I’d been meaning to write today about why Oxford University should divest itself of one of its zoology graduates. But I’m afraid that will have to wait because I’ve just read today’s Guardian cover story and have realised that the stupid runs much deeper than George Monbiot and goes right to the top.
The piece is sub-headed “Why it’s time to start divesting from the companies that already have far more fossil fuels than they can ever be allowed to use” and it’s written by the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger.
Now in the past I have been fairly agnostic about Rusbridger. His Harry Potterish appearance, his Quixotic secret ambition to be a concert pianist, his £400,000 salary package and his public school education (Cranleigh) all led me to believe that, for all the ghastliness of his newspaper’s politics, he was deep down a loveably ramshackle closet capitalist and probably not nearly as brainlessly left-wing as the Guardian.
What changed my view first was the Guardian’s disgusting complicity in the Edward Snowden intelligence leaks. Amazingly Rusbridger’s newspaper shared a Pulitzer prize for this, despite growing evidence that these leaks have done untold damage to the security of both Britain and the US and have certainly aided and abetted Islamist terror groups like ISIS.
Now Rusbridger has jumped onto yet another suicidal bandwagon, this time cheerleading a campaign for all the world’s big institutions, fund managers and so on to “divest” their share portfolios of their fossil fuel holdings. (Among the logos of companies featured on the Guardian’s cover as examples of “the most polluting coal, gas and oil companies in the world” is that of Shell, which for a long time sponsored the Guardian’s Environment pages. I hope Shell appreciates this display of gratitude).
In vain, though, do you find in Rusbridger’s lengthy apologia for this campaign any evidence as to why it is justified.
It is, rather, little more than a collection of slogans and dubious assertions. This first paragraph gives you a taste.
The world has much more coal, oil and gas in the ground than it can safely burn. That much is physics. Anyone studying the question with an open mind will almost certainly come to a similar conclusion: if we and our children are to have a reasonable chance of living stable and secure lives 30 or so years from now, according to one recent study 80 per cent of the known coal reserves will have to stay underground, along with half the gas and a third of the oil reserves.
This is scientific, political, economic and social illiteracy. It presupposes, first, that the case for man-made global warming theory is proven (which – duh – it so totally isn’t); and second, that all the nations of the world will have the collective will refuse to take advantage of the natural resources beneath their seas and their soil on the say so of kooks like the Prince of Wales, Al Gore and Alan Rusbridger. I particularly love that phrase “anyone studying the question with an open mind….”, which clearly doesn’t apply to Rusbridger himself. If it did, he would surely at least have acquainted himself with the fact the 87 per cent of the world’s energy demand is currently satisfied by fossil fuels and that renewable energy has proved itself quite unable to replace them on any economically viable level.
Read the rest at Breitbart London
I immediately went to your site and was not disappointed. Maybe there is a God with logic and brains out there! Now if we could get one of the well known greenies from here to quoth a similar mea culpa. I am not counting on Al Gore to see the light.
I am particularly excited about prospects of Thorium and/or Gen. 4 nuclear power
However, you really need to “change the record” w.r.t. your characiture of global warming as a “new religion” (a la Freeman Dyson) or “climate alarmism” (a la Richard Lindzen)….
You have suggested elsewhere that there is a large body of british sceptics who question the consensus represented by the IPCC (which you claim has been discredited). However, as usual, your tiresome and unsubstantiated accusations fail to take into account the following:
40% of the US population think that human activity is changing our climate and/or that any such change is a serious problem;
Whereas 70% of the UK population think it is.
However, at least 75% of scientists think it is.
More specifically, at least 82% of earth scientists think it is.
And finally, the equivalent figure is 97% of climate scientists.
That is what I call a consensus.
Furthermore, what is the sceptical position?
“The atmosphere may not be warming; but if it is, this is probably due to natural variation; but even if it isn’t, the amount of warming is insignificant; but if it is, the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages; but if they don’t, technology will solve problems as they arise; but if it can’t, we shouldn’t wreck the economy to fix the problem.
(Adapted from p.257 of “The Rough Guide to Climate Change” (2nd Ed), Robert Henson (2008).
That is what I call a joke!
Wikipedia has nailed you guys for what you are when it defines “climate change denial as… “organized attempts to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming“
However, as David Aaronovitch observes in his new book “Voodoo Histories“ Conspiracy theories normally improve on reality. Therefore, it is AGW denial – rather than acceptance – that looks like a conspiracy and yes, in the UK, the Institute of Economic Affairs is its biggest corporate proponent. However, with the IEA, the clue to their problem is in their name – they are all economists! It is just a shame they did not shut up and go away when Sir Nicholas Stern pointed out that climate AGW is “the greatest market failure in history“(right there on p.1). And before anyone suggests it – that rules out “discounting” future costs as an easy get-out clause…
Here endeth the lesson.
– Quote above by Martin Lack
Martin, this is a strawman attack on AGW critics. The climate is always changing, usually at rates faster than at present as proved by the fact that the current rate of rise of sea level is trivial compared to the average since the last ice age was at its peak!
So your argument must begin by falsifying the record to make natural variations in temperature look unprecedented (the hockey stick curve). AGW theorists invent a falsely stable natural climate history, allowing them to then claim that CO2 injections correlate with their faked temperature rise. This is what James exposed in climategate.
But it gets worse. The “greenhouse effect” is fake, as recent research on cloud cover shows. Unlike a greenhouse, where water vapour amplifies warming when CO2 is injected, in the real world without the glass ceiling of the greenhouse, water vapour that absorbs sunshine infrared and heats up is able to buoyantly rise until it meets cool air a few thousand feet up, forming cloud. As research shows, this is the end of the positive feedback theory whereby H2O amplifies CO2 effects on temperature by a factor of 2. Instead, the real bouyant H2O rises to form clouds which increases the earth’s albedo and cools the planet. So it produces negative feedback, which cancels out temperature changes from CO2 increases.
Sooner or later you’re going to have to confront that this is real, solid physics, backed up by published research (e.g. see the evidence for strong negative feedback from cloud cover during 15 tropical intraseasonal oscillations in Spencer, Braswell, Christy, and Hnilo, “Cloud and Radiation Budget Changes Associated with Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillations,” Geophysical Research Letters, 9 August 2007).
Please get real. CO2 has only increased from 300 ppm to 388 ppm in the last hundred years. A tiny increase in cloud cover is enough to cancel out the temperature effect, and the mechanism for this increase in cloud cover is simple to grasp: http://www.examiner.com/civil-rights-in-portland/hungarian-physicist-dr-ferenc-miskolczi-proves-co2-emissions-irrelevant-earth-s-climate which includes the sorry tale of NASA censoring the anti-greenhouse mechanism of negative feedback from H2O:
The thing to note is that the dogma is so hardened that, as Al Gore/Comical Ali said, you can get away with lumping critics of the beloved AGW regime into the category of moonlanding deniers or holocaust deniers. In fact, you have to do this if you are in the AGW religion, because with all your data fake, you have no alternative than to throw mud and try to end the argument before it begins.
Dr Zagoni’s evidence, is that the NOAA data showing a fall in the the global average absolute humidity diminished by 1 per cent from 1948-2009: “This decrease in absolute humidity has exactly countered all of the warming effect that our CO2 emissions have had since 1948.”
His argument here is that CO2 increased by 25% over that 61 year period (from 310 to 388 ppm), and so the 1% drop in H2O as water vapour over that period has cancelled it out (H2O in vapour – not cloud cover – form is 30 times stronger as a greenhouse gas than CO2, therefore a 1% drop in H2O is equivalent to a 30% drop in CO2).
This is a nice clean evidence-based argument, but I don’t like the way Dr Zagoni (and others explaining that H2O is negative feedback cancelling CO2, not positive amplifying it) goes about his media relations. He starts off with a lot of technical modelling, all idealized stuff which is riddled with approximations and things for critics (the pro-AGW lobby) to get hung up on. He should put up the humidity fall graph and work on getting the explanation crystal clear, so even Al Gore could be put on the spot by it. Also, he needs to focus on explaining the simple physics for why the humidity has fallen: the warm humid air rises, making clouds.
The question is, what will it take to make people wake up and smell the coffee on this one?
1. “A Rough Guide to Climate Change” is no “Strawman attack. This is because Robert Henson admits that no single denialist believes all of these things (p.257) but then spends the next 8 pages disproving each proposition in turn.
2. MBH98 did not make the MWP or the LIA disappear, they (and all other reconstructions using different proxies) merely put those events in their proper perspective; as it is warmer now than it has ever been in human history (even NASA says so).
3. True – water vapour has flattened the AGW that would otherwise have occurred (just as did atmospheric pollution between 1945 and 1975). But does that mean we should rely on it to solve our problem – absolutely not! Furthermore, water vapour is not the primary cause of the climate change we are now experiencing. In particular – in case you missed it (then or now) – your information on the efficacy of cloud cover is out of date, as this NOAA study from last year clearly demonstrates. Reading your posts is like reading one of my children’s semi-automated school reports and, clearly, you need to update your database of potential response material.
4. Al Gore said, “Two thousand scientists, in a hundred countries… have produced… a consensus that we… face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming.” (09/09/2005). Whereas, James Inhofe said, “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.”(28/07/2003). Only one of these men can be right, but I know which one I would put my money on – the one backed by 97% of climate scientists, 82% of earth scientists and 75% of all scientists!
5. As I have said to you before, water vapour is continuously varying in space and time; it always has done and always will. However, at any one time and in any one place it is typically between zero and 3%. Therefore, it is simply intellectually dishonest to ignore the fact that there has been a 40% increase in CO2 levels since 1850, when they were already as high as they had been for 200k years. Furthermore, they are now higher than they have been for tens of millions of years. To continue to argue that this is not likely to cause the Earth’s climate system stress is reckless to say the least.
I am fully awake and enjoying my coffee, how about you?
I am looking forward to seeing tonight’s Horizon programme: I note your denial that you objected to the line of questioning put to you. If so, who is the source of claims that you did object? Furthermore, if Sir Paul Nurse is not intellectually capable of “raping” you, can you please enlighten me as to the scientific credentials that qualify you to make your cynical pronouncements on the subject of climate change?
Even if the likes of Sir Paul Nurse, and/or David Mackay (see http://withouthotair.com [Part I, chapter 1 on “Motivations” especially]) cannot convince you that anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are the primary causes of acceleration of the “greenhouse effect” since the Industrial Revolution, would you also argue that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is flawed? Would you indeed deny that the concept of entropy is a myth?
Even if you cannot bring yourself to acknowledge that the 10 warmest years in the last 200 have all been in the last 3 decades; can you accept that the Earth’s resources and its capacity to accommodate humans are finite? Unfortunately, the Limits to Growth hypothesis of Meadows et al (1972) has been proven correct and, very soon now, we will have to confront some of those limits. The real myth is that perpetual growth is the solution to all our problems. It cannot be the solution to anything; it is our ultimate problem.
Anyone who denies this is denying the reality of both the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the concept of entropy; and I for one would not dare to stick my neck out that far.
2. I wrote that it’s now warmer than ever before, since climate is always varying one way or another and it’s been warming since the minimum in sea levels (120 metres lower than today) 18,000 years ago. I’ve in previous comments commented on the mini ice age, caused by the North Atlantic conveyor e.g. Golf Stream shutting down due to ice shelfs melting and flooding the North Atlantic with bouyant fresh (non salty) water.
3. The NOAA data from 1948 to now shows the fall in H2O vapour. You write: “Furthermore, water vapour is not the primary cause of the climate change we are now experiencing. In particular – in case you missed it (then or now) – your information on the efficacy of cloud cover is out of date, as this NOAA study from last year clearly demonstrates.”
You’ve completely misunderstood what Susan Solomon (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), co-chair of the 2007 IPCC report, said. She said that the increase in H2O in the stratosphere caused 30% of the global warming in the 1990s, and thad thet 10% drop in H2O in the stratosphere since 2000 has had a cooling effect, not a warming effect.
The Guardian article you linked indirectly to (via a nonsense propaganda blog!), by David Adam on 29 Jan 2010, “Water vapour caused one-third of global warming in 1990s, study reveals”, starts with a photo of a cloud, captioned underneath:
“A 10% drop in water vapour, 10 miles up has had an effect on global warming over the last 10 years, scientists say.”
What David Adam and the Guardian editors conveniently fail to highlight in the caption is that the “effect” over tyhe past 10 years was cooling, not warming. In other words, the water effect over the past 10 years DID EXACTLY WHAT I TOLD YOU: IT STOPPED GLOBAL WARMING!!!!
It’s a classic example of the highly biased Guardian misinforming highly biased people like you into making lying attacks on scientists. The article did go on to eventually state: “A subsequent decline in water vapour after 2000 could explain a recent slowdown in global temperature rise, the scientists add.” Apparently you didn’t read that? – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/29/water-vapour-climate-change
The 10% drop in stratospheric H2O in 2000-2010 is included in the NOAA data I quoted. If you know anything about climate, you’d know there is no water in the stratosphere to speak of: it’s concentrated below the tropopause. So that’s a strawman argument by you, yet again.
“Reading your posts is like reading one of my children’s semi-automated school reports and, clearly, you need to update your database of potential response material.”
Martin, you should not start getting personally abusive until you know the facts. Your incompetence to see that even the Guardian article you refer to agrees with what I said (the NOAA data from 1948-2009 showing a fall in total H2O vapour) shows you’re the one with the problems. Maybe you need to stop and think for a change before jumping to conclusions?
“As I have said to you before, water vapour is continuously varying in space and time; it always has done and always will.”
We agree here that the total amount of H2O in the atmosphere is not varying: what I’ve been telling you is that the partition of that H2O between vapour and liquid droplet phases has varied. The NOAA data show a fall in vapour by 1% since 1948, with an increase in cloud cover (albedo increasing). As H2O vapour falls, the greenhouse effect due to H2O falls, and it’s 30 times stronger as a greenhouse gas than CO2, so a 1% fall in H2O vapour is like a 30% fall in CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas. As condensed H2O (cloud droplets) increased, it reflected more sunlight away from the earth. So the change in partition cancels out CO2 effects, just as your beloved Guardian stated has occurred in the past decade!
As ever, you are highly selective about which points you choose to agrue and those which you choose to ignore. I would give you, at most, 10 years until you will have to O/D on humble pie.
As I stated, Susan Solomon (US NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), co-chair of the 2007 IPCC report said that the increase in H2O in the stratosphere caused 30% of the global warming in the 1990s, and that the 10% drop in H2O in the stratosphere since 2000 has had a cooling effect, not a warming effect.
The key data that debunks AGW is NOAA’s 1948-2009 curves showing a 1% drop in H2O vapour, equivalent to a 30 x 1% = 30% drop in CO2 greenhouse gas equivalent, which well cancels out the 25% rise in CO2 measured during this period.
Since it suits you, you ignore this complete set of long-term data, you selectively focus on a subset of it – for the last 10 years – by a Solomon at NOAA who was co-chair of the biased 2007 IPCC report – and then you accuse me of being “selective”!
I include all the evidence from 1948-2009. You only comment on the last 10 years. So you’re the one being highly selective. The data is in, and you’re disproved. First, there is no non-fiddled evidence for any unnatural global warming. All the data is fiddled. Tree ring growth is a function of cloud cover and rainfall, not merely air temp. Weather stations are affected by nearby city or industry growth, pumping out local heat (not a CO2 effect). Finally, weather satellites can’t see 62% of the surface because it’s under cloud.
So they just measure the surface Planck spectrum and temperature for a biased sample of 38% of the earth’s area, namely that not under clouds. This biased sample then has to be corrected using flawed procedures. So in fact, you are the one who is being “highly selective”, not me!