Tag Archives: IPCC

XR & Climate Emergency B*llocks

JR Max Wheel

21st October 2019

It is impossible to listen to or watch the news or many programmes without the ridiculous use of the phrase “climate emergency”. Many UK towns and the Government have declared it to be so, as has the Holy See, so it must be true. Except that it isn’t, in any normal understanding of the word “emergency”. XR and its lunatic antics are busy scaring the wits out of children and young adults, who naturally are concerned at the allegedly imminent planetary demise. These fanatics recall some medieval death cult, which is pretty far removed from any science, let alone the complexities of climate science.

The latter group unfortunately is equally guilty of grotesque levels of alarmism and equally quick to label any alternate views as those of “deniers”. No sane individual fails to deplore and demand action over mass pollution, air quality, loss of habitat and biodiversity, but this is all conflated with what used to be called global warming but has now morphed into climate change and again to emergency. Only part of this story is factually defensible, much is pure speculation, misleading extrapolation of trends or politically motivated . The notion that we are at or have passed some notional tipping point beyond which any adaptation or action is, or will be, fruitless is not to put too fine a point on it, nuts.

The IPCC, (not always the most reliable of sources) has rubbished this claim, as well as Dr. Taalas, the Finnish Director of the World Meteorological Organization. Speaking to Finland’s financial newspaper Talouselämä (“The Journal”) on 6 September 2019, Petteri Taalas called for cooler heads to prevail, saying that he does not accept arguments of climate alarmists that the end of the world is at hand.

This message needs to be repeated and most especially in schools, young children can hardly be expected to discriminate in an area of science which is so extreme in its forecasts, when so much is still hotly disputed. The idea that there is scientific consensus is simply wrong on both counts, the causes and degree of any give level of climate change.

 Whether the “greenhouse” effect is actually responsible for the modest levels of warming is debatable, and this argument has been going on since the greenhouse effect was first mooted in 1856. The whole debate has become “toxic”, scientists who don’t subscribe to the so-called consensus have been removed from their academic positions. Many are both well-known and formerly respected figures from prestigious universities. The latest being well known zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford from Canada’s University of Victoria, there are many, many more, whilst some have just given up an unequal struggle. That in itself is an academic scandal, as is the deliberate manipulation of temperature figures whether the infamous “Climategate saga” to emotive imagery of dying polar bears or walrus, allegedly perishing from the melting of their natural habitat of disappearing sea ice.

This has also been shown to be specious, not that anyone listening to the BBC would be any the wiser. Its extraordinary one-eyed stance on climate change means that any views outside what has become the dominant narrative are totally ignored- a further example of total bias.

Some fascinating work has been done by researchers in China who have found that the climate in N. China has been warming since 4000 B.C!  They then go on to show that there is a 500-year cycle n the behaviour of China’s monsoon. And worse that low levels of Sun activity may produce a global cooling, the very reverse of what we are taught.

What about CO2 then, everyone understands that it is a greenhouse gas, but many disagree about its causal effects. Rising levels of emissions are a fact, but if so, why is there no corresponding jump in the temperature trend. CO2 levels have been historically significantly higher than today the comparative weight given to CO2 as a causal factor seem wildly overestimated. Climate models clearly run “too hot” and hence are poor predictors.

What is fascinating is that the IPCC assigns very little weight to the role and change in the behaviour of the sun. This is astonishing, as our nearest star is a fusion reactor barely 150km away and yet its effects are regarded by the IPCC as somehow minimal.   

A controversial yet fascinating research by Professors Shaviv and Henrik Svensmark argue that the earth’s climate appears to be not especially sensitive to levels of atmospheric gases. Warming as calculated by the IPCC, based on gase,s is around 2.3W/m2 from roughly 1750-2011 This is much greater than mere sun radiance and  implies that something else is amplifying these effects, According to Svensmark and colleagues it may be the change in cosmic ray activities over the 11 year sun cycle, A very active sun interrupts the level of cosmic ray penetration to the Earth’s atmosphere, a weaker stage of the cycle allows more penetration this leads to an increase on cloud formation and reflection of heat into space. This is quite a persuasive argument and correlates well with actual LT temperature records. If so, it is a natural variation and no amount of curtailing flying,  driving , eating meat or similar measures will make the slightest difference.

So, for anyone with an open mind it looks very reasonable to look for rational explanations and to ignore the XR fruitcakes.
 

If it ain’t broke, go fix it anyway. Experimental fudge

JR Max Wheel & Graham Reid

5 November 2013

“The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted.” – Lichtenberg

It is surely no accident that two respected journals have published editorials on flawed methodologies in science last month; the Economist (19/25th.October) and New Scientist (19th Oct 2013). One wonders what took them so long as the original paper to which both refer was originally published in 2005 by eminent US epidemiologist Prof. John Ionannidis.

They highlight that research is increasingly driven by finding topics on which funding is available, rather than vice versa, a deeply worrying trend.

He specifically took issue with biotech research and in particular neuroscience. No matter.  What is pertinent is that it has laid bare some core issues, that experimental results are frequently not capable of replication, that (some) researchers do not have good knowledge of appropriate statistical techniques and that results are accepted willy- nilly, and despite peer reviews.

Needless to say neither journal thought to extend their probe into areas where flawed research and modelling has proved to be spectacularly wrong, economic quantitative analysis (a subject which we will analyse in more detail in a separate post) and climate change, where at best, results are hotly disputed and not as most mouthpieces would have us believe, a happy consensus of settled science.

That both areas have vital implications for Government policy decisions makes this a matter of urgency.

Scientific methodology goes back at least to the Greeks and in its refined form, from roughly the 17th.C. It should consist of formulation, hypothesis, prediction, testing and analysis, so what has gone wrong?

If we follow the Economist’s analysis it has become a mix of careerism, a rise in researchers chasing funds, poor techniques and a highly questionable peer review process, more interested in promoting a cause or seeking more grants than examining results.

Yet testing is a fundamental part of the scientific process. If a leading biotech company can only repeat 6 out of 53 landmark papers and a major pharmaceutical company barely a quarter of 67 important papers, something is seriously awry. Scientists will make mistakes and as mistakes are vital to the understanding process, quality review is surely essential.

There is a less comfortable viewpoint which seems especially marked in contentious areas like climate change, deliberate avoidance, misrepresentation or manipulation of “inconvenient” data. Here the subject matter takes on a quasi religious tone and a selective deafness towards anyone questioning the mythical consensus. This is also deeply political and hence has strayed right outside the boundaries of normal scientific discourse, and so divided is opinion between “deniers” and “warmists”, that meaningful dialogue has gone out of the window.

The recent IPCC report (AR5), whose key summary is meant for policy makers, so it’s going to affect all of us is now 95% certain of its results of man-made global warming, up from 90%! Thankfully for the rest of us, Douglas Keenan has both looked at the methods and the forecasts with a keen statistician’s mind in his draft analysis.

He has concluded that the modelling of the time series data is once again deeply flawed. There are known issues about the non-linearity of climate readings over long time scales and yet the IPCC, whilst recognizing its model’s inconsistencies has no hesitation in drawing unequivocal conclusions from it.

Firstly the model is statistically inappropriate; secondly it admits that the model predictions is not outside the possibilities of natural climate variability, thirdly the report admits that, in essence, we do not understand the data well enough to choose a model. The UK Met. Office hardly comes out of this with any credit either, despite repeated Parliamentary questions about the model’s suitability and the reliability of its results, there is a deafening silence. Many errors persist from the time of the first assessment (AR1)

So, we have a policy recommendation based on a dodgy model, where the data is poorly understood and cannot be held to be statistically significant, in short we have no idea whether the Earth is warming, cooling or staying the same. If this were not bad enough the science community has closed ranks and refused to contemplate or engage with critical thought.

This is just the statistical tip of the iceberg with no consideration of alternative explanations of effects of changes to the sun’s cycles or a host of alternative viewpoints on causation of climate change.

We are grateful to the Bishop Hill blog for Keenan’s analysis http://bishophill.squarespace.com/

We started this article with Prof. Ioannidis concerns to show that the existing methodologies were flawed, short-cut or simply wrong – false positives or false negatives and in particular in bioscience. He is right to be concerned, because it is highly likely that the same issues do occur in other fields of study, in so doing he has done an important service.

The IPCC makes much of its credentials as the expert mouthpiece of the United Nations on climate, we have a right to expect more quality analysis and they have a duty to provide it. Maybe the research gravy train has simply proved irresistible.

This is not science, it is opinion and embedded in virtually every nature programme and promulgated by every environment correspondent in the national media and the BBC. So prevalent has this become that questioners are treated as hostile, so it is now dogma. This is why reform of science is critical.

 

 

IPCC- the dangers of asking the wrong question

JR Max Wheel

30th September 2013

Anyone wishing to comment on the matter of climate changes runs into a wall of noise and vituperation. This has degenerated into a quasi-religious debate, accompanied by strong overtones of original sin- it is our fault and we must adjust according to the IPCC’s highly prescriptive views, which means a massive shift to decarbonise economies in a time scale that is both increasingly unaffordable and too rapid to be achievable.

The mandate of the IPCC was not however to ask what causes climate change and what, if anything can be done about it, it was an entirely different question. It was “for the purpose of assessing “the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change. It does not carry out new research nor does it monitor climate-related data. It bases its assessment mainly on published and peer reviewed scientific technical literature”. In other words it assumes that climate change is a human induced matter from the outset, so asking and funding climate scientists ( and many who are not) produces an unequivocal answer that 95% of expert opinion understands that humans are indeed responsible for it.

In a devastating critique of IPCC’s methodology and practice, Professor McKitrick, a member of the IPCC demonstrates that there is an opaque method of lead author selection, an absence, even a suppression of of giving space to dissenting reviews, conflicts of interest, deliberate rewriting by lead authors, and manipulation of data. If this were not bad enough, the appointees from the 195 countries contain many who lack specific expertise on climate science. Stunningly a journalist, Donna Laframboise, unearthed that the World Wildlife Fund had appointed 130 scientists in a targeted campaign, who were responsible for penning 28 out of 44 articles and were coordinating lead authors in 15 of the 44 chapters of the last report AR4. This does not even address the now infamous Climategate scandal.  McKitrick recommendations are for improvement in the whole methodology and management of the IPCC system. Link here: http://www.rossmckitrick.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/mckitrick-ipcc_reforms.pdf

This matters deeply because it is a UN body and should have an unimpeachable standing. It does not and is leading to ever growing public dissatisfaction with IPCC alarmism and myth creation (melting glaciers and declining polar bear populations). The green lobby has already landed the public with inefficient wind and solar technologies supported by large subsidies and expensive back-up for intermittent and hence non-dispatchable power supply.

Instead of asking what is causing climate change, the IPCC have sought to focus on scientific papers which answer the question that they have asked themselves, the evidence that it is caused solely or mostly by human behaviour:  this is the antithesis of scientific methodology and at worst and exercise in pure propaganda. As it happens there are a number of competing views about causes of climate change from cosmic radiation and cloud formation, sun cycles, variable earth orbits, volcanic activity, ocean current circulations, these may or may not be exaggerated or diminished by human activity. The truth is we do not know and in such circumstances, scientists should follow the scientific method and establish testable hypotheses.

This is, however, a political battle as much as a scientific one and as such it is open to a mix of dogma and self-interest (attractive funding streams for academics). Climate change is certainly no new phenomenon or life on earth would simply not have evolved. In such long time scales and such complex interactions, we do not know. Why then should Lord Stern assert that “Business will be watching world leaders and their ministers to check they understand the findings of the IPCC”. Perhaps the question should be that the public ( and its leaders) should examine the workings of the IPCC and its supporters and ensure that they deliver properly structured, transparent and sensible science and policies and not assume that the rot set in 1750 with Western industrialization

Climate Change & UK Energy chaos

JR Max Wheel

4th July 2013

Two irritating items caught my attention on the BBC, particularly appropriate at a time when the Broadcaster has been hauled over the coals for accusations of bias. Firstly, a fatuous piece from science correspondent David Shukman, standing in Death Valley, and delivering an apocalyptic piece about the highest temperature recorded on the planet at 52.5C and the possibility that it might reach 53C, shock horror! The second was a report on the decadal statistics showing that the period of 2001-2010 were the hottest ever, according to the World Meteorological Organization and linking it back to rising sea levels, increased deaths from heat waves and extreme weather events.  The usual subtext is of course it’s all our fault because, like original sin, it’s man-made and hence the other sub text that goes with this type of reporting we should all get behind renewable energy because it is the only hope of reversing or managing this trend.  Contrary views are neither welcome nor encouraged. The truth is that no one actually knows what causes climate change, but without it we would certainly not be here at all.

It is part of the amazing 97.4% of climate scientists are in consensus that global warming is a man-made problem. All your fault then, turn the lights off, unplug the fridge and get back to your cave.

Well-known author Michael Crichton nailed this a decade ago when he pointed out that consensus in science is not a healthy issue at all and that it is precisely the challenges to the status quo that has allowed the most profound insights, so no Galileo, Newton, or Einstein welcome then.

The tissue of fabricated evidence and manipulated figures from the IPCC, not many climate scientists there, and the scandal of Climategate e-mails, pontifical interventions from politicians like Al Gore make for dire reading.

We need some facts because we cannot base any rational policy decisions on the ever-growing pile of selective science and some of it from both sides of the divide.

For the serious review of the literature, it is worth reading the detailed review of SINTEF, a Norwegian think-tank based in Trondheim. Link here: Report A 24071 dated April 2013.

First, here is that famous 97.4% consensus- oh dear only 77 peer reviewed climate scientists, not quite so impressive.

Let us continue the now established practice of selective quotes.

1997/8 was the hottest year on record in the very warm 1990s until the WMO produced its latest figures, (Mann et al) oh no it wasn’t !Go back just a few hundred years more to the period 1000 – 1200 AD and you find that the climate was considerably warmer than now. This era is known as the Medieval Warm Period.” It said, “By 1300 it began to cool, and by 1400 we were well into the Little Ice Age. It is no surprise that temperatures in 1997 were warmer than they were in the Little Ice Age”, and so if “1997 had been compared with the years around 1000 AD, 1997 would have looked like a rather cool year” rather than being the warmest on record. It said that the Medieval Warm Period predated industrial greenhouse gas emissions, and had a natural origin.

Also, measurement is a big problem. A study by Watts et al. (2012) showed that half of the recent warming measured in the US is artificial, caused by measuring problems:

Ah well but it is the dangerous C02 then, – um, no apparently. This paper argues even causality is wrong

Implications of the Secondary Role of Carbon Dioxide and Methane Forcing in Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future (Physical Geography, Volume 28, Number 2, pp. 97-125, March 2007)- Willie H. Soon

The paper argues that: “A review of the recent refereed literature fails to confirm quantitatively that carbon dioxide (CO2) radiative forcing was the prime mover in the changes in temperature, ice sheet volume, and related climatic variables in the glacial and interglacial episodes of the past 650,000 years, even under the “fast-response” framework where the convenient if artificial distinction between forcing and feedback is assumed. Atmospheric CO2 variations generally follow changes in temperature and other climatic variables rather than preceding them.”

If this were not mad or bad enough we have chosen renewable energy, supported by mass subsidies argued by some to be one the largest transfers from poor to rich in history. No objections to sensible renewables, hydro power, tidal and geo-thermal but who seriously would argue that solar is suitable for the latitude of the UK or that wind power is anything less than intermittent, lacks scale, is destructive of the landscape and requires hefty conventional back-up.

The world it is now slowly being realised is swimming in hydrocarbons, conventional and alternative, yet we have closed coal stations at Didcot and we have also embarked on the conversion of the largest power station at Drax from coal to wood biomass. This requires chopping down trees and shipping the feedstock thousands of miles from Canada, the US and Sweden. How green a solution is that? The Electricity Market Reform is so badly drafted as a Bill as to need a complete rewrite to keep the lights on in the UK. Meanwhile Germany racks up new emissions levels and builds more coal-fired stations, albeit not at anything like the rate of China and the pariah state the US has virtually halved emissions by shifting from coal to gas.

The complex science of climate is driven by many factors from ocean temperatures to space weather, so a consensus from the self-interested and doom sayers is no basis for framing policy whatsoever,