Entourages are not something that delegates bring to a conference. Especially if the delegate is a humble public sector scientist. But the private invitation-only event I attended at Downing College Cambridge this week was no ordinary conference. It was an attempt to bring together leading climate scientists and IPCC figures …
A question, and a dig ...
Q: Where was Al Gore & his Jumbo Jet in all this?
The dig: I have had access to boats in the water at Santa Cruz, Pillar Point, San Francisco, Redwood City, Sausalito, Petaluma, Napa, Bodega Bay, Albion, Fort Bragg and Eureka for over fourty years. The level of the ocean along the central/northern California coast hasn't changed in all that time. At all. And you global warming enthusiasts were saying ... what, exactly?
The level of the water hasn't changed?
The level of the water hasn't changed where your boats were moored?
Not once? by the sea?
Round by where I live it's contantly changing...
Actually this is a serious point, tidal digs aside, the level of the water is far less likely to change (on average) where you moor a boat, what with harbours/marinas. It is also much harder to see a small rise in the sea when you're only visiting for short times, due to the tidal affect. Or do you have specialist measuring equipment and historical records?
Anecdotes aren't evidence.
Isn't even near the ocean, and it's on the Atlantic side.
Tides & various tsunamis aside, no. Mean lower low water and mean lower high water are EXACTLY the same as they were over 125 years ago at Noyo Harbor (Fort Bragg), Bodega Bay, Marina Green (San Francisco), Redwood Creek (Redwood City), Pillar Point and Santa Cruz. Yes, these are official, historical data.
What, no comment on Al Gore's private Jumbo Jet?
Fort Bragg, in Mendocino County, California, named after the same General Bragg as the East Coast version, is most definitely on the Pacific Coast.
Make that "mean higher high water".
Brain fart. I'm only human. Apologies.
It would have been more honest...
... to just type 'I'VE GOT A LOT OF BOATS!!!!!!!!!'
But AC13:56 ... I don't have a lot of boats.
Please note where I said I had "access" to the records of the various harbors over the last 4 decades or so. Or even the last century and a quarter. So do you. So do the global warming alarmists.
The difference between me & the global warming alarmists is that I review reality before commenting. The global warming alarmists refuse to review reality.
 OK, I'll admit to having more boats than most folks, who have zero boats ;-)
Any chance you can post a link to this data?
@ Jake - acutal sea level data
If data from the U.S. Geological Survey is credible, then sea levels in the San Francisco region have risen significantly in recent decades.
Someone has downvoted a genuine request for data to back up a claim about sea-levels on a discussion about climate change?
I don't know where to find the data, Jake obviously does because he says he's seen it, I'd like to see the data as well, so I asked for a link.
@ David Pollard
If you look at the data & squint, ignoring the red line, with the exception of El Nino years (which are normal, and were well documented by the Incas and Mayas before you Europeans got here), after the mid-1940s and thru' the 1970s, the measured level is pretty much flat. Prior to the 1950s, the data is well within experimental error, given the measuring tools available.
I first noticed this when interning as a key-punch operator at the USGS in Menlo Park in the late 1970s & early '80s when I was at Berkeley & Stanford. When I brought it up to an analyst, he pointed out "wait until we get more off-shore measuring points, and see what the real temperature & sea level of the Pacific is outside the Humboldt Current ... people are going to freak out!"
And here we are today :-)
@AC 08:59: See David Pollard's link for the address of the USGS in Menlo Park, CA. They are more than happy to provide raw data. Have fun!
 Lies, damn lies, statistics & all that.
 I'm 100% Suomalainen, don't call me European, white boy ;-)
Title must contain blah.................
You're called Jake and you access to loads of boats. Must be a pirate then!
No, I'm called "jake". And if you had bothered reading for comprehension, you would have noticed that I have access to the water, not necessarily "loads of boats".
Poirat, tho' ... Aye, lad. Oi've rescued rottin' boats in Bodega Bay; caught sturgeon & stripped 'em for their roe and then released 'em South of the Dumbartin Bridge; taken chainsaws to useless hulks to make use of decent parts in Docktown, Redwood City; caught th' drippins of the leaky pipes from Moffett Field to the aging fuel pier for my own use; made midnight runs to the guest docks around the bay to unload my privy without sharing it with the rest of the water lovers in the area, and otherwise boated with a minimum of impact on either my wallet or the environment. I've also hauled idiots out of the break at Mavericks with a Jetski ... Us modern-day pirates have a completely different agenda from those of old :-)
an entourage ...
or a collection of colleagues, postdocs and graduate students?
Or just evening up the numbers if it ended up 50-50 skeptics and, what do we call them on here, Warm-Mongers? Morons? Scum? I forget what the current derogatory term is.
I believe the correct term is "scientists."
Term I've heard is Alarmists for those who support "climate change".
It is 'warmists'
Other terms are alarmists, CAGW-believers, bed-wetters, religious types etc.
Since the dawn of mankind there have been those keen to use fear to predict the end of the world, unless one does what they say, notably religious organisations. Global Cooling / Global Warming / Climate Change / Climate Disruption are the new tools of fear and control by these modern day charlatans.
The Sun / Cosmic Ray theory will almost certainly prove to be the main climate driver, and not CO2. When you study correlation graphs comparing Temperature/CO2 & Temperature/Cosmic rays, the Cosmic Ray theory fits far better than CO2. It's startling.
Not Andrew's Most Editorialized Article
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Andrew actually tried to report the facts somewhat evenly without extensive editorial - typically his climate oriented articles are heavily tinged. I was also pleasantly surprised to see someone trying to foster intelligent discussion across the aisles regarding climate change and its potential causes.
I am by no means convinced of human-centered climate change - i'm much more inline with the idea that the large glowing fusion furnace located near by and streaming energy and highly energetic particles at us contributes the most to our daily experience on the planet Earth. Similarly, I have to assume that volcanos/geological events have an extraordinary impact on our climate due to the scale of energy/material involved.
The above being said, I think we'd be ostriches not to seriously consider the idea that humans have a significant impact on their environment - we literally have changed the face of our planet via deforestation, paving, farming, etc. What worries me is the idea of equialibria and tipping points - 3% man-made CO2 vs. 97% may not seem like much but that kind of delta can be the push to shift equalibria and we have to be aware of that possibility. It is quite possible that 3% isn't insignificant.
What I worry about most is that the historical arguments for/against continued analysis of climate change seem to be extraordinarily idealogical with little concern about the net outcomes. On the human-centric side you have the expectation that we are going to completely change our society to deal with problems that may or may not be real and on the other side you have people that would argue that we should be ostriches because it might be expensive to solve a preventable problem.
Who wants to put money for/against the idea that reality probably lies between the two idealogical arguments? I for one would put my money on humans are impacting environment (but probably not to the amount the alarmists predict to get a reaction) and if we were smarter about energy use and energy production, we could mitigate the majority of the risk with a reasonable amount of investment. More meetings like the meeting described by this article please.
Concerning volcanos/geological events
Volcanos and geological events can be quite neglected. All geological energy comes from radioactive decay and tidal forces (don't forget, we always gotta conserve energy). Science gives some numbers: Sun irradiation of the earth surface: 174 000 TW; Geothermal energy 45 TW (K.H. Nealson, R. Rye (2004) Evolution of Metabolism, pp.41 ff . In Biochemistry (ed. W.H. Schlesinger), Vol. 8 Treatise on Geochemistry, Elsevier-Pergamon, Oxford.)
If you talk about the greenhouse effect or atmospheric light scattering after volcanic eruptions, we're back to the sun irradiation issue and you might have more of a case.
FWIW the human race contributes about 134 *times* (not 134%, but 13400%) the CO2 that volcanoes do annually, as of the USGS study in 2007. This number varies slightly as volcanic emissions are somewhat erratic, and human emissions are on the rise. This is with data on modern volcanic emissions.
In summary that's volcanoes 200 Million tonnes/year vs. humans 28.6 Billion tonnes/year.
Volcanoes are credited with bringing the earth out of the 'snowball earth' phase of its history via co2 emissions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_Earth#Evidence
I'm not getting into other factors such as albedo (roads, deforestation and buildings) and particulates or aerosols (skin flakes, diesel exhaust, dust, sulfur dioxide etc); however this suggests that 6billion humans can *easily* have quite the effect on our climate.
I have to agree that we are changing the planet a lot, and I very much doubt that CO2 is a major factor, the turning of forests in to concrete cities is having a far bigger effect than anything else we're doing.
We have literally wiped out hundreds of species of animals thousands of species of plants and totally screwed with the weather with our huge city expansions, but everyone is sitting in the corner talking about something which if it even has an impact that impact is so small we can't detect it...
A small step, but a good one. At least everyone was in the same room and having (by the sounds of it) sensible, level-headed scientific discussion rather than scaremongering from one side (which I guess is why Al Gore wasn't there) and shouted denials from the other.
At least it has proven that the debate is not over...
I take from this that the human race knows the thick end of bugger all about how our planet's climate works.
Plenty of knowledge, but incomplete
"I take from this that the human race knows the thick end of bugger all about how our planet's climate works."
No, because reasonably good estimates based upon the model we have (weather forecasting) can be made over the next 5 days or so. But climate is a very complex mechanism, and not all parts of it are understood yet and not all of the interactions are known. And we're probably a very long way from complete understanding. The knowledge we do have suggests strongly that we need to act in a way that reduces our risk of wrecking our own climate which requires development of climate friendly energy sources and use. Leaving or keeping 2/3rds of the world population in poverty isn't an option here either, because people in bad enough poverty will burn anything to keep warm or destroy any nearby forest in order to feed themselves, while people who are better off tend to have the means and motivation to care about their nearby environment. It's the same kind of issue which led in many places to localised pollution becoming sufficiently disliked that activists eventually got this cleaned up, e.g. you can now find fresh fish in the Thames not present 100 years ago, and you can also breathe air in London without many people getting ill.
In the past the rich have been able to externalise environmental misbehaviour, by siting toxic waste dumps where poor people live while keeping the areas where rich people live green. But global climate is the part of the environment in which we can't avoid all sharing our pollution. Localised solutions don't work here so this needs a global response.
Which hasn't stopped us from meddling
.. nor has it stopped some from proposing 'geo-engineering' to fix it.
Although many say isn't broken, despite the world being in a global food crises, due to what else but climate driven crop failures for the last few years:
Lets have a pint while we still can.
Re: Good step
Actually it would appear that the debate is just starting. It's the mud-slinging, finger-pointing, propaganda and hysteria from both sides of the debate that may or may not be over......
..and highlights the lack of reliable, dependable science behind all of these climate-change issues.
I think one of the key issues is that the proponents of global warming are trying to draw conclusions from statistically-insufficient data sets. Because of random 'noise' on short-term measurements, climate trends can only be properly assessed over data spanning periods of hundreds of years. Attempting to make predictions of trends for the next century based of 30 years of data (since global warming allegedly took-off) leaves a gigantic margin for error.
The fact of the matter is that if we want proof (or refutation) of global warming, we need to wait for more data, to see if the trend continues or not. Meanwhile the politicians are already in panic-mode, and don't want to wait. Result: unwise decisions, knee-jerk reactions, wasted capital and resources, unwise energy policies, scaremongering and hysteria, racketeering, environmental damage.
Climate change or no, we need a replacement for fossil fuels, and will need that whatever happens, sometime within the next hundred years. Therefore we should be concentrating on that area of science. Once we have a safe energy source that doesn't liberate carbon dioxide, the global warming debate will become irrelevant.
wasted capital and resources
You can find *much* bigger piles of wasted capital and resources in many other areas besides our half hearted attempts at climate change mitigation. I wish the one-world-order-tyrants-are-taking-milk-straight-from-my-babies-mouth types would get a little perspective.
Some actual information might have helped
...you to come up with a more realistic comment. Allow me to fill in some gaps.
"I think one of the key issues is that the proponents of global warming are trying to draw conclusions from statistically-insufficient data sets. Because of random 'noise' on short-term measurements, climate trends can only be properly assessed over data spanning periods of hundreds of years. Attempting to make predictions of trends for the next century based of 30 years of data (since global warming allegedly took-off) leaves a gigantic margin for error."
This is typical of the propaganda from political factions (IMO) that want everyone to keep using fossil fuels until there is no more to sell. As for the history of climate data it goes back somewhat farther than you suggest. Global warming was suspected and tentatively proven in the 1930's to 1950's using data as far back as the mid 1800s.
"Climate change or no, we need a replacement for fossil fuels, and will need that whatever happens, sometime within the next hundred years. Therefore we should be concentrating on that area of science. Once we have a safe energy source that doesn't liberate carbon dioxide, the global warming debate will become irrelevant."
Great idea, but we need something a LOT sooner than 100 years, unless you think farmers can somehow revert to 19th century practices by not using 10 calories of fossil fuels for every 1 of food they produce. "Peak oil" which for some reason is widely ridiculed happened in 2006 or 2007 at best estimates. Since the rate at which we use it continues to increase it won't last 30 years, much less 100.
This article sums everything up pretty well..
Peak oil will also likely cause 'boom bust' cycles in the world economies, until we find another solution or go back to 19th century technology.
I definitely believe in climate change. Over the past century or two the planet has been getting warmer -- as well it might, climbing out of the Little Ice Age. Of late, at least in the part of the world I deal with, it's been getting colder. This is all moderately undeniable.
What I would like to know, however, is where all these people get the precise data to assess blame upon me; to tell me what I must and must not do; to tell me my taxes and expenses must increase mightily that they may save me.
Until they get better data and models, this is all an attempt to gain control over me and my money -- and you and your money as well.
As I'm sure you're aware, we're still *technically* in an ice age - a big one rather than the 'Little Ice Age - and will be until the poles are completely ice-free.
I'm interested that even the cited data that's being used are subject to arguments, such as the use of sea temperature against air temperature. It makes it sound like even basic data collection isn't beyond doubt. And scientists are supposed to be familiar with the idea of tough scrutiny and the burden of proof.
I don't advocate reckless abuse of our planet's resources but healthy scepticism, especially when scientists' funding is dependent on there being a problem, seems a logical position.
But I wholeheartedly agree that allowing the competing views to properly debate seems like a good and promising step forward. I commend the organisers.
two questions on abbreviations
#1 Which "Met" are you talking about as having attended? I know that in the UK, the Met is usually the Metropolitan Police, but here in Ireland, the Met is the Meteorological Office. I would have assumed you meant the latter except for the comment wondering why they attended.
#2 CBR on page 3... is this supposed to be Cosmic Background Radiation? If so, I think this is the wrong phrase since CBR refers to the ambient radiation left over from the Big Bang. Isn't it?
Overall, nice article. Not nearly (as pointed out) as editorialising as your other articles. Which is nice because we get a chance to comment. That seems to have been a good call as (so far) the comments haven't descended into religious flaming. Thumbs up.
The arctic ice sheets are not at an all time minimum. They have been virtually non-existent for large chunks of geologic time. If you modify your statement to "they are at an all time minimum since we started keeping records of them" I'll let you slide.
Face it, climate changes. Sometimes radically, in geologic terms. Then large swathes of life die out and others replace them. It really doesn't matter if it is asteroids, volcanoes, natural variation or man causing the change.
And speaking of posturing assholes C 2, you shouldn't be using a computer. It contributes don't you know. Maybe you should forsake all means of generating warmth and wander back and forth following the seasons so you don't freeze. Then you can be even more smug.
@ C 2
Don't you see? With all respect, this was an article written in an objective style about a meeting between two groups with opposing views, for once getting together to have a sensible and open debate in good order and with polite conduct.
Your comment starts with FAIL etc, please, leave it at the door.
I'll respond to your comments, and ask you to listen, really really listen, and hopefully you'll consider what I've got to say without bluster or hubris.
The climate has ALWAYS changed. No one is debating that. You only need to look at the geographic record to understand how extreme this has been - the world has been ice-free before, and in my humble opinion it is inevitable that it will be again. It's been tropical, it's been locked in ice. These things happen because the climate is a chaotic system and is in a state of flux, constantly.
Here is the point: You say the artic ice has been melting and there are trade routes opening for the first time ever - with respect I suggest you look up "The Northwest Passage" and realise that vikings sailed much of it, and it was open in the early 1900s.... not to open again until 1990s. But that aside, my point is that the argument is not about whether the climate is changing, but what level of influence man has had over this.
Legend has it that there was a king who decided he was so powerful, he could command the tide to stop. Not much to add, other than he drowned.
The idea that a man could command the tide is utterly hubristic, and laughable, even I am sure to you. The idea that man could stop or reverse climate change seems almost as laughable - IF climate change is not man made. Further, why is it up to man to decide that the conditions in 1980 or whatever when this all kicked off are "optimal" and should continue forever after?
From my point of view, the money squandered on climate change is borderline criminal negligence. The good that could be done to reduce preventable disease, provide clean drinking water and medication, improve education and generally make the prospects for millions of people locked in poverty, with even a fraction of the money Europe is prepared to spend on an unproven issue just shows how absurd the whole situation is.
But sadly, I know you won't read this. I know you'll have posted your little rant in the comments, and you'll now go off, confident that you've Won The Internet, with such cutting and informed Last Words on the Matter. If, by some miracle of tolerance or ritalin, whichever gets you through the day, you get to this point, I hope that you'll at least consider the folly of trying to control a system infinitely more powerful that anything you could hope to do short of an atomic bomb, and get on with adapting to survive in a changing and interesting world. It might just be exciting.
As to prove Frumious Bandersnatch )above) wrong we immediately get:
"So *actual evidence*, like you know Arctic Ice sheets at all time minimiums, and melt rates from glaciers in Greenland to the Himalayan Mountains to the South pole mean .. what nothing?!
FFS the Arctic ocean is opening up as a trade route that has NEVER happened .. of course its something new to squabble over."
You see, that's just wrong. Arctic Ice sheets are NOT at all time minimums - the all time minimum is no Arctic Ice sheets at all. Which is, actually, the Earth's state for most of its history.
And the Arctic trade route has been open relatively recently, and for the majority of geological time as well.
This is why both sides give the debate a bad name - throwing out nonsense like this as though it were fact. It isn't. Even though you want it to be.
Pot meet kettle
Every event you mention has happened before on geological timescales. It might be worth taking a deep breath before spouting Idiocy and in the same statement labelling others as the idiots.
Some time long ago before the start of the current ice age and before the coming of man the planet was a hot molten ball whirling endlessly in space.
Mankind did not cause the ice age or the end of the same thing which is still progressing.
We may or may not be contributing to the current 'climate change' (note the change in terminology now that it isn't actually warming) but your prejudiced rant is not doing anything to lead to a proper, full scientific investigation which may or may not establish any effect we may be having.
There are many factors involved which need investigation, some of which are basic physics but I have never even heard mentioned in the arguments.
All causes of change are not the same.
So sometimes the Earth is hit by large space rocks, sometimes causing major extinctions. But that doesn't mean we should ignore it if they start getting pointed our way by asteroid miners or orbiting factories or whatever.
If there are bad consequences of climate change (destruction of agricultural systems or urban infrastructure, hearing "it's happened before, millenia ago, but much more slowly" is not going to help much. Whereas attempting to make some sensible decisions in advance probably will.
Re: @ C 2
"Here is the point: You say the artic ice has been melting and there are trade routes opening for the first time ever - with respect I suggest you look up "The Northwest Passage" and realise that vikings sailed much of it, and it was open in the early 1900s.... not to open again until 1990s."
The Vikings barely sailed the Northwest Passage at all! Otherwise, they'd have landed in the Arctic regions of Canada, not Newfoundland and - according to reports not yet substantiated by archaeological findings - New York or even further south. The Passage was only "open" in the early 1900s in the sense that Amundsen and company managed to navigate between ice and the shore in a ship designed for such navigation in Arctic conditions (in contrast to ships used in previous expeditions that required relatively deep open water).
FAIL + FAIL != WIN
This is the problem with a little knowledge and plenty of moral rectitude. Even Socrates was a smug bastard when he claimed that he was wiser because he knew what didn't know, but at least he was on the right track. I'm hope I'm also on the right track when I remind myself that there is a lot of uncertainty on this question but equally there is much that *is* known as well.
I am basically of the opinion that AGW highly likely to be true, with provisos. However I'm not going to complain if someone rationally argues about various models, or data sets or whatever, even to the extent of disagreeing that AGW is likely. What I get tired of the whole point-scoring ad-hominem drivel informed by ignorance that this post by 'Ministry of Truth' typifies. The closest truth it resembles is the sort of tosh creationists spout.
It has a horrible start with, hopefully merely ignorant, untruths about the Northwest Passage (There is no shred of evidence to suggest Vikings got further west than Ellesmere and Amundsen's 1903-6 expedition proves the exact opposite of it being 'open in the early 1900s'). A poor start is then followed by the irony of an appeal to history which *completely* screws up the King Canute story and its point. If you are going to appeal to the 'geographic record' to support your argument while being so basically uninformed about history and unwilling to do the slightest research to verify the 'facts' you have received, then I'm sorry, your opinion is scarcely credible.
As for the whinge about squandered money and 'think of the children', phuleezz! I assume you've already written to the MoD and demanded that they hand their funding back. It's called a double standard.
One last thought about climate change, which you should think about even if you don't agree with the anthropomorphic part. The thing that concerns me about the current situation is a little thing called Rate of Change. I know my geology, I know the climate cycles all the time, I know life adapts, some are winners some are losers, c'est la vie. I also know about geological time and that it seems pretty obvious to me that the current warming is a lot faster than usual.
Given enough time an incandescent light bulb will release the same energy as a nuclear bomb. Does this mean that light bulbs are as dangerous as atom bombs? Rate of Change matters.
Not to me.
"it seems pretty obvious to me that the current warming is a lot faster than usual."
Rate of warming increasing (2nd derivative? - very advanced).
And upon what do you base this frivolous claim?
It might be true, but only if you believe a small set of highly dubious datasets purporting to show this to be true, which include specific handling of "adjustments" and proxies - almost all of which result in an upward movement of the data set record. There is extreme doubt as to the veracity of these data sets for very good reasons. These include examples of direct academic fraud and plain and simpe sloppiness with data as well. The proverbial "snowball" is rolling, and most of the junk climate science is going to get washed away with the rest of the detritus of junk science. It will get washed away for the normal reasons. It is based on a collection (wellmeaning) fraud, ignorance,bad data, wishful thinking and out and out bad science.
The hard sciences will eventually wash it away with a solid theory that shows predictive ability supported by empirical, tamperproof and reliable, measurable evidence. At this stage we have no idea what the such a scientific theory might postulate, but my money is on the "AGW by CO2 emmission" is a crock. The CLOUD guys seem to be onto a very promising avenue of investigation. Svensmark seems to be be clued in as well.
Warmer is better for humans, enjoy the fact you were born in such benign climatic times!!
The real cause of global warming...
is obviously politicians, lawyers, and other hot air filled persons relieving some internal pressure.
Models and truth
"People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful"
WRONG! The originator of this quote is not a scientist whatever they claim or their job title is. This directly violates Karl Popper's expression of scientific philosophy that, to be considered scientific, any hypothesis (of which a model is one form) must be falsifiable by observations. Observational evidence or measurements is the closest we can get to ground truth. If models don't agree with observations we have a term for them (watch out for technical jargon here): "wrong".
Models are worthless unless they correctly predict observations.
arguments for and against
So I found this page whilst trying to understand what the heck is going on.
The science is pretty hard for my brain to understand at this moment. The author and some commentators sound like they might be scientists or have enough scientific schooling to help me out :
I would like to know if the science is based on reality or just scare-mongering.
As would we all.
what do you expect from a bunch of hairdressers?
I think its all rather irrelevant as people by enlarge will never accept voluntary restrictions on their consumption to solve something like this. Each person measures the importance of themselves having a hot bath or a holiday in Thailand verses the tiny (even it it were certain) impact that said action will have on climate, and concludes that their own comfort is far more important. Its the kind of 'one more wont hurt you' attitude that an alcoholic has to whisky. There's no point getting angry about it, its human nature, one might as well get annoyed with gravity.
Mines the organic hemp woven cardigan.
this about sums up my feelings on the subject