Is climate change scientific or political?

I’m confused. I’ve had a few lengthy discussions with an ex-staffer of the Australian Labor Party about Climate Change (which had been conveniently rebranded after Global Warming did not stack up in the face of increasing snowstorms). He was presenting the abatement strategies of the major political parties…

When I instead presented him with material that says, “actually, I don’t think this is actually occurring…”

he was speechless.

I’m a “heretic”, obviously… a “denier” (reminiscent of “Holocaust denier” lol, what a horrible and fallactious ad hominem slur)

Which brings me to the question… is there heresy in science?

I was waiting for him to give me a mathematically verifiable reason about the need and effect of Climate Change  abatement.  Instead he goes into mute shock that I don’t “believe” in climate change like he does, and he stops talking to me.

I’d like to think I am fairly well versed in the scientific method, in both its principles, the mathematics and the nepotism that can creep into it.  I see many warning signs in climate science but, since “the science is settled”, nobody wants to talk mathematics (the language of science) anymore… everyone wants to talk politics.

Here are the main reasons I am very suspicious about this debate:

  • When the word “belief” comes into a scientific debate, I am very worried! When the words “prove” and “fact” are bandied around science, I am also very worried!
  • Models and extrapolation are not evidence.  When the model does not conform to the real world, the model on which the hypothesis becomes invalid (hence the hypothesis is invalid!).  The current “elephant in the room” is the data that shows a disconnect between carbon dioxide emissions and a plateau in temperature.
  • Data can be manipulated to present a particular result, so access to the raw, unnormalised data is important for auditing particular conclusions, or else mathematical tricks can be used to “hide the decline.”
  • Proxy data (such as tree rings) is even easier to manipulate than raw data.
  • Detailed information must be provided on the method of experiment, i.e. where measurements were taken, how they were taken, how the averaged values were derived and any homogenisation that was done to the raw data.  If this data is denied Freedom of Information disclosure for “proprietary” or other reasons, the experiments should be ruled invalid until everything is submitted for audit.
  • Conclusions should be based on a hypothesis that should be verifiable by a repeatable experiment, and the result should be demonstrated a 3 standard deviation confidence level as statistically significant.
  • There is a cadre of people who have a vested interest in continuing the climate change industry, such as politicians up for re-election and scientists interviewing to receive grants on fashionable topics.  Ergo, we have to take the human element and vested interest out of the debate.
  • I am very worried when someone says, “the science is settled” to shut down debate and prevent the audit or revision in scientific results.

For me, this chart is the nail in the coffin, where no statistically significant warming has occurred despite skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions:

At current, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature initiative is doing a re-evaluation of the data and has conclusions which, at current, are leaning towards supporting Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).  It remains to be seen, however, that this study must complete peer review and, furthermore, convince climate skeptics through transparency that the mathematics is correct.

The science definitely isn’t settled- jury is still out.

And the last straw- apparently the climate change advocates control the debate, where in their moralism, “talking about weather is not climate” yet “a hot day is climate change.”  They want to set up a self-fulfilling prophesy where they have it both ways.
The carpet-baggers are laughing all the way to the bank…

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Categories: Politics, Law, Science, Technology

Author:Richard Lee

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35 Comments on “Is climate change scientific or political?”

  1. March 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Fine piece, Mr. Lee. But although “cadre” is appropriately used, I think it’s worse than that. I think it’s a cabal.

    But then again, I’m one of those heretical deniers on the Homeland Security watchlist.

  2. Josh Martin
    March 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Suggest you leave it to the scientists Richard or at least pick up a paper other than the the Herald Sun.

    Let me ask the readers this one question. If you were having problems with your heart would you go and see an accountant or a heart surgeon? Unfortunately in this case Richard you are just the accountant.

    • March 18, 2013 at 5:38 am #

      In fact, your response reminds me of the bleat, “four legs good two legs bad”

      I’m happy for someone to stand up and prove me wrong with an actual argument rather than hand waving

      • March 18, 2013 at 5:54 am #

        More fun when “models” are touted as evidence:

        This article

        P 51 of this paper

        Feel free to check the data presented and see whether or not you accept the conclusion. ad hominem attacks on the credentials of the authors is falacious and not an acceptable argument

  3. March 18, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” – Albert Einstein

    I don’t think you understand how science works, Josh. The burden of proof is on the climate scientists, and they have conclusively failed to prove a link between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

    Carbon dioxide has been increasing exponentially while there has not been statistically significant warming for 16 years.

    So when you speak of accountants, what of the boy who told the emperor the bleeding obvious when he said, “You have no clothes!” Does the boy being a boy make him unqualified to say such a statement?

    So rather than feigning “I am an accountant”, get informed. You don’t need to be a heart surgeon to look carefully at scientific matters and start asking questions- I’m not asking anyone to pretend to be an expert, I’m asking everyone to become the child that asks the obvious. Ask questions, rather than accepting blindly- skepticism is the cornerstone of science.

    In fact, a forensic accountant might be very useful if he has a grasp of statistics and is willing to look over the scientific data to audit it and the conclusions based on that data. Badly run experiments occur all the time and, when the person giving you the grant has a political leaning, he might decide not to fund your paper entitled, “disproving the link between global warming and CO2 emissions”

  4. Josh Martin
    March 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Richard it is clear that you indeed fail to understand the science. Your comment regarding there being no statistically significant warming for the past 16 years is evidence of this fact. Climate change in not only more encompassing than just temperature rise but to stand back and look at it over a period of the past 16 years is a clear indication that have failed to grasp the concept of climate change at all. I have studied science extensively and work in the field. You are an accountant. This is fact. Stating that scientist have conclusively failed to demonstrate a link between carbon dioxide and temperature is a blatant lie. I actually think you misunderstand the science altogether. It works like this…

    Historically, the initial changes in temperature during are explained by changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, which affects the amount of seasonal sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface. In the case of warming, the lag between temperature and CO2 is explained as follows: as ocean temperatures rise, oceans release CO2 into the atmosphere. In turn, this release amplifies the warming trend, leading to yet more CO2 being released. In other words, increasing CO2 levels become both the cause and effect of further warming. This positive feedback is necessary to trigger the shifts between glacials and interglacials as the effect of orbital changes is too weak to cause such variation. Additional positive feedbacks which play an important role in this process include other greenhouse gases, and changes in ice sheet cover and vegetation patterns. This processes is occurs naturally. Now let’s think about anthropocentric increase in CO2. By pumping as much CO2 in to the atmosphere we are going to trigger and drastically enhance this feedback mechanism. Climate change is not simply a matter of global warming. It leads to all sorts of changes including an increase in the intensity and frequency and extreme weather event e.g flooding, bushing fires, tropical cyclones etc. This is science

    The fact is there is a consensus that climate change is real and linked to changes in atmospheric C02 levels. By saying ‘Badly run experiments occur all the time and, when the person giving you the grant has a political leaning, he might decide not to fund your paper entitled, “disproving the link between global warming and CO2 emissions”’ are you trying to say that all those scientist that have conducted research have run their experiments badly. That’s like saying all financial auditors don’t know how to audit. The work they do is effectively worth nothing. Large corporations may as well not bother with the audit process. There is actually a lot of truth to this. Why? who do you think is paying the financial auditor… That’s right is is the person being audited. How do you feel about your profession now!

    There is also one very important issue you have failed to acknowledge or even mention is the level of peer review a scientific journal must go through to be published. It is not just a matter of funding. Scientists have to abide by a code of ethics just like auditors. The difference an auditors work is rarely audited. A scientists worked is audited everytime he/she want to publish their work. If you where to ask who has more attention to detail, a scientist or an financial auditor.. the scientist wind hands down. I know because I work with both financial auditors and scientists.

    I am a scientist and an auditor with a very strong mathematics background. This was the basis for my degree. You are an accountant that has picked up the Herald Sun. This is fact.

    • March 22, 2013 at 5:43 am #

      Le Sigh

      Firstly, I am not an accountant, so you are wrong, and your fallacious appeal to authority is unfounded. It doesn’t matter if I am a beggar, if I produce scientific data that disproves your hypothesis that is mathematically sound then you will have to revise your hypothesis. Your words “consensus” and “climate change is real” demonstrate how little you know about science.

      First, science is not decided by consensus but it is decided by data, repeatable experiments and mathematics. Secondly the climate is changing, as it has for millions of years before the arrival of man, but it has not been conclusively supported that there is a causal link between human greenhouse gas emissions and climate change: if our emissions are exponentially increasing, where is the comesurate increase in temperature? So your “climate change is real” smacks of a religious statement of faith rather than one grounded in logic and reasoning. Correlation is not causation.
      How many years of no statistically significant warming do we have to experience to disprove the lag? 3 years, 7 years? It has been 14 years now and even Pachauri from the IPCC acknowledges that. The goalposts are moving, but the result is the same- no demonstrable causal link between carbon dioxide emissions and increasing temperatures. Perhaps the effect of CO2 is logarithmic and experiencing diminishing returns.
      (link to the Australian article quoting Pachuri omitted)

      This positive feedback is necessary to trigger the shifts between glacials and interglacials as the effect of orbital changes is too weak to cause such variation.

      That is a nice headline-grabbing hypothesis but it is sadly not supported by a data. I remain unconvinced that there is a strong feedback loop due to lack of evidence demonstrating a causal link between carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric temperature. If you attempt to rebutt this with some sort of “lag” theory (which is just a theory unsupported by evidence) then please see below as to why 17 years of no statistically significant warming breaks that. It boils down to this: How long is the lag precisely?

      It leads to all sorts of changes including an increase in the intensity and frequency and extreme weather event e.g flooding, bushing fires, tropical cyclones etc. This is science

      No this is not science. Cherry picking events to terrify and sensationalise the citizenry into emptying their wallets on “doing something” is not science. In fact, cyclone energy has remained constant and is in a bit of a dip, and even in the
      IPCC AR5 draft “extreme weather events” are acknowledged that “we have high confidence that natural variability dominates any AGW influence in observed/historical TC records”…with the exception, at this time, of floods.

      There is actually a lot of truth to this. Why? who do you think is paying the financial auditor… That’s right is is the person being audited.

      I agree with you in this instance that obviously the threat of being discredited is not enough of a threat to stop a an accounting firm getting into bed with Enron. At the same time, you do realise that corporate secrets are essential to maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace, while there is no justification for concealing data in natural science? So all unhomogenised data should be submitted for public audit to be scrutinised after publishing, along with test results. Scientists are human too, so they may not have adequately blinded the results, nor set up an appropriate control, nor used mathematical tricks to “hide the decline.” A statistician is qualified to spot this tampering.

      The data and methodology should be made public because there are billions of dollars in policy and funding riding on it. We shouldn’t need Climategate to happen to realise that there is a tightly knit cabal colluding to present a united front, a “consensus” of the results to suit a particular agenda. If they have nothing to fear, publish their methodology and unhomogenised data for scrutiny. At least BEST is trying to do that.

      PS: I will repeat again that I am not an accountant. Own goal.

      is the level of peer review a scientific journal must go through to be published. It is not just a matter of funding. Scientists have to abide by a code of ethics just like auditors. The difference an auditors work is rarely audited. A scientists worked is audited everytime he/she want to publish their work.

      You got a good laugh out of me, LOL! It is audited by his mates. Do you think that scientists are not human and somehow that code of ethics innoculates scientists from being greedy, prone to nepotism and not tribal in supporting their own kind? Indeed, I’m sure there are many young scientists who would not want to commit a “career limiting move” by writing a dissenting paper and being branded a “heretic”.

      Here is what happens when you write a paper that is peer reviewed:”I think we have to stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board… I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor”
      Do you see how the quote above seeks to use politics, not science, to quash dissent? And that is from the group of mates who audit each other’s papers! Scientists are human too so full disclosure and transparency is required to restore the integrity of science.

      I am a scientist and an auditor with a very strong mathematics background.

      If you are scientist, then please respond like a scientist with mathematics, empirical data and verifiable experiment results, rather than spin, appeals to authority, hand waving, religion and jingoism. Please step up to holding your degree and actually answer with science.

      I have presented evidence to you instead. I hence remain unconvinced.

      Your response sadly is a poster example of the politicising of science. Please come back to logic, to evidence and mathematics; I was expecting more.

  5. March 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Mr Lee, I know you want to haggle about numbers in a public forum, either by asking an ill-qualified politician or by yelling your frustrations at the faceless ether of the internet, but next time, before you do, please do some preliminary reading of your own first. The answers to questions and resolutions to you concerns are out there! Although I would direct you towards articles written by subject matter experts… like actual climate scientists. http://www.realclimate.org/ would be a good start.

    On the topic of ‘belief’ in climate change. Don’t let our depressingly inane and biased media (who have adopted the term ‘belief’ to describe the acceptance of scientific authority) shade your views of an entire branch of science. When it comes to a topic as profoundly complex and deeply researched as climate science, our media are only capable of communicating the scientific outcomes as a series of grunts and facial expressions. They dumb it down to the point of near meaninglessness. What appear like logical holes to anybody with more than a year 10 education are really just glossed over complexities.

    Further, in one of your comments, you seem to have accidentally misinterpreted (in an almost Plimer-esque manner) a quote from Albert Einstein: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” As you infer, this quote actually gets to the very core of scientific theory.

    A theory is built around supporting evidence. The more evidence, the stronger the theory. In reality a theory can never by truly proven, although there are many strong theories that continue to serve us well (gravity, relativity and quantum mechanics to name a few). However, a theory can be proved false by just one piece of contradictory evidence. From a scientific perspective, the “burden of proof” lies with the party opposing the theory (in this case YOU). http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof

    The aggregated body of decades of research by countless PHD educated scientists and physicists supports a given theory. You oppose it. If you can present us with ONE peer reviewed, credible piece of evidence that disproves the theory, please do.

    • March 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      Although I would direct you towards articles written by subject matter experts… like actual climate scientists. http://www.realclimate.org/ would be a good start.

      “Actual climate scientists.” Said like a true believer. Let’s start with some choice words from realclimate, ” number of extreme weather phenomena: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wild fires, and flooding. The discussion is about climate change and the consequences on the ground – or, how climate change may affect you. (13 March 2013)”

      compared to the IPCC AR5 Report: “we have high confidence that natural variability dominates any AGW influence in observed/historical TC records”
      So, between press friendly sensationalism to sell AGW and a draft scientific report, scientific report wins, admittedly though the AR5 report is still in draft form. Care to have a wager which way the IPCC draft will fall?

      The aggregated body of decades of research by countless PHD educated scientists and physicists supports a given theory.
      Ben, isn’t it funny that one graph can completely demolish the work of a whole cabal of scientists building models to predict something? And when the models do not match the data…

      Or will you play the game that Josh plays and let’s play “let’s bet how long the lag is” against a complex climate system we barely understand. 17 years of no statistifically significant warming and counting- I don’t need a peer review paper to see the evidence staring at me plain as day.

      Hypothesis disproven.

      Even a child can say that the emperor has no clothes. Unless there is a consideration in the satellite measurements that you would like to share?

      Thinking aloud: at least I saw some interesting literature on realclimate about the urban heat island effect and the proposal that it is negligible. It is interesting however that, instead of properly siting their weather stations we rely on mathematical re-homogenisation. I’m sure there are people pouring over the numbers to see they tried to “hide the decline”.

      I should come back more often.

      PS: regarding peer review, isn’t this quote nice?
      “I told Mike that I believed our only choice was to ignore this paper. They’ve already achieved what they wanted–the claim of a peer-reviewed paper. There is nothing we can do about that now, but the last thing we want to do is bring attention to this paper, which will be ignored by the community on the whole…”

      Human beings are craven. That’s why you need someone from outside the tribe to stand over them and double-check their work.

    • Josh Martin
      March 21, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      Well said Ben. There is always going to be that minority that continue to oppose the science. Even the Liberal party don’t dispute that climate change is real. It’s one thing to dispute the approach to dealing with it but all out stupidity to dispute the science. Probably the reason this utter rubbish is posted on intentious and not a peer reviewed reputable source of information. Intentious should really subject there articles to review before publication to avoid uneducated people posting this rubbish. It just makes Intentious look like a poorly run and poorly researched media outlet. Sort of reminds me of the Herald Sun.

      • March 22, 2013 at 5:35 am #

        I have fairly detailed rebuttals with links, graphs and data but, frustratingly, the site is not allowing me to post comments (perhaps because of the moderation queue?)

        Anyway, I think there’s a certain conceit here where both yourself and Ben believe that “the public is stupid” and that somehow “the majority (i.e. a cabal of self-appointed public intellectuals) is right” It reminds me of the Australian Labor Party playbook where “seeming” with good policy, spin and publicity is more important than the practical results of such policy

        In fact, if one doesn’t start disputing science and being sceptical about it, one is doing it wrong, as long as the disputation itself is scientific. Sadly, I have seen very little scientific content in the comments here, more hand-waving, fallacious reasoning and “I’m right and you’re wrong.”

        Instead I see the totalitarian instinct to shut down debate when the data for any experiment should be published and open to interpretation.

      • March 22, 2013 at 5:51 am #

        Intentious should really subject there articles to review before publication to avoid uneducated people posting this rubbish. It just makes Intentious look like a poorly run and poorly researched media outlet.

        I find your totalitarian instinct and need to censor frightening. I’m sure you would be bleating loudly if the “public interest advocate” was a Herald Sun Editor who decided your opinion is invalid.

        And “poorly researched” is ironic coming from someone who replies without sources and expects everyone to genuflect to you as a “scientist and an auditor.”

        Even the Liberal party don’t dispute that it is politically incorrect hence politcal suicide to dispute that climate change is real.

        Fixed.

        Secondly, notice how nobody said “the climate isn’t changing”, what is disputed is humanity’s contribution to it. This has to be discussed publically because billions of dollars of taxpayer money is being poured into this fad.

    • March 22, 2013 at 5:09 am #

      I’m happy to change my mind. All I see at the moment are lots of fallacies such as appeals to authority.

      Although I would direct you towards articles written by subject matter experts… like actual climate scientists. http://www.realclimate.org/ would be a good start.

      “Actual climate scientists.” Said like a true believer. Let’s start with some choice words from realclimate, ” number of extreme weather phenomena: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wild fires, and flooding. The discussion is about climate change and the consequences on the ground – or, how climate change may affect you. (13 March 2013)”

      compared to the IPCC AR5 Report: “we have high confidence that natural variability dominates any AGW influence in observed/historical TC records”
      So, between press friendly sensationalism to sell AGW and a draft scientific report, scientific report wins, admittedly though the AR5 report is still in draft form. Care to have a wager which way the IPCC draft will fall?

      The aggregated body of decades of research by countless PHD educated scientists and physicists supports a given theory.

      Ben, isn’t it funny that one graph can completely demolish the work of a whole cabal of scientists building models to predict something? And when the models do not match the data…

      Or will you play the game that Josh plays and let’s play “let’s bet how long the lag is” against a complex climate system we barely understand. 17 years of no statistifically significant warming and counting- I don’t need a peer review paper to see the evidence staring at me plain as day.

      Hypothesis disproven.

      Even a child can say that the emperor has no clothes. Unless there is a consideration in the satellite measurements that you would like to share?

      Thinking aloud: at least I saw some interesting literature on realclimate about the urban heat island effect and the proposal that it is negligible. It is interesting however that, instead of properly siting their weather stations we rely on mathematical re-homogenisation. I’m sure there are people pouring over the numbers to see they tried to “hide the decline”.

      I should come back more often.

      PS: regarding peer review, isn’t this quote nice?
      “I told Mike that I believed our only choice was to ignore this paper. They’ve already achieved what they wanted–the claim of a peer-reviewed paper. There is nothing we can do about that now, but the last thing we want to do is bring attention to this paper, which will be ignored by the community on the whole…”

      Human beings are craven. That’s why you need someone from outside the tribe to stand over them and double-check their work.

    • March 22, 2013 at 5:38 am #

      I’ve had to submit this with the links stripped out.

      I’m happy to change my mind. All I see at the moment are lots of fallacies such as appeals to authority.

      Although I would direct you towards articles written by subject matter experts… like actual climate scientists. http://www.realclimate.org/ would be a good start.

      “Actual climate scientists.” Said like a true believer. Let’s start with some choice words from realclimate, ” number of extreme weather phenomena: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wild fires, and flooding. The discussion is about climate change and the consequences on the ground – or, how climate change may affect you. (13 March 2013)”

      compared to the IPCC AR5 Report: “we have high confidence that natural variability dominates any AGW influence in observed/historical TC records”
      So, between press friendly sensationalism to sell AGW and a draft scientific report, scientific report wins, admittedly though the AR5 report is still in draft form. Care to have a wager which way the IPCC draft will fall?

      The aggregated body of decades of research by countless PHD educated scientists and physicists supports a given theory.
      Ben, isn’t it funny that one graph can completely demolish the work of a whole cabal of scientists building models to predict something? And when the models do not match the data…

      Or will you play the game that Josh plays and let’s play “let’s bet how long the lag is” against a complex climate system we barely understand. 17 years of no statistifically significant warming and counting- I don’t need a peer review paper to see the evidence staring at me plain as day.

      Hypothesis disproven.

      http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures

      Even a child can say that the emperor has no clothes. Unless there is a consideration in the satellite measurements that you would like to share?

      Thinking aloud: at least I saw some interesting literature on realclimate about the urban heat island effect and the proposal that it is negligible. It is interesting however that, instead of properly siting their weather stations we rely on mathematical re-homogenisation. I’m sure there are people pouring over the numbers to see they tried to “hide the decline”.

      I should come back more often.

      PS: regarding peer review, isn’t this quote nice?
      “I told Mike that I believed our only choice was to ignore this paper. They’ve already achieved what they wanted–the claim of a peer-reviewed paper. There is nothing we can do about that now, but the last thing we want to do is bring attention to this paper, which will be ignored by the community on the whole…”

      Human beings are craven. That’s why you need someone from outside the tribe to stand over them and double-check their work.

  6. March 22, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    “Is Climate Change real?” is the new “Is Evolution real?”.

    • March 22, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      We’re not being asked to hand over billions of dollars of public monies to abate evolution…

      and also, evolution is still a theory, supported but not “proven” in entireity, and the urgency is not there to ensure the “precision” of evolution because there are no monies riding on it.

  7. March 26, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    On Dr Roy Spencer:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Dessler-2011-Debunks-Roy-Spencer-And-Richard-Lindzen.html

    and

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Roy_Spencer

    On your supposed cooling and non-correlation between models and observations. Also note the discussion on UHI.

    http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Climate/Has-Global-Warming-Stopped/In-detail.aspx

    Your education is your own responsibility. Do some reading.

    • March 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Thankyou for your links, even though a summary of your argument would be preferable.

      I agree to do reading.

      If you are looking at your own CSIRO graph you have presented- if carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are increasing exponentially, why isn’t there a commensurate increase in temperature from the year 2000 onwards?

      One would think there is at least a linear increase in temperature. In fact, with the way the climate change lobby is bleating, one would think it is at least logarithmic.

      Hypothesis is still disproven… 17 years of no statistically significant warming is very troublesome to it. Pachuri (from the IPCC) concedes.

      A warming supporter will argue “it has warmed over all in 60 years” but that is over-simplifying the data and leads to a loss of context or perspective. Rather than a continuous rise, it is more like an “S” shape (similar to the cumulative distribution of a normal distribution), and that S shape is detrimental to the hypothesis.

      The temperature is just not behaving the way models are predicting it would behave… hence the “climate change” rebranding for an each way bet (“oh noes, it’s a snow storm! Climate change!”)

      The CSIRO try to wave the argument away: Data over the past decade provide little insight into long-term trends; the period is simply too short.

      How long is too short? It is currently 17 years and counting. How long do we wait until we consider the laws of thermodynamics broken? I don’t think it’s ethical to say “well warming has only been reversed if it returns to 1950 levels.” Oh really? 🙂

      The skeptical science link is interesting. Firstly, it shows far from “the science is settled”, that there is active discussion about the impact of human activity on the planet’s climate as there are now dissenting peer reviewed papers (so the “consensus” has been broken).

      Secondly, let us say that the criticism is valid. Cricticism is good! Here is a question for you: Is a scientist that supports AGW infallible?
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/30/hide-the-decline-worse-than-we-thought/

      Would you broker the same criticism for a peer-reviewed paper for AGW supporting climate scientists? Such as the statistical manipulation of the hockey stick, and even the latest “BEST” draft (which was “pre-announced before peer review”)… where they pick the 2/3 of warming stations, and say, “well the world is warming!”

      It does look that way if you isolate off 2/3 of cooling stations. That’s quite an outlier to cut out! So again, are criticisms of the peer reviewed papers that support AGW valid to you? Are those criticisms valid?

      Or the rising ocean temperature, “don’t look at the surface temperature, look at the first 5 meters of ocean!”

      I’m sure if I pick a rock that’s been in the sun, I would get warming too.

      How about the effort to form a coalition to block dissenting papers from peer review?

      Finally sourcewatch is partisan, so I will ignore character assassinations on wiki dirt sites that basically object to people like Roy Spencer on religious grounds (“oh noe he’s a denier and does not believe what we do!”). It’s like reading an anti-capitalist rant and gossip on a communist website- claims worthy of investigation but coloured and hardly authoritative.

      Science isn’t determined by personality, but mathematics.

      Rather than “character pieces” let’s discuss data.

      The CSIRO contends that 50 years of overall warming is global warming. I would contend that 17 years of no statistically significant warming means that the link between CO2 emissions ( and hence abatement) is tenuous.

      • March 26, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

        I don’t believe the CSIRO is infallible- increasingly our public institutions are being co-opted by our political classes, particularly those that lean leftwards because public servants have a vested interest in voting left to keep their departments functioning.

        Treasuring, the CSIRO, the ABC, the spin that emerges from them in support of “activist” causes, I find nauseating. We even have government appointed lobby groups such as the Climate Commission, funded by the public purse to “raise awareness” which is NewSpeak for “diseminate propaganda.” At least the Age flies its flag on a private purse (and hence lives and dies on its circulation); but I find it unseemly that public monies are being spent creating and spreading propaganda. The public service has been co-opted into a spin machine to guarantee ongoing funding.

        Do you think the CSIRO would agree to fund a “denier” paper? Do you think that universities would?

        I tell you solemnly, they wouldn’t, because it has become “politically incorrect” to do so. This is despite the data deviating significantly from the hypothesis.

        You may consider my fixation on 17 years of no warming as myopic, but if gravity stopped working as advertised for 17 years, wouldn’t you feel compelled to question the “orthodox” interpretation of gravity? Already we have more lunacy such as “appointing more climate advisers into the ADF” and “Europe’s carbon markets are crashing, let’s look at emerging economies in Asia instead”.

        It is a racket by carpet baggers and the noisiest activists that the media can find. For example companies claiming green credentials for spinning and cutting “carbon intensity.” It is a religious genuflection.

        Science is not decided by plebescite. Let’s see if the warming in the ocean eventuates into actual atmospheric warming (I don’t think any economy on the planet will agree to the hairshirt’s demands for meaningful cut to CO2 emissions).

        If it doesn’t eventuate, let’s see if Josh moves the goalposts or eats his hat.

    • March 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

      The reply of Roy Spencer is interesting (included inline are corrections by Dessler, where his paper has not been published yet)
      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/09/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-my-initial-comments-on-the-new-dessler-2011-study/

    • March 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Here is an interesting item from an “Expert Reviewer” of the draft IPCC 5 report

      This study shows no up or down trend in global water vapor, a finding of major significance that differs with studies cited in AR5. Climate modelers assume that water vapor, the principle greenhouse gas, will increase with carbon dioxide, but the NVAP-M study shows this has not occurred. Carbon dioxide has continued to increase, but global water vapor has not.

      From observation, the “co2 = water vapor = runaway warming” is currently not consistent with the theory, so this hypothesis is in question. The relevant study is called NVAP-M

      This is all draft so we will see what eventuates.

  8. Josh Martin
    March 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Richard, you seem to be using Pachauri as your pin up boy for climate change and global warming not existing. I might just run with this and shut you down.The problem is you are just behaving exactly like the Herald Sun would. Once again you have failed to place you evidence to support your dribble in context with clear intention to mislead readers. This is the context of Pachauri’s comments regarding the last 17 years:

    “Global average temperatures had plateaued at record levels and that the halt does not disprove global warming.The climate is changing because of natural factors and the impact of human actions, If you look at temperatures going back 150 years, there are clearly fluctuations which have occurred largely as a result of natural factors: solar activity, volcanic activity and so on. What is quite perceptible is, in the last 50 years, the trend is upwards.This is not to say you won’t have ups and downs – you will – but what we should be concerned about is the trend, and that is being influenced now to a large extent by human actions. It would be at least 30 to 40 years before it is possible to say that long-term upward trend in global temperature had been broken. If you look at the last century, records tell you that the increase in average surface temperature has been 0.74C, If you have five or 10 years when you don’t have the same trend, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are deviating from the trend – you are still around the trend.”

    Pachauri has also said that the record accumulation of Arctic ice this northern summer – following a record melt last winter – was consistent with the current understanding of climate change.

    He said the IPCC had “clearly specified there are going to be extreme precipitation events”.

    Perhaps you should consider presenting the whole story rather than manipulating Pachauri’s statements. Based on the context in which Pachauri mentioned the past 17 years you can conclude that something is happening over the past 17 years (this might be due to a number of reason with Pachuari hinting at that it is perhaps natural causes offsetting the human-induced climate warming). The current hypothesis regarding climate change is NOT dis-proven. Pachauri actually states this!?!. The long-term trend is that global warming is occurring and we should be concerned about this trend. And finally as the man himself said “we aren’t doing all that well” in global attempts to combat climate change.

  9. Josh Martin
    March 28, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    This is exactly what I am talking about when I say you can’t simply draw conclusions based on such a short period of time and 1 variable, that variable being surface temperature. This write up places the whole situation in context. The fact is the Earth is still warming no matter how you want to try and cut the data.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998-intermediate.htm

    If we look at the Earth’s total heat content it clearly shows global warming has continued past 1998. The planet is still accumulating heat. So Richard’s question about “why do surface temperature records show 1998 as the hottest year on record? and why has surface temperatures plateaued for the last 17 years?” The answer is actually quite simply – heat capacity of the land and atmosphere is small compared to the ocean. Hence, relatively small exchanges of heat between the atmosphere and ocean can cause significant changes in surface temperature (Murphy, 2009 and Nuccitelli et al., 2012)

    Murphy, 2009 – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009JD012105/abstract
    Nuccitelli et al., 2012 – http://www.skepticalscience.com/nuccitelli-et-al-2012.html

    1998 was hot for a good reason. It can be explained like this: In 1998, an abnormally strong El Nino caused heat transfer from the Pacific Ocean to the atmosphere. Consequently, we experienced above average surface temperatures. Conversely, the last few years have seen moderate La Nina conditions which had a cooling effect on global temperatures. And the last few months have swung back to warmer El Nino conditions. This has coincided with the warmest June-August sea surface temperatures on record. This internal variation where heat is shuffled around our climate is the reason why surface temperature is such a noisy signal.

    With so much internal variability, scientists employ statistical methods to discern long-term trends in surface temperature. The easiest way to remove short-term variations, revealing any underlying trend, is to plot a moving average, performed in Waiting for Cooling (Fawcett & Jones 2008) . Figure 3 of the write up i referred to above shows 11-year moving average – an average calculated over the year itself and five years either side. They’ve used three different data-sets – NCDC, NASA GISS and the British HadCRUT3. In all three data-sets, the moving average shows no sign that the warming trend has reversed.

    Fawcett & Jones 2008 – http://www.aussmc.org/documents/waiting-for-global-cooling.pdf
    Fawcett & Jones 2007 – http://www.amos.org.au/documents/item/82

    Now El-Nino and La Nina has been thrown around a bit in this discussion. Why? because it is a big bitch that has a great influence on the global climate. It is the reason for there being so much god damn noise in the climate data. Fawcett and Jones 2008 remove the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) signal by calculating a linear regression of global temperatures against the Southern Oscillation Index.And what do they find?! This —> All 3 data sets demonstrate that the anomalously hot 1998 was due to the strong El Niño of 1997/98. When ENSO-adjusted, 1998 looks much less remarkable than it does in the original data. In all 3 ENSO-adjusted data-sets, 2006 is the hottest year on record and the trend from 1998 to 2007 is that of warming.

    In addition to removing the ENSO signlal, Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) used multiple linear regression to remove the effects of solar and volcanic activity from the surface and lower troposphere temperature data. And what did they find?! This —> When removing these short-term effects, the warming trend has barely even slowed since 1998 (0.163°C per decade from 1979 through 2010, vs. 0.155°C per decade from 1998 through 2010, and 0.187°C per decade for 2000 through 2010).

    Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) – http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044022

    Now Richard, you come to me with 1 article that disproves any of this.

    This is science. You my friend are an accountant no matter what you like to cut it.

    • March 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

      used multiple linear regression to remove the effects of solar and volcanic activity from the surface and lower troposphere temperature data.

      I will be observing this paper to see if statistical manipulation has been used to “hide the decline.”
      Linear regression is a lossy data summary process and the assumptions that go into it (such as which outliers were removed, if the data was pre-homogenised or if multiple passes were run to get a pre-determined result) need to be checked carefully. Otherwise it will be garbage in, garbage out.

  10. Josh Martin
    March 28, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Also, just read an interesting article in Retrofit Australia on some research that was conducted in to the psychology of climate change. The results of the survey placed greater than 90% of people in support of action to combat climate change. However, these same people believe there are more skeptics out there than there is really (~22%). The problem is that the skeptics are generally the people that have a tendency to be loud mouths that love seeking attention which make them seem bigger than they actually are. This is sort of like that runt of a dog that just keeps barking or in this case an accountant that posts BS on on intentious. Unfortunately Ricahard you are in the minority, you are that runt dog that just doesn’t stop barking, that same dog 90% of people want put down.

    • March 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      Lol as I said, I am very worried that you claim to be a scientist and say that this is decided by plebecite, and not data, and by insults, not mathematics. I began by outlining my reservations and you took it as an opportunity to immediately attack me as a heretic… can you see how that elitist attitude pushes people away from the truth?

      Pachuri is a warming believer and he acknowledges that 17 years of no atmospheric warming is problematic, then he backpedals to say “it does not disprove the warming trend.” It doesn’t, but it does call into question the link between CO2 and atmospheric temperatures. In addition, the “runaway warming” hypothesis is still implausible because such a steep positive feedback loop would have wiped life from earth by now.

      As for the warming ocean, that is an interesting exhibit that I might be willing to change my mind about- thanks I was waiting for that data, which I had to tweezer from you through your abuse and fallacious argument. I am glad that you have come back to data (which I am much more receptive to).If you opened with, “here is some specific ocean data” without resorting to abuse and censorship claims you would be much more convincing. I would have been much more sympathetic. The ocean temperature argument needed more detail and that you have (finally) provided.

      There is a critique on the accuracy of the Argo probes, and this is the best summary of the data so far
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/Ocean-cooling-skeptic-arguments-drowned-by-data.html

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page3.php

      The NASA data is promising because it is not as deliberately partisan like Skeptical Science.

      I am still concerned though with this sort of cherry picking and “revising data” to support a particular result:
      “they were too cool compared to other sources of data during the time period…. So the new Argo data were too cold, and the older XBT data were too warm, and together, they made it seem like the ocean had cooled,” “

      I will do more reading and we will see where this goes…. at the cutting edge I doubt there will be any analysis or rebuttals for a while. I might even write a few letters to NASA asking them how exactly XBT data can be corrected using the Argo Probe data and how the data was put together.

      Thanks for sharing and leading me along this path of investigation.

      record accumulation of Arctic ice this northern summer – following a record melt last winter – was consistent with the current understanding of climate change.

      Read this again.
      Can you see how this is an eachway bet? Why “Global warming” was rebranded as “climate change”?

      It snows, it’s climate change. Heatwave is climate change. It’s a hot day, it’s climate change… but when you have a cold day, “weather is not climate.” Indeed, what of the “Medieval warm period” or, when dinosaurs walked the earth, that the world was much warmer and had much more oxygen? All that fossil fuel came from somewhere.

      And all these claims fund “more research” into the matter, where symapthetic papers are included, and “heretical” papers are denied funding or recognition.

      This is science. You my friend are an accountant no matter what you like to cut it….case an accountant

      For the last time, I am not an accountant.

      If you cannot get one small piece of information right, what does it say about the accuracy of the rest of your arguments?

      If you need insults to advance your argument, what does it say about the weakness of it, and of your own character? In science, the data should be enough, and that is all I asked you for.

      greater than 90% of people in support of action to combat climate change.

      I have little hope that we can suspend human greed long enough globally to convince the world that everyone has to stop driving their car, the poor should remain poor and we have to unplug every appliance we have. It is asking countries to take a huge hit and no one will be the first to seppukku.

      The debate can move to the ineffectiveness of climate change policy by the major political parties and the world at large, but I will spare you that.

      If we really want change, we should be pouring money into finding a new energy source that generates reliable baseload power at all times of the day. One that is high-yield does not involve burning a fossil fuel.

    • March 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      A response:
      http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/misinformation-on-the-website-skeptical-science-getting-skeptical-about-global-warming-skepticism/

      It’s funny that ad-hominem attacks and poisoning the well are part and parcel of “scientists”. I would have thought that the data spoke for itself.

    • March 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      An interesting and (relatively) objective discussion of a policy spat using mathematics:
      http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2013/03/professor-bolt-and-the-dunce-quiggin

    • March 28, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      It begs the question: is “atmospheric warming” the same as “ocean warming” which is the same as “global warming?”

      I find it amusing that the media is not reporting, “but the ocean temperature keeps rising.” Big oil at work maybe? lol

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9787662/Global-warming-at-a-standstill-new-Met-Office-figures-show.html

      The Met Office has downgraded its forecast for global warming to suggest that by 2017 temperatures will have remained about the same for two decades. … This figure is little higher than the 0.40C recorded in 1998, the warmest year in the Met Office Hadley Centre’s 160-year record – suggesting global warming will have stalled in the intervening two-decade period.

      However, it is thought that factors such as ocean current patterns may be behind the slowdown and scientists say the “variability” in climate change does not alter the long-term trend of rising temperatures.

      That being said, this is a model and we all know how accurate models of the weather are 😉 lol

      Maybe it has something to do with the leak of the IPCC 5 draft report due in September.
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/08/more-ipcc-ar5-the-secret-santa-leak/

      (this has been confirmed as genuine by the IPCC)

  11. Josh Martin
    March 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Then there is CSIRO
    http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Climate/Understanding/Climate-is-changing.aspx

    and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/

    But I guess these source aren’t credible to you Richard. You would rather read articles from Andrew Bolt that guy thats in bed with that filthy, greedy fat B!tc# Gina Rinehart.

    And if we switch to politics, this is why the liberal government won’t succeed in repealing the carbon price if it was elected to govern:
    http://www.gadens.com.au/publications/Pages/The-future-of-the-Australian-carbon-price.aspx

    if Abbot did go to double dissolution and some how pull this off. There is a giant gaping whole in the budget. Permits have been issued that are the property of an individual. His plan is to basically steal these or purchase them back at a hefty price tag. How on Earth will Abbot solve this one. He wlll have to rearrange the tax system and then inform all low and middle class income earners that they will be worse off – the money will be going to people like Gina Rinehart. Good luck to him. In this scenario I can’t see the liberal government staying in power for very long if they are elected this year.

  12. John
    March 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Richard Lee offers nothing but conjecture, straw argument and nonsensical “evidence”. Refuting nothing with actual facts, Lee’s objective is to insert doubt. His argument, “the science isn’t settled” is completely false.

    The only fools that yet understand the data, the results, the clear trends and the growing catastrophe of the world’s climate, glaciers, weather patterns and future probabilities, are fools like Lee who seek to stir the “debate” — except it’s not a debate, it’s conjecture and straw arguments.

  13. Anonymous
    April 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    In all honesty Richard there is a plethora of research out there that supports the theory.
    Knit picking segments of the IPCC AR5 (in draft mind you) and other research is not the right way to go about questioning the science. If you truly want to disprove all the research that has gone in to this theory how about you do some of your own. As far as I can see you have not referenced one credible source that disproves any of it. Where you have reference journal articles you have selected 1 or 2 sentences and framed these as being the key findings of the research when they are not. You have failed to mention the context of statements with clear intention to mislead readers. Where I have presented evidence you have rebutted these with not much (Links to websites where the only articles that are referenced are by the person that wrote the blog. Also, with a very sinister tone, you dismissed the research I presented. Regression analysis is a very common tool used to analyse trends. I haven’t noticed anymore rebuttal on that front apart from saying you doubt the use of linear regression.

    Next time, before writing an article I suggest you research the topic properly and fully. You have clear bias towards being a climate change skeptic. This narrowly focused lens is your downfall.

  14. April 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    I don’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your site.
    It appears as though some of the written
    text in your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to
    them as well? This might be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen before. Thank you

    • May 18, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

      What device (or browser) are you using, Alberto? I’ll look into it.

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