back to article Prehistoric titanic-snake jungles laughed at global warming

Fossil boffins say that dense triple-canopy rainforests, home among other things to gigantic one-tonne boa constrictors, flourished millions of years ago in temperatures 3-5°C warmer than those seen today - as hot as some of the more dire global-warming projections. Paleocene fossil leaves look similar to those from modern …


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  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge


    "We were very surprised by the low plant diversity of this rainforest."

    I'm very surprised that anyone in this field is prepared to express surprise at the sparsity of the fossil record. Isn't that, er, kinda evolution 101?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    The K/T boundary

    That's utter bo77ocks to attempt a parallel extrapolation of temperatures now and then and draw meaningful conclusions.

    At the K/T boundary, there was still a seaway where central america is today, the north atlantic hadn't opened, the tethys was still open and the mountain chains stretching from the pyrenees to the iranian zagros mountains, and on to the himalayas were all absent.

    The late cretaceous still had arctic forests.

    Trying to spin this as another of the register's 'oh look, global warming is all a scam' stories is getting wearisome. You used to be accurate and amusing, but I think I'm getting close to taking you out of my favourites list.

  3. John 62

    SHOCK: warmth is not a problem for rain forests

    I'm not a raving eco loony, but I don't think anyone who is would be surprised to find that rain forests flourish in warm environments. What's killing our rain forests is unscrupulous loggers, cattle ranchers and palm oil plantations. Buy Northern Irish beef! We have loads of land that can't be used for very much other than grazing cattle.

  4. Robinson
    Thumb Down


    "Trying to spin this as another of the register's 'oh look, global warming is all a scam' stories is getting wearisome. You used to be accurate and amusing, but I think I'm getting close to taking you out of my favourites list."

    Forget the fact that "global warming" is natural (as is "global cooling") and that you might as well be doing something more useful or possible, such as stopping tectonic plate movement - and consider the simple fact that life has flourished on Earth through all different kinds of temperature and does so today. Remember that heat = rain and rain = forest- hence the term, "rain forest". Now remember that many more creatures suffer when it's cold than when it's hot (Humans especially). Once you've added up all of those little facts, try to have a coherent opinion on whatever the fuck it is our idiotic governments are doing taking a ball-hammer to our economic competitiveness over a tiny amount of a minor trace gas that happens to be a plant fertiliser.

    When you're done, if you like, offer to pay more taxes if it makes you feel better, but don't force your idiotic anti-technocratic political ideas down my throat, because I get the distinct impression you and all of the other "believers" are living in cloud cuckoo land. Don't even get me started on the Science - perhaps the most unbelievably cretinous part of this story. When the dust settles and temperatures are falling (as they are predicted to do), I bet you'll be the first to put on his central heating!

  5. Mark Jan

    Keep it Coming El Reg

    Anon Coward wrote: "Trying to spin this as another of the register's 'oh look, global warming is all a scam' stories is getting wearisome."

    No, we need stories such as this to maintain some semblance of balance against the onslaught of global warming (no, that doesn't fit any more so we'll call it climate change to cover all bases) bollocks.

    We also need investigative authors such as Ian Wishart writing books such as Air Con: The Seriously Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming. I recommend it to everyone. The most important book you'll read this year, and no, I don't have any vested interest apart from the getting to the truth.

    We're seriously in danger of sleepwalking into a climate change taxation regime that will cripple us for years, but hey, just think of the Polar Bears and the drowning dogs (from the latest UK government climate change spin-commercial).

  6. DevonHammer

    Stop with climate change

    Will you stop with the climate change stories. There's no IT angle, you frequently publish the opinions of discredited so-called scientists as fact and you even contradict yourselves.

    How can you have an article one week on the lack of global warming and the next on the lack of problems from global warming?

    If I want climate advice, I go to climate websites. If I want light-hearted IT, I come here, although I'm not sure that will last.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    State Of Fear

    I blame it all on the collapse of the Soviet Union: back then we had proper bad guys we could be told to fear. We're all being manipulated, all the time:


    Government Intent: "We need the fossil fuels to keep building and flying cool explodey stuff."

    Government Message: "BE AFRAID OF SWINE FLU!!!!!"

    Government Intent: "Uh oh, they can all catch this one. How many sick days will that cost?"


    Government Intent: "We'd really quite like to keep an eye on all of you."


    Government Message: "We've stripped society of any values and we don't want you to realise."

    (AC for completely ridiculous reasons which I'm not going to share)

  8. Anonymous Coward

    It's not the amount of change, it's the rate

    Life exists on Earth in every conceivable niche and in a huge range of temperatures and environments, and yes, it has thrived in the past in hotter temperatures and indeed higher concentrations of CO2.

    The BIG difference right now is that those kinds of changes that used to take thousands or millions of years to happen are occurring in decades instead - plants and animals could always adapt over normal timescales but have little chance to deal with change happening this fast. They simply don't have time.

    I won't be needing my coat, thanks.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Please keep burying our heads in the sand

    Nothing is happening, and lots of evidence keeps showing nothing is happening.

    I would like El Reg to focus its resources of showing how harmless smoking is too - there is lots of evidence to support how good smoking is for you. How about pointing out some really old guys that are smoking and don't have cancer - then all the smokers can know that everyone is making a fuss about nothing and that no-one gets cancer from smoking.

    Then we can show how speed cameras are evil and kill people. After all it's not driving at high speeds that kills all these children, it's actually just some people not driving well and they would kill just as many children if everyone drove around at 10km/hour.

  10. sandman

    Arguing from a position of ignorance?

    Mmmm, I just love it when people happily dive into an argument where they have no real understanding of the science involved. Has anyone here read any, let alone the dozens/hundreds of scientific papers on climate, palaeoecology, earth sciences, astronomy, etc, they would need to consume and understand to get an informed view of the subject? It's all a bit hard this science stuff isn't it?

    I'd be loath to think that intelligent IT people would just allow their personal/political biases to colour their judgement in a subject they are not experts in. I wonder how tolerent you'd be if a mass of ill informed people started spouting about your fields of expertise?

  11. Joel Bjorge

    middle ground

    re: coward, Robinson, & Mark Jan - don't you think there's probably some middle ground between "we're destroying the planet" & "Global Warming is a scam"? Climate change is obviously a natural thing and it's going to happen (colder, warmer, and everything in between), but don't you think that things we do could be speeding it up, making it more extreme that it would otherwise naturally be? I think, in the climate change argument, about the only thing as ridiculous as "Earth's climate should never ever change and if it does it must be all our fault" is "Nothing we 6+ billion people are doing could possibly affect the climate, so f*ck all and throw another whale on the fire!".

  12. Jolyon Ralph

    Yes, please end this bollockry

    And also, can I suggest that if you think an article is such of a flame-fest that you want to disable the ability to add comments (as most of your contentious pseudo-scientific anti climate change babble is) then it's probably not a good idea to post it at all.

    I'm not a raving greenie, I fly all over the place, I eat burgers and I drive a 4x4. But the science is pretty convincing. The details might be wrong, but the basic premise that the climate is "going to get a bit fucked up" seems to be pretty much accepted. My feeling is that it's probably all too late and we're all doomed anyway. But then there's very much a "why should I pay taxes to prevent sea level rise? my house is on a hill" attitude from people here...

    Coming back to the point about whether there is any sense in all of this. The paleocene was hotter. Earth was covered in jungles and deserts. A significant reason for this was the sun was hotter back then. During the carboniferous huge coal deposits were formed when vegetation was buried and compressed. This took a lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere. We're now in a situation where, in a few hundred years, we're putting back the CO2 that was taken out over a period of tens of millions of years.

    Can't we get back to articles about why we need more Chinook helicopters, please?

  13. Robinson
    Thumb Up

    There is an IT angle

    There is an I.T. angle Devon, because all of this Green Bollocks is essentially a war on Technocracy (as laid down in Konrad Lorenz's books). These people won't be happy until we're all living in mud huts. Well, not all of us obviously, because most of us would have died from cold, disease and starvation, except Al Gore, who will find a way to "offset" the heating system in his mansion.

  14. Klaus

    I second the "Stop with climate change"

    The Reg's coverage is always one-sided (fingers-in-the-ears, la, la, la it can't really be happening if I can't hear the evidence) and begins to make me wonder if all the other articles published here, especially concerning IT should be re-examined. After all, if you can be so bloody wrong about climate change, who's to say there is any accuracy in your IT articles?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'A common goal of global-warming reduction efforts is to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees, though some say this is unachievable and a rise of at least 4 degrees is inevitable. The well-known Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 2007 predicted a rise of 3 degrees by 2100.'

    Errrr what's that got to do with the fossil record? No climatologist would tell you that present global temperatures are the highest ever. They would say they are amongst the highest in the current interglacial; but that's it. What they *would* tell you is that the current rate of change is anomalously high and that is likely to cause problems for us in the short term. Like it or not, a good part of the World' population is sensitive to climate change if only because rising sea levels put large amounts of the planet's fertile land under salt water.

    And to follow on from 'Anonymous Coward''s excellent points about never extrapolating directly from deep climate records. The biggest reason the late Paleocene was almost unfeasibly warm by modern standards was that both polar regions received large amounts of equatorial heat from oceanic currents. F'rcrissakes, parts of Antarctica had a subtropical climate as late as the Eocene! It was only when Antarctica and Australia separated from one another that the circumpolar currents deprived Antarctica of warmth and it began to accumulate a huge ice cap that helped drive down ocean floor temperatures across the globe. This was made worse as the Arctic became a semi-enclosed region with little or no equatorial currents.

    In short, the Eocene was a nice time to live in Greenland so long as you didn't mind the crocodile infestations.

  16. Sarah Baucom


    Things survived in hotter climates? So? I don't think anyone has predicted that life will disappear on earth if the temperature increases by a few degrees. The big problem is a large percentage of the Earth's human population lives in coastal cities that will be under water if the ice caps melt too much. Global warming isn't going to make humans extinct (though it will for some species, like polar bears). It will just make things difficult for us.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Jan

    Ian Wishart is a journalist not a scientist and as well as climate change, he doesn't believe in evolution. Have you looked through his previous work?

  18. James Pickett


    "scoffing entire jaguars"

    Just shows you need a 4x4 in the jungle...

    As for "How can you have an article one week on the lack of global warming and the next on the lack of problems from global warming?" I should have thought that indicated balance! Poor vultures - you can't win.

    Anyone who saw the recent government-sponsored (i.e. £6m tax revenue) advert on ITV, whose basic message seemed to be: Stop producing CO2 or your dog will drown', will know that the warmists must be on a loser if they are resorting to frightening children to get their message across.

    The world is only warming because the measurements are always taken from 1850, which just happened to be the end of the 'little ice age' (when the Thames used to freeze, etc). If it was measured from the Roman Optimum, when Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants, it would be going down, as indeed it has been for the last decade.

  19. DevonHammer

    @ Mal Adapted

    Very good point. How about a moderate sceptic like Lewis and a moderate antisceptic (sorry couldn't resist) to balance it if the Reg feels the need to report on this stuff.

    At least if the Reg view is wrong and we need to cut down emissions, there's plenty of articles on here about electric cars.

  20. Jay Castle

    @ evangelistic climate nerds

    Oh no! Someone doesn't agree with my interpretation of evidence that I choose to read, from sources that confirm my already-formed beliefs about changes to an almost un-predictable global system that may occur in the unknowable mists of the future.


    It'll happen. Or it won't. No amount of wanking on about it will change the outcome. Unless, of course, you believe that those with a vested interest in the myriad financial incentives supplied by the latest Threat To The World As We Know It will wake up one day able to hear reasoned argument over the chiming of the cash register......

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Why argue with half wits?

    re: "because I get the distinct impression you and all of the other "believers" are living in cloud cuckoo land"

    Bo77ocks to you - I'm not a "believer", I just happen to have finished an Earth Sciences degree with the OU and I bet I've forgotten more about past climates than you ever knew.

    If you have the slightest comprehension of the workings of the Cretaceous world, including a list of what is known and what is informed guess, and the mechanisms whereby the Pleistocene and Holocene climates came about, then please astound me.

    But until then keep your quasi religious dismissals for someone who is impressed by simpilistic analyses.

  22. Robinson
    Thumb Down


    "I accept the overwhelming evidence for AGW"

    What you mean is you accept the arguments from authority from the IPCC and a handful of "keyholder" scientists who tell you there's lots of evidence for AGW.

    What you should say is, "Like eminent mathematician Professor Wegman, I'm concerned that the statistical methods and peer review methods used by Climate Scientists may not adequately reflect the facts. I'm concerned that many of the papers purporting to show an AGW signal use obviously cherry-picked data that does not stand up to scrutiny. I'm also concerned that the models used by the IPCC to predict future rises in temperature are demonstrably wrong. I'm concerned by the steady avalanche of utterly idiotic `scientific' papers published every month with the sole purpose of upping the level of hysteria in order to secure further governmental institutional funding. Finally, I'm very concerned by the almost blanket media coverage given to this hypothesis when there are at least a dozen more pressing problems mankind has to solve than an almost imperceptible increase in atmospheric temperature more than likely caused by the interaction between the Sun and the Oceans".

    You should conclude that you’re happy for this website to continue to question the IPCC line.

  23. DevonHammer

    @Jay Castle

    Why are our beliefs already formed? Mine are based on available evidence and are pretty fluid. I'm sure the same can be said for sceptics; some have entrenched opinions, some have fluid ones. Same in IT, just look at the Apple vs MS debates.

    On the other point about whether we can change the outcome. That's a very interesting one and I don't think anyone really knows if they're honest. I have a bit of a never say die attitude and think we should give it a try.

    It seems to me that it's often the sceptics who switch between arguing that there's no climate change to arguing that it's so bad there's no point doing anything. The key thing here is that they don't have to do anything.

  24. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The early Universe...

    ...was hotter than the Sun at EVERY SINGLE POINT.

    So it's probably not that terrible to unleash global nuclear war. If the Universe survived that, we will. I'm also concerned that the models used by the anti-nuclear believers are demonstrably wrong. There are dozens of more pressing problems that humanity has to solve than an almost imperceptible increase in background radiation. And building nukes by deficit spending will kickstart the economy something fierce, I can tell you. GO FOR IT.

  25. Aaron 10

    Global tepidness

    I for one applaud The Reg for not jumping onto the "global warming will kill us all!" bandwagon. I'm really bloody tired of hearing it from every media outlet all the time.

  26. Muscleguy

    It's the RAIN stupid

    The point about preserving the Amazon from global warming, is that what is expected to change is the rainfall as the climate warms, meaning it will likely burn at some point, if there is any left. The Congo rainforests will not all suffer the same fate since rising temperatures look set to maintain or even increase their precipitation, again assuming there is any left unlogged.

    So global warming will destroy all that biodiversity that we now, just about, still have. So sure we will still have rainforests (there are lots more around the planet, just not as big or diverse). We won't have all that diversity and it will take literally millions of years for any de novo or beneficiary rainforest to generate the sort of diversity the Amazon has, assuming us humans allow any of them to be big enough. Besides a lot of the variety is thought to have been generated as the forest got fragmented during climate interregnums of various sorts, the beasties and plants then diverged in the isolated pockets and spread out again when the good times came again.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    Well said that man.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Why argue with half wits?

    Ah! Excellent, you’re clearly someone who should know what they are talking about.

    I would be genuinely interested in what you opinion is on global warming. Do you think that global warming is a cyclical phenomenon that the Earth’s climate goes through? Or do think that the current rising temperatures are entirely due to Mankind’s waste?

    I remember the last time I posted about a climate change article in The Reg, someone got rather upset with me thinking that rises in temperatures may be, in part attributed to a cyclical warming and cooling phase the Earth naturally goes through. Even though I stated that Mankind does have an impact on the environment.

    Yes, I’m just a layman; no I don’t have a PHD in anything to do with the climate. But I’m entitled to an opinion because my lifestyle may have to change because of the conclusions scientists are reaching.

    When those scientists start refusing to reveal their data so no one else can reproduce their results I start to worry. Even as a layman, if I was given a dataset of over 200 tree cores, I’d use all of them, not pick the 16 that give the result I want.

    The problem is now that I know that’s what has happened, I’m inclined to be sceptical of ANY climate change scientist, those that chose to hide their data and lie about the quality of it have damaged the credibility of all climate change scientists.

    Every last one of them must publish their data and method for peer review before they can be taken seriously again.

    There you go, my uninformed layman’s opinion. No doubt it will upset some but that’s not the intention. If you want to refute what I’m saying you’re perfectly entitled to do so, just take the time to explain why.

    Best regards,


    Who does not feel the need to post as AC.

  29. scatter


    Some jungles will exist on earth in a 3-5 degree warmer future. Well that's ok then no need to worry.

  30. Mark Jan

    That's how the government discredits people as well...

    Anon Coward wrote: "Ian Wishart is a journalist not a scientist and as well as climate change, he doesn't believe in evolution. Have you looked through his previous work?"

    He may believe that the moon is made of cheese and NASA sends probes there to look for big mice, but your argument to discredit him is one similar to that used by Marxist governments (as well as ZaNuLabour) to discredit people.

    So, here are a few (of many thousands) of scientists who disagree:

    'It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming.' - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

    'Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical. 'The main basis of the claim that man's release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system' - Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called 'among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.'

    'For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" - Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

    'Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.' - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.

    "Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN IPCC...."The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium...which is why 'global warming' is now called 'climate change' " - Climatologist Dr Richard Keen of the Dept of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado.

  31. DevonHammer


    You do know that the "handful of "keyholder" scientists" at the IPCC numbers over 2,500 don't you? I've no idea how many support their view.

    Presumably you know that the sceptic scientists of all forms (no climate change, not man made etc.) number way less than fifty and if you remove the Exxon funded ones, the one's who believe in creationism and the one's who's field is so far away from climate change as to render their knowledge irrelevant, you end up with less than ten. Yes ten. There's less than ten credible published scientists who are climate change sceptics. Name me more than ten scientists who have published genuine peer reviewed articles, I challenge you.

    I'm assuming you also know that the only scientific body not to agree with the consensus is the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (funny that).

    Is there an elephant in the room?

  32. Gianni Straniero

    Rate this comment

    Please can we have a system for rating comments, like the one you offer for rating articles? Imagine the fun we could have with this little lot.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    the onslaught of global warming

    @ Mark Jan: "the onslaught of [articles about] ... climate change"

    So now if you disagree with a vast body of evidence that disagrees with your comfort zone of waste and destruction of natural resources, it's an "onslaught".

    Keep at it lads. We only have a degree and a half to go!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @Why argue with half wits?

    Arguing with conspiracy theorists is pointless.

    You can show them all the evidence you like, but ultimately they simply don't want to accept it. They cling to any shred of dissent as if it's proof that they and they alone were right all along. Either you believe their moronic drivel instead of the mountains of actual evidence, or you're part of the conspiracy anyway.

  35. Daryl

    How do you like your ham?

    "We're going to have a novel climate where it is very hot and very wet."

  36. Robinson
    Thumb Up

    Oh really?

    "I just happen to have finished an Earth Sciences degree with the OU"

    This is precisely the reason your opinion cannot be trusted, based as it is on an argument from authority, with the (erroneous) assumption that I haven't done my research, or for some reason am incapable of understanding the science.

    Notwithstanding the fact that your pre-existing interest in Environmental Sciences points towards some kind of initial bias towards AGW (as it is "the paradigm"), you singularly failed to point out where the analysis was wrong. The paper as discussed above is no different in terms of factual accuracy and unfounded speculation than any one of the dozens of "pro-AGW" papers published every month. I don't see you popping your head up on message forms to decry standards in these cases, so why has this one jump started you into action? Perhaps because it contradicts your world view? What a shock!

    That global temperature rise is more likely to be beneficial to mankind and that increasing CO2 is more likely to benefit the biosphere than destroy it, is one of the more interesting contradictions in the AGW debate. Increasing temperature and increasing CO2 are almost always associated with increasing biodiversity. That this is demonstrably so and that in any case the AGW emperor has no clothes (so far at least) is a damning indictment of the current state of the Scientific process. There is, of course, something of a hole in our knowledge of these processes (to say the least). In my view it’s far to soon to start talking contingency with certainty. At least, as the multi-decadal oscillation starts to wind down (as it is now), you will find temperatures begin to fall. That, alone, should be enough to convince you some pause for thought is needed, before we destroy our industrial base and tax our economies out of existence.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I, for one

    Welcome our one-tonne overlord boas. In fact, I'll see your one-tonner and raise you a two-tonner. Now, see if you can send them to Florida to eat some of the two-legged vermin there.

    Paris, because no welcome mat needed and she knows how to handle big snakes.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    titanic snakes?

    Actually, that's quite an argument for trying to keep the planet cool. And then they weren't deforesting the place like there's no tomorrow.

  39. Gianni Straniero

    Settle down, you lot

    Here, once again, we see the old arguments: climate change is nothing to worry about because it has happened in the past; nature got along fine last time it happened; ergo we need not worry.

    This is foolishness.

    - Correct: it happpened before.

    - Correct: the biota survived.

    - Wrong: we DO need to worry

    If you take the long view, you (by definition) accept the fact that all of humanity's interesting achievements took place while the climate hovered around its present mean. (For the purposes of clarification: I am not including the extinction of the Palaeolithic megafauna among the "interesting achievements").

    Truism: all the good stuff happened in the Holocene.

    If the climate changes -- either by getting colder, or getting hotter, I care not which -- I have confidence the biota can adapt and survive.

    The question is, can we?

    The answer is not clear. "Civilisation" emerged during the Holocene. It may have appeared during countless interglacials/interstadials during the Pleistocene, but we have no evidence that it did.

    If you have a technological solution that will guarantee continuity through whatever climatic changes we can expect -- either warming or cooling -- post your source.

    Otherwise, STFU

  40. Publius Aelius Hadrianus

    Biodiversity vs temperature


    Whilst it's true that tropical rainforests are biodiversity hotspots, you shouldn't give the impression that biodiversity would increase in a hotter climate. The fossil record for the last 520  million years shows that biodiversity (on both land and sea) has been relatively low during warm ‘greenhouse’ phases, whilst the rate of extinctions during these periods is relatively high. [see eg ].

    Also note that the overall abundance of life in the oceans is greatest in colder waters, which is important because humans like to feed on fish.

    Oh, and chill out man.

  41. The Bug

    Re: Open Uni degree

    I see you OU degree and raise you an Earth Sciences Masters from Cambridge.

    Man made climate change is happening - most "skeptics" will agree on that. The climate in Central London for example is very different to that of the Home Counties. Furthermore cutting down forests and turning the land into agricultural fields will also change the local climate; as does irrigation and other changes in ecology due to animals introduced by mankind.

    But as to whether CO2 will send the world into some sort of hellish inferno I think that most sensible people will agree that the Earth's climate, whilst being a chaotic system, is also well buffered such that positive and negative feedbacks will generally balance each other out to provide a reasonably stable climatic system. The only large scale changes to this are when the system is affected by large scale long-term changes like shifts in continents which change oceanic currents and thus rainfall patterns.

    Increases in CO2 levels will almost never change the climate other than in extreme circumstances (for example a snowball Earth type environment could potentially have been ended by CO2 - but this is due to the main negative feedback (water vapour in all of its forms) being unavailable due to the frozen nature of the planet).

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    "Semblence of balance" my arse, more like "clutching at straws"

    How bloody thick do you expect us to be not to notice that this article is a transparent straw-man argument?

    >"This could be seen as conflicting with the idea that a rise of more than two or three degrees would kill off today's jungles with devastating consequences for the global ecosystem of which we are all part."

    >"We're going to have a novel climate where it is very hot and very wet. How tropical forest species will respond to this novel climate, we don't know," senior Smithsonian boffin S Joseph Wright told the IPCC at the time."

    See, he didn't claim that it would "kill off" the jungles at all. He honestly and openly said that we don't know what it will do to rain forests, and then you went and lied about his position and attacked what he didn't say. This deliberate misrepresentation of the case for climate change is no accident, it is a consistent and deliberate rhetorical technique employed in just about every single article El Reg publishes on the subject of climate change.

    At least you enable the comments on your articles, unlike that prima donna Orlowski. I'd be interested to hear some serious and substantive arguments against the case that global warming is occurring and is affected by man-made factors, but there's certainly no valid reason to plough through pages of tedious fallacies, mud-slinging and name-calling with no hint of an argument of any intellectual substance in sight unless you can round it off by posting a satisfying rebuttal in the comments column. (No, the opportunity to mail the author directly and have him attack tiny out-of-context snippets of your comment in an article in which he, after all, always has the last say, is not the same thing; his reply columns are a staged show-trial, not a right of reply.) Until he enables comments on his articles, I'm not going to bother reading them (I have a greasemonkey script that turns everything he writes into "blah blah blah blah", which actually cracks me up every time I see it, unlike anything he's written in the last few years - google "anti-orlowskitron" anyone who wants a copy).

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not sure what's worse...

    The fact Andrew Orlowski disables comments cos everyone pointing out how wrong he is about just about everything with facts and proof (something he can't comprehend) or the fact Lewis is posting equal amounts of craps and disables the rating system so it can't be correctly rated at the crap it is.

    Every single story on The Register so far has missed important facts in trying to dismiss global warming, and this is the problem with global warming deniers- they only hear what they want to hear and ignore massively important parts as the first AC post in this thread pointed out.

    In contrast, those who understand that man made global warming is a real problem understand the full picture. What's really sad is that global warming has not just become a battle about building ourselves a better future and avoiding problems, it's become a battle of smart people (those who understand that man made global warming is real, and is a real problem) and idiots who don't (Jeremy Clarkson and followers).

    It seems the best solution to global warming would be a solution that would benefit the world in many other ways too - just kill off all the stupid, ignorant people in the world. The ones left would both be smart enough to accept and deal with the problem, and also wouldn't get involved in other general idiocy too like BNP membership that such uneducated, unintelligent scum get involved in. The idiot underclass is the scourge of society in so many ways.

    I mean really, people believe we can push so much extra CO2 into the air whilst tearing down millions of square miles of the earth's natural counterbalance - the rainforests, and that wont change anything? These people must have never even passed GCSE science.

  44. Mark Jan

    Peer Review

    The proponents of AGW (or should that now be changed to ACC?) put great store in the peer review of scientific papers, and so they should, it's the cornerstone of good, modern science.

    However, it should be clear to anyone who's actually opened up their minds and researched and read, and read again and investigated alleged AGW that the peer review process has sadly failed science in this area.

    Anyone remember Dr Mann and the infamous "hockey stick"? Peer reviewed, adopted by the IPCC, yet discredited by the Wegman Panel in 2006. BUT, it's still taught in schools and still peddled out!

    Mann, NASA et al NOT RELEASING OR PUBLISHING raw data, so it isn't possible to reach independent conclusions, yet we are asked to trust them.

    Major errors in the methodologies used to gather tree ring data, but peer review OKs it. Other proxy data which is selectively used to show whatever results the authors want, yet it's "peer reviewed". When you discover that it's all "peer reviewed" by past co-authors, it begins to smell.

    But hey, the science is settled!

    Lastly, why has NO computer global warming model actually been proven true over the past few years?

    But why should the truth spoil a computer model? Let's just call it climate change and everything will be OK. The model can always be altered afterwards or the raw data "adjusted" since that is never published.

    Complete and utter hogwash.

    My only comfort is that more and more scientists will begin to "come out" and begin to raise their voices at this computer modeled nonsense. It's started already and will pick up momentum. Wonder what the next bogey man will be after this one is finally buried? Maybe global cooling, a new Ice Age? Oh no, we did that one about 30 odd years ago!

  45. Charles Meo

    Why argue with halfwits indeed?

    Perhaps the science is a bit dodgy, and perhaps cyclic global warming and cooling is just part of the natural order. This is still no reason to ignore a few basic facts:

    --our energy technologies are appallingly inefficient and destructive. We should be ashamed as engineers to tolerate this, if for no other reason than the lack of elegance.

    --there weren't six billion + humans to be inconvenienced by global weather changes in the Cretaceous or whatever. Moreover, many of these humans are armed to the teeth and already pretty pissed off about unrelated matters.

    --We can all guess what will happen if the current system of food production/distribution is upset even a little bit, deranged though it is

    --We don't know who the winners and losers will be, and the winners might not be the smug and prosperous readers of this ere mag.

    We have a dirty great reactor in the sky providing 6000 times our energy needs but we're too stupid and greedy to use it. Personally I find it ludicrous that there is even an argument about the need to change how we do things now.

    I don't think that a tighter carbon emissions regime will necessarily achieve anything much of itself, but if it drives other worthwhile improvements, increases industrial efficiency and reduces ancillary pollution, I don't really care.

    But I must confess I agree with the earlier poster who believes it's already too late.

  46. Nexox Enigma

    Does the data even matter any more?

    I know that I stopped paying attention to what the different sides were trying to tell me a long time ago, and started rating the arguments by which side was lying most, and lying worst. So far that tends to seem to be the proving-global-warming side, so I believe them the least. And no, I don't rely on El Reg for my only source of climate data, and yes, I understand enough of the stats and science involved to have a good idea of when a paper is crap. Not that either side is totally without error, but the "we have bigger problems than maybe a climate change" people are winning a bit on truthyness by my count.

    Plus those guys seem to have a lot less to gain.

  47. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    Population distribution.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't one of the big fears of Climate Change not "the end of the world, the earth will no longer support life" but rather that the "habitable zone" will change? Sure there will be tropics more northward, and likely more jungles. (Just look at the northward creep of the boreal forest in Canada, and the diminution of the evergreen forests.)

    The issue was more that there would be one big stonkingly large desert strip around the equator, vastly larger than it is today. Something about this new desert strip encompassing virtually all of the areas of the world that are currently the most heavily populated?

    I’m sure the more northern and southern latitudes would make out fairly well, (maybe with a bit of increased storm activity, and new patterns of drought/fertility distribution,) but I seem to recall some of the more moderate predictions showing latitudes as high as Eureka California being bone dry, and virtually unable to support human life.

    But maybe we’ll get giant snakes!

  48. DevonHammer

    I give up

    OK, you won't be convinced, but please do a little research on the sources.

    One of the things I studied was computer climate models (in retrospect I was more interested in the computer modelling bit and should have realised this sooner) and anyone who does this knows that you can't predict weather accurately beyond a few hours. Back in the day we predicted the next 10 minutes and from that 10 minutes after and so on. I assume it hasn't changed much. A tiny error causes massive changes over a few days and that's why it sometimes rains when it's predicted to be sunny. However, we're not looking for exact predictions here and anyone who tries that is a fool and will rightly get shot down. What we need to predict is the trend. Similar to January being colder than July. Because I don't know the exact temerature or rainfall does not mean you should throw away my model that January is colder than July, but perfectly good models are attacked in this way.

    The things to look at are the raw data. Ignore the tree rings (who hangs everything on that? Oh yes, the Reg), ignore the claims that data isn't available (it is in abundance, ask someone at university - you could try the NDCC in the States, or for an unbiased collection of data try Climate Data Information) and just see what has happened in the last 20-30 yrs to C02 levels, temperature, polar ice, sea acidity etc.

    Please keep scepticism. It's healthy and is needed. But please research the facts and check the sources (Ian Wishart? Really?). I quote myself "the only scientific body not to agree with the consensus is the American Association of Petroleum Geologists". No-one has refuted this. Does this not seem a bit strange? Or is this government control? Was the Bush administration appearing to be sceptical while forcing every scientific body bar one in the opposite direction?

    The results of this are serious. The potential risks of a gamble are huge for our grandchildren. What are our risks? The main one seems to be increased taxation. By how much? By as much as the banking crisis? By as much as the Olympic Games? By as much as recent and continuing wars? By as much as Trident? I'm not saying we shouldn't fund all of those things, but reducing CO2 does not cost that much does it?

    But won't it send us back to the stone age? There's a lot of eco-freaks that want this, but have a look what technology can do when it needs to.

    Anyway, I genuinely have an open mind and that's why I read sceptical articles. Let's hope for all our sakes that everyone feels the same (on both sides)

  49. scatter

    It's also worth noting...

    ...that paleontologists haven't discovered evidence that the dinosaurs engaged in the widespread systematic destruction of the jungle so the "we're going to be ok" insinuation of this article is particularly misplaced.

  50. Lu

    you have a choice, you know

    Why is it everytime the Reg posts a story like this, you get people asking why they're posting non-IT stories or why they bother trying to peddle their anti-AGW sentiment or whatever.

    People please, this isn't even like a magazine or newspaper, where you can accidentally read some of the article as you page past it.

    If you don't like it, don't fucking click the link!

    It's not that difficult.

    Grow up

  51. scatter

    To Lu

    The whole point of a blog is for the readers to be able to feed back to the writers and engage in discussion. If a blog is peddling a distorted view of an issue such as this, I feed back.

    If you don't like it, don't fucking read the comments!

    It's not that difficult.

    Grow up

  52. lukewarmdog


    "The big problem is a large percentage of the Earth's human population lives in coastal cities that will be under water if the ice caps melt too much"

    Sucks to be them. I am prepared to let one small family come live with me in my inland abode for a one off up front fee now followed by smaller monthly donations until such time as the coastal regions are submerged. If anyone was seriously worried about climate change then they would move.

  53. David Robinson 2


    The old story of how' 2,300 leading scientists can't be wrong misses two points. It doesn't matter how many 'scientists' believe, it is a case of the scientific method. AGW is a theory and only a theory. To have any credence it must be proved with evidence that any competant scientist can replicate. So far all we have are stories of doubtful credence, all unproved, with 'scientists' hiding or using faulty evidence.

    If numbers were important then why is it not equally publisised that 32,000 scientists, including some of the most eminent, have signed a petition that states that there is no AGW.

    Interestingly, James Hanson's boss, who has just retired and is thus free to speak, does not believe it either.


  54. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: To Lu

    It's not a blog. It's an online news service.

  55. DevonHammer

    Re: Numbers

    Please tell me you're not referring to the Global Warming Petition Project?

    Why is there a need to use things which are discredited and quote them as fact? That checks how qualified you are by checking which box you ticked. I'm standing by ten scientists who have actually published something that's peer reviewed, aren't creationists and don't get paid by Exxon. It's easy, just list more than ten, not 32,000, just ten. Surely it must be easy, but no-one's done it have they?

  56. Big Al


    "How can you have an article one week on the lack of global warming and the next on the lack of problems from global warming?"

    Isn't that called keeping an open mind, which is what journalists are *supposed* to do?

    And for ALL the 'climate change is real' v 'climate change is scaremongering' brigades on both sides... stop being to be such bloody absolutists and face up to the fact that we really just don't have a clue. There's plenty of evidence in both directions, and as a species we're just not far enough along to understand what it might mean yet.

    Is it really so long ago that the trendy thing in Science was the hypothesis?

  57. Bryce Prewitt

    Good to see groupthink isn't a dying art.

    After all, none of us are as smart as all of us.

  58. Bryan W


    For one, maybe ~2 of these comments are from people who know what they're talking about. The rest seem to be the mindless masses who have had the "industry = C02 = Over heated Earth" idea drilled into their heads. "It makes sense" they all say. Even a 2 year old can understand this simple relationship. Of course it makes sense. Its has to be simple to make sure all the sheeple get behind the idea, even though none of them really understand the science behind it all.

    Suddenly everyone (like Al Gore, ha) is an expert on the latest global crisis. A crisis we must act upon and waste resources combating, just like those damned ruskies.

    I'm no Earth sciences major, but I know my history so that's how I choose my side on all this. As far as I'm concerned, this is just the latest thing for all of us to fear until we realize its a non-issue, or something more menacing is discovered for our media to make us afraid of.

  59. Julian 4

    The curse of timescales

    If it wasn't for the curse of timescales it'd all be a no-brainer.

    On geological timescales, the boa in question had ages to adapt to a hotter climate. So did the forests.

    On geological timescales today's species don't. So they'll die.

    On human timescales AGW will take just the wrong length of time - too slow for individuals to easily accept it; too fast for us to easily adapt. Like a tsunami on the horizon, by the time you realise it's more than just an ordinary wave you're already to late to avoid getting engulfed.

    For myself, I'd sooner do what's right rather than what serves my cynical self-interest.

    -cheers from Julz @P

  60. Thnder

    global warming

    Bring it on... It gets to cold here in the North.

  61. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    @Bryan W

    Of course! It's so simple! I see it now! Anyone who doesn't agree wiht you is a simpleton. Durr hurr hurr.

    Science is for wimps. Propaganda, truthiness and a layman's knowledge of history, that is all someone needs.

  62. Roy Ward

    One-tonne boa constrictors?

    So do we want a climate suitable for one-tonne boa constrictors? Or for people?

    The climate has change a lot over the lifespan of the earth, but humans have only been around over a rather narrow range of temperatures.

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