Friday, 9 October 2009

Global Warming - Mann-made?

This is serious. Look at the graph, below. It shows global temperature variations over the last 2,000 years or so.

(Original here)

As James Delingpole explains:

The scary red line shooting upwards is the one Al Gore, Michael Mann, Keith Briffa and their climate-fear-promotion chums would like you to believe in. The black one, heading downwards, represents scientific reality.
The black line, scientific reality, clearly shows no overall warming.

I'll say that again: no warming.

The theory of anthropogenic global warming was sparked off by Al Gore's infamous "hockey-stick" graph, that has been thoroughly debunked as fictional. Never mind, we were told, there is ample other data that supports AGW.

Now, it seems, that other data is suspect too. Climate Audit broke the story, but it has been picked up by Delingpole (above), Bishop Hill, The Register and the Spectator. The BBC and The Guardian, usually quite interested in climate-related stories, seem to be ignoring the issue. Indeed, BH reports that The Grauniad is actually deleting comments that refer to the Yamal issue. Perhaps they are only interested if the stories point in the "right" direction.

I'm very worried, for two reasons. First, that the biggest news story of recent years, and the biggest political movement since the collapse of the hard left* could have been an elaborate scam. More seriously, that resources may have been wasted on a truly monumental scale, resources that could have genuinely helped so many.

*an interesting co-incidence, I have always thought


  1. I am a scientific layman. I am at home with the idea that we have a responsibility to look after the environment. I am unsurprised that there is evidence that the climate is changing, nor am I surprised that there are data which may be interpreted as implying we have something to do with it. Perhaps those conclusions are right. But what always astonishes me, as someone who is immersed in the history of ideas, is the sheer confidence of those proposing AGW.

    The history of science (as of many fields) is a catalogue of ideas which, though widely accepted in one age, often turn out later to be false, or misleading, or only an approximation fitting to a certain level etc. I wonder what the grounds are for thinking AGW is certainly not one of those theories. The variables, known and unknown, must be immense, so the confidence looks artificial. The fact that the whole field is so politicised, does not help matters.

    But perhaps someone can enlighten me on this.

  2. "The BBC and The Guardian, usually quite interested in climate-related stories, seem to be ignoring the issue. "

    Well, nothing can get in the way of the celebration of the Nobel Peace Prize award, can it?

    I'm sure they'll get round to it. Sometime. Maybe when there's a 'Q' in the month...

  3. "But what always astonishes me, as someone who is immersed in the history of ideas, is the sheer confidence of those proposing AGW."

    The clue is in the first syllable...

  4. Not artificial, Albert; misplaced. Proper scientists look for errors in their theories, not validations.

    Julia - good point(s).

  5. 'Artificial' in the sense of being motivated by something non-scientific - politics for example.

  6. The theory of the "greenhouse effect" sounds plausible to me, but whether its effect is large and whether the amounts of the relevant gases which are produced by human industry are open to discussion.

    As Albert correctly points out, there are many examples of theories which a few years later are laughed about. There was a massive scare about microwave ovens in the 70s, but by the 80s they were commonplace. Radioactive toothpaste was thought to be a good idea at one point.

    I think there are very good arguments about cutting our environmental impact and dependence on imported energy, but I can't get "religious" about global warming.

    On the left it is now seen as an article of ideology. A friend recently commented to me in all seriousness "I now regard not recycling as equivalent to racism or homophobia". I am not exaggerating.

  7. I agree with the initial thoughts of BE(!). In the graph have we followed the black line or the red line since 2000? 500 years in two centimetres makes it difficult to discern but as BE points out, climate warming does sound plausible.

    Day in, day out there is human activity on the surface of this planet constantly burning up fossil fuel. There is increasing demand for dairy and meat products. (I acknowledge that the switch to biofuels may lead to the world's need for food not being satisfied.)

    It is generally agreed that the earth is known as Gaia, a self correcting/ controlling 'organism.' However, any system if pushed far enough will be breakdown. Then we would be in trouble. So perhaps making changes now is not so fanciful in that there is the risk that not doing anything may leave us a mess we are unable to control.

    My opinions are:

    1. We need to ascertain the limits/measurements of the atmosphere and all influencing factors so we can comprehend Gaia and what she can can cope with. This is being done and while open to critical review, the work should be encouraged.

    2. Reserves of fossil fuels are declining, independent of global warming, so alternative energy sources need to be secured for the security of the country and for the well-being of mankind.

    3. Resources devoted to this are not necessarily wasted. They still provide those involved with a living and this investment is circulated back into the economy. There is not such a shortage of brain power, or such disproportionate investment in this area, that other areas of research are being neglected in my opinion.

    This website has been recommended to me in the past if one is a sceptic. I have yet to be convinced. ;-)

  8. Broken window fallacy.

  9. Here is wiki's link to the broken window parable. In essence, 'Facing severely underutilized resources (as in the Great Depression), John Maynard Keynes argued that it may make economic sense to build totally useless pyramids in order to stimulate the economy, raise aggregate demand, and encourage full employment.'

    This may be true but I think the case for either side remains unproven at this stage. We are releasing substantial quantities of CO2 and other toxic gases into the atmosphere on a daily basis.

  10. Anon - exactly.

    We need to consider the impact we are having on the environment. We need to consider the problems that we face as a result of vital raw materials whose supply is finite.

    We're not; we are focussing entirely on one specific issue, that of CO2 emissions. If that unravels, and while we wasted all our efforts on "solving" it we missed the chnace to solve the genuine problems, it will be a tad embarassing!