It’s not fair! I can prove I’m better than BOD…

In a recent newspaper article, I wondered aloud if maybe, just maybe, the tide was finally beginning to turn regarding Ireland getting real about climate change. As if to answer the question, the producer of Today FM’s The Last Word contacted me with an invite to participate in an extended live panel discussion on…climate change.

Were the topic politics, economics, business, jobs, marriage equality or agriculture, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid at – yet another – panel discussion in yet another radio station with the usual talking heads bashing out various angles of the debate. But for climate change, almost 45 minutes airtime during peak hours in Ireland is genuinely almost unheard of (You can download the podcast from here. It’s no. 7 in the list).

Host Matt Cooper is an experienced media hand, and he guided the first half of the discussion comprising a three-person panel with perspectives from science (Prof John Sweeney), politics (Eamon Ryan) and media (myself). But, like in the Sinatra song, then he went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid like: “we are now joined in studio by Lord Christopher Monckton…”

It was like déjà vu all over again. I’d been on Today FM back in January 2011 with Matt Cooper and, yes, His Lordship, but on that occasion, I thought it’d be good fun to point out that among Monckton’s kookier ideas in a career studded with kooky ideas, was that of setting up concentration camps to forcibly and permanently detain…AIDS victims. The exact wording, from his American Spectator article in 1987 was:

“There is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month … all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.”

It had the desired effect of winding up His Lordship into a state of high dudgeon. Still, since he was en route to join fellow crackpot conspiracy theorist Jim Corr at a public meeting, maybe the tone was in fact about right.

Roll forward two years, and Lord Monckton is still getting airtime to ‘balance’ debates in ways that make no sense at all. It’s as if Matt Cooper were having a discussion on the Six Nations and felt the need to ‘balance’ the discussion by bringing on someone who thinks that rugby is the work of the devil and makes the palms of your hand sprout tufts of hair. That may be one person’s point of view, but that doesn’t necessarily make it either relevant or worth including.

This is perhaps my long-winded way of explaining why, despite ample ammunition, I chose to keep the discussion entirely civil and, in so doing, perhaps accord Monckton a parity of esteem with the other speakers which he so blatantly does not deserve.

It’s the classic dilemma: go on the attack and be accused of being an extremist; or keep it all light and fluffy and let a fantasist like Monckton go through his statistical dog-and-pony show largely unchallenged. On the day, I chose the former route, but within hours, was wondering if this was as much a cop-out as taking the high moral ground. Yes, I rattled his cage back in 2011, but, listening back to the recording from this distance, I can see how someone listening in casually could well have been at a loss to decide which of us was the real headbanger.

The whole experience brings to mind the line: “Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon…no matter how good you are, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway”. And, in that sense at least, the Honourable Viscount of Brenchley is quite the chess player. He certainly knows how to play the media, and yes, he is full of it too, but he comes from the public school debating tradition where the rights and wrongs of the argument are irrelevant, it’s about strutting about trying to sound awfully clever and working on witty one-liners to clinch the debate by acclaim.

And on the subject of sounding awfully clever, a new Irish website, modestly entitled Global Warming Solved, has appeared in recent weeks. It describes itself as a “family-run independent research group based in Ireland”. The family in question, the Connollys, are perhaps the world’s greatest polymaths – at least if you take their claims at face value.

Here are their four modest ‘key findings’:

1. We are not warming the planet

2. We are not causing catastrophic climate change

3. The scientific consensus on global warming was premature

4. Increasing or reducing our carbon footprint will make no difference to the climate

Ordinarily, you’d say, fair enough, the Connollys are as entitled as Lord Monckton to their opinions, however at variance with the scientific evidence they may be. However, they go further, much further, by actually presenting what they claim is the hard science to support the above four extraordinary propositions. And they do so via a brand new peer-reviewed online journaltheir own peer-reviewed journal, featuring eight of their own articles. There is no mention anywhere on OPRJ.org of an Editorial Board, or any information whatever on who exactly is going to do the ‘peer-review’ of these papers, or other papers, should people not from the Connolly family choose to submit a paper.

The actual structure and format of the 8 papers already posted is quite impressive: take Urbanization bias I. Is it a negligible problem for global temperature estimates? This paper follows the recognised presentation style for an academic journal, and is fully referenced. Underneath the paper is a category called ‘Peer Reviews’. I wasn’t sure if this was a joke: do they actually literally mean that anyone who drops by can offer their (entirely unqualified) opinion of the paper and that will then be listed as a ‘Peer Review’? If so, this is Flann O’Brien country, but given that the papers themselves are carefully researched and written, I’ll leave it to those far more qualified than I to – professionally – review them and cast judgement as to whether they hold water.

I’d hate to in any way pre-judge the likely outcome of this scrutiny, but when you make bald statements like this: “Our research has shown that it doesn’t matter whether we double, treble or even quadruple the carbon dioxide concentration. Carbon dioxide has no impact on atmospheric temperatures” then you had better have quite extraordinary evidence to back up that quite extraordinary claim. There are plenty of other extraordinary claims too.

Generally, when people make grand pronouncements claiming to have overturned our understanding of something as highly specialised and intensely studied as atmospheric physics, then those people go directly to one or more of the established major peer-reviewed science journals. Fame, fortune and the Nobel Prize for Physics await anyone who can actually make such claims stand up.

This way, their study, as well as the supporting evidence upon which it is based, can be thoroughly reviewed by a panel of expert peers before being published. This makes a lot of sense. Peer-review helps to iron out any actual errors or omissions, large or small, before the paper makes its way into the public domain. In science, there are very, very few Galileo moments, but lots and lots of people who are convinced they are the next Galileo.

There’s a very good critique of the Connollys’ attempt at re-shaping our understanding of the physics of the greenhouse effect here.). What is truly novel is that one of the authors, Ronan Connolly, joins in the debate attached to the above article and manfully explains and defends their new ‘findings’. The physics involved is way over my head.

Another important thing we look for in a novel paper making potentially ground-breaking claims is: prior publication. Have the authors published hundreds, or even dozens of times previously in the peer-reviewed press? If so, have their articles been cited frequently in other papers (a good guide to the importance of a given paper over time is how frequently other peer-reviewed paper cite it)? There is no evidence presented on the website of any previous publication, and certainly none in a field relevant to the science of climate change.

Ronan Connolly has a PhD in computational chemistry from UCD. Since receiving his PhD, he says he has been working with his dad, Michael, and “we began actively researching climate change in early 2009”, but he doesn’t say anything about the nature of this research. Michael’s stated qualifications also include a PhD, but it’s not stated in what field. “I have lectured and tutored at third level in the fields of physics, chemistry, electronic engineering, computer science, mathematics and statistics” is all the information he provides, though he does also mention having owned and operated the National Aquarium in the past, and he has a strong interest in aquaculture.

Here’s how Ronan Connolly puts it in a comment on the above blog:

“We are acutely aware of the fact that our conclusions differ from the conventional “textbook” understanding of atmospheric temperature profiles. We didn’t come to our conclusions lightly. However, when we looked at the results of our studies, we found that the conventional understanding seems to be incomplete and inadequate.”

Wow, just wow. It is of course possible that the Connollys are right, and that every scientist from John Tyndall to Svente Ahhrenius and all those who have followed and built on their research work over the last century and a half are, well, just plain wrong. It does happen, just not very often. On the other hand, there has never been a shortage of people prepared to come forward seeking attention for what are proven to be half-baked rehashes of poorly understood and partially digested science.

Often, these folks are ‘not even wrong’, i.e. they don’t actually understand the science sufficiently to even be even fully aware of the glaring inconsistencies in their own work. As stated earlier, I’ll leave it to the actual experts to cast final judgement on the efforts of the Connolly family. Unsurprisingly, the denier websites are delighted. The Hockey Schtick blog is a notorious anti-science clearing house, and already they are cheerfully republishing this as though it were actually from a peer-reviewed scientific source. In a tweet, Penn State climatologist, Prof Michael Mann noted wryly: “I suspect that the description of the journal as “peer” reviewed is ironically correct in this case…”

A solid track record of relevant prior publication, for a researcher is a bit like caps for a rugby player. You start in the junior league, then, if you’re really good, work your way into a major club. From there, a tiny handful, the best of the best, progress to the provincial academies, where the successful few are blooded in competitions such as the Rabo Pro 12. From here, an even tinier group come to the attention of the senior provincial coaches; then, the elite 30 or so players in the country come to form the national squad.

What the Connollys have done, I’d suggest, is the elite science equivalent of me phoning up Joe Schmidt, pointing out that I absolutely love rugby, know all the rules, have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game, and, having played a bit in school, reckon I should be picked for the next two internationals. And to clinch my claim, I point out that I’m older and a far more prolific writer than any of the current Irish squad, so surely that proves I deserve to pull on the green shirt. And besides, when I was playing schools cup rugby in 1979, where was the ‘great’ Brian O’Driscoll? Oh yeah, at home in Clontarf having his arse wiped by his mammy, that’s where!

ThinkOrSwim is a blog focusing on the inter-related crises involving climate change, sustainability, resource depletion, energy and biodiversity loss
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  • monckton

    A concerned citizen has drawn my attention to the above article, which inter alia describes me as “a serial liar” for what I said on the radio with the author of the article.

    If Mr. Gibbons would be kind enough to tell me which of my remarks on the programme were falsehoods, I should be happy to provide the relevant scientific evidence in support of what I said.

    If, however, I do not hear from Mr Gibbons within seven days, my Irish attorneys may issue proceedings for libel without further notice. – Monckton of Brenchley

  • monckton

    And while I’m here, Mr. Gibbons has used the old Communist trick of citing only part of what I said. In the American Spectator article on HIV, I went on to say that Western sensibilities would make it quite impossible to apply the usual public-health measures to prevent the spread of a new and fatal infectious disease. Therefore, I wrote, there would be many deaths. And there have been many deaths. The usual public-heal measures (which do not involve the establishment of concentration camps) succeeded in eradicating smallpox and could similarly have eradicated HIV, but governments took the decision that widespread deaths, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, were preferable.

  • johngibbons

    Christopher, as you find the term “serial liar” objectionable, I have edited it out above (“fantasist” remains, I’m sure even you accept that description) . Would it be fair and reasonable of me to point out that for a man with a track record in hurling vicious ad hominem abuse at those with whom you disagree (Prof John Abrahman, for instance, whose face you described as looking “like an overcooked prawn”)? Or Prof Ross Garnaut, whose name you adorned during a public presentation to the ‘American Freedom Alliance’ with a giant Swastika? Beyond that, I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to differ. JG

  • monckton

    No, I don’t accept the description “fantasist”. And I wonder why my earlier comment answering Mr. Gibbons’ new ad-hominem allegations was censored?

  • johngibbons

    No censorship here! I’m aware some server-related updating and security work was done on this site over the weekend, and it’s possible one of your comments got swallowed up inadvertently. Calm has since been restored, so if you’d care to re-submit, I’m sure it will appear. JG

  • monckton

    Right: let’s try again. Now, I was taught that if one is discussing a scientific argument advanced by an opponent, attacking the opponent personally rather than addressing his argument is a white flag of abject surrender to the opponent.

    In that part of the head posting that is devoted to me, Mr. Gibbons advances not a single scientific argument of any kind. His posting is nothing but name-calling (fantasist, idiot, kook, crackpot, conspiracy theorist). That’s a desperate lot of white flags.

    For good measure, Mr. Gibbons says I come from a debating tradition “where the rights and wrongs of the argument are irrelevant”. Yet he does not make the slightest attempt to refute a single fact or conclusion that I presented during the radio debate. Nor does he advance a single fact or conclusion of his own.

    I accept Mr. Gibbons’ unconditional surrender.

  • Paul Price

    He may think he is fighting battles for an imaginary Victorian British empire but it takes very little googling time or minutes watching Monckton himself to establish beyond reasonable doubt that “fantasist” is a reasonable description. George Monbiot has a good summary article from 2010 with a good portrait to boot. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2010/jun/08/monckton-gift-climate-denial

    In the interview described above, Monckton once again described himself as an expert reviewer for the IPCC, omitting once again the fact that anyone at all can register as a reviewer via a self-declaration of expertise. http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/11/01/climate-science-denialist-lord-monckton-s-ipcc-appointment-wasn-t

    The reason the IPCC do this is to ensure that even fringe challenges or corrections are all considered and reasons transparently given for rejection or acceptance. Knowing this only a fantasist or a misinformer would then boast on record that a self-declaration qualifies them as an expert. This is exactly the kind of absurd claim to authority that John Gibbons illustrates very well in respect to the BOD-like Connolly family and their ‘peer’-'review’ ‘journal’. The pity is that these claims so often remain unchallenged.

    One might hope, without optimism, that the ever bloodied Christopher Monckton would retire from the field, however the real problem, as described above, is the need for far more journalists to act professionally in challenging the claimed credentials of “experts” or their ideologically-based claims that lie far outside known ranges of reality established by science. Journalists could easily do this if they spent the time to do their job. A 10 minute google search is not much to ask to enable them to challenge guests, it’s not much yet so many journalists continue to embarrass themselves and so ill inform the public.

    The continuing epidemic of false balance reporting of climate science and climate change policy is failing us all. It is a sad reflection on many journalists and the media organisations they work for. They seem unaware of even the basic IPCC Summary key points. The most independent and thoroughly vetted summary of peer reviewed science ever undertaken for any field is just a click away at http://www.ipcc.ch and all the highlighted boxes in the Summary can be read in 10 minutes. Plenty there to undermine the misleading distractions of Monckton and his ilk who fancifully promote inaction in the face of increasing climate risk.

  • monckton

    Another surrenderer! Mr Price, following the habit of the million agents of disinformation furtively placed by the now-defunct Soviet totalitarian dictatorship in the institutions of the West, and slavishly acting out the Saul Alinsky playbook, devotes several
    paragraphs of comment to a spectacularly ill-judged ad-hominem attack on me.

    Remarkably, Mr Price fails to adduce a single scientific or economic argument of any kind, either standalone or in refutation of any of the numerous scientific and economic facts I gave on
    the radio programme.

    He who argues ad hominem and not ad rem (i.e., against the man personally and not against his argument) is a loser who, by that tactic – now near-universal on the vicious but collapsing Left – concedes the field to his opponent and limps away whining and spitting out childish curses.

    Mr Gibbons was unable to deploy a single scientific fact in refutation of what I said on the radio programme. So he resorted to calling me names and was compelled, under pain of legal
    proceedings, to back off somewhat.

    Mr Price is similarly reluctant to engage in any scientific argument.
    Like Mr Gibbons, he merely repeats the ad-hominem talking-points of the agents of climate desinformatsiya without having bothered to verify any of the facts.

    One certainly cannot become an Expert Reviewer for the IPCC merely by self-certification. The procedure requires submission of references to four papers published in reviewed journals, so that the IPCC can – if it wishes – verify the quality of the papers before appointing the reviewer. I submitted four papers and, after a suitable interval during which, no doubt, my papers were scrutinized with particular care, I was appointed an Expert Reviewer. My review, all 80 pages of it, is available at http://www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org, so that Mr Gibbons and Mr Price can see for themselves whether my review was meritorious.

    If either Mr Gibbons or Mr Price would like to take a closer look at what I said on the programme, with a view to pointing out to me what was wrong with it scientifically speaking, they should let me know and I shall forward to them the transcript that my lawyers
    obtained.

    Let me give them one point to start off with. I said on the programme that the IPCC, in response to comments from reviewers such as myself, had almost halved its best estimate of global warming over the next 30 years. It had explicitly abandoned the computer models on which it had previously relied without question, and had substituted what it called its “expert assessment” to the effect that notwithstanding continuing record increases in CO2 concentration the warming of the next 30 years might well be less than the warming of the last 30 years (and that was not very much to start with). Refute that! Now that even the IPCC has accepted that global warming will be little and slow, there will be no need for the “climate action” so hysterically demanded by the totalitarian Left. The game is up, and the
    scare is over.

  • Hockey Schtick

    What pathetic, pure ad hom drivel & libel from John Gibbons, who admits in a single sentence out of 20 paragraphs, “The physics involved is way over my head.” Well then, perhaps you should reserve your un-scientific judgement on the Connolly’s work.

    You falsely state, “The Hockey Schtick blog is a notorious anti-science clearing house, and already they are cheerfully republishing this as though it were actually from a peer-reviewed scientific source.” What part of what I actually said, “A family of scientists have submitted for open peer review 3 papers…” do you not understand? Which papers specifically of the over 3,000 peer-reviewed published papers from the top climate science journals that I’ve highlighted on my blog do you claim are part of my “notorious anti-science clearing house.”

    Like Monckton, I request removal of your libelous claims, and FYI I have a doctorate degree in the hard sciences, and am an author on over 25 peer-reviewed papers published in high-impact scientific journals. You? – not so much.

    You might want to review the Climategate emails below before writing, “In a tweet, Penn State climatologist, Prof Michael Mann noted wryly: “I suspect that the description of the journal as “peer” reviewed is ironically correct in this case,” a quote from someone who the emails show manipulated peer-review to pal-review & no-review by refusing to release his data, and keeping contradictory papers out of the journals.

    http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/p/climategate_05.html

    In contrast, the Connollys are true scientists who have opened up all of their data and methods for open review by any scientist and the public, and should be lauded for doing so, not derided. You should be ashamed.

  • johngibbons

    And you are? Dear “Hockey Schtick” please identify yourself by name, and, if relevant, qualifications or affiliations. Christopher Monckton, Paul Price and myself are all using our “actual” names. Failure to identify yourself puts you firmly in the category of Cowardly Troll. Looking forward to your next post – though if you still fail to identify yourself, you most certainly will be banished from here!

  • johngibbons

    Hmmm, am a little tied up with work commitments right now, but I do promise, later today, to return and see if I can present any evidence to support my earlier assertions…

  • There’s Physics

    Failure to identify yourself puts you firmly in the category of Cowardly Troll.

    Oooops :-) I have less of an issue with anonymity, given that I’ve chosen to remain so myself. However, given that I have been accused of being an anonymous coward and given that it may not have been an entirely unfair accusation, I guess I can’t really object to your characterisation of THS.

    So far, I’ve found the Connolly family endeavour quite interesting and they have maintained an air of civility in discussions so far. To be fair to THS, my discussions with him/her have been reasonably civil too, but I’m starting to get the sense that that may be about to end.

    What’s interesting about the Connolly papers (and about my discussions with THS) is that they both essentially describe the greenhouse effect and then somehow decide that what they’ve described is not the greenhouse effect and hence that they greenhouse effect is small/negligible. I maintain that both THS and the Connolly’s are a moment away from recognising that what they describe is the greenhouse effect and such an epiphany would be, in my opinion, quite remarkable.

  • There’s Physics

    I’m happy to help if need be. One problem with trying to rebut some of what Christopher says is that it can be so scientifically incredible, that it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve written some blog posts in which I attempt to do so though.

  • johngibbons

    I accept that anonymity has its legitimate functions. Practising climate scientists may want to contribute to this debate, for instance, but be compromised or prevented by dint of their academic or professional obligations. That’s perfectly OK. I’m glad too you’ve found THS to be reasonably civil; sadly, that has not been my experience thus far. Also, I don’t much like the title of that blog, it strongly smacks of a closed mind – the Hockey Stick (all dozens of them) is a hoax, broken, etc. etc. What if the evidence at some point confirms the Hockey Stick is in fact correct, I doubt very much that Mr. Angry Guy is going to say, ah shucks, I was wrong after all. True deniers never apologise, never accept new evidence, unless they like it, and never admit mistakes (except in others, of course).

  • johngibbons

    Offer appreciated! Christopher’s data is classic whack-a-gopher stuff; wallop one, and he changes tack and up pops another…and so on. Exhausting stuff. But we may just have to roll up the sleeves and have a go – later!

  • There’s Physics

    Oh, I agree the name “Hockey Schtick” implies some kind of immediate bias. Similarly, I won’t bother reading the “Hockey Stick Illusion”. Why would I, it’s been largely replicated numerous times using various different proxies, including by people who publicly criticise Michael Mann.

  • johngibbons

    I agree with you about the Connollys. In fact, Michael Connolly phoned me up the other day on foot of this blog. I was half expecting an earful, but he was polite and engaging throughout. We chatted for around half an hour. We didn’t see eye to eye about their findings or methods, but it was a civil, courteous discussion. I believe that he earnestly believes in what he is doing, but I don’t think he is correct. I did point out that, if he and family are proven correct, Ireland will have its Nobel laureate in physics within a few years. If that transpires, I’ll be the first to apologise and shake his hand.

  • monckton

    I’m delighted that John Gibbons is going to drop the name-calling and look instead at the science and economics.

    To assist him, I have appended below the note I prepared for my lawyers listing point by point every one of the scientific assertions I made on the radio programme on which he also appeared.

    In [square brackets] the scientific evidence that establishes each point is given.

    In my submission, none of the points I made was inaccurate; all are well evidenced in the data or in the literature; and, on any view, my remarks provided no basis for Mr Gibbons to call me a fantasist, a kook, or any other such epithet.

    On the contrary, the fact that I could recall these facts in detail, even down to the precise reference for a graph appearing in a 2000-page IPCC document, and that I could do this rapidly and without a single note in front of me, will perhaps give some indication of why it was that the IPCC appointed me an Expert Reviewer, and why it accepted advice from me and others that it should sharply cut its near-term projections of global warming.

    Let Mr Gibbons refute any of my points if he can. If he finds – as he will – that all or very nearly all are true, then he will no doubt have the grace to to withdraw and apologize for the posting in which he had unfairly criticized me.

    Ø Global temperatures have risen by 0.7 Cº since 1950. [Least-squares linear-regression trend on the HadCRUT4 monthly global mean surface temperature dataset].

    Ø An increase of 0.7 Cº is not a lot. [For comparison with this 0.7 Cº in 63 years, the temperature in central England, a good proxy for global temperature, rose by 2.2 Cº in just 40 years from 1695-1735].

    Ø There has been no global warming at all, on the average of
    the five major datasets, for the last 13 years. [Least-squares trend on the arithmetic mean of the monthly anomalies on all five datasets].

    Ø On the RSS satellite dataset, there has been no global warming for 17 years 5 months. [Least-squares trend on the RSS monthly global mean lower-troposphere anomaly dataset].

    Ø In central England, there has been no warming for 25 full calendar years. [Least-squares trend on the Central England Temperature monthly regional mean surface temperature anomaly dataset from January 1989 to December 2013 inclusive].

    Ø Basing a trend on decadal means has the effect of concealing
    the last ten years of no-warming. [Actually, at the time of publication of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report the use of decadal means concealed 12 years 8 months of the temperature trend, and there had been no global warming at all, expressed as the linear trend on the mean of all five datasets, for – er – 12 years 8 months (now 13 years 1 month)].

    Ø The IPCC, between its pre-final and its final draft of the Fifth Assessment Report, has cut its central best estimate of the next 30 years’ warming from 0.7 to about 0.4 Cº.[See para. 11.3.6.3 of the pre-final and final drafts of the F aifth Assessment Report].

    Ø 0.4 Cº is a slower rate of global warming for the next 30 years than was measured in the last 30 years. [0.13 and 0.14 Cº respectively].

    Ø The IPCC has accepted that the models on the basis of which it had issued its earlier temperature forecasts are wrong, and has substituted what it calls its own “expert assessment” for what the models had previously foretold. [The phrase “expert assessment” appears twice in para. 11.3.6.3].

    Ø The IPCC’s graphs 11.25a-c illustrate the reduction in the IPCC’s 30-year projections of global warming. [Comparing these with graphs 11.33a-c in the pre-final or “second-order” draft that I reviewed, the interval of projected warming over the next 30 years has been reduced from 0.4-1 Cº in the pre-final draft to 0.3-0.7 Cº, with the best estimate towards the lower bound of the interval].

    Ø Dr. Pachauri, the IPCC’s climate-science chairman, has admitted a 17-year “pause” in global temperatures. [He did so in Melbourne in February 2013, as reported in The Australian].

    Ø This long period without warming is contrary to all predictions. [Not a single one of the 73 models currently relied upon by the IPCC projected, as its central, mid-range or best estimate, that there would be no global warming for 17 years. Only 3% of those runs included a zero trend in its
    interval of projections].

    Ø The discrepancy between projection and observed reality is now serious. [Which is why the IPCC has abandoned its former reliance on the models and has substituted its “expert assessment” instead].

    Ø John Kerry was right to deride those who say human activity does not cause global warming. [No disagreement on that].

    Ø All the evidence so far is that global warming has been minor. [See the above data as evidence].

    Ø Sea level is falling [Analysis of global mean sea-level mass change as measured by the GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites: see Peltier et al., 2009].

    Ø The IPCC does not say doubling of CO2 concentration will have catastrophic consequences. [It says that would cause 3 Cº global warming, but that only half of that would occur in the first 200 years].

    Ø We might get global warming, but we might also get global cooling. [The IPCC’s latest projections begin in 2005, where the projections for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report left
    off, and there has been global cooling since then].

    Ø We’re 5000 years overdue for the next Ice Age. [Each of the previous four interglacial warm periods was at least 5000 years shorter than the present interglacial warm period, which has endured for 11,400 years: see Petit et al., 1999, analyzing the
    Holocene temperature reconstruction from the ratio of Oxygen-18 to Oxygen-16 in the Vostok ice cores].

    Ø We don’t know what triggers these Ice Ages exactly [It is believed to be the Milankovich cycles, actually first adumbrated by an autodidact university janitor called Croll, but it is not possible to predict when the next Ice Age will occur].

    Ø Cold is a much bigger killer than warmth. [And so it is. Some 90% of the Earth’s species live in the tropics, while less than 1% live at the poles].

    Ø Modern fluidized-bed or pelletized high-temperature coal combustion does not produce the pollution that once caused widespread death. [At one point, 37,000 people a year were dying of respiratory diseases caused by particulate emissions from coal-fired power stations in the UK alone. Now that modern combustion methods are used, the number is vanishingly different from zero].

    Ø Carbon capture and storage would be twice a expensive as letting global warming happen. [The cost of letting 3 Cº global warming happen, according to the Stern Report of 2006 on the economics of climate change, is 0-3% of global GDP, but it is now evident that we’re not going to see anything like 3 Cº warming this century, so call it 1%, but the cost of CCS, using the latest admittedly rather optimistic figures from the US Office of Management and Budget, would be 2% of GDP – if the technology could be made to work].

    Ø There is no connection between global warming and the jet-stream. [The last time the circumpolar vortex was displaced like this was in 1954. It caused widespread flooding, worse than what the UK has recently endured. One could sail a boat down Hammersmith High Street. And the extreme weather was then blamed on global cooling.

    Ø The IPCC says extreme weather events – such as the floods –
    cannot be confidently attributed to global warming. [See the Special Report on Extreme Weather, 2012, or the Fifth
    Assessment Report, 2013].

    Well, there it is. Mr Gibbons is entitled to his own interpretation of these facts, but they are indeed facts. My interpretation is that of the IPCC – that near-term global warming projections must be greatly reduced. That is the mainstream scientific opinion, and rightly so, for that opinion is derived from real-world observation and measurement, and not from the fantasies in the computer models.

  • Paul Price

    Christopher,

    You directly contradict the words of the IPCC who are reported as stating:

    “Anyone can register as an expert reviewer on the open online registration systems set up by the working groups. All registrants that provide the information requested and confirm their scientific expertise via a self-declaration of expertise are accepted for participation in the review. They are invited to list publications, but that is not a requirement and the section can be left blank when registering. There is no appointment.”
    http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/11/01/climate-science-denialist-lord-monckton-s-ipcc-appointment-wasn-t

    Can you supply us with a statement from the IPCC to the contrary with a link to the source office at IPCC?

    By all means though, please do share with us links and full reference citations to the four papers you listed to the IPCC. Can you also share a link to the IPCC response to the document you submitted that is presumably available online at the IPCC website with other comment responses?

    For those without time to wade through the vague link you give above, your own document is available directly at http://o.b5z.net/i/u/10152887/f/AR5_Expert_Review_Lord_Monckton_Foundation_20121216.pdf

    In making your arguments your document displays a complete ignorance of the use of scientific citation and referencing to support an argument. In most of the 104 ‘comments’ you give no references at all to support your assertions and where you do give an author-date citation in your comment you entirely fail to give the full reference at the end of the document so readers could go there to substantiate your arguments.

    Most incompetently, though comically so, are your comments 38 through 52 that perform a “Gish Gallop” dumping of 450 full references (as you state at Comment 38) thrown in to ‘support’ three or four line “Reason” comments that lack any author-date citations whatsoever. If you could fit the 450 citations into the 41 lines of ‘reasoning’ you give please could you do so now with exact page numbers so that we can all see the basis of your arguments.

    Those of us with science degrees will know that this level of citation and referencing would result in a FAIL grade even in the first year of a Bachelors degree, though perhaps it was different for your Classics degree. Please do respond to each of the above requests so that you can reveal an as-yet-unrevealed rigour to your self-declared expertise. I find it is unsurprising that you were reluctant to give us a direct link to your paper

    While you are re-visiting your document, the rest of us can look to the United Nations IPCC where the science is fully documented with all citations and references to peer reviewed journals by the world’s most expert and experienced climate scientists in the physical science: Summary (36 pages), Technical (127 pages) and Full report (over 2000 pages). And all done with transparent responses online to even such as Christopher, where of course the scientific support of the argument actually exists. The Summary key points are easy to read even and understand though the implications are daunting for all of us willing to face reality rather than indulge wishfully in Christopher’s escapism.

    Anyone can waste time on debunking Monckton and the zombie myths he repeats yet again above, there is plenty of strong referenced rebuttal available in the IPCC and in science online, it is not hard to find, for example, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/08/monckton-makes-it-up/.

    Rather than waste time on time wasters though, we would do better to rely on competent experts and the IPCC repeatedly deliver that expertise for the world. It would be good if all of us, especially media and economists, started reading their reports to judge for ourselves the level of climate risk we increasingly face. We can make emission choices now to greatly insure against future economic damage due to climate impacts for ourselves and our children and grandchildren but we have do so starting now.

  • monckton

    And yet another surrender from Mr Price, who continues to fail to address even one of the scientific points I made in the radio programme that gave rise to this thread.

    To assist him in helping Mr Gibbons, in a separate comment I have repeated the note I prepared for my lawyers itemizing each statement of science or economics that I had made in the programme, together with the evidence for it. Let them both demonstrate what intellectual calibre they may possess by addressing the scientific arguments I presented, rather than by relentless and pointless ad-hominem attacks. Sometimes third parties read these threads, and they will not be impressed that after all this time neither Mr Gibbons nor Mr Price has come up with a single scientific fact or argument.

    One does understand that the totalitarian Left is not accustomed to argument: it prefers simply to try to trash the reputations of those who oppose it. But, sub specie aeternitatis, the continuing failure of these two totalitarians to find a single argument to bolster the rankly political stance evidenced in their concentration on ad-hominem attacks rather than ad-rem argument is disfiguring and does not stand to their credit.

    If Mr Price is unable to identify the scientific papers or datasets I have mentioned in this thread, or those mentioned in my review of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, then he should apply to his nearest university, which will no doubt assist him. Anyone with reasonable knowledge of climatology and related fields will be familiar with the cited papers and will be able to locate them without the slightest difficulty. One is unimpressed with Mr Price’s sneering: for at one moment he sneers because I had not provided references in the form he would prefer (and in a small handful of my comments perhaps a fuller reference would have been advisable): yet at another moment he sneers because I had provided 450 full references to establish that the IPCC, in reviewing the literature on whether there was a medieval warm period, had not fairly reflected the preponderance of opinion among the authors of empirical (as opposed to numerical) papers that the medieval warm period was evident in most parts of the world. Mr Price cannot have it both ways.

    I think it is now accepted that I am, as I said I am, an Expert Reviewer for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. As far as I knew at the time when I applied to be appointed, appointment was not automatic. If it was, then it should not have been, and this is further evidence of the general sloppiness of the IPCC’s procedures. It is bad enough that a third of the references in the previous IPCC assessment report were to non-peer-reviewed sources: but if some fraction of the reviewers also have no expertise because the IPCC has not bothered to verify the documents it asked for when appointing reviewers, it is no surprise that the IPCC has become a standing joke.

    Nor am I impressed with Mr Price’s argumentum ad verecundiam to the effect that he admires the IPCC because it cites lots and lots of papers (whether peer-reviewed papers or handouts from totalitarian pressure groups). I am as capable as anyone of reading down and analyzing data from global datasets: and it has become as clear to the IPCC as it has to me that its previous reliance on computer models as the basis for its temperature predictions was a mistake. The fact that the IPCC was able to cite thousands of handouts did not make its conclusions correct – as it has itself now accepted.

    Meanwhile, I see from data picked up in the past few hours that the RSS monthly global mean surface temperature dataset now shows no global warming at all for 17 years 6 months.

    From now on, no more ad-homs: tackle the scientific points, or be silent.

  • There’s Physics

    Christopher,

    I’ll respond to a few,

    An increase of 0.7 Cº is not a lot. [For comparison with this 0.7 Cº in
    63 years, the temperature in central England, a good proxy for global
    temperature, rose by 2.2 Cº in just 40 years from 1695-1735].

    Firstly, central England is not the globe and I don’t believe that it is a good proxy for global temperatures. The current evidence suggests that a 0.7 degree rise in only 63 years (and 0.85 since 1880) is not something that has happened in the last 1000 years and possibly not in the last 10000 years.

    There has been no global warming at all, on the average of
    the five major datasets, for the last 13 years. [Least-squares trend on the arithmetic mean of the monthly anomalies on all five datasets].

    This may be true of you average the 5 datasets, however it is not true if one considers the datasets independently. Since some have better coverage than others and some are influence more by polar amplification than others, averaging is not a good way to represent the overall change in global mean temperatures.

    Basing a trend on decadal means has the effect of concealing
    the last ten years of no-warming. [Actually, at the time of publication of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report the use of decadal means concealed 12 years 8 months of the temperature trend, and there had been no global warming at all, expressed as the linear trend on the mean of all five datasets, for – er – 12 years 8 months (now 13 years 1 month)].

    Given that the decadal averages were presented together with monthly anomalies (if I remember correctly) nothing was concealed. Looking at decadel means is simply another way of presenting the information. I notice that you also continue to claim that there’s been no warming but fail to mention that continued rise in ocean heat content.

    The discrepancy between projection and observed reality is now
    serious. [Which is why the IPCC has abandoned its former reliance on the models and has substituted its “expert assessment” instead].

    It’s not yet serious. We expect the observed temperatures to fall outside the 90% confidence interval about 10% of the time. We’re not yet at a stage where one can conclude that there is a serious mismatch between the models and the observations. In fact, if this never happened, we would eliminate that outlier models and constrain the 90% interval until the observations fell outside that range 10% of the time.

    Sea level is falling [Analysis of global mean sea-level mass change as
    measured by the GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites: see Peltier et al., 2009].

    I don’t believe that this is correct. Sea level continues to rise. There was a period in the late 2000s were it appeared to fall but – as far as I’m aware – this was associated with an anomalously large amount of rainfall in Australia.

    We might get global warming, but we might also get global cooling. [The IPCC’s latest projections begin in 2005, where the projections for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report left off, and there has been global cooling since then].

    If we get global cooling, without an asteroid strike or major volcanic event, then much of modern physics will be wrong. As exciting as that may be, it is extremely unlikely. We not had global cooling recently. The climate system continues to accrue energy as expected.

    There are some of my thoughts.

  • monckton

    A response to each of the points from the furtively pseudonymous “There’s Physics” (hereinafter “Pseud”):

    Pseud: “Central England is not the globe and I don’t believe that it is a good proxy for global temperatures.” M of B: Science is not a belief system: it doesn’t matter what Pseud or I “believe”. In fact, Central England is a good proxy for global temperature change, being at the right latitude. Over the past 120 years, or two full cycles of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the mean temperature trends on the Central England regional and on the HadCRUT4 global datasets are within 0.01 Celsius degrees of one another.

    Pseud: “The current evidence suggests that a 0.7 Cº rise in only 63 years (and 0.85 since 1880) is not something that has happened in the last 1000 years and possibly not in the last 10,000 years.” M of B: What evidence?

    Pseud: “Some [datasets] have better coverage than others and some are influence[d] more by polar amplification than others, averaging is not a good way to represent the overall change in global mean temperatures.” M of B: Over the past 13 calendar years the following are the monthly temperature anomaly trends on the five global datasets: GISS +0.02 Cº. HadCRUT4 -0.01 Cº, NCDC -0.00 Cº, RSS -0.08 Cº, UAH+0.07 Cº. The mean of the three terrestrial datasets is -0.00 Cº, the mean of the two satellite datasets is -0.00 Cº, and the mean of all five datasets is -0.00 Cº. Since all of these measurements are within the combined measurement, coverage and bias uncertainties in the datasets, they are each individually indistinguishable from zero. Given this uncertainty, there is insufficient difference between the coverage of the various datasets to render averaging of the anomalies impermissible. The value of averaging is shown by the two satellite datasets, which use the same methodology and more or less the same coverage but reach quite different results, which, however, fall into line with the terrestrial datasets (taken individually or collectively) once they are averaged.

    Pseud: “Given that the decadal averages were presented together with monthly anomalies (if I remember correctly), nothing was concealed.” M of B: Your memory is incorrect. The climatologist on
    the programme mentioned the decadal averages only. In context, that mention was calculated to conceal the fact that over the past 13 years there has been no global warming at all.

    Pseud: “You … continue to claim that there’s been no warming but fail to mention that continued rise in ocean heat content.” What rise? The 4000 ARGO bathythermograph buoys take
    measurements so sparsely and infrequently that they provide the equivalent of a single temperature and salinity profile of the whole of Lake Superior less than once a year. Since the ARGO buoys – the least incomplete coverage we have – show the oceans to have been warming at around one-sixth of the models’ central estimates, the warming is so slight that it falls within the considerable measurement error of the system and is, statistically speaking,indistinguishable from zero. Statistically speaking, we have no idea whether ocean heat content is increasing; and, even if we did, we’d have no way to distinguish between warming caused by CO2 in the air and warming caused by variations in the activity of the 3.5 million subsea volcanoes, just about all of which have never been systematically monitored. Indeed, the largest volcano by ground footprint in the entire solar system was discovered just a few months ago – in the ocean a few hundred miles off Japan. Besides, if the ocean (1000 times denser than the atmosphere) is warming, why is the atmosphere mot warming too? Conclusion: maybe the oceans are not warming very much – that, at any rate, is what the ARGO buoys suggest.

    Pseud: “It [the discrepancy between predicted warming and observed flatlining] is not yet serious. We expect the observed temperatures to fall outside the 90% confidence interval about 10% of the time.” M of B: Well, 90% is not a customary confidence
    interval, but 95% (or two standard deviations) is. According to IPCC (2013, fig. 11.25 ab), observed temperatures are now below the 95% confidence interval for all models. Not one of the models predicted, as its central case, that there would be no global warming for 13 years notwithstanding the continuing record increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration. The IPCC – like it or not – has accepted that the models are wrong, and it has done so because of the now-serious discrepancy between models’ prediction and real-world observation. The NOAA’s annual state of the climate report in 2008 said that 15 years with no global warming would raise serious questions about the reliability of the models. On the mean of all five datasets, we are at 13 years and counting: on
    the RSS dataset, we are already at 17 years 6 months and counting; on the Central England dataset, which, as I have said, is a good proxy for global temperature change, we are at 25 full calendar years and counting. In the first half of the 20th century there was 0.5 Cº warming, and we could not really have caused any of that. In the second half of the 20th century, when we could have contributed, the warming was only 0.2 Cº greater than in the first half – probably not a bad measure of the maximum influence we may have exerted over the period (I say “maximum” because the second half of the 20th century was influenced by the solar grand maximum that peaked in 1960, during which the Sun was more active than during any similar period over the past 11,400 years – Solanki et al., 2005).

    Pseud: “I don’t believe that this [the notion that sea level is falling] is correct. Sea level continues to rise. There was a period in the late 2000 w[h]ere it appeared to fall but – as far as I’m aware – this was associated with an anomalously large amount of rainfall in Australia.” M of B: You may or may not be right: but the GRACE
    gravitational-anomaly satellites certainly showed sea level actually falling. And, if all it took was some extra rainfall on a tiny fraction of Earth’s surface to turn a supposed rise into a definite fall, then there can’t have been much of a rise going on, now, can there? Have a look at the raw data from a) the Envisat satellite during its entire eight years of operation; and b) the GRACE satellites, ditto. The raw data show sea level rising at a rate equivalent to 3.2 cm/century (Envisat), or falling at a rate equivalent to 1.1 cm/century (GRACE). However, an ingenious adjustment to allow for global isostatic recovery since the last Ice Age was prayed in aid, to make it look as sea level was rising by at least 2 mm/year more than it was. Actual sea level is hardly changing. Once again, the question is highly complex and the data points too few, and the time series too short, to draw any serious conclusions either way.
    However, we are able to look at a reconstruction of sea-level change over the past 1000 years. In the medieval warm period it was 0.2 m above today’s level; in the little ice age it was 0.2 m below. And that’s all, despite the strong changes in global temperature over the period.

    Pseud: “We’ve not had global cooling recently.” M of B: Well, we have had global cooling recently. Since 2005, on the average of all five datasets, the Earth has cooled at an admittedly statistically-insignificant 0.3 Cº/century equivalent rate: however, the discrepancy between the cooling that has occurred and the warming that the models predicted is not insignificant.

    Pseud: “If we get global cooling, without an asteroid strike or major volcanic event, then much of modern physics will be wrong. … The climate system continues to accrue energy as expected.” M of B: These statements are mere unevidenced hand-waving. Temperature feedbacks, at least in the short term, will not have acted much. Therefore the rate of warming to be expected over the short term will not greatly exceed 1.3 Cº per CO2 doubling – and, compared with today, a CO2 doubling will take at least a century. So it is perfectly possible, physically speaking, for natural factors such as the decline in solar activity, the recovery of global cloud cover, the reduction in the Nino/Nina ratio, the negative or cooling phase of the PDO, etc., temporarily to countervail against
    such a weak CO2 signal. In the longer term, I’d expect some warming, but ultimately whatever precipitates ice ages will overwhelm the weak warming signal from CO2 and we’ll be back into an ice age. And that will be seriously damaging to life and health worldwide.

    I conclude by inviting Pseud, whoever it be, to reread the head posting, to reread the scientific points I made on the air in the radio programme that gave rise to that posting, and then to read the answers to his points that I have made here. Whether Pseud agrees with them or not, it will surely acknowledge, if it is fair-minded, that the numerous epithets hurled at me by Mr Gibbons were, to say the least, inappropriate. My lawyers, on reading my justification for each of the points I had made, and on seeing the accompanying diagrams, had wanted to proceed with a libel action even though Mr Gibbons had removed the accusation that I am a
    “serial liar” after he received his letter before action. However, I decided to let him off this time, on a generous interpretation of the legal doctrine that a comment, however unfair, is “fair comment” unless it alleges wilful dishonesty. Mr Gibbons will not necessarily be the wiser for these exchanges, but he will certainly be better informed – and, I warrant, a lot more careful with his language in future.

  • There’s Physics

    A response to Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (hereinafter “Chris”)

    Chris : Science is not a belief system: it doesn’t matter what Pseud or I “believe”. In fact, Central England is a good proxy for global temperature change, being at the right latitude. Over the past 120 years, or two full cycles of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the mean temperature trends on the Central England regional and on the HadCRUT4 global datasets are within 0.01 Celsius
    degrees of one another.

    I agree that science is not a belief system, so that may have been poorly worded on my part. Either way, even though you suggest that they track well, that does not prove that CET is a good proxy for the global temperatures.

    Chris : M of B: What evidence?

    Look at virtually any millenial temperature reconstruction. Choose a paper by Rob Wilson if you want to use an analysis from someone who appears not to like Michael Mann. Marcott et al. for the last 10000 years. You may have various reason for not liking Marcott et al. but that doesn’t nullify the fact that the evidence exists.

    Chris : Over the past 13 calendar years the following are the monthly
    temperature anomaly trends on the five global datasets: GISS +0.02 Cº. HadCRUT4 -0.01 Cº, NCDC -0.00 Cº, RSS -0.08 Cº, UAH+0.07 Cº. The mean of the three terrestrial datasets is -0.00 Cº, the mean of the two satellite datasets is -0.00 Cº, and the mean of all five datasets is
    -0.00 Cº.

    Have you looked at the uncertainties in those trends? They’re quite large. Plus, the result is extremely sensitive to your start date. Go back one year earlier and all trends are positive, bar RSS.

    Chris : Your memory is incorrect. The climatologist on
    the programme mentioned the decadal averages only. In context, that mention was calculated to conceal the fact that over the past 13 years there has been no global warming at all.

    We’re remembering different things then. I was referring to the IPCC document. I’m certainly not going to base my understanding of climate science on some documentary or media report. Plus, the decadel means do show that each decade has been warmer than the previous decade since 1970. Nothing devious or misleading about that.

    Chris : Well, 90% is not a customary confidence interval, but 95% (or two standard deviations) is. According to IPCC (2013, fig. 11.25 ab), observed temperatures are now below the 95% confidence interval for all models.

    Okay, outside the 95% confidence interval 5% of the time. My point still stands.

    Chris : What rise? The 4000 ARGO bathythermograph buoys take
    measurements so sparsely and infrequently that they provide the equivalent of a single temperature and salinity profile of the whole of Lake Superior less than once a year. Since the ARGO buoys – the least incomplete coverage we have – show the oceans to have been warming at around one-sixth of the models’ central estimates, the warming is so slight that it falls within the considerable measurement error of the system and is, statistically speaking,indistinguishable from zero.

    I think you may find that research done by the US Navy related to submarine warfare has lead to extremely good understanding of how to determine ocean heat content from sparse measurements. The oceans have not been warming at around one-sixth of the models central estimates. They’re warming at around 0.6 W/m^2 averaged for the last decade. Are you suggesting models were predicting a central estimate of 3.6 W/m^2. That’s certainly not correct.

    Chris : Whether Pseud agrees with them or not, it will surely acknowledge, if it is fair-minded, that the numerous epithets hurled at me by Mr Gibbons were, to say the least, inappropriate.

    That’s between you and John Gibbons. I think much of what you say is scientifically incorrect. Whether that is intentional or not, is certainly not for me to say.

  • Hockey Schtick

    Collection of comments that climate alarmist cowards delete instead of debate

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/03/collection-of-comments-that-climate.html

  • monckton

    On central England temperature we’ll have to differ. I provided evidence for a near-identical slope over 120 years: Pseud provided no evidence at all.

    On whether there was a medieval warm period, my expert review of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report listed 450 papers showing it was real, near-global, and at least as warm as the present. However, the central England temperature record, showing from 1604-1735 a warming rate half a dozen times greater than that which has now ceased, is also supported by solar-activity records and also by historical accounts of the simultaneous freezing of the Thames in London and the Hudson in New York, followed by a very rapid recovery in temperature as the Sun became more active again. It is implausible in the extreme to assert, therefore, that there is no evidence for a warming rate greater than today’s.
    That would be a political statement, not a scientific one.

    On whether the climate scientist on the radio programme that gave rise to the head posting had cited decadal temperatures only: he had. Get over it. That was what I was responding to. Pseud is free to discuss extraneous evidence if it likes, but on the programme a less than intellectually honest attempt was made to conceal the long pause in global temperatures by citing decadal temperatures only. It is disingenuous of Pseud to suggest that I was proposing that it should base what it optimistically calls its “understanding” of climate science on “some documentary or media report”. The head posting was about neither. It was a bout a particular radio programme. Pseud should keep on message and should certainly not sneer when I do.

    On the confidence interval, Pseud has not yet understood that global temperature change now falls below the 95% confidence interval not on one model but on all of the models. I leave it
    to determine the probability of such a cluster of events occurring other than because all of the models are programmed to imagine a substantially greater greenhouse-gas forcing than is physically justifiable.

    On ocean heat content, the oceans are large and our monitoring systems few and sparsely scattered. There is no way to determine whether ocean heat content is changing globally, or in what direction. And, though it is true that the modelers have been compelled vastly to reduce their predictions of ocean heat content increase, such evidence as we have suggests a fivefold excess of the projections over sparsely-observed reality, and a posting at WattsUpWithThat by Bob Tisdale determines the current exaggeration in the models as sevenfold.

    On whether Pseud thinks much of what I say is scientifically incorrect, no it doesn’t think that. It has been unable to refute the great majority of the assertions I made in the radio programme, and on the few that it has attempted to refute the very best that
    can be said for its viewpoint is that one might argue the science either way.

    The impression left by Pseud is that it has adopted an aprioristic stance on the climate question, is insufficiently familiar with measurement and methodological uncertainties in physics, and is accordingly prone to leap to conclusions that fit its preconceived and – from the tenor of the argument – hard-Left political viewpoint without appreciating the uncertainties underlying many of its claims.

    The notion that we can determine changes in ocean heat content to a precision sufficient to tell us anything about global warming is just one of the fantasies that only one who was incurably parti pris could for a moment entertain.

    Pseud does show signs of having ppreciated, though, that, as the “global warming” scare collapses for lack of – er – global warming, its only escape route from the intellectual corner into which it has painted itself is to press for the outright elimination of CO2 emissions, so that when temperature continuously and embarrassingly fails to rise at anything like the predicted rate it will be able to claim that this was brought about by the reduction of CO2 emissions to zero, and by the consequent near-total shutdown of the West that has long been the aim of totalitarians
    everywhere, rather than by what would have happened anyway.

  • There’s Physics

    On whether Pseud thinks much of what I say is scientifically incorrect, no it doesn’t think that.

    Oh, I do. Believe me, I really do. It’s the intent part I have no knowledge about. I certainly am perfectly capable of knowing what I think.

    That you think you know my thoughts makes me also think that further discussion is probably really not worth the effort. I’m also rather reluctant to continue discussions with those who start invoking totalitarianism. Quite what that has to do with science is beyond me.

  • joseph

    Comparing the Connolly’s work to your alleged rugby skills John is yet another example of the unprovoked nastiness solar deniers such as yourself frequently engage in. The game is up John. Your just standing on the pitch wondering where everyone went. Will you be apologising to “BOD” as you call him ?

  • johngibbons

    Cat got your tongue there, Hockey Schtick? C’mon, tell us all about yourself, your brilliant scientific career, and how some big ol’ conspiracy prevented your, um, sack of sciency sounding outpourings from winning you the praise and esteem of your peers. With such sizzling wit on display as “If you can’t explain the pause, you can’t explain the pause”, I suppose the stunning irony of that lame line being a re-working of the crooked defence that helped get OJ Simpson (“if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit”) away with murder went straight over your head too?

    As for your ‘Collection of comments that alarmist cowards delete instead of debate’, first off, this is an automated Disqus posting system. It occasionally throws comments into a junk folder (it happened to Chris the other day, but he didn’t do your Cry Baby routine about it, he simply re-posted).

    Second, for Mr Anonymous Angry Guy to accuse named individuals such as myself of “cowardice” is beyond parody. Can a gutless troll who hides behind pseudonyms (sound familiar?) slinging insults like monkeys slinging shite out of a tree really be too stoooopid to realise the irony of he/she/it accusing others of cowardice?

  • johngibbons

    Well look what crawled out to join the fray! “Solar deniers”, wow, another addition to the ever-expanding lexicon of the climate denier fraternity (and it is a frat club really, with the disaffected conspiracy theorists clinging to one another for reassurance and backing up one another’s latest idiotic contribution). Rest assured, as mentioned above, that I was well able to answer Michael Connolly when he contacted me to discuss the article, and to fill me in in more detail on what he believes are his scientific findings.

    Try not to worry too much about me being left on the pitch with no one to listen to me – I think you’ll find you’re describing your own bitterness at having all these half-assed opinions and soft-boiled facts and no one paying YOU the blindest bit of notice. Still, haven’t I replied, and shure doesn’t that make you feel better, well, at least for a little while?

    p.s. BOD is a smart guy, by all accounts. Nor has he had an irony bypass, as far as I know, so in the (admittedly unlikely) event he gets to read this posting, I think he’ll realise straight away that it’s written by a huge fan of his who holds him in the highest esteem. Lighten up, Joe, you’ll give yourself a hernia.

  • johngibbons

    Dear Christopher, you’ve called me a member of the Totalitarian Left and myself and Paul Price “these two totalitarians”. If you consult with your lawyers again (you keep mentioning them here, so they must be close at hand) they should be able to confirm that you’ve just committed an Actionable Libel – this time against two people. To add to the fun, you finish the piece saying “no more ad-homs”, having just accused me of being a member of the Totalitarian Left. Elsewhere, you accuse me of being a Communist. And, yes, a liar. This, too, is Actionable – technically.

    But you and I both know this is all too silly for words. Your saving grace is, of course, the idea of anyone seriously wanting to pursue an attention-seeking Walter Mitty character into court is almost beyond parody.

    To wrap up my points here, life is far, far too short to debunk rubbish from Chris Monckton, as he produces outpourings of premium grade gish-gallop in industrial quantities and clearly has precious little else to do to pass the time.

    For anyone interested in background on Chris (including the hilarious letter from the Clerk of the UK House of Parliament “again(ing) ask that you desist from claiming to be a Member of the House of Lords, either directly or by implication”). there are a number of useful links below, where he has been comprehensively and repeatedly de-bunked:

    http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2011/july/letter-to-viscount-monckton/

    http://theidiottracker.blogspot.ie/2013/04/has-christopher-monckton-ever-won.html

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-monckton-files-cracked/

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/docs/Monckton_vs_Scientists.pdf

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton_Myths_arg.htm

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/08/monckton-makes-it-up/

    http://climate.uu-uno.org/view/article/147446/

    Maybe the pick of the lot is Prof John Abraham’s painstaking unpicking of the entire carapace of distortion, cherry-picking and misrepresentation that is the hallmark of Monckton’s technique:

    http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

  • Onder Huids

    “Now, I was taught that if one is discussing a scientific argument advanced by an opponent, attacking the opponent personally rather than addressing his argument is a white flag of abject surrender to the opponent.”

    Well yes, if you are having an actual scientific discussion. However, if you happen to be arguing with a fantasist with delusions of grandeur, then no.

    Simple really.

  • johngibbons

    TP, well done on your sterling efforts at debunking Chris. I see you too have been thrown in with the Totalitatian Left crowd, and this from the guy who abhors ad hominems! Maybe we can join you on our Class Action!

    I would – politely – suggest the key difference between you and Chris is that you are an actual scientist (as is Paul Price) but you’re engaging with a joker who has an amusing line in pseudo-science parlour tricks (see article below for a handy debunking guide). When you begin to close in and expose his Potemkin Village of science sophistry, then out come the insults. Annoy him just a little more, and you’ll be called a nazi. In short, Monckton is to science what

    In a posting below, Paul Price unpicks Chris’s claim to have been a thoroughly vetted IPCC “expert reviewer” and Chris just melts away from his own statement, and turns it instead into an attack on the weaknesses in the IPCC’s system for vetting expert reviewers! It’s fancy footwork alright, but let’s not for a moment forget that it is and remains: total – utter – bullshit.

  • Onder Huids

    So do you still think that people inflicted with HIV should be “quarantained”?

  • monckton

    Another and final surrender by the totalitarian Mr Gibbons, who is no more an expert on the arcana of overage law than he is on climate, and has still been unable to point to a single inaccurate statement in my contribution to the radio programme in which he and I appeared.

    As for the unspeakable Abraham, my answer to his venomous and scientifically illiterate ramblings is at http://www.scienceandoublicpolicy.org.

    And no, I don,t recall calling Mr Gibbons a liar. For, like so many on the extreme Left, he has had his thinking so addled by politics that he is incapable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood.

    All he can do, instead of debating the climate, is to regurgitate ad-hom hate speech from Eco-fascist websites, without having bothered to check any of the facts – much like his approach to the climate question, in fact – emotional, mawkish, political, extreme and inaccurate.

    And he is still entirely incapable of refuting a single one of the scientific or economic points I made in the radio programme. His failure in this regard has been noticed all the way across the Atlantic. Today, a leading TV station in the US, noticing the spectacularly silly ad hominem attacks on me, checked out the facts I’d given on the programme and displayed a graph showing no global warming for well over 17 years on national television.

    The techniques of vicious personal attack that Me Gibbons practises come straight from the KGB. He should surely be aware by now that the KGB no longer exists, and that copying their techniques makes him look as outmoded as he is I’ll- informed on the climate question.

  • Onder Huids
  • johngibbons

    Comrade Chris, you’re doing me out of a job here! How can I properly send you up when you’re doing such a good job of sending yourself up? I may have to write this up in Pravda. Meanwhile, Commissar Gibbons has an actual day job to go to in a few hours, so must reluctantly sign off for this evening.

  • There’s Physics

    The outcome isn’t that surprising, sadly. I do, however, quite like to confirm these things for myself, rather than relying on the word of others. Based on this exchange I conclude that Chris Monckton not only cannot engage in a serious scientific discussion, but also confuses science with policy and seems to think that ad homs are okay as long as he makes them.

  • pinroot

    Wow, you sound like a bit of a dick. Maybe Hockey Schtick is hitting a little too close to home for your comfort.

  • joseph

    I think your reference to Brian and his mother would not be appreciated by the O’Driscolls. It also shows you are one bad hair day away from going postal.
    The only question that remains is weather or not it is a lie to present a theory to the public as matter of fact. You and all the Communist residue that spilled out from the rubble of the Berlin Wall and into the environmentalist movement have lost yet again.
    For some strange reason people like yourself seem to enjoy adopting losing arguments. I guess some just have a fetish for intellectual obstinance .
    Looks like you and your comrades will have to go back to the drawing board and invent yet another weapon to halt the march of global capitalization and economic liberalization. Best of luck with that one.

  • There’s Physics

    I was going to ask if you understood the concept of satire, but judging by the latter half of your comment, you clearly do.

  • johngibbons

    Dear me, what is it with our headbangers that they can’t complete a sentence without some reference to Commies or Nazis? Joe, a tip: trying to ape Chris Monckton would work a lot better if, like him, you (a) had a sense of humour or (b) were clever-but deranged. Mildly deranged, not very bright, with no sense of humour – really not a winning combination, is it Joe? Chris really is a magnet for the knuckledraggers (weather/whether – jeeze, if you can’t tell the difference between these two words, small wonder you struggle with the whole weather/climate concept).

  • monckton

    Do you still think that millions of deaths are preferable to applying the usual humane, sensible, well-established public-health measures to eradicate a new and fatal infectious disease?

  • monckton

    Another surrender by the gibbering Gibbons, who has not yet responded to a single one of the pieces of scientific evidence that I presented. Meanwhile, the RSS satellite dataset now shows no global warming – at all – for 17 years 8 months. The Central England dataset shows no warming for 25 years. And the IPCC’s best estimate of near-term warming made in its 1990 First Assessment Report has proven to be exaggerated by 100% compared with the real-world, measured data.

  • johngibbons

    Hi Chris, guess it must be a quiet day on Mount Denial? This thread closed weeks ago, so you’re basically arguing with yourself here – but what’s new? I just popped by out of politeness! The IPCC AR5 authors (real authors, mind, not fictional ones like your Good Self) conclude that climate change is ““Severe, pervasive & irreversible”.

    Once again, I’m faced with the devilishly difficult choice of who to believe: every scientific academy on earth, 97% of the currently publishing climate specialists and thousands of peer-reviewed papers in the major journals – or you. Hmmmm. Tough call.

  • monckton

    John Gibbons does himself no favours by failing to deal with the scientific points I raised in the programme on which he and I appeared. If he had had scientific training, he would know that, particularly in the physical sciences, argument from consensus is inappropriate.

    There are two reasons. First, the headcount fallacy was propounded by Aristotle 2350 years ago, so argument from consensus is illogical. And arguing from a supposed consensus of experts is doubly illogical, for that is the logical fallacy of appealing to the authority of experts solely on the basis that they are experts. But what if the experts are profiting by making stuff up? And what if – as they have often been in they past, they are simply wrong? Since IPeCaC produced the first of its leaden Assessment Reports in 1990, the world has warmed at half the central rate it then predicted.

    The second reason why physicists reject the argument from consensus is that merely asserting that there is a consensus does not mean that there is one (still less that, if there were one, it would be right). Mr Gibbons trots out the notion of a “97% consensus” in support of IPeCaC’s 95-99% “confidence” that recent global warming was mostly manmade. However, the most comprehensive survey of published climate-research papers ever conducted, with a sample size of 11,944 papers published from 1991-2011, shows only 64 papers, or 0.5% of the sample, as explicitly stating that most of the global warming since we might first in theory have influenced global temperature in 1950 was manmade.

    This is particularly clear example of why physicists regard it as intellectually feeble-minded to argue from consensus. There is indeed a near-unanimous consensus that if one adds CO2 to the air one will expect some global warming, all other things being equal. But that proposition requires no sanctification by mere “consensus”, for it has been demonstrated by laboratory experiment and subsequently explained theoretically, down to the quantum level.

    The true debate is on how much global warming our adding CO2 to the air may cause. So far, those of us who have published reviewed papers to the effect that climate sensitivity may prove to be small (e.g. Monckton of Brenchley, 2010, in the annual proceedings of the World Federation of Scientists), have been shown to be correct. When given the choice between following the real-world data and the projections of a small minority of profiteers of doom, I follow the data. As John Maynard Keynes used to say in that acerbic way of his, “If the facts, change, I change my opinions. What do you do, sir?”

    One realizes that Mr Gibbons has adopted a comfortable, totalitarian establishment position on this question, but in the light of the evidence he should really revise that opinion. According to the solar physicists, the Sun’s activity is now declining at a sharper rate than since records began in 1610. On the mathematics, that could cause half a degree of cooling over the next decade. I have no idea whether there will be warming or cooling in the near future, but what can be said with certainty is that the predictions of near-term temperature change in every single report of the IPCC have been demonstrated by events to have been exaggerated. The most recent report says there should have been 0.15 C warming since January 2005, to which date it bafflingly backcasts its predictions. There has been none at all. Indeed, on the RSS satellite data there has been no global warming for 17 years 8 months – more than half the entire period of record since 1979. On that dataset, no high-school student has experienced global warming in his lifetime. On the Central England dataset, the world’s oldest, there has been no warming for 25 full calendar years.

  • Toby

    A family of scientists all with the same views, and with no connection to the mainstream (conference attendances, papers, seminars) is surely a recipe for confirmation bias.
    Should the Connolly’s not be bringing their data to conferences like the AGU Fall Meeting, or at least attending to question and discuss with other scientists?

  • Paul

    Two quick points for John Gibbons..
    1. How can you disagree with the findings while you admit you can’t understand the papers.
    2. The data should be judged on its own merits. Science has become too much about spin. If something is correct then it shouldn’t matter who said it. Science should remain objective and non emotional.

  • Paul

    Hi Toby, you have made a good point but by allowing their work to be reviewed openly they are mitigating against confirmation bias. This is a very brave thing to do. It is a system that has been used before. In the traditional peer reviewed journals the challenge of confirmation bias can exist as critiquers are often collaborators.