allow the economy to grow and living standards to rise without making the environment worse off.

Environmental policy thinkers almost always begin with statist, top-down fixes, and quickly embrace crony capitalist ideas that involve subsidies for certain types of energy production, such as the ethanol abomination. Powerful economic lobbies then run with these ideas, perverting them until their environmental benefits take a back seat to their usefulness as tools of wealth capture.

This leaves environmentalists increasingly frustrated, increasingly panicked, and with increasingly little to show for it. More than anything else on the energy front right now, the world needs some out of the box thinking about energy policy.

JC comments:

Well I am holding my breath to see what the IPCC has to say about the pause.  It was only a year ago that David Rose and I were widely chastised in the blogosphere for talking about the pause.

The article highlights two major problems with the IPCC.

The first is that  that there is substantial diversity of opinions among recognized experts.  The article highlights myself (arguing for greater attention to be paid to natural variability) and Peter Wadhams (who argues that the IPCC is not sufficiently alarmist about the melting of Arctic sea ice).  By negotiating a consensus on these issues among a group of scientists that have probably been selected not to produce any ‘surprises’, a lot of science gets marginalized that is potentially important for scientific progress as well as in terms of producing a broader range of scenarios for decision makers to consider.

The second issue is the sheer burden that the IPCC places on participating individuals and the broader climate science community, not to mention the climate modeling centers.  This is extremely onerous, and I am afraid there is overall diminishing returns on this investment of time and financial resources.

So what to do?  I think that AR5 should be the last assessment report in the current ponderous three volume format.  I strongly support more topical reports like the SREX.  And I recommend dropping the consensus seeking approach.

168 responses to “FT on the IPCC

  1. “Dropping the consensus seeking approach”

    Doesn’t that mean switching from assessment report to a review of recent science. A review does still imply some assessment, but not at the level of an assessment report. Reviews have a much longer tradition in science.

    • No, not in my opinion. It means focusing on getting the relevant information for policy analysis documented and accessible in engineering quality and to legal standards so it can be used in policy analysis and adversarial processes like courts.

    • Yes, a better approach is evidence for, evidence against, and discussion of uncertainties.

      • evidence for, evidence against

        The most important comment I have right now is that Model Output is not any kind of evidence.

        Is there any actual real data that shows we have a problem with temperature exceeding the bounds of the past ten thousand years? It is not close to out and it is not close to heading out. The upper bound for the past ten thousand years is plus 2 degrees C. We are now somewhere between plus point six and point eight degrees C.

        Chicken Little’s ears should be really burning right now.

      • David Wojick

        “Evidence for and against” misses the complex structure of the scientific debate. Each item of primary evidence is contested with several pieces of evidence offered both for and against it. This secondary evidence is also contested with multiple items of evidence offered for and against each piece. And so it goes layer by layer, an issue tree. Thus most of the evidence is for or against some other piece of evidence, not directly for or against the main claim of dangerous human influence on climate.

      • There is a science to everything it seems…

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-card_Monte

        did this help David?

      • Oh you mean like science? Or a fair assessment of any topic using critical thinking?

      • I think it is more a matter of summing up the important processes and quantifying their possible effect with error bars. In climate, it is the sum of effects, and the whole argument is about the relative sizes of these over the next century.

      • David Wojick

        Jim D, the question is whether you can do that, given that the error bars are highly debatable. All you will get is the debate.

      • The point is that climate isn’t a series of yes/no or for/against questions. It is quantifying effects.

      • David Wojick

        Jim D, all science is a matter of for and against evidence, including but not limited to quantification. You are confusing climate with our understanding of it. The latter is a matter of evidence and our understanding is the issue.

      • David W, when it comes to whether GHGs warm the earth, it is a matter of quantification, not for or against. This is the central question. Quantification is based on many lines of evidence, so it is an integrated knowledge. Each line of evidence has its own uncertainties, but not yes or no whether to include it. Everyone believes in natural variations, for example, and only its magnitude is the question. Solar and volcanic variations, too, cloud and ice albedo feedbacks, etc. There is no for or against in these.

      • It is the Red Queen after all.

      • David Wojick

        Jim D, I cannot figure out where your yes or know comes from, nor even what it means. You mention multiple lines of evidence. These will be for or against any given hypothesis, including hypotheses of quantification. That is the point being made so I do not understand your apparent objection. The issue is how to summarize the scientific issues, including the many lines of for and against evidence and the uncertainties.

      • David W, there are a limited number of things that can affect a 30-year climate mean, and they affect it to different degrees. We can even list them and have some idea of their range. It does not boil down to for or against any mechanism. Each mechanism has its own weight in the big picture. Even if ‘for’ or ‘against’ means on the scale of paper by paper, I would disagree. Each paper has its own evidence and kernel of truth, so I would not even completely discount most papers, because even if they are wrong, they add to the debate, and we learn from why they are wrong.

      • David Wojick

        Jim D, we seem to have come full circle, back to my original point. There will in fact be evidence for or against the very existence of some mechanisms, such as the various indirect solar mechanism that have been hypothesized, or Lindzen’s iris, etc. And there will certainly be evidence for and against any specific range hypothesis for every mechanism. There is no agreed upon list of mechanisms and certainly no agreed upon list of ranges for them.

      • David W, none of these purported effects will have any bearing on the debate unless someone has quantified them based on evidence and compared them to other effects. The first step is quantification. Failing that, it is not even in the discussion.

      • Jim D

        David W, when it comes to whether GHGs warm the earth, it is a matter of quantification, not for or against.

        The IR absorption characteristics of CO2, water vapor, etc. are known, BUT there are credible hypotheses out there under which GHGs may not result in a perceptible or long-term warming of the Earth’s climate.

        And there is no empirical evidence.

        Max

  2. Our hostess asks us, quite rightly, to keep our comments short. I will do this, but it means I must limit myself to only the major issues.

    Judith, you write “I think that AR5 should be the last assessment report” I agree. The other 4 were scientiifc garbage, and I have no doubt the next one will be as bad; if not worse.

    The key issue, also identified by rgbatduke, is what will follow on from http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-7.html As rgb says, if this sort of nonsense is included in the AR5 “there will be hell to pay”. We should know how bad this is going to be in September when the SPMs are agreed.

    Finally, there is this quote from Peter Wadhams ““It could even be this year or next year but not later than 2015 there won’t be any ice in the Arctic in the summer,” he said, pulling out a battered laptop to show a diagram explaining his calculations, which he calls “the Arctic death spiral”.”

    I have news for Peter. If you believe, like I do, that CO2 and Arctic sea ice are completely uncorrelated, then one must believe that the amount of sea ice in the Arctic is cyclical. It is probably driven by such things as the PDO and AMO; but by other things as well. The latest data gives a strong indication that this couild be the year the current trend to lower levels in the summer is reversed. We will see.

  3. The climate models are now so far out in their predictions (see Roy Spencer’s “Epic FAIL” post) that a massive change is needed to the way in which the science is done, before any useful report can be produced. Tying major scientific research to a publication schedule is in any case absurd. Applying a top-down process to climate research is absurd. Climate science does not need to be done any differently to any other branch of science.

  4. Is this information correct? Are we experiencing record Antarctic sea ice extent? Doesn’t this contradict the opening paragraph of this paper?

    http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/10th-daily-record-in-11-days-for-antarctic-sea-ice-extent/

  5. JC asks: “So what to do?”

    I think the scientists need to butt out of policy. They need to ask the policy analysists what information does science need to provide to inform policy analysis (e.g. especially the ‘damage function’). Then provide that info and stop at that. The section by Walter Mead in the lead post illustrates the problem with scientists pushing strong opinions about policy. They haven’t a clue what they are talking about. He makes one short sentence about the economics (effectively dead;batting it and minimising its relevance by faint praise), then goes onto a long advocacy of policy ans what we must do to make China and India do as we want. Well Walter Mead, I have news for you, its all about the economics, not the science.

    • Walter Mead has it totally wrong, IMO.

      His only mention of the economics is:

      What the economic and environmental impacts be?

      The he goes on with a long list of science questions and then jumps to expressing his opinions about policy.

      Because the uncertainty is about these “fiddly bits,” and not about the fundamentals, the worry is not about what the science says but about what the policy should be. We need a deep rethinking on the policy front. The problems of climate science need to be disaggregated. How do we help China and India move from coal to less carbon-intensive forms of energy use. How do we accelerate the US shift from coal to cleaner natural gas? How can we accelerate the shift from an industrial economy to an information economy in ways that allow the economy to grow and living standards to rise without making the environment worse off.

      Does Mead not recognise that many people, perhaps the majority, are not persuaded we should spend a cent on policies that will make energy more expensive. And the reason is that scientists think in terms of quantities like temperature and mm/a sea level rise, but most people want to know what does it mean to my wallet. Scientist do not think like that and are basically incapable of thinking like that. It is not their discipline. They need to provide the ‘damage function’, carbon cycle parameters and ECS to the economists and policy analysts. They need to provide the information in engineering and legal standard data bases.

      • Walter Mead demonstrates he is doing what many scientists try to do. He is attempting to pick technology winners. This is not scientists expertise. they should get right out of it. Examples of Mead’s winner-picking:

        How do we help China and India move from coal to less carbon-intensive forms of energy use. How do we accelerate the US shift from coal to cleaner natural gas? How can we accelerate the shift from an industrial economy to an information economy … </blockquote.

        – US to tell China and India what they must do

        – Change from coal to natural gas? Why to natural gas? Why not remove the blocks we've implemented by previous winner picking that are preventing the whole world from having low-cost low emissions energy (e.g. nuclear power)?

        – Why pick information economy? Who knows what will be next?

      • And who are the “we” who will “help China and India move from coal to less carbon-intensive forms of energy use” and accelerate the US shift from coal to cleaner natural gas and of various states to an information economy? China, India and the US will make their own decisions, thank you very much. A shift to gas in the US and to information-intensive economies in many countries have been occurring through market forces. Mead is an academic whose area is foreign affairs and humanities, his comments suggest a lack of practical experience.

  6. although the past three decades were probably the warmest in 1,000 years
    That flys in the face of the people living in Greenland and the Chinese mapping the Arctic Ocean and Greenland.
    It is not reasonable to believe we are warmer than then.

  7. Temperature of Earth has Bounds and a new Set Point with tighter Bounds

    Look at the past 600 million years. Temperature on the cold side is limited by the temperature the huge oceans freeze. Once they start freezing substantially, they can’t get colder until a huge percent of the Earth is covered by ice. This does not appear to happen. Then the oceans don’t get colder, just the surface can get colder.
    Temperature on the warm side is limited by the water vapor and water drops in clouds and evaporation and cloud cover. Somehow, Earth can establish an upper bound. These bounds were limited to the same range for this 600 million year time period and we are still inside those bounds, close to the cold side.

    The most recent 800 thousand years are in the same bounds and a pattern developed and evolved.
    These temperatures were bound in an 8 to 14 degree C band.
    The most recent ten thousand years saw the temperature band to drop to 4 degrees C. We have been within plus and minus One Degree C for most of ten thousand years. We have been within plus and minus Two Degrees C for all of the most recent ten thousand years.

    The Greenhouse effect of water vapor and water drops in clouds provide powerful cooling. With the Radiation Cooling limiting the upper bound and the freezing of the oceans limiting the lower bound, there are powerful bounds but there is no set point. CO2 has a little influence on this upper bound.

    The most recent ten thousand years has a set point, with much tighter bounds, that fell into place during the last major warming.

    What is different between now and before? What has changed?

    Continents drifted, Ocean Currents Evolved and Polar Ice developed. The modern Polar Ice Cycle does provide the Thermostat for Earth with a Set Point. When oceans warm and melt Polar Ice, the warm wet oceans provide moisture to put ice on land. After the ice builds volume, it starts to advance and increase Albedo and cool the Earth. When the oceans cool enough to allow the polar waters to freeze, the snowfall stops and the ice volume stops increasing. The ice advance continues until the ice capacity to push the ice faster than it melts at the bottoms of glaciers and at the edge of the ice fields. Next the ice retreats and the Earth starts to warm until the oceans get warm and the polar ice thaws.

    This works like the AC in my house. My house would get cold in winter and warm in summer. It would get cold at night and warm in day. With a small amount of energy, I can add a thermostat and turn to AC on when the temperature gets above the set point and turn the AC off when temperature is forced below the set point.

    Earth does the same thing by turning the snowfall on and off based on the set point that polar oceans freeze and thaw.

    I challenge all of you to come up with an alternate reason for the new set point and tighter bounds.

    • Herman…did you know that Yellowstone National Park is actually a SUPERVOLCANO???Yep, it erupted 630,000 years ago and spread ejecta all the way to Maryland. It erupted about 630,000 years before that, around 1.2 million years ago. And before that, it erupted around 1.9 million years ago. It seems to have developed a pattern of erupting every 630,000 years. And, it is NOW, overdue. So, probably, all those living in Wyoming, Colorado, and states east of there should consider moving away, out of the fallout area. I’d go about 1,000 miles away, just to be safe. I think this is waaay more critical than continental drift, oceans cooling, or continental glaciers melting.

  8. “the Chinese mapping the Arctic Ocean and Greenland”

    When was that?

  9. David L. Hagen

    Climate Sensitivity vs Uncertainty
    Walter Meade claims “Because the uncertainty is about these “fiddly bits,” and not about the fundamentals”. He does not appear to comprehend the magnitude of the “pause” nor its impact on CO2 climate sensitivity versus natural variability.
    In “Guy Callendar vs the GCMs”, Steve McIntyre compares Callendar’s low climate sensitivity model and IPCC’s HadGEM2 CMIP5 against the HadCRUT4 temperature record. Callendar’s lower 1.67 C climate sensitivity model appears to fit remarkably better than the IPCC’s HadGEM2 CMIP5 high sensitivity model (~4.6K?).
    Since the “pause” is so poorly understood with little “consensus, the uncertainty over and magnitude of natural variations is likely that much larger.

    • Yes, Steve has made AR5 look very stupid indeed with the help of a paper from 1938 and a model so simple it could be applied without a computer. Slow-motion car crash is the analogy that comes to mind here.

      • “Yes, Steve has made AR5 look very stupid indeed”

        Afraid not. It is McIntyre that displays ignorance. He is not educated enough to tackle the scientific aspects and he knows it : “What does this mean? I’m not entirely sure: these are relatively new topics for me.”

        McIntyre has been working on climate science topics for years and admits that he doesn’t know what he has analyzed means.

        Well I can tell him the basic obvious point that he has missed. Using the global temperature records that include a significant fraction of ocean surface misses the fact that this is not measuring the eventual equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS).

        If he wants to estimate the that, he only has to look at the land-only records. The land is much more sensitive to the forcing and does not have a significant thermal capacity which can sink a heat imbalance, and thus obscure the long term warming that will eventually occur.

        All he has to do is take records such as the BEST land or CRUTEM and fit the warming trends there. McIntyre is apparently a statistician so he should be able to do this quite easily. He will find that the sensitivity is closer to 3C per doubling of CO2 rather than his ancient 1.67C.

        To rub it in, I quote McIntyre:

        “Guy Callendar (see profile here) seems entirely free of the bile and rancor
        … (later)
        an understanding that appears to have eluded the contemporary establishment, whose views seem related to modern skydragons.

        You can see how McIntyre is a master of projection and innuendo, trying to equate climate scientists with the skydragon crackpots. Better to clean up his own house first. Get a science or engineering degree may be a good start, or else stick to stats or looking at time stamps of when someone has posted something. McIntyre is such a dweeb.

      • Webster, “Well I can tell him the basic obvious point that he has missed. Using the global temperature records that include a significant fraction of ocean surface misses the fact that this is not measuring the eventual equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS). ”

        Balderdash. SST and OH uptake correlate quite well. The stratosphere which is a better measure of radiant impact than the lower troposphere correlates quite well to SST and OHC. The outlier is northern hemisphere land which has much larger seasonal variability and would provide most of the albedo feedback required for higher sensitivities.

      • “Balderdash”

        Cappy, You are always so full of it. Of course “SST and OH uptake correlate quite well”. The problem is that correlation does not say anything about the numerical VALUES of the effect.

        For example, the temperature of the desert correlates exceedingly well with the position of the sun in the sky. When it is high it his most hot and when it is nigh time it is the coolest. But this correlation alone does not predict the VALUES of the extremes.

        If you actually could do some science that is anything other than massive amounts of gobbledy-gook, perhaps someone would pay attention to it, but as it stands your idea of “redneck physics” has to be some sort of joke. You have been out in the sun waaaay too long.

      • Isn’t is really lucky that there have been no changes in the size of cities, the size of temperate and rain forests, and the amount of land both under the plough and the type of crop grown, on land, since the 1880’s.
        Yep. We can use the ‘average’ temperature of the land to work out the impact of changes in back-radiation on temperature.
        The only fly in the ointment is why the land in the Southern hemisphere has a climate sensitivity some 60% of the Northern hemisphere. Quite how a CO2 molecule knows that it is above Australia and not Britain I have no idea, but I am sure that you and Nick Stokes will come up with a plot to explain the divergence of ‘equilibrium’ sensitivity.

      • Webster, My initial response was moderated because I used the more modern form of balderdash, but you are obviously clueless or have blinders on. The OHC is based on temperature and you can very easily compare temperatures for 0-2000 meters, SST, LT and LS to see the relationships globally and by region. Volcanoes and ENSO provide plenty of perturbations to see the lead lag relationships. You insist on having the tail wag the dog.

      • ” DocMartyn | August 3, 2013 at 9:19 am |

        Isn’t is really lucky that there have been no changes in the size of cities, the size of temperate and rain forests, and the amount of land both under the plough and the type of crop grown, on land, since the 1880′s.”

        Wow, mankind can do all that? Aren’t you a little bit concerned?

      • Cappy said:

        ” The OHC is based on temperature and you can very easily compare temperatures for 0-2000 meters, SST, “

        Unfortunately, Cappy has no real education in thermodynamics and physics so he can’t work out an OHC model like I can:
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/03/ocean-heat-content-model.html

        All Cappy has is a redneck attitude which manifests itself as a constant mocking of science.

      • Webster, “Unfortunately, Cappy has no real education in thermodynamics and physics so he can’t work out an OHC model like I can:”

        Then do some hind casting with your model. Compare NH and SH with your model. Do some forecasting with you model. Until then it is just a fit for a convenient time period.

      • You do it Cappy. Show me what you are made of.
        Whenever you try to do some extended calculation and fail, I recall you always blaming it on your computer in some fashion.

      • Webster, “You do it Cappy. Show me what you are made of.
        Whenever you try to do some extended calculation and fail, I recall you always blaming it on your computer in some fashion.”

        Already done Webster. You can’t fit the first half of the 20th century without more natural variability and you definitely cannot fit NH and SH separately.

        Why do you think I looked for people like Toggwieler and Brierley?

      • Webby

        Problem is (for you) that Steve Mc is about twice as intelligent as you are (and not even half as arrogant).

        That’s part of the reason why he is also running a very successful climate blog.

        Max

      • Manacker,
        McIntyre has now resorted to equating world class climate scientists to high school teachers.

        David Appel is suggesting that this may indicate that Mc wants to exit the scene with a bang, and do it ugly-style.

        As Appel says, only superior science will win the debate, and I could clearly see that Mc was coming up short on this end of things. Good at stats but not up to snuff on the science. The arrogance of Mc is telling, who exactly does Mc want to take up climate science?

    • David, Climate sensitivity results from assuming that the energy balance of the earth is d(m cp T)/dt= Solar energy in- energy out, or the atmosphere is irrelevant in the energy balance. Only trace GH gases are. This is untrue. The correct equation is d(m cp T)/dt + m g dz/dt= Solar energy in- energy out. This yields a considerably different differential equation. The former gives climate sensitivity as defined. The second does not. Climate sensitivity is a result of a wrong energy balance. It does not exist in the real world. The potential energy of the atmosphere is missing from the climate science and the General Circulation Model (GCM); It is 50% of the energy exchanged and cannot be ignored. The GMC has to be fixed.

      • Nabil, I went through your online book and find that you have a problem with articulating your premise, your scientific argument, and your conclusions. That is batting 0 for 3, which is not so good for baseball.

        From what you are saying here, I can almost infer that you are arguing for a strong negative lapse rate feedback. In other words, the energy imbalance is going into changing the slope of temperature gradient with altitude. Since you are obviously an engineer with some scientific skills (unlike McIntyre), why don’t you apply your hypothesis to some data. Please take a look at this analysis I did recently on how excess heat plays with expansion in the atmosphere and ocean:
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/07/expansion-of-atmosphere-and-ocean.html

        You may be tantalizing close to a full understanding but what you really have to do is relate your hypothesis to some empirical relationships.

      • Thank you Web for the review and comments. The book is just a procedure to calculate global warming, and the projection since 2007 has been on track as you will find. Have you read Solving the mystery of stratospheric cooling or The law of conservation posted under articles? There is no disagreement with your work. Your work is only one scenario of the global picture that I explored.

      • Nabil,
        If you want to create a “procedure to calculate global warming”, you may want to consider working through a complete example, and then map it to the empirical observations.

        I will also look at your articles. I understand how it goes with writing a book — the book is not the end state, there is always more to write about.

  10. A big problem now is that the IPCC is perceived to be pushing an agenda of Urgent Mitigation and its participants are aware of this. Any concessions they make (based on new data, say) will be treated as testimony against interest: “EVEN the alarmists at the IPCC now admit…” So the people in control of the process face pressure to shade the evidence to favor UM. But then the audience will note this shading, and the destructive cycle will continue.

    A similar syndrome sometimes pops up in budgeting exercises, where appropriators believe that requestors always pad their requests by x%, and so discount them by that much. Then requestors increase their padding to (x + y)%, and the appropriators eventually increase their deflator in response. It can also occur when soliciting expected task completion times on multi-disciplinary projects–everybody pads so as to be sure of meeting their goals, the project manager deflates their estimates, etc.

  11. Every thing they say is using the basic fact that CO2 is causing dangerous warming while the dangerous warming does not show up in data. A basic fact that does not show up in real data is not really a fact.

    If they can’t ever get their Theory and Models to match real life data, don’t ever do anything! When Models don’t work, they are based on flawed Theory.

    Forget the CO2 and look for real controls for earth temperature. Earth temperature for the most recent ten thousand years has a set point. Ice and Water has a set point.

    • It’s even worse, because the “real” data has been cooked, and they can’t even match that.

  12. “Environmental policy thinkers almost always begin with statist, top-down fixes, and quickly embrace crony capitalist ideas that involve subsidies for certain types of energy production, such as the ethanol abomination. Powerful economic lobbies then run with these ideas, perverting them until their environmental benefits take a back seat to their usefulness as tools of wealth capture.” – Walter Mead

    Mead captures a lot with one paragraph. It sounds like the political system is not delivering worthwhile results. It’s corrupted by crony capitalists, a term which I know what he means. Ethanol is good for corn prices, but it’s a substantial market interference, I’d even say a disruption. I’ve got a little common ground with Mead.

  13. Those FT comments from Judith Curry seem eminently sensible, perhaps we should hear more from her. :-)

  14. The IPCC is such a terrible idea. The very notion of consensus building….putting aside the obvious built in bias of a group who’s very existence depends on continued and preferably ever escalating alarmism…is antithetical to good science.

    Judith, I continue to not understand how you’re not outraged by some of this stuff…

    Look no further than that absurd fraudster Rajendra “voodoo science” Pachauri, to get a solid idea of the quality and integrity of their work.

  15. “The IPCC must address this because the climate deniers are…”

    We are now supposed to be denying climate itself if we don’t agree with them? Bizarre cognitive hideout.

  16. Yeah.

    Fascinating reading though FT is or once was, http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/ seems more pertinent.

    Especially since it answers all those questions people have about where POTUS is getting his facts in recent speeches.

    • rogercaiazza

      In addition to the crony capitalists quite rightly called out by Mead, there is another crony crowd of folks who have a stake in a particular action or policy. I submit that the “60-person Federal Advisory Committee (The “National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee” or NCADAC)” is comprised almost entirely that type of person, hereinafter the crony bureaucrats and academics (CBA). Very few if any of the members on the NCADAC have any reason to suggest that there might not be anything but catastrophe looming and the report reflects that bias. Sorry while it may explain where the POTUS talking points came from labeling any CAB product as fact is a stretch.

      • rogercaiazza | August 3, 2013 at 8:50 am |

        Slande.. erm, ‘submission’ noted.

        Proof?

        Evidence?

        Precedent?

        I use these questions advisedly, as by logical extension there is nothing in your diatribe to distinguish NCADAC from, for example, SCOTUS, or Congress, or every public servant in America.

        Are you by any chance related to Joel McCarthy?

        And do you make a routine practice of slandering the Supreme Court like this?

        You may want to look to how such contempt plays out loud.

      • rogercaiazza

        Let me clarify what I was trying to say. The 60 person NCADAC committee developed a document that I believe is the opposite of what Walter Mead suggested. He said “There are lots of ways this basic understanding still needs to be fleshed out, and it should be fleshed out in an environment of open, vigorous and contentious debate among scientists, without one side trying to throttle the others. The tendency in any establishment to suppress or marginalize dissent needs to be resisted.”

        The NCADC document does not acknowledge Mead’s “fiddly bits” and their uncertainty so I believe that the document is an inappropriate policy document to accept as the final word on the subject. Not because the numbers and facts are necessarily wrong but because there are other aspects that were not included, there are other interpretations for the same observations, and because some of the projections are based on unverifiable modeling results that I believe can be tweaked to provide different outcomes. In order to develop this policy correctly those possibilities have to be acknowledged.

        In response BartR said “So when you question Barack Obama on Unnatural Climate Kinetics due Forcing by human industry, you’re questioning, in a literal sense, the USA.” That argument had a familiar ring to it and then it hit me. “But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen! [Leads the Deltas out of the hearing, all humming the Star-Spangled Banner], Animal House (1978) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077975/quotes.

      • Heh, fat ego, drunk on IPCC Kool-Aid, and stupid about policy. C’est la vie!
        ==========

      • rogercaiazza | August 4, 2013 at 8:23 am |

        Walter Russell Mead?

        The same Walt Mead who throttlingly wrote:

        Global greens develop stupid, horrible, expensive, counterproductive climate policy agendas, and then try to use the imprimatur of “science” as a way to panic the world into adopting them. All too often, in other words, they fall prey to the temptation to make what the science says “clearer than truth” in Acheson’s phrase, in order to silence debate on their cockamamie policy fixes. A favorite tactic is to brand any dissent from the agenda as “anti-science.” It is not only a dishonest tactic; it’s a counterproductive one, generating new waves of skepticism with every exaggeration of fact.

        Not one to throw stones in glass houses, I acknowledge I’ve largely said many of the same words about all sides. Though I generally note that of the sides that most offend the principles Mead claims to champion, WUWT is the flagship in the twitosphere, the GOP has the lion’s share of political stupid, horrible, expensive, counterproductive policy agendas driven by panic they manufacture — and I’m saying this on the basis of principled conservatism — and let’s look at Inhofe and Cuccinelli’s modes of branding dissent by accusing honest, hard-working researchers of hoax, fraud and crime.

        Mead’s hypocrisy and dishonesty in a passage where he has the hubris to use the phrase dishonest tactic is nonetheless spot on. Where the media feasts on statements by scientists that in scientific circles are typical nerdy goofiness and turns them into apocalypse now, the media do foster waves of skepticism among an unreceptive audience that just doesn’t get geek culture, and hands ammunition to the enemies of the people who would wish to generate evidence-based policy grounded on scientific fact.

        So when some nutter puts out http://voices.yahoo.com/8000-turtle-doves-die-italy-linked-global-warming-7556196.html?cat=9 it does hurt any reasonable policymaker when they must explain rational and prudent policy responses to real scientific analyses. But the nutter who put out the OhnoesDovesAreDyingInItalyShriek! piece? A prize-winning poet and professional comedy writer, NOT A SCIENTIST.

        So, sure, scientists ought to learn to not be nerdy geeks in public speculating on life on Mars, or dead pigeons being the opening of the seventh seal, nor venture unresearched and unschooled into proposing daft policy in areas they do not understand. One can well imagine if Dyson’s science had this treatment in the media, we’d see headlines like, “Scientist Proposes Building Shell Around Sun To Solve Food Problem”, or Christy and Spencer, “Satellites Prove God Coming Back, Congress Should Approve Church In Orbit”. But really, no matter how carefully scientists measure their own words, there will always be those in media who will pave a road with their good intentions. Say, Walter Mead’s blog is Via Meadia.. isn’t that a play on words for “mediocre road”?

        I’d rather have outstanding science, such as NCADAC promotes built out of the input it called for from every American. You can do what you want to a few geeky nerds misrepresented in the press for the sake of selling column inches, but hold off the attacks on America.

        That Walter Mead?

    • Thanks for the reference. I wondered where that stuff came from, but you could almost get the opening paragraphs of the POTUS speech by cut and paste.

      • Tom Jones | August 3, 2013 at 10:01 am |

        Presidential speeches are carefully vetted beforehand by huge staff dedicated to presenting America in the best possible light. Frank Luntz used to be part of that process for George W. Bush. Others not unlike him are part of that process now.

        However, when it comes to a statement of figures and facts by POTUS, especially when they relate to the economy and the President is a former senior teacher of constitutional law at the University of Chicago and was a highly sought of counsel in economics law issues, you can believe official statements of the President are solidly founded.

        For ludicrous accusations from bloggers who didn’t finish high school, media talking heads who may have a degree in journalism or marketing possibly, corporate spokespeople with money at stake (money they got from the taxpayer, by the way), and foreign politicians to question the figures — heck, for CONGRESS committees to question the figures of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES publicly without having so much gumption as to check NCADAC reeks of a sort of sloppy vanity and stupid will to ignorance.

        You don’t need to agree with the figures or the speeches — you know, I disagree with Barack Obama about just about everything he’s ever said — to acknowledge the solidity of the foundation on which they are based. You can question that foundation. You can even contribute to it, because NCADAC bases its reports on what the people of the USA tell it, after thorough and balanced investigation.

        So when you question Barack Obama on Unnatural Climate Kinetics due Forcing by human industry, you’re questioning, in a literal sense, the USA.

        And the irony, some who do this hypocritically accuse Ed Snowden of treason.

      • Ah, speak to me of profit and earning’s ratios from on high. We need to understand this market thingie.
        ==============

  17. “This issue is so new that it was barely considered when the IPCC first met in 2009 to decide what would be in its next assessment and there is still no agreed name for it”

    No need to give it a special label because it is a natural consequence of quantum theory. As I have been saying for years. Why do people think that the global temperature rise that began in 1910 stopped at 0.5C in 1940? Don’t ask the IPCC because anything before about 1961 is below their horizon. And why did the temperatire fall and not rise again until 1970? See my wecsite underlined above. How long does it take for the oceans to redistribute higher N hemisphere temperature rise to the southern hemisphere?

    When the CO2 molecule exits the tailpipe or chimneyit is very hot and fully excited, so it rises in a plume of CO2, like a hot air balloon. As the plume rises it scatters and cools. Eventually the CO2 molecules fall back as they cool and lose excitation.When they reach an average of about 13C, they wiill be at a low level of excitation and their heat absorption will oniy be comparable with N2 and O2. Hence the ‘pause’.This is an entirely natural response to new CO2 in the atmosphere. Don’t expect the IPCC to investigate the excitation modes of the CO2 molecule. They were not set up as a scientific research organisation.

  18. michael hart

    “So what to do?”

    Maybe just try and get policy-makers to realize that trying to control atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and anthropogenic emissions in most parts of the world (China etc), is a strategy for losers.

    The few who wish can still argue one side or the other, but it will make no difference to what happens in the real world. The sooner the policy-makers understand that, the sooner everybody else can get on with something more useful instead.

  19. It’s a good article, though I wish they’d spent more time with our hostess.

    The IPCC basically has an impossible mission and they obviously struggle with parts of it. But they produce an interesting synthesis and have been right about a lot of things–and this comes from someone who has harped on the things they have done wrong.

    Things went really south for them when Pachauri took the reins. He’s a bad apple and should have been booted over his role in the Himalayan glacier affair. A televangelist with a penchant for writing pulp fiction really isn’t who you want running the IPCC, especially when his consultancy profits from the IPCC’s mistakes.

    The assessment reports probably should end now. Maybe we can get someone to write graphic novels… Mosher?

    • “The IPCC basically has an impossible mission and they obviously struggle with parts of it.”

      I think the IPCC has been accomplishing its mission with remarkable consistency since its inception. It has consistently provided a scientific gloss for the political goals of the politicians who created it. Think how close the whole CAGW movement came, right up until the collapse of Copenhagen. There is no reason to think the IPCC will change one iota.

      Pachauri’s only vice was being to blatant about it. Like his Clintonesque refusal to admit that the AR4 was loaded with grey literature references, despite the frequent claims it was the pure, peer reviewed gold standard, despite all evidence to the contrary.

      But I like the call for the end of the ARs, and by implication the IPCC. I second that emotion.

    • Steven Mosher

      look, you already talked me into one book.

      I’m leaning toward a script or play.

      No damn musicals.. haha

      Lets see: I’m thinking of a modern version of wycherly’s country wife. Set in Hong Kong. or maybe Gangnam…

      still struggling with Hangul

  20. “Well I am holding my breath to see what the IPCC has to say about the pause.”

    The IPCC will say about the pause what it is supposed to say about the pause. The IPCC is a political animal, conceived, created, staffed and funded for political reasons. The contributors are chosen by political appointees, and there is zero chance the AR5 will say anything on any issue that will undermine the progressive drive for decarbonization, ie. state control of the energy economy.

    The minutiae of what the IPCC says about the “pause,” its cause, its nature, its expected duration, are irrelevant. All that will matter is that the “consensus” will be that it in no way undermines the political agenda of the IPCC’s patrons.

    • Gary, you write “All that will matter is that the “consensus” will be that it in no way undermines the political agenda of the IPCC’s patrons.”

      I can find no reason to disagree with you. But at the same time, I think this rings like a cracked bell; it just doesn’t seem right. The IPCC is not some lifeless body; it is made up of individuals, mainly scientists, who have personalities and careers. Can all of these people afford to have their names associated with what, IMHO, is going to be a load of scientific nonsense?

      I dont know the answer to that question. But sooner or later, the scientific community, including our hostess, is going to unite and say “Enough is enough. This perversion of science has got to stop!”.

      • Jim Cripwell,

        It hasn’t bothered any of them so far.

        If you are going to wait for progressives to have an epiphany and admit being wrong about the most important issue of their careers, you are going to wait a very long time. Regardless of the facts.

        Look at those who have shown some independence, and yet inexorably returned to their tribe.

        A belief in your own superiority is key to becoming a progressive. You have to believe you and your fellow tribe members are capable of designing and running an economy for billions of people. Your position on progressive issues has been the proof, since grade school, that you were one of the elite.

        To admit that you have been wrong, on the very issues that were the source of your certainty in your own superiority, is just more than they can take.

        If and when the evidence against CAGW becomes undeniable, there will be no wailing or gnashing of teeth, no admissions of “we got it wrong.” They will just switch propaganda topics, to the next human caused catastrophe to come that requires their being given control over everyone else anyway.

        Ask our Brit friends how Tony Blair went about jettisoning pure socialism for the modest embrace of (temporary) capitalist reforms. The media kept trying to get him to admit that labor was wrong for embracing full blown socialism. It never happened. Christopher Hitches was another example of someone who decided his embrace of full throated progressivism was wrong, but that all those conservatives he had been condescending to for decades still weren’t right.

        There are rare exceptions, David Horowitz being one. But don’t expect any among the climate glitterati.

      • I had a childhood friend tell me that it doesn’t matter if AGW is true or not. Liberal/Progessiveism/Environmentalism and everything it proscribes is good whatever the case is.

        Andrew

      • Sorry ‘prescribes’.

        Andrew

      • Can all of these people afford to have their names associated with what, IMHO, is going to be a load of scientific nonsense?”

        There is safety in numbers. IF it all turns out to have been a load of scientific nonsense, well … it seemed so plausible to so many at the time that no one of them can fairly be blamed for believing it, can they?

      • Agency is working, just not for US…

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/04/fbi-informant-crimes-report/2613305/

        we supply the fields to work in so to speak.

  21. michael hart

    I’m surprised the FT even bothered to quote JC, judging by the general tenor of the article. It is so bad it could have been written at the BBC:-
    “Full steam ahead. We’re right. We’ve done nothing wrong. Ignore the deniers.”

    I think might be forgiven for thinking they were actually enjoying relaying yet ice more sheet scares:

    ‘Wadhams thinks…
    “It could even be this year or next year but not later than 2015 there won’t be any ice in the Arctic in the summer,” he said.’

    Well at least he has the courage to make a falsifiable prediction.

    As D. Springer might say, write that down, Pilita Clark, and remember to follow up on it by October 2015. Put that in your diary. Now.

    • Michael, Pilita Clark is an expatriate Australian who formerly worked for the Australian equivalent of The Grauniad, The Sydney Morning Herald.

      Sometimes they quote someone who is not 100% “on message” to give the appearance of balance, but with their stablemate, the Melbourne Age, their shrinking pool of readers can expect a steady diet of left wing politics, CAGW alarmism and subscription to every scary press release issued by environmentalists.

      So, no surprises, except that perhaps she still has Dr Curry wrongly indexed in the “friendly” list in her contact register.

  22. I thought the reference to the “fiddly bits”, such as the rate of waming was interesting.

    Isn’t the rate of change the key issue for climate policy? How can we now be told that it is no longer critical whether climate sensitivity is 0.8 deg C or 2.2 deg C for a doubling of CO2?

    Especially now that the sensitivity figure is being revised. Are we expected to forget that the alarm was exaggerated?

  23. “Wadhams says this only underlines the “very conservative” views of the body, which has far too many government scientists who are “in the business of really generating complacency”. “ – from the article.
    The body is the IPCC. Another perspective. Not doing enough.

  24. give up people, there isn’t any GLOBAL warming, get real and grow up!

  25. I opened the fridge and found a frozen Schrodinger’s cat. At the same time I note a giant leap upwards on the arctic sea ice extent.[Ice Area NORSEX SSM/I August 1st 2013]
    Conclusion.
    The world has just done a quantum leap sideways in space in the last few days and both the Arctic and Antarctic are getting less sun.
    At least it makes more sense than more heat deciding to go missing in the deep sea.
    PS will write further if the cat is alive or dead

  26. when it thaws out, that is.

    • AGW could exist if Human beings produced enough energy or CO2
      to increase the thermal load in the earths atmosphere. Alternative methods could also work e.g. painting/coating the earth’s surface black to absorb heat [or white if one wanted AG Cooling.]. The amount of heat coming in [and leaving the earth each day is on orders of magnitude so vastly different that human heat output is negligible and always will be.
      Steve Mosher believes that CO2 increase of itself must scientifically lead to warming [AGW]. and technically he is right except…
      one, there is no step by step link to show this is happening. The CO2 goes up but the temperature goes up down and sideways and never in kilter with the CO2 rise.Obviously there are “natural variations” but there is no link and he knows this.
      secondly there may be confounding reasons that lead to greater outgoing radiation when the CO2 levels go up. The extra heat retention may cause more cloud, thinner atmosphere. more reflectiveness of the atmosphere whatever that counter balances the pure physics of CO2 alone.
      If such forces exist [a little more likely than the deep heat in the oceans rubbish] He should be prepared to be more skeptical than he currently allows himself to be.
      PS better to drag the oceans than beat the bushes to find AGW believer’s at the moment Steve

      • Steven Mosher

        “Steve Mosher believes that CO2 increase of itself must scientifically lead to warming [AGW]. and technically he is right except…
        one, there is no step by step link to show this is happening. The CO2 goes up but the temperature goes up down and sideways and never in kilter with the CO2 rise.Obviously there are “natural variations” but there is no link and he knows this.”

        Huh.

        An increase of C02 will lead to increase in forcing. Period.

        Lets do an example: the speed of your car is due to many forces

        1. The acceleration forces.
        2. the drag forces
        3. the friction forces

        add to the list if you like.

        Now is it true that if you increase the horsepower your car will go faster.

        Well, if you hold all other forces constant, then yes.

        C02 is but ONE FORCING. the state of the climate is not due to one forcing.

      • “C02 is but ONE FORCING. the state of the climate is not due to one forcing.”

        Blasphemy I tell you! Blasphemy!

      • CO2 is but one forcing.

        Yeah.

        And it may be a teeny-weeny one, at that.

        And – oops! – we can’t measure it.

        But, dangnabit, we KNOW it’s gotta be there.

        Max

    • Ahh, you peeked. Now you’ll never know…

  27. Pingback: the pause | asoliduniverse

  28. The whole UN-sponsored system, designed to deal with global warming, has fallen apart.

    The IPCC was to provide the scientific evidence that would prompt politicians to act. Climate conferences were to hash out ambitious decisions. Kyoto Protocol was supposed to be the vehicle by which decisions were put in action.

    Kyoto is dead. Climate conferences – somebody compared them to a soccer tournament where all the teams play simultaneously and fans join the game when they feel like it. Chaos. The IPCC still churns out reports but for what purpose? It looks like each country will go their own way and in any case, important decisions regarding emissions are basically energy and economic decisions.

    Perhaps some organisation like the IEA should step up and start giving practical guidelines on how to best cut emissions in the long run, country by country, based on what is politically and economically viable in each country.

  29. Things fall apart ….

    A nest has fallen to the ground.
    Though so cunningly made It could not withstand
    The sudden Spring storm that brought it down
    From its niche in a tall pine.
    See how meticulously its maker has woven
    Each separate blade of grass in and out,
    Each blade brought in by air and stitched
    Together with cobweb by the small beak,
    The nest then shaped by the bird’s round breast
    And inlaid with its feathered down. Already
    Ants are investigating the broken
    Eggshells scattered on the ground.

    Bts

  30. Bob Watson speaks of “climate deniers”. Increasingly this seems to me to be more about chanting a mantra to help keep up the spirits of the co2 faithful or as an act of self hypnosis as their world crumbles about them. It is the co2 faithful who are in denial. The use of the “climate denier” phrase indicates that this man has a closed mind and is no longer capable of doing science.

    Walter Mead says that the overall long term trend “points to warming ahead”. He may be right but there remains no proof that this is anything other than natural variability.

    He also asks “Will it speed up, and by how much? “ which by implication is a form of denial since it is not moving and hasn’t done for 16+ years, he also doesn’t consider the possibility that temperatures may actually cool, which looks increasingly likely.

    Climate models are akin to attempting to model the performance of a racing car without an engine, and they know it. It’s just that these guys haven’t yet realised that they need to model a normal car with an engine, that has random excursions, bits fall off. A model based on one single predominant variable can never work in such a complex system as climate.

    But despite admitting that the system is complex, neither of these men show any sign of questioning their fundamental belief in the power of one trace element to overrule all other climate processes as they switch seamlessly into discussing policy. That is not science. And so they take the risk to their careers and reputations of ignoring the one thing that does have the power to overrule all other climate processes, the sun, which will in due course make their surprise and embarrassment all the greater.

    • “Walter Mead says that the overall long term trend “points to warming ahead”. He may be right but there remains no proof that this is anything other than natural variability.”

      Wow and YOU didn’t understand why you you people get called a climate deniers??

      • Lolwat.

        In that the world has been warming since the end of the little ice age and at much the same rate it is perhaps not unreasonable to assume that might continue if one were to ignore any other considerations. Any co2 effect is not significant enough to be worth considering.

        However, since the Sun shows rather convincing signs that it is entering a rest period there is next to no chance that warming will continue. To put that in statistical terms that the co2 faithful and you will understand – there is a 97% chance that Bob and Walter are both going to get caught with their pants down. (Which sadly translates into American English as a rather tamer expression than it is in UK English).

      • “In that the world has been warming since the end of the little ice age and at much the same rate it is perhaps not unreasonable to assume that might continue if one were to ignore any other considerations”

        Sorry but that IS unreasonable. You assume zero warming from rising greenhouse gases. Skydragon?

    • Bob Watson is still denying he ever said “the science is settled”.

      But he did go on record at a recent meteorological conference that we may see “greenhouse warming of 7C by 2100”

      (No record of what he was smoking at that time.)

      Max

  31. Walter Mead hits on an interesting point that is not developed. Why not use the usage of ethanol as fuel as an indicator of top-down policy effect on the biosphere, economy and on human health and happiness?
    One could examine how lobbyists managed to persuade the US government to invest in and subsidize the conversion of potential food into a liquid fuel. One could examine the economic impact of diverting corn from the international food market, the rising cost of food in the third world, the impact it has had on stability on governments in places like Egypt, the impact it has had on water usage in the USA and the cost benefit of the policy.
    A report on food to fuel, in the form of ethanol, could be a text book example of what top-down environmental protection policies have when implemented on a large scale, when performed without the input of ‘skeptics’.

    • The real issue concerns land use, not converting food to fuels. Arable land is the limited resource, not any specific product produced on that land. These two approaches may lead to the same conclusions but need not do that.

      • No Pekka, you say ‘The real issue concerns land use, not converting food to fuels.’, and I completely disagree.
        You ask you own damn questions and allow others to ask theirs.
        I am more interested in the effect that the switch has had on world food prices and the impact this has had in the Third World

      • You are all missing the point. The trend toward increasing use of ethanol can not be blamed on AGW mitigation. It started long ago during the energy crisis of the 1970’s, when the world started to realize that liquid fossil fuels were a finite resource. Ethanol and biofuels were known in the early 1900’s to be compatible with ICE vehicles, so the use of ethanol started to pick up steam in the last couple of decades as crude oil production plateaued.

        I grant you that a fraction of the rationale of going to ethanol can be apportioned to AGW mitigation (since ethanol is more carbon neutral than crude oil, but not quite completely carbon neutral because it has a bad EROEI). But I would really like to see you give a numerical fraction for the trend to ethanol based on liquid fossil fuel depletion and that due to AGW mitigation. For example, is it 90% based on liquid hydrocarbon shortfall and 10% based on AGW mitigation? No one knows. In the USA, if it wasn’t for the temporary uptick of crude due to the Bakken, the ethanol backlash would not be as strong.

        And I am not an advocate of ethanol either. It has an EROEI that may in fact be less than unity, which means we are just wasting more fossil fuel (especially natural gas used to create fertilizer) while needlessly depleting the nutrients in our agricultural lands, and not producing food.

        A crisis leads to questionable decisions, but these decisions can hypothetically get worked out.

      • You miss the point Web, I happen to give a damn about people, actual living human beings, and I do not like the idea that the US is diverting huge amounts of food into ethanolic fuels.
        I am interested in why the policies ended up the way they did, but you stupid arm-waving about the establishment of the policies is not only unhelpful, if completely wrong. We know exactly when the switch occurred and it sure as hell was not driven by ‘peak-oil’ fools like yourself:-

      • Doc, “I am interested in why the policies ended up the way they did,”

        Mandates. Originally, the corn to ethanol was to use surplus and lower quality corn. That would have been an efficient use of low quality products and stabilized corn prices. The geniuses from the linear no threshold land of Untopia tend to over look unintended consequences since they are always right or at least never responsible for their decisions.

      • Hey Doc,
        Maybe you want to plot that chart on a log scale. The transition to the amount of ethanol production we are seeing now takes time, and the infrastructure needed to support that grew over the course of decades.

        BTW, this is the history:
        http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/energy/biofuels/energy-briefs/history-of-ethanol-production-and-policy

        “Today’s ethanol industry began in the 1970s when petroleum-based fuel became expensive and environmental concerns involving leaded gasoline created a need for an octane. Corn became the predominant feedstock for ethanol production because of its abundance and ease of transformation into alcohol. Federal and state subsidies for ethanol helped keep the fuel in production when ethanol prices fell with crude oil and gasoline prices in the early 1980s. This also helped spawn the “Minnesota Model” for ethanol production, in which farmers began producing ethanol to add value to their corn (Bevill, 2008). The Minnesota Model was an agreement between local public and private parties who work to keep profits in the community by providing jobs (and the economic benefits associated with population) and adding value to agricultural products while strengthening rural communities. Ethanol’s use as an oxygenate to control carbon monoxide emissions, encouraged increased production of the fuel through the decade and into the 1990s.”

        The one side benefit that is easy to forget is that feed is somewhat of a byproduct of the process. So if the ethanol refinement is done right then the “remaining stillage then undergoes a different process to produce a highly nutritious livestock feed”.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_ethanol
        They still have to return the depleted minerals to the soil, which is the enduring problem with intensive agriculture.

      • Cappy said:


        The geniuses from the linear no threshold land of Untopia tend to over look unintended consequences since they are always right or at least never responsible for their decisions.

        Is there nothing that you can’t misinterpet?

        Note the historical perspective:

        “Today’s ethanol industry began in the 1970s when petroleum-based fuel became expensive and environmental concerns involving leaded gasoline created a need for an octane.”

        So we got the lead out and your supposed “unintended consequence” turned into a reduction in violent crime caused by the near elimination of lead poisoning in the children born during the ensuing decades. Read all about it here:
        http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

        Environmentalists care more about the future than you ignorant rednecks from the south.

        BTW, since you brought up “Untopia”, guess where Norman Borlaug hails from?

      • Webster, environmental concerns of leaded fuel were a back burner issue in the 70s. With the clean air act and smog the performance of catalytic converters where a larger issue. Leaded gas coated the converters. Lead based paint was the environmental issue of the day. You might want to read up on what lead in gasoline was actually used for,
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiknock_agent
        Alcohol additives were used for more complete combustion, lead for anti-knock.

        The 70s gas shortage also lead to coal to liquid fuels test plant including carbon dioxide separation that is used for oil well injection. That was a bit of a political coup. With the US reserves of coal, OPEC changed their minds. It was a profit thing.

      • The phaseout was supposed to start in 1972. They used to make a big deal out of using leaded fuel only in cars made before ~1971. The valve seats had to have lead.

      • ” Lead based paint was the environmental issue of the day.”

        And you evidently chewed on your share of it. Note the historical perspective:

        “Today’s ethanol industry began in the 1970s when petroleum-based fuel became expensive and environmental concerns involving leaded gasoline created a need for an octane.”

        So we got the lead out of paint and out of gasoline and converted to catalytic converters and your supposed “unintended consequence” turned into a reduction in violent crime caused by the near elimination of lead poisoning in the children born during the ensuing decades and the use of catalytic converters helped to reduce the smog and pollution in many parts of the world.

        Why did you call your blog “Redneck Physics”? Is it because you want to mock science and environmentalism and get your jollies that way? There is something seriously wrong with you Cappy.

      • Webster, “When we began our work on the regulations, there were two major issues related to lead in gasoline. First, lead inactivated catalytic converters. These devices had become the technology of choice for new automobiles to achieve U.S. EPA air pollution standards for carbon monoxide and photochemical oxidants. This required a separate U.S. EPA regulation to provide essentially lead-free gasoline (no more than 0.05 g/gal, vs. “up to” 4 g/gal in leaded gasoline) for all new automobiles with catalytic converters (U.S. EPA 1973a). Second, there was a health basis to reduce lead in gasoline for existing automobiles to accelerate reduction of air lead levels beyond that achievable by lengthy phase-out of older vehicles using leaded gasoline.”

        “In the 1950s and 1960s, the clinical presentation of lead poisoning in children was associated primarily with lead paint exposure, and major efforts were being made to address the lead paint exposure problem during the 1960s and 1970s. Lead poisoning in children was characterized by overt signs and symptoms, including acute and chronic encephalopathy, peripheral neuropathy, nephropathy, anemia, abdominal pain, and X-ray evidence of lead-containing paint chips in the abdomen.”

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721861/

      • Yes Cappy, you don’t need to remind us that southern rednecks were the last people to be convinced that lead was poisonous, and it was a good idea to remove lead from products.

        There are still not-well-publicized situations where lead enters the environment, such as lead weights added to balancing wheels
        http://www.leadfreewheels.org/problem.shtml

        These weights fall off, litter the road and then get ground up into lead dust.

        I maintain my own carbon-fiber road bicycles and find it hideous to even think of adding lead weights to a wheel to balance it.

      • By my comment on land use I mean that it’s possible to produce both food and fuel if suitable arable land is available. It’s also possible to use arable land in the production of something that’s not edible.

        The land area of the Earth is fixed. How that’s allocated to different uses is important. When certain area is allocated to fuel production the edibility of the agricultural product is not a relevant question, but the efficiency of the chosen path certainly is.

        I’m not an advocate of ethanol production, or of any other way of producing biofuels inefficiently. Taking such land areas to fuel production that would be more valuable in other uses, including specifically also food production, is a wrong choice.

      • Webster, “Yes Cappy, you don’t need to remind us that southern rednecks were the last people to be convinced that lead was poisonous, and it was a good idea to remove lead from products.”

        Actually, southern rednecks were well aware of lead poisoning from a variety of sources long before it was recognized as a problem by the EPA. No real redneck moonshiner would think of using cheap lead solder. Rednecks are also aware of issues with methanol. The quotes and links I provided are by Dr Kenneth Bridbord and David Hansen, “This article describes the personal experience and perspective of the authors, who had primary responsibility for drafting the initial health-based regulation limiting lead content of gasoline during the early 1970s while employed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

        I thought that perhaps the people that were involved with writing the unleaded gas regulation might have a better recollection of the sequence of events than Mother Earth News. Silly me.

        “One argument against the U.S. EPA health-based regulation was that there might be no need for a health-based standard because catalytic converters, required to meet automotive emission standards, necessitated use of lead-free gasoline in any case.”

      • “Rednecks are also aware of issues with methanol. “

        Yea, seeing as rednecks can’t read labels, they have to learn the stuff is poisonous the hard way.

        This is all rather pointless because we all know that the flow of tax money goes from Blue states to RedNeck states. That is the imbalance between north and south when it comes to competence.

      • We never ate our corn-belt corn, nor did anybody else. Cows and pigs were the big consumers.

        ethanol and corn prices

      • JCH, “We never ate our corn-belt corn, nor did anybody else. Cows and pigs were the big consumers. ”

        Right, but the corn that is sold might be used for more. http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/corn/trade.aspx#.Uf1qvD_YPYc

        With NAFTA we exported more corn and imported more corn consumers.

        http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/pubs/wp/03-06-naftacorn.pdf
        According to that report the US produces 40% of world corn and 66% of world corn exports. Corn to ethanol doesn’t hurt the US one bit, but it appears to have a global impact. Maybe US corn should be part of the global commons? Get BartR to start paying his corn tax.

      • “This also helped spawn the “Minnesota Model” for ethanol production, in which farmers began producing ethanol to add value to their corn (Bevill, 2008). “…and adding value to agricultural products while strengthening rural communities.“ – from Web’s remark and NDSU.

        Some points on how Minnesota got to where it produces ethanol. Adding value. A response to low crop prices. Adding value. A response to people leaving rural areas for lack of jobs. With one result being the consolidation of school districts due to a drop in the number of children to attend them. The South and Western parts of Minnesota are farmland. Almost everyone has farming somewhere in their family background. Ethanol was part, save the rural communities. Many of our politicians realize this bias we have towards protecting our farmers and their towns. With Minnesota and other Corn belt states, you’ll find that their Federal Representatives and Senators provide almost uniform support for Ethanol.

        If you have reservations about Ethanol, which I do, these are some of the issues to deal with. It’s part of our economy, it’s emotional. To reign in Ethanol would cause a lot of changes to the status quo.

        Ethanol trivia: When you drive past an operating Ethanol plant, it can smell like bread baking. The moonshine is usually loaded onto train tank cars for transport. To prevent people from drinking it, it is spiked with ironically, gasoline. In the Minnesota farming tradition, some Ethanol plants are co-ops, though Koch Industries seems to have acquired some of them.

        As my Father said, we love those hippies. They keep finding new ways to give us money.

      • captdallas 0.8 or less | August 3, 2013 at 4:52 pm |

        Haven’t Americans subsidized corn enough for you yet through taxes?

    • To the auditor’s eye view of the economic impacts of ethanol, you could also add an economic comparison of different co2 reduction strategies, for instance a comparison between building windmills and replacing an aged fleet of coal fired generators with modern far more efficient super critical coal fired generators.

      The green zealots belief that things like windmills are the best way to reduce co2 would be cruelly exposed by such an exercise in accounting. Modernising a coal fired plant will reduce co2 by far more than any wind farm and cost less.

      There are other efficiency technologies which have been neglected such as heat pumps. Money spent on promoting their use would reduce co2 and again do so at less cost than windmills.

      No doubt there any other examples, perhaps one of which is the waste from nuclear power plants which we now have to contain for thousands of years, pointlessly. The old nuclear plants that produced that waste only extracted 5% of the energy from the fuel, modern nuclear plants can extract a high proportion of the energy from that early waste product and in the process produce a far less dangerous form of waste which will only have to contained for tens of years instead of thousands.

    • “Food is Power. We use it to change behavior. Some may call that bribery. We do not apologize.”

      Catherine Bertini 1995

      http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Catherine.Bertini.Quote.C6CD

      http://www.un.org/esa/gopher-data/conf/fwcw/conf/una/950906150325.txt

      http://proliberty.com/observer/20000207.htm

      Study of ETOH politics, food vs fuel is a good idea Doc as you suggested, however Agriculture/food issues also have a much broader context, a huge field in itself.

  32. John Carpenter

    “How can we accelerate the shift from an industrial economy to an information economy in ways that allow the economy to grow and living standards to rise without making the environment worse off.”

    I don’t think you can. Industry is what drives the economy by creating real wealth, tangible goods that have value and perform useful tasks. An information economy can’t do that and therefore cannot substitute an industrial economy. The only other economy that creates real wealth is agriculture. We have to work at making industrial economy more environmentally friendly. Heh, it’s been happening for decades now, why stop?

  33. May be, the pause is going to be acknowledged (finally) by the IPCC:

    “there is also no question that it would appear that the rate of change in the last decade or so is definitely slower than the previous two decades.”
    “The IPCC must address this because the climate deniers are linking on to this as a reason to say we’ve got all the science wrong. So I think one of the very most important issues is indeed for them to address this issue absolutely head on.”

    “The extent of this slowdown depends on how one measures it. Each of the past three decades has been warmer than the previous one and the long-term trend since the 1850s clearly shows a steady temperature rise. However, the average rate of warming was 0.17C per decade between 1970 and 1998 and just 0.04C per decade from 1998 to 2012, according to one of the main global temperature data sets.”

  34. JC

    It was only a year ago that David Rose and I were widely chastised in the blogosphere for talking about the pause.

    That proves the alarmists are not about the match between theory and observation, or the science.

  35. Hi Judy

    The IPCC has also been neglecting other human climate forcings as well as not considering other climate assessment metrics; e. g. see

    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union. http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/files/2009/12/r-354.pdf

    National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.http://www.nap.edu/openbook/0309095069/html/

    Best Regards

    Roger Sr.

  36. > I recommend dropping the consensus seeking approach.

    Some, but not me, might hope that this recommendation does not make anyone participate in an advocacy effort.

    • One thing many people are overlooking in this discussion is that consensus is an inevitable state, a truism, a tautological condition. Whatever outcome or view evolves or is sought or is built or is reached or people accept or come to terms with or learn to live with or settle for or resign themselves to or become zealous fans of or ardent disputants about, that state of knowledge is the consensus of the moment.

      You can get there by accident, you can get there by design, or you can get there by duplicity.

      Frank Luntz advocates duplicity. The IPCC advocates forthright and honest designed structured communication of the best observations and inferences available through a formal system of reports. However flawed the IPCC mode is, it also has a commitment to continuous improvement. Where once it wasn’t open, now it is.

      Frank Luntz’ commitment to continuous improvement of finding the best way to lie with euphemisms and sophistry through focus groups and black hat marketing, while it’s admirable in a twisted way, is still a commitment to consensus enforcement by deception.

      You don’t have a choice about consensus happening; you can choose whether your future consensus is honest and produced by people with a commitment to starting from the observations and applying inference despite every instinct of bias, or dishonestly bought and packaged and rammed down your throat by advanced and skillfully wrought cheap tricks.

      To me, the naïve ‘objective’ scientist who thinks it’s ‘tribal’ to resist professional liars conniving their way into discussions of science is a figure of scorn and ridicule on both sides. At least the scientific community is openly scornful. The political lobbying community is cunning enough to hide their contempt behind head patting and back slapping and polite invitations to perform the expected role in the charade.. oh, excuse me, to “engage in the debate”.

      • > to “engage in the debate”.

        Even this could be replaced by converging toward agreed truth:

        Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you now because I never stopped dawdling like an eight-year-old on a spring morning on his way to school. Anything can make me stop and look and wonder, and sometimes learn. I am a very happy man. Thank you.

        — Dr. Honnicker

  37. Webhub says: “Today’s ethanol industry began in the 1970s when petroleum-based fuel became expensive and environmental concerns involving leaded gasoline created a need for an octane.”

    I think your statement may be misleading. I don’t remember any issues with pricing during the 70’s. I did do a quick lookup on the history of ethanol use.

    1940’s to late 1970’s Virtually no commercial fuel ethanol was sold to the general public in the U.S. – due to the low price of gasoline fuel.

    1975 U.S. begins to phase out lead in gasoline. MTBE eventually replaced lead.
    Note: Later, between 2004 to 2006, MTBE banned in almost all states, due to groundwater contamination and health risks.

    1980’s Oxygenates added to gasoline included MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether – made from natural gas and petroleum) and ETBE (Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether – made from ethanol and petroleum).

    1988 Denver, Colorado, was the first state to mandate ethanol oxygenates fuels for winter use to control carbon monoxide emissions. Other cities soon followed.

    http://www.fuel-testers.com/ethanol_fuel_history.html

    https://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/facts/2012_fotw741.html

    As you can see pricing was never an issue at least not in the minds of poor people ( I was one of them) who put gas in their cars. Our biggest threat came during the embargo that caused huge gas lines.

    • ” Our biggest threat came during the embargo that caused huge gas lines.”

      Which was one of the first indicators to the vast american public and global citizens (not the clueless 3%) that the supply of crude oil was not bottomless.

      It has been variants of a No Regrets policy toward moving to other sources of liquid fuel since then.

      • The only thing that really surprises me about the peak oilers is that, after 40 years of failed predictions and projections, and with no end of oil in sight, they still think their dire warnings are listened to by anyone other then the other true believers.

      • 40 years of on-target projections, as the vast majority of oil-producing countries are well past peak.

        In 2009, 40 of 54 countries were past peak and declining, 4 of 54 were showing signs of recovery after peaking.
        http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5576
        This number has decreased as Sudan is past peak.
        It’s about the math.

  38. The FT article says that Peter Wadhams is to be a Review Editor on AR5. (I see he is listed as a Review Editor for Chapter 1 of WG1 here http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ar5/ar5_authors_review_editors_updated.pdf)

    From the IPCC website “The role of Review Editors is to ensure that all substantive expert and government review comments are afforded appropriate consideration by the Core Writing Team.”

    Given Wadhams’ strong opinions that previous IPCC reports have not been alarmist enough, it will be interesting to see how he fulfils that role.

  39. “Wadhams says this only underlines the “very conservative” views of the body, which has far too many government scientists who are “in the business of really generating complacency”. “ – from the article. Looking at Wadham’s statement again, it’s the word Complacency he used.
    “A feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of, or unconcerned with, unpleasant realities or harmful possibilities.”

    With the IPCC in the middle, he and some like thinkers are on one side and the skeptics are on the other. From this skeptic’s point of view, I can see some complacency at the IPCC as well. The security of being near the middle of the bell curve of opinions on AGW. They may ask themselves, have we strayed too far from the mean? Is the IPCC seeing the value of a moderating role as compared to a leading one?

    Unpleasant realities or harmful possibilities. The economic costs of, switching prematurely to higher cost energy, and implementing mitigation responses. Insufficient emphasis being given to the issue of deforestation. The IPCCs own impact on the integrity of Science.

  40. Web. Lead weights are metallic lead non poisonous even when ground up. Lead paint and exhausts are lead compounds which are poisonous. Please feel free to put lead in your bike wheels and in your saddlebags.

  41. Steve. Thanks, got it.

  42. “But errors aside, the pattern seems even clearer now than it did a few years ago: the overall, long-term trend, notwithstanding with a more recent “hiatus” or “pause” as climate researchers are calling it, points to rising temperatures ahead. ”

    I would say because we have been recently leaving the Little Ice Age period, and most of last 10,000 years tends to be warmer, that long term favors warming. But I don’t think is it even clearer we continue warming within the next couple decades, nor does it seem we should see rapid warming. I think cooling in arctic is plausible within decades, despite having arctic treelines being much higher within last 10,000 years.

    I remember reading some article about 10 tens ago, than within 50 years the glaciers formed in temperate zones during Little Ice Age will have completely melted. I think modern article would say the same thing withoin 50 year from now, or even longer. Which seems one could translate this to be saying that within 50 years, we will have completely left The Little Ice Age period. So it’s true that by 1850 there is line you draw for the end of Little Age Ice. Or the dramatic ending can be marked at 1850, but it seems to me parts of the Little Ice Age, still linger and will continue to remain for decades into the future.

    • Oh also:
      “The problems that serious critics of the IPCC have had with its work isn’t about getting “all the science wrong.” To be sure, there were some flaws and errors of scientific fact in the last IPCC report, and there will certainly be errors (though hopefully fewer and less tendentious ones) in this report. But errors aside,”

      The problem wasn’t just errors, all “errors” would things like Himalayas will melt by 2035. It’s not just errors but rather too much influence by activists or kooks.
      Who currently are there and are probably making any remaining sane person’s work longer and harder.
      So rather than last IPCC report, it may be last, vaguely serious attempt at making a IPCC report. And the later reports should be much easier to do- main work being in the words chosen to sell their nonsense.

      “How do we help China and India move from coal to less carbon-intensive forms of energy use. How do we accelerate the US shift from coal to cleaner natural gas?”

      With China and India, the US could assist developer of cheaper portable nuclear reactor. I seems the regulatory hurtles are main obstacle to doing this rather than strictly a technological problem. So since it’s governmental caused problem, the government is in an unique position to resolve such problems.
      Same goes with natural gas, there is lots of public land in which there is natural gas available, and since it is a government caused problem, again a government can resolve it.
      And if and when the government tries solve problems it’s creating, it might also see if law and regulatory improvement can enable to exploitation of methane hydrate deposits can be utilized. The simple fact is that private land was used to create the increased production of natural gas in US.
      And the ocean is own/controlled mostly by the government- so ocean use of methane hydrate deposits is a big ball in government court, and wise governance is employed, this could a major source of low CO2 emission
      energy.
      Also stop preventing Keystone pipeline from being constructed.

  43. Rather appalling article in the FT.

    You wouldn’t believe that Antarctic sea ice is setting high records almost daily now.
    You would probably think that Stocker is not only a VERY likable person but also an extremely renown scientist.
    That sceptics are called Beck, Moncton and Inhofe, and that these guys are responsible for criticism of the hockey stick.
    You would have to read a long way to arrive at someone called Judith Curry, but only to find her reasoning getting completely distorted and reversed subsequently by presenting a guy deploring that catastrophic sea level fiction would be underrated in the next report.

  44. it seems clear to us that the fundamental case for global warming is solid.

    So they’ve sorted out clouds and feedback while I was away on holiday!
    Wonderful news.

  45. Looked at Pilita Clark. She has a nice picture of you. Who is Pete Rezac? From what Pilita says it looks like AR5 is going to be more of the same, with one exception: they promise to explain the PAUSE. Interestingly, Pilita says that the halt in warming became known to the people compiling the AR4 report two years before the report was issued but there is nothing in the report about this. I have seen various explanations of the pause, all designed to get rid of this pesky thing. Among them is a suggestion that the warming meant to be greenhouse warming is hiding in the ocean bottom. A little hard to imagine how OLR, instead of being absorbed, is reflected down and dives to the bottom of the sea. There is actually no secret about what the pause is: it is proof that OLR is simply not absorbed by atmospheric carbon dioxide. If you want an explanation of why not, Miskolczi theory has it. The problem is that these guys pretend it does not exist for the simple reason that they don’t like what it tells them about global warming. So far they have successfully evaded having to deal with it but nature has thrown a curveball that cannot be explained without invoking Miskolczi. But once you agree that the greenhouse really does not exist it opens a Pandora;s box for them.From Miskolczi it follows that all previous warmings claimed to have been caused by carbon dioxide greenhouse effect are simply natural warmings, misidentified. And it also turns out that previous data that told us of the absence of the greenhouse effect do exist but they have been totally ignored. Chief among them is the Keeling curve and and its backward extensions by ice core measurements. More specifically, this has to do with how a greenhouse warming gets started. Since the beginning of the twentieth century there have been four occasions where a warming was observed to begin suddenly. They were the Arctic warming at the turn of the twentieth century, the early century warming in 1910, the Great Pacific Climate Shift about 1976, and the step warming that followed the 1998 super El Nino. There was no parallel increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide when any of these warmings began and therefore it is impossible that any of them were caused by the greenhouse effect. That is because the IR absorbance of carbon dioxide is a property of the gas and cannot be changed. If you want to start a greenhouse warming laws of nature require that you must put more absorbing molecules into the air, and this simply did not happen. I explained that in my paper about the Arctic warming but apparently those so-called leading climate scientist just don’t bother to read scientific literature in their own field. Or else, they just refuse to listen to outside no-nothing denialists. In either case, what I described is what the law says and to claim any of these warmings as a greenhouse warming is a violation of the law. The greenhouse theory of carbon dioxide itself is also unlawful and must be replaced by the Miskolczi theory, the only theory that correctly describes the behavior of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Pilita says that Renate Christ from the IPCC secretariat sent a letter to all the governments that commission the panel’s reports asking them to consider “the future of the IPCC” in time for a meeting to be held in October in the Georgian city of Batumi. I suggest that the Miskolczi theory and its consequences should be number one on the agenda for this meeting.

  46. Judith Curry

    In your critique of the IPCC approach, you argue “for greater attention to be paid to natural variability”.

    Problem is, understanding natural climate forcing or variability is not part of the IPCC charter, as it understands it:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf

    “The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”

    Obviously (as you have pointed out), one can only begin to understand “human-induced climate change” and its impacts once one has a thorough knowledge of natural factors that influence climate, but this fact has somehow escaped IPCC in its myopic fixation on human greenhouse gases as the principal driver of climate.

    You also suggest:

    I recommend dropping the consensus seeking approach.

    This approach is a cornerstone of the IPCC brief.

    “In taking decisions, and approving, adopting and accepting reports, the Panel, its Working Groups and any Task Forces shall use all best endeavours to reach consensus.”

    It is thus very unlikely IMO that the IPCC will “drop the consensus seeking approach”.

    Without this manufactured consensus, IPCC really has very little to offer the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the international environmental treaty formed in 1992 to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

    So it appears to me that the only way to achieve these objectives is to scrap the IPCC and start from scratch with a smaller body of truly objective scientists (not under the UN, who has its own axe to grind) who are not bound to a manufactured consensus and limited to the study of human-induced climate change and its impacts.

    But this whole field has gotten so overwhelmingly political (developing into a multi-billion dollar big business along the way), that it is doubtful in my mind that this will ever happen.

    Too bad for science.

    Max

    • No worries, Max; bloggery’s the balm.
      ============

    • Also, Max, it was a predictable slam dunk. Natural variability cannot be manipulated nor used to empower, CO2 demonization can be used for both.

      What the Hell did we expect but this Hell?
      ================

    • Very little would change just by scrapping the IPCC. The only real change would perhaps concern the work of those people who now spend months or even years in preparing the next assessment report.

      The UNFCCC process does presently refer to IPCC reports, but is not at all dependent on those reports. The real political force are those politicians who try to reach results in the UNFCCC meetings and those voters who support those politicians. They would have scientific reports to back their views even without IPCC.

      The task of IPCC is, indeed, to report on AGW. Reading the IPCC reports it clear that natural variability is being considered as a factor that makes the task much more difficult. Natural variability discussed in innumerable places and all conclusions are strongly affected by it. Take just as an example those graphs where the temperature variations until 1950 are explained by that. Still it’s quit possible, and even likely, that there’s much to improve on that front.

      The consensus mentioned in the chapter is consensus about the present state of science. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as that’s done honestly. To what extent IPCC work is a source of “wrong consensus” is far from well understood.

      IPCC has most influence in smaller countries that cannot maintain independent knowledge about issues covered by IPCC. It’s role is surely much less in US. The same politically active scientists who now refer to IPCC reports would present the same views formulating their justification a little differently if the IPCC reports were not available. Furthermore we see often that they are not really happy with the conclusions of IPCC saying that IPCC belittles the problems.

  47. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  48. When the science is being moulded around the policy there is little point in the science. They don’t need to address the pause they need to admit that they don’t know as much as they thought so we can stop this runaway policy train from doing more harm than good. All the zealots need thrown out of the process.

  49. Conclusion:

    The problem with the UN’s IPCC and their science advisors was apparent today as I sat outside at the crack of dawn on 5 Aug 2013, another unusually cool August morning.

    Total loss of contact with reality from living in the ego-inflating space between their own ears !

    That is why farmers and ordinary laborers appear to be smarter than modern scientists giving each other
    awards and public funds for useless models of reality.

  50. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen

    I interviewed Bob Watson in New York in the early1990s when doing ESRC research on the science and politics of the IPCC, He was chairman. I suggested that he introduced the idea of teh German Enquete Com mission to publish majority and minority reports rather than consensus. We
    discussed this but he never implemented though he liked the idea. I think I know why; in the British system only consensus reports are taken seriously by policy-makers.

    died t

    discussed this for a while and he liked the idea but never implemented it. I wonder why but heard that under the British Parliamentary system only consensus report were taken seriosuly by policy-makers. The IPC might have saved itself a lot of trouble if it had adotp