back to article Tell us we're all doomed, MPs beg climate scientists

MPs begged scientists to tell them what to do at Westminster this week. "I like the idea science tells us something, and we have to agree," said John Robertson (Lab, Glasgow North West) - surely a candidate for Quote of the Year in any year. As we shall discover, the MPs of Parliament's Energy and Climate Change Committee were …

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  1. LarsG

    Tell us we are doomed..... So we can have an excuse to raise spurious taxes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I note the heaviest rainfall since records began in parts of the UK this month - man made global warming's widely predicted effects are becoming more noticeable....

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        FAIL

        I call bullshit mr AC

        It was the wettest January <in some parts of the country> for 100 years. Thats rather different since records began, and again even records began is hardly a great guide for things that have cycles that are multi-decadel.

        1. Mad Mike

          Re: I call bullshit mr AC

          Supporters of MMGW using weather over the last 100 years to claim it must be so. Normally, these are the first people to scream insults at deniers when they claim weather is showing it ISN'T happening. Don't you know the difference between weather and climate?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I call bullshit mr AC

          No - the wettest in at least 250 years - since records began..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "man made global warming's widely predicted effects are becoming more noticeable...."

        Man made global warming's No.1 most "widely predicted effect" was supposed to be, er.. Global Warming.

        #failharder

        1. Mortis

          Terrible logic - so any global warming proves AGW?

          Try again

      3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        ...man made global warming's widely predicted effects...

        What was widely predicted was drought. That's why we were forced to save water.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "What was widely predicted was drought. That's why we were forced to save water."

          Erm, no. What was predicted (and has been occurring) was more extreme weather. Hotter summers, colder winters, heavier rains, drier deserts, etc, etc...

          Also that the global average temperature would increase by at least 2 degrees by 2100 accompanied by significant sea level rise. And we are still expecting that.

    2. h4rm0ny

      >>"Tell us we are doomed..... So we can have an excuse to raise spurious taxes."

      Actually, what they did was funnel all the extra money to the renewables lobby. I think this was more a genuine case of the extremely vocal "environmental" lobby beating the MPs over the head to get them to do it, rather than lining the government's pockets (though I'm confident some of that happened on the side as per usual).

      The reason I put environmentalist in quotes up there is because I don't really consider Friends of the Earth et al. to necessarily represent us environmentalists. There is a legion of us who genuinely care about the environment but there's an old guard with a lock on all the main movements and pretends to speak on behalf of all of us. For example, I'm pro-nuclear as by far the most logical way to reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants, but who do I join when FoE will just take my money and plough it into distorting the facts on nuclear? I can't even join the RSPB as a bird lover because they've jumped on the wind power lobby. Especially ironic as aside from the flawed economics underlying them they kill birds.

      There are many of us environmentalists who have no voice because there's always someone ready to leap in and be interviewed by the BBC on "our behalf". And to pressure MPs into sticking high tariffs on our energy bills to pay for unwanted wind farms.

      1. electricmonk

        The answer is nuclear power. What was the question again?

        Actually, what the government did was funnel a *relatively* modest amount of money into green energy then conveniently fail to challenge those who chose to undermine it with ludicrous exaggerations and outright lies. (Wind farms are killing all our birds!! One wind farm won't power the whole of Birmingham so we shouldn't build any at all!!!)

        At which point, surprise surprise, it turns out there's only one alternative - the insanity of more nuclear fission plants. A way of throwing billions of pounds at huge corporations who will over-charge and under-deliver, after which the public sector will have to pay the cost of cleaning up the waste. Again. As a nation we haven't even finished paying for the first wave of nuclear power yet.

        Of course the government could put lots more investment into energy efficiency so we don't need so much of it in the first place. That would make both environmental and economic sense, which is why the government is raising the levies on power companies to... oh, wait. Hang on a minute.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The answer is nuclear power. What was the question again?

          "the insanity of more nuclear fission plants. A way of throwing billions of pounds at huge corporations who will over-charge and under-deliver"

          Hmmm... sounds a lot like wind farms and solar farms to me.

          1. Mortis

            Hmmm... sounds a lot like wind farms and solar farms to me.

            Other than the fact that nuclear provides constant, industrial grade power and the other don't. But other than that, exactly the same ... smh ...

      2. John Ac

        When people start listing reasons as to why they cannot donate to one charity or another NGO, i think they are just making excuses. FOE has no anti nuclear campaign and hasn't for many years. If you are a bird lover as you say, you should still support the RSPB. You cannot expect to agree with everything that any one charity or NGO does or believes.

        1. h4rm0ny

          "When people start listing reasons as to why they cannot donate to one charity or another NGO, i think they are just making excuses. FOE has no anti nuclear campaign and hasn't for many years."

          I was a member of FoE. I left because of their anti-nuclear stance. This was only a few years ago. Just for you, because it's easy to show you don't know what you're talking about, here are two features on Nuclear Power from the FoE website still available and on display:

          http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/faqs/nuclear_power_5896.html

          http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/issues/nuclear_index.html

          Leaders from the above including:

          "Many people feel uncomfortable about nuclear power but cannot see any real alternatives. They are right to be wary. Nuclear power is costly, toxic and not 'emission free'. It is also not needed"

          Fact 1: We don't need more nuclear reactors"

          and pricelessly:

          "WMDs - uranium enrichment plants can be misused to make nuclear weapons.

          Vulnerable - No nuclear reactor would withstand a direct hit from a jumbo jet.

          Nowhere to hide - A successful attack could have an impact 40 times worse than the explosion at Chernobyl. "

          And this you call "no anti-nuclear campaign". You will find FoE speaking against nuclear power every time it comes up in their earshot. The last literature I received from them before I left (I joined up for rain forest preservation) was filled with anti-nuclear 'factoids'.

          No, I'm not "just making excuses". What is your problem. I didn't just ditch FoE and RSPB. I switched the charities I support to others.

          "If you are a bird lover as you say, you should still support the RSPB. You cannot expect to agree with everything that any one charity or NGO does or believes."

          I expect disagreements to be in the nature of what birdlife to protect or whether it is right to cull a non-native bird to a region of the UK to create more opportunities to the original native birds to the area. Not to find that my money is being used to support a particular choice of energy source. Now try writing your post again without assuming you know better about me than I do. I meant what I said and there's nothing unreasonable about my expectations. You don't know what you're talking about. Spend 30 minutes trying to find some non-negative bits about nuclear by FoE. If you're honest, you'll have to wade through a tonne of anti-nuclear stuff and come back and admit you were wrong.

  2. cdilla

    Acknowledging ignorance

    I like the idea politicians acknowledge they haven't the first clue about an issue they have to make decisions on. It's just a shame they don't fess up to all of them.

    It would also be nice if journalists did the same.

  3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Esteemed Author» Politicians have to be creative and accountable...

    Some politicians are creative about their accounting. Will that do?

  4. jake Silver badge

    Thing is, we *are* all doomed.

    Do you really think you will live forever?

    Getting all paranoid about the inevitable is counter-productive.

    How about instead trying to figure out how to survive?

    1. Raumkraut

      Re: Thing is, we *are* all doomed.

      > Do you really think you will live forever?

      This isn't about you and me living forever, this is trying to reduce the chances of our proceeding generations dying en-masse from famine and disease.

      > Getting all paranoid about the inevitable is counter-productive.

      Yet if the changing climate is due to human activity, it is not necessarily "inevitable". Just as it is not "inevitable" that you'll go out for beers tonight.

      > How about instead trying to figure out how to survive?

      When you're captaining a cruise liner, it's generally a better idea to steer away from the rocks in the first place, than to be the first one in the lifeboats. No matter how impressed your mates might be by you sailing so close to the shore.

      1. Dr Stephen Jones

        Re: Thing is, we *are* all doomed.

        "When you're captaining a cruise liner, it's generally a better idea to steer away from the rocks in the first place, than to be the first one in the lifeboats. No matter how impressed your mates might be by you sailing so close to the shore."

        You thinking emotionally and not rationally. This is a *very* bad analogy.

        A better analogy is do you need to saw your leg off because you've picked up a bruise. Every policy response to climate change has a benefit and a cost. If the costs of a policy outweigh the benefits they are not worth pursuing. It so happens that the cost of adaptation and building up resilience capacity (go look up RCI) is much lower than mitigation. This is now what is happening: even the EU realises renewables are suicidal.

        I suggest you start to read up on CO2 fertilization, because your idea that a CO2 enriched atmosphere mass famines is not remotely supportable. CO2 is plant food. Maybe you missed that particular science lesson at school.

        1. RichardEM

          Re: Thing is, we *are* all doomed.

          "I suggest you start to read up on CO2 fertilization, because your idea that a CO2 enriched atmosphere mass famines is not remotely supportable. CO2 is plant food. Maybe you missed that particular science lesson at school."

          Yes more CO2 should mean greater yield in crops per acre, but the higher temperatures will mean,according to some Models, Larger areas that will get less rain then they are now and turn into desert. We are seeing all of the major deserts expanding into areas that were once fertile. If these models are correct then the Increase in Atmospheric CO2 will not have enough effect to offset the loss of acerage.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Thing is, we *are* all doomed.

            @Richard EM,

            The other concern is the melting of the ice caps and glaciers.

            With supposed ocean level rises by some peoples interpretation on scales equivalent to the 'biblical flood'

            Fundamentally, higher temperatures means more water in the atmosphere, which results in more rain.

            That rain may not be distributed evenly, but more rain none the less.

            Models are limited in scope, simply because the more complex the model, the more expensive it is.

            The simple answer is, we have an idea, but we don't know.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thing is, we *are* all doomed.

        There always was famine and disease, no need for global warming aka climate change to be blamed for that too.

        As far as I can see, we need several generations to die en-masse (disease and hunger are good, less destructive than war and more Darwinesque) to keep our numbers down-something has to.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Thing is, we *are* all doomed.

          >>"As far as I can see, we need several generations to die en-masse (disease and hunger are good, less destructive than war and more <span color='red'>Darwinesque</span>) to keep our numbers down-something has to."

          Ouch. Not sure if I'm more bothered by your sociopathic lack of empathy, your terrible grasp of demographics or the fact that you don't know the word 'Darwinian'.

          People are dying all the time. You don't need to have massive disasters, just reduce the birth rate. (And for you to call disease and famine 'good' is monumentally bone-headed and for you to imagine its a positive thing because of evolution, staggeringly simplistic).

          All you require to lower the birth rate in a humane and voluntary fashion, is available birth control and greater educational and career opportunities for women. That's as close to proven as anything in Sociology gets. What sort of primitive advocates for plagues and famine over a contraceptive pill and career equality?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh that reminds me...

    '"I like the idea science tells us something, and we have to agree," said John Robertson (Lab, Glasgow North West)'

    That reminds me strongly of stories Theodore Dalrymple (an ex prison doctor) used to tell about recidivist criminals. Time and again, he talked to convicts who told him that they much preferred life in prison - mainly because they didn't have to think. Someone else told them when to get up, when to eat, and generally what to do, thus relieving their brains of the awful stress of freedom. Oddly enough, I had never noticed the powerful analogy with MPs, who are also relieved of the need to think by that useful mechanism - the whip.

    Damn your principles! Stick to your party.

    - Benjamin Disraeli

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Oh that reminds me...

      '"I like the idea science tells us something, and we have to agree," said John Robertson (Lab, Glasgow North West)'

      Then he'll have been delighted with the statement that "When [economist] Nordhaus estimates the cost/benefit analysis of various policies, there's not one policy that beats doing nothing for fifty years."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Ken Hagan

        I am afraid there seems to be a discontinuity in your argument. The quotation I cited mentioned science, but you then said something about an economist. Surely you don't believe that economists have anything to do with science? I thought they were more into telling rich and powerful people what those people want to hear. It certainly pays well, but so does astrology.

        1. flaxdoctor

          Re: @Ken Hagan

          No discontinuity at all - economist Lord Stern authored a highly alarmist document - unimaginatively called 'The Stern Report' which informed government policy abut the alleged impacts and conjectured costs of the 1980-1990s global warming phase, should it continue into the 21st century. This particular economist's actions were amplified when another, London School of Economics graduate Sir John Beddington, was appointed Chief SCIENTIFIC adviser to the Government.

          So even if *some* of us know that economics is an underpaid branch of astrology, that particular memo hasn't yet made it to the decision makers in our country.

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: Oh that reminds me...

      I think that from a politicians PoV, advice from "experts" is a win-win. If it turns out to be correct information, the politicos will say "yes, we're so enlightened and responsible (and humble) that we recognised the superior knowledge of *our* scientists and due to our expert leadership and vision, everything worked out for the best". If it turns out to be wrong, the reply will be "we listened to these people and felt forced to accept what they told us. However, the fault for the consequences does not lie with us, but with the bad advice we received. We are actively reviewing the situation and learning lessons from it."

      So, either way, the people who knew nothing manage to come out clean and shiny.

  6. Anonymous Coward 101

    "When you were at university were the people studying meteorology or oceanography the brightest?" he asked. Maths and physics seemed to attract the most intellectually able, Lindzen observed."

    Computer Science?

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
      Boffin

      Computer Science.

      I believe that it's a generational thing.

      When I went to University in the late 1970's (when computers were still seen as rooms filled with metal cabinets and blinking lights), not only was Computer Science a rising subject, but it attracted bright people.

      I will admit that at the time, it was regarded as a very niche subject, having just about broken free of being a sub-genre of Mathematics, and the people were, how can I put it, um, different, or maybe eclectic, but some of the brightest people I have known were working with computers.

      It needed a new and different mind-set that required you to look at problems in unusual and in some cases completely bizarre ways (the canned solutions had not been developed yet). You needed to be a little weird to be attracted to the subject, and there was no promise of high salaries. It suited future geeks like me.

      I was lucky enough to have the right skills at the right time, and I rode the wave through the '80s and '90s, being one of the people who advanced rapidly because there was a skill vacuum which led to salaries and responsibilities rising faster than my peers in other jobs. At this time, the high wages and apparent skill shortages meant that Computer Science and related disciplines looked very attractive to new students, which led to a mushrooming of the number and type of courses and students studying them.

      But it also led to people to come to the subject as a way of earning a living, rather than because they were really interested in it. A true Computer Scientist will think about computers outside of work. Someone using the discipline to earn a living will normally switch off as soon as they leave work. There are too many people for whom computing only as a job, and this damages the field as a whole.

      There has also been a backlash. Many people outside of IT do not understand why there is a legacy of relatively high remuneration. It is still the case that skilled computing jobs can command high salaries, and this is often resented by other people. Many organisations are attempting to align their IT staff down to clerical grades, not understanding that this will prevent them from recruiting the best and brightest. It also makes older people like me very jaded, because I see the lower levels of the profession full of grunts who do not, and in many cases, cannot fathom what it is they are doing beyond following procedures. This reinforces the belief that all jobs in IT are over-paid.

      I believe that the same thing has happened in Climate Research, but instead of it having taken 40 years, it's happened in about a 15. The older people who really know what it's all about are leaving the high profile Climate Science roles, and their place is being taken by people who see the subject as en-vogue and sexy, but do not bring the required levels of in-depth knowledge. The big difference is that it is not money, but reputation and influence that is driving the desire to join the field. And instead of being over-paid, the current crop are seen as having too much influence.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The sooner Yeo gets deselected....

    ....the better for everyone.

    Regardless of your viewpoint on climate change, having a committee chairman who personally profits from decisions taken by that committee is bad for everyone.

    Took his tory constituents a while to work out quite how bad an MP he is but they are getting there now. We should all offer them support to rid us all of the egregious Tim Yeo.

  8. Pete 2 Silver badge

    A rule of thumb

    Whether the climate scientists obey the tenets of scientific rigour (objective results, reproducibility, modelling-prediction-observation-refinement) I cannot say: although the amount of sqabbling would suggest there is some doubt.

    However, any field that has the word "science" in its title gives me the distinct impression that it adheres to the principle of "truth by acclamation". I.e. say something enough times and it will become the accepted doctrine. That alone is enough for me to group it with all the other subjects that include the word "science" in their title.

    More than that, I cannot tell at this point.

    1. Ronald van Raaij

      Re: A rule of thumb

      This is about how many squabbling there is:

      http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/now-just-001-percent-of-climate-scientists-reject-global-warming

      <quote>Here's a chart about science. It sums up what is arguably still the most important finding of thousands of scientific papers published on climate change over the last two years: scientists overwhelmingly believe that global warming is manmade.</quote>

      All these people who say there is "disagreement" are just there to muddle the issue because it does not further their agenda.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: A rule of thumb

        > This is about how many squabbling there is:

        That's a nice chart. It tells us that almost no-one refutes man-made climate change. And I believe it. However the squabbling is not about the fact, but what all those clever people say is:

        a) the degree of any problem that MMCC brings

        b) the seriousness of it

        c) the probability that any given outcome will will come to pass - and when that will be

        d) the degree to which I can affect the outcome

        e) what lengths (and by lengths, I mean inconvenience) I should be prepared to go to, to affect that outcome

        So merely for lots of PhDs to say "yes, mankind is warming the planet" is like people saying "yes, I believe in gravity". It's a recognition of a phenomenon, (possibly even: truth by acclamation) but it's unhelpful in making any judgments about the effect, it's affect, the implications of it and whether I, personally, need to do anything about it. That's what all of us, who don't make a living arguing about it, need to know. So far the range of "solutions" ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous and the rate at which new doom and forebodings, extreme suggestions and changes-of-opinion come along does nothing to increase the credibility of the field, as a whole.

        Once that all comes to a consensus, then there will a reason to address the issue. Hopefully it won't take all the squabbling scientists so long to sort themselves out that it'll all be far too late to do anything.

      2. TheDillinquent
        Facepalm

        Re: A rule of thumb

        Shock! Horror! Most climate change 'scientists' believe that global warming is manmade!

        Well the would say that, wouldn't they.

        No-one wants to derail their own gravy train.

        1. Ronny Cook

          Re: A rule of thumb

          As far as I can tell there's a hell of a lot more money in anthropogenic climate change denial than there is in supporting the consensus. All those oil, coal and gas companies willing to support their positions, for a start.

          Over the last few years I've heard several times about touring lecturers speaking against ACG. The people speaking against them are all local.

          New Scientist had a decent overview on where we're at with regard to climate change late last year.

          To summarise the key points:

          - The world temperature is still rising, but it's mostly (96%!) going into the oceans.

          - The "pause" is largely illusory, due to a chain of el nina events dumping heat from the atmosphere into the oceans. Even in the "pause" temperatures have been increasing (by about 0.09C in the 2000s) despite the above.

          - Sulfur aerosols, mainly from China and India, have had some blocking effect

          Orlowski talks about climate scientists not being willing to make recommendations. That's because the science is telling them what's happening, it's not suggesting policy response.

          There are several policy responses known, and the science can tell us which is more likely to be effective, but it's not the scientists with their fingers on the purse strings here.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: A rule of thumb

            >>"As far as I can tell there's a hell of a lot more money in anthropogenic climate change denial than there is in supporting the consensus. All those oil, coal and gas companies willing to support their positions, for a start."

            Ha! Have fun backing that up. The renewable power industry is huge and exists as an extra on top of our existing power economy having as yet almost no significant impact on fossil fuel, so don't try to compare them as if it's either/or. It's a massive money drain. Not to mention the huge number of academics making money from AGW-related grants. And then you've got giant lobbying groups like FoE. Carbon trading, fuel levies... The amount of money dependent on AGW is colossal. Don't start talking about the money in AGW "denial" until you've totalled up the money in AGW "belief" for fair comparison. And be sure to check your sources for the former especially because there are a *lot* of false accusations. For example there was a story recently about the millions donated to an organization for AGW denial. Turned out when you dug into it that it was a publication that covered the full gamut of politics and did some skeptical stories on AGW. Do some back of the envelops on the amount of money and careers dependent on AGW and then make the same comment if you feel it's still valid.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A rule of thumb

          "Most climate change 'scientists' believe that global warming is manmade!"

          Pretty much all scientists actually, not just climate change related ones.. For instance every single science delegate from every nation at the UN. And the overwhelming observable evidence tells us that we are undoubtedly a significant cause of Global Warming and a probability of over 99% that we are the primary cause...

  9. WatAWorld

    Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

    1. Climate change is currently more theology than science.

    2. We're told to believe it because 'climate change scientists' believe it.

    3. Normal scientific dissent and discussion is suppressed.

    4. Only one proposed solution is presented.

    5. Raw data is suppressed.

    6. Data is manipulated to fit results.

    7. How accurate are climate change models? Test them on something simple.

    - Do they forecast past weather changes?

    - Do they forecast future weather changes?

    They're never going to be able to forecast the weather in the UK accurately -- the UK is simply too small an area and weather is too chaotic. They're never going to be able to forecast the weather on a specific day accurately -- again too chaotic.

    But if they had accurate models they would be able to forecast whether the weather in a large area like Western Canada would be above average, near average, or below average for a 30 day period 3 months from now.

    Environment Canada uses 20 different weather modeling processes, combines the results and only comes up with 50% accuracy. Three choices, 50% accuracy. Better than chance, but not much better.

    The models are just not accurate yet.

    8. What we should be doing is replacing the climate change theologians with real scientists and developing better models for what is going on.

    - If current climate change is man-made that is actually very good news. We can probably deal with it one way or another.

    - If current climate change is a natural process that is potentially terrible news. We might not be able to do anything about it.

    - We need proper scientists doing real science to determine what is really going on. I believe this means more spending in taking measurements in space and oceanographic programs.

    9. I'm 59. For most of my life scientists have worried that we'd lapse back into another glacial period. We're in an interglacial period in an ice age.

    The old computer models that they had for most of my life showed that one summer the Bering Straight would not thaw in summer and we'd be straight into having glaciers covering Canada, the northern USA and huge parts of Europe and Asia.

    A renewed glaciation is going to destroy way more cities and agricultural land than sea levels rising 10 m.

    Low lying cities on ocean shorelines are libel to damage from tsunamis anyways.

    10. We really desperately need better models of climate and the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans to be able to know if we're at risk of another period of increased glaciation, or if we're in danger of the ice age we live in ending, or both.

    We need to know what's broke and how it's broke before we going turning the world upside down to fix it. And we need to know it soon, just in case it turns out to be urgent.

    That's how I see it.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

      >The models are just not accurate yet.

      The evidence todate on scientific and statistical modelling is that the models are likely to never be that accurate. However that doesn't mean that what they tell us is worthless. The real question we need to ask is are the models reliable?

      The weather forecast is useful because it is reliable, usually when rain is forecasted for my region, it happens although the actual amount falling in any particular part of my region can be quite variable. However the forecast is sufficiently reliable for me to take a coat or umbrella with me. I suggest we need to apply the same criteria to the climate models.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

        @ Roland6

        "The evidence todate on scientific and statistical modelling is that the models are likely to never be that accurate. However that doesn't mean that what they tell us is worthless. The real question we need to ask is are the models reliable?"

        And that has been answered too. When they say something completely different to what happens then they are wrong. It means they need more work, to be made reliable. But they are not reliable (as this article clearly addresses).

        The climate models are useful just like the many failed attempts at making a light bulb. Because getting it wrong can lead to getting it right (if you have the will to get it right).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

      "1. Climate change is currently more theology than science."

      Only if you are a Replican or similar fringe viewpoint that denies the overwhelming observable evidence for man made climate change...

      "2. We're told to believe it because 'climate change scientists' believe it."

      Yeees - they are the experts - and thousands of scientific papers support this - versus numbers you can count on your fingers that don't.....

      "3. Normal scientific dissent and discussion is suppressed."

      No it isn't - there are a few whackos left that still deny it - and they get more than their fair share of airtime...

      "4. Only one proposed solution is presented."

      Hundreds of solutions have been proposed. Numerous scientific papers suggest potential solutions and mitigations.

      "5. Raw data is suppressed."

      Raw data is meaningless without context and analysis. Raw data is not 'suppressed' more than in any other scientific field.

      "6. Data is manipulated to fit results."

      Only by climate change deniers. Not scientists.

      "7. How accurate are climate change models? Test them on something simple."

      How long is a piece of string? It varies. They are frequently tested - for instance against historical data.

      "8. What we should be doing is replacing the climate change theologians with real scientists and developing better models for what is going on."

      I think we are doing our best, but a few die hard climate change deniers hold on to their outdated views...The scientific concensus is already pretty much universal.

      "9. I'm 59. For most of my life scientists have worried that we'd lapse back into another glacial period. We're in an interglacial period in an ice age."

      Welcome to the 21st Century - it doesn't seem like you have quite caught up yet... There are various cycles that explain the current situation. The current lack of Sun Spot activity might for instance mean that we are heading for a mini ice age. This does not change the fact that versus other

      variables, we are currently warming the planet at a geologically incredibly fast rate, and that even if we did experience such a cold snap - once the Sun returned to normal activity, global warming would also return wtih a vengance...

      10. We need to know what's broke and how it's broke

      What has running out of money got to do with it? Or did you mean 'broken' but are poorly educated?

      1. Missing Semicolon

        Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

        "Data is manipulated"

        Yes, it is. The thing about not publishing the raw results is that we have to take the subsequent processing without analysis. Many climate papers not only refuse to publish raw data, but don't publish the detailed methodology (source code, spreadsheets) used to correct it.

        The "data" you see on the well-known climate data sites (NOAA, GISS) are being corrected - and these corrections are revised each year, even on past data. What you have to trust is that these revisions are founded on sound principles. Some enterprising souls have been capturing the historic versions of historic data, and observe that older temperatures are being revised downward, making recent temperatures look more extreme. Are these revisions valid? No-one can tell, as the revisors aren't telling, or sometimes even admitting that these revisions have taken place.

        When the data is being mucked about with like this (never mind the ClimateGate shenanegans) is it not reasonable to be skeptical about some of the conclusions?

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

          "The "data" you see on the well-known climate data sites (NOAA, GISS) are being corrected - and these corrections are revised each year, even on past data. What you have to trust is that these revisions are founded on sound principles. Some enterprising souls have been capturing the historic versions of historic data, and observe that older temperatures are being revised downward, making recent temperatures look more extreme. Are these revisions valid? No-one can tell, as the revisors aren't telling, or sometimes even admitting that these revisions have taken place."

          You can download the raw station data. You can download the source code used to turn the raw station data into global temperature figures. It's completely transparent. Such that many different teams of people have produced their own global temperature records.

          It's effectively all open source.

          "When the data is being mucked about with like this (never mind the ClimateGate shenanegans) is it not reasonable to be skeptical about some of the conclusions?"

          The impression you have that it's all hidden and secret adjustments are being made is completely 180 to thereality. This happens because climate skeptics are spreading FUD and you fell for it.

          It's like creationists telling me that the fossil record has no transitional fossils. They are just repeating what the skeptics told them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

        "we are currently warming the planet at a geologically incredibly fast rate,"

        Un, hello? 1999 called and it wants its thermometer back.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

          "Un, hello? 1999 called and it wants its thermometer back."

          How about 1989? Or pretty much any other statistically more significant period...

          The long term warming trend is clear - and currently variations in the last decade are within the boundaries of other historical ones...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

        Welcome to the 21st Century - it doesn't seem like you have quite caught up yet... There are various cycles that explain the current situation. The current lack of Sun Spot activity might for instance mean that we are heading for a mini ice age. This does not change the fact that versus other

        variables, we are currently warming the planet at a geologically incredibly fast rate, and that even if we did experience such a cold snap - once the Sun returned to normal activity, global warming would also return wtih a vengance...

        This is the worst kind of defense of the innaccuracy of cloimate models possible. You are essentially saying that, yes the models were wrong, but only because we didn't add some extra variable we didn't know about. Now we know about it you can trust us.

        I could just as easily argue that, without the excess amounts of CO2, the current lack of sunspots would send us tumbling into a much more severe mini-ice age, like the one a few centuries back, therefore the added CO2 magic is actually a blessing. Let's keep belching it out until we escape the ice age!

        You have completely failed to be honest and accept a model is wrong and has been discredited, by observation. The steady state theory of the universe was a viable contender with the big bang theory until observations proved it couldn't explain the universe as well. That's science.

        AGW theory is a lame duck and is, thankfully, dying.

        we are currently warming the planet at a geologically incredibly fast rate

        No we are not. Prove it! There has been essentially no significant warming for over a decade. AGW Theory is a geologically incredibly falsified theory.

        Sun returned to normal activity, global warming would also return wtih a vengance...

        Based on what? Your model failed to account for this, so what good is your model in predicting different rates of Solar Activity. How does your model handle other unknown variables that can apparantly halt global warming at a "geologically incredibly fast rate"? It's nonesense. It's a failed theory. In any of the hard sciences this theory would have been eviscerated. It's only in the echo chamber of climate journals, the vulture green organizations that latch onto their every word, and a few absurd politicians that this is still doing the rounds.

      4. Mad Mike

        Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

        @AC

        "No it isn't - there are a few whackos left that still deny it - and they get more than their fair share of airtime..."

        Calling people wackos is a form of suppression. It is suppression through insult. Normally performed by those who can't actually create a valid case to argue.

        "Hundreds of solutions have been proposed. Numerous scientific papers suggest potential solutions and mitigations."

        All of which have one basic tenet.......reduce atmospheric CO2. So, ultimately, whilst the method of doing this is different, the same basic solution exists.

        "Raw data is meaningless without context and analysis. Raw data is not 'suppressed' more than in any other scientific field."

        Absolutely it is. There have been numerous cases where scientists and institutes have refused to release the raw data or give any clue on how they are 'correcting' the data. What possible harm could come of releasing this information, yet it is routinely not being done by scientists. Are we supposed to just trust that their oh so gargantuan brains have done the correcting right?

        "Only by climate change deniers. Not scientists."

        Absolute rubbish. Most of the time we never know how the data is being 'corrected' (this is manipulation anyway!!) and therefore cannot know why or if done correctly. The University of East Anglia especially has been found out doing some very dodgy things. How the same published data changes over the years is also most odd.

        "How long is a piece of string? It varies. They are frequently tested - for instance against historical data."

        Anybody can make the data fit historical data. The real way to test theories etc. is to predict something that comes true. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and predicting what has already happened is a remarkably simple thing.

        "I think we are doing our best, but a few die hard climate change deniers hold on to their outdated views...The scientific concensus is already pretty much universal."

        What's this got to do with finding more people who obey normal scientific process and don't adjust their data to fit the next paycheck?

        "Welcome to the 21st Century - it doesn't seem like you have quite caught up yet... There are various cycles that explain the current situation. The current lack of Sun Spot activity might for instance mean that we are heading for a mini ice age. This does not change the fact that versus other variables, we are currently warming the planet at a geologically incredibly fast rate, and that even if we did experience such a cold snap - once the Sun returned to normal activity, global warming would also return wtih a vengance..."

        Cycles that were not predicted or explained by any previous theory!! You've just undermined your own case. You've just identified an outside influence which could have a huge effect (as you've explained) that isn't even taken into account by most theories!! We are currently warming the planet as a geologically incredibly fast rate? Absolute rubbish. There have been many point in geological history where CO2 levels have been higher and lower. Also where the rate of change has been much more abrupt. The same applies to temperatures. You've obviously swallowed all the propaganda and not looked into geological history and how extreme and swift some changes have been.

        "What has running out of money got to do with it? Or did you mean 'broken' but are poorly educated?"

        If we don't work out what's "broken" and why it is, we will be "broke"!! Sending the UK to the bottom of the world poverty table all by itself isn't going to help save the planet. Individual action isn't good enough here, it must be concerted, global action if we're to have an effect (should we need to).

        By the way, I'm neither an advocate or denier of global warming, whether manmade or not. I accept that things are changing, but that's the nature of things like geology and weather and climate.....it doesn't change. What I do know is at thinking everything should remain exactly as is and just nice and wonderful for us humans is stupid and won't ever happen. Whether mankind is doing it or some natural process is to a large extent irrelevant. Mankind has to learn that keeping everything the same is never going to happen and would be stupidly expensive to even attempt. What we need to do, is learn to move with it. In this respect even ancient man was far more intelligent. If the seas rise, move inland. If they drop, move out. If one part of the world gets too hotter, move somewhere else. It's only the stupidities of mankind with politics etc.etc. that makes this difficult.

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

          "There have been many point in geological history where CO2 levels have been higher and lower. Also where the rate of change has been much more abrupt."

          Citation needed.

          I think you'll find there is no known past precedent for the current rate of CO2 rise. Especially on the logarithmic scale that defines it's impact.

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

            OK.

            http://www.planetforlife.com/co2history/

            This talks about during the last 4 ice ages only. You can see changes of at least the same magnitude. You can also see concentrations higher. Bear in mind, this is only the last 425,000 years as well, which is the blink of an eye in geological terms.

            I think the title of this link says it all as well.

            http://phys.org/news174234562.html

            15,000,000 years is again, the blink of an eye.

            1. NomNomNom

              Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

              Are you kidding me? That graph shows the current rate of CO2 rise is far faster - and CO2 has risen far further - than any time in the last 425,000 years.

              What do you mean that's a "blink of an eye in geological terms"? How does that alter the fact that the current

              rate of CO2 rise is far faster than any known prior example in Earth's past?

              In fact as you point out you have to go back *15 million* years to find a CO2 level just as high. And as for the rate of increase that probably goes back far further, possibly there has never been a time in Earth's billions year history when CO2 was rising as fast as it is today.

              Shit man who are you trying to kid?

          2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
            WTF?

            Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

            "I think you'll find there is no known past precedent for the current rate of CO2 rise. Especially on the logarithmic scale that defines it's impact."

            Um, isn't it an INVERSE logarithmic impact? After CO2 levels double, we get (say) 2degree warming. So 220 to 450ppm. Then it has to double AGAIN to get another 2degrees warming, i.e. from 450 to 900ppm.

    3. NomNomNom

      Re: Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

      "The models are just not accurate yet."

      The fossil record is incomplete!

  10. ewozza
    Childcatcher

    A convient crisis

    A crisis, even an imaginary crisis, makes politics easy. People will put up with overpriced food, with poor roads, with bad housing, with high electricity charges, with political incompetence, even with a little corruption, if they think their sacrifice means something - if they think their politicians are doing a good job of addressing the crisis.

    If politicians admit the climate crisis isn't a big deal, people will hold them to account for their failings - so they are as likely to let go of this cornucopia of false virtue as they are to let go of their parliamentary expenses.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: A convient crisis

      "If politicians admit the climate crisis isn't a big deal, people will hold them to account for their failings - so they are as likely to let go of this cornucopia of false virtue as they are to let go of their parliamentary expenses."

      I gave you an upvote for "cornucopia of false virtue".

  11. Sander van der Wal
    Facepalm

    Models (theories) and their outcomes are never evidence. Measurements are evidence.

    1. David Pollard

      How true

      That's why prediction with hindsight can approach 100% accuracy.

      Meanwhile, in the real world, models of one sort or another are what we use to see into the future.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      Your point being?

      Models provide predictions, since you can't very well measure something that hasn't happened yet, but you can use measurements to increase accuracy of models and improve their predictive algorythms

      1. P_0

        Re: Sir

        Your point being?

        Models provide predictions, since you can't very well measure something that hasn't happened yet, but you can use measurements to increase accuracy of models and improve their predictive algorythms

        Great. Let us know when the models aren't spitting out crap.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Sir

          Is it me or is there an increasing lack of comprehension developing in these forums?

          It seems that if you ask a question, it is taken as a statement. If you consider both sides of an argument, it's taken as condoning one or other side depending on the readers bias. $Deity forbid you should remain unconvinced of either side!

          In this particular case I was simply trying to highlight the difference between science and prediction and it seems to be taken as if I favour prediction over science somehow.

          Subtlety has been lost in favour of the sound-bite. Rational debate, the possibility of someone's viewpoint not being complete and thus erroneous, is no longer possible.

          For the record, I am a human being and I make mistakes. In my experience, the more someone fervently believes something without reflecting on the possibility they may be incorrect, the more likely they are to be wrong. I've done it myself on occasion - it's an easy trap to fall into, but I urge everyone with an opinion to stand ready to examine the basis of their opinion in a rational manner when challenged. Nothing is gained by mouth frothing and jerking of knees.

          "Great. Let us know when the models aren't spitting out crap"

          You are aware of how complex the climate is aren't you? The models are only as good as the data that they are fed, and the imagination of the program designers in encompassing the relevant variables.

          The problem so far, it seems to me, is that there has been a distinct lack of imagination in the design of these models leading to glaring omissions that a 10 year old could have predicted, had the experts deigned to ask. On the other hand, they probably have included a multitude of extremely complex data sets and formulas that would require 50 years of experience in that particular field to understand. I'm sure it's very easy to get caught up in detail and lose sight of the big picture occasionally.

          One day our understanding of the variables and our ability to model them with accurate data will result in truly awesome predictive abilities. In the case of the climate I'm sure that would be a good thing, but I can think of other areas of human interest that it might prove uncomfortable*.

          *Psychohistory

  12. Tyrion
    Facepalm

    Autoimmolation?

    >> They want the story to be a very strong one

    Just like in any good piece of fiction...

    >> and don’t want to be made to look foolish.

    Too late on that front.

  13. TimNevins

    For those that missed this story

    Here is what happened shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of a perceived foe.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_of_Rome

    In 1991, the Club published The First Global Revolution.[7] It analyses the problems of humanity, calling these collectively or in essence the 'problematique'. It notes (laments) that, historically, social or political unity has commonly been motivated by enemies in common: "The need for enemies seems to be a common historical factor. Some states have striven to overcome domestic failure and internal contradictions by blaming external enemies. The ploy of finding a scapegoat is as old as mankind itself - when things become too difficult at home, divert attention to adventure abroad. Bring the divided nation together to face an outside enemy, either a real one, or else one invented for the purpose. With the disappearance of the traditional enemy, the temptation is to use religious or ethnic minorities as scapegoats, especially those whose differences from the majority are disturbing."[8] "Every state has been so used to classifying its neighbours as friend or foe, that the sudden absence of traditional adversaries has left governments and public opinion with a great void to fill. New enemies have to be identified, new strategies imagined, and new weapons devised."[8] "In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself."[9]

  14. MchJ

    Unfortunately very few of the brightest go into politics.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I disagree.

      I'm sure there are more than a few very bright people in politics.

      Unfortunately, being bright does not imply being honest.

  15. codejunky Silver badge

    I am interested to know

    How well reported this is elsewhere. Surely if we are dealing in facts, especially on a topic which affects all of us, this should be widely reported by the media just as the scare stories, false information and 'consensus' is?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My beef with climate change ...

    is it's one subject where someone who flunked their CSEs 30 years ago feels they can turn around to me - with a 1st and an MSc. and say:

    "If you don't believe in climate change you haven't read the data"

    er, I *have* read the data. And understood it. And I still don't believe in the "climate change" that you do. The climate changes. We know that. Nothing to see, lets move on.

    The whole business reminds me of the old adage about not wrestling with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: My beef with climate change ...

      My beef is where people misrepresent skeptics as not believing the climate ever changes. I've actually had people tell me to my face what I believe in contradiction to what I've just told them and I've had others online insist that skeptics believe this even citing studies at me which turned out not to show this (bad statistics on their part) and they still insisted on it, rather than actually debate any points. The worst sort of strawmanning.

      I tend towards a neutral position of "we don't really know with enough confidence" and I get pilloried for it by people who repeatedly ignore that we are skeptics of AGW and keep throwing abuse at us about how stupid we are to think the climate never changes. Even after being repeatedly corrected as to what we actually believe (or await evidence of).

  17. SiempreTuna

    Really people: take the tin hats off. Man made Climate Change is real. I know it's kinda scary and it will involve some costs (though also plenty of benefits), but pathetically attempting to deny reality isn't going to help. Try just dealing with it it - it's not that hard.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Sir

      Some people aren't yet convinced that climate change is man-made.

      You have only created two opposing camps in your world view, please deal with that and adjust accordingly - it's not that hard.

      1. -tim
        Flame

        Re: Sir

        There are not two opposing camps and that is part of the problem.

        There are at least 3:

        1) IPCC is right

        2) IPCC is wrong

        3) IPCC is full of BS but we know we can adjust local climate but in a much different way.

        Group 3 has a great deal of stories that people can adjust the local climate.

        Oklahoma was known as "The Great American Desert" before they found out about the areas now known as Arizona and New Mexico. Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas had their climate changed for the worst and then fixed. The Dust bowl was caused by bad farming techniques but increasing wind breaks and creating thousands of muddy man made lakes has changed the rainfall in the area a great deal.

        The first major human created climate change theory was known as "the rain follows the plow" which correctly identified some aspects of a local water cycle but managed to get the rest very wrong leading to things like the dust bowl and massive fires in the US Midwest and most of the farm land in Australia.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sir

        "Some people aren't yet convinced that climate change is man-made."

        Yes, it took al long time to persuade some people that the world wasn't flat too...

        It hasn't been in any reasonable doubt for at least a decade that average global temperature is rising rapidly and continues to do so, and than mankind is at least partly responsible due to CO2 emissions.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Sir

          >>"Yes, it took al long time to persuade some people that the world wasn't flat too..."

          Citation needed. Because as far as I'm aware even very early societies knew that it wasn't flat. The Phoenicians knew it as they were great sailors (for their period) and they could *see* that it wasn't flat the same way you or I can - as a ship sinks beneath the horizon. And the Phoenicians are going back quite a way - I think they were one of the first societies to use an alphabet!

    2. MrXavia

      While I agree climate change is real, I am dubious as to how much of it is man made, your statement seems to say we're responsible for it all..

      I say lets LIVE with climate change, lets engineer our way around problems not go causing more problems trying to stop it...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The generally accepted position is that scientists are very sure (99%+ probability) that humans are the primary cause of global warming...

        1. h4rm0ny

          "The generally accepted position is that scientists are very sure (99%+ probability) that humans are the primary cause of global warming..."

          Reading the comments here, I'm not sure "generally accepted" is quite right.

        2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          "It hasn't been in any reasonable doubt"

          Really? Well earlier I went to the web page listing the sub-committee members, and as I started at the bottom of the list and went to the link showing me their conversations in parliament I stumbled upon a discussion whereupon one of the members stated that whilst it was commonly held that there was a consensus, they knew that not to be true.

          The point wasn't refuted, especially since they were talking about the flawed models of the MET office information and their refusal to amend their models once they were proven to be false.

          And as for 99%+ probability, don't make me laugh.

    3. Swarthy
      Trollface

      Life: "You're living it wrong. Just change your lifestyle, it's not that big a deal"

    4. Mad Mike

      Condescension is generally man made by the person with the least knowledge of the subject.

  18. johnB

    Just wait

    Scientists whose living depends on the government dole agree with the line the politicos want, which of course keeps them in a job.

    According to the sage Arthur C Clarke, when asked what causes changes in science, "Old men die". We'll just have to wait & hope they don't do anything too daft before a more rational set take over.

    Me, I want them on the "B" Ark.

    1. JimmyPage
      Thumb Up

      "old men die"

      what an astute observation ...

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Just wait

      >>"According to the sage Arthur C Clarke, when asked what causes changes in science, "Old men die". We'll just have to wait & hope they don't do anything too daft before a more rational set take over."

      Is the Universe taking the piss? The other day, I pulled up someone for attributing a quote from Arthur C. Clarke to Einstein and bemoaned how everyone thought Einstein said everything:

      http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2014/01/29/peter_capaldi_doctor_who_costume/#c_2092

      Today, I find someone saying that Arthur C. Clarke said something and it was actually Max Planck. The original quote is this:

      A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. ~Max Planck

      It's a conspiracy to drive me crazy, I tell you.

      1. johnB

        Re: Just wait

        Apologies to both Clarke and Plank - I was so convinced it was a Clarke-ism I didn't check. Maybe the version I quoted was Clarke's succinct paraphrasing?

  19. Faye B
    Mushroom

    The elephant in the room

    There is one climate policy that no MP will openly discuss, that would actually work, as most of climate change is down to their being far too many people in the world. No one wants to propose that a cull on humantiy would solve so many problems we have. They are all just hoping for some natural disaster, like a global plague, to happen because big world wars are now too dangerous to contemplate. The alternative is a dystopian future where we fight each other for fewer and fewer resources until total anarchy reigns.

    1. MrXavia
      Big Brother

      Re: The elephant in the room

      Hoping for a global plague? I would not be surprised if they are making one...

    2. JimmyPage

      Re: The elephant in the room

      You don't need to propose a cull on humanity. Nature will take care of that by itself. Just as the climate has changed in the past, so has the human population.

      1348 anyone ?

  20. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    " couldn't be expected to predict a "hiatus"."

    Yet another high ranking scientific civil servant (like the guy in charge of GCHQ in many ways).

    Yes Sir Humphrey, if it's an accurate model it should. :(

    Because that's what you're basing your policy on, isn't it?

    And am I being just a tad contrary in think "He's from Glasgow, wouldn't you welcome a few days with less rain" (I'm not foolish enough to think global warming will actually lead to more sunny days in Glasow).

  21. gloucester
    Pirate

    Lower effects of aerosols

    From the article linked to by Nicholas Lewis:

    "In particular, between since the Fourth Assessment Report of 2007 (AR4) and AR5, there has been a major reduction in the IPCC’s best estimate of how strong the effect – the ‘forcing’ – of atmospheric pollution (aerosols) is."

    Does this mean that "Cloud Ships" won't work?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/5987229/Cloud-ship-scheme-to-deflect-the-suns-rays-is-favourite-to-cut-global-warming.html

    Shame. I liked that idea. Guess we'll have to paint all rooves white instead.

    Pirate icon just in case the ships ever get built anyway.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great Article

    "All I know is that I know nothing" - Socrates was supposed to have said something along those lines. And he was a wise man - but not a great politician. They executed him.

    When Climate Scientists say that the Science is Settled and that they are 95% certain, they are being very economical with the truth.

    The only truth about the weather, let alone the climate, is Uncertainty.

    We don't know how sensitive the climate is to CO2.

    We don't know exactly what role is played by water vapour, ocean currents, sun activity, aerosols, etc.

    People dedicate their careers to these subjects. They are experts. They are steeped in knowledge. But they still don't KNOW. That is a different thing. Their mistake is to pretend that they do know.

    But "not knowing" does not make a great headline. Or a good political slogan.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Great Article

      Everyone knows almost nothing. What's interesting is the way that people respond to that.

      Some apparently are comfortable with this, not matter how important the question. They prefer to acknowledge their ignorance and keep their minds open to any new evidence that might dispel it. The same people tend to be comfortable with the idea that there might be important stuff that they don't even know they don't know, and that they might be wrong about stuff they think they do know. In both cases, they keep the minds open to new evidence that might require a withdrawal of their past statements on any given topic. To others, they may seem lacking in self-confidence or troubled with self-doubt. They probably don't inspire confidence and if they were daft enough to go into politics then they probably wouldn't do very well.

      So yes, politics is a mechanism for weeding out anyone with a clue from the decision-making process.

    2. Adam Inistrator

      quibble

      It isnt climate scientists who claim 99.9% of climate scientists believe in agw ... it is warmist activists -a big difference.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: quibble

        "99.9% of climate scientists believe in agw"

        99.9% of all scientists believe in AGW - not just climate ones.

  23. NomNomNom

    Note all the skeptics on the panel accepted man-made global warming

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @Nom

      And still they wont all agree we are doomed. The religion still struggles to push its agenda.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: @Nom

        But having all the skeptics on the panel agree that human CO2 emissions will significantly warm the planet is at least progress. There was not one of them that questioned the greenhouse effect, argued that volcanoes emit more CO2 than man or that the Sun is more important. Skeptics have upped their game.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @Nom

          "But having all the skeptics on the panel agree that human CO2 emissions will significantly warm the planet is at least progress. There was not one of them that questioned the greenhouse effect, argued that volcanoes emit more CO2 than man or that the Sun is more important. Skeptics have upped their game."

          Significantly? You seem to be adding words. The important parts for you to understand are here-

          "Climate science is virtually a government monopoly," Lindzen told the MPs.

          And here-

          As one British civil servant wrote to a leading climate scientist in 2009:

          I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish.

          At what point do people argue co2 isnt a greenhouse gas? There are certainly a lot of sceptics who question why the blame is placed on the singular gas in ignorance of a highly complex system of interaction that nobody yet understands. It takes an absolute sceptic to think co2 is the cause in ignorance of everything else (which is btw why the models fail with consistency). I notice you mention the sun but your wording leaves you open to so much ridicule that I assume you didnt mean it the way I interpreted it.

          In short it requires understanding to have the answer. And clearly (with all the proof as evidence) we dont understand climate well enough to claim to have the answer. Hence this debate is a politics/religion issue instead of a science one.

        2. Chris Miller

          Re: @Nom

          The Sun is more important - a 1% change in solar output (well within the range of observed variability) would have a much greater effect on global temperatures than a 1% change in any other climate parameter. It doesn't appear, however, that the increase in global temperature during the second half of the 20th century has been caused by changes in solar output.

          The fact that some opponents of global warming are scientifically clueless has no more bearing on the argument than the fact that many environmentalists, who wholeheartedly support AGW, are similarly in the dark. It's wonderfully bracing to hear HRH Prince Charles demanding that people should 'listen to the science' - which is great coming from such a proponent of homoeopathy and countless other fruit-loop topics.

  24. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Nic Lewis's work seems easy enough to follow by a layman.

    Well, I'm a layman and I followed it.

    But let us recall the words of Upton Sinclair that no mans ignorance is so great that many whose livelihood depends on his ignorance.

    Of whom it seems there are quite a few.

    But lets be clear. Without China, India and the US deciding to do something (and it's looking clearer that doing nothing is an option, and quite a good one) the UK on its own will change nothing. And in fact it's not really clear that anything needs changing.

    Except for utility companies, who appear to act like lying, thieving ba**ards.*

    *Allegedly.

  25. Marcus Fil

    What?

    Asking the experts to be more assertive in their arguments because politicians struggle to sell policy decisions on inconclusive or contradictory evidence*; I can't really see anything wrong with that. Just sex up that dossier a bit. No, it will be alright. I'm sure it will end well and not add trillions more debt burden for no assured outcome. Its not like there is an historical precedent to the contrary is there?

    *I would say 'shades of grey' here, but the phrase seems to have hijacked by the mummy pr0n brigade.

  26. -tim
    Mushroom

    Plenty of doom left

    I keep hearing about "consensus science" from the news rags. There are still issues.

    1) The people doing the best weather models in the world by far have made comments that they don't buy into the IPCC related models. Climate is weather with a different focus on delta T.

    2) 2 decades ago you could take a boat from Broome Australia and head west 3000 km and then south until you hit land and the magnetic field would be very constant and match what is expected. Now along that course you will find that there is far more "north" magnetic fields strength that expected with two "northerly" hot spots along the way. These appear to have formed when the rain stopped in Perth with no sane scientific theory published as far as I have seen.

    3) A number of the worst green house gas equivalents love to align in electric fields in a way sort of like the goo in an LCD changes how photons interact. The sun's magnetic field has been playing games with that for a while. It is amazing that the sun can keep an incredibly steady energy output while varying some aspects in still unknown ways.

    Monitoring 2 & 3 involve "space weather" and as far as I know there are only a handful of groups in the world that do that including NASA, US NOAA, US AF, The Russian ФКА, and the half time guy at the Aussie BOM.

    Those are the science bits but we also have to deal with sensational reporting such as most of the "sea level" increases we see in the news aren't sea level rise but tectonic plate changes.

    Science is about finding the truth. The funny thing about the truth is that just like a fractal, the closer you look, the more there is to look at.

  27. James 51

    "These are reasonable things to say."

    In rich countries were we have the resources to manage. In poorer countries, that's another matter.

  28. Jim O'Reilly

    Garbage In Garbage Out

    Most of the dire predictions of AGW are based on IPCC's model. This failed to take account of the sun's output variation, and of the fact that most sensors are near cities, which biases the average global temperature upward. Add to that a very unrealistic model of Greenland ice cap melt, and the Warmists had a story of gloom and doom to tell.

    We are fixing the model, but it still can't acount for the 'hiatus', so it still is clearly very inadequate. Add to that all the 'warning signs' are turning into red herrings. The Arctic ice is roaring back, the PIG ice pack in Antarctica is growing like crazy, and winters seem to be getting much colder.

    The reality is that the models don't work yet, and we should ignore them, but that would shatter the ricebowls of a lot of climate scientists, consultants and alternate energy companies. And a few politicians too!

    1. pierce
      Boffin

      Re: Garbage In Garbage Out

      the suns energy output is remarkably steady regardless of solar flares, sunspot cycles and such.

      sure, in a few dozen more billion years, it will change, the sun will eventually swell up into a red giant, then collapse to be a white dwarf. but on a year to year, decade to decade, century to century basis, the suns output is a smooth flat line.

      so, find a new red herring, k?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Garbage In Garbage Out

        @ pierce

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25743806

        Just to contribute

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Garbage In Garbage Out

        >>"the suns energy output is remarkably steady regardless of solar flares, sunspot cycles and such."

        Oh for Pity's sake. Seriously? How can you just say something like "regardless of solar flares, sunspot cycles and such" with a straight face. The Sun's energy output is remarkably steady regardless of frequent and pseudo-random events that produce significant variation? Hanibal Lecter is a well socialised human being regardless of the occasional murder and eating people? Just because you identify the weaknesses in your own argument and name them, doesn't mean you get to dismiss them.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle

        Look at variation in energy output over time. There are semi-predictable cycles but we still don't have the degree of that variation down to anything like predictability.

        Things like your post are what push people away from agreeing with AGW, because they see themselves being told they're wrong by people who clearly don't have a good grasp of the science themselves and are just arguing from an a priori belief in AGW.

        Everytime someone posts an obviously false counter-argument to a query or question by a skeptic, that skeptics distrust of AGW proponents increases.

  29. Mikel
    Joke

    Ah, a warming thread

    It's posts like these that give much comic relief to an otherwise boring blog. The comments are hilarious.

    That they generate tons of clicks and comments is, I'm sure, complete coincidence.

  30. bex

    it's complicated

    CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere that is a fact. The rest is so complicated a definite answer to what will actually happen will only come when it's happened. More weird weather more of the time probably.

  31. ZootCadillac
    Facepalm

    Yeo is a buffoon.

    Tim Yeo's lack of basic comprehension would be laughable if it were not so alarming. His inability to understand the concept of the hiatus on the warming trend was shocking, although Professor Lindzen could have made a better job of explaining it to him. I expect that the professor simply didn't expect a man of Yeo's position to not have basic comprehension skills.

    If it helps Tim, consider this. This last decade I was the tallest I have been since records of my height began. However I stopped growing 30 years ago.

  32. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    D'ya mean...

    Well, given that the politicians are now doubting the AGW-mongerers, would it be possible to have all of that Carbon Tax money back please?

    Also, could you shred all of the laws pertaining to the b*ll*cks known as the "Carbon Footprint" and unburden industry from reams of red tape?

    Re-word things along the lines of "Invest to reduce consumption and therefore long term costs" for public bodies to stop them going back to wasteful ways, whilst removing their need to employ lots of staff just to count how many calories of energy are consumed by someone pushing a pen, then offsetting it against "carbon".

    As technology in power generation increases, so fuel consumption decreases, with that emissions go hand in hand.

    We deserve cleaner air to breathe, and that should be the target. Achieve that, and the CO2 emissions will go with it.

    And finally - the fewer of "us" there are, the lower the emissions over time, thus reducing the stress on the ecosystems to provide fuel and food.

  33. cortland

    Pascal's Wager

    People who go with Pascal's Wager on no evidence but ancient texts scoff at AGW *with evidence* because THAT isn't certain. They don't trust it, but they'll bet on Heaven.

    Are we really "Homo Sapiens"?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tim Yeo has been deselected.

    bye bye Yeo boy.

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