Wales Is in Danger: Why Isn’t the Prince of Wales Saving It?

Bird-crunching, bat-chomping menaces

Anyone think this would be improved by 600ft wind turbines?

Anyone think this would be improved by 600ft wind turbines?

I hope this photograph give you a good idea of why every summer for the last 12 years I have taken my family on holiday to mid-Wales, for me one of the most beautiful and special places on the planet. Its all the better for being so little known. You can go for a walk on those magnificent uplands at the peak of the tourist season and glimpse barely another soul. Note too, how completely unspoilt it is. But for how much longer?

This is why I have just signed the petition No To The Industrialisation of Mid-Wales and why Im wishing the very best to the protestors wholl be gathering at a rally outside the Welsh assembly this Tuesday to voice their outrage at the destruction of their countryside in which their elected representatives in Cardiff disgracefully connived. It was back in 2005 that Cardiff’s joke quasi-parliamentary assembly of clownish second-raters otherwise known as AMs voted for huge swathes of the Principality to be covered in wind farms. But its only now that people have started to catch up with the environmental havoc this is going to wreak. (H/T Mike Blood who runs the Conservation of Upland Powys Facebook page, which deserves our support).

The wind farms  are bad enough on their own. But to make matters far worse, as Christopher Booker reports, in order for these bird-crunching, bat-chomping, view-blighting, rent-seeking monstrosities to be connected to the grid a huge 400kv power line is going to be constructed all the way from Montgomeryshire through some of Britains most spectacular scenery to the equally beauteous Shropshire. Its not just happening in Wales, of course. Alex Salmond is wreaking similar havoc in Scotland. Cumbria is under threat; so is the Kent Weald; so are the Mendips; so is the Isle of Wight; so are dozens of other beauty spots: first will come the wind farms themselves, with their vast concrete bases; then the power lines, over 300 miles worth, 160feet high.

Its one of those subjects that makes me so upset it leaves me almost lost for words. Ours is going to be the generation forced to witness the most grotesque act of vandalism ever committed against the British countryside and what makes it so much more painful is that there is no reasonable justification for it whatsoever. From wind farms to solar arrays to biofuels, Britain is committing both economic and aesthetic suicide. Even if one were to believe the discredited theory that CO2 is a dangerous driver of climate change, even then the argument for wind farms wouldnt wash because being so unreliable and sporadic in their power generation they replace not one single conventional power station.

The sheer madness of Britains energy policy is beautifully captured by Matt Ridley in this must-read Spectator article.

Welcome to the neo-medieval world of Britain’s energy policy. It is a world in which Highland glens are buzzing with bulldozers damming streams for miniature hydro plants, in which the Dogger Bank is to be dotted with windmills at Brobdingnagian expense, in which Heathrow is to burn wood trucked in from Surrey, and Yorkshire wheat is being turned into motor fuel. We are going back to using the landscape to generate our energy. Bad news for the landscape.

The industrial revolution, when Britain turned to coal for its energy, not only catapulted us into prosperity (because coal proved cheaper and more reliable than wood, wind, water and horse as a means of turning machines), but saved our landscape too. Forests grew back and rivers returned to their natural beds when their energy was no longer needed. Land that had once grown hay for millions of horses could grow food for human beings instead — or become parks and gardens.

Whether we like it or not, we are now reversing this policy, only with six times the population and a hundred times the energy needs. The government’s craven decision this week to placate the green pressure groups by agreeing a unilateral and tough new carbon rationing target of 50 per cent for 2027 — they wanted to water it down, but were frightened of being taken to judicial review by Greenpeace — condemns Britain to ruining yet more of its landscape. Remember that it takes a wind farm the size of Greater London to generate as much electricity as a single coal-fired power station — on a windy day (on other days we will have to do without). Or the felling of a forest twice the size of Cumbria every year.

Why is this madness happening? Why is nobody in a position of power or influence save the odd brave soul such as Glyn Davies, Tory MP for Montgomeryshire doing something to stop it before its too late?

Simple: its because the very environmentalists who ought to be campaigning against such wanton destruction have instead been responsible for fostering the warped thinking, junk science, and knee-jerk anti-capitalism which made it possible.

Consider George Monbiot: the man lives in Machllyneth, just down the road from the wind farm development, for Gods sake, yet here is as far as he is prepared to go in his Komment Macht Frei column on the subject:

Three conclusions seem obvious. Unless the new powerlines are buried, the renewables programme will stall: underground cables must become a firm green demand, though they will add significantly to the cost. Even so, its now clear that theres a limit to how much more renewable power can be deployed before it clatters into a mountain of public opposition. This is one of the reasons why we should start considering other options for decarbonising the electricity supply: especially new nuclear technologies such as thorium, integral fast reactors or travelling wave reactors.

Do you see the pusillanimity and muddled thinking, here? He has neither the intellectual lucidity nor the moral courage actively to oppose this utterly pointless desecration of his local landscape. All he can manage is an unrealistic demand that the powerlines be buried (aint gonna happen: renewables are expensive enough already), followed by a tacit admission that his most serious objection to renewables is not that theyre expensive, environmentally destructive and dont work, but merely that they are likely to generate a climate of public resentment towards decarbonisation.

And what about the Prince of Wales? Where is he in all this? Doesnt he have some connection or other with Wales and her people? Isnt that why, er, he went through that ceremony at Caernarfon in 1969? Isnt there something in his current title I forget which, though Im sure sharper-witted readers will be able to remind me that suggests a special concern for Wales might be part of his job?

Yet what does the man have to say about the most grotesque crime committed by Big Government against the Welsh people since Llewellyn Ap Gruffydd? What efforts has this famed floral conversationist, this defender of old-school values, this ex-foxhunting, stalking-about-the-Highland-Glens-with-his-crooked-stick countryman made to prevent a 100 square mile stretch of Britains most glorious countryside being transformed into a sterile Golgotha of wind towers?

Zip. Nada. Nothing.

Or as they say in Welsh (and I must say the word does seem peculiarly apt where our future King is concerned):

Dim.

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Cameron should scrap the Foreign Aid budget, not increase it | James Delingpole

May 21, 2011

How your DFID money is spent: the £420,000 ferris wheel

How your DFID money is spent: the £420,000 ferris wheel

Yesterday I was on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show sparring with Cristina Odone about Dave’s mooted compulsory foreign aid levy on the British taxpayer. She was arguing – with some high level support from Lord Gummer – that it was a good thing, part of our moral obligation to the world, and really not that much money all things considered. I was arguing that, no, actually, £8 billion now (rising to £11.4 billion in 2015) is quite a lot of money and that in these dark economic times the very last thing our government ought to be doing is hosing down ungrateful foreigners with cash we haven’t got.

The biggest recipient of our foreign aid largesse is currently Pakistan to which over the next four years we will be sending a total of £1.4 billion. This is roughly the same amount that Pakistan has earmarked to spend on a new fleet of Chinese made submarines; these will go nicely with the two squadrons of Chinese J-10 fighters which Pakistan has also bought at a cost of $1.4 billion. So, in effect, our foreign aid donations are helping to underwrite the military expansion of the country which until recently was shielding the world’s number one Islamist terrorist, organised the massacre in Bombay and is doing so much to fund the Taliban insurgency killing and maiming our forces in Afghanistan.

Still, at least DFID is winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan, with spectacular projects like the amusement park and ferris wheel in Lashkar Gar (pop: 100,000) which you, dear taxpayer, cheerfully funded with a mere £420,000 of your hard earned dosh. One day a week, it’s Women Only day. That’ll certainly put paid to any funny ideas the Taliban may have of taking over the country as soon as we’ve made our ignominious departure: “You have the watches; we have the time; but, aieeee, nooo, we cannot compete with your secret propaganda weapon: impressive views of the green zone from a precariously swinging chair while struggling to eat candy floss through a burka.”

And I’m not even going to begin to mention the £10 million of taxpayers money DFID splurged on the ineffable Rajendra Pachauri’s TERI organisation. Or draw your attention to the environmental damage which has been done, quite likely as a result of the TERI-encouraged planting of bio fuel crops. It would make too many people too angry.

But though all these examples quite neatly expose the profligacy, political correctness and imbecilic incompetence of DFID what they also do is distract from the bigger picture. The real story – as I should have said on Jeremy Vine’s show if only I’d had my wits about me and hadn’t been so keen to major on the Ferris Wheel anecdote – is not that our Foreign Aid budget is grotesquely misspent (though of course it is) but that we shouldn’t have a Foreign Aid budget at all.

For chapter and verse on this I refer you to m’learned friend Dambisa Moyo, the Zambian-born, Harvard-educated author of Dead Aid. In her superb book, she explains how, far from helping the Third World, well-meaning aid packages from the West – such as the $1 trillion dollars spent in the last 50 years on aid for Africa – have only harmed it.

The notion that aid can alleviate systemic poverty and has done so is a myth. Millions in Africa are poorer today because of aid: misery and poverty have not ended but have increased. Aid has been, and continues to be, an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster for most parts of the developing world.

Moyo explains:

Foreign aid props up corrupt governments – providing them with freely usable cash. These corrupt governments interfere with the rule of law, the establishment of transparent civil institutions and the protection of civil liberties, making both domestic and foreign investment in poor countries unattractive. Greater opacity and fewer investments reduce economic growth, which leads to fewer job opportunities and increasing poverty levels. In response to growing poverty, donors give more aid, which continues the downward spiral of poverty.

But Moyo isn’t calling for total disengagement from the developing world. She just wants us to renegotiate our relationship with it:

The mistake the West made was giving something for nothing. The secret of China’s success is that its foray into Africa is all business. The West sent aid to Africa and ultimately did not care about the outcome; this created a coterie of elites and, because the vast majority of people were excluded from wealth, political instability has ensued.

China, on the other hand, sends cash to Africa and demands returns. With returns Africans get jobs, get roads, get food, making Africans better off…..It is the economy that matters.

Let’s say that one more time:

It is the economy that matters.

You might have thought that this was a point readily comprehensible to a graduate with a first class degree in PPE from Brasenose, Oxford. Especially to one claiming to be a “conservative.” But what has become abundantly clear during David Cameron’s first year in office is that key economic concepts like secure property rights, free trade, low taxes, personal liberty and minimal government intervention – the basic necessities for stability and prosperity – simply don’t interest him. If they did, in the case of Foreign Aid, this is what he would have done:

1. Arranged a high level briefing by thinkers like Dambisa Moyo, David Landes, Niall Ferguson, Arthur Laffer et al on the strategies most likely to bring peace, stability and prosperity to the developing world while – equally important – advancing Britain’s economic and political interests.

2. Used these conclusions as the intellectual basis for a sweeping reform of British aid, based on the self-evident truth that DFID’s old policy has been an unutterable waste of money and that “White Man’s Burden” gesture politics while perfectly suited to snake-oil salesmen like Tony Blair are most certainly not the business of a conservative administration.

3. Scrap ALL foreign aid programmes. Spend a much smaller amount of public money developing trade ties throughout the world. Deal with countries which are open for business; encourage those that might be open for business; refuse to waste money on those that aren’t open for business, no matter how well stocked with nuclear weapons nor keen to foster terrorism they might be, for they won’t respect you any more for your profligacy they’ll just take the cash and laugh all the way to the bank.

It won’t happen of course because Cameron is not that kind of guy and most certainly not that kind of conservative. His attitudes are neatly, damningly summed up by Moyo:

Deep in every liberal sensibility is a profound sense that in a world of moral uncertainty one idea is sacred, one belief cannot be compromised: the rich should help the poor, and the form of this help should be aid.

David Cameron’s thinking on aid is of a piece with those of such towering intellectual sophisticates as Bob Geldof and Bono. He is the man in the crowd at the Make Poverty History concerts with the wrist bands showing how much he cares, and Sam Cam in her hippy threads next to him showing how much SHE cares, and if only we all cared as much as we do, well what a difference that would make…

No it wouldn’t. We don’t want a hippy in number 10 Downing Street. We need a man of courage and conviction.

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One thought on “Cameron should scrap the Foreign Aid budget, not increase it”

  1. Lee says:28th May 2011 at 7:06 amThe liberal elite who rule this country just don’t have a clue; they have no idea about how much poverty there is in this country. Several years ago when I was doing voluntary work I was in the office when a woman came in and a few minutes later fainted because she hadn’t eaten for three days…then there was the man walking fifteen miles a day to attend college because he couldn’t afford the bus fare…and of course, there’s myself, diagnosed with chronic bronchitis three years ago because for ten years I couldn’t afford to heat the house properly during the winter.

    Charity begins at home Mr. Cameron…mind you, your family doesn’t need any.

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Exploding Watermelons: ‘Oh No, Not Another Ruddy Energy Revolution?’

Methane hydrate

"Well I suppose there's always ocean acidification..."

“Well I suppose there’s always ocean acidification…”

There’s so much good news coming out on the energy front at the moment that it’s hard to keep up. (Thanks for the first few to the Global Warming Policy Foundation which is really on fire at the moment)

Here’s a story from Forbes about attempts by scientists to tap into methane hydrate, perhaps the most powerful and abundant energy source on the planet:

They’ve done it in a laboratory: Scientists have injected carbon dioxide into the kind of  methane ice that underlies vast tracts of permafrost in the Arctic and lurks beneath the deep seafloor throughout the world.

In that experiment, the carbon dioxide exchanged with the methane molecules. While the CO2 was sequestered inside the ice, the scientists extracted an energy source that may exist in nature in greater volume than all other fossil fuels combined.

Here’s a report on China’s attempts to do likewise, by building an undersea base.

Located in east China’s coastal city of Qingdao, the base will cost 495 million yuan (76.2 million U.S. dollars) and will be a multi-functional institution that will aid China in its study and exploration of the ocean, according to Liu.

Scientists believe that the area’s seabeds hold abundant deposits of rare metals and methane hydrate, a solidified form of natural gas that may serve as a new source of energy.

Here’s a sensible, measured piece at Reason from my friend John Stossel on the currently more realisable dream energy solution, shale gas:

Frankly, I’m skeptical of all of them: lefty moviemakers who smear companies, companies with economic interests at stake, and the regulators, who are often cozy with industry and lack essential knowledge. The surest environmental protectors are property rights—and courts that assign liability to polluters.

But hydraulic fracturing is a wonderful thing. It’s not new. Companies have done it for 60 years, but now they’ve found ways to get even more gas out of the ground. That’s the reason gas is getting cheaper and panicky politicians no longer rant about America “running out of fuel.”

Natural gas is not risk-free, but no energy source is. Perfect is not one of the choices.

Here’s some good news for the Poles, who have massive shale gas deposits which they’re dying to exploit (not least so that they no longer need be exposed to economic blackmail from Russia) but which the EU is doing its damnedest to prevent because of its ideologically-driven campaign to impose  “renewables” at all costs on its various vassal states.

WARSAW — US President Barack Obama will focus on energy cooperation, including shale gas development, when he visits NATO partner Poland for the first time next week, a US diplomat said Wednesday in Warsaw.

“Energy is a pillar of Polish-American relations and it is sure to be the subject of discussions when President Obama visits Warsaw next week,” US ambassador Lee Feinstein told delegates to a shale gas conference here.

Global fuel giants are exploring Poland’s shale gas deposits, which a recent US study pegged as having a potential 5.3 trillion cubic metres of natural gas which could last Poland some 300 years.

The US has become a global leader in the production of natural gas extracted from shale, boosting its energy security, driving down prices and making it an exporter.

Poland hopes it could reap similar benefits. However, experts insist that with exploration in the very early stages, it is too soon to gauge commercial viability.

Ex-communist Poland covers 30 percent of its gas needs from domestic resources.

“The issue of shale gas has become an important element of Polish-American relations, strengthening the extra-military importance of the United States for Poland’s security,” Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told the conference.

Here’s some fantastic news from Canada: (H/T WUWT)

OTTAWA — Conservatives have kiboshed a carbon tax, Environment Minister Peter Kent confirmed Thursday.

“It’s off the table,” he told reporters Thursday after accepting an award from World Wildlife Fund International on behalf of Parks Canada.

“There’s no expectation of cap-and-trade continentally in the near or medium future.”

In 2008, the Conservatives floated a North America-wide cap-and-trade system trial balloon soon after U.S. President Barack Obama was elected.

But during the election campaign, Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned the carbon-tax scheme proposed in the New Democrat platform would spike gas prices.

Nixing cap-and-trade will likely be a sore point for the NDP caucus, but Kent said he’d ignore any sabre-rattling from opposition benches.

“It’s off the table,” he told reporters Thursday after accepting an award from World Wildlife Fund International on behalf of Parks Canada.

“There’s no expectation of cap-and-trade continentally in the near or medium future.”

In 2008, the Conservatives floated a North America-wide cap-and-trade system trial balloon soon after U.S. President Barack Obama was elected.

And here’s a piece of news so glorious it almost makes me want to cry: at least one tiny corner of the planet has seen sense and begun dismantling one of the most loathsome blights on the landscape human folly has yet devised.

Mark Duchamp writes in with this news from the Lerida, Autonomous Community (state) of Catalonia, Spain:

A judge ordered the removal of 45 wind turbines on the grounds that planning laws were violated. There was no “general municipal plan” establishing a “reserva del suelo” – i.e. the land was not legally declared appropriate for the erection of wind turbines.

But let me put all this in context. Why is it exciting? Why should we care? Because it confounds one of the key tenets of the Green Religion which, unfortunately, has so come to dominate global political thinking in the last three decades: that there is such a thing as “Peak Energy” and that we owe it to future generations to preserve “scarce resources” by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and migrating to renewables.

This, in essence, is the subject of my new book Watermelons. If you want to understand the real reason why Anthropogenic Global Warming theory prompted the biggest and most expensive outbreak of mass hysteria in history you must look beyond the science and examine the psychopathology of the environmental movement’s key thinkers. Whether it’s Rachel Carson or Paul Ehrlich or Aurelio Peccei (of the Club of Rome) or John Holdren or Zac Goldsmith’s uncle Ted or Jonathan Porritt or George Monbiot or even Al Gore and the Prince of Wales, each one of them cleaves to the same neo-Malthusian philosophy: that there simply aren’t enough resources to fuel and feed Mother Gaia’s burgeoning population and that therefore the only solution is to reduce population while simultaneously killing off the hateful economic growth which uses up all those “scarce resources.”

To the doom-mongers who hold this view, news first of the shale gas revolution and now of the methane hydrate revolution is like a slap in the face with a wet kipper. They hate it because it denies them the excuse they so badly need if they are to succeed in imposing on an unconvinced world their glorious New World Order in which an enlightened elite of experts (ie people like them) taxes, regulates and generally bosses around the rest of us in the name of “planetary responsibility.”

First Shale Gas; now Methane Hydrate. Sounds very much to me like there IS a God. And that He really doesn’t think much of those who engage in Gaia Worship.

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Why Ken Clarke Should Stay

Soft on crime but . . .

Rape is a very complex issue

Rape is a very complex issue

No I’m not happy, either, that Ken Clarke is our Justice Minister. He’s soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime. He doesn’t believe that prison works whereas all the evidence suggests it does – if only through the simple expedient of keeping off the streets habitual criminals who would otherwise be out there doing the rest of us a mischief. He is there not because he is any good or because he has anything useful to offer the country (let alone his party) but as a cynical expedient on Cameron’s part to suck up to his Lib Dem Coalition partners by appointing to cabinet positions “Tories” so irredeemably left-wing they make Simon Hughes look like Augusto Pinochet.

If Clarke were sacked tomorrow no one would be more delighted than me. But I’d like it to be for the right reasons: because of what he stands for politically rather than for an ill-phrased remark made in the heat of the moment in a radio interview.

Yesterday I watched Clarke trying to explain away his unfortunate remarks on rape in an interview with Nick Robinson – and only digging himself a deeper hole. And what I felt for him was huge empathy. Had Robinson been viciously skewering him on the disastrous consequences which are certain to result from Clarke’s liberal sentencing policies I would have rejoiced and revelled in the Justice Secretary’s every last sweaty, blubbery squirm. Instead, Clarke was being steered to the brink of political suicide for a slip so venial it doesn’t even count as thought crime – because I’m quite sure Clarke doesn’t even “think” the thing he’s supposed to have meant.

Much has been made of Clarke’s chuckle as he defended his position. Well wouldn’t you have laughed nervously had you been in his shoes? Here you are: a career politician, of such long service you saw action under Margaret Thatcher, so skilled in the art of political swordsmanship that no interviewer, however experienced, can bypass your guard to prick your pachydermal hide. And suddenly, you find yourself placed in a position where you’re trying to argue that there are two kinds of rape – “good” rape and “bad” rape – and saying to yourself: “Hang on. How on earth did I end up here?”

If we weren’t so worked up in our fit of righteous moral rage, most of us would concede that the point Clarke was trying to make was perfectly unexceptionable. Of course the kind of violent rape committed against a woman by a predatory stranger is of a different order to the kind of rape which a hungover woman decides the day after may have been committed against her during a night’s heavy drinking with a friend she’s not sure whether or not she fancies. The fact that both extremities of crime embrace the terribly emotive “r” word represents a big problem for judges, juries and police prosecutors. Clarke – I suspect – was doing no more than try to reflect these complexities in an honest way.

Many of Clarke’s many enemies must be thinking rather they are of Chris Huhne: who cares why he gets booted out – just so long as he’s booted out, that’s the important thing. But I’m not so sure about this. I think it goes to the heart of what has gone wrong with our relationship with the political class: we’re obsessed with presentation at the expense of substance, with how well they come across on Any Questions or how effectively they parry Jeremy Paxman, rather than with their core values and with the policies they are trying to impose on us.

Sometimes, of course, the two are connected. For example, you could argue that Chris Huhne’s alleged lack of probity concerning his speeding ticket – not to mention the brazenness with which he is trying to ride out these allegations now – has a direct bearing on his probity as a politician. If (allegedly) he’s capable of lying about a driving offence, how can we be sure he’s not lying about, say, the cost and efficacy of “renewable” energy?

But in Clarke’s case the connection is not so clear. The man is a bleeding heart liberal not some DSK lothario who thinks all women are secretly gagging for it. The fact that he is now being pilloried for being otherwise reflects on nothing more than (uncharacteristically) poor presentational skills.

Is this really how we want to judge our politicians? On how smoothly and effectively they lie to us? On how cleverly they sneak under our radar policies that are going to ruin our lives? If it is, we deserve the appalling governments we have had for the last 13 years. It was presentational skills that kept Blair in power so long; it’s this same obsession with appearances (eg doling out £8 billion of foreign aid because it looks nice, not because it works) which tells you everything you need to know about Cameron and his dismal Coalition.

We deserve better than this. A man like Ken Clarke should be sacked not because he looks like an idiot but because he is an idiot. And there is a difference, you know.

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Climate Change: An Emetic Fallacy

May 12, 2011

personally I prefer mine with fruit....

personally I prefer mine with fruit….

Yesterday I was at Downing College, Cambridge, for a Climate Change conference organised by Professor Alan Howard, the scientist/philanthropist/entrepreneur known, inter alia, for having devised the Cambridge diet and for funding the magnificent lecture hall in which the event took place. (For more reporting – and some brilliant cartoons from Josh who sat right next to me sketching in a most impressive way – see Bishop Hill; and many, many thanks to the Howard Trust for organising it.)

The big difference between this and almost any other Climate Change conference is that it was the first – in Britain, anyway, so far as I know – to field a solid team of scientists from both sides of the debate. The Warmists included Professor Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit, Professor Andrew Watson – also of the UEA and Professor John Mitchell, former chief scientist at the Met Office. The Sceptics – Realists if you prefer – included Professor Henrik Svensmark, Professor Nils-Axel Morner, and Professor Ian Plimer. Any mention of “Climategate” announced Prof Howard at the beginning would result in immediate ejection: he wanted to keep this event civil and scientific.

So no, I didn’t go up and introduce myself to Phil Jones as the man who made him world famous. I think he may have given me a long, hard, hollow stare at breakfast yesterday morning; and there was a dodgy moment during a coffee break where he perched his cup near me, suddenly noticed the danger, and fled elsewhere. But I certainly wasn’t going to bother him, not least because I think he cut a rather pitiable figure. His talk – essentially on why the CRU’s adjusted temperature figures are kosher – was slightly nervy and resolutely dull. I got the impression he now wishes climate science were just an apolitical backwater in which yer average PhD could happily eke out his career untroubled by the kind of controversy which has all but ruined Jones’s life.

Some of the presentations were excellent. It was particularly good to hear Professor Svensmark make his compelling case (which no one on the other side could successfully refute) on cosmic rays and cloud formation. But overall, I shared the disappointment expressed by one of the final speakers, Czech President Vaclav Klaus that there had been almost no honest, open debate between the two sides. One side made its case; then the other put its contradictory case. But apart from a bit of snide questioning and the odd sniping shot from the wings, there wasn’t much by way of robust exchanging of ideas. It was more – as Klaus noted – a series of monologues.

You’d have to be very naive, though, to conclude that the fault lay on both sides and that if only they could communicate with one another we’d all attain the sensible middle ground position where wisdom, truth and sweet reasonableness resides. That would be to fall for what I call the “Dog S*** Yoghurt Fallacy.”

It goes like this: one side of this debate thinks that the best thing to put in yoghurt is fruit; the other side is of the view that what really needs to be added to yoghurt is a nice bit of dog poo. Now suppose we were to compromise. Suppose the latter faction were to concede sufficient ground to agree that only a tiny quantity of dog poo should go into the mainly fruit-rich yoghurt, would this constitute a victory for commonsense?

Of course it wouldn’t. Even if just the smallest, smidgen of a fraction of dog poo were to go into that yoghurt it would still be irredeemably tainted. Similar rules apply to the current debate on global warming. On one side – what you might call the fruit side – you have those scientists, economists and, yes, bloggers who maintain that CO2 is a generally beneficial trace gas which encourages plant growth and poses no risk of catastrophic global warming. On the other side – the dog poo side, obviously – you have “scientists”, politicians, spivs, rent-seekers, cranks, whackos, eco-loons, EU fonctionnaires and such like who believe that CO2 poses a major problem to global climate and must be taxed and regulated to oblivion.

Which side is right? One of the very few things which emerged from yesterday’s debate with pellucid clarity was this:

WE DON’T KNOW.

The Warmist scientists are quite capable of talking a good game about their belief system, even to the point – almost – of being persuasive on the subject of their computer “projections” of future global temperatures.

But then, so too are the Sceptics. You’d need to be very set in your belief system indeed to come away from one of Professor Ian Plimer’s feisty, funny engaging lectures and not be convinced that the whole idea of AGW is a complete crock. Same goes for Professor Nils Axel Morner’s hilarious, crazy-Swede lecture on his experiences measuring sea-level rises in the Maldives (there hasn’t been any: whatever the Maldives president and his underwater cabinet tell you). Same also goes for Prof Svensmark: really his cosmic ray theory is gloriously compelling.

In other words there is still an enormous amount of uncertainty out there about the chaotic system which causes climate. But here’s the rub: global policy makers are acting as if there isn’t.

And the reason they’re acting as if there isn’t because, essentially, they have been hijacked by the scientists on the Warmist side who – behaving far more like political activists than dispassionate seekers after truth – have exaggerated the strength of their case, even to the point of tweaking their data and suppressing contradictory research, in order to ensure that their “correct” interpretation of reality is the one that prevails.

This was the whole point of the Climategate scandal and why it mattered. And since Climategate – as we saw from the entirely unapologetic, nay struttingly arrogant in some cases – behaviour of the Warmist scientists present absolutely zip-all has changed.

Hence Dr Klaus’s frustration. Apart from being the only European leader (apart from Hungary’s) worth his salt, Dr Klaus is also an economist and a former serf of a Communist state.

He said: “The arrogance of global warming activists and their fellow travellers in politics is something I know well from the past. They wish to suppress truth, control the market and dictate policy and I, who have spent most of my time living under communism feel obliged to warn against it.”

28 Responses to “Climate Change: an emetic fallacy”

  1. Daragh McDowell says:May 12, 2011 at 12:57 pmSo are you actually going to report on this (http://www.grist.org/list/2011-05-11-nine-of-the-ten-loudest-climate-denying-scientists-tied-to-exxon) or just pretend it didn’t happen?
  2. James Delingpole says:May 12, 2011 at 1:43 pmYou are an amusing, angry fellow Daraaaaghh to be sure you are you are so it is. And who do you think funds the Carbon Brief? The Tooth Fairy?
  3. James W says:May 13, 2011 at 5:39 amDaragh – howabout Al Gore’s links to ‘big oil’?

    http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=468

    On the whole……..I’d trust the blokes who don’t wish to over-regulate and over-tax our lives, and on balance these seem to be ‘realists’/’sceptics’.

    Of course the climate is changing, it has done since the Earth was born – but I sincerely doubt that our emissions are responsible………..I’m far more worried about the effect on man’s intervention in respect of major lakes and river confluences, and of course the denudation of the oceans and fish stocks.

    Thing is the big beasts of AGW are not at all interested in these problems – probably because there are no sinecure academic posts to be had because governments can’t tax and regulate schemes to clean up the oceans and cease diverting waterways.

    The battle should be fought over water not air…….but there’s nothing in it for opportunistic political arseholes like Chris Huhne and Caroline Lucas, MSM wankers at the BBC and Grauniad and lastly opportunistic academics in the States and East Anglia plus that fucking shameless Indian geezer.

    Band-wagon jumping Cameron is a disgrace too.

  4. Martin Wyatt says:May 15, 2011 at 4:22 pmI am a scientist and an engineer.

    You clearly have no idea what you are talking about – why does that not cause you to pause and think – or does your pay cheque require yiu to simply say outlandish things to get attention?

    The effect of CO2 on the atmosphere is very basic physics and has been known for over 100 years. 98% of all serious scientists agree on the seriousness of the situation we face. The 2% who don’t are left squabbling if it is serious / very serious / terminal.

    Do you have children? do you feel no responsibility for them?

    You can find any mount of rubbish on the internet to justify ‘climate change denial’ – don’t believe any of it unless you can quote me some serious science from a leading climatologist / physacist (and one not paid for by a lobby grour) – do you think this is all just a joke or that all scientists are wrong or that it is some great socilist conspiracy – grow up!

    To put cost ahead of survival is unconchionable – yes I am cross, journalsits have great power – they should use it with responsibility.

  5. James Delingpole says:May 15, 2011 at 7:50 pmYou’re an engineer, you say, Martin? You’ll forgive my scepticism. It’s just that almost every engineer I’ve ever met takes a diametrically opposite position on AGW from the one you’ve taken. Including Prof Michael Kelly, Prince Philip Professor of Technology at Cambridge, whom I bumped into last week. Why? Well, engineers tend to work in the realm of the practical. If they make mistakes, people die. If they run over budget, clients scream. That’s why they – most of them: you seem to be the exception – tend to be so sceptical of AGW. Nobody out there, not even sceptics – believe it or not – disputes the “basic physics” of the greenhouse effect. But even if you were to double atmospheric CO2 the forcing effect on global temperatures has been estimated at 1 degree C. Not scary. Not when you think you getter a bigger av temperature rise travelling from Newcastle to Newquay. But why am I telling you this? You haven’t done your homework. You haven’t read round the subject. You haven’t even taken the trouble to apprise yourself of the – widely available, much written about – explanation as to why your “98 per cent/ 2 per cent” (though actually it’s 97 per cent 3 per cent) factoid is based on a survey skewed to the point of utter meaningless. If your half-baked analysis of my article were an engineering project, the bridge would have fallen down, hundreds would have died and you’d have lost your job. Please, next time you’re going to make intemperate comments on an article you’ve barely digested and clearly failed to understand, do your homework first.
  6. JimmyGiro says:May 16, 2011 at 12:03 amIf it’s true that more than 95% of all ’scientists’ believe in AGW, why do climatologists make such a big deal of peer review? After all, if they know it already, then why even publish?

    And why do all these ’scientists’ still think it’s a science issue, rather than an economic one? It seems that the uncertainty of climate predictions is inversely proportional to the hundreds of billions of Euro, calculated by European bean counters, that we the people are worth screwing for.

  7. Martin Wyatt says:May 16, 2011 at 9:14 amI am an engineer – don’t just use your position to insult me.

    You are simply wrong – none of the ‘facts’ you quote are facts they are ‘assertions’ – you of course did not answer a single point I raised – just gave the usual guff.

    Go ask the government chief scientist, the previous chief scientist, the chief scientist of DECC or DeFRA – ask the president of the Royal Society – you are a clever ascerbic writer and no doubt this all gets you even more coverage from the nutty, ill informed conspiracy theorists everywhere. We ignore peer reviewed science at our peril – if we are to govern by emotion and tribal politics and not by logic and mature consideration of the facts we will indeed end up in a serious mess.

    OOps – I have done it again – allowed myself to be wound up by your deliberate, stock in trade invective. More fool me.

  8. Martin Wyatt says:May 16, 2011 at 9:33 amPS I know Michael Kelly and whilst you of course name drop you dont say what he said – He certainly does not agree with your position – perhaps you could ask him to drop me a note of his conversation or refer me to one of his published works on this matter which backs up your position?

    PPS can you give me a link to your assertion re the 97/3 split being ’skewed beyond the point of utter meaningless’ (come on – get off the fence – what lies beyond uttter meaningless?)

    Actually the 98/2 split was a result of a peer review poll of the views of the top 100 climate scientists worldwide – it was covered in New Scientist – I assume not on your reading list – not the 97/3 you disparagingly refer to – to quote yourself ‘do your homework first’

  9. Nige Cook says:May 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm“The effect of CO2 on the atmosphere is very basic physics and has been known for over 100 years.”

    – Martin Wyatt

    The “greenhouse effect” is a falsehood since we don’t live in a cloudless, oceanless greenhouse; cloud cover increases with ocean temperature, which gives negative feedback, cancelling out the CO2 effect on air temp. Try Roy Spencer’s peer-reviewed data on this.

  10. JimmyGiro says:May 16, 2011 at 7:20 pmMartin Wyatt (the scientist and engineer) wrote:

    Actually the 98/2 split was a result of a peer review poll of the views of the top 100 climate scientists worldwide

    If you performed a ‘peer review poll’ of 100 priests, you may discover a small percentage of atheists, and a larger percentage of believers in god.

    Will such a survey prove the existence of god, or merely demonstrate that most priests believe in a deity?

  11. Nige Cook says:May 17, 2011 at 9:14 amFeynman’s anti-peer review definition of science, which I used to quote at the top of my domain, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”, is now quoted at the beginning of a UK parliamentary discussion of peer-review by Donald W Braben (Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, 2 March 2011):

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmsctech/writev/856/m18.htm

    Written evidence submitted by Donald W Braben (PR 18)

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”, Richard Feynman, US Nobel Prize winner, 1966.

    Summary: Peer review is widely acclaimed as “the gold standard” for evaluating research proposals and papers for publication but it has serious flaws. It has a wide range of uses, all inter-related, and none should be considered in isolation. Peer review:

    · Is used more intensively by the UK than almost any other nation

    · Is based on opinion and consensus

    · Is usually anonymously and secretly applied

    · Has the power of veto

    · Constrains scientific freedom

    · Leads to concentration on well-defined fields

    · Favours nations with the highest investments in research

    · Fails the “Planck Test” (see paragraph 23)

    The AGW problem is just a repetition of “so many people can’t all be wrong”. If so many people can’t all be wrong, then clearly there are no political parties, no wars, no disagreements, no alternative ideas. We all think the same way. That’s the message of “peer”-review. You’re assuming that “peers” exist. Peers only exist if you’re part of a groupthink religion of consensus to begin with. You can’t ever have a “peer” if you’re unfashionable. How can that every be true if anyone ever has anything new to say? How can any fact ever be discovered and published if it first has to have support from bigoted “peers”? More important still is the fact that genuine criticisms from outside the box are never born as fully-developed rivals but are vulnerable babies in need of care, assistance, and nurture until they mature into fully-developed rivals. As Michael Faraday said when someone sneered at electricity in its infancy, “what use is a new born baby?” It’s even more important with theories. The AGW lobby’s approach is that of King Herod: kill off funding threats before they mature.

  12. Orentago says:May 17, 2011 at 12:35 pmJames,

    Another engineer here to add to your list here of “climate change believers”. And I’m a chemical engineer. The worst kind of engineer. The kind that traditionally goes round finding oil, coal and gas, and then encouraging people to burn as much as possible. Additionally, Steve Koonin, previously BP’s chief scientist, i.e. a man that worked for a company that makes its money by encouraging people to produce CO2, agrees that climate change is due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Even Exxon Mobil are now stating that they believe our CO2 emissions are a cause for concern, and they have a reputation for funding climate sceptics!

    You are in no position to claim that you have read around the subject when you yourself have claimed that you’ve never read any of the peer reviewed material! This whole refutation of anthropogenic climate change is because you are scared. You don’t want to admit that it is happening because that would mean you actually have to alter your lifestyle. I’d actually respect you more if you said “yeah, climate change is our fault, and I don’t give a shit, I rather like killing foxes, burning oil and generally being irresponsible.”

    Yours facetiously,

    Orentago

    P.S. “But even if you were to double atmospheric CO2 the forcing effect on global temperatures has been estimated at 1 degree C. Not scary.” This is the average increase, and if you had any basic grasp of statistics and the normal/Gaussian distribution, then you’d know that a 1 degree shift would cause a substantial increase in the number of high-temperature weather events. But you haven’t, because you haven’t read around the subject. Since you like “peer-to-peer” material so much, I suggest you look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_distribution

  13. Orentago says:May 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm“Daddy, what do you do for a living?”

    “Well son/daughter I spread fallacious rumours about the future of our planet, your future planet, and try to make people very angry. When they argue against me, instead of engaging them in mature, sensible debate I make sarcastic rude comments that in no way support my original argument.”

    “Oh…”

  14. James Delingpole says:May 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm@Matthew Spraggs: From your debut blog “I’ve never blogged before, at least not publicly, so at the moment this is a bit of an experiment.”
    Don’t give up the day job, matey.
  15. Orentago says:May 17, 2011 at 5:44 pmWasn’t really the plan. And thanks for proving my point further ;-) . Have a good one!
  16. Nige Cook says:May 17, 2011 at 9:04 pmOrentago, if you like wikipedia, see the obfuscation of its discussion of the feedback mechanisms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Warming#Feedback

    No mention that the whole basis for all the IPCC ~3C warming forecasts for 2100AD is not CO2 but H2O vapour assumed to evaporate and amplify (positive feedback) the much smaller CO2 effect!

    No mention that NOAA data from 1948 indicate negative feedback, with (a fall by about 1% in integrated column water vapour in clear skies).

    No mention of Spencer’s peer-reviewed paper showing strong negative feedback from cloud cover increases after heating of the ocean (which covers 71% of the Earth, unlike a “greenhouse”).

    No inclusion of the buoyancy of sunlight absorbing humid air which rises to form clouds that shade and thus cool the surface and the air below, providing homeostasis which compensates for CO2 emissions!

    No mention that the tree ring temperature data is fake since tree growth isn’t a pure function of air temp but depends on cloud cover and rain!

    No mention that the satellite temperature rise data is fake since it fails to survey surface air temperatures under cloud cover, where negative feedback occurs!

    See the negative feedback in the analysis of the 15 strongest tropical intraseasonal oscillations: Roy Spencer et al., Figure 4 of Spencer, et al., “Cloud and Radiation Budget Changes Associated with Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillations,” Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 34, August 9, 2007.

    For every 1C warming of the ocean, the cloud cover increase was enough to cause a fall in solar radiation at the surface of 6.5 watts per square metre.

    The 1 C temperature rise itself was only due to a solar radiation rise of 3.3 watts per square metre, thus strong negative feedback was caused, i.e. if you cause a small temperature rise by say adding CO2, the negative feedback from increased cloud cover will be enough to more than cancel out the effect of CO2!

    The Emperor’s New Clothes are not very impressive, but it’s startling how many people are resistant to facts they don’t want to hear about. I vote that Delingpole should include a chapter on negative feedback in his next book.

  17. Orentago says:May 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm“Orentago, if you like wikipedia, see the obfuscation of its discussion of the feedback mechanisms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Warming#Feedback

    Yes, clearly obfuscation, given there’s an entire article devoted to the subject detailing most of the topics you’ve covered, and many of the individual topics have their own articles and are classed under positive feedback. Hmm…

    “No mention that the tree ring temperature data is fake since tree growth isn’t a pure function of air temp but depends on cloud cover and rain!”

    I’m no expert, but I hear they also measured the oxygen isotopes present in ice cores to determine historic temperature changes, which are independent of rain and cloud cover. Also the tree ring data isn’t fake, it’s invalid. Fake means it never existed, which it clearly did because the trees are there.

    You go on and on about how feedback counteracts the presence of CO2, but looking at prehistoric temperature and CO2 data shows a strong connection between CO2 levels and temperature. If there was such a high degree of damping, one wouldn’t expect such a close relationship.

    If there were so many negative feedback effects in the climate system, it would be very very very stable. Such stability is rarely encountered in nature. Look at the weather. Look at the complexity of a food web and the drastic shifts that occur if one species’ population decreases dramatically.

  18. Nige Cook says:May 18, 2011 at 8:20 amThere’s no discussion of H2O negative feedback there at all on that page. H2O is assumed to produce negative feedback in 100% of the ubiquous IPCC models, because it’s a powerful greenhouse gas, 30 times stronger than CO2 in gaseous form.

    No mention anywhere there that H2O has fallen by 1% since 1948 (NOAA data), equivalent to a 30% fall in CO2, which is enough to more than compensate for the measured 25% rise in atmospheric CO2 since 1948!

    No mention of Spencer’s published, peer-reviewed result from 15 weather oscillations that the ocean evaporation due to warm air causes negative feedback, because the moist air rises and condenses into cloud cover (instead of staying put at sea level and simply heating the air further without rising, which is the nonsense believed by 100% of IPCC models, which all assume positive feedback from H2O evaporation).

    It’s fakery to pretend tree ring data indicate air temperature, when cloud cover and global dimming effects are a more important contributor to changes in the rate of tree growth.

    Even Phil Jones admitted (in January’s BBC Horizon pro-AGW propaganda movie) that since 1960, it’s not been possible to correlate tree ring growth with temperature. Where Jones goes wrong is in not investigating why the tree ring growth is slower after 1960; it’s because of global dimming due mainly to increased cloud cover.

    If there were so many negative feedback effects in the climate system, it would be very very very stable.

    No, because the earth rotates and 71% of the Earth is ocean and 29% is land; negative feedback is due to evaporation of water from warmed surface waters (only the top 50-100 metres mixed layer of the ocean is warmed, extending down to the thermocline depth). The constant change in the areas being irradiated with sunlight as the earth rotates, and the effect of dry soil areas where there is no negative feedback, produce instabilities. CO2 will cause very slight warming in dry land areas, where there is little water to evaporate and thus little positive or negative feedback from H2O unless clouds are blown overhead from ocean areas. Over and nearer to oceans, get more negative feedback from cloud cover.

  19. Orentago says:May 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm“No mention anywhere there that H2O has fallen by 1% since 1948 (NOAA data), equivalent to a 30% fall in CO2, which is enough to more than compensate for the measured 25% rise in atmospheric CO2 since 1948!”

    Right. First of all you claim that H2O creates negative feedback, then you say the 1% decrease offsets the CO2 increase. Make your mind up!

    Anyway these are relative statistics that give no indication of the quantities involved. Additionally I present you with this: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1993/93GL02935.shtml. Steady atmospheric H2O increase of 1% per year for the past half century. Anyway let’s ignore that for a moment and get back to your figures.

    I’ve done a little digging around myself and present you with the following back of an envelope calculation:

    Mass of Earth atmosphere: 5.14*10^18 kg
    Current mass fraction of water in upper stratosphere: 0.000373%
    Current mass fraction of CO2 in atmosphere: 0.0577%
    From these we get current masses of H2O and CO2 as 1.92*10^13 kg and 2.97*10^15 kg respectively. Using your figures the changes from 1948, I can calculate a decrease in water vapour of 1.94*10^11 kg (corresponding to 5.81*10^12 kg of CO2) and an increase in CO2 of… drum roll please… 5.94*10^14 kg! So a net increase in GHGs of 5.88*10^14 kg of CO2 equivilent GHGs. Why stop there? I mean the global warming potential of methane is 21 and for nitrous oxide it’s 300. Perhaps I’ll leave you to do the numbers on those and we’ll see if you get it right this time.

    For someone with a thorough understanding of quantum field theory (hence group theory, complex analysis etc etc) you don’t seem to grasp numbers very well. Don’t worry, I won’t be buying the book ;-) .

  20. Nige Cook says:May 18, 2011 at 7:30 pmH2O vapour (not water droplets) causes positive feedback because water molecules absorb infrared radiation very effectively. H2O in condensed droplet form causes negative feedback, due to scattering sunlight back into space and hence cooling the surface below (each water droplet acts as a reflector, which does not happen for water molecules in vapour form).

    Your “calculation” based on stratospheric H2O content is bull, because most of the water isn’t in the stratosphere but is at low altitudes, and in any case heating in the stratosphere has no effect on surface air temperatures. Hot air rises buoyantly, so it doesn’t mix downward.

  21. Nige Cook says:May 18, 2011 at 7:37 pmFor the reliable NOAA data set showing a 1% fall in total atmospheric column H2O vapour content (not just stratospheric moisture) since 1948, equivalent to a 30% fall in CO2, see page 58 of the presentation by climatologist Dr Miklós Zágoni: http://nige.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/the-saturated-greenhouse-effect-theory-of-ferenc-miskolczi.pdf The addition of CO2 has increases the cloud cover H2O (negative feedback) at the expense of H2O vapour, which has simply warmed and risen to form cloud.
  22. Orentago says:May 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm*Sighs.* It’s not equivalent because you haven’t used exact quantities. Anyway it’s pointless arguing with you. From what I gather you annoyed a lot of people on physicsforums.com a few years ago with your lack of understanding of basic principles.

    Best of luck with the book etc anyway.

  23. Nige Cook says:May 19, 2011 at 10:22 amI’m not arguing over “exact quantities” in this subject because of the variability; we’re dealing not with measurements and with qualitative understanding. Understanding “basic principles” is not the same thing as taking them for dogma. As I’ve explained elsewhere, everybody falsely assumes the Pauli-Fierz assumption of spin-2 for gravitons is a proved fact. What’s happened with superstring theory dogma is precisely analogous to what’s happened with AGW dogma, which is a repition of the great phlogiston, caloric, mechanical aether, Piltdown Man, and other scams.

    Educational pundits have confused the consensus of expert opinion with fact. The whole reason why these scams persist is that they don’t rely purely on strong leadership. They have massive number of acolytes who are liars behind them. The dirty little secret of the Nazi regime was that Hitler told millions what they wanted to hear about eugenics, and they wanted to believe it. The first rule of marketing is to tell people what they want to believe, not what the facts really are, which is usually less inspiring.

    Let’s assume that AGW is a complete lie. Who will profit? How will it cement Guardian reading intellectuals together into a marvellous new version of Marxist revolutionism? These people want to do bad things for a good objective, “the ends justify the means”. This is precisely the eugenics argument behind WWII. Any critic of eugenics was not to be argued with, but dismissed as someone who failed to understand the basic principles of the subject. It might well be pointless for you to argue with me because you’re simply deliberately self-deluded.

  24. Orentago says:May 19, 2011 at 3:38 pmRight… We have a conspiracy theorist in our midst… Next you’ll be claiming the Earth is flat and we never went to the moon. Besides, I haven’t heard anyone describe superstrings as proved. It’s still hypothesis. Unfortunately progress in theory is currently outstripping progress in experiment as we simply can’t get the energies to test the theory thoroughly. As for gravitons, I gather the current trend goes something like “IF they exist, they can only have spin 2″, based on the rank 2 stress-energy tensor in GR. Neither of these things are dogma and are still open to scrutiny.

    With regards to quantities it IS important. For example, your 30% reduction mitigating the 25% rise thing. If the 30% reduction correlated with a relatively small amount of water being removed, and yet the 25% rise correlated with a large volume of CO2 (hypothetically speaking), then you can’t really say one will cancel out the other.

    Yes it’s just like the Third Reich: note that in this case however there’s no Brown Shirts, no Night of the Long Knives, no SS, no rallying cries for a new world order, no Gestapo, no mysterious disappearances etc etc (or analogous things).

    I fail to see much distinction between consensus and fact. Of course if you want to get metaphysical then you can argue there are no facts. Leaving this aside and taking fact to mean anything that is almost certainly true, I fail to see the difference between consensus and fact. There’s a general consensus that the world is roughly spherical, that it goes round the Sun, that germs cause disease, the list goes on. Point is that if you can show that there is some statistical significance in your data and provide a plausible explanation for the observed correlation, and no on can find fault with your method or analysis etc (the consensus part) then the best you can do is accept the correlation and the hypothesis as being fact (“whatever is left, however implausible…” etc). Part of it becoming “fact” requires consensus!

    Of course there are going to be paradigm shifts now and then that challenge everything: Copernicus and Galileo, Pasteur, Einstein, Schrödinger et al, Lorenz, the list is long, but you get the idea. Heuristically, these shifts have always involved a dramatic change in perspective. The current challenges to various theories: climate change, MMR vaccines, AIDS and more are nowhere near as radical, and are more nitpicking over details. Facts and consensus may change because new areas are explored and new boundaries are crossed, not because someone picked a hole in someone else’s paper: that’s how theories are refuted, not accepted.

    In short, we stand on the shoulders of giants, we don’t go around treading on their toes. Newton’s work, in spite of Einstein, for example, gives us accurate predictions on day-to-day mass and length scales (let’s leave Mercury out for the moment).

    Think I’ve made my point as best I can. Look forwards to your response.

  25. Nige Cook says:May 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm“For example, your 30% reduction mitigating the 25% rise thing. If the 30% reduction correlated with a relatively small amount of water being removed, and yet the 25% rise correlated with a large volume of CO2 (hypothetically speaking), then you can’t really say one will cancel out the other.”

    Look at the facts: the NOAA graph shows a large amount of fluctuation in water vapour since 1948, but overall the linear trend is a decrease by about 1% over 60 years. This is not an “exact” number when you take account of fluctuations from one year to the next; but the key point is that it falsifies the simple notion of positive feedback. Even if the “exact” amount of negative feedback contains uncertainties, at least the NOAA data do not support any of the positive feedback from water vapour since 1948. In order for positive feedback to occur, there must be an increase in water vapour as CO2 emissions rise. Seeing that most of the ~3C predicted IPCC temperature rises for 2100 AD is assumed to be postiive feedback from water vapour, where the hell is the evidence? The data show the opposite.

    “As for gravitons, I gather the current trend goes something like “IF they exist, they can only have spin 2″, based on the rank 2 stress-energy tensor in GR. Neither of these things are dogma and are still open to scrutiny.”

    Wrong, the string theorists who are used for peer-review insist on spin-2 gravitons as dogma because string theory’s main selling point is incorporating a spin-2 graviton mode. I go into the rank-2 (2nd order differential equation) issue here: http://nige.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/woit-and-the-spin-2-graviton-lie-of-pauli-and-fierz/ Basically, GR uses rank-2 equations because it describes forces in terms of spacetime curvature (2nd order differential equation), but Maxwell’s field equations are 1st order and satisfied by spin-1 field quanta. Assuming the simplest possible exchange of field quanta, a purely attractive gravitational field would imply spin-2 gravitons. However, as I pointed out in 1996, you can get repulsive gravity using spin-1 gravitons to do the job of gravitation plus cosmological repulsion (acceleration), which predicted dark energy accurately ahead of its observational discovery. Dr Campbell and Dr Zemelis rejected my paper on 25 Nov 96 predicting the dark energy and a~Hc acceleration because of string theory (spin 2 dogma), as did the editor of QCG after sending my paper for peer-review, and also the editor of PRL. The rank-2 argument is trash because it’s just one mathematical model; you can use rank-1 Maxwell type field lines instead of spacetime curvature to describe gravitation instead of rank-2 tensors. Rank-1 equations are just 1st order gradients (divs and curls). Alternatively, you can remold Maxwell’s equations into rank-2 spacetime curvatures with no rank-1 divs and curls. Thus it’s possible to model a field by different ranks of differential equations, so it’s untrue that spin-1 photons imply rank-1 field equations and rank-2 equations imply spin-2 gravitons. Ignoring this to hype string theory spin-2 groupthink is unphysical obfuscation. However, we can expect “shoot the messenger” politics here.

    “Yes it’s just like the Third Reich: note that in this case however there’s no Brown Shirts, no Night of the Long Knives, no SS, no rallying cries for a new world order, no Gestapo, no mysterious disappearances etc etc (or analogous things).”

    By the time we see the Fourth Reich Nazis herding us into concentration camps, it will be too late. Eugenics preceded Hitler and inspired Hitler. If eugenics “science” had been ridiculed earlier, much of Hitler’spower base and evil would have been undermined before it began. The problem with “Godwin” arguments is that they suppose the evil of the Nazis was apparent to all and sundry before WWII began, and it is “obvious” when a science is a danger. Not so. AGW has not found its Hitler yet, but it’s well into the eugenics “science” dictatorship already. I’m not against AGW as a theory, just against it being lying used as “peer-reviewed” or “consensus science” by politicians bent on creating a new world order. There are two kinds of science: (1) the groupthink stuff designed to churn out papers, suck in research grants, and (2) the more unfashionable stuff which is needed to probe for errors, omissions, contradictions, etc.

    “I fail to see much distinction between consensus and fact.”

    A proved mathematical theorem or experimental or observational data point with estimated error limits is a “fact” until or unless an error is found in it. A consensus of opinion is unfounded upon fact, or is founded upon alleged fact which is provably wrong.

    E.g., CO2 emissions on earth warm the planet like CO2 pumped into a greenhouse. This is incorrect because 71% of the earth is water, and sky is high enough to allow evaporated water to rise to form increased cloud cover. To take an absurd exaggeration to see the physical mechanism, suppose the oceans start boiling. Very soon you’d get clouds of steam over the entire oceans and beyond, which would shadow the surface and cause cooling of the surface (negative feedback). This mechanism still works in a scaled down way for more moderate oceanic temperature rises due to CO2, and this mechanism doesn’t exist in the case of a greenhouse. Do any of the IPCC climate models include such negative feedback? No. They all assume that sunlight warmed moist air stays as heat-absorbing water vapour and doesn’t rise to form light-reflecting cloud cover. That’s not a fact. It’s a wrong consensus.

    Galileo said 400 years ago: “I find it absurd to explain natural phenomena by false causes.” His words today ring true for the entire AGW liars enterprise.

  26. Nige Cook says:May 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm(As the Galileo quotation implies, even he found that he had to cross swords with critics. The solar system had been proposed by Aristarchus of Samos in 250 BC, get his arguments convinced nobody and were “refuted” by Ptolemy in his textbook of earth-centred-universe dogma in 150 AD. Ptolemy specifically claims that solar system models are wrong because the earth would have to spin around daily, which he claims would – by Aristotle’s laws of physics – cause problems at the equator which would rotate at 1000 mph, causing 1000 mph winds and cloud motion, which are not observed.

    This we have a compound problem where a false theory can be fiddled to meet the facts and can be defended by dismissing as false the correct theory, doing this by using false arguments. Newton’s laws of motion were needed to answer Ptolemy’s 150 AD criticisms of solar system theory, and they were only published in 1687, long after Copernicus’ rebirth of the solar system in 1500. So it an historical fact that you can put forward a correct theory and be “ridiculed” for being wrong, if your opponents use laws that are wrong.)

  27. Orentago says:May 19, 2011 at 8:41 pmIf you’re taking fact to mean that then the only fact is that I think (Descartes) and any discussion pretty much becomes meaningless.

    We’re clearly never going to agree on this. So I’ll try to live more sustainably and you can go and write your book and we can reconvene in 40 years and see what’s happened.

  28. Nige Cook says:May 20, 2011 at 10:55 amFact: there is negative feedback evidence. See Spencer’s presentation http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/documents/2009/110117spencer/ndx_spencer.pdf

    “We’re clearly never going to agree on this. So I’ll try to live more sustainably and you can go and write your book and we can reconvene in 40 years and see what’s happened.”

    We’re not even going to agree that facts exist, since you won’t face them. There’s no greenhouse effect if you’re living in the real world where clouds form from evaporated ocean water when the temperature starts rising a bit due to CO2. I’ve always lived sustainably anyway, cycling and running wherever possible. It’s kinda fascinating to see the paranoid and morally superior “ends justify the means” justification for believing in pseudoscience and vilifying as immoral anyone who doesn’t share your dogmatic belief in the absence of facts. To you science is a political consensus of expert opinion. In that case, why not abolish laboratories altogether and decide on all cancer treatments and all knowledge by political processes? If factsdon’t exist, you can save a lot of money searching for them, and spend it instead lining the pockets of carbon credit traders.

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Simon Singh: Is There Anything He Doesn’t Know?

Singh by Josh
Singh by Josh

Congratulations to Simon Singh. Not only is he Britain’s third most famous celebrity mathematician after Carol Vordermann and Johnny Ball but he is also, it seems, a supremely persuasive debater. His fluent performance in last week’s Spectator global warming debate was adjudged by both Andrew Neil and Spectator editor Fraser Nelson to be the best of the evening.

As Nelson noted in a Tweet:

Simon Singh @slsingh makes superb defence of climate orthodoxy. It’s the “don’t think trust experts” argument, but delivered brilliantly.

Singh chose to take offence at this, prompting Tweets of sympathy from fellow travellers including columnist David Aaronovitch and BBC talk radio host Simon Mayo. To put Nelson in his place, he fired off what he apparently considered to be the five killer questions which proved his point entirely:

1. Do you agree that increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases lead to an increase in the global temperature?

2. Do you agree CO2 levels in the atmosphere have increased from 280ppmv to 380ppmv (35%) during period of industrialisation?

3. Do you agree that the Earth’s climate has warmed by 0.6 degrees in the last 50 years?

4. Do you agree human contribution to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is major factor in the warming over the last century?

5. Do you agree best scientific predictions estimate further rise of 1.1 to 6 C over 100 yrs based on good (not perfect) models?

Er, can anyone else detect in Singh’s response the sound of Punxsutawney Phil, scrabbling his way out of his little groundhog hole for the billion and first consecutive day in a row?

Let’s have a shot at answering them for him.

1. No. This remains an unproven hypothesis, predicated on assumptions of positive climate feedbacks which exist only in computer models not observed reality.

2.  Yes, CO2 levels have certainly risen in that period, but correlation is not causation. And in any case, CO2 levels have continued to rise since 1998 when there has been no global warming.

3. Possibly, though the unreliability of the temperature data sets which have been artificially adjusted by politicised, parti-pris institutions like NOAA and the CRU makes it hard to be sure.

4. No, this remains at best an unproven hypothesis.

5. No: almost every word of that sentence is based on politics not science. The models are hopelessly flawed and inevitably so given that climate is a chaotic system. Even if they were accurate and the 6 degree rise is looking increasingly implausible greater warmth will, on balance, be good for the planet. It’s global cooling we should fear far more.

Do I know all these answers (suggested improvements welcome, by the way) because I’m the most brilliant scientist of my generation who could have solved Fermat’s Last Theorem in five minutes if only I could have been arsed? Why, no. I’ve become acquainted with this really very basic, entry level climate science using a technique I practised occasionally on my Oxford English literature course known as “reading.”

“Reading” is a good way of learning stuff. Singh ought to try it some time, as perhaps ought his celebrity chums Aaronovitch and Mayo (who claims to have quit reading the Spectator because of its ‘anti-science bias’.) It really would make all the difference to their understanding of current thinking on Climate Change.

That list of killer questions brandished by Singh as his ne plus ultra of scientific authority? Well it might just about have passed muster  five years ago, when the public was still treating films like An Inconvenient Truth as if they were the Sermon on the Mount.

But since then, there have been one or two changes.

Books like this and this have been written.

Sceptic sites like this, this and this have acquired critical mass.

Stories like this have broken.

This isn’t to say that it is compulsory to believe every word they say. (Though I’ve yet to read a successful refutation of Andrew Montford’s book, for example) But what is utterly, credibility-shreddingly, intelligence-insultingly risible is for people like Simon Singh to stand up in a public debate hall and act as if none of them has ever happened.

Yet this is just what Singh did in the Spectator debate. (And what the rest of the Warmist establishment continues to do too: watch this space for an account of the University of East Anglia’s desperate attempts to silence this column).

He resorted to that last refuge of the scoundrel: the Appeal to Authority.

The reason you should believe in AGW, he argued, is because most of the world’s expert scientific bodies do. Since Simon Singh apparently so reveres the thing he calls “science” (but which I would call the ruling science establishment hegemony: something altogether different from the disinterested pursuit of knowledge which I believe “science” properly is), let me invoke two great scientific thinkers to put him back in his box.

I’m grateful to Nicholas Hallam at Bishop Hill’s blog for drawing them to my attention:

When men are established in any kind of dignity, it is thought a breach of modesty for others to derogate any way from it, and question the authority of men who are in possession of it. This is apt to be censured, as carrying with it too much pride, when a man does not readily yield to the determination of approved authors, which is wont to be received with respect and submission by others : and it is looked upon as insolence, for a man to set up and adhere to his own opinion against the current stream of antiquity ; or to put it in the balance against that of some learned doctor, or otherwise approved writer. Whoever backs his tenets with such authorities, thinks he ought thereby to carry the cause, and is ready to style it impudence in any one who shall stand out against them. This I think may be called argumentum ad verecundiam.

John Locke, “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding”, Book 4, Chapter XVII, 19

and

Today, the appeal to the authority of experts is sometimes excused by the immensity of our specialized knowledge. And it is sometimes defended by philosophical theories that speak of science and rationality in terms of specializations, experts, and authority. But in my view, the appeal to the authority of experts should be neither excused nor defended. It should, on the contrary, be recognized for what it is an intellectual fashion and it should be attacked by a frank acknowledgement of how little we know, and how much that little is due to people who have worked in many fields at the same time. And it should also be attacked by the recognition that the orthodoxy produced by intellectual fashions, specialization, and the appeal to authorities is the death of knowledge, and that the growth of knowledge depends entirely upon disagreement

Karl Popper, Author’s Note, 1993, The Myth of the Framework

Some readers may detect a soupcon of withering contempt towards Singh and his kind in this particular blog post. I wonder what else he expects when he refers to climate change sceptics as “Muppets”. Unless Singh can raise his game and actually engage with the argument rather than bullying his opponents with the help of Sleb Twitter pals and his Ipse Dixit logical fallacies, I think we all know who the real muppet is.

Related posts:

  1. Simon Singh’s for the joy of solar energy
  2. The curious double standards of Simon Singh
  3. The Spectator’s editor agrees: the only way out of this ghastly Euro fudge is OUT
  4. RealClimategate hits the final nail in the coffin of ‘peer review’

2 thoughts on “Simon Singh: is there anything he doesn’t know?”

  1. John D says:3rd April 2011 at 12:56 amHey James, maybe you should retitle your article as “James Delingpole: is there anything he does know?” given your performance on the BBC documentary…
  2. Nige Cook says:3rd April 2011 at 8:05 amThe man dismissed in Socrates’ Apology, according to Plato: “οὖτος μὲν οἴεταί τι εἰδέναι οὐκ εἰδώς, ἐγὼ δέ, ὥσπερ οὖν οὐκ οἶδα, οὐδὲ οἴμαι”.“This man, on the one hand, believes that he knows something, while not knowing. On the other hand, I – equally ignorant – do not believe.”

    This fine distinction between peer-reviewed crap and proved facts is clearly explained by Professor Richard P. Feynman’s address, “What is Science?”, presented at the fifteenth annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, 1966 in New York City, published in The Physics Teacher, vol. 7, issue 6, 1968, pp. 313-320:

    “You must here distinguish – especially in teaching – the science from the forms or procedures that are sometimes used in developing science. … great religions are dissipated by following form without remembering the direct content of the teaching of the great leaders. In the same way, it is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudo-science. In this way, we all suffer from the kind of tyranny we have today in the many institutions that have come under the influence of pseudoscientific advisers. … We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on … They are merely an imitative form of science … The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. … As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

    Pseudoscience, not science, is the consensus of expert opinion; pseudoscience is defended by fashion, mud slinging, etc.

    Professor Irving L. Janis, “Victims of Groupthink,” 1972, p. 197:

    “Eight main symptoms run through the case studies of historic fiascoes. … The eight symptoms of groupthink are:

    1. an illusion of invulnerability, shared by most or all the members, which creates excessive optimism and encourages taking extreme risks;

    2. collective efforts to rationalize in order to discount warnings which might lead the members to reconsider their assumptions before they recommit themselves to their past policy decisions;

    3. an unquestioned belief in the group’s inherent morality, inclining the members to ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions;

    4. stereotyped views of enemy leaders as too evil to warrant genuine attempts to negotiate, or as too weak and stupid to counter whatever risky attempts are made to defeat their purposes;

    5. direct pressure on any member who expresses strong arguments against any of the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, making clear that this type of dissent is contrary to what is expected of all loyal members;

    6. self-censorship of deviations from the apparent group consensus, reflecting each member’s inclination to minimize to himself the importance of his doubts and counterarguments;

    7. a shared illusion of unanimity concerning judgments conforming to the majority view (partly resulting from self-censorship of deviations, augmented by the false assumption that silence means consent);

    8. the emergence of self-appointed mindguards – members who protect the group from adverse information that might shatter their shared complacency about the effectiveness and morality of their decisions.”

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It’s All Jobs for the Boys

April 22, 2011

Gordon Brown is rumoured to be in the running for the job of head of the International Monetary Fund. It’s ridiculous that political failure should be rewarded with another top job; and the former prime minister is far from being the only example of this trend. . . .

THE sun is shining. The birds are singing. The lovely, long Easter holiday weekend is just a day away. So I’m quite sure the very last image you want planted in your joyous carefree mind right now is a pair of dark sluglike eyebrows, a jowly, pugnacious chin and an eerily familiar voice saying in a deep, dour Scottish accent: “Och, a £270,000 salary and a chance to ruin the global economy just like I ruined the British economy? That’ll suit me very nicely, thank you!”

I’m referring, of course, to our unlamented ex-prime minister Gordon Brown and the truly horrifying rumour that he might be next in line for the job of head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Quite possibly it will come to naught: after all it would be a bit like putting King Herod in charge of childcare or Dracula in charge of the blood bank. Still, the fact that such a grotesquely wrongheaded appointment is considered speaks volumes about the democratic unaccountability which has grown rampant in our dismal era. “All political lives end in failure,” Enoch Powell once famously said. Not any more they don’t.

(to read more, click here)

Related posts:

  1. The Murdochalypse: bread and circuses
  2. There was nothing ‘illiberal’ about David Cameron’s speech on multiculturalism
  3. Lady Macbeth sticks it to Berlusconi
  4. The Smiths vs The Pet Shop Boys

59 thoughts on “It’s all jobs for the boys”

  1. Nige Cook says:22nd April 2011 at 7:57 amBrown just about the only person responsible for Britain’s financial mess who hasn’t yet been properly rewarded for bringing Britain to its knees. It doesn’t make sense. The bankers get short-term bonuses for long-term gambling failures, so it follows that Brown must be similarly rewarded for his part in sinking the country into a debt crisis. Just watch Brown’s expertise in explaining why he sold off our gold at its rock bottom market value:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RDm8zGwcdZ4#t

    We’ve got the crème de la crème of top *ankers in this country, and should be proud of our former PM’s unbelievable skills in lying, self-brainwashing, Brezhnev doubletalk, and insulting his own party supporters like Gillian Duffy (behind her back, not to her face).

  2. Stewart Cowan says:23rd April 2011 at 5:58 pmThe only reason I can think of why they would even remotely consider Brown is because he has already proven his worth as a NWO stooge. He will obey orders; rigidly adhere to the globalists’ agenda.
  3. Tom beegdawg007 says:25th April 2011 at 3:08 pmJames, I am an American from Coloradan and I am also a retired engineer and a fan of both you and Christopher Booker. Please continue to fight the good fights.

    Following is something which I think/hope you will find to be of interest.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1749299/how-google-decides-which-clean-energy-projects-to-invest-in

    What is interesting here is that Google is making money via its investments in “green projects” ONLY because these projects are subsidized with tax dollars. At the end of this, I pose a question which I think you might find wort pursuing!

    But first a quick review of the tax subsidy details. These alternative energy projects all receive enormous tax subsidies which can amount to 50% of the project cost. All of this money comes from both national and local sources and taxes. These projects are also subsidized as a byproduct of the sale of renewable energy which is sold to the local utilities for more than 30cents/ KWH. The regulators than allow the utilities to blend this into their overall electricity mix and use the cost of this “clean energy” to justify what it is that the charge us poor Schmos for power. As a result, by 2020, much of the developed world will be paying 5-10cent more per KWH than would be paid if these “green energy” sources were not being forced upon us. This is going on right now and it will annually increase forever if nothing is done to stop it. The Schmos of the world, for the most part, are completely unaware that the Schmucks are again screwing them.

    Read the article at the URL I provided, you will learn that Googles “number one” goal for its green investments is to obtain a robust Return on its invested Capital. This clearly would not be possible if it were not for the tax subsidies available to these green projects. Now, as I read this article, a question arose in my mind. “Is it possible that Google’s investments in these projects are being structured so that Google is actually buying the tax credits directly from these projects so that these purchased tax credits are used to offset taxes owed on Google profits?” If so, any risk from these investments would be eliminated for Google simply because the money being invested in these projects by Google would have otherwise gone to pay taxes. If this is the case people should at least know that there tax dollars are being used to subsidize Google’s bottom line. And, if Google is doing this, I suspect that it is being done my many other companies. Wouldn’t it be delightful to discover that some high profile Green promoter like Richard Branson was only supportive to these green initiatives because he had discovered a new way to butter his own bread?

  4. Staceey says:26th April 2011 at 8:43 amDear James

    Please note you are needed back.

    At Watts report, Santer is made Fellow of the AGU, Phil Bratby posts climategate emails between Mann and Jones, one year Mann is supporting Jones’s fellowship and next year he asks for the favour to be returned. He also mentions when they next meet they should meet at one of Henry’s exotic locations.

    Great programme about George Martin on the BBC last night, why did they keep panning to windmills.

    I hope all is fine.

  5. Nathaniel Courthope says:30th April 2011 at 7:48 pmI agree with the thrust of this article – Brown and Blair should be eeking out a living on a state pension in a council estate in Glasgow, not swanning around finding more lives to ruin on a grand scale.

    Unfortunately James I think you need to answer a few questions about your own work, in order not to suffer a variation of the same criticism. You announced in ringing tones a couple of years ago that Professor Ian Plimer was going to change the way we think about climate change forever (perhaps he has, by destroying the sceptics, but that’s not what you meant …). You ignored all the criticisms which had already been published in relation to his work. You sneered at George Monbiot for setting conditions for a debate with Plimer.

    And yet what happened in fairly short order was that Plimer was revealed to be a hapless fool who refused to respond to very specific queries about his own work (eg why he misrepresented his own sources, or failed to provide references) which totally undermined his credibility. His performance when he finally did debate Monbiot was painful to watch.

    Meanwhile you’ve gone on to say that you don’t read peer reviewed papers as your opinion on them would be worthless. Why is your opinion on interpretations of interpretations of evidence any better? Surely it would be even less worthy?

    Anyway I leave with one specific set of questions, which you can answer easily:

    1. Do you stand by your review of Plimer’s book?

    2. If not, are there any specific parts of your review which you wish to retract or modify? If so, please itemise these.

  6. Nige Cook says:1st May 2011 at 7:49 am“Unfortunately James I think you need to answer a few questions about your own work, in order not to suffer a variation of the same criticism. … are there any specific parts of your review which you wish to retract or modify? If so, please itemise these.” – Nathaniel Courthope

    James Delingpole was bringing to light some criticisms of AGW scare hype; Professor Ian Plimer thought volcanoes emit vaster amounts of CO2 than that from human activity assumed by the IPCC. Lord Monckton and others suggested solar activity correlated with temperature rises. Feynman said, is distinct from religious belief systems because it is the skepticism in the reliability of expert consensus. This skepticism is required because if you turn the mainstream theory into a dogma, science is finished. Obviously with theories like evolution, science can be finished by too much skepticism of the foundations, too, so you need some censorship of criticisms that amount to fact denial. But what is a fact? It needs more than just a consensus based on a faked hockey stick curve.

    I don’t think that James needs to provide justifications for an enthusiastic book review encouraging people to read evidence which counters billions of dollars of hype. If we have to have any politics in science at all, it should be democratic debate, rather than elitist dictatorship.

    It’s very simple to see what’s happening that’s driving the disaster predictions from IPCC computer models. All IPCC models predict around 3 C of AGW by 2100 (see Fig 7 in my paper http://vixra.org/pdf/1104.0013v1.pdf ). Only 1 C of this is from a direct CO2 greenhouse effect; the other 2 C are positive feedback from water vapour. The 1 C direct rise from CO2 causes more evaporation from the oceans, and the water vapour is very good at absorbing infrared radiation from sunlight, amplifying the total temperature rise to 3 C.

    However, all the IPCC models assume that when this additional absorption of infrared by water vapour occurs (which can only occur in clear skies, not under cloud cover which stops infrared at high altitudes, well above the surface), the warmed moist air doesn’t rise.

    This defies Archimedes’s law of buoyancy. When you heat air, it expands and so its density falls, and it rises. When warm moist rises, it stops after expanding and cooling, creating water droplets which reflect heat away, cooling the surface. Once you correct the IPCC climate models by using the correct negative feedback water vapour data from Dr Roy Spencer’s recent cloud cover feedback research (which shows that temperature rises in the topics increase evaporation, increasing cloud cover, which soom cancels out the initial temperature rise; see Fig 5 in my paper linked above), NOAA’s 1948-2009 humidity records (Fig 1 in my paper linked above), etc., you find that AGW is a complete lie.

    AGW is very much like Marxism. It’s believed to be true for moral and “groupthink” (fashion) reasons, which then leads to “the ends justify the means”-censorship by duped fellow travellers who believe in the utopian message of world peace and tree hugging. They’re certain for moral reasons that AGW is correct.

  7. Nathaniel Courthope says:1st May 2011 at 8:52 amBut Plimer’s source for his claim re volcanoes did not actually support him. Therefore, Plimer should have withdrawn the claim or found a new source. Doing neither undermines his credibility. Delingpole should admit that Plimer was not deserving of the hagiography he wrote.

    I am far from 100% convinced on AGW, for a host of reasons. But if properly debated – as you correctly call for – claims lacking proper sources need to be identified as such, and then modified or withdrawn. A number of Plimer’s central claims fall into that category. To maintain his credibility as a journalist, James should admit that Plimer’s book needs caution to say the least, not unqualified praise.

  8. Nige Cook says:1st May 2011 at 9:52 amNathaniel Courthope: James Delingpole wasn’t pretending to be a peer-reviewer (fact checker) for Professor Plimer. He was just a reporter, and people are free to read the claims for themselves. You’d be more justified to ask for a retraction from Dr Phil Jones with respect to his climategate work in merging together bits of data to support the hockey stick curve. See my YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Un7u2AZnjw

    Dr Jones recognised that temperature station data after 1960 was inconsistent with tree ring temperature proxy data, so he cut and pasted bits of data from different sources to get the perfect hockey stick curve which was required by the WMO, deleting the seams in the data.

    1. Prior to 1960: use tree ring growth proxy. Pretend that tree growth depends on air temperature alone, ignoring effects of cloud cover (sunshine exposure), rainfall, etc.

    2. 1960-1980: use temperature station data. The temperature stations receive some waste heat from expanding cities and industrial areas located upwind, which helps to create a rise linked to population growth, which is easily confused for the supposed CO2 AGW effect.

    3. Post 1980: use satellite data. Satellite sensors can determine surface temperatures from the Planck spectrum emission of the surface, and they can determine mean air temperatures from a range of altitudes utilizing the emission of microwaves by air molecules. They can’t determine surface temperatures under cloud cover, so 100% of the satellite data on surface temperature pertains to clear skies, i.e. it implicitly excludes negative H2O feedback from increasing cloud cover. So it’s a fiddle.

    Sure, the three sets of data above do show global warming. Sure, in cloudless skies CO2 does produce a small amount of global warming (one third of the IPCC predictions, because two thirds of the IPCC predicted global warming is fake positive feedback due to H2O evaporated from oceans). However, 62% of the sky over Earth has cloud cover. So the satellite data is misleading, focussing on surface temperatures on 38%. We’re not interested in the average air temperature over all altitudes determined by microwave emissions, because if the air above you is hot, it rises further from you (buoyancy) and there’s no mechanism for it to warm you. Even if rain falls, the rain droplets pass latent heat on to the air that they are falling through at high altitudes, long before they reach the ground.

    Aside from the lie about H2O positive feedback and the hockey stick curve, the other big lie is the future predicted emission of CO2. How do the IPCC models predict what the future emissions will be, when we’re running out of oil and gas and prices are rising? If there really is a fossil fuel crisis, why bother to impose limits now? The shrinking supply and its effect in pushing up prices at the petrol pumps will push us towards alternatives anyhow. The IPCC predictions of future CO2 outputs are vitally important but non-scientific. They don’t predict the complex natural effects from rising prices curtaining oil demand in the coming decades. They assume a scenario which leads to the scare mongering they want.

    I tried this argument with climatologist Dr William Connolly, a Cambridge mathematician, who simply responded that China has loads of coal reserves. Sure! My point was that the West isn’t burning so much coal, it’s burning oil which is running out. Sure China is the main problem, burning coal. The problem then is to deal with China’s coal, not ban the West from making the most of its dwindling oil resources before they dry up altogether! Connolly, pressed by others in Wikipedia, failed to understand Fig. 4 of Dr Roy Spencer, et al., “Cloud and Radiation Budget Changes Associated with Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillations”, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 34, 2007, which shows that a 0.4 C ocean temp rise causes an average 2.5 W/m^2 fall in surface solar radiation heating, due to the increased cloud cover. Dr Connolly couldn’t grasp this, probably because Dr Spencer didn’t emphasise its consequences for AGW in that paper (he does so elsewhere, not very effectively).

    You can’t get away from this effect. Warm the earth 1C with CO2, and the oceans will evaporate slightly faster, causing more cloud cover which cuts down the sunlight getting to the surface. Negative feedback. The problem here is that H2O negative feedback – the real stake through the heart of AGW lies – has a very small fan base and few understand the facts.

  9. Nathaniel Courthope says:1st May 2011 at 11:00 amThen James should just have written an article saying “Plimer has made a lot of claims, I have no idea whether any are true or not”. He didn’t. Instead he wrote an article saying that it had exposed the global warming con trick and would change everything, etc etc. Melanie Phillips wrote something similar around the same time. Now that Plimer has been exposed himself as having written nothing more than unscientific bluster, it behoves James and others to admit they were wrong to have endorsed him. Otherwise they are doing a Phil jones themselves.

    Sayimg that Jones was a fool and that there is a load of evidence against AGW is fine, but does not save Plimer. If we are to have a proper debate then we should discount Plimer’s claims until he answers his critics, AND respond to Jones in the same way.

  10. Nige Cook says:1st May 2011 at 1:40 pm“Now that Plimer has been exposed himself as having written nothing more than unscientific bluster, it behoves James and others to admit they were wrong to have endorsed him. Otherwise they are doing a Phil jones themselves. … If we are to have a proper debate then we should discount Plimer’s claims until he answers his critics, AND respond to Jones in the same way.” – Nathaniel Courthope

    Dr Phil Jones is a climate professional, Professor Plimer likewise lays claim to expertise regarding the stuff he wrote a book about. Delingpole is not misrepresenting anything by giving a fair hearing to the evidence from AGW skeptics; if they’re wrong, they’re wrong. Delingpole reminds me of Dr Peter Woit (maths department, Columbia University, NYC) who runs the blog “Not even wrong” dedicated to debunking 10/11 dimensional superstring mythology. Woit was attacked for using a blog and a book (Not even wrong, 2006), and not putting his debunking into string theorist “peer”-reviewed journals (he writes in his book of the anonymous censorship he experienced from string theory “peer”-reviewers).

    Pertinent to this is a recent blog post by Dr Roy Spencer, the best H2O negative-feedback researcher:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/04/on-recent-criticisms-of-my-research/

    On Recent Criticisms of My Research
    April 2nd, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

    One of the downsides of going against the supposed “consensus of scientists” on global warming — other than great difficulty in getting your research funded and published — is that you get attacked in the media. In the modern blogging era, this is now easier to do than ever.

    I have received many requests recently to respond to an extended blog critique by Barry Bickmore of my book, The Great Global Warming Blunder. The primary theme of my book was to present evidence that scientists have mixed up cause and effect when diagnosing feedbacks in the climate system, and as a result could have greatly overestimated how sensitive the climate system is to our addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning.

    For those interested, here is our most extensive peer reviewed and published evidence for my claim.

    But for now, instead of responding to blog posts, I am devoting all the time I can spare to responding to peer-reviewed and published criticism of my work. The main one is Andy Dessler’s paper in Science from last fall, which claimed to find positive cloud feedback in the same 10 years of NASA satellite radiative energy balance (CERES) data we have been analyzing.

    In his paper, Dessler dismissed all of the evidence we presented with a single claim: that since (1) the global temperature variations which occurred during the satellite record (2000-2010) were mostly caused by El Nino and La Nina, and (2) no one has ever demonstrated that “clouds cause El Nino”, then there could not be a clouds-causing-temperature-change contamination of his cloud feedback estimate.

    But we now have clear evidence that El Nino and La Nina temperature variations are indeed caused in large measure by changes in clouds, with the cloud changes coming months in advance of the temperature changes.

    And without going into detail, I will say it now appears that this is not the only major problem with Dessler’s diagnosis of positive cloud feedback from the data he presented. Since we will also be submitting this evidence to Science, and they are very picky about the newsworthiness of their articles, I cannot provide any details.

    Of course, if Science refuses to publish it, that is another matter. Dick Lindzen has recently told me Science has been sitting on his critique of Dessler’s paper for months. Science has demonstrated an editorial bias against ’skeptical’ climate papers in recent years, something I hope they will correct…

  11. Nathaniel Courthope says:1st May 2011 at 3:24 pmIt is not giving Plimer a fair hearing by writing a hagiography of his book and lobbing abuse at Monbiot for setting terms to a debate, whilst ignoring any contrary opinion. That is giving him an unfairly advantaged hearing.

    Then, when Plimer falls to pieces by failing to provide answers to very simple questions and acts like a buffoon on television, James just ignores it. The qu’s which Plimer was asked should have taken about five minutes to answer – if he had valid answers to them. The fact is that they revealed his book to be unscientific nonsense.

    Now somewhere out there may be the book that is the great demolition of AGW, but Plimer’s is not it. By endorsing Plimer so uncritically, and failing to publish a retraction when Plimer was discredited, James has greatly harmed his own cause, and shown that it is not just the AGW proponents who are obscuring (and afraid of) proper debate.

  12. Nige Cook says:1st May 2011 at 3:48 pmMonbiot writes badly researched stuff the Guardian, failing to uncover the facts. E.g., take his recent “debunking” of green radiation effects scaremongering nonsense, http://www.monbiot.com/2011/04/04/evidence-meltdown/ , which fails to even touch the surface of problem, which is DNA repair enzymes like P53 repairing broken DNA strands at low dose rates in mammals. All the linear-no-threshold model evidence from the 1957 congressional hearings on fallout infamous Pauli-Teller radiation effects debate in 1958 was based on insects (fruit flies) and plants (maize), which don’t have the DNA repair enzyme systems of longer-lived mammals. All this was proved by the Russells in the Oak Ridge megamouse project of the 1960s, where millions of mice were exposed to different dose rates. No mention of these key facts by Monbiot, whose “research” consists of trying to read and question the useless references provided by anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicot.
  13. Nige Cook says:1st May 2011 at 3:50 pm(For the radiation facts Monbiot missed, see my post: http://glasstone.blogspot.com/2009/04/radiation-effects-research-foundation.html )
  14. Nathaniel Courthope says:1st May 2011 at 4:40 pmStill doesn’t change my fundamental point, which is that Plimer’s book has no credibility. You haven’t suggested he does. You simply try and adduce evidence that AGW is wrong, or that various of its proponents also lack credibility. Both of those points may be true. Neither exonerates Plimer.

    My point is that if the anti AGW writers want to have a proper debate as they claim, then they need to admit mistakes as and when they are pointed out. Otherwise they are acting like religious zealots, just as they claim the AGW crowd are. Perhaps James will stop by and let us know if he still thinks Plimer’s book is the game changer he said upon its release.

  15. Nige Cook says:1st May 2011 at 6:24 pmIt’s more of an interview of Professor Plimer than a book review, and Plimer’s Heaven And Earth: Global Warming — the Missing Science is more of a criticism of lying dogma than a statement in error:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/3755623/meet-the-man-who-has-exposed-the-great-climate-change-con-trick.thtml

    8 July 2009

    James Delingpole talks to Professor Ian Plimer, the Australian geologist, whose new book shows that ‘anthropogenic global warming’ is a dangerous, ruinously expensive fiction, a ‘first-world luxury’ with no basis in scientific fact. Shame on the publishers who rejected the book

    Imagine how wonderful the world would be if man-made global warming were just a figment of Al Gore’s imagination. No more ugly wind farms to darken our sunlit uplands. No more whopping electricity bills, artificially inflated by EU-imposed carbon taxes. No longer any need to treat each warm, sunny day as though it were some terrible harbinger of ecological doom. And definitely no need for the $7.4 trillion cap and trade (carbon-trading) bill — the largest tax in American history — which President Obama and his cohorts are so assiduously trying to impose on the US economy.

    Imagine no more, for your fairy godmother is here. His name is Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at Adelaide University, and he has recently published the landmark book Heaven And Earth, which is going to change forever the way we think about climate change.

    ‘The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology,’ says Plimer, and while his thesis is not new, you’re unlikely to have heard it expressed with quite such vigour, certitude or wide-ranging scientific authority. Where fellow sceptics like Bjorn Lomborg or Lord Lawson of Blaby are prepared cautiously to endorse the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) more modest predictions, Plimer will cede no ground whatsoever. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory, he argues, is the biggest, most dangerous and ruinously expensive con trick in history. …

    So go on then, Prof. What makes you sure that you’re right and all those scientists out there saying the opposite are wrong? ‘I’m a geologist. We geologists have always recognised that climate changes over time. Where we differ from a lot of people pushing AGW is in our understanding of scale. They’re only interested in the last 150 years. Our time frame is 4,567 million years. So what they’re doing is the equivalent of trying to extrapolate the plot of Casablanca from one tiny bit of the love scene. And you can’t. It doesn’t work.’

    What Heaven And Earth sets out to do is restore a sense of scientific perspective to a debate which has been hijacked by ‘politicians, environmental activists and opportunists’. It points out, for example, that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere — to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction — is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth’s warmer periods — such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian’s Wall — were times of wealth and plenty. …

    One of the things that so irks him about modern environmentalism is that it is driven by people who are ‘too wealthy’. ‘When I try explaining “global warming” to people in Iran or Turkey they have no idea what I’m talking about. Their life is about getting through to the next day, finding their next meal. Eco-guilt is a first-world luxury. It’s the new religion for urban populations which have lost their faith in Christianity. The IPCC report is their Bible. Al Gore and Lord Stern are their prophets.’ …

    Reading Plimer’s Heaven And Earth is at once an enlightening and terrifying experience. Enlightening because, after 500 pages of heavily annotated prose (the fruit of five years’ research), you are left in no doubt that man’s contribution to the thing they now call ‘climate change’ was, is and probably always will be negligible. Terrifying, because you cannot but be appalled by how much money has been wasted, how much unnecessary regulation drafted because of a ‘problem’ that doesn’t actually exist.

  16. Nathaniel Courthope says:1st May 2011 at 7:28 pm“you are left in no doubt that man’s contribution to the thing they now call ‘climate change’ was, is and probably always will be negligible. ”

    Except when you spend just a few minutes on google and discover the howling errors in Plimer’s book.

    Whether a review or an interview, surely any journalist would at least mention the fact that Plimer’s book had already been reviewed extremely unfavourably by many eminent scientists – even if you do the usual Delingpole routine and promptly dismiss those with whom you happen to disagree as being part of a global conspiracy. And if you subsequently find that Plimer’s book is a house built on sand, you should publish a follow up post pointing this out, and then saying whether or not Plimer’s destruction has modified your views (and why it has or has not). That’s what a journalist interested in truth would do.

    Plimer’s book makes a number of scientific claims. It references these as per the norm by footnotes. It has since been pointed out to him that a number of his footnotes do not, in fact, support his thesis but are in direct contradiction, eg the claim about volcanic CO2, or the graph which he in fact doesn’t reference. It would be easy for Plimer to provide a reference and to check the ones others have highlighted. He hasn’t, and won’t, because they are severely damaging to his case.

    Either one is interested in proper debate or one is not. If one is, then one assesses evidence as it is presented, and then modifies or abandons one’s views accordingly. Thus, presented with Plimer’s book and nothing else it would have been fair enough for Delingpole to have accepted it and written a positive review. But, presented with the evidence that Plimer can’t substantiate his claims, Delingpole should admit it is a setback to those who doubt AGW and withdraw or at least water down his previous praise. He would certainly expect those in the other “camp” to do the same if one of their positively reviewed books was subsequently destroyed.

  17. Nige Cook says:1st May 2011 at 8:16 pmNathaniel, I read Delingpole’s interview of Professor Plimer’s book and didn’t find Delingpole quoting or discussing the errors about volcanos or anything else! Let’s accept that Plimer’s book is imperfect and his critics have had their say and have not been refuted, what has that got to do with with Delingpole’s article which doesn’t actually mention the errors? Nothing in the world is perfect. It’s not Plimer who has used his imperfect book to foster on the world a multi billion dollar fraud. There are certainly proved facts in Plimer’s book. You’re approach seems to be the strawman one. You point out that something someone writes in a lengthy book is imperfect and then claim that makes the book untrustworthy and tarnishes every journalist who had anything to do with interviewing the author. If this is your point, then you should get a job on a lefty government censorship quango, “advising” people what books not to read, least they pollute their minds with political incorrectness.
  18. Nathaniel Courthope says:1st May 2011 at 8:56 pmThat was my point all along – Delinpole made no mention of any criticism of Plimer’s book at the time, still less made any of his own. Since then Plimer has failed to answer some very simple and very damning points about his book. IF James is interested in the truth, proper debating, scientific inquiry etc, then he should acknowledge that he wrongly endorsed Plimer and that Plimer ahould be discounted from the AGW debate.

    Read all the questions Monbiot posed and then decide if they are nitpicking, or fail to undermine the overall thesis. They are not confined to the volcano point (though that is quite damning of itself given Plimer’s stubborn refusal to address the point).

    Presumably lefty quangos only want lefties, so I’m ruled out. But you have a strange view of scientific debate if you think that asking people to back up what they write constitutes censorship . . .

  19. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 6:58 amNathaniel: this is a very important point. Someone writes a book summarizing a wide range of arguments, making some errors in the process. Should a reviewer or interviewer home in on a list of petty strawman criticisms, or focus on the main thrust of the book? The list of “criticisms” of Plimer I saw by googling was pathetic, mainly typos due to poor proof reading. Delingpole’s interview explains that Plimer went to a small Aussie bush publisher after rejection by mainstream publishers. So it’s not Plimer’s fault that so many errors went into print – if it had gone to a bigger publishing house with a team of science editors and fact checkers, doubtless they would have corrected the references and other trivial typos. Monbiot is just trying to do a volcano hatchet job on Plimer in his articles, e.g.

    http://www.monbiot.com/2009/12/17/showdown-with-plimer/

    I just hope that H2O negative feedback evidence will get a fair hearing.

  20. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 8:12 amOk so now your point is that criticisms of Plimer were just nitpicking and pathetic. Ironically you remind me of the most fervent AGW crowd, who will simply never accept criticism.

    Here’s just one, already foreshadowed: Plimer says volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans. He provides a reference for this claim, to a US institution. It is then revealed that the US reference does not support that claim. Therefore, Plimer needs to show why the US institution was wrong, or provide a different reference, or abandon the claim. He has done none of those, instead he just bangs on about volcanoes without providing any references.

    Is this claim insubstantial? Are the criticisms nitpicking? Is Plimer’s response adequate?

  21. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 9:45 amNathaniel, everybody makes mistakes, that’s human. As I said, if Plimer hadn’t been censored out and had a chance to publish through the proper channels, his citation error on volcano CO2 emissions would have been corrected. What makes your position so pathetic is that Delingpole didn’t attach any significance to, or even mention in his 8 July 2009 Spectator interview with Plimer, errors. His interest was not in volcanic emissions of CO2. Delingpole wrote, as I already quoted:

    while his thesis is not new, you’re unlikely to have heard it expressed with quite such vigour, certitude or wide-ranging scientific authority. Where fellow sceptics like Bjorn Lomborg or Lord Lawson of Blaby are prepared cautiously to endorse the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) more modest predictions, Plimer will cede no ground whatsoever. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory, he argues, is the biggest, most dangerous and ruinously expensive con trick in history. …

    So go on then, Prof. What makes you sure that you’re right and all those scientists out there saying the opposite are wrong? ‘I’m a geologist. We geologists have always recognised that climate changes over time. Where we differ from a lot of people pushing AGW is in our understanding of scale. They’re only interested in the last 150 years. Our time frame is 4,567 million years. So what they’re doing is the equivalent of trying to extrapolate the plot of Casablanca from one tiny bit of the love scene. And you can’t. It doesn’t work.’

    What Heaven And Earth sets out to do is restore a sense of scientific perspective to a debate which has been hijacked by ‘politicians, environmental activists and opportunists’. It points out, for example, that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere — to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction — is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth’s warmer periods — such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian’s Wall — were times of wealth and plenty. …

    One of the things that so irks him about modern environmentalism is that it is driven by people who are ‘too wealthy’. ‘When I try explaining “global warming” to people in Iran or Turkey they have no idea what I’m talking about. Their life is about getting through to the next day, finding their next meal. Eco-guilt is a first-world luxury. It’s the new religion for urban populations which have lost their faith in Christianity. The IPCC report is their Bible. Al Gore and Lord Stern are their prophets.’ …

    Reading Plimer’s Heaven And Earth is at once an enlightening and terrifying experience. Enlightening because, after 500 pages of heavily annotated prose (the fruit of five years’ research), you are left in no doubt that man’s contribution to the thing they now call ‘climate change’ was, is and probably always will be negligible. Terrifying, because you cannot but be appalled by how much money has been wasted, how much unnecessary regulation drafted because of a ‘problem’ that doesn’t actually exist.

    Of course there are errors like the occasional mixed up reference, in such a book. It’s dishonest of you to keep claiming that Delingpole is relying on the trivial errors in Plimer’s book, when the fact is, everything Delingpole singles out for discussion with Plimer is hard fact. The errors are irrelevant, strawman arguments. In any case, Monbiot is just going on about a difference between USGS data and Plimer. There’s no proof that USGS assumptions on CO2 output from a volcano is true. The scientific question is: how accurate is the USGS data anyway? Is it just a back-of-the-envelope guesswork assumption which has become “accepted wisdom” or is there any hard evidence that the USGS actually knows exactly how much CO2 is emitted from a volcano? Obviously, every volcano is different, since it depends at least in part on the amount of carbonate rock being reduced in the volcano of interest. The whole basis of Monbiot’s analysis of scientific claims is to try to determine who is the best “authority”, when science is about facts. It doesn’t matter what the consensus says, if it’s all based on guesswork to begin with. The correct question to ask is not whether two authorities disagree and which has the biggest consensus (fan club) and is most “fashionable”, but which is being funded to issue politically correct lies to the public. AGW has all the authority of mainstream bandwaggons like epicycles, phlogiston, caloric, aether, Piltdown Man, superstring theory, the unobserved Higgs boson, etc., etc.

    Sure, Plimer hasn’t had the billion dollars a year that NASA alone spends on AWG. Sure, gets a publisher living in the outback who has three kids and can’t afford curtains let alone expert proof-readers, sure he therefore makes errors. So what? What about the climategate errors and coverups? This isn’t a symmetrical situation to that of Professor Plimer: Dr Phil Jones has been working with funding on this stuff since the 1970s. Plimer hasn’t been in the same situation. Can’t you see how absurd your position is?

  22. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 11:31 amI will let readers judge the absurdity if they’re interested – a few minutes on google will bring up other uncorrected errors in Plimer’s work.

    Of course I would allow errors in Plimer’s work – but the key thing is that he refuses to admit them when they’re pointed out. On the volcano point your argument is a joke. If the aource is inaccurate Plimer should not have cited it!!

    For the umpteenth time – other people making errors does not get Plimer off the hook. It might well be that AGW is hogwash AND that Plimer’s book is unscientific junk. So to say “what about the climate gate errors” – well, NOT about climate gate. I am asking about Plimer and his errors.

    Here is a simple question even you can answer. Are Monbiot’s questions 8 and 9 “typos”?

    Should Plimer have answered them? If not, why not? What do you think the answers are?

  23. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 11:47 amNathaniel, have you measured the CO2 output from a volcanic eruption?
  24. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 1:42 pmHas Plimer? He is the one who made a claim about it, and gave a reference. On further investigation it turned out the reference did not say what Plimer said it did. Therefore, he needs to withdraw the claim or provide a new source (either evidence of original research or reference of someone else’s). Failing that his credibility is undermined.

    I repeat. The claim may be true. But failing proper evidence, there is no reason to accept it. You would say the same of anyone else making a scientific assertion. Why should Plimer be different just because you are anxious for him to be right?

  25. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 2:00 pmPlimer misattributed his references, but contrary to critics, it turns out that his key point about CFCs from volcanos was right all along! I refer you to geologist Timothy Casey:

    http://cfc.geologist-1011.net/

    The Awful Truth about Plimer, Volcanoes, and CFCs

    As it turns out, Plimer was dead right about the production of CFCs by volcanic processes. He may have misattributed this to the wrong source, but he was still dead right. What about Mt Pinatubo you may ask? Bureau et al. (2000) determined that the eruption of Mt Pinatubo released between 15 and 25 kilotons of Bromine, which in the form of bromocarbons as observed in other locations (eg. Schwandner et al. 2004), and in the presence of large quantities of HCL and HF, would undergo a substitution reaction to produce sufficient CFCs to have a prolonged effect. The impact of this was observed in the wake of the Pinatubo Eruption with substantial increases in ClO and in particular the substantial increase in the ozone destroying forms of chlorine as a product of Pinatubo’s emissions (Wilson et al., 1993). Aiuppa et al. (2005) determined that ongoing passive emissions from Mount Pinatubo alone include 700 tons of bromine and 10 tons of iodine annually. As halocarbons, it is inevitable that these recombine with more reactive halogens found in abundant volcanogenic acids such as HCl and HF to form CFCs, HI, and HBr.

    Conclusion

    In spite of numerous erroneous academic assertions, CFCs are naturally occurring chemicals and are a significant component of active volcanism. Volcanic CFCs are emitted in the presence of compounds that raise the residence time of volcanic halogens in addition to intensifying their ozone damaging effect. This would suggest that volcanoes have had a significant impact on the ozone layer. Furthermore, when someone like Plimer appears to misquote one source, it is likely that it is the source that is misattributed and that underpinning can be found elsewhere for the assertion. It is just a matter of looking.

  26. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 2:24 pmAt long last, that is what I have been asking for all along. As I have said throughout, Plimer may be right and his critics wrong. But without proper references, his claims have no credibility.I take it you finally agree with me on that?

    If so, then let us have the answers to the balance of Monbiot’s “nitpicking” questions. As you think they’re trivial this should not take long, though Plimer himself will have to answer qu 8.

  27. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 2:39 pmI completely disagree that all new claims in science be unoriginal, and must rely on references to other people. Alfred Wegener’s continental drift claim is a classic example in geology. He was right, but was snubbed during his lifetime. In quantum field theory, Ernst Stueckelberg suffered the same fate with regards to renormalization, being ignored.

    when someone like Plimer appears to misquote one source, it is likely that it is the source that is misattributed and that underpinning can be found elsewhere for the assertion. It is just a matter of looking.

    http://cfc.geologist-1011.net/

    This conclusion is too narrow because genuinely new results can’t be found in the past literature. Sometimes you have to “look” in nature, not a library!

  28. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 2:50 pm(The very word “research” sums up the problems since academia and science merged around 1850, which is groupthink politics. The bedrock assumption is that you’re not searching, but that you’re digging up, extending and checking somebody else’s published work. This works fine for team activities like party politics, where consensus is paramount, but it breaks down frequently in science, since nature often turns out to consist of unfashionable or politically incorrect facts!)
  29. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 3:39 pmThat’s not what I said at all. Either one presents original research – empirical data, with hypotheses, tests, conclusions etc; or one makes a claim based on someone else’s research, in which case one has to give a proper reference for the source.

    The criticism about Plimer and the volcanoes was that he did neither. He did not offer his own data. He quoted the US institution. But that institution did not say what he said it did. Neither did some of the other sources he quoted in support of other claims. That was what needed correcting – either by way of original data in substitution for the reference, a new reference from someone else, or a retraction of the claim. I cannot see how anyone interested in science would disagree with those requirements.

  30. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 3:58 pm“Either one presents original research – empirical data, with hypotheses, tests, conclusions etc; or one makes a claim based on someone else’s research, in which case one has to give a proper reference for the source. … I cannot see how anyone interested in science would disagree with those requirements.” – Nathaniel Courthope

    If Delingpole was interested in the volcanic stuff in the content packed book, he would have specifically asked Plimer something about it during the interview. I’m afraid the simple answer is that Delingpole couldn’t care less about volcanic pollution, and was concerned with the major portion of the book, the climategate stuff, and the history of the temperature record. Monbiot’s attempts to pick out trivial with incorrect references in a smear campaign against anyone who raises genuine criticisms of AGW lies, are as I said, strawman attacks which look pathetic. The fact is, AGW consists of a conspiracy of self-serving, pseudo-scientific liars who resent genuine debate and can only attack trivia. They don’t know what science is all about.

    “Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.” – Richard Feynman (quoted by Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, Houghton Mifflin, NY, 2006, p.
    307).

  31. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 5:21 pmReferences are not trivial. Nor are the other myriad criticisms which have been made of Plimer’s book.

    You are, yet again, missing the point entirely. I shall make one last attempt to explain it.

    IT MAY WELL BE THE CASE THAT AGW IS WRONG, BUT THAT DOESN’T EXCUSE PLIMER’S ERRORS.

    Or to put it another way: AGW can be wrong, and Plimer can be a charlatan. The two are not mutually inconsistent.

    IF the likes of Delingpole and Plimer are to convince everyone that AGW is wrong, it behoves them to observe and maintain rigorous scientific standards – particularly as their thesis is partly founded on the failure of AGW proponents (eg the East Anglian buffoons) to do the same.

    Why on earth can’t you accept this?

    The stupidest conspiracy ever to gain currency is the one which says the Moon landings were faked. They weren’t. But it would not help anyone trying to defend the Moon landings to rely on a book which contained poor references and basic errors.

    So too the Kennedy assassination. I believe Oswald acted alone and the conspiracy theories are all hot air. But I wouldn’t cite a book saying Oswald acted alone if it was riddled with incorrect dates and other references.

    If Delingpole was interested in proving one thing or another regarding AGW he wouldn’t just latch on immediately and uncritically to a book which happens to say what he wants to say. As I said, once it came to light that Plimer was unable to defend most of the criticisms levelled against him, Delingpole should have admitted his encomium wasn’t justified.

    If Monbiot’s criticisms are straw man and pathetic why couldn’t Plimer answer them? He kept promising to answer them and consistently failed to do so. As they all pertained to particular parts of his book it would have been easy to do so. We can only conclude he didn’t like the answers.

    Again, if you possibly can, point out why my insistence on properly verified research (original data or proper attribution) is in any way inconsistent with proper debate. In fact it is you – continually throwing up irrelevant points about AGW conspiracies – who fails to observe the normal bounds of scientific debate. For the umpteenth time IT MIGHT WELL BE TRUE THAT AGW IS A CROCK, BUT PLIMER HASN’T DONE THAT!!!!!!!!! All well and good if others have proved his points independently – though I notice a distinct lack of answers to the majority of Monbiot’s questions, and none at all from Plimer personally – but as it stands James Delingpole should publish a follow-up piece on Plimer’s book explaining if it is still deserving of the uncritical praise he heaped upon it originally. (The then editor of the Spectator, incidentally, seemed to wash his hands of it).

    Please answer without irrelevant rants about conspiracies, pious quotes from Feynam (someone I greatly admire, incidentally, and who would never have allowed any of his opponents to offer shoddy references like Plimer’s), personal abuse, or anything else that is irrelevant to the straightforward questions I have asked. (Notice I have never said what my own views are on AGW – you guessed completely wrongly as to what they might be …)

  32. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 5:23 pmOne more time: Are Monbiot’s questions 8 & 9 just picking up “typos” that are “straw” attacks and “pathetic”?

    If so, why?

    If not, why not?

  33. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 6:11 pm“If Delingpole was interested in proving one thing or another regarding AGW he wouldn’t just latch on immediately and uncritically to a book which happens to say what he wants to say.” – Nathaniel

    I’ve already pointed out to you that Delingpole didn’t “uncritically” latch on to anything in Plimer’s book that wasn’t factual. He didn’t latch on to Plimer’s volcano emission questions, for example! You’re making an issue out of that, and you haven’t even disproved him. All you keep saying is that a reference was miscited, which is not a hanging offense. It’s a Plimer puts 500 nails into the AGW coffin, and you’re fussing about one or two which you think are rusty.

    I love fact that out of Plimer’s five simple questions to Monbiot on 10 August 2009, http://www.monbiot.com/2009/09/14/correspondence-with-ian-plimer/ , Monbiot failed to answer any of them!

  34. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 6:33 pmOthers have – and have pointed out that Plimer’s questions were absurdly wide questions which constituted silly attempts to show that Monbiot isn’t a scientist – which he isn’t, any more than Delingpole.

    Monbiot’s questions, on the other hand, were directed at specific claims which Plimer had made in his book. If his book had been properly researched, then he could have answered them very quickly and easily. The fact that he didn’t says rather a lot.

    Delingpole didn’t mention volcanoes or anything else because he is unqualified to do so. He could, however, have googled some of the reviews by qualified scientists and put some of the questions to Plimer. Or he could at least have acknowledged that some disagreed with Plimer, said why he (Delingpole) thought otherwise, and provided a few links. That would have been elementary journalism I would have thought.

    Just for the record, then, are you saying:

    1. Delingpole’s original article is absolutely fine, and shouldn’t be criticised

    2. Monbiot’s questions were trivial nonsense which in no way undermined Plimer’s book

    3. Plimer won the subsequent tv debate with Monbiot

  35. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 7:46 pm“Delingpole didn’t mention volcanoes or anything else because he is unqualified to do so.” – Nathaniel Courthope

    Delingpole simply wasn’t interested in speculations over volcano greenhouse emissions, because there were more than enough silver bullets to kill AGW in Plimer’s book without resorting to them. Delingpole wrote in his 8 July 2009 interview with Plimer (the Spectator article) that Plimer’s book states “that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere — to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction — is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth’s warmer periods — such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian’s Wall — were times of wealth and plenty.”

    The questions Delingpole asked were not a matter of qualifications in geology or not. It just so happens that he questioned Plimer about those portions of his book which were accurate and fully defended, and not about the speculative stuff which Delingpole was superfluous. Monbiot’s attempts to smear Plimer for getting a reference or two wrong are a waste of time.

    Has Monbiot ever written anything based on trying to understand the physics, rather than formulaic journalist mud slinging? Even where he is right, such as his post last month exposing Helen Caldicot’s anti-nuclear radiation propaganda, he isn’t going about things scientifically. Science isn’t about trying to find a weak point in irrelevant trivia and then doing a hatchet job on someone. It’s about doing the exact opposite: ignoring irrelevancies and searching for hard facts. Science is a positive experience. You search out fact, you don’t do the opposite in an attempt to politically assassinate a scientist. If their work is rubbish, move on. If Plimer was really a faker, you’d have no interest. Instead, you’re trying to simultaneously ignore the strong arguments (summarized in the Delingpole quotation above from Spectator, 8 July 2009), and focus on weak volcano stuff which isn’t the main thrust from Plimer’s case. Delingpole behaved correctly, focussing on the stronger arguments.

    Precisely, I agree with the three points you state:

    1. Delingpole’s original article is absolutely fine, and shouldn’t be criticised

    2. Monbiot’s questions were trivial nonsense which in no way undermined Plimer’s book

    3. Plimer won the subsequent tv debate with Monbiot

    The reason Delingpole’s article was fine was that it ignored the weaker points, which are where Monbiot homed in. The difference between Delingpole’s and Monbiot’s approaches to Plimer are very telling. Delingpole is interested in the stronger facts Plimer has discovered from many years of research, and Delingpole steers clear of the weaker stuff. Monbiot, by contrast, ignores the stronger arguments and just tries to argue with Plimer over the weakest arguments. This difference is the difference between the scientific attitude and the crackpot denialist; Delingpole is behaving scientifically by searching for the strong facts, while Monbiot is behaving as a crackpot denialist by provoking arguments over trivia just to engineer a scene for the Guardian readers.

  36. Nathaniel Courthope says:2nd May 2011 at 8:03 pmMonbiot’s qu’s 1,2,3,4 and 9 relate to Plimer’s statistics on temperature. And you think this is trivial in the context of global warming!

    Incidentally, they are not just errors on Plimer’s part, at least some are outright fabrications!!!

    Whereas speculation about warm periods being times of wealth and plenty is the hard stuff?!?!

    You’ve totally lost the plot. Name each of Monbiot’s questions that you think are trivial and say WHY they are trivial, then that might answer why Plimer totally failed to answer a single one of them, despite saying he was going to. You can watch him failing miserably in the tv debate too.

    Again and again and again you try and dismiss Plimer’s errors with irrelevant tangents.

  37. Nige Cook says:2nd May 2011 at 9:06 pmMonbiot tries to find irrelevant and therefore trivial flaws in the evidence of AGW critics, in this case a busy geology professor. This may be a fine tactic for Guardian journalists throwing dirt at politicians, or even for greasy expensive lawyers trying to fabricate holes into the prosecution case evidence against guilty-as-sin criminals.

    But it fails in science. As Michael Faraday said, in science you’re a success if you have make 999 failures and have 1 success. Science isn’t about the errors you make, but what you get right. The weak evidence doesn’t detract from the strong evidence.

    Quite simply, science isn’t about people and their problems. It’s about facts, not people; defendable facts. You’re not going to disprove fact-based criticisms by throwing mud at the person making criticisms, or because they made a mistake in a couple of the references for their weaker arguments. Whereas in politics and law you do well to search for a weak spot – the Achilles’ heel – in science weak stuff is irrelevant: it’s the strong evidence that counts.

    The first reason why Monbiot’s “questions” are all trivial and irrelevant is because Plimer kills AGW using climategate and the geological record, which shows immense natural variations in CO2 and in temperature. As mentioned before, the final death of AGW probably requires popularization of the H2O positive feedback scam (it’s really a negative feedback, so that increasing cloud cover cancels out CO2 temperature effects and the only long-term climate change from CO2 is a slight increase in cloudiness, not temperature), the basic solid evidence for which I’m summarized in a note here: http://vixra.org/author/Nigel_B_Cook However, climategate and the wide fluctuations in the temperature record have already cast doubt on the AGW myth. People are aware it’s defended by KGB/”World Peace Council”-type hatchet jobs using strawman arguments against critics…

  38. Nathaniel Courthope says:3rd May 2011 at 6:07 amI think this debate has run its course to be honest. We agree AGW should be subjected to scientific debate, but not whether Plimer has conformed wih that requirement. I do not think his errors were trivial. If they were he could have said as much. Instead he kept promising to answer the qu’s and never did, then looked absurd on tv trying to dodge them. He wrote the book. It can’t be that hard for him to answer specific questions about it, if he had researched it properly in the first place. The fact is he took a paper and reversed its findings, and put in graphs that were pure invention. That’s not scientific debate, still less is a refusal to admit the errors and amend his arguments accordingly.

    Science is based on fact. plimer’s shoddy references and invented graphs are te opposite of facts. If they don’t change his arguments why not just admit the errors then show why they are irrelevant to his thesis?

    As for your KGB World Peace Council fantasy, who is in charge? Monty Burns?

  39. Nige Cook says:3rd May 2011 at 6:29 amMonbiot.
  40. James Delingpole says:3rd May 2011 at 11:05 amNige, I just wanted to say thank you for your brilliant performance here and also for sparing me the need to answer Nathaniel’s how-many-drowning-polar-bears-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin? assault on Plimer.
    Nathaniel, all I can say to you is that I hope you’ll read my forthcoming book Watermelons. There’s a chapter in it expressly for you and people like you where I discuss AGW in terms of the Titanic. The ship has sunk yet the owners of the White Star line call a press conference in which dozens of their in-house experts explain in minute technical detail why it is that the ship can’t possibly have gone down because it is unsinkable: the quality of the rivets, the strength of the steel, the bulkheads, etc. And here you are focussing on the rivets and the bulkheads, apparently quite incapable of seeing the bigger picture. Your ship has sunk. Get over it.
  41. Nige Cook says:3rd May 2011 at 12:02 pmThanks James! Former NASA climatologist Dr Roy Spencer has just emailed me back concerning the NOAA 1948-2008 humidity decline data:

    From: Roy Spencer
    To: nigelbryancook
    Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2011 12:17 PM
    Subject: RE: NOAA data on humidity 1948-2008

    yes, I’m aware of the NOAA data suggesting a decrease in free-tropospheric humiidty. I always thought it was intriguing, and could be evidence that water vapor feedback is negative on long time scales.

    Miskolczi could be correct that the Earth’s greenhouse effect maintains itself in a constant state, but I disagree that he has in any way demonstrated why that would be the case. I have blogged about his theory in the past, which I think many people have misrepresented.

    From: nigelbryancook
    To: DrRoySpencer
    Subject: NOAA data on humidity 1948-2008
    Date: Mon, 2 May 2011 12:54:58 +0100

    Hi Dr Roy Spencer,

    Please see figure 1 in my paper http://vixra.org/abs/1104.0013 showing NOAA data from 1948-2008, which shows that atmospheric CO2 increased by 25% but H2O as vapour decreased by 1%, which cancelled out the CO2 rise (since H2O vapour in the atmosphere is 30 more effective than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, so a 1% fall in CO2 is equivalent to a 30 times larger fall in CO2). Are you aware of this H2O negative feedback NOAA data? …

    Since H2O is a greenhouse gas that’s 30 times stronger than CO2, the 1% fall in total atmospheric column humidity over six decades disproves the “positive feedback” effect (which would require a statistically significant increase in humidity while CO2 increased 25%) and suggests a negative feedback equivalent to a fall of 30% in CO2. So the total greenhouse gas content hasn’t significantly been altered: increased CO2 has just made the atmosphere slightly drier.

    Dr Spencer is right to be critical of errors in Dr Miskolczi’s calculations, but the NOAA humidity data (showing that humidity hasn’t increased in step with H2O positive feedback theory) shouldn’t be hidden in the dusty basement. The NOAA data 1% fall in humidity since 1948 seems equivalent to a 30% fall in greenhouse CO2, approximately cancelling out the temperature effects from 25% rise in real CO2 since 1948. The whole problem the “greenhouse” analogy? Greenhouses aren’t 71% ocean, and the real world doesn’t have a glass ceiling to prevent evaporated water rising and condensing into clouds. Add this long-term negative feedback to Spencer’s research showing short-term negative feedback (cooling due to a cloud cover increase from evaporation following hot spells), and you have a complete refutation of “greenhouse effect” theory.

  42. Nathaniel Courthope says:3rd May 2011 at 5:02 pmSo just to confirm James – it’s perfectly alright for Plimer to falsify the Hadley figures, misrepresent Keller and generally give false references because anyone who finds fault with that is just talking about so much irrelevant guff?

    So why on earth didn’t Plimer respond to Monviot’s questions after agreeing that he would?

    And note that nowhere did I give my views on AGW. My point all along is that the Anti AGW movement is harmed, not helped, by the likes of Plimer making claims he is unable to back up with proper references or original data. Equally by the likes of you giving him completely uncritical write-ups.

    If you can’t see that, then you are in with the creation scientists for ignorant zeal – a group which, incidentally, Plimer has correctly criticised in the past, in a much better performance than his underwhelming GW effort.

    As to your abusive remarks, colourful they may be, relevant they are not. All I have asked is why Plimer could not back himself up. You haven’t backed him up either. I wonder why not.

  43. Staceey says:3rd May 2011 at 5:14 pm@Nathanial
    “We agree AGW should be subjected to scientific debate, but not whether Plimer has conformed with that requirement..”

    How arrogant to speak for other people. I dont agree that AGW should be subject to scientific debate because there has been no scientific testing of the hypothesis that AGW will cause dangerous global warming.

    Your inane concentration on Plimer, is the sort of diversionary tactic alarmists use all the time and you need to realise something, just because a lot of people say they have fairies at the bottom of their gardens does not mean its true.

    If you real are interested in learning, I suggest you watch this lecture by Professor Carter, he destroys the hypothesis using the scientific method which you prefer.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOLkze-9GcI

    Because of people like you, the conservatives have been able to sneak in a stealth tax. The petrol cartels have increased petrol in the last year by 16p per litre, excepting all the other taxes the government gets, it now gets an extra 4p per litre in vat. The average family are paying approx £200 extra per year and I dread to think how much the average business is paying, which of course all gets past on to Jo muggins.

  44. Nathaniel Courthope says:3rd May 2011 at 5:17 pmCripes I bet Monviot’s thrilled with his role Nige. That being so, why does he keep up his sideline writing for that third rate paper (no I’m not a fan of the Graun either). Can’t he at least get some carbon credits to live off?
  45. Nathaniel Courthope says:3rd May 2011 at 5:25 pmOh for the love of God Staccey you’re even worse.

    I asked a simple question – shouldn’t James modify his praise of Plimer given the latter’s blatant lies/errors, and thereby show he is interested in the facts about AGW rather than just latching onto whichever talking head said what he wanted to hear. His acolyte Nige went off on a rant about either Monbiot being a berk or AGW being wrong irrespective of Plimer’s errors. As I have said all along, none of those points is necesarily inconsistent. But it is important for the integrity of the debate that false claims are identified as such, whether they be inadvertent errors by Plimer, intentional errors by Plimer, or the disgraceful antics of Phil Jones and co. For James to continue endorsing Plimer uncritically (I mean watch Plimer’s hopeless performance on tv with Monbiot – it’s on Youtube) damages his journalistic credentials. It’s a straightforward point, but one which appears beyond Delingpole or Nige to grasp.

  46. Nathaniel Courthope says:3rd May 2011 at 7:24 pmJames I will be happy to read your book, on two conditions: (i) that it contains some fact-based argument in addition to the silly long winded name calling as with your Titanic analogy; and (ii) if there are any errors a la Plimer in there you will have the journalistic integrity to correct them and modify or abandon any of the claims accordingly.

    It’s been quite revealing spending time on this blog. I ask a simple question of James that seems to me entirely appropriate IF he purports to be a journalist with some credibility, namely how he felt his original article on Plimer stood up after Plimer’s capitulation to Monbiot’s straightforward questions. I get a heap of irrelevant stuff about AGW when, as I’ve said till I’m blue in the face, Plimer’s thesis might be right but it is very damaging to the anti AGW crowd if his reasoning is inadequate. It’s like me saying the moon landing was genuine because I was there myself and saw it. The thesis is right (the moon landings were genuine) but the reasoning preposterous. Plimer’s errors are not as absurd you will respond, but they are genuine errors (or at least stand as such until he answers them – as he promised to do but didn’t – and very damaging to his creditability as a scientist.

    I am, for what it’s worth, an agnostic about AGW. But as I try and evaluate the evidence (or interpret the interpretations to borrow a phrase from a certain someone) I am not swayed by rhetoric or abuse – or at least not in the direction intended.

    Staccey it is because of people like Plimer and Delingpole, who act with religious imperviousness to criticism, that the AGW crowd are not getting tested as they should be.

    I am not a scientist, but I do have some knowledge of business, law and politics. And from that I know that the energy taxes, carbon credits and various other measures are not working as well as being economically ruinous. I also know that even if Delingpole and his acolytes converted to AGW, the Chinese, Russians, Indians and Brazillians will not (other than in name only) and so the chances of global emissions reducing are nil, and that’s without taking into account the ever increasing world population, which will also do for emission reduction. But you aren’t going to convenience this government, or the EU, or any successors thereto, by shouting loudly and refusing to admit errors, whilst accusing the other side of not doing or admitting the same.

  47. Nathaniel Courthope says:3rd May 2011 at 7:27 pmAnd, just to be consistent, I confess to the typos above – damn ipad’s predicative text combined with my failing eyesight let me down.
  48. Nige Cook says:4th May 2011 at 9:15 amNathaniel,

    The AGW dogma is a lie because it relies on the assumption of H2O vapour as a positive feedback. Roy Spencer points out (Fig 7 in http://vixra.org/abs/1104.0013 ) that the IPCC models predict CO2 will increase global temperatures ~1 °C by 2100, and that H2O will amplify this to ~3 °C. This is physically incorrect, because such a positive feedback would have caused a runaway greenhouse effect in the past (converting Earth into another Venus): more and more of the ocean would evaporate in such a positive feedback until the air was saturated with moisture (100% humidity).

    Clearly something happens to prevent a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth. Cloud cover increases as the Earth warms slightly, and this cuts down the sunlight energy reaching the surface. You don’t get this effect in a “greenhouse” due to 1) the lack of oceans covering 71% of the surface and 2) the glass ceiling which prevents cloud cover forming inside the greenhouse, like the Earth. The greenhouse is a false model.

    Dr Roy Spencer and others demonstrated this negative feedback from H2O evaporation in the tropics in Fig 4 of their paper “Cloud and Radiation Budget Changes Associated with Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillations”, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 34, 9 August 2007: increases in air temperature lead to increased cloud cover which reduces solar radiation reaching the surface.

    Spencer’s data for 15 strongest tropical intraseasonal oscillations from 2000-2005 in tropospheric temperature using weather satellites NOAA-15 and NOAA-16, indicates that a 1°C temperature rise will increase cloud cover sufficiently to reduce surface sunlight intensity by 6.5 watts/square metre, while the 1°C temperature rise is only equivalent to a 3.3 watts/square metre increase. Therefore the net effect is negative feedback: the increase in cloud cover has a negative effect on surface sunshine which causes a cooling. If you inject enough CO2 to produce a 1°C temperature rise by itself, the Earth will gain 3.3 watts/square metre from CO2, but the cloud cover accompanying this will reduce the solar radiation on the surface by 6.5 watts/square metre! So the overall effect is fall in surface temperatures.

    If you put this result into the IPCC models which include methane and non-uniformities over the Earth, instead of the CO2 induced temperature rise of ~1 °C by 2100 being amplified to ~3 °C by positive feedback from H2O, you instead get a negative feedback which cuts the total projected temperature rise to under 1 °C.

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have also measured the integrated H2O vapour (not water cloud droplet) column from the surface to the top of the atmosphere from 1948 onwards. This total atmospheric column humidity content has fallen by 1% over 61 years (Fig 1 in my paper). If there was positive feedback from H2O as assumed by the IPCC, then the humidity must have risen, not fallen. Thus negative feedback from H2O.

    Cloud cover (water in small droplets, typically 1 to 50 microns in diameter) acts as a reflector that cools the surface below like a parasol. Increasing water evaporation by the slight surface temperature rise in clear skies due to adding CO2 to the atmosphere will increase cloud cover, because there’s a limit to how much water the air can contain at any altitude, and that limit (100% humidity) obviously exists at the cloud base altitude (the lower the air pressure, the less water vapour the air can hold without condensation of cloud droplets).

    The point is, all of this physics and evidence is being censored out. And there you are, ignoring it and complaining that someone mixed up references about volcanic CO2 emissions! The reality is, we don’t live in a glass ceiling greenhouse with no oceans: the greenhouse effect is damned lie. Put in cloud cover evidence, and it doesn’t exist.

  49. Nathaniel Courthope says:4th May 2011 at 12:25 pmOk yet once more let me explain why I asked about Plimer. Not because I am saying he is the be all and end all of the debate. In fact the direct opposite: he should be discounted from the debate because he has been unable to defend his book against very serious criticisms. All I ever asked for was either an admission on that front or an answer to the questions set of Plimer or an explanation why not.

    Anyone else who had endorsed the book uncritically as Delingpole did would, when further evidence comes to light that the book was not deserving of that praise, publish a retraction or modification. As the record stands Delingpole’s glowing tribute was made and he has ignored Plimer since (maybe that in fact answers my question about Plimer’s standing …) To respond with childish abuse and by dodging the question does not persuade me (as an AGW agnostic) to join the no campaign as it were.

    Once it has been admitted that Plimer’s work is riddled with errors, proper analysis of the science can continue (or start, depending on your view of it so far).

    I await scientific analysis of Nige’s theory; I assume he would wish it to receive some. Then obviously further down the line James will give some interpretations of interpretations of peer reviews of it, for what that’s worth …

  50. Nige Cook says:4th May 2011 at 2:42 pm“Anyone else who had endorsed the book uncritically as Delingpole did would, when further evidence comes to light that the book was not deserving of that praise, publish a retraction or modification.”

    Delingpole endorsed, as you’ve seen, the strongest arguments in Plimer’s book, not the weakest. It was deserving of praise for the reasons Delingpole praised it. The very fact that you focus on trying to refute strong arguments using this pathetic approach just shows how weak your understanding of science is. Negative feedback is a fact shown in the data, not a speculative “theory” of mine that await’s “scientific analysis”.

  51. Nathaniel Courthope says:4th May 2011 at 6:29 pmYour dismissal of the unanswered criticisms of Plimer’s book as unimportant shows how weak your understanding of science is.

    Delingpole focuses only on being told what he wants to hear, and blinds himself to everything else.

  52. Nige Cook says:4th May 2011 at 8:16 pmI think Plimer’s book is full of unanswered scientific criticisms, all of which are ignored by you. Plimer hasn’t conned the taxpayer out of billions. The fact is, the AGW theory doesn’t hold any water. The fact is, NOAA’s data prove that there’s been a fall in air humidity over the past six decades which has cancelled out the effect of CO2. This isn’t a theory, its a fact. Fig 1 in http://vixra.org/abs/1104.0013 shows the empirical data.

    If you could just get over the fact you’ve been brainwashed by Monbiot, you could see it for yourself.

  53. Nathaniel Courthope says:4th May 2011 at 8:29 pmHaven’t you read anything i’ve written? I said that I was an agnostic on AGW. If Plimer knew his onions he would have answered the questions. He said he would, pleaded a range of excuses over a period of weeks, then finally went quiet till the tv debate where he ignored every question put to him and rambled on hopelessly.therefore, Plimer does not change my agnosticism into atheism regarding AGW accordingly.
  54. Nige Cook says:4th May 2011 at 8:51 pmMonbiot “questions” of Plimer are irrelevant drivel, a dodge for the AGW bandwaggon to help ignore the main points. “Look, I’ve found a reference out of place in your book, do you admit to deliberate deception?” Of course an Aussie professor like Plimer has no time for such blatant nonsense like AGW and Monbiot.
  55. Nathaniel Courthope says:5th May 2011 at 12:09 pmRubbish. They were not just references out of place, they were the alleged supporting evidence for Plimer’s thesis.

    If they were irrelevant drivel Plimer wouldn’t have agreed to answer then wimped out of it once he saw them – he would have said these are irrelevant and here’s why.

    He had enough time to appear on tv with Monbiot – and looked like a total ass when he did too.

    Even D’Ancona didn’t back up either Delingpole or Plimer – he admitted it was mischevious attention seekign.

  56. Nige Cook says:5th May 2011 at 2:04 pmIt’s fascinating that you’re so obsessed with trivia, you can’t see what everybody else can, including the most highly-rated of the 44 reviewers of Plimer’s book on amazon, none of whom are “misled” by any of the trivia you claim to be Plimer’s central argument! Example:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0704371669

    Plimer sets out a convincing but self-evidently controversial argument, 6 July 2009

    By Robertomelbourne (Melbourne, Australia)

    This review is from: Heaven And Earth: Global Warming – The Missing Science (Hardcover)

    Ian Plimer has had a distinguished career in academia, presently holding the position of Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, where he was Professor and Head from 1991-2005.

    At almost 500 pages (and 2311 footnotes), Plimer takes the reader through a geological and environmental history of the planet. His recounting of geological history is linked closely to human societal trends, where he makes the close link between climate and the relative successes and failures of human society. He asserts that periods when the climate was “warm” were ultimately positive for societies, with colder periods linked to population declines, wars and, in some cases, extinction of whole civilisations.

    Plimer argues that climate change is not occurring, or at least that any climate change that is occurring is not directly attributable to man. He argues that the climate today is in fact “cooler” than in more recent periods, such as the times when the Roman Empire was emerging and was at its cultural and economic peak.

    Plimer sets out a convincing but self-evidently controversial argument, attacking declarations about carbon pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, the evidence presented in the UN’s IPCC reports and the questionable benefits of emission-trading and carbon reductions systems. His argument centres on climate being far more sophisticated and complex than some have asserted. He argues that looking at atmospheric climate alone, without proper consideration of the entire environmental system, is flawed.

  57. Nathaniel Courthope says:5th May 2011 at 2:44 pmOk we’re in Delingpole’s world of “interpreting interpretations” now. You’ve gone for reviewers on Amazon – not exactly a citadel of higher learning.

    There are countless distinguished scientists who’ve slaughtered Plimer’s book. Here’s a very funny snippet from Professor Michael Ashley in the Australian:

    “I couldn’t help noticing on page120 an almost word-for-word reproduction of the abstract from a well-known loony paper entitled “The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass”. This paper argues that the sun isn’t composed of 98 per cent hydrogen and helium, as astronomers have confirmed through a century of observation and theory, but is instead similar in composition to a meteorite.

    It is hard to understate the depth of scientific ignorance that the inclusion of this information demonstrates. It is comparable to a biologist claiming that plants obtain energy from magnetism rather than photosynthesis.”

    There are many others –

    – Professor David Karoly, University of Melbourne’s School of Earth Sciences:

    – Professor Kurt Lambeck, earth scientist and President of the Australian Academy of Science

    – Colin Woodroffe, a coastal geomorphologist at the University of Wollongong,

    – Kurt Lambeck, President of the Australian Academy of Science,

    And so on it goes. You will no doubt dismiss all scientists who disagree with Plimer as either cranks or part of the Monbiot-led World Government conspiracy that you mentioned (presumably – hopefully, though in view of your comments not necessarily – a joke) above.

    You thunder that an “Aussie scientist” (are they better than the other types?) wouldn’t have time for the likes of Monbiot. What about Plimer’s colleagues – also Australian – at his very own university who disagree with him? Do they figure anywhere in your game of scientific top trumps?

    Point is this: say “my scientists are better than your scientists” all you want. Say that their criticisms are whining irrelevant trivial guff (as Plimer always does himself). But wouldn’t it be easier for Plimer just to answer questions about his references and sources? That way, his critics would have no comeback and I would be happy to endorse him as much as you do. As it stands I cannot place any value on his work, and you’ve given me no reason to do so. You have adduced other material to say that climate change is bunk. Fine, assuming they pass muster when examined by appropriately qualified scientists – which, I think we can both agree, rules out the clowns in East Anglia. That’s the sort of thing that agnostics would be swayed by. But not books that get a heap of criticism only for their authors and apologists to scream abuse about. Or books like James’ which, on the preview he’s given us here, contain no facts, argument or references at all, just abuse dressed up as analogies.

  58. James Delingpole says:5th May 2011 at 3:10 pmNathaniel, you’re starting to sound like an obsessive troll. And I do deplore people who come to this site a) hiding behind absurd pseudonyms and b) claiming to be “open-minded” when they’ve clearly long since decided which side of the fence they’re going to sit on. Now kindly bog off: you have delighted us enough.
  59. Nige Cook says:5th May 2011 at 3:25 pmYou’re certainly a time-wasting moron which explains the pseudonym. Science is not about being “open minded” to liars, it’s the opposite. It’s about being closed-minded to lies and fakery, so that facts can emerge. Science is about censoring out non-factual bigoted old belief systems, so that new facts can get a fair hearing.

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Upstairs, Downstairs at Highclere Castle – The Real Downton Abbey

The library is home to nearly 6,000 books, dating from the 16th century. It was used as a meeting room by the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) in Downton Abbey, where he would discuss the workings of the house with his butler, and where he interviewed his Irish driver

This time last year, Highclere Castle was just another struggling English family home with the usual 5,000-acre estate, 50-plus bedrooms, portraits by Van Dyck, Victorian gothic design by Charles Barry (who also did the Houses of Parliament), towers, follies, tapestries, heraldic shields and attached museum of Egyptian artefacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb. And the usual collapsing roofs and millions of pounds worth of debts.

But what a difference a popular, prime-time, period drama series can make. Today the house is the most famous stately home in the world – known as Downton Abbey – with a future perhaps more secure than at any time in its 450-year existence.

The sturdy, dark oak gothic main entrance you see set into the castle’s honey-coloured stone as you stride across the gravel driveway is where the pompous butler Carson lined up his entire domestic staff, to parade them before the caddish (and secretly gay) visiting Duke of Crowborough.

(to read more, click here)

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I Heart Glenn Beck

glenn_beck-fists

So Glenn Beck is to lose his show at Fox. If you want to know why this is a bad thing for the world, forget what you may think of his sometimes over-the-top, lachrymose schtick and his tendency towards overstating the case. Concentrate instead on the unbridled joy and delirium Becks dethronement is already causing in left-liberal circles. The head of Glenn Beck on a platter is like Kwaanza come early for Keith Olbermann and George Soros and Barack Obama and CNN and CNBC and the New York Times and all the rest of that rag bag of Islamists, eco-loons, progressives, communitarians, and Gramsciites who would be so much happier if you didnt know about their plans to steal your freedoms, take more of your money, swell the size of government and destroy your liberty.

Here, for example, is what that bastion of liberal values The New Republic has to say in a piece but barely able to contain its pant-wetting joy that the chief Warlock of Unreconstructed Right Wing Darkness has been defanged:

What happened? Beck built a following by making outlandish, conspiratorial claims—about ACORN, Obama, and so on. (Bizarrely, his extremism may have augmented the number of curious liberal viewers tuning in: A Pew Research Center poll from last September found that 9 percent of Beck’s Fox viewers identified as Democrats, and 21 percent as moderates or liberals.) But “anytime you have extreme stimulus,” says Alexander Zaitchik, author of the unauthorized Beck biography Common Nonsense, “you’ll have diminishing returns.” Beck, says Zaitchik, was caught “in a vicious circle”: To keep viewers coming back, he had to keep creating new, more intricate theories. Last November, in a two-part special that indirectly invoked anti-Semitism, he accused liberal Jewish financier George Soros of orchestrating the fall of foreign governments for financial gain.

Hang on a second. Is the New Republic trying to rewrite history here by telling us that ACORN isnt a monstrously corrupt, hard-left organisation which, for example, has been shown on camera advising an alleged pimp how best to hide the illegal earnings of his underage tricks? And is it also trying to tell us that George Soros the financier who, inter alia, made a fortune by betting against the British taxpayer over EMU, and who is well known for his sponsorship of revolutionary left causes is a lovable, grotesquely maligned figure of bounteous goodness whose critics only hate him because hes Jewish. (The latter is a pretty rich charge coming from a liberal: doesnt the worlds most vicious anti-Semitism come almost exclusively from the glibly pro-Palestinian, virulently anti-Israel liberal-left these days?)

Sure Glenn Beck has his faults but they are vastly outweighed by his strengths: his fearlessness in speaking truth to power; his gift for explaining political ideas in a way that galvanises the attention of Middle America; his sheer entertainment value. In Britain, we have no real equivalent of Beck and we could do with one. One of the reasons this country is so totally screwed at the moment is because of the shocking political apathy and ignorance of almost everyone outside Westminster and the media village: everyone has a vague sense that things are wrong, but almost no one has the vocabulary or ideological base to articulate what the problem is. Thanks to people like Glenn Beck, this isnt the case in America. Beck has given them a voice; he helped make the glorious popular revolt against the political class the Tea Party possible.

My guess is that Glenn Beck is going to bounce back from this low in his career and will return stronger and more popular than ever. And if youre a conservative and youve ever nurtured doubts about Beck, just ask yourself this: if hes really such a joke, why do you think it is that so many on the liberal-left so hate and fear him?

Related posts:

  1. What Dave and his chum Barack don’t want you to know about green jobs and green energy
  2. How conservative pranksters made idiots of Obama’s favourite left-wing charity ACORN
  3. Why we still heart Sarah Palin
  4. Kickstarter, FrackNation and proof that there IS a God!

3 thoughts on “I heart Glenn Beck”

  1. Duncan M says:9th April 2011 at 8:54 amDarn! Beck is losing his show!! What a shame!!! Comedians like Beck and you should be on our tv more, you guys are brilliant. Along with Abu Hamza, Omar Bakri, the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party and all the hate preachers. In fact, you guys should have your own show and call it Der Stürmer.
  2. Velocity says:9th April 2011 at 9:27 pmBeck was the only political show on TV i could watch (stomach). The rest is pitiful propaganda, everything from the endless crones on Question Time to the BBC’s Politics Show which is more of the same carefully contructed sugar coated shit that never gets to the turds lurking beneath

    Beck was head-on, refreshing, brave on any topic none of which the mainstream guff would touch on. He deserves a Pulitzer no question

    My only reserves came when he coated all too much in the Constitution, religion, the pro military-industrial complex and pro Isreal (a sham state) as all pro Republicans unquestionably abide by.

    Still he will be sorely missed and, like you James, hope he returns at full force

  3. Pug says:29th April 2011 at 7:21 amJust to let you know James, it is articles of this ilk , and things like your most devoted follower on the Telegraph using a Confederate flag as his avatar, which causes a great deal of similarly anti-establishment and un-PC individuals with great taste in music (like me), who would otherwise be very well disposed toward a great deal of the points you make, to wrinkle their noses as if you smelt slightly of diarrhea.

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What Exactly Has the World Ever Done for Britain?

A FEW years ago I was wandering through a market in Omdurman in the Sudan when I was accosted by an angry old man. “Why did you leave us?” he said. “Things were so much better when you were here.”

We British are so used to being told by foreigners how awful we are that at first I didn’t understand his point. Then slowly it dawned.

Here was an old man who had compared how things were under the enlightened colonial rule of the British with how things were now under a corrupt, warring, Islamist regime. He was under no illusions who had been better at running his country: us.

Yet you’d never sense this truth from David Cameron’s disparaging remarks in Pakistan the other day about Britain’s colonial legacy, nor from the generally demeaning way we are treated on the international stage.

Everywhere you go, everywhere you look Britain is having its nose rubbed in it on an almost daily basis by a viciously ungrateful world. We’ve just given Pakistan £650million for schools (or more likely for IEDs to blow up our troops in Afghanistan).

(to read more, click here)

Related posts:

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  3. British Gas boss announces brilliant new scheme to make Britain even more expensive and ugly
  4. Why should broke Britain bankroll immigrant spongers?

4 thoughts on “What exactly has the world ever done for Britain?”

  1. S.T.Beare says:12th April 2011 at 9:20 amIt wasn’t us colonials that forced you to join the EU.
    Also if you have noticed the Commonwealth Countries are major producers of commodities and major consumers of capital,services and manufactured products of all kinds.
    Seemingly an ideal commercial fit for the UK,so why did you join the EU.
    We didn’t vote your politicians in either.
  2. Velocity says:19th April 2011 at 6:18 pmBritains colonial management was most succesful when it was ‘hands off’ such as Hong Kong where they just allowed people to get on and do it.
    A stark contrast to Britains “hands on” management style at home which has been a disaster.
    There is no part of the economy this parasite squid called Westmonster – sorry Westminster – will not stick its jack boots in. The worst examples are public transport (a bankrupt incompetent tragedy), healthcare (a bankrupt incompetent tragedy), energy (a bankrupt incompetent tragedy), education (a bankrupt incompetent tragedy) to name but a few.
    Westmonster now sucks nearly 60% of GDP out of the private sector that creates all the wealth for this 80 year old parasite socialist State to feed off. And since recession hit on 2007 it has doubled spending and debt like a dysfunctional vandal in society while business and consumers have rightly cut back.
    Taxation is increasing under the wet socialists/marxists of the Con-Lib Govt sucking even more out of a fragile bled dry economy while it has done little more than jawbone about cuts (none to daye, 3 years into recession) and moaned and whinged about a paltry £6bn in cuts like some spoilt brat.
    This is a 20 stone pig feeding on the private sector and it bleets about having having a figure dip taken away from its ever open fat obese mouth?
    Blighty is totally f**ked… last man with any sense out, switch the lights off
  3. Nige Cook says:20th April 2011 at 8:30 amVelocity: the real tragedy is that so few stand up to Marxist/socialists/ecofascists. That’s how they sneak their propaganda and lies into Cameron’s mind. What we need, but haven’t got, is a thundering good thrashing to the socialist lies of Marx. You’d have thought that with the bankrupcy of the USSR, the message would be clear, but nobody has has ever given Marx the thrashing he deserves in print. Socialism is hell because it de-motivates society by taking away (or watering down) prizes and punishments. Human nature only does real good – which requires taking risks and overcoming adversity – when there is some compelling prize/punishment to encourage progress. Water down the prizes for success (by excessive taxation) and punishments for failure (by rewarding criminals), and you’ve the perfect recipe for making hell on earth. But there’s another problem as well. Socialism is founded on lying. It lies in order to try to motivate people: scaremongering lies about CO2, nuclear power, weapons, deterrence, radiation, capitalism, etc. It lies by exaggerating dangers, while omitting any balance by glossing over the bigger dangers from alternatives. It ses fashionable groupthink to try to circumvent scientific criticisms by preventing any genuine debate: it labels all critics as evil as Trotsky, and tries to dispose of them quietly using ice axes. It’s just another form of lying political dictatorship, which claims that good social intentions justify lying, that suppression of dissent is necessary to defend the socialist revolution, that dissent is evil by definition, that socialism must be the future of humanity. It’s weird that socialism lives on after the USSR went bankrupt. It’s like the earth centred universe existing side by side with the solar system. When will someone put socialism out of its misery for good? Someone needs to write the definitive epitaph of socialism.
  4. Tom Forrester-Paton says:22nd April 2011 at 9:39 amJames, I have travelled pretty widely. In my experience Johnny Foreigner is far slower to decry the British Empire than might be imagined, and your Sudanese old man has his cohorts in India, Pakistan, the Caribbean (that I know of) and no doubt in other parts of the once-pink world. Sneering at Empire is overwhelmingly a pastime of the post-Christian Pharisees. Like warmism, it’s part of their lifestyle of vague, reflexive expiation, with a bit of simian grooming thrown in, and has no more connection with the real world.

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