Garnaut’s Second Update, Sceptics are the White Swans: A Note from David Stockwell and Cohenite

THE Australian government relies on various science experts to argue its case in favour of anthropogenic global warming [AGW]; people like Will Steffen, David Karoly and the ubiquitous Tim Flannery supply the scientific credentials for the government’s belief in AGW.

The economic gravitas to the government’s proposed economics measures to solve AGW are provided by their go-to man, Professor Ross Garnaut. Garnaut does come with some impressive economic academic credentials from ANU and the University of Melbourne. Garnaut also has considerable experience in private industry and is chairman of Lihir Gold, the New Guinea based gold-mining company.

In 2008 former PM Rudd engaged Garnaut to prepare an Interim Report to support the then Rudd government’s intention to introduce an ETS to solve AGW. With Rudd no longer PM, the current government under PM Gillard has commissioned Garnaut to provide updates to his 2008 Interim Report to justify the Gillard government’s intention to introduce a carbon tax to solve AGW; make of that what you will.

This article looks at Garnaut’s second update [there is a link to a critique of Garnaut’s first update below]. Garnaut’s second update looks at the science supporting AGW. This science shows warming over the recent period. That much can be agreed with, but just about everything else Garnaut’s science says, how much warming and particularly what has caused that warming, is problematic and subject to strong contrary scientific evidence. So, when Garnaut boasts in the press “I was right about climate change” that is a hollow boast.

Perhaps realising that his scientific foundation is shaky Garnaut begins his update by invoking the decidedly un-scientific consensus argument in support of AGW. Garnaut does this by only conceding that “a small number of qualified scientists who publish in credible outlets maintain the view that human activity is small among the factors driving global warming.” This is obviously untrue as there are many scientists now rejecting AGW. The sceptical scientists have now been increased by the group of 35 genuine climate scientists and 36 additional researchers who recently sent an Open Letter to the United States Congress expressing their view that climate change is “not the horrendous environmental threat they and others have made it out to be”.

These sceptics would agree with Garnaut when he observes that “uncertainty in the science is generally associated with the rate and magnitude rather than the direction of its conclusions.”

But like the first review where he attempted to use theological arguments of Pascal’s wager to justify policy prescription, Garnaut shows he is not a scientist by attempting to apply a legalistic criteria “beyond reasonable doubt” to scientific uncertainty.

The burden of proof in AGW is not only to show an effect of human CO2 emissions on climate, but to show that effect may cause serious harm.

Most limits on environmental pollutants are set (1) above detection levels, at levels that are (2) practically achievable, and (3) where harm is likely. Concern over barely detectable levels incapable of being measured is for unrealistic perfectionists.

Thus while many sceptics would agree with the central proposition that the Earth has been warming, it is the level of potential harm, and the existence of practically achievable solutions that determines if any action should be taken.

Even the central proposition of the mainstream science – that most of the global warming since the mid 20th century is very likely due to anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gas concentrations – does not necessarily entail harm, or actions of any kind.

Garnaut also mentions “weaknesses in the execution of the scientific mandate”, as were pointed out in the review of the International Panel for Climate Change [IPCC] by the InterAcademy Council [IAC] which found the standards of certainty used by the IPCC to be inappropriate.

But he says nothing of leading studies by Professor McKitrick’s team and Professor Koutsoyiannis’s group which found gross deficiencies in the capacity of the climate models. He just kicks the can down the road stating that “bigger and better climate models are being developed in the joint project between the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO”. In fact the best Garnaut can say about the models he relies on is that they do not make forecasts or projections but instead create “scenarios” which “are developed on the basis of expert judgements to provide plausible descriptions of how the future might unfold”. How is that not a prediction?

Garnaut argues like a lawyer arguing a case for a client on the dock, not like a scientist as imagined by Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman who says in his famous speech ‘Cargo Cult Science’.

“The idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.”

 “It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty – a kind of leaning over backwards.”

 “You should report everything that you think might make it invalid – not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results.”

 All great scientists understand they must argue both sides of the case, as they know it takes only one contradictory bit of observed evidence, a white swan, to disprove a hypothesis. The point is illustrated by the example used by Karl Popper. If your hypothesis is that all swans are black and you send out 100 assistants who return with 99 black and 1 white swan it does not mean your hypothesis has a 99% certainty of being proved. In fact it has been disproved to a certainty of 100%.

An example of Garnaut’s one-sided lawyering is seen in Box 5, reporting that Breusch and Vahid’s [B&V] update of their 2008 paper confirm a statistical warming trend. (Garnaut claims in a footnote the update is available at a website, but as of writing this website did not exist.)

B&V’s findings are cautious and lead to weaker conclusions: (1) the level of significance is 95%, which is generally considered the bare minimum level of confidence in hard sciences; (2) there are many mechanisms that could have generated the trend including increasing solar intensity, decreasing gamma-ray flux, urban heat influence, aerosols, and internal climate cycles; and (3) the temperature trend had a break or sudden increase in 1976, noted by many other researchers, that argues against a harmful long-term trend in temperature for reasons offered in a paper by Stockwell.

B&V fall over backwards to invalidate, but Garnaut’s one-sided perspective omits relevant information.

Further, Garnaut does not mention that the Australian surface temperature record is currently subject to an application for review, and Garnaut’s preferred global temperature, GISS is subject to an FOIA claim as requested information has not been forthcoming.

Garnaut also does not mention that GISS is an outlier among the temperature records and that the trend in the more reliable satellite measurements is lower, as John Christy’s team show in 2 papers. Garnaut ignores the work of McShane and Wyner which shows that modern temperatures are not exceptional.

Garnaut’s Figure 3 purports to show changes in observed global temperature since 1970 are consistent with the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios [SRES] from the IPCC [which in turn contradicts Garnaut’s claims such changes have been underestimated!]. Figure 3 is attributed to a publication (Rahmstorf 2011) which, again, cannot be checked as it is not listed in Garnaut’s references. It actually descends from a modified but incorrectly described Figure 3 in the Copenhagen Synthesis Report, originally published in Science by Rahmstorf (2007). If Rahmstorf (2007) had not been criticised for its incorrect statistical analysis by Stockwell and McIntyre, Garnaut may still be using Rahmstorf’s figure to argue that changes have been underestimated, as he did prominently in his first interim report.

Contrast this comedy of errors with the figure Dr John Christy uses to show that current temperatures are far below the “scenarios” or predictions made by models.

Other indicators such as ocean warming also confound Garnaut’s increased concern about the increased effects from AGW. Most of the Earth’s climate-relevant heat resides in the upper ocean. This heat has only been accurately measured since 2003 with the employment of the Argo flotation devices, and ocean heat has fallen since accurate measurements began. That is a big white swan.

In fact all of Garnaut’s areas of concern which he alleges show a worsening AGW effect have either been declining or increasing at a decreasing rate since either 1998 or 2003 as can be seen in a recent joint MET and NOAA The State of the Climate report. More white swans.

Garnaut’s other concerns are also shedding their black plumage as these scientists ignored by Garnaut show:

1. The super greenhouse gas, methane, has its rate of increase declining as leading expert Dr Dlugokencky shows despite an increase in 2007 probably due to natural factors

2. Nature is not losing the battle against human CO2 [section 2.3.2]. Dr Knorr’s seminal paper shows the percentage of human CO2 in the atmosphere has not changed over the last 150 years.

3. Dr Essenhigh’s paper shows that CO2 hangs around for much less time than the IPCC claims reducing its long-term warming effect.

4. Cyclones and hurricanes and extreme weather is not increasing as Dr Ryan Maue’s site shows.

5. Garnaut ignores these scientific insurance papers which contradict his claim that insurance statistics support AGW.

6. Garnaut then pokes around the Great Barrier Reef [GBR], an AGW icon if ever there was one and therefore a suitable topic for raising alarm. Garnaut relies on the work of professor Hoegh-Gulberg who has a prediction record comparable to Professor Flannery’s. Garnaut should have spoken to Professor Peter Ridd who is more sanguine about the robustness of the GBR, checked with the CSIRO which looks at genuine human effects on the GBR and what is an alternative explanation for reef bleaching.

7. Garnaut says the Black Sunday bushfires were consistent with a warming world [Box 8]. Unfortunately they were also consistent with a deplorable lack of bushfire prevention and mitigation and, in respect of urban temperatures, the Urban Heat Island effect.

8. Incredibly Garnaut refers to the Amazon as evidence of AGW. Amazongate confirmed IAC’s findings that nearly 50% of the IPCC sources were not scientific.

Garnaut concludes his science with a definition of “Dangerous Climate Change” and the possibility of tipping points. There is no doubt climate history has evidence of sudden climate changes. But the connection of these changes with CO2 is unsupported. Perhaps that is why in Garnaut’s Figure 9 Professor Will Steffen left out the CO2 history that follows temperature.

Garnaut is an economist in favour of market-based mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions. It’s ironic that the only market proven alternative to hydrocarbons for providing base-load electricity – nuclear – is completely insensitive to carbon price, because nuclear power generation is effectively illegal in Australia!

The recent tragic events in Japan have already provided ammunition for AGW supporters to oppose nuclear power and promote AGW. Like Garnaut they ignore the facts: the damaged reactor was the 40-year-old Fukushima plant, which had superseded technology, was badly sited and was due to be decommissioned; the modern reactors survived the biggest Earthquake Japan has had and new generation nuclear and thorium reactors will be even more resistant to nature.

Earthquakes are certain but the science and consequences of AGW problematic. Garnaut worries about the lack of public acceptance for his scientific evidence. Who can blame them; they have real things to worry about.


Professor Ross Garnaut’s first update to his 2008 review on AGW is critiqued here.

Dr David Stockwell is an environmental scientist and researcher with many published papers to his credit. He also runs the environmental and science blog, Niche Modelling.   Cohenite is a regular commentator at this blog.

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118 Responses to Garnaut’s Second Update, Sceptics are the White Swans: A Note from David Stockwell and Cohenite

  1. dave shorter March 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Hi Jennifer,the Labor party trotting Professor Garnaut out again reminds me of Paul Keating’s quip about dogs returning to their vomit.If it wasn’t palatable when Kevin looked at it what makes Julia think it will be palatable now? It still imposes real costs in exchange for unquantifiable,imaginary climatic benefits.Cheers, Dave.

  2. Luke March 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    At least 4 of the 8 are pure bunk. And what a load of sophistic nonsense on the climate stuff. Sigh …. but why argue ….. Although you are right Garnaut is just a hired gun (gee did I say that?) and a unilateral carbon tax is silly but probably not crippling (Gee did I say that too?)

    Sounds pretty apologetic on the nukes guys …. but but but – it was a clear day and breeze was coming from the south-east while a tsunami and an earthquake – but but but but … First reactor goes in at Newcastle near the last big Aussie quake. Should be able to stand a bit of a shake. Next one at Emerald – on the left bank of the Nogoa.

    And probably be safe from one of them thar paleo-tsunamis ! 80 metre waves at Stockton Beach ? Would give the reactor a good wash !

  3. el gordo March 17, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Can’t get enough of Bryant, he’s my flavor of the month.

    ‘In New South Wales, along the cliffs of Jervis Bay, waves reached elevations of more than 80 m above sea-level with evidence of flow depths in excess of 10 m. These waves swept 10 km inland over the Shoalhaven delta.’

  4. cohenite March 17, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Which 4 luke?

  5. bd March 17, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    I agree with your claim that Garnaut would do well to present the whole body of evidence rather than argue to a conclusion. I would have found it more compelling if you then held yourself to the same standard.
    I don’t believe you do.
    For me, this is most evident when you state: “In fact it has been disproved to a certainty of 100%.”
    I can understand how you can validly apply a “white swan” argument to an absolute claim such as “All swans are black”. As Popper argued, it takes only one white swan to disprove such an absolute claim.
    I ask you to consider, though, if it is reasonable to apply it to probabilistic claims about a complex system like climate.

  6. val majkus March 17, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    AND for an economist it’s extraordinarily lax not to estimate
    1) how much will his proposal cost Australia (directly and indirectly) AND
    2) by how much will his proposal lower temperatures
    The Americans have been doing the figures:
    New calculations applied to a U.S. Senate report reveal the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to combat global warming through regulation of greenhouse gases would theoretically take over $700 trillion, seven times the world’s gross production, to drop the earth’s temperature only 1 degree Celsius.

    and Dr David Evans recently had a post at Jo Nova’s blog – that blog is down at the moment but I think the import was if Aust totally shut down and every farting cow was shot Aust would save the world .01 C (based on IPCC calculations and assumptions being correct)

    Are we really that crazy, AND of concern to some will or should be where are we going to get the money to fund welfare payments if this happens – I’ve heard that 40% of Tasmanians receive welfare payments – it’s a sad indictment of Green policies

  7. val majkus March 17, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Here’s Dr Evans’ figures (picked up from the ACSC website) but the article is well worth a read when Jo’s website is functioning again

    Average reduction in Australia’s emissions Decrease in the temperature
    from now to 2050 in 2050 due to Australia’s reductions

    0 % 0.0000 °C
    5 % 0.0007 °C
    10 % 0.0015 °C
    20 % 0.0031 °C
    50 % 0.0077 °C
    100 % 0.0154 °C

  8. val majkus March 17, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    and see
    a couple of paras:
    Carbon pricing is supposed to create jobs by making fossil fuels appreciably more expensive, thereby creating a market signal that disfavors carbon-intensive industry and stimulates less carbon-intensive economic activity. The economic parts of theory seem sound enough.

    However, it is the political realities that the theory does not account for. Australia’s economy is very carbon intensive (PDF). Thus, if carbon pricing were to work exactly as the Prime Minister describes, it will necessary lead to a great deal of economic dislocation and change — Consider that to meet the 5% emissions reduction target (from 2000 levels), without relying on offsets or other tricks, implies that Australia’s economy would need to become as carbon efficient as Japan’s by the end of this decade. How such a profoundly disruptive transitional period would be managed is the one issue that advocates of a high carbon price have never really dealt with — the market’s invisible hand will take care of it I guess.

    There are only two realistic outcomes here. One is that the carbon tax proposal is scrapped. With this speech it seems highly unlikely that Gillard will be the one doing any scrapping. So it would probably be via an election or a change in leadership, such as if Kevin Rudd becomes captain of the Brisbane Broncos. The second possible outcome is that the carbon pricing is watered down so far that its enactment allows Labor to claim success while limiting any actual impact from the tax on the economy. Of course, that would undercut its stated purpose — to transform the economy.

    Either way, I do not see a good outcome here for Gillard or for carbon pricing. A better strategy is the one proposed in The Climate Fix — start with a very low carbon tax, one that is politically acceptable, and use the proceeds to invest in innovation. The carbon price would rise over time as the fruits of innovation make it politically acceptable to raise that price. I expect that Australia will soon provide (yet aonpther) lesson in how not to try to put a price on carbon.

  9. Gary Evans March 17, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    A quote from Mr Garnaut’s article in the Australian last Friday, “There is little doubt a warmer climate will mean higher rainfall on average across the earth”. It would have been condusive to honest debate if the likes of Tim Flannery had said this some years ago rather than the opposite, probably causing various State governments to spend billions on desalination plants that are mothballed. I have read many articles and heard many “experts” talk of worsening droughts across the planet, resulting in food shortages, refugees, food wars etc – not ONE mention of “There is little doubt a warmer climate will mean higher rainfall on average across the earth”

    As an economist you work out how much “mitigation” could have been achieved with those wasted billions!! You are all on a gravy train and having a lend of all of us!

  10. cohenite March 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Gillard relies on Garnaut in her maiden speech at Unleashed:

    Unleashed wouldn’t publish the above critique of Garnaut.

  11. Bob Campbell March 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I like it Jennifer.

    I’m a bit perplexed about how you use of the black/white swans argument as I understand it to have come from the European idea that all swans were white and that finding black ones in Oz was a marvel. Maybe you present it that way for a subtly that eludes me.

    Pascal’s wager is one of those things that really tax my mind. Much has been written about it by smarter people than me but I find it hard to understand how one can argue rationally to not be rational.

    The comment by ‘bd’ March 17, 9.02am I also find perplexing and his last para-
    “I ask you to consider, though, if it is reasonable to apply it to probabilistic claims about a complex system like climate.”
    Begs quite a few questions not only that climate science is ‘probabilistic’ and therefore outside the normal rules of science.
    The IPCC don’t consider it probabilistic. They have hard ‘scientific evidence’ to back it up.
    Like all science it must be able to be falsified by a swan of what ever colour or it is not science.

  12. cohenite March 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    Hi Bob; in Popper’s example, which is where the swans came from, the black swans were the exceptions; but I think the sceptics are the good guys so I changed the colour of the exception to white; the point of exceptions is summed up by Richard Feynman:

    [The Meaning of it All, 1999]:
    The exception proves that the rule is wrong. That is the principle of science. If there is an exception to any rule, and if it can be proved by observation, that rule is wrong.

    With AGW there are many white swans; and no black ones; the fact that AGW has so much traction is testimony to the stupidity of the msm, cowardice of politicians and big business and the duplicity of some scientists.

  13. Debbie March 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Some good points there Val and Luke,
    It doesn’t seem to matter which side of the fence we sit concerning AGW, most of us think that the carbon tax is ‘silly’ because there is no way it can achieve its stated goals.
    Good point about the nuclear plants too Luke.
    It is often lauded as a good clean alternative to coal fired power stations and in general that is definitely the case.
    The technology is sound but there are safety issues as the recent events in Japan have indicated.
    So, it probably isn’t a good idea to build them on coastlines or on fault lines and probably not on river banks either.
    The same could be said of coal fired power stations as well I would imagine?
    It’s a bit tough when we all keep demanding more power but we don’t want to be inconvenienced by the actual producer of the power.
    It’s quite silly that the only solution on the table involves extra taxes, losses and no measurable return or plan!
    It’s also rather silly to implement a tax to encourage alternatives when every known alternative is unpopular, unreliable or prohibitively expensive.
    Maybe we need to figure out the accepted alternatives first and then we could formulate a plan to implement them and then we could work out the best ways for the nation to fund them?
    Is that too sensible?
    Amazingly it is the same argument (but different resource) in the water debate.
    We need to create balance and accept that there are increasing demands and then we need to come up with a sensible plan and then we can implement it and pay for it.
    Once again, it’s a bit tough when we all keep making demands and then the only fix we’re given involves taxes and losses with no measurable returns and no sensible plan that can deliver on demands!
    They both seem to be an excellent formula to create a lot of new jobs for public servants and another set of funds for research but precious little else.
    Is that too cynical?

  14. cementafriend March 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Bob Campbell mentions the IPCC which Garnaut also references. Look at this from Donna Laframboise . How can anyone trust the IPCC or governments which appoint people who have no expertise other than PR.
    Garnaut, also, uses as the basis of his assessment the Stern report. This has been pulled to peices both for lack of understanding of technology and poor economics eg from World Economics,%20Part%201.pdf .
    Cohenite, Garnaut was chairman of Lihir Gold now thank goodness part of Newcrest. Garnaut got the hedging wrong and lost lots of money in 2007 and missed out on the gold increase in the GFC. The merger with Ballarat Gold was a very poor decision and the merger with Equigold benefitted the latter rather than shareholders of Lihir.
    Beside not have any technical knowledge Garnaut’s understanding of economics is not to good. Every engineer knows that money spent today is worth more than money spent in the future. Does Garnaut like Stern not understand discount rates or are they lying. Something better or different always comes along. Look at the money wasted on the desalination plants and will be wasted on the Conroy dream of Broadband -it will be outdated before it starts. All alternatives need to be considered in the light of the best technologies and possible near future technologies. Then one has to make sure that one is not locked on something which tomorrow becomes redundent due to changes of use or excessive cost.
    There is no economical sense in being first as Garnaut and Gilliar say. 85% of all invention never see the light of day. Less than 5% (or is it 1%) ever make money. Being first is a pure gamble. A gamble which in the hands of politicians has almost a 100% chance of losing.

  15. John Sayers March 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    I just sat there and wondered how he could get away with what he was saying.

    No one seemed to notice that he was talking total crap!

    He used academic language to say nothing.

    surely this is more important the that.

  16. cohenite March 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Yep, Garnaut got away with it; not one critical analysis in the msm; and not one defence of Garnaut here; luke’s as weak as Rolf Harris chardonnay effort doesn’t count.

  17. Hasbeen March 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Did anyone notice the thumbnail of Gillard on the Drum article mentioned by cohenite.

    It is a bit sneaky of the ABC to be airbrushing the PMs photo used on their site.

    Whoever did it is damn good too. They managed to get a smile into the eyes of the lady, something I have never seen before, in flesh or film.

    Our ABC can lie, in more ways than one, just like the lady concerned.

  18. el gordo March 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Garnaut is definitely daffy about climate change, he thinks cyclone Yassi was a global warming signal.

    The disgraceful thing about all this – is the compliant media.

  19. TonyfromOz March 18, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    I have just watched Ross Garnaut on Lateline with Tony Jones, and for the life of me, I’m blowed if I can see what I must be missing here.

    He’s calling for a figure of between $20 and $30 per ton, so let’s go with what he originally said, that $26 per ton of Carbon, or is that CO2, so I guess I’m missing something there too.

    If just the one plant, Eraring burns 6.5 million tons of coal each year, and I’ll use the (averaged) multiplier of 2.86 tons of CO2 per ton of coal burned, then just Eraring emits 19 million tons of CO2 each year, and at that $26, then the total cost to Eraring is $484 million.

    They pay that money to the Government.
    They pass the cost down to the consumer.
    Hence, Eraring is at square one. No net cost added to the bottom line.

    Now Garnaut says that half of what comes in should be redistributed back to middle and lower income households.

    Low and middle income households pay that money to Eraring.
    They then get that money back from the Government.
    Low and middle income households are also now at square one.

    There is no real incentive for Eraring to lower its emissions.
    There is no real incentive for lower and middle income families to use less electricity.

    However households above (whatever) threshold will be paying the increased costs to Eraring, and getting nothing back from the Government.

    In effect it actually is wealth redistribution.

    From better off income earners to the Government to, er, get the Budget back into surplus I guess.

    For the rest it’s a money go round.

    Nobody has any incentive to either lower emissions or to consume less electricity, because people will always use the electricity that they always have used.

    We are told that if electricity is more expensive, people will use less of it.
    Electricity costs have been going up now for the last two to three years. No one is consuming less, and even the Government in its own Report on energy says that electricity consumption is increasing at a rate of 7% per year, so that talk of increasing the cost will lead to less consumption is, well, not quite true.

    (Note – Eraring is just one power plant of many Australia wide.)

    I’m telling you, we’re being snowed!


  20. Mack March 18, 2011 at 4:34 am #

    White swans are a novelty for the people of Western Australia and I don’t know what the ratio is there for black to white swans, but for AGW it’s about 100 white swans to one terminally ill black swan (models).

  21. Luke March 18, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    Tony – was not the point – they are saying that as the result of a carbon price, big industry will have incentive to move to solutions that can save them the $20-$30 a tonne. Now whether you believe clean energy solutions exist at that price and whether intensive emission, trade exposed, industries will move off-shore is more the point.

    So they would argue that these initiatives will catalyse an energy source change with significant future competitive advantage for the nation.

    So the point of the tax is to accelerate development in solar, wind and new nuclear. Alas developments from Japan will severely dent any plans for nuclear development despite the realities of nuclear engineering, plant location and industry safety.

  22. el gordo March 18, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    Carbon dioxide IS NOT a pollutant.

    So let’s not beat around the bush, what we need are a few ‘state of the art’ coal fired power stations. Luke, we already know the solar and wind options are not viable, because they can’t carry the base load, so if a new tax is to be imposed it should be rational.

    CO2 does not cause global warming, only dimwits think otherwise.

  23. el gordo March 18, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    As world temperatures trend down and CO2 continues to rise, politicians everywhere will pay the price for their ignorance and folly.

    ‘The best way to protect the poor from the ravages of the climate is to make them middle-class, and that takes energy. The fact that we are depriving the world’s poor of energy now, in order to save them from a hypothesized and ill-supported possible calamity fifty years from now, is a monstrous aberration of basic justice that history will rightly condemn.’

    Willis Eschenbach
    March 17, 2011

  24. cohenite March 18, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    luke says:

    “Tony – was not the point – they are saying that as the result of a carbon price, big industry will have incentive to move to solutions that can save them the $20-$30 a tonne.”

    And that is the point; there are no alternatives now that nuclear has had the kibosh courtesy of mother nature.

  25. Louis Hissink March 18, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    Have a read of Andrew Bolt’s piece on Garnault and Tony Eastley – I get the impression that Eastley has suddenly cottoned onto the fact that China is commissioning a couple of coal powered power stations every couple of weeks, something that has been repeated quite a few times on the various sceptical blogs but to which no one in the AGW camp takes any notice of, presumably under the belief that it’s sceptical propaganda.

    “TONY JONES: But have you any indication that (China is) going to reduce the number of coal-fired power stations they have currently on the drawing boards? Because if they build them all, we’re in serious trouble.”

  26. el gordo March 18, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    China is growing new forests at a frantic rate, young growing trees soaks up a lot of CO2, while at the same time bringing on-stream two new coal fired power stations each week.

    Do the people of Oz know this?

  27. val majkus March 18, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    a new and interesting site containing updates
    interesting links to the right
    latest update March 17, 2011 3:53 pm UTC

    El gordo as to your question ‘do the people of Oz know this?’ people who get their info from the MSM only wouldn’t know it

  28. TonyfromOz March 18, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    I hope you’ll all forgive me when sometimes my cynicism shows through, but again, this is something that has so cleverly been misrepresented.

    As I mentioned above the power Companies will be charged for their emissions.nd they will pass those costs directly down to the consumers.

    Electricity is consumed in three sectors as I have also mentioned previously. in the Residential sector 38%. the Commerce sector 37% and the Industrial sector 24%.

    All three of those sectors will be paying the increased cost to the provider.

    However, what is proposed to be given back is enough for lower and middle income families to cover their increased electrical charges ….. in that Residential sector.

    So, all the Government will be giving back, if it comes to that, will be a threshold level of that 38%, if you can see that.

    The Commerce sector and the Industrial sector will still have to pay the full amount, and they will then also pass that cost down to consumers.

    So the Government gets to keep the income from Commerce, and Industrial, (61% in total) and will give back part of 38%, if you can see that point.

    Commerce and Industry will still keep using the same power that they always have, so nothing changes.

    There is no incentive for anybody to reduce emissions in the electrical power sector of emissions.

    The only incentive I can see is for industry that does have emissions, not related to power consumption, but to the product they manufacture, will seek to offset their costs, not by reducing emissions, because that means they will be producing less, but by reducing their workforce, or worst case scenario moving offshore.

    Any investment in renewable power plants would not be to their advantage because those renewable plants will not be supplying the power that industry requires on that full 24/7/365 basis, something those renewables will never be able to supply on the scale required.

    On top of that any large scale renewable plant takes ten years to get from thought bubble to delivery of power anyway, so in effect, this whole exercise takes aim at an absolutely captive market ….. at every turn.

    Again, I apologise for my cynicism.


  29. cementafriend March 18, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Tony is right, except that the Labour government does not want to compensate all residential users only the so called lower income earners. But, any of the latter living in retirement homes, or in units with a Body Corporate will be paying some increased electricity charge. Garnaut has another stupid thought bubble- don’t compensate but cut taxes for the low earners who now don’t pay any tax – what a brilliant economist he is. Swan wanted to tax employers more so that more people will be become self funded retirees. Those now in complying super funds and annuities pay no tax. The greens and possibly the present labour government want to tax them as well as make them pay for all their stupid schemes.
    The government is now making noises about saving jobs in some of the high energy using industries such as aluminium and steel. Howes of the AWU has said they will not accept the loss of one job in aluminium, steel and glass industries. The alumina (no mention of that which is a large user of direct energy as coal and natural gas) and the aluminium industry in Australia is one of the most efficient in the world and is one of the reasons for the high per capita energy use. Australia is a world supplier. If this goes off shore to a developing country not only will Australia lose employment and income but the world will have increased emission of CO2 due to lower efficiency. One industry very likely to shut down in Australia with a price on carbon (dioxide) will be the cement industry. I think Tasmania is a significant producer of cement which is shipped to Melbourne and Sydney. That would have to be one of the first to go. Will Brown allow those jobs to be saved?
    I must add that I have not cemented any friendships with supporters of the greens.

  30. Bob Campbell March 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Cohenite, thanks for going to the trouble to clear up my puzzlement about the black/white swan metaphor. Though by today the penny had dropped and I had eventually seen the point anyway.
    I am well aware that ‘The exception proves that the rule is wrong.’ I have long been boring the pants off people who throw in the so widely used expression that ‘The exception proves the rule.’ I try to gently point out that the statement is nonsensical and comes from a time when the word ‘prove’ had a different meaning than it does today and meant that the rule was put to the test of its accuracy by the exception. It is a worry that so many of our fellow Homo sapiens could not see this.

  31. Simon March 18, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Many scientists have difficulty distinguishing between correlation and causation and there have been many well documented examples of apparent “single cause” theories explaining a particular observation which end up being shown to be correlations arising from a different cause entirely. And most of those were about human body systems which are well understood and nowhere near as mind bogglingly huge and complex as planetary systems.

    There may well be a warming trend in the oceans and atmosphere and it appears that there is a trend increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2. The conventional wisdom is that the warming trend is caused by anthropogenic CO2. Response: Cut CO2 emissions “before it is too late to save the planet.” Save it from what one might ask – being warmer?

    Now, add another observation – an apparent increase in the frequency and severity of geological “events” (earthquakes, vulcanism). Try this as an alternative theory of climate change:

    There is a geological cycle which we have not yet identified or mapped but which is characterised by changes in the flow rate/depth/stability of the magma on which the tectonic plates float. As the flow rate/depth/stability of the magma changes there is a measurable change in the amount of oceanic vulcanism which in turn leads to a warming of the oceans which in turn promotes the increase of the biomass in the oceans which in turn leads to an increase in the release of CO2 from respiration. Atmospheric temperatures rise not because of the increased CO2 but alongside it. In fact it is the increasing oceanic temperatures which cause the increasing atmospheric temperatures, not the other way around.

    That theory neatly fits the observed phenomena for all the data points – warming of the oceans and atmosphere, natural disasters AND increased atmospheric CO2. Now, that alternative theory is probably a load of rubbish but the thing that concerns me is that the Global Warming Industry has, chillingly, announced that “the science is settled.” Planetary systems are so complex and interlinked that by denying alternative theories of climate change, the priests of the Global Warming Industry are doing exactly what the Catholic church did in the Middle Ages when educated people started to question the conventional wisdom that the Earth was the centre of the universe and fixed in space – accepted only one possibility supporting their view of everything and conducted Ad Hominem attacks on anyone daring to raise questions beginning “but what if……”.

    Scientists are supposed to continually test their theories, open their methodologies and data to all for criticism and accept that, in the words of Einstein “no amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment may at any point prove me wrong.” By saying that the science is now settled and branding anyone questioning the “anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 as the single cause of climate change” theory a “denier” the scientists of the Global Warming Industry put themselves firmly in the shoes of 15th century clerics – ignorant but blissfully certain of the correctness of their view.

    Let’s continue the debate because it is important – we’re talking about big decisions which will affect future generations and if we do silly things now in haste (almost panic it seems to me at the moment), it’s those future generations who’ll end up paying the price.

  32. spangled drongo March 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Before employing great “futurists” like Guano and Flummery, Julia ought to read this:

  33. spangled drongo March 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Judith elaborates here:

  34. el gordo March 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    ‘In fields like economics and politics, forecasters face very complex situations, where random events can radically change the outcome.’

    Garnaut and Gillard are hedgehogs?

  35. spangled drongo March 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    “Tetlock found that his experts used a double standard: they were much tougher in assessing the validity of information that undercut their theory than they were in crediting information that supported it.”

    Now um, who does that remind me of?

  36. spangled drongo March 18, 2011 at 5:02 pm #


    and sceptics are foxes. Just ask Luke.

    But it is an interesting analogy. I kill a lot of foxes [but nowhere near enough] and I do not enjoy it. Foxes have a great philosophy and an impressive intelligence.

  37. cohenite March 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Interesting link SD; I have just read Tim Curtin’s response to Garnaut’s update; at 26 pages it goes into the manifest flaws and outright misrepresentations of Garnaut and his ‘science’ to a far greater detail than this article.

    I will ask Tim if he can post it here as a 2 or 3 parter; what it reveals is a truly frightening sloppiness and artiface in the AGW science which is both wilful and destructive and a product of the social, political and economic agendas which now drive AGW.

  38. val majkus March 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Tim Curtin’s response is here
    dated today
    Tim Curtin has worked as an economic adviser in several African countries and Papua New Guinea. He has a website at

  39. el gordo March 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Tim Curtin has not been idle, it’s an excellent effort, but how to condense the paper to fit a centre spread?

  40. spangled drongo March 18, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Yes, good stuff from Tim and from cohers and David.

    It would be worth spreading Tim’s over 2 or 3 posts.

  41. cohenite March 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Thanks val. The Quadrant version of Tim’s paper is a shorter version; in his longer version Tim looks at the paper of Breusch and Vahid, an influential paper which established a warming a warming trend; Tim notes that Garnaut confounds findings of a correlation with a causation and, as we note, ignores the fact that Garnaut’s preferred temperature indice GISS is a pronounced outlier; Tim says this from his longer version, quoting initally from Breusch and Vahid:

    “We conclude that there is sufficient statistical evidence in the temperature data of the past 130-160 years to conclude that global average temperatures have been on a warming trend. The evidence of a warming trend is present in all three of the temperature series. Although we have used unit roots and linear trends as a coordinate system to approximate the high persistence and the drift in the data in order to answer the questions, we do not claim that we have uncovered the nature of the trend in the temperature data. There are many mechanisms that can generate trends and linear trends are only a first order approximation… It is impossible to uncover detailed trend patterns from such temperature records without corroborating data from other sources and close knowledge of the underlying climate system. [Breusch and Vahid]

    Their first statement depends heavily on the absence of the tropics from global temperature sets for the period between 1850 and 1910 (see my Fig.6), as it was not until the 1950s that global temperature becomes a valid statistic, for only then did global surface temperature coverage reach 80 per cent, and it is now below that level again. This makes it very strange that Breusch and Vahid (2011) never assess the trends in the more truly global satellite temperature data sets, which surely should “corroborate” their data even though they do not go further back than 1978. The truth is shown in Fig.2 here: the linear trend in the UAH satellites‟ global data from December 1978 to February 2011 has an R2 of 0.345, which is well below the minimum for statistical significance of 0.5, and indicates a rise of 0.0012 oC per month since 1978, or 0.0144 p.a., 0.144 per decade, and 1.44oC per century, well below the 3oC predicted by the IPCC, let alone the 5oC predicted for 2100 by Garnaut (2008:Fig.4.5) if there is no “mitigation” (i.e. reduction of projected Business as Usual emissions, BAU). The UAH data do not in fact “corroborate” the NASA-Gistemp temperature data for the period when they overlap, as the latter shows a very large and apparently statistically significant trend since 1978 (see my Fig.2), with the annual change in the Gistemp series (1979-2010) at 0.0196oC, which is 36 per cent higher than the UAH trend of 0.0144 oC.”

    This is a deplorable omission from Garnaut’s paper and I have no hesitation is saying Garnaut has misrepresented his scientific evidence, especially as it applies to the work of Breusch and Vahid.

  42. el gordo March 19, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    Garnaut is wrong about climate change, sea level is not rising by any appreciable amount. Morner has his finger on the pulse.

    ‘I have often claimed that “trees don’t lie” (for example in Morner 2007c), referring to the lonely tree in the Maldives, which indicated a stable sea level for the last 50-60 years (and therefore was pulled down by hand by a group of Australian “scientists” and IPCC boy-scouts).’

  43. el gordo March 19, 2011 at 7:31 am #


    It is my melancholy duty to report that this blog is being ruthlessly attacked by philistines at Deltoid’s open thread. Do not go there, unless of course you feel in the mood for a fight.

  44. val majkus March 19, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    This is a bit o/t but one of my favourite papers is this one by David Stockwell

    I don’t know if he has any papers as to how run off is calculated

    And talking about Quadrant Online I enjoyed
    by Lehmann et al

    and cohenite and David nice post, thanks, i wonder as Garnaut et al are relying on the IPCC’s 4th report if it might not be time to assess what that report got right and what it got wrong

  45. spangled drongo March 19, 2011 at 8:38 am #


    Thanks for that link on Morner’ paper. It is interesting that SL obs there agree with obs in Australia [around 10 cms over the last 160 years] and that during most of this time the earth’s rotational rate decelerated at a value that corresponds with this 10 cm SLR.

    His claim of a Sea-Level-Gate regarding raw data vs “corrected” data of both GRACE and Topex/Jason is emminently believable:

    “When I asked an IPCC member why he did this, he said, “If we didn’t, there would be no trend'”.

    If only we could get hold of the emails.

  46. val majkus March 19, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    continuing with the IPCC The Strange Case of Sari Kovats

    Kovats was born in 1969 and became a part-time doctoral student in 2001. In an e-mail to her I mentioned that the public record indicates her first paper was published in 1997. She did not dispute this.

    In 1994, Kovats was one of only 21 people in the entire world selected to work on the first IPCC chapter that examined how climate change might affect human health. She was 25 years old. Her first academic paper wouldn’t be published for another three years. It would be six years before she’d even begin her doctoral studies and 16 years before she’d graduate.

    as WUWT says
    This question Laframboise asks really, really, needs an answer:

    How does one land that sort of position (and, presumably, that sort of salary) prior to finishing their PhD?

    As Donna Laframboise says:
    We’re told the IPCC is comprised of top scientists. In the case of Kovats, it appears that it was actually her IPCC participation that convinced the wider community that she’s an expert. This is totally improper. It represents a complete inversion of how things are supposed to work.

  47. cohenite March 19, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    val, AR4 has been critiqued by the IAC as is mentioned above, see also:


    El, I can’t find those comments about this thread at Deltoid although there is a potted summary of some other posts here:

    Pretty tame really.

  48. Luke March 19, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Quadrant – what a Dad’s army journal.

  49. el gordo March 19, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Luke, the French have discovered a carbon sink in the North Atlantic.

  50. Tim Curtin March 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    There is am error in the Cox and Stockwell summary of Wolfgang Knorr’s paper. What it actually concludes is that there has been no change in the average proportion of annual human emissions of CO2 that has remained aloft in the atmosphere since 1850 (the proportion varies in exact synchronicity with ENSO – up in dry El Nino phases, down in wet La Ninas).

    BTW, the annual variation in CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa (Hawaii) and Pt Barrow (Alaska) is much larger than the annual increase, around 5 ppm to 2 ppm. Oddly enough the intra-year decline occurs in the NH summer, which is when most of the world’s food is grown, and also unnoticed by the Garnauts of this world, each year’s CO2 level is lowest in the summer, and highest in the winter. Funny that, when CO2 is supposed to have its greatest warming, it is actually cold.

    But then Australia’s climate scientists (e.g. Nicholls and Karoly) have yet to explain how CO2 causes ENSO.

    Ah well, when one is a climate scientist of high renown, who cares about inconvenient facts?

  51. cohenite March 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Tim; our estimation of Knorr received this comment at Unleashed from one Clarke:

    “You say: “Nature is not losing the battle against human CO2 [section 2.3.2]. Dr Knorr’s seminal paper shows the percentage of human CO2 in the atmosphere has not changed over the last 150 years.”

    The IPCC (2007) says: “There is yet no statistically significant trend in the CO2 growth rate since 1958. This ‘airborne fraction’ [AF] has shown little variation over this period.”

    Le Quere et al (2009) and Knorr find that there is a small, statistically significant increase in the AF when ENSO and volcanic activity are filtered. Their results are somewhat different and there remains some uncertainty. But this is an aside. Your claim that “the percentage of human CO2 in the atmosphere has not changed” is wrong and deceptive – AF and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 concentration are different.

    AF is defined as the fraction of anthropogenic carbon emissions which remain in the atmosphere after natural processes have absorbed some of them. AF depends not only on this year’s emissions and natural fluxes, but the time history of the carbon cycle, which in itself depends on the time history of the emissions. AF can be constant whilst anthropogenic CO2 is increasing exponentially.”

    Knorr says this: “so far only about 40% of those emissions [from ACO2] have stayed in the atmosphere”.

    That is from 1850 the % of ACO2 being unabsorbed has not changed from 40% of the emissions. During this same period the total of atmospheric CO2 has increased about 40%. Does this mean that ACO2 is responsible for the entire increase in CO2? That is, there are 2 issues: the annual increase and the accumulative increase which is implied by Knorr’s paper and which attracts my attention. We have discussed this before:

    Ferdinand sums it up this way:

    “1. Human emissions are far lower than the actual rise of carbon in the air
    2. Accumulated emissions exceed the actual rise
    3. Correcting for the excess necessitates that carbon sinks keep growing
    4. But an expansion of carbon sinks means that CO2 is getting recycled
    5. A long-term accumulation profile for total carbon content leads to below-zero outcomes”

    However, for me the question remains, is ACO2 the entire cause of the increase in CO2?

  52. Neville March 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    The Bolter answers all Juliar’s lies and exaggerations.

  53. el gordo March 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    ‘Each year’s CO2 level is lowest in the summer, and highest in the winter. Funny that, when CO2 is supposed to have its greatest warming, it is actually cold.’

    The par is simply put, yet says a lot in a single bite.

    Cohers, because of increased warming of the oceans at the end of last century, more CO2 was released into the atmosphere?

    ACO2 is apparently innocent of the ‘pollutant’ charge, but when are we going to get a fair hearing?

  54. val majkus March 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    I’m not saying everyone will understand or appreciate it but over at WUWT
    there’s an article about why a revenue neutral tax isn’t
    NOW I understand there are a lot of people who haven’t run businesses but I suspect if such people realised the effect of the proposed ‘carbon tax’ they would realise that the price of living will rise for everyone and people (yes even pensioners) are not going to be reimbursed for the cost of pricing ‘carbon’
    I know a lot of people who are pensioners and low income earners don’t really do the maths
    BUT would they think twice if they didn’t just depend of the government to ‘get it right’

    As Willis at WUWT says Here’s the difficulty. Let’s run the new widget costing numbers including the tax.

    Widget Production Cost = $10 materials + $10 labor + $20 energy = $40 total cost

    Widget Sales Price = 2 * Widget Production Cost = $80 per widget

    So I go in to buy another widget, I give the widget man $80, and the Government gives me $10 and says everything is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds. It’s all balanced since the tax was $10 and I got the $10 back, so the Government and I are exactly even, shake hands and part revenue-neutral friends …

    Except for the part where I’m short ten bucks, and the widget maker has made ten dollars extra for the same widget. The revenue is neutral, but despite that, in the case of energy taxes the net effect is to slow down the economy.

    AND if the economy slows too much we won’t have the money to pay all those pensions and employers won’t have the money to pay all those Fair Work wages; what’s going to happen then?

  55. Luke March 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Vintage crap from Bolter. What would you expect.

    But on a better note John Williamson has a new song “Look out Cunnamulla” about floods.

    I like it. So would Stewart Franks. starts at 3:33

    Good place Croppa Ck – just down the road from North Star

    “Celebrating birds calls surely can’t be wrong” – like sceptic galahs !

  56. Tim Curtin March 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Cohenite ended by saying “However, for me the question remains, is ACO2 the entire cause of the increase in CO2?”

    We have here an inventory problem, involving the possibility for Anthro CO2 that first up is first down, with only ON AVERAGE 44% appearing to stay up, that being the annual increase in [CO2] as measured at Mauna Loa relative to supposed emissions. But because of the huge annual fluxes UP and DOWN, about 12% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere (830 GtC), say 100 GtC or 47 ppm, and as the molecules are not barstamped, it is really idle to speculate which particular ones contribute to the less than 2 ppm (4.3 GtC) that is the annual incease in the aggregate.

    But it is likely that it is recent anthro emissions that contribute most to net primary productivity of the biospheres, as plants and the oceans are not good at reaching up 50 km to get at CO2. Thus it seems OK to go along with Knorr 2009 (and dare I say it Curtin on record at Garnaut Review website 2008) that IN EFFECT 56% of total human emissions ON AVERAGE get taken up virtually at once, so only 44% “stays aloft” (but not for long, as the gross annual turnover is 100 GtC or 47 ppm).

    I know there are many wine bibbers who like their French reds to be anything up to 50 years old, but whisky soaks like me not fussy about how long their J&B has been on the shelves. So it is with the CO2 aloft.

    BTW, according to US EPA, emissions from the exhalations of the 7 billion people around (another stock & flow problem with deaths and births all the time) amount to 1 kg per person per day, or 1.39 GtC per annum – double that and more for all living creatures, but keep quite about this, otherwise Bob Brown will extend his inherent genocidal instincts to all of us and them. But in terms of the inventory analysis, it means that the Le Quere-Raupach-Canadell estimate of annual net biospheric uptakes is a serious understimate, for what we have is total anthro and animal emissions of say 12.8 GtC, of which only 44% stay aloft, so the annual net uptakes by the total biosphere are not around 5.6 GtC but 7.2 GtC.

  57. Neville March 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    So silly Luke what did he say that you don’t agree with, I’m sure we’ll all be spell bound at your incredible knowledge and insight, yuk, yuk.

  58. Neville March 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    More on the Juliar fool from Terry McCrann, Australia’s best economic writer.

  59. Louis Hissink March 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm #


    ACO2 – how is this distinguished from CO2 in the atmosphere?

  60. cohenite March 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Hi Louis, I don’t want to go over the c12/c13 business again, but for the benefit of any latecomers this is the argument in favour of ACO2 being the cause of the increase in CO2:

    And this is the argument against:

  61. John Sayers March 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    I don’t think you need go further then here, , to find where the carbon goes and more importantly, where it comes from.

  62. Louis Hissink March 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm #


    Thanks – just checking that nothing “new” had been invoked since.

  63. Louis Hissink March 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    John Sayers,

    Thanks for that link – interesting, very interesting.

  64. spangled drongo March 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm #


    If you’ve ever spent much time around Cunnamulla you will know there are plenty of bird calls to celebrate as I’m sure JW appreciates. Rare but locally common such as the Chiming Wedgebill, Halls Babler, Striated Grasswren, Chestnut Breasted Quail Thrush, Redthroat, Burke’s Parrot etc. Val would probably know too.

    No need to be fixated by galleries of pink Galahs unless that’s all you recognise. [as in it takes one to know one]

  65. Tim Curtin March 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    I hope you-all do not mind me posting this admirable blog

    Carbon is the World’s Best Friend

    by inter alia: Dr Jack Barrett who has a PhD in physical chemistry from the Imperial College, London. (And is a specialist on the spectroscopy of gases)

    An analysis of the real function of carbon dioxide

    Revisiting those laws in the infrared glow of the global-warming debate forces the realization that, when it comes to radiant heat, “what comes down must go up” for if it didn’t, the Earth would overheat. Some 50 years after the end of the Little Ice Age, in a time we now call the pre- industrial age, the world appeared to be well content with an atmosphere containing 285 ppmv of CO2 and the average amount of water vapour.

    Since 1992 we have had a special UN-supported Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning the world that we are heading for real trouble, if the concentration of carbon dioxide, one of the five so called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere doubles its pre-industrial value.

    Here are ten, let us call them Newton’s Apples, that sow real seeds of doubt about the science behind the IPCC’s conclusions.

    (1) Measurements prove that the pre-industrial damp blanket trapped 94.7 per cent of all the infrared radiation as it escaped into space leaving a mere 5.3 per cent to warm the great interstellar sink directly. All this thanks to the fact that the spectral escape window was partially blocked by what we now call the greenhouse gases that kept the Earth warm.

    (2) If we took no notice of the IPCC’s warnings and burned all the known reserves of natural gas, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would rise to 454 ppmv.

    (3) Now throw caution to the wind and burn all the oil reserves we know about- and the CO2 concentration would go up to 489 ppmv. Still nowhere near the dreaded doubled value of those “halcyon” pre industrial days.

    (4) So let’s pull out all the stops and burn at least one-third of coal reserves in all its forms. With an awful lot of mining we would make the now much-feared figure of 570 ppmv.

    A point, at which IPCC’s super computer models warn that the sky might soon come falling down. They rarely mention the fact that around 600 million tons of extra potential plant fertilizer and about 1 billion tons of extra irrigation water hanging about up there, continue to help balance the biosphere while increasing the atmospheric pressure by a mere 0.3 millibars.
    The atmospheric blanket would now trap 95.6 per cent of the infrared radiation (a mere increase of 0.9 per cent over those pre-industrial days) and the potential absorption by the combination of water vapor and CO2 is almost complete-thanks to the logarithmic relationship between concentration and radiance/absorption.

    (5) Simple arithmetic also proves that at this moment of time in the IPCC’s countdown to catastrophe the annual increase of CO2 pouring into the atmosphere is a mere 3 per cent of the natural turnover of this very important gas in the atmosphere. Thus leaving little doubt that there is massive buffering capacity in the system.

    (6) A smidgen of math proves that all the much “feared” doubling of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere actually accomplishes is a slight narrowing of the infrared ‘window’ through which radiation escapes to space.

    (7) Checking the spectra also shows there is a window in that infrared escape route that can never be closed because there are no natural gases with the right spectral bands. If there were the temperature might then go up by around 5 degrees Celsius.

    – 2 –

    (8) Measurements also show that the infrared absorption spectra of all the greenhouse gases overlap to a certain extent; in consequence, their cumulative effect can never be realized. A cumulative effect that is already nearing saturation when no further heat will be trapped, thanks to the fact that the relationship between the concentration of any of the greenhouse gases and radiance/absorption is logarithmic.

    (9) Despite all this incontrovertible evidence that the increase of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a benign and almost spent force, the global warmers beg to differ.

    Their conclusion, drawn from a plethora of complex computer models, leads them to warn that an increase in trapped radiation of only 0.9 per cent might trigger a catastrophic course of events. A chain reaction that could be responsible for a runaway enhancement of global warming that could pose a threat to much more than our way of life. To give their argument teeth, they appear to put all their eggs into the basket of what they call radiative forcing, building into their models only positive feedbacks related to water vapor that trap more heat.

    (10) Newton’s Law of Cooling perhaps drops the largest apple on the head of the IPCC’s arguments of a melt down scenario. In the simplest terms, it proves that if the non-radiative properties of water (evaporation, albedo, mass transfer etc.,) were not already at work at the earth/ atmosphere interface, the Earth’s surface would be some 13C warmer.

    So again there is a lot of negative feedback in the system.

    The global warmers can hypothesize as much as they like about the cause and effect of trapping the last few per cent of the available infrared radiance by the greenhouse gases, but without admitting that there is another source of heat at play in the system their scare mongering is no more than hot air.

    Take heart all those super climate modellers: There is still -a lot of work for your giant computers to get stuck into. Take a few gigabytes out of Newton’s Apples and get cracking solving the real problems that face over 6.4 billion human beings as they move into an uncertain energy-hungry future.

    Please remember that the main reasons for soil erosion, salination, floods, droughts, famines, the collapse of coral reefs and the extinction of species are habitat destruction, overgrazing and overfishing — not a 0.9 per cent rise in trapped radiance.

    Carbon dioxide is not the dreaded greenhouse gas that the global warmers crack it up to be. It is in fact the most important airborne fertilizer in the world and without it there would be no green plants at all. In fact, a doubling of the levels of this gas in the atmosphere would bring about a marked rise in plant production-good news for everyone, especially those malnourished millions who can’t afford chemical fertilizers.

    Perhaps the time is ripe to really start worrying (again) about the fact that for the last 200 million years the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has been falling. Indeed it dropped to dangerously low levels during recent ice ages. The Plant Kingdom responded to this potentially catastrophic (no carbon, no food) situation by producing the so-called C4 plants that can survive low CO2 by using sunlight more efficiently.

    Please talk to your plants and as you do, rest assured that they in effect will thank you, by recycling your waste carbon dioxide to make more plant material and return oxygen to the earth’s atmosphere.

    – 3 –


    * Dr David Bellamy has been the writer and presenter of some 400 television programs on botany, ecology and environmental issues and has published numerous scientific papers and books. He is the founder of The Conservation Foundation and the Ford European Conservation Awards, and has received numerous conservation awards.

    * Dr Jack Barrett has a PhD in physical chemistry from the Imperial College, London. (And is a specialist on the spectroscopy of gases – my comment)

    * Dr Chris de Freitas is associate professor in the School of Geography & Environmental Science at the University of Auckland.

  66. val majkus March 20, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    Talking about Garnaut and his burden of proof statements here’s a nice article by Peter Ridd from James Cook Univ How to fix the broken scientific system
    second para
    The process of argument is as essential to the scientific system as it is to the legal system. A big difference is that argument is guaranteed in the legal system with the two sides of the argument formally recognised in the legal system itself, but because of the structures of the present systems in science, a robust argument cannot be guaranteed. Because of this there cannot be a sufficiently high level of faith that some of the big scientific issues of our time such as Anthropogenic Global Warming, the fate of the Murray-Darling, or the imminent demise of the Great Barrier Reef, have been properly tested in the scientific equivalent of a court of law.

    and as to Ms Gillard’s claim that we’re all going to be better off under a carbon tax

    A spokesman for Ms Gillard yesterday did not provide any examples of products that would be cheaper under a carbon trading regime.

  67. el gordo March 20, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    There’s rumor about that Julia has blundered big time and the knives are out.

  68. val majkus March 20, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    a nice article
    On the House Vote to Defund the IPCC

    Politicians formed the IPCC over 20 years ago with an endgame in mind: to regulate CO2 emissions. I know, because I witnessed some of the behind-the-scenes planning. It is not a scientific organization. It was organized to use the government-funded scientific research establishment to achieve policy goals

    the climate science community has allowed itself to be used on this issue, and as a result, politicians, activists, and the media have successfully portrayed the biased science as settled.

    They apparently do not realize that ‘settled science’ is an oxymoron
    and while you’re there check out the latest UAH Satellite Based temperature – dropping

  69. cohenite March 20, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Tim, thanks; Jack Barrett has always been a favourite and I learnt from these 2 papers by him:

    Unfortunately Garnaut, cunning fellow that he is, has given Gillard a life-bouy with the carbon tax by proposing that tax cuts be given to compensate low income earners. This is easily shown to be a lie on the basis that any tax cut works only on 1/2 of income whereas any expense like a carbon tax will increase prices and costs at a 100% rate; that is a carbon tax can never be neutral as Willis’s simple model shows:

    When you combine this with the fact that the CT will be at least double what ever rate is finalised, due to the fact that it is imposed at the energy production stage [scope 1 from NGERs] AND the energy use stage [ scope 2], and there will need to be a massive increase in bureaucrats to oversee it there is no way that people will compensated to nuetrality with the CT.

  70. val majkus March 20, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    and as I asked above … AND if the economy slows too much we won’t have the money to pay all those pensions and public servants and employers won’t have the money to pay all those Fair Work wages; what’s going to happen then?

    40% of Tasmanians are on some sort of welfare; disability pensioners are rising by the year; the economy is already slowing; our public service is growing and will continue to grow with all this extra work shifting money around if the ‘carbon’ tax becomes law; Ms Gillard seems to be looking to some kind of sunlit nirvana far from the reality the population in those countries with heavily subsidised green technology are suffering; trust me she says – it’s all going to be wonderful; everyone’s going to be compensated and we’ll all be better off.

    Do you believe that?

  71. Debbie March 20, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    Good on you for continually reminding us about Tasmania Val,
    It appears that poor Tassie gets “dumped on” every time our Governments want to test their social restructuring and environmental theories.
    From what I understand so far, Tassie was denied a Hydro Electricity Industry, A Forestry Industry, a Fishery Industry, a Mining Industry and several other smaller attempts at lifting themselves out of their economic doldrums. All in the name of a ‘noble cause’.
    The net result?
    I’m don’t think the air is noticeably cleaner or the lifestyle noticeably more ‘sustainable’.
    Look at the figures Val has posted several times. It looks a little like economic genocide.
    I wonder if people will start to realise that it is rather ‘bi polar’ and hypocritical to make yourself feel better by shifting responsiblility to ‘out of mind’ areas?
    The carbon tax and an ETS has that as its base as well. We can still pollute as long as it ‘appears’ we are not doing it here or we’re at least dumping the responsibility for polluting onto other shores.
    Won’t the ‘net result’ be similar?

  72. spangled drongo March 20, 2011 at 10:38 am #


    Thanks for that article from Peter Ridd on how to fix the scientific system.

    Here’s a submission in the same vein from Donald Gillies on the problems of peer review:

  73. el gordo March 20, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    We hear reports that the Arctic will become ice free as global warming gathers pace and CO2 is the bogey man. Here is further proof that it’s a load of bunk.

    Over the last 1000 to 1,500 years temperatures have risen and fallen off their own bat, without any help from carbon dioxide.

  74. TonyfromOz March 20, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Okay, I’m going to open myself up here to all sorts of ridicule, but I’m game, because I WANT to know.

    With respect to Arctic Sea Ice.

    If that Sea Ice is already IN the water, then would not Archimedes Principle apply here. If that ice is already immersed in a body of water, then if it melts, even in its totality, then it should not raise Sea Levels at all.

    Have I got that right, or have I missed something?


  75. el gordo March 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Yeah, from my understanding the ice floating on sea water will not produce sea level rise.

  76. el gordo March 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Tony, here’s a little bit more to go on with.

  77. Debbie March 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    I always thought that too Tony,
    It was a basic lesson we all learnt in Science at school.
    We’ve all had that lesson reinforced when we’ve done dumb stuff like forgetting we put that bottle of wine in the freezer.
    We also know that if we freeze a container of water it expands over the top of the container, but, reduces noticeably below that level when it melts.
    So….the perception that the Oceans will rise when the ice melts (especially the huge mases of floating ice) just doesn’t match with my basic understanding of the physical properties of H2O.
    If I apply what I learnt in school, I would have thought it would actually contribute to a lowering of sea levels?
    Of course, like you, I’m aware that this could be totally ridiculed because I may have missed something vital?
    If it’s floating ice however, I can’t see how it would work any other way?
    Maybe ice melting off land masses is the variable?
    It still shrinks if it melts doesn’t it?
    Hopefully one of you science/physics savvy people can explain.

  78. TonyfromOz March 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I know I’ve strayed off the Garnaut topic, and I apologise for that, but we old guys need to ask questions when we think of them, if you can see that.

    In much the same manner, a similar argument may be extrapolated out to Antarctica. Again, what is melting there, (if at all) is that Sea Ice, that again, is in the water at the edge of the Continent.

    Even if theoretical temperature rises ‘might’ occur, that average Summer Temperature at Antarctica will still never even get close to Zero C, the melting point of ice.

    This is an interesting site:


  79. Neville March 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Tony I’m 100% sure the floating,melting ice will not cause a rise in sea level at all.

    But what about fixing or mitigating the rise in co2 problem, ( so called) how can we honestly tackle it?

    Gillard and labor want us to reduce our emissions by 5%, i.e 1.3% less 5% = 1.23%.

    But then the bi-polar hypocrisy takes over because we want to increase our exports of coal to other countries to make more money and we don’t care how much more co2 is emitted overseas using that same coal.

    So we now know the concern over increased emissions is a total lie, in fact Juliar and labor couldn’t care less about the increase so long as they make more money.

    But that tiny reduction in our co2 that we taxpayers are slugged for will have an immediate loss of jobs and businesses , in fact many will be exported overseas with our coal.

    But why isn’t the MSM trumpeting these facts to the electorate, it’s not as if this is too difficult to understand ?

  80. cohenite March 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Hi Tony; the alarmists treat the Arctic melt as dangerous for other reasons than the Archimedes principle; fresh water dilutes the saltiness of ocean; and fresh water has different freezing and heat storage capacity than saltier water which may mean it can affect ocean water movement; the measure of the freshness of the water is also a key way of sourcing the cause of any sea level rise with steric, or heat caused expansion, being different from eustatic, or water mix, presumably from land ice melt expansion.

  81. TonyfromOz March 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm #


    thanks for that. It always concerned me because of that imprinted melting ice exercise we all learned at high school, so now, I’m glad to have another jot of information to add to the knowledge base.
    Having said that, the amount of sea ice (fresh) when extrapolated across the whole of the World’s oceans, would that make all that much of a difference?

    With respect to CO2 emissions, that comment above from Tim Curtin, (and thanks for that Tim) was well worth reading, as it also adds to that knowledge base.

    If Government was serious about the CO2 emissions problem, then surely this coming Earth Hour provides a golden opportunity to show people some real leadership. They should just ask all power stations to remove their power from the grid for that hour. Immensely costly exercise, but it would give people a real idea of what life without CO2 emissions would really be like.

    Now THAT REALLY WOULD focus people’s minds.

    Political suicide would be the first result.



  82. el gordo March 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Neville, the other day Abbott made a comment that CO2 may not be a bogey man and then Hunt came in later to explain the party is as one on this issue. In other words, we believe CO2 is a pollutant.

    Is Tony just a feather weight and has he been talking to Cardinal Pell?

    The real battle is coming to the bush and you know there’s trouble afoot when neighbors put up wind farms on your boundary.

  83. Debbie March 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    but, but, but,
    Isn’t the overwhelming majority of ice that will supposedly melt frozen sea water? (ie floating ice at the edge of land masses plus a huge amount of floating ice cruising around the oceans)

    I get the fresh water component bit, but how much is that actually?

    Also, the Earth would have to do some serious warming before the land mass temps would get themselves above 0 degrees (to melt that fresh water ice) wouldn’t it?

    Sorry, I’m still having trouble matching it up with my basic understanding of the properties of H2O.

    I absolutely love the point about making everyone try life without power for a while.
    I would suggest maybe a day rather than an hour.
    Or to be really fair, maybe we should make it for as long as it takes the power stations to wind down and then fire up again?
    That way we won’t actually waste too much power.
    How long would that be Tony?

    I am absolutely positive that would help to motivate people to be better educated about:
    a) How power generation actually works and
    b) The consequences of demonising and then taxing the industry that supplies one of the most important resources in our modern world.

    It could be run like a fire drill. You know, give everyone enough warning and explain it’s just an exercise and direct them to the places and products they will need to help them survive for the short duration.

    We would all certainly learn some extremely valuable lessons.
    But you’re right….definitely a recipe for political suicide!

  84. TonyfromOz March 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    the whole exercise would be moot really, because in the case of those large coal fired power plants, and I only keep referring to the one, Eraring, but there a lot of them of that size, and smaller medium large ones as well, because to run them down is a complex business, and as most of the scheduled maintenance is to the Generators themselves, these are done one at a time and only after smaller gas fired plants come on line and delivering their power to the grids before they actually shut down.

    To shut down all of those generators would be too complex a thing to even attempt, and would take days to achieve, and then days to run them back up to bring the power back to the grids in a safe manner.

    To even shut down those smaller plants that just come on line to cover the Peaking Power requirement would also be problematic, as that would then cause demand to far outweigh supply, and would then start cascading brownouts, blackouts, overloads, etcetera, as the whole grid ‘crashes’.

    It happened in the U.S. at one stage in the Eighties, and most of the Eastern Sea Board was out of power for days, and it took ages to rectify.

    The suggestion I made above was just to emphasis again, as in the point you made yourself, that people have little to no knowledge of electrical power, other than what comes ‘out of the wall’ when they turn the switch, and the thought is that it is in fact that easy.

    Just turn it off.

    That’s why Earth Hour is such a fake, because at the end of it, you just turn the switch back on, so the general idea is that the same might apply on the large scale, eg, with those power plants.


  85. Debbie March 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Thanks Tony,
    I knew it was moot.
    An awesome idea though!
    It would be great if SOMEHOW most people could understand that just because they can turn the power on and off at their house, it doesn’t mean that the industry supplying that extremely necessary resource can just turn it on and off.
    It would definitely help them to realise the consequences of demonising and taxing the power industry.
    Because we live in a remote area, we sometimes experience blackouts. We can’t even flush our toilets when that happens because we need the power to run our pumps. Of course the same would happen in the urbanised areas if their power was down for long enough. Pretty much everything they do needs a reliable source of power.
    We sometimes experience brownouts as well. They do an amazing amount of damage to some of our more sensitive equipment and appliances.
    People don’t even understand the need to have that power source consistent and reliable because almost 100% of the time they have never been forced to think about it.
    Such a pity that they’re not forced to seriously think about it.

    On a different note. Here is an email from a friend who has returned today from a trip to China.
    It’s a first hand observation of the points raised by Neville, Val, Tim and others at this post.

    The experience of being in Guanzhou China for the last 3 days really highlights the contrast between our nations.
    Firstly the 3O mill + city never has sunlight due to coal power pollution
    But then I see the capacity of these entreprenerial people producing the Largest high quality furniture exhibition in the world with over 200,000 international & local buyers like myself sourcing product.
    I am not saying I could live there but the quality of living has changed so radically in the 7 years since I have gone there it is beyond belief – peasants to many very wealthy.
    Everwhere you look is high rises & 6 storey high superhighways.
    If our leaders had an ounce of the Chinese can do attitude & solution driven engineering foresight we could guarantee our Nation’s future success – fact is most of the wealthy Chinese are happy to pay significantly more for non-Chinese made or grown product & Australia is particularly respected for quality.
    As for Australia’s emissions & environmental Global impacts – Gillard seriously needs to get a grip.
    (end attach)

    Couldn’t agree more about that ‘seriously needs to get a grip’ comment.

    She has just been publicly commenting on China hasn’t she?

    And….we are still increasing our coal exports to China aren’t we?

    As Neville points out, a rather bi-polar attitude and policy isn’t it?

  86. val majkus March 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    I think the sad thing is this is now a political issue not scientific any more; there are scientists who have not sold out but they’re preaching to the converted;
    I’ve been a swinging voter all my life but I have business experience (that is employing other people and providing a service industry) so I have always examined parties’ policies
    But I have family who have grown up in a strongly unionised background who are what I could call ‘rusted on’ Labor voters
    I understand from talking to these family members that some are not happy with Gillard but they wouldn’t consider the alternative other than maybe vote Green
    so maybe it’s best that we, the stupid voters in Aust learn the heartbreak that for example the EU have now to contend with
    the ‘carbon tax’ is going to make a difference to our cost of living; to our income, BUT don’t worry the big ‘polluters’ will pay
    AND who would trust what this Govt says other than rusted on Labor voters

  87. gavin March 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Debbie: Re “but, but, but, Isn’t the overwhelming majority of ice that will supposedly melt frozen sea water ?” land temp etc; for the latest see-

    On your friend’s comment, “The experience of being in Guanzhou China for the last 3 days really highlights the contrast between our nations” we must also accept there is also a great difference in the general question about our relative standards and expectations re progress. Today I met a lady who has been there too and now works for save the moon bear campaign.

    I told her that in my many casual meetings here with visitors from China I get stuck into their lack of national quality control across a broard range of manufacturing and other considerations related to goods and services we apparently must have.

  88. el gordo March 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    As soon as we began talking about sea ice and SLR I thought of Gavin.

    Science Daily is too biased, just look at their related stories. Come back with something plausible and drop it into Monday’s open thread, so that we can have a serious debate.

    The ‘save the moon bear campaign’ is very witty, keep up the good work.

  89. cohenite March 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    gav’s Rignot paper about ice melt in the Antarctic and Greenland is critiqued here:

    Of course if Rignot were true than eustatic sea level rise rate would be increasing; it isn’t.

  90. spangled drongo March 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm #


    Here’s a link el gordo gave us yesterday that I know you’d just love to get your teeth into:

    And don’t knock the Chinese on QC. When you buy a metal lathe with every separate part checked and signed off on a bit of rice paper to very acceptable tolerances by each worker responsible, we’ve really never had it so good, value for money wise.

    If climate science was as accurate and accountable, I’d be more than pleased.

  91. spangled drongo March 20, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Check fig 8, space gravimetry readings on ocean mass [SL]

    Raw data = slight fall, corrected data = considerable rise.

    So GRACE is like all the official data and questionably corrected?

    When they start that you gotta suspect that it’s all just hockey stick science.

  92. cohenite March 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm #


    Here’s a link el gordo gave us yesterday that I know you’d just love to get your teeth into”

    What teeth?

  93. gavin March 21, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    A: Big teeth when it comes to eating little guys cohenite

  94. Debbie March 21, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Thanks for the links.
    It helps to understand the reasoning behind the claims.
    It’s fascinating how different the conclusions can be.
    It tends to reinforce what I learnt in statistics at University:
    “If you torture figures for long enough they will admit to anything!”
    I don’t know about anyone else, but I think at their very core, AGW theories and other environment and climate theories have a fatal flaw.
    That flaw is that they assume that the Earth & the Environment is interested in achieving some type of utopian balance.
    Almost like a delicate set of scales.
    They therefore build their computer models with that asumption in place.
    ( Or maybe it’s more to do with the computer models needing a solid starting point?)
    Any of us who work out in the elements know that this is not right.
    Mother Nature is far more inclined to throw everything out of balance!
    That has always been our battle. Mother Nature loves to throw things out of balance and humans yearn for a sensible and controllable balance.
    Statistical models also require some type of moderating figure to operate.
    Those links show that the results can be remarkably different depending on how you feed in the figures or what the basic starting point was.
    I’m not knocking the attempt or the necessity of doing this work.
    I think it is very important that we keep trying to learn as much as we can.
    I’m just amused that they can be so very different and ultimately inconclusive.
    There are still way too many variables and Mother Nature really isn’t interested in conforming to computer models anyway.
    The bit I’m not amused about is that we have Bureaucrats, Brokers, Bankers etcetera all lining up to make us pay.
    They’re obviously hijacking the statistics and the science for other reasons.

  95. el gordo March 21, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Debbie, it’s fairly clear to us that global warming is a non-falsifiable hypothesis and will take all our effort to shake these warmist scallywags off their perches.

    Interesting finding in a 2 km Greenland ice core, it has been warmer than now, naturally.

  96. gavin March 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Debbie; a famous pollie once said “life was’nt meant to be easy”. What makes you think we can avoid taxes. levies, commissions etc?

    “That flaw is that they assume that the Earth & the Environment is interested in achieving some type of utopian balance” Now thats avoiding the meaning of “life” as we know it and when was it never a battle?

    Front page of our CT suppliment Times2 was a photo of a young girl with waist length wavy hair holding a chook titled “Growing up green- The next generation has arrived” I say we don’t all suck eggs!

    My field used to be measurement and control in a wide range of industry and technology but I never bothered with stats. The next gen did however and they are at the top of the tree right now. What counts there I feel was this other view based on keeping two feet on the ground as we go.

    El; you still run the risk of me thinking you are just a nong by returning to your usual crutch, another blog and a fetish with these paleo accounts but lets get back on theme when I suggest we should be looking at what China does next with our present carbon issues. What may I ask are they as a nation doing with us besides flooding the place with high carbon footprint goods?

    All of you; these arguments such as they are against AGW and carbon taxes wont hold water in Asia

  97. cohenite March 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    gav, chickens don’t have teeth; and China:

    I especially like the lines:

    “The myth of a Chinese switch to so-called clean energy has become the last refuge of the global warming scoundrels, in their desperate attempts to prop up the climate change scam and the endless free lunch of handouts and gas-belching conferences.”

  98. John Sayers March 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    exactly – well said Terry McCrann

  99. el gordo March 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    …’a fetish with these paleo accounts’. I didn’t realize you were keeping count, but I have to admit you’re correct.
    It’s this love of history, can’t seem to shake it.

  100. Tim Curtin March 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Fame at last for David Stockwell and Anthony Cox, Trevor Breusch devoted a whole segment and ppt of his seminar at ANU’s Crawford School today to being very critical of their “break” paper (2009). When I asked why his paper did not evaluate the UAH and RSS satellite records, which now cover 400 months since 1978, he brushed them off, no doubt because they do not confirm his Gospel of rising temperature trends (but do confirm DS and AC).

  101. debbie March 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Thanks everyone,
    The links are very helpful.
    I agree with Val, it has become about politics rather than science.
    Such a shame.
    Good points Gav.
    However, I didn’t say we could avoid taxes levies etc. I don’t even oppose them when they are imposed for a sensible and beneficial reason.You know, stuff like investment in infrastructure and planning for future growth and future demands on our resources. Also for protecting communities and the environment.
    I really dislike the ones which are marketed by setting communities against the environment. What a load of disingenious rubbish, we are just as much a part of the environment and have always worked within it and alongside it.
    That doesn’t mean we have not made mistakes. We shouldn’t forget we have been just as capable of fixing them too. Sometimes we are even awesome at enhancing the benefits of Nature and adding to the bounty. That’s an important part of the ‘meaning of life’ too!
    The annoying part of this one is that there is way too much evidence pointing to the fact that the stated purpose of this tax cannot possibly be achieved.
    So far, the only advantage or outcome I can see being achieved is the ability for the Federal Government to create a whole new bureaucracy that will spend all the money justifying its existence.
    Some of it seems to also be going to some type of wealth redistribution.
    I’m not keen at all to ‘suck eggs’ for some nefarious goals created from some highly questionable computer generated statistical models!
    As you say, we also need to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground.
    Mother Nature truly isn’t interested in conforming to the computer models.
    Nature and our climactic and geological systems are also not interested in maintaining some type of delicate balance. Or, if they are, we certainly haven’t figured out what that is yet!
    EG is correct, we have to pay attention to the History as well as the predictions.
    Therefore, a tax on carbon is going to achieve what?
    Especially if Australia has no intention of reducing its coal and aluminium exports.
    It just doesn’t add up. It just doesn’t make sense!

  102. cohenite March 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Tim, is that right? Brushed Stockwell and Cox off! The nerve! Other than that I suppose Trevor Breusch is a nice guy?

  103. David Stockwell March 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Cohenite, He brushed Tim off, but was ‘very critical’ of

    According to he does not think there is a break down in 1998, and temperature is still increasing. You don’t find the break with a Chow test and annual surface temperature data as the Chow test becomes very weak towards the ends of the lines (i.e. would not find one even if there is one there). I would have to see his criticism in detail though.

  104. cohenite March 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    David, as discussed in your break paper the 1998 ‘reverse’ break correlates with significant climatic and oceanic events; it has a strong physical base. Other studies of the break in temperature trend also agree with the 1976 break but put the ‘reverse’ break after 2000, also for strong macro-climatic reasons:

    Taken by itself the 1976 up break is a significant rebuttal of AGW because, in layman’s terms, the 1976 step is effectively the temperature trend.

  105. David Stockwell March 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    I looked at B&V again and the statement that there is no break in 1998 appears ex nihilo – no test, no figures, nothing.

  106. cohenite March 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    So, why did Professor Breusch say this? Possibly because a reverse break in 1998-2002 would bury AGW which is effectively dead from the step-up in 1976.

  107. David Stockwell March 22, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Cohenite, I would be shocked if he was that accommodating to Garnaut.

    Lets think about his claim. The support for “There is no sign of a break after 1990” is
    “When I search for a single break in the global annual temperature data, it breaks in 1976”.

    The question then is “How big a break is needed post-1990 for it to be detected as the single greatest break point?”
    Certainly the change in trend would need to be much greater than the change in trend at 1976 as we know that the tests are much less powerful at the ends of the series where there is less data than in the middle, where there is ample data on each side. It may even be 10 times less powerful, and so the change in trend must be 10 times greater than the change in 1976 for it to be detected.

    I would expect the change in trend down would be of the same magnitude, and so would not be detected, using his approach. It reminds me of the old Scottish proverb that is the motto of my Scottish ancestors the Kennedys – “Consider the End”.

    Tim is right, not examining the RSS and UAH data for a post 1990 break is a big omission. You need the most reliable data for the period.

    Remembering that I am not wedded to “breaks” as a description without a physical model. I do have a physical model that would give the appearance of “breaks” that stems from the oceans being finite heat stores.

  108. cohenite March 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Exactly right; the physical model must lead the statistical analysis; a statistical analysis which ignores or sidetracks the physical evidence is misleading. Your 1997-8 break up would seem to have established the beginning of a physically based and verifiable step with the other papers defining the other end of the period; so the question is why is their finding of a break a few years later than yours and which is more consistent with the physical evidence.

    Incidentally did your Scottish ancestors develop their motto in relationship to brinking scotch whiskey?

  109. cohenite March 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    David, Bolta is referring to the Breusch paper to criticise the ABC and Garnaut:

    You probably should appraise Bolta of the significance of the 1976 step and the even greater significance of the possibility of a 1998- step.

  110. David Stockwell March 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    The data were downloaded in 2008, so the series end in 2007. On page 10 he says that he does not test for breaks at points with eight or less points on the end. So he knows about the problem.

  111. David Stockwell March 22, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Another similar analysis showing temps not increasing since 1995 at the Cat. by Sinclair Davidson –

    “When I add January 2011 the p-value on the Time coefficient explodes out to 0.1029 i.e. not statistically significantly different from zero even at the 10 percent level.”

    Another obvious problem with B&V I just thought of is that significance is shown from 1850, of which at least half according to the IPCC is solar driven. Really they would have been better starting their analysis from 1950, to which the IPCC claim that “most of the increase is due to AGW” applies.

  112. cohenite March 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    It would be good to get Professor Breusch’s view on the 1998 break; I note in his 2008 paper he isolated another break, other than the 1976 one, in 1910-1912; again that has a strong correlation with a major climate event:

  113. David Stockwell March 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Oh I think his view is clear as he said today “There is no evidence of a weakening or reversing trend in more recent years, as suggested by some commentators,” he said.

    But I suspect he wouldn’t have seen a change in trend, using his method, if there was a break down of the same size as 1976. Physical theory would dictate that the test must be able to detect a change in trend of the same size as 1976, as that is all that would be expected of the system. I would have to check it to be certain.

  114. cohenite March 22, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    At the end of the day Breusch is not interested in what, if any, physical or climatic factors are causing the temperature trend:

    “We examine a temperature record as a time series of observations, but with
    scant regard for the nature and source of the data. Thus nothing in our analysis is
    informed by the science of climate change, nor by other theories that may explain
    the movements in the series, nor by other data such as fossil or geological records.” [page 3]

    In fact as far as Breusch is concerned he is more interested in distinguishing the unit root component of the temperature data from the fainter linear trend from an external cause; the point of distinction is the 1976 break which as I have said, is contrary to any AGW mechanism.

    In another study which also put the statistical analysis ahead of the physical factors the best conclusion they could come up with was:

    “Experience with various real-world data indicates that the variance of the detrended
    data with respect to any known extrinsically determined trend is larger than that corresponding to the intrinsically fitted variance. However, a rigorous proof of this statement still is under investigation.”

    That is the effect on temperature from physical externalities is greater than any inherent quality random or otherwise. But at least Wu admitted he did not know about those physical factors; fair enough I suppose, but if Breusch is adamant there is not 1998 break despite there being manifest climate factors at that time similar to those around the 1976 break, then he should recheck his analysis because the contradiction is unavoidable.

  115. el gordo March 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Very interesting, I agree 1998 is a ‘break’ and we see it again (sorry gav) back in 1947 and 1917, or thereabouts. Depending on the cycle length, which is not exactly uniform.

    Going forward we should see a rerun of the 1950s, without Bill Haley.

  116. el gordo March 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Looking further afield a paper by Swanson and Tsonis have focussed on 2001/02 as the break, which would bring it more into line with the previous cycles.


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