back to article Scientists warn on climatic 'tipping points'

An international team of scientists has presented its list of those regions of the planet most at risk from global warming, which are in danger of "sudden and catastrophic collapse" should they pass "tipping point" thresholds beyond which they will never recover. The researchers, comprising experts from the Potsdam Institute for …

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.....And now a word from an Ugly American

I'd greatly appreciate it if the Brits in the audience would separate the general population from our "leaders". Almost everyone has disavowed the current leadership (anyone with any sense) and I believe that the average American would agree that the current state of environmental affairs is, at best, potentially unhealthy. If you're informed regarding our "problem child" you'll no doubt be aware that many NASA reports were tampered with because they didn't promote the right politcal agenda, thus resulting in a number of high-profile firings after exposure. In fairness, it depends on who was in charge of some of the studies over here as to their validity.

That being said, we pretty much agree that the earth goes through natural cycles that still aren't totally understood, but the fact remains that damage done during the Industrial Age is becoming a measurable factor. Let's dispense with the hubris and get down to the work of cleaning house. We can't control natural cycles, but it's irresponsible to not at least attempt to control our own behavior...and for God's sake clean up or send the species to its grave without pudding!

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Linux

Has anybody ever considered

I also am a scientist, with a proper science degree and everything. I get really annoyed by the use of the term "scientist" in any media report which apparently means that whatever is quoted must be true because the scientist says so.

For the record, I have a degree in Chemistry, however i'm sure that if i really wanted to I could get some work making quotes for journalists on all kind of non-chemistry related topics and all would be believed if they called me scientist or boffin (Reg!).

On a completely different note, surely there must be some positives from this whole global warming lark? If the ice sheets melt and the world heats up will there not be an increase in evaporation, resulting in beneficial increases in rainfall over vast swathes of the globe? Will the massive ice covered area of the old USSR suddenly become huge greem fields large enough to solve world hunger? Is it just a case of the people who currently "have" getting worried that the global balance of power will shift to the "have-nots"?

/science

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Unhappy

Im amazed by the number of neysayers in here...

As someone who works in IT support for atmospheric research I can tell you two things.

1. 90% of research scientists are not very well paid at all. Im mid level IT support and I get paid better than most of the scientists here.

2. This stuff is real. The people doing the research have no vested interested in telling people that we need to cut emissions, they are putting it froward simply because it is the most sensible option.

3. There is a significant chance that we are fucked. Luckily for me my house is on a hill :)

Why is it people seem to be happy to believe in something that suits their prejudices (scientists are all in league, its all a hippie hoax, etc, etc) so easily, but cant just go and look at the real documentation and peer reviewed articles. This would put any rational doubt people have to rest.

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Stringent?

"We had government scientists with funding in the past. We had scientists investigating AGW for more than a century (before this was a hot button topic), so faddism can't explain THAT. Yet you can't debunk that old investigation."

It isn't exactly Rocket Science. Funding for Climatology, Atmospheric Physics, Oceanography and other disciplines has increased approximately 100-fold since this latest scare began. They tried it in the 70's with the great global cooling catastrophe and now here we go again. Chicken little.....

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Paris Hilton

@ "SHARKS control the climate"

QDOS to Robinson.One of the best jokes I've read on AGW. Who would have expected the BBC to let slip the real truth, even if it happened to emerge clothed in metaphor rather than naked, plain and unvarnished.

Climate of fear - Iran, credit crisis, terrorists, fear of smoke, fear of breathing, fear of food, fear of fear... How the sharks controlling all this propaganda are laughing while they are feeding.

And still you think sociology is for people soft in the head?

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Boffin

@ Mark

Nobody disagrees that the earth is warming up. But there is significant disagreement among top class climate scientists that the climate change is caused by humanity.

The IPCC who are lobbying this - as I am sure you know, as a Scientist - do not use the Stringent Scientific Method, because they remove people who disagree with their general consensus. Their peer review does not mean anything. That leaves us with proposals that are ineffective and harmful for many countries - especially developing countries. Not to mention tons of money going into this process.

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Vikings

Yep that old warhorse about Vikings and Greenland has reared its ugly head again.

Let's get it straight. (Putting his trained geologist hard hat on)...

Greenland in the Viking Period was not a lush paradise, its coasts had isolated patches of marginal land, the interior was the same ice cap that's there today. Greenland was always colder than both Iceland and Norway; its winters were harsher and summers short and frost prone. The Greenland communities remained heavily reliant on imports from Iceland and Norway for even quite basic materials.

Greenland got its name through Erik the Red's nordic spin-doctory; as the Icelandic sources put it: "He named the land Greenland, saying that people would be eager to go there if it had a good name."

The whole situation ended with the passing of the Medieval Warm Period - a time of unusual warmth in the North Atlantic region. There is much less evidence of a global warm period at the time, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. It is therefore not analogous to the current warming which is not only global, but occurring much faster than the MWP.

Scientists are much less concerned about the absolute temperatures we're seeing (it's still relatively nippy compared to the Eocene about 50mya when London had a pleasantly African climate including hippos), than the rate of change which is unusual.

Admittedly it is not unprecedented; the aforementioned Eocene kicked off with the Initial Eocene Thermal Maximum which is associated with a major extinction event and massive changes in sea level; but it is one of the fastest we know about. At the moment, the best explanation we have is that our CO2 emissions are driving the warming.

Oh and before I go, the ice age fears of the 1970s were well founded considering the state of knowledge of the time. Although it is worth pointing out that even then, the majority of scientists predicted climate to either remain unchanged or warm slightly.

But back to the cooling hypothesis.

For the last 12,000 years we've been living in an interglacial (periods of relative warmth between glacial advances). Isotope work done on Pleistocene deposits showed repeated advances interleaved with relatively short interglacials of between 10,000 and 20,000 years. The present Flandrian interglacial is already 12,000 years old it seemed to be reasonable to assume the climate would be turning inevitably towards the next glacial advance.

We now know that interglacials can last in excess of 100,000 years and the switch between the two extremes takes much less time than we thought - ice ages don't take tens of thousands of years to develop or end, they appear quite abruptly.

There was some evidence to support the cooling theory. The climate between 1940(ish) and 1970(ish) had cooled somewhat, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. We know know this was mainly due to heavy industrialisation during the post-War economy and the newer economies of the Soviet Union, China and Japan producing huge amounts of particulates from coal and unchecked emissions of sulphur dioxide. Through the 1960s and 70s, the West rapidly switched to oil and gas and began to filter SO2 from its emissions, the skies cleared and the climate turned back to normal.

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Stop

The Warmers are now quite scary

"So far, the majority of evidence tested by the highly stringent Scientific Method suggests that global warming is very real."

A few politically-motivated fanatics cooking the evidence and pumping into a computer model to get terrifying looking hockey stick temperature graphs. Which then don't stand up to a moment's scrutiny. Not what I call stringent.

http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=166

But not as scary as this:

@ Richard:

"anyone who quotes from the 'Great Global Warming Swindle' should be sectioned under the mental health act as a threat to society "

Translation: anyone who disagrees with me is mad, and must have their liberties and right to free expression curtailed. You disagree with me. Therefore you are mad, and must have your liberties and right to free expression curtailed.

Is that a threat?

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Paris Hilton

@ We are stuffed (Anon. Cow.)

"I may be wrong, I may be right. If I'm wrong then some commercial damage will have been done and the economy will not have grown quite as much."

"If I'm right then the cost of a possible disaster could be truly immense (I said could be, not will be). So I err on the side of the precautionary principle."

So you'll be stocking up on rabbits' feet, not walking on the cracks in the pavement, attending mosque, church & synagogue as well as buying The Watchtower? What else - maybe the sacrifice of a few furry animals to appease vengeful gods? Can't be too careful when exercising ones precautionary principles can we?

PH because she never takes precautions.

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Anonymous Coward

Of Course

...it's hapenning.

If it wasn't, we'd still be in the last ice-age!

Goes through cycles.

We (humans) are almost certainly accelerating the issue, but the Earth will self-regulate...drought, famine, floods, whatever...

Having said that, we should do more to cut down on the accelerators - common sense, really.

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Happy

And they missed one...

...which is the ocean, now is now getting to the point where it no longer wants to soak up much CO_2. Then the methane gassing out from thawing Siberian permafrost kicks in.

Zut alors.

My problem is that I will have to kill all those shore-dwellers when they come rushing inlands.

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Jobs Horns

Assuming that global warmingcooling is real...

Why don't the "scientists" (politicians) make a PREDICTION? You know, as in "if we reduce the number of cars on the road by such and such, the temperature of the Earth will decrease/increase by such and such degrees centigrade."

Answer: because when a solid, testable prediction is made, it generally turns out to be complete and total bullspunky. It's much more effective to incite general panic by saying "the planet's going to DIE!" instead of giving solid, provable numbers.

It's all bull. Don't throw trash out your window, but feel free to drive an SUV with impunity (assuming you can afford the gas...).

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Unhappy

Re:Has anybody ever considered

Ask the people of Boscastle whether they'd like some more rain.

Take body armour.

Oh, and for those yibbering on about Greenland, it was a real estate hoax. The people transported there dief out REAL quick.

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Unhappy

Re: Oh, and about CO2

Albert, do you know what that lag means? Are you a statistician to see what lags and what preceeds? Are you sure the graphs were for the 20th Century?

Because what you're saying is bollocks.

Prehistoric records show CO2 lagging temperature changes.

But I suspect you don't know that, all you know is people have said that in the past CO2 lagged temperatures, so GW is a myth and you didn't bother to look.

Am I right?

Shit, why can't you people make good arguments against AGW? If they turn out to be right, we're all saved, if they turn out to be uncertainties then people working on it can see whether they can become UNcertain.

But no, actually working to find a reason why AGW is wrong is too much work, so you make shit up out of half-remembered facts that help prove you right.

Give some room to sceptics who

a) know what the fuck they're on about

b) can prove what they say is valid

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Alien

There are two Marks, Agiel

And I thought you were talking to me, hence "get the stick out of your arse".

Apologies for jumping so hard on you.

PS you're still wrong.

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Silver badge

Time to get the speedos on

For most of us probably the only benefit of climate change is going to be not having to go so far to the beach. But, what really amazes me is the number of commenters who say glibly `there may be swings in the Earth's climate but it has always survived´.

Of course it has bloody well survived or we wouldn't be talking about it in the Reg'.

The point is ( as the dinosaurs could have told you if they had survived their climate change) the world is going to change quite a lot, with more energy entering the system, it may not be noticeably hotter it may just be that storms are a bit more energetic and more frequent ( insure against storm damage now for the next fifty years) the rain may be a bit more monsoon like. The infrastucture that we have now may not exist,but the Earth will still be around so that's OK. Just think it through.

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Dead Vulture

@Robinson

"Funding for Climatology, Atmospheric Physics, Oceanography and other disciplines has increased approximately 100-fold since this latest scare began. They tried it in the 70's with the great global cooling catastrophe and now here we go again. Chicken little....."

Hmm. So how much WAS spent in the 70's combating global cooling, Robinson? You seem to know a lot more than the frigging newspapers that kept this frickin story alive!

One research paper showed that particulates were causing global cooling. Noted that this effect was uncertain and that the buildup of CO2 and other greenohuse gasses could be offsetting this but the trend would take a long time to see with any certainty.

One.

Paper.

Newsweek picks it up and screams "GLOBAL COOLING WILL DAMN US ALL!!!!oneone11oneon"

Then YOU swallow this crap hook line and sinker because you don't want to have to clean up your mess as long as you can't see the mess.

For fucks sake, there are some good arguments countervailing AGW out there but you can't frigging find them for all the shite being spewed.

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Soo?

Yeah, the Earth heating so much that in millions of years the ice melts sounds bad, but where has anyone said what will actually happen after that? Are we to believe that the ice melts and suddenly we're all dead?

Consider freak summers when it gets dead warm, or el nino... yeah, tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage occurs, but millions is made due to warmer summers. Old people wont freeze to death. No pnuemonia.

So penguins may die... do we not have zoos that can hold them? Why not a big zoo in the future? Gigantic sized freezers?

As soon as someone says what will happen after the earth 'heats up catestrophically' then yeah, fair play

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Thumb Down

FUD.

I am not a Scientist, I am merely a lowly Sys-admin. I do however know the difference between Climate Change, Global Warming and Man Made Global Warming and I don't like the way that the mainstream press don't seem to want people to understand those differences, as all three of those are interchanged randomly and used incorrectly.

The only Science that we seem to need to know is that money paid as Tax develops the chemical ability to absorb huge quantity's of CO2 & Methane and negate the effects of water vapour. Amazing.

A decade ago the serious Scientists were telling us that increased mean global temperature's would lead to increased evaporation that leads to an increase in precipitation and snow fall at the extreme ends of the spectrum. And that was the key element. Weather fluctuations at the extremes in localised environments.

Now we are told about the ice shelf collapses in the western Antarctic but not the aggregate accretion across the rest of the continent that The British Antarctic Survey has mapped. etc.

I was going to go on but what's the point? When Al Gore tells you that you have to change your life style but he doesn't need to because he can afford to pay (offset) someone else to suffer in his place. Then you just know that an issue whether serious or not has been hi-jacked by the Politicians.

7m Sea level rises? Not in this millennium any serious Scientist will tell you that.

@Mark "Yes I am a Scientist. In fact I am sitting in my lab typing this now."

Shouldn't you be doing some climate modelling then, rather than posting to El-Reg on Government funded time?

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Anonymous Coward

@ justin case

[snippery]

"So you'll be stocking up on rabbits' feet, not walking on the cracks in the pavement"

I don't see the relationship between snuff-it lagamorphic podiatry and global warming, nor indeed do I find pavement cracks belching CO2.

", attending mosque, church & synagogue as well as buying The Watchtower?"

Look up Pascal's Wager.

While I take your point, I am an atheist and even if I was not I'd probably feel a sense of responsibility that went beyond merely invoking <deity> to look after me like like a wuz a likkle kiddy.

"What else - maybe the sacrifice of a few furry animals to appease vengeful gods? Can't be too careful when exercising ones precautionary principles can we?"

Animal/human sacrifice doesn't affect weather. That theory went out, oooh, years ago. I personally think curtailing anthropogenic CO2 would be better, don't you agree?

So, you've managed to duck my point entirely, that knowledge is a sounder basis for debate and subsequent action than denial. Well done! Perfectly illustrated my point.

*so* much easier than reading the IPCC reports, and quicker too.

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Carbon Cult

The ecofreaks remind me of the bible bashers who urge that the return of Jesus is imminent, and you better join their cult now. Sadly though, the Carbon Cult is infinitely more sinister than a few over enthusiastic evangelists.

Last time the Eugenics catastrophists, confident in their scientific consensus that genetic pollution would return us to the stone age, killed 7 million Jews to improve the race.

Now poor people are dying because only rich people can afford the self inflicted expense of trying to appease the Carbon God. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1/3a3e7eb6-c5ae-11dc-8378-0000779fd2ac,authorised=true.html

How many poor Africans and Asians will die because of the great global warming swindle, before their pseudo scientific bluff is finally called?

http://www.crichton-official.com/essay-stateoffear-whypoliticizedscienceisdangerous.html

http://eric.worrall.name

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jay

BEN ELTON

stark...

anyone?

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Unhappy

@Albert Stienstra

When you talk about top class scientists, are you referring to the 2,000 names on the Oregon (?) petition? Ones that included Einstein? Dr Death? Podiatrists?

One scientist is often trotted out as having left the IPCC because of bias. However, none of you ask or repeat why he left: NOT because AGW is wrong or we aren't responsible for more than half of it but because the IPCC may (from his POV *are*) going over the top on how much worse hurricanes are going to be because of global warming. That's completely different from what is posited: that he doesn't believe AGW is real. He DOES. He doesn't think there'll be a 3% increase in hurricane severity by 2020 under "business as usual" climate warming. He thinks the number will be down and the severity up, though the overall effect will be a small increase in total damage capbility.

Oh, and a point for Eric: Calling people "ecofreaks" is NOT going to get you thought of as the moderate voice. It'll get you thought of as an arsehole.

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J
Joke

Personal responsability

That's what these socialistic hippies denying AGW lack: personal responsibility. They don't want to answer for their past/present/future hedonistic, wasteful life styles, so they say it's not our fault. It's all the sun's fault, sue the sun! Or whatever. Just don't take my toys away... And if disaster does ensue (which always fucks up the miserable to begin with), who cares? I'll be dead anyways...

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erm @Mark,

My comment above was supposed to demonstrate that money-hungry, numerate, PhD qualified exponents of sharp practice would be daft to stay in science (whether climate sci or not), and should instead sod off to the City to get more money.

Or do some sort of consulting on the side, all the better to extract money from Big Business.

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Pirate

Really scary stuff

One of the key points in the 'climate debate' is that many of the people on side supporting the concept of AGW and advocating mandatory changes for other people are much the same people who were involved in other organisations in the past demanding a similar amount of change & control, but for entirely different reasons.

If you follow some of the opinions through to their logical conclusion you end up with the sort of things advocated here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7187985.stm

Read some of the comments. Yes, there are still people out there who think that the 'greater good' requires that a few people thinking the right kind of thoughts should have control over everyone and force radical change on them. You'd have thought that all the other times this has happened would have proved it isn't a good idea...

If you really look at it the reason people support an idea is either a) they think they know better than you, and are convinced it's their duty to convert the world b) they want power (even if unconsciously), and the best kind of power is being able to make other people do what you want against their will or c) they don't believe a word, but there's profit in it for them; so, for example, campaigning against climate change while having involvement in a carbon credit company.

Personally, I remain firmly agnostic at the moment. I'm waiting for proper evidence rather than hype, and mere consensus isn't enough - lots of wrong ideas have been widely accepted in the past, and it didn't make them true.

I also remain firmly against compulsion or taxation as a method for changing behaviour; it's far more effective to make people want to do something because there's a real benefit compared to the old way rather than forcing them. Especially if the change you want to make isn't actually worth doing except to be seen to be doing something.

.

Given what we've seen so far, I'm sure one day we'll end up with people advocating and enforcing something effective but immoral as a 'solution', say for example mass population culls. Kill a couple of billion of the poor and unproductive, or the poorly educated, or the old, or the 'inferior' and you'd certainly reduce emissions & general environmental damage.

But it wouldn't make it the right thing to do.

Though I'm not sure that those convinced of the rightness of their ideas would recognise this any better than they have before. And I'm sure that a large section of the populace would blindly support them, given they seem to believe a lot of the current crap, and history has shown even the worst excesses have had some measure of popular support - it's a bit difficult to work without people supporting you.

Enviro-nazi might not be an entirely inaccurate description.

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Flame

Looks like this message board has been taken over

El Reg ought to look at a slashdot-like moderation system or full-transparency (as is partially implemented in Digg) so that we can see exactly from what IP ranges / groups of users the lobby groups are coming.

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Flame

Re:Looks like this message board has been taken over

So, anything that doesn't agree with your point of view must be from an organised lobby group? Or paid for by 'Big Oil', for example?

The lack or realisation that some people might not agree with you is sad.

It doesn't take conspiracies or bribes for conflicting opinions to appear.

Though freedom of discussion is always inconvenient for certain types of people.

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Anonymous Coward

Mark == Climate Scientist? Or just pretending...?

Mark, are you the same Mark who fessed up here a couple of weeks ago here in the middle of a crazy anti-copyright rant?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/24/mpaa_admits_movie_study_error/comments/

"I'm a physicist. Actually took astrophysics but I'm not IT support.

(guilty conscience?)

"I did to fluid dynamics and got it COMPLETELY wrong but found out where I got it wrong in about five minutes when I talked to someone who did modelling programming for the Met Office."

By Mark

Posted Friday 25th January 2008 10:11 GMT

So are you are you not a Climate Scientist? Or do you just like pretending to be one on The Register?

@tardigrade

"Shouldn't you be doing some climate modelling then, rather than posting to El-Reg on Government funded time?"

I had the same thought. This bloke doesn't half have a lot of time on his hands. So climate guru or not, I guess it's us taxpayers who are paying for Mark's idle time.

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@ Really Scary Stuff

"Yes, there are still people out there who think that the 'greater good' requires that a few people thinking the right kind of thoughts should have control over everyone and force radical change on them. You'd have thought that all the other times this has happened would have proved it isn't a good idea..."

This is how it's _always_ been. Which is the reason why a desire for high political office ought to be a one-way ticket to the booby-hatch.

I have a dream: One where high office is thrust upon the unsuspecting, much like jury service (let's face it, they couldn't do much *worse*).

Upon completing your term of office, a referendum is held, the result of which decides whether you are allowed to go back to your old life, with a small stipend as a thank-you and maybe a grace-and favour house (nothing fancy mind), or be sentenced to spend the rest of your days as a vagrant, with the words 'Bad President' tattooed on your forehead.

Granted, some kinks need working out, obstructionists may have to be 'removed' to smooth the transition to our New World Order, but the basic plan is sound, I'm sure of it.

No apologies for off-topicness, this is Serious Revolutionary Business...

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Guess They Need Funding

Whenever I see this kind of unsupported rubbish from 'scientists' I can't help but think that it must be funding time at the universities again.

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Go

Let's moderate out Evil Thoughts

"El Reg ought to look at a slashdot-like moderation system or full-transparency (as is partially implemented in Digg) so that we can see exactly from what IP ranges / groups of users the lobby groups are coming."

So my "consensus" has no choice but to fit with your "consensus"?

Er... thanks. But no thanks.

Just a thought, but the next time your unproven hypothesis tries to influence social policy on such a scale, can you at least try to bring a bit of science to the party? Or a few really cosmic scares? Hansen and his hockey sticks, and Al Gore's starving polar bears, just don't do it for me. I like to see a bit of empirical evidence, and causation, with my rationing.

If you make a claim, you've got to back it up. Pointing your finger at "sources of authority" just doesn't cut it. Especially when those sources of authority are arranged in a circular shape, all pointing at each other.

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Linux

@ Gilbert Wham (@Really Scary Stuff)

Just a trifle late with your (really good) idea. See the book "Parkinson's Law", a series of essays by C. Northcote Parkinson, a professor at a university in Singapore in the mid-20th Century. One of those essays concerned the ideal way to recruit a candidate for a public office. The general thesis was that anyone who applied for the job was obviously incompetent. Therefore, a committee should decide who would be best and figure out a way to approach that person to accept the job.

Parkinson also formulated Parkinson's Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. A lesser rule was that Government agencies expand at a constant rate regardless of what their mission is or even if they have no mission at all. He based his essay on the British Colonial Office from the time of "India, the Jewel of the British Crown" to the loss of the last colony in the 20th century. Most of his examples are from his knowledge of British institutions since he was a native of Great Britain.

Back on subject, there is an enormous amount of absolutist fog going around on both sides of the AGW debate. I see no reason to completely believe those who think AGW needs draconian measures nor do I completely believe those who think everything will stay the same. To some degree, they are both wrong. Perhaps we would be better served to put the minds to figuring out how to survive the change. Change will come as it always does but the details are far from clear.

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Questions are not Answers

IMHO the current state of climate change models enables them to raise serious questions but not to answer them. The state of knowledge and quality and range of data available to test them is simply insufficient.

As evidence of that, one of the latest and supposedly best refined models adapted to current data I am told is DePreSys. Eg:

Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model

Science, Aug 10, 2007, Doug M. Smith, et al

http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?ID=6557&method=full

Note the conclusion: "the year 2014 predicted to be 0.30° ± 0.21°C [5 to 95% confidence interval (CI)] warmer than the observed value for 2004."

In other words, the predicted ten year warming is in the range 0.09°C to 0.51°C with 90% confidence in the estimate. But of course this error range does not include errors due to fundamental deficiencies in the model. It is merely calculated on the scatter the model produces when initial conditions are randomly tweaked. So at the very best we are told the model has an uncertainty in its ten year predictions of a factor of five.

Extrapolate that to 100 years and the uncertainty can only increase.

Furthermore, most science I have seen uses 95% confidence levels. Why not here? The obvious answer is that if the authors gave the error range for the usual 95% standard it would not exclude the possibility that the ten year warming outcome would be zero.

As far as I can see the history of Viking farms in Greenland does in fact seriously question the doomsday scenarios regarding its melting icecap.

Eg, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/08/science/08VIKI.html

Greenland was occupied by settlements of up to 1500 people for four centuries until about 1350 during much of which they farmed cows and sheep. The claim that they were supported during that time only by supplies from Scandanavia seems untenable.

There are no reports that London was under water during that period.

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Thumb Down

Fuck me

What a depressing load of comments.

"We already have evidence that the planet has already recovered from situations far worse"

Yeah, maybe the *planet* has, but that doesn't mean that *humanity* will.

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One rule for me, another for everone else

"I also remain firmly against compulsion or taxation as a method for changing behaviour; it's far more effective to make people want to do something"

By "people" I'm sure you mean nice middle-class people like yourself, and would never dream of applying that sort of silliness to the kind of people who break into your house and twock your xbox.

The point is: some kinds of behaviour are beneficial for the person that does them, but bad for everyone if everyone does them. For instance: driving SUVs. Regulatory laws exist in order to make society nicer by, shall we say, negatively incentivizing these types of behaviour.

Compulsion and taxations are excellent ways of changing behaviour, especially in relation to things that most agree are good things to change. They take away the "why should I not X when everyone else is doing it anyway?" factor

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3x2

Digg???

<...>El Reg ought to look at a slashdot-like moderation system or full-transparency (as is partially implemented in Digg) so that we can see exactly from what IP ranges / groups of users the lobby groups are coming.<...>

This isn't Digg and we are not the mutual masturbation society that live at Digg. WARNING : Actual opinions may vary.

Me and my lobby group are off to work now (for Big Oil of course) so I'll leave you with a bit of light reading. I'll leave the summary too as I feel you probably won't be reading it.

WARNING : Viewing the listed material could lead to excommunication from Digg

http://www.michaelcrichton.com/speech-environmentalismaseligion.html

"Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them."

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To all the evangelists

There has been biblical fire and brimstone cast down upon the non believers here, without the radical evangelists actually taking a second to consider the position of anyone but thier "scientifically proven" bible of MMGW.

Anyone who posts something negative to each new and increasingly alarmist finding is immediately branded with negative terms like denier rather than positive ones like thinker or investigator after all much better to believe the world is still flat rather than investigate the opposite of the accepted position.

Just because someone is not afraid to speak out against the alarmism used in publication or the whole man is driving climate change argument, does not mean that they deny any form of climate change. In fact I firmly believe climate change is a natural phenomenon which is happening and is very real but the impact man could have on the issue, short of destroying 50% + of the human population or going back to live in caves is just about negligable and is certainly less than the margin of error applied to all the existing alarmist findings.

I think the following open letter to the UN signed by 100 of the worlds top scietists including heads of climate research departments and many other real scientists sums up my position quite nicely. http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/open_letter_to_un.html

Basically stop wasting all this time and money on more and more alarmist ways to blame mankind for the natural climate cycle of our planet and start researching ways to live with natural climate change.

So to all the people branding me as a denier, my advice would be to stop being such a sheep and do a little investigation yourself. Once you start to read beyond the index page of the MMGW bible you will see there is very little actual science and a lot of faith (ie belief without proof)

"In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is "settled," significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed (see http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/wg1_timetable_2006-08-14.pdf) to consider work published only through May, 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated."

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Happy

@Mark, again

Yes, the graphs showing atmospheric CO2 lagging the arctic temperatures are explicitly from the 20th century. Since this shows CO2 concentration like being just an effect, this probably also happened in prehistoric times, although I don't think we have such nice records from prehistory.

If you are such a scientist, why are you so excited about these data? Are you already committed to a theory? Not very stringent, I think. Neither is calling people names.

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Dan

Why care?

It's just one other problem that may eventually become a reality, what scares people is that they see the causes every day, cars, buses, computers, power-stations (all arguable causes mind, after all it may not even be us apparently :roll:). Each time (thanks to mass media, gotta love it) they think about it, even if only subconsciously . At the end of the day I'd take slow eventual (and perhaps possibly survivable) "climate change" over short but most certainly terminal meteor strike or massive volcano eruption or whatever of the thousands of things that could blip us out of the universe in a flash.

I suppose sure, we caused it (arguably) but we cause a lot of things extinction of hundreds of species, the culling of entire forests, etc.

At the end of the day if your so worried why are you sat at your computer now and not out planting trees or whatever else people who care do..

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Typical.....

"El Reg ought to look at a slashdot-like moderation system or full-transparency (as is partially implemented in Digg) so that we can see exactly from what IP ranges / groups of users the lobby groups are coming."

Once again, the poster would like to engage in Ad Hominem, but cannot without knowing who is talking, assuming all against are "lobbying" in some self interested way. That is a completely false accusation. In actual fact, since I think 1998, Greenpeace have spent nearly $2,000,000,000 on lobbying, a large percentage of which has gone on the AGW thesis. This dwarfs by an order of magnitude sums spent by the large petroleum corporations on anti-agw promotion.

The unpalatable fact for the catastrophists is simply this: there are many many intelligent, thoughtful and knowledgeable people out there who *do not* agree with the consensus. I consider myself to be one of them; I don't drive and prefer to wear another layer to turning up my heating in the winter, by the way. I have no horse in this race whatsoever.

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Anonymous Coward

Scary Stuff ?

Hello Jim Black,

I was thinking about Prof. Parkinson's book, read it 50 years ago , what he said was true then and is now.

The bloke I borrowed the book from ,said something also true.- " You can't believe half the lies your told"

Remembered that for 50 years, and I find it a good idea to apply it to this global warming hysteria.

Where I live (New Zealand ) , in my town where I have spent about 70 years, the climate has become cooler and wetter over that period.

I expect that this will be disregarded by the warming proponents , but I go by what I observe not what Gore and co. say.

Bruce

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Flame

@Anonymous Coward

Are you the same anonymous coward that posts GNAA trolls to slashdot?

GTFO.

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Thumb Up

Show me the Graphs, Albert

Where are the graphs. I have the summary statement from the IPCC here (free download) and it shows it the other way around. There have been no science reviews intimating that such a gross error in the report exists. Heck, there's been no NEWS report saying it.

Just you.

So where dem graphs, boy?

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Stop

" You can't believe half the lies your told"

Surely you can't believe ANY of the lies you're told.

And you seem to be believing the half of the lies that say AGW isn't true.

The religion is the "scepticism": anything that says the scepticism is justified AND true is accepted without question (e.g. Volcanoes produce more CO2 in a year than humanity has over its existence: not true, but when it was true, 98% of life was wiped out. See, it USED to be true, but the implication made by leaving out WHEN is that volcanoes like Mt St Helens and Pinatubo do this. They don't. We manage something like 30x the rate of output of all the volcanoes).

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stopping the thread

Does my mentioning Hitler in this thread (and saying that you're all just like him) mean that you'll all have to stop and go back to work now?)

Should I have called you all Nazis as well?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Typical.....

So where did you get those figures from? PFYA?

2005, Exxon ALONE spent $2.1m on studies to debunk or ameliorate AGW papers. That's listed in several places and is reported in the 10Q from Exxon (though not detailed).

You have "I believe" a lot in there. Even the 2Bn seems strange. "Large percentage" means what?

Some googling shows that in 2000 income was 100million euros (the exchange rate isn't that bad, is it?) of which 10million was spent on climate. And since that would include a lot more than just "write a paper" but would have to include transport to political meetings, flyers, poster campaigns, etc.

So given that I HAVE looked and your figures are completely wrong, how do you know that your belifs as to why AGW is wrong are correct? You are most evidently wrong here, so how do you know you're right elsewhere?

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Trying to fit in with the crowd

There is no problem ... there is no problem ... there is no problem... there is no problem... there is no problem... there is no problem... there is no problem

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@Robinson

"I apologise in advance for my rant."

If your going to apologise in 'advance' then best get it in before the rant and not after.

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Boffin

@Robinson

"The unpalatable fact for the catastrophists is simply this: there are many many intelligent, thoughtful and knowledgeable people out there who *do not* agree with the consensus."

My sister doesn't believe in it because God is more powerful than us.

My dad doesn't believe in it because he doesn't WANT to change.

Some intelligent people have reasons. However, my sister's reason is rather tenuous (we DID get thrown out of Eden because of what we did, why can't we be thrown out of here for making a mess of it?)

My dad's reasoning is OK. As I told him, he's already done most of his damage and he'll die soon. (oddly enough, though he likes to say "tell me I'm wrong in 50 years time" he doesn't like that, nor does he like "hell, why not make it five?".). However, because he doesn't WANT to know, why not shut up?

The hockey stick was a good sceptical query once. When that problem was sorted out, the egnuine sceptics didn't say "well, it's still wrong" they looked for more things that could be wrong. That's how science gets to the truth. But "sceptics" keep bleating the same old "hockey stick" thing because they don't WANT to check. Too much effort. And no longer can we hear the real problems with the understanding of climate because one million idiots are squarking

"it's the SUN!"

"Volcanoes did it!"

"Dinosaurs didn't have SUVs!"

"Ecofacists hate us all and want me to live in a cave" (which is why you can't Godwin a AGW debate, ecofacist is used too frequently to make "nazi" stand out)

etc

A REAL sceptic may ask

"Well, I reckon the clouds will cause more reflection, ameliorating the effect"

to which the pro-side say

"OK, work it out. Will it be better or worse (e.g.night time trapping of heat)"

And the REAL sceptic will work on it, helping science get to the truth. What we have now is the closest to the truth we can get. If we've got it wrong, it could be that there's no problem. Equally, it could be we're seriously boned. So stop picking on the "no problem" side, if it's wrong, it doesn't mean you're right.

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