back to article Chinese coal blamed for global warming er... cooling

The refusal of the global temperatures to rise as predicted has caused much angst among academics. "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't," wrote one in 2009. Either the instruments were wrong, or the heat energy had gone missing somewhere. Now a team of …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    "the level of scientific understanding was low."

    That has to be the truest statement I've seen on the subject so far. On either side.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed

      It seems there is some form of admittance from those in the article that it's quite hard to explain exactly what we're witnessing and where the "missing energy" went. Probably not a great idea to cripple the economy with taxes in relation to it then, no?

      Anonymous as I don't want to wake up and find a 30m windmill in my back garden - mainly because I can't afford to subsidise another one.

      1. indulis
        FAIL

        It in the oceans

        Energy in the oceans showing increased temperature = energy gain, paper abstract

        http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JD012105.shtml

        and graph from the paper (for easy access)

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998-intermediate.htm

        At the end of the day, if sea level rise models are right or wrong this is minor (until and if we get massive ice melting, when that factor will overwhelm other inputs/outputs). The ocean temperature shows where the energy is going.

        ...and nobody who is actually working in the field of climate science, or in the teams who analyse global temperatures thinks they are "flat" or "falling". +0.7C (since 1960) indicates they are rising, and continue to rise.

        Oh sure you can cherry pick some dates or one instrument, ignoring data that doesn't fit the "lets just keep on using up coal/oil/gas as fast as we possibly can" ideology, and pretend temperature is flat. And you can probably get some nice funding or lots of exposure in The Register and other places where global use-it-up-faster enthusiasts wait for crumbs of hope from economists, lords, and other notable scientists.

        http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

        Here is how to create your own fake dataset if you want to get published in a friendly journal. Its easy, just pick a convenient start date (a hot year is good) and go from there. Extrapolate away!

        http://jhubert.livejournal.com/181274.html

        And some information from actual scientists with expertise and the time to do the job properly on sea level rise.

        http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/current/sl_ib_global.jpg

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Boffin

          Indeed

          The Reg's coverage of this topic is garbage and has been for some time.

          The main problem with this amount of mis-information is that it makes it difficult for scientist to actually tell the truth - most believe that the situation is much worse than they are reporting but they feel they have to stick to absolutely the most conservative figures because the public (and therefore politicians) simply won't swallow the very real possibility that things are could be much worse.

          Essentially, it has become hard to get any action even on the most likely scenarios and utterly impossible to get any contingency planning for less likely but more serious possibilities. All because some people want every scientific study and instrument everywhere in the world to give the same results, That's a low understanding of science for you.

          1. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge
            Mushroom

            Fucushima?

            Can things be as bad as you say? Reg was saying how lucky we all were that Fucushima was so mild and how it proves we should all have more Nuke power plants if that's the worst that can happen.

            As a warmist you probably love nuclear too and think that Fucushima was mild and nothing to worry about yet you want us to worry about Global Warming?

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      and following-up

      A few guys have got a new equation that matches the new dataset, so we can say THAT is what is happening (ignore the earlier equation that went with the earlier dataset).

      This is great until along comes an even newer data-set, and then the cycle can continue again.

      Meanwhile the reality seems to be that there are soooo many things that affect the results, and most are so hard to measure, we still don't know. (I remember reading someone's assertion that the variability in the sun's output can't affect the temperature on Earth, despite the fact that most of the heat on the planet comes from the sun).

      1. nyelvmark
        Boffin

        Plausible.

        >>I remember reading someone's assertion that the variability in the sun's output can't affect the temperature on Earth, despite the fact that most of the heat on the planet comes from the sun.

        Well, off the top of my head, that's plausible if the variability is at frequencies (or energy levels, whatever) which don't much affect the Earth's temperature.

        I don't think that's true, though.

      2. ps2os2
        Holmes

        Global Warming (or lack there of)

        There is just too much data and what we have is incomplete as there are 1000's of volcanos that are at best accounted for loosely. The scientists have a pretty good handle on the global warming do not get hung up on the small stuff as they say.

        The data suggests X. The scientists are paid to come up with what X is. They have a reasonably solid foundation to suggest what is going to happen. Do not expect exactness with a subject like global warming. There are just too many variables and with variables comes a little exactness.

        DO you get upset when the boss calls you up and says to you your expense report is bad fix it. Now is it because its to high or to low? You pretty much have to follow the bosses lead. If you saw him out at 1 dinner its a safe bet he went out another 4 times. Then of course you have toi figure out what the tab was at 3 other restaurants you have no idea what he went to. So you make a best guess based on what you know his habits are. Global warming is more of an exact science than tabs but then you get the idea.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      unhelpful

      I am not sure it's relevant to apply statements like "the level of scientific understanding was low" to sides here; the level of scientific understanding will likely depend on the level of scientific training, and the specialism of the scientist (naturally constrained by the level of scientific knowledge).

      Just because politicians, reporters, economists, commentards, etc know sod all doesn't really tell you much about the level of scientific understanding where it counts. Unless you consider the "climate debate" a propaganda battle instead of a best available analysis of the current situation.

      1. Bullseyed

        Re AC 13:17

        "Just because politicians, reporters, economists, commentards, etc know sod all doesn't really tell you much about the level of scientific understanding where it counts."

        There is not a single person on this planet who can tell you how global temperature works. Is that clear enough for you? No one, not scientists, not engineers, not the politicians at the IPCC can tell you, because no one knows.

    4. Jerry
      FAIL

      But not low enough to stop the Aussie taxing

      Strewth!

      The bloody Aussie Labor and Greens have just agreed to a major carbon tax based on "the level of scientific understanding was low."

      As an Aussie denizen I'm going to be shafted every-which-way till Sunday based on low understanding by the 'clever' classes

      FFS My only recourse is pointless letters to MPs or standing in the unseasonally bad rain and cold to let the Greenies and Labor pollies know what a stupid decision they are making

      1. Paul Murray
        FAIL

        And?

        Soaking the mining companies for money is a great idea anyway. If they can afford a load of TV ads complaining about the tax, they can afford the tax itself. These mostly foreign-owned companies can bloody beg for permission to strip out our minerals and flog them to the chinese, as far as I care. You really think they'll just pack up and go home if there's a tax hike? a) They won't, and b) so what if they do? The minerals will stay there, and become more and more valuable as time goes by.

        People have this odd idea that money taken as taxes simply vanishes. It doesn't - it goes pretty much straight back into the economy, and anyone who thinks that government spending doesn't count as part of the economy is an idiot.

        Likewise, people who think that governments "waste" money have no idea what a circus private enterprise tends to be. At least governments don't pay 50-million-dollar bonuses to people who fail at their jobs.

        Damn libertarians. Idiots.

    5. neil 15
      FAIL

      Low understanding of science

      Is what I get whenever the register gives its rather biased views on climate change. The effect of aerosols is well known, but to some people, such as journalists with an axe to grind, a new paper adding it into an existing model becomes news. Look at the records going back to the world wars, you will see cooling caused by the increase in aerosols, look at massive volcanic activity. Look at the heating effect after 11th Sept 2001 over the USA when the aircraft contrails disappeared, and the albedo reduced.

      Many scientists, for example Salter (of the underfunded and backstabbed duck fame) are now working on increasing albedo with aerosols by vapourising seawater (yes making fog). There are also proposals to disperse at high level nano-particles of Titanium Oxide and do the job like that, there is even a patent for that bit of silliness.

      I do wish journalists had a clue when they write about some paper, and knew of the context and background.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Don't worry neil 15

        Some people it appears would prefer not to listen to scientists when if it concerns something big, scary, complex, and possibly calamitous. Some would prefer to clutch at every straw, every gap, every scientific disagreement, every counter argument no matter how specious as a reason it's all some vast conspiracy. Or something.

        It's really no different than the tactics employed by creationists, 9/11 "truthers", or holocaust deniers. They are confronted with a vast amount of scientific evidence so the the same tactics spring up time and time again - quote mining, pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, compiling lists of "experts" who oppose the findings and so on.

        1. JP19

          While other people...

          relish something big, scary, complex, and possibly calamitous because it gives them a new windmill to tilt at and they will grasp every straw, every gap, every scientific disagreement, every counter argument no matter how specious as a reason to claim their windmill and so their crusade against it is bigger and more important.

          Look at me I'm campaigning to save the entire planet, look at you trying to destroy the entire planet, Gosh I feel good about myself and so much superior to you.

          Sadly the world has far too many of these Don Quixote fuckwits.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @DrXym

          "Some people it appears would prefer not to listen to scientists when if it concerns something big, scary, complex, and possibly calamitous"

          Well, you see that is the problem isnt it, because for every scientist that says one thing there is another that says the opersite, so using your own argument against you, you too are not listening to scientists when if it concerns something big, scary, complex, and possibly calamitous

          So which group is right? nobody can answer that because if they could then there wouldnt be a debate

          The true answer is somthing like the ultimate questions of life, why do we exist, does God exist, whats our purpose in life, everyone has an opinion but nobody has the answer.

          To tax me because of an opinion that may not actually be right is not funny, just as im sure you wouldnt want to be taxed on something you didnt beleive it, politics and theory have no place being together.

          1. DrXym Silver badge

            Not really

            "Well, you see that is the problem isnt it, because for every scientist that says one thing there is another that says the opersite, so using your own argument against you, you too are not listening to scientists when if it concerns something big, scary, complex, and possibly calamitous"

            It's not 1:1 opposition, more like 99:1. Of course you will have scientists who are in disagreement and maybe that 1 person in 100 is the guy who holds the answer. That's the great thing about science - it's self correcting. Someone advances a hypothesis, that hypothesis can be tested, if it tests positive it becomes a theory. In turn it may be replaced by a better model. Duff hypotheses and conjecture get dumped.

            What science doesn't do is what most anti-global warmers do which is latch onto one quote, or one study, or one gross oversimplification of the problem (e.g. conflating weather with climate) and place undue weight on that study / quote as if it cancels all the others out. As if because every single scientific paper in existence doesn't point the same way that there is a "debate" or a "controversy". That isn't science, it's pseudo science and unfortunately what happens all the time.

            In the case of this study I expect climate scientists are as intrigued by the study as much as anybody and doubtless it will spur further research first to test the results, to incorporate the effects into models, and to make predictions based on what effect it may have in the long and short term. I expect that emitting sulphur dioxide does have some short term effect on the climate, but obviously coal is not finite, and is it really a good idea to kill plant and animal life given that is what acid rain does.

            "So which group is right? nobody can answer that because if they could then there wouldnt be a debate"

            And here's the problem. Science isn't a debate. I could debate all day with an opponent in front of a large audience about the sex of my hamster. We could take a vote on it. Maybe my hamster will be voted to be a girl. That won't alter reality one little bit. Science is about making observations and testable predictions based on those observations. I would trust scientists to make those predictions far more than I would some armchair denialist. And that's what it boils down to. I would have thought people interested in computing would recognize that more the general public but judging by the number of downvotes apparently this is not the case.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @DrXym

              but again, that is the problem, its not about cherry picking dates, there is ample evidence from leading climatologists that say, yeah in 'places' its warming up, but in others its cooling down, yeah some ice is melting is some areas, but in other areas its increasing.

              Science is an absolute, your right but only when taken with all the facts, and the issue here is that different groups will use different facts when it suits them

              Personally im not saying the world isnt warming up, what I personally think is that its very little to do with man made CO2, i cant remember the exact numbers for this as i am at work, but there is something like a 200-500 year lag when you look at average world temps compared to CO2 levels, and the intresting part is, that whilst CO2 continues to increase temps start to decrease. So for example, the temp increases THEN CO2 levels increase as well which suggests that CO2 levels increasing is as a result of a rise in temperatures, not the reason for.

              which actually makes sence when you think about it given that the largest CO2 scrubbers on the planet (of which our world is largely made up off) doesnt work as efficiently in warmer climates. To complicate issues further strong winds have a negative effect on this CO2 Sink as well, and wind i am fairly sure is largely created by the sun, and also cool/hot air moving over and around the poles/equator, so large chunks of ocean are performing a bit less than usual which again suggests why CO2 levels maybe increasing, its a HUGE system, and the whole thing needs to be considered, not just CO2

              I am totally up for not needlessly polluting the world, absolutely without a doubt, what i strongly disagree with is the way the issue has been politicalized without propper understanding. Some twat telling me we need to cover the countryside with giant windmills to save the world is just laughable as its been completely exploited by those wanting to make money. I mean, look at the whole Y2K bug, people made an absolute mint out of that because it was not fully understood and people went mad.

              You want to save the world Mr Windmill man, good for you, so you wont mind doing that without a profit then? of course they wont want that, companies are in the business of making money and the climate issue is a gold mine.

              As i said, lets do what we can when we can, lets not go mad especially since nobody actually knows the full story, ive not heard one scientist who says sea levels are rising because of CO2 state what the increase in surface of the water will do to CO2 levels? why? well im guessing because increasing surface area will help reduce CO2 / temps which goes against their argument. Thats not to say it wont happen like that, but the general public will get confused with a slightly mixed message on something they know nothing about thats been broadcast by media whos sole intention is to make headlines....

              All a bit fishy me thinks ;)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          whoops

          whoops, im debating with you and after a second read i think we're on the same side....ah well sorry bout that if we are :)

        4. kmitchell3

          peer reviewed?

          It's too late to start building an ark once the rains come.

          Is this article based on a peer reviewed scientific study. If not, than journalists should state when presenting a 'balanced' view. I want to know how much credibility to give to this article, otherwise it is just useless noise in the debate.

          1. Tom 13

            Even if not peer-reviewed,

            the referenced article is better science than anything coming out of CRU. It meets the actual requirements of science: it is falsifiable (as opposed to an article of faith like the warminsts), the data are fully published, and anyone can review and replicate the experiment to confirm the results.

        5. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge
          Thumb Down

          Lump all the nutters together

          You just lumped Climate Change Deniers with Truthers. I know people who don't believe in Man Made Global Warming who happen to agree with the official version on 9/11.

          In many cases as with Creationists there are huge problems with the official Darwin version. The fact that that there are huge problems with the Creationists argument does not mean Darwin was spot on.

          With Global Warming the official line is that "if this does turn out to be real we will be glad we took action now rather than waiting until it was too late". The problem with that is the obvious doubts this leaves. These are glossed over with rhetoric.

      2. Tom 13

        If they understood the implications,

        why weren't the corrective factors included in the original model, and the appropriate pieces of data fed into it?

        No, wait I'll tell you: because doing so would have undermined their political objectives.

    6. NikFromNYC

      Title

      The LA Times featured cold fusion in '89 before its debunking. Greens were aghast!

      “It’s like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.” – Paul Ehrlich (mentor of John Cook of the SkepticalScience blog, author of "Climate Change Denial")

      “Clean-burning, non-polluting, hydrogen-using bulldozers still could knock down trees or build housing developments on farmland.” – Paul Ciotti (LA Times)

      “It gives some people the false hope that there are no limits to growth and no environmental price to be paid by having unlimited sources of energy.” – Jeremy Rifkin (NY Times)

      “Many people assume that cheaper, more abundant energy will mean that mankind is better off, but there is no evidence for that.” – Laura Nader (sister of Ralph)

      CLIMATEGATE 101: "For your eyes only...Don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone....Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it - thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that." - Phil "Hide The Decline" Jones to Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann

      Here I present A Global Warming Digest:

      Denial: http://i.min.us/ibyADs.jpg

      Oceans: http://k.min.us/idAw6Y.gif

      NASA: http://i.min.us/idFxzI.jpg

      Thremometers: http://i.min.us/idAOoE.gif

      Earth: http://k.min.us/ibtB8G.gif

      Ice: http://k.min.us/ibBgw2.jpg

      Authority: http://k.min.us/iby6xe.gif

      Prophecy: http://i.min.us/idEHdo.jpg

      Psychopathy: http://i.min.us/ibubmk.jpg

      Icon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmPzLzj-3XY

      Thinker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n92YenWfz0Y

      -=NikFromNYC=- Ph.D. in Carbon Chemistry (Columbia/Harvard)

    7. JJz

      It's getting BETTER all the Time!

      One thing for certain, our understanding of climate dynamics is much more precise due to computer modeling (supercomputers) and this gives a higher degree of confidence than years past. This issue here is if China and others end burning coal and the soot is removed, the masked cooling will end and a greater spike in temperatures is realized.

      The injustice of the China blame game is much of their fossil fuel energy is burned to export goods to the United States and other countries, so really it is our pollution! Yet the USA has been the major player that is stopping any world agreement...SHAME!

  2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Happy

    "the level of scientific understanding was low."

    So basically, all summed up, putting it all together, gathering in the info, correlating all the facts....we still don't really have a solid handle how this big old ball of rock and water works but we'll keep you posted if anything comes up!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: "the level of scientific understanding was low."

      "we still don't really have a solid handle how this big old ball of rock and water works"

      Of course we don't, but getting a gradual handle on it is what science is all about. The level of understanding of science itself is low, apparently, every time someone spouts stuff about "those poncey scientists and their stupid long words and affluent lifestyles" but what should we expect when we have the equivalent of the guy peeling the banana in the zoo's monkey house doing so every week. He just needs to stand there now and the mayhem takes care of itself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        yeah and they

        thought they had a better understand and agood handle of yellow stone park, look what a mess that turned in too, we start farting around with something as important as the climate without having a full understanding then we run the very real risk of making a bigger mess, and nobody can argue against that because nobody has a full understanding there for we cant possibly know what will happen. Instead of pissing in the wind so to speak we should dump all this money in to research.

    2. Hoodlum

      "the level of scientific understanding was low."

      "we still don't really have a solid handle how this big old ball of rock and water works but we'll keep you posted if anything comes up"

      Correction: "we still don't really have a solid handle how this big old ball of rock and water works but we'll still carry on basing billions of dollars worth of industry crippling taxes and regulations on it, and wasting further billions on inefficient ineffective renewable energy technology instead of using cheap massively abundant fossil fuels"

      1. Bunker_Monkey
        Mushroom

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        Correction: "we still don't really have a clue about how this big old ball of rock and water works but we'll still carry on basing billions of dollars worth of industry crippling taxes and regulations on it, and wasting further billions on inefficient ineffective renewable energy technology instead of using cheap massively abundant fissable materials"

      2. Steve Martins

        Getting a gradual handle and a little bit of knowledge...

        Like when Doctors were getting a handle on mental health, widely believeing that electrocuting peoples brains and cutting bits out of it were good ideas, or when scientists were gradually getting a handle on radioactivity, glowing paint was fun - especially when you painted your teeth... yep a little bit of knowledge is definately a safe and secure place to be. A full and complete understanding will surely come when someone turns round and says "oh sh*t, all the things we thought would help have actually CAUSED the catastrophe, not prevented it..." My advice... leave well alone until you know what you're doing. Of course this doesn't preclude ceasing the unstoppable raping and pillaging of the earths finite resources, and pollution everything in sight.

        1. Noons
          FAIL

          @Steve Martins

          And how do you suggest that we recognise it when we get to the point that we "know what we're doing"? I'm sorry, science doesn't work that way, you don't suddenly get to a point when you can say " aha!, NOW I know how it works". Knowledge, unlike dogma, is gained gradually. And while a high level of confidence is possible, certainty isn't. We always work on a best guess footing.

          Actually, that's not only science, that's life for you! Try suggesting nobody should have kids until they "know what they're doing"... Good luck with that.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Exactly. Or to summarise even further: science.

  3. envmod
    Facepalm

    clueless

    just seen this over on the BBC news site too - such an epic facepalm. they'll be saying they got it wrong and CO2 is actually good next...

    I wish they'd just shut the hell up about the whole subject until somebody figures out, conclusively, at least a tiny faction of what the hell is going on.

    at the moment, all climate stories are effectively bollocks.

    1. SonOfOdin
      Boffin

      Re: clueless

      "they'll be saying they got it wrong and CO2 is actually good next..."

      It's called "plant food" and goes along with dihydrogen monoxide.

      1. David Dawson
        Joke

        Dihydrogen monoxide

        On no!! POISONOUS CHEMICAL!

        1. Michael Mokrysz
          Pint

          'Well actually'

          It's not harmful in small quantities, but ingesting more than 10Kg or so at once will probably have all sorts of dangerous and toxic effects.

    2. Bullseyed

      Re

      "at the moment, all climate stories are effectively bollocks"

      Except for the ones who say that the Earth is warmed by the sun and the temperature is a function of solar activity. The media calls them "deniers" but they prefer the term "real scientists".

      1. indulis
        FAIL

        So how come the temperature rises when the solar activity is stable?

        That's called denial

        1. Tom 13

          Well, you have a few choices here:

          1. You misread the data.

          2. You lied about the data.

          3. You were smoking something that isn't even legal in The Netherlands before you read the data.

          Because the data are in point of fact not stable, and correspond well with the warming and cooling trends. As is proven out be similar warming and cooling trends on Mars and even Pluto.

          1. NomNomNom

            title

            solar output has been flat for decades.

            There are not similar warming and cooling trends on mars and even pluto. I recommend you do a quick google search

      2. elderlybloke
        Thumb Up

        Bullseyed- I am

        with you all the way on this mate.

        Also could do with more sun, it's cold and wet here at present (East Coast ,North Island-New Zealand).

  4. Identity
    Holmes

    Memory problem

    How quickly they forget! I remember the 70's, when we were worried that particulates in the atmosphere were going to cause a new ice age (if over-population didn't get us first). We would go out in a blaze of glory, as those emissions would create magnificent sunsets.

    Then, in the 80's, we realized that those particulates were not just cooling and beautifying the Earth, but they were causing acid raid, acidifying and killing lakes, trees, etc. Here, in the States, we largely got a handle on that and the effect moderated to ignorability.

    Now we worry about climate change (or, as the uninformed and self-interested like to call it, global warming). Even though we can say with certainty that anomalous conditions with ominous portents have become more and more apparent in recent years, and that man has pumped an extra large dose of unnatural emissions into the atmosphere for around 150 years, with no sign of genuinely slacking off, "the level of scientific understanding [is] low."

    The fact is, we're dealing with a complex system, here — more complex than anything we've had to deal with before. The idea that we're dealing with a simple problem (ie: warming vs. cooling) misses the point entirely. We are dealing with multiple variables, folks, and you know that you can solve such problems only in terms that incorporate one or more variables — no perfect solution that answers all questions is likely possible.

    That said, if we are to live up to the name 'homo sapiens,' we ought to proceed with prudence over self-interest and immediate gratification. There are ways to arrange things so we can get most of what we want and need without being so wasteful.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately the AGW debate has little to do with science

    each side has already made up their minds on what the results will show the causes to be so they make sure that is what happens.

  6. Mark152

    Chinese coal blamed for global warming er... cooling

    Yes, who else to blame but the Chinese. They have been blamed for almost all the world's problems anyway. Many of these people just could stand the idea that China is finally standing up. What a heavy burden China has to bear in order to join the world club.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      @ Lee

      "each side has already made up their minds on what the results will show the causes to be so they make sure that is what happens"

      Spot on!

      Sadly one side has taken a look at all the evidence, developed hypotheses and models, produced predictions that can be demonstrated to be accurate, and produced further hypothese.

      The other side had paid advertisers to aim dis-information at (quote) 'poorly educated males' with remarkable results.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: that can be demonstrated to be accurate,

        Sorry the whole article was that the predictions were not accurate so needed to be modified.

        Therefore how do we know the new ones are any better?

        1. Peter Mc Aulay

          Re: that can be demonstrated to be accurate

          "We don't replace a theory with one that is better. We replace it with one that is slightly less wrong." -- Stephen Hawking

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        @AC 13:17 GMT

        "one side has taken a look at all the evidence, developed hypotheses and models, produced predictions that can be demonstrated to be accurate..."

        You must have been reading the Beano instead of following the published science papers. The General Circulation Models have been way off. CO2 and temperature are not in phase, and the scientists blame the thermometers.

        http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/ordinary-eyeball-how-did-hansens-predictions-do/

        1. NomNomNom

          title

          you forget that when those predictions of warming were made by Hansen, skeptics were still arguing over whether it had warmed at all. They certainly didn't expect any warming or cooling. Hansen called it. Quibble over the magnitude of warming all you want, but Hansen was only out by about 20% and he was using knowledge from 1988

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge
      Joke

      Old guys don't understand. The youngsters don't remember.

      This is cool news. Sulphur and aerosols cause cooling. So going back further in time, London in the '50s used to get thick smog due to pollution from coal burning. So did other cities. People died.

      So we introduced clean air acts and low sulphur coals for domestic use. People moved away from coal-fired domestic heating, emissions of SO2 and aerosols decreased. The air got cleaner. Co-incidently, it warmed, which may or may not be related to improvements in air quality. Actually, scratch that, it must have been CO2.. I've got some carbon offsets to offload. Joke alert cos it's climate science.

    4. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

      Remember Y2K was going to end the world

      There is an Alex Jones rant from 1999 before he predicted 9/11.

      Y2K was going to end the world as nukes would be launched and VCRs would malfunction whilst toasters would be OK.

      I single handedly fixed all the Y2K bugs in 1999 and saved the world.

      OK, I fixed a couple in my code but was the world saved due to our efforts or was it never going to be a major problem.

      Same with Global Warming, you are claiming that Acid Rain and I expect the Ozone Layer were saved by mans actions.

    5. Tom 13

      Re: complex system

      Agreed. And the point we "deniers" are trying to make is that when the system involves 10,000 variables, it is pointless to concentrate on only one of them, particularly when you have identified at most 50 of the variables.

      1. NomNomNom

        title

        the significant variables are the most obvious ones. It's been decades and the list of significant variables hasn't changed. We can quite validly make calculations at this point.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Acid Rain

    Seems in line with comments I've read before that the sudden rise in global temperatures had a strong correlation to the action taken over "acid rain" which reduced the amout of sulphur emissions. No doubt in 20 years time some other global panic will have taken hold and people will start to wonder if its being caused by the actions taken to counter global warming!

  8. another_vulture

    Acid rain

    The U.S. suppressed global warming in the same way in the 1970's. The problem is that the sulfur that created the aerosols that cause the cooling also causes acid rain. This is really bad for lakes and ponds (e.g., in the Northeast) that are not naturally buffered, so we started scrubbing the sulfur out to the stack gasses, which increased global warming.

    Of course, if you live where the lakes and ponds ARE buffered (i.e., in a limestone area such as the southeast) then the extra sulfur is good for the crops.

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke
      Pint

      "We Need All The Acid Rain We Can Get"

      Actual quote from agricultural extension agent in Arizona.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Wozzat?

        "... agricultural extension agent..."

        Wozzat? Viagra for bulls or an Arizonian who gets them all excited in the first place?

    2. ArmanX
      Facepalm

      I've always wondered if the actions we take help or harm...

      I read a story some time ago about a well-meaning group of marine biologists. They had discovered what they thought was a new species, and were in the process of documenting it. However, in that process, they found that several of the creatures had been swarmed by some sort of parasite, and were growing noticeably weaker. Unsure of how to proceed, they eventually decided that in the interest of preserving this new species, they would carefully clean off the parasites. This worked beautifully; the creatures lived, they were able to continue studying them, and all was wonderful... until the creatures all died of old age. Turns out, those "parasites" were actually the creatures' young. In trying to help, they ended up destroying the next generation.

      Right now, we know that the Earth warms and cools. We know that the sun plays a major role in this. We know that certain weather patterns and natural events (such as volcanoes) affect the temperature of the Earth. However, beyond that, we're pretty much clueless, and like those hapless marine biologists, are in some danger of harming more than helping...

      1. Jack Ketch
        Thumb Up

        Title

        So assuming that we don't have a very good understanding of how the climate works. Are you saying that it's probably not a good idea to continue to emit billions of tons of additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year?

        That sounds sensible enough to me.

        1. ArmanX

          And how do you actually stop them?

          Limiting the release of those gases isn't free...

          You can't use offsets; it's like only breathing in when I breathe out. It doesn't save anything.

          Dumping the gases underground or into the ocean may end up damaging the planet worse than releasing into the air; we don't know. And regardless, it'll all bubble back out eventually, and we're back where we started.

          Limiting the amount of gas produced simply means cutting back on production, which is a great way to kill the economy. And don't give me that "more efficient" nonsense; trends show that has no long-term impact. It's CFL *or* turn off the lights, not 'and'.

          So no, I'm not saying that it's not a good idea. I'm saying that releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere vs. using the current tactics to 'reduce its impact' is a "it might be bad" vs "it's definitely bad" situation. Quit panicking and killing the future. If it's really as bad as all that, well, we're already dead; if it's bad but not that bad, well, we have time to actually figure out what to do, don't we?

  9. Chris Miller

    More parameters required

    If you allow me four free parameters I can build a mathematical model that describes exactly everything that an elephant can do. If you allow me a fifth free parameter, the model I build will forecast that the elephant will fly.

    John von Neumann (1903-1957)

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick
      IT Angle

      @Chris Miller

      Engineering is goal orientated. Science is observation. Math is the least common denominator.

      IT is ... mid-air collision prevention for pigs and elephants.

  10. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    More coal please

    This is a message from the Chinese National Union of Coalminers and the American Coal Lobby

    http://www.theonion.com/video/in-the-know-coal-lobby-warns-wind-farms-may-blow-e,20876/

    Harping on about "global warming" was always going to lead to problems but it was also always more marketable than "human induced climate change" or electorally unpalatable discussions about the politics of oil.

    Whether or not we understand the science of climate change, it's still probably too mindboggingly complicated for us to model properly. But that is not really a good reason for pollution as usual or sending more people to their deaths.

    Anyway nice to see companies like Schneider Electric (re)introducing the "negawatt" to their advertising.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If:

    "The political consequence of this article seems to be that the simplest solution to global warming is for the Chinese to burn more coal, which they intend to do anyway," writes Curry.

    Although when the particulates from the Chinese coal burning eventually fall out of the atmosphere, they will no longer counteract the warming effect of the CO2 released at the same time.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Mike Richards

      Yep it's right there in the abstract

      The article is a very selective reading of the accessible paper which includes the section:

      'The finding that the recent hiatus in warming is driven largely by natural factors does not contradict the hypothesis: “most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations (14)'

      These compounds are short-lived, they are incredibly reactive with moisture - in the atmosphere and in the human lungs and are stabilised as sulfates within a few months of their release. They don't even have the half-life of massive volcanic sulfur emissions which rise into the stratosphere and remain in circulation for years.

      The Chinese and Indians will have to curb their sulfur emissions anyway no matter what effect they have on the climate for one reason.

      They kill people.

      Look up London smog if you have any doubts why massive sulfur emissions are a bad thing.

  13. James Pickett

    Understanding

    Or, however bad things are, we think they're going to get worse, and can we have some more money, please?

  14. Yamal Dodgy Data

    How will the greenies react to this one ?

    Global Warming (a.k.a Anthropogenic Climate Change, a.k.a Climate disruption) has been decreed to be the greatest threat to humanity.

    Apparently no cost is to too great to mitigate it's effects, which why trillions are to wasted on windmills, carbon credit trading and green taxes.

    But ... the science is proven and settled now,

    Sulphur Dioxide PREVENTS global warming.

    The solution is simple, building several thousand old model coal-fired power stations in the UK, WILL SAVE THE ENTIRE WORLD.

    Of course this means acid rain, but as we've been told;

    "No cost is too great to prevent climate change"

    It's obvious, if the Green Party are true to their beliefs in saving mother Gaia from thermageddon, they MUST not rest until every squirrel is burned from it's tree by acid rain.

    And this is the final result of a "belief" in a dodgy scientific methodology.

  15. Jamie Kitson

    Typo

    "The IPCC's 2007 assessment but acknowledged the negativ..."

  16. Sam Liddicott

    the model doesn't work

    Basically, the climate model is rubbish.

    That's forgivable - we know it's hard to get a good model (and harder to prove it).

    But will you now stop the rudeness, and the social ostracising of people who don't believe your models?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    So taxing the ass off of us has worked then.

    Can we have some cash back then.

  18. H'arj Imladd

    Quote of the week...

    OK so..... "The level of scientific understanding was low"

    SO why oh why spend aTrillion+ dollars fixing something for which we have been previsouly told "The scientific concensus in AGW = unequivocable" ????

    I call BS

  19. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    YOMANK

    "First we blame them for warming the planet, but now we blame them for cooling the planet."

  20. Danny 5
    Pint

    at least

    this news shows that, even though there's good reason to be good to mother nature, we're not causing global warming persé.

    This is starting to look like something i always wanted to see in this debate, solid evidence to either support, or dismiss humans as the cause for global warming. i've never been against rules and regulations regarding the environment, i simply wanted to know more about how much influence we have and felt the news has always been very one sided (we are to blame and that was pretty much final).

    Obviously this news doesn't dismiss us, but at least it puts things into perspective a bit more.

    be good to our planet, we only have one of them, but be good for the right reasons and not because some crazed enviro-nutcase says you are directly responsible for the destruction of the planet.

    1. Martin Smith 1
      Paris Hilton

      If I had 50 cents

      ...for every comment I made to support the interests of extremely wealthy companies, I would be...er...just another one of the majority posting here. Whores.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Who should I listen to?

    The economist or 98% of climatologists?

    Tough choice.

    lets hope (despite the preponderance of evidence) that Prof Kaufmann is right about AGC.

    1. Gareth Jones 2
      WTF?

      98% of climatologists?

      Would that be the same as the "97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming" that turned out to be 75 out of a sample of 77 (carefully selected out of a much larger sample so as to give the right answer)?

      And, yes, I did read the source paper to check whether those nasty sceptics were telling the truth when they pointed this out.

      Or maybe you're quoting a different source - if so can you provide a link?

      BTW: I used to believe in global warming till I started checking some of the claims. I'm sure that lots of other technical people have had a similar change of mind.

      1. Bullseyed

        Fact Checking

        Most engineers and scientists know global warming is entirely fake. If you do any research or fact checking it is very obvious. The media doesn't do any fact checking, as has been proven many times when they echo twitter comments that turn out to be 100% false placed with the intent of misleading the media.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Expert Credibility in Climate Change

        Expert credibility in climate change.

        Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers

        http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html

        (But of course we ALL know its really a plot by scientists, commies and the New World Order to take over the planet, don't we?)

        BTW, another link: http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/global_warming/exxon_report.pdf

        1. Grumpy Old Fart
          FAIL

          read the feckin paper you just posted

          and if you read the paper you just posted (like I just did) then you'd find that the 97%-98% only holds true for the top 50-100 (respectively) cited researchers in the field. Include more researchers and you get more UE researchers (sceptics) in the figures.

          Which entirely agrees with the sceptic position that the science is being hijacked by a small minority of the senior climatologists (a position supported by the climategate material).

          So...did you read the paper and come to a different conclusion? How?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            @Grumpy Old Fart

            Clearly the ones who have the most published papers are the ones whose work is most open to scrutiny by everybody else in the scientific community (and beyond).

            Thus far, there has not been ONE paper published in a peer-reviewed journal.

            Science today is based upon skepticism.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Gareth Jones: RE 98% of climatologists

        Look up John Snow (the English physician) - at that time statistically equivalent to 100% of the scientists and medical people agreed that cholera was caused by miasma (bad air basically) - whereas just one lone guy thought it was caused by water-borne agents.

        I am not bothered about scientific consensus, you want consensus based truth go to Wikipedia, personally I will continue to question the things I don't agree with or understand.

  22. John I'm only dancing
    Thumb Down

    Crow bar

    My data doesn't quite fit in with what my sponsors want. Can I borrow your equation to make it all balance out neatly, (especially my bank account).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Changing levels of certain chemicals in hugely complex environment

    has side effects you didn't predict.

    More at 11.

  24. GaboonViper67
    FAIL

    Here's why.

    "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't," wrote one in 2009. Either the instruments were wrong, or the heat energy had gone missing somewhere".

    Sorry guys, wrong again. God is just giving you a gentle reminder that you're still just mere scientists. Look on the bright side, you scientists can just call it 'Climate Change', now. After all, that's the best cop-out for failure I've heard in political circles. If it's good enough for a politician, it ought to be good enough for a scientist.

    1. Steven Roper
      FAIL

      At least

      the scientists, both those who support AGW and those who don't, are actually making some effort to discover the facts and provide proof for their assertions. You, on the other hand, simply threw in the towel and gave up trying to understand how the world works the day you started explaining things as "works of God".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @GaboonViper

      I thought global warming was just God hugging us a little closer?

      I saw it in SNL so t must be true.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "... it is a travesty that we can't"

    Tsk - silly scientist!

    All it means is that there is an observable inconsistency between the model and reality.

    And as any psientist nose that just means another round of funding if u pleez.

  27. davcefai

    Another Summary

    Could this be summarised as:

    The globe should be warming up, but it isn't, but it should be.

    Therefore we'll assume that it is, that way we get to keep our research grants.

  28. TeeCee Gold badge
    Joke

    Here's a plan.

    Ban those low-sulphur fuels that became all the rage a few years back.

    Then we can all do our bit to combat Global Warming by driving around in humungous SUVs and/or massively powerful supercars........ideally petrol ones as we would want to burn as much of that shit as possible.

    The countdown until Clarkson recycles* this comment on Top Gear starts now.

    *He's probably against that sort of thing, so he'll claim his version's original and this one will go to landfill........where it will break down and emit methane.......christ, I'd better get that 8.7 litre LandWilly Turbo 4x4 now, I'm killing the planet here.

  29. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  30. mememine69
    Happy

    Climate

    If one applies the scientific method, CO2 Climate Crisis is revealed as a criminal exaggeration turned into a comfortable politically correct lie. So why is our first reaction to this expressed as: “ no, it can’t be”? Why did we want this misery to be real? Why did we demonize deniers and defend what was supposed to be a comet hit of an emergency? Maybe it was humanity that the CO2 phenomenon hated, not as much about love for the planet. Let history show that “this” planet lover is happy a crisis was averted. As for the rest of you………

    Scientific Consensus:

    Don’t’ sanctify scientists because it was scientists who made environmentalism necessary in the first place after they polluted the planet originally with their cancer chemicals and pesticides. Didn’t scientists produce cruise missiles too, deadly chemicals, land mine technology, nuclear weapons, germ warfare, cluster bombs, strip mining technology, Y2K, Y2Kyoto, deep sea drilling technology and now climate control?

    Consensus was an impression and a perception, not the clear cut truth the mainscream media and politicians made it out to be.

    -Because how else could there be countless thousands of consensus scientists when that many of scientists clearly outnumbered the protestors?

    -If there “WERE” thousands of consensus scientists, why is it that every science organization and individual scientist, has their own unique and personal definitions of climate change?

    -Political science maybe?

    -And if there were thousands of consensus scientists why are they not clambering to get on CNN to warn us the greatest emergency ever and why are they not marching in the streets? Especially when Obama never even mentioned the crisis in his state of the union speech and when all American IPCC climate research funding was pulled?

    It doesn’t matter anyways because the new denier is anyone who still thinks voters will still vote yes to taxing the air to make the weather colder. The climate change blunder has done to progressivism and science and journalism, what nasty priests did for respecting the Catholic Church. The new fear mongering neocons were the fear mongering climate blamers who condemned billions of children to a CO2 death just to get them to turn the lights out more often. History is watching.

    1. Zippy the Pinhead
      Stop

      mememine69

      Here's the problem I have.. Scientist have not proven yet they really know if its happening or if it even has human causes and yet we have people and organizations screaming and we are killing the planet.

      Yes we should keep our planet clean and not waste but lets not kill our global economies trying to head off something we really know nothing about. Let's not do additional damage trying to fix something we don't even know is broken yet. We have scientist wanting to dump hundreds upon hundreds of tons of iron filings into the oceans to attempt to create algae blooms to suck CO2 out of the air.. which will probably do nothing but WARM the areas impacted and kill millions of fish. We have companies paying to offset carbon as a tax.. a tax on something we don't even know we are causing which does nothing but increase the cost of the goods and services we depend upon each day.

      Keep the planet clean and minimize our impact upon it.. but don't tell me that I'm the cause of global warming when right now the largest impact on the planet's temperature appears to be that bright shiny yellow thing up in the sky.

  31. Peter Clarke 1
    Flame

    Global Dimming

    It's been known about for quite some time

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/dimming_trans.shtml

    and the Met Office include it in their model

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-change/guide/science/explained/dimming

  32. steve harris
    FAIL

    So, commentards...

    Did you notice the paper is a peer-reviewed contribution to PNAS - The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - it's right at the bottom of page one if you care to take a look.

    That's a pretty well respected journal. In general scientific journals, its roughly third to Nature and Science. Some of the reviewers won't be climate scientists, will be be familiar with the modelling techniques and inclined to do more than just kick the tyres of something that looks like an important paper with a real contribution.

    So the conspiracy is a bit bigger than one or two climate scientists looking to feather their nest... Ho hum.

    Sulphur aerosols seem to have a half life of over a year. That's plenty of time to be widely distributed around the world from the highly active Hadley cell powered by convection at the equator... that of course covers China and South East Asia. So the idea that they might have a global effect would seem to make some sense, would it not? Of course, I haven't had my name on a paper in atmospheric chemistry for 25 years, so who am I to say?

  33. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  34. JJz

    Let me look at the WHOLE PICTURE!

    This article selectively culls quotes out of context and presents the information in an manner that suits the authors point of view. Perhaps he should refer first to Mark Bowen's account of "Censoring Science: The Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming", a detailed look at the concentrated attempt not to address this crisis for short term profits.

    As far as cooling, read Dr. Hansen's book, "Storms of My Grandchildren" for the dynamics.

    Unfortunately, there was a satellite to be launch to study such and in takeoff exploded.

    One thing for such, the planet has warmed one degree C already, because of a delayed response will warm another degree, business as usual 2-4 degrees (game over).

    Oh, real proof of the harmful change added CO2 in the ecosystem is in the oceans, the ph level is being lowered because the carbon gas gets absorbed in the water turns to carbonic acid, thus ocean acidification. 30% lower since industrial age began, ill for marine life, especially hard shelled creatures, such as, coral.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      Clean sheets fpr JJz please, Nurse

      "One thing for such, the planet has warmed one degree C already"

      The planet warmed 0.7C in 150 years.

      "because of a delayed response will warm another degree, business as usual 2-4 degrees (game over)."

      Thanks Nostradamus, but your team's predictions have been rubbish so far, I'll take my chances and not wreck the economy. China has already made that bet.

      The mean monthly temperature here varies by 20C. In Japan it varies by 30C. You reckon 2C is "game over" ??

      I see a bedwetter. You could try reading back what you wrote to hear how ridiculous you sound.

      1. JJz

        You are a Coward, Caoward!

        Oh, please review the acidification while you are in the mood to discredit the statement!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Joke

          @JJz

          You must despair waking up every morning to discover the world hasn't ended.

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Historical evidence strongly suggests that large amounts of coal-fired industry = killer smog.

    Thus the Chinese plan to outbreed us will be self limiting too! No more need we fear them all getting on stepladders and jumping off to cause Anti-Democracy Earthquakes in The West!

    Since this will also mean an end to the moratorium of shipping forbidden stepladder technology across the Noodle Curtain, there is a considerable potential for Big Stepladder to make a killing too!

    Win-win-win-win.

  37. Flybert
    Facepalm

    well ..

    let's presume man's activity changes the long term climate for a minute

    US and Europe clean up the nasty aerosols and free hydrocarbons that create nasty smog starting in the '70s .. the skies clear up significantly, letting more sunlight in, and warm the planet from the late '70s until end of the 90's

    Then China and India start taking off in a big way, both burning a lot more coal, oil, gasoline and natural gas, most often in less-than-clean ways that increase the aerosol sulfur and free hydrocarbons .. and the warming levels out and perhaps even decreases a bit

    who woulda thunk it ? ( actually .. I've thought this a possibility for years )

    of course the soot on the arctic ice will still melt that, which has been the primary reason for arctic ice melt all along

  38. Sandtreader
    Thumb Down

    Aerosols = old news

    The cooling effect of aerosols has been known for ages - it's the conventional explanation for the post-war cooling. But aerosols have a very short lifetime compared to CO2 - so the real question is what happens when the Chinese get fed up with smog and/or run out of coal...

  39. Zippy the Pinhead

    So Pollution causes BOTH warming and cooling

    You can't have it both ways!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      re: So Pollution causes BOTH warming and cooling

      yes, you are quite right.

      That is one of the problems and finding model that does not seesaw to far from observed data is important?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Having it both ways

        Actually you can have it both ways (not saying it is, just correcting a scientific misunderstanding) - look at clouds: we know clouds have a warming effect and also a cooling effect - in fact you can clearly experience this yourself, and probably have at various times.

        You could experiment this yourself with a warm brick - put it in a pre-chilled cool box and it will have a warming effect - put it in a pre-heated oven and it will have a cooling effect.

  40. nsld
    Mushroom

    Right then

    Time to roast some pandas over a big heap of coal, especially now I have run out of fridges to burn and all the local Prius owners have fled the area after the last news on declining solar activity.

    It doesnt really matter what the science says, the governments will use to there own advantage regardless of reality.

    We saw it with the JIll Dando Institute making up DNA retention research for 3 million quid and we have seen it with the UEA debacle as well.

    How do you like your Panda steaks?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Panda?

      Meh - just tastes like chicken.

      Polar Bear though - so moist and flavoursome!

      (just off to the arctic bushmeat takeaway before it all the ice melts)

  41. Jean-Luc Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Yes, and...?

    It does seem as if we have a warming trend globally. Now, it could be because of us humans. Or it could be because of something else. Or we may not even have a warming trend.

    Regardless of the cause, we may be able to live with the consequences of increased temperatures. After all, the world hasn't come to an end when we killed off various species and severely altered many ecosystems. It is a big planet and we still live on it.

    Problem is that we are far from _certain_ that increased temperatures will allow business as usual. The scientific community in general seems to think not. That same community seems to attribute warming to our emissions.

    Yes, some of the global warming scientists have vested interests in scaremongering. Yes, many of the greens are just so happy at self-flagellation. Yes, some of the solutions being proposed are daft. Yes, some of them will also interfere with business-as-usual free market economic activity (which I support). Yes, some of this stuff may require personal lifestyle changes. Yes, this science is _very_ much in its infancy.

    These are all valid objections, but it doesn't change the fact that we only have one planet available so a cautious person would aim to mitigate risk, rather than automatically attribute great wisdom to people whose opinion happens to coincide with whatever worldview they embrace. This is (imperfect) science and numbers, not economic or social values mumbo-jumbo.

    Far as I can tell, many of the scientists who doubt climate change have cited particular hypotheses which deserved exploration. But the funny thing is that those hypotheses are almost immediately a) rejected by the mainstream and b) elevated to a much more robust status by the naysayers, especially when those naysayers are not scientists themselves.

    Neither a) or b) is a particularly clever way to go about things, IMHO.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A cautious person would also not make *any* drastic changes

      When you don't understand something and getting it wrong may be very hazardous, you make all changes as small as possible, then try to measure the result.

      It seems quite reasonable that climate and ecosystem change could be very hazardous.

      It is plausible that human activity is having an effect on global climate and ecosystems.

      However, we don't actually know what human activities cause possibly hazardous changes or likely benign changes.

      - In fact, according to the models, a rise in global mean temperature is not actually hazardous in itself, the hazards lie in the possible side-effects of said rise. Side effects that are not proven, merely estimates of very complex systems. Therefore quite likely to be wrong, at least in scale if not also in sign.

      Therefore, we should only make small changes to our behaviour!

      Maybe building windfarms and covering large areas with solar panels will cause much more hazardous changes to climate and/or ecosystems than burning coal to get the same energy ever would?

      That said, it is pretty clear that improvements in overall efficiency is a good goal in itself - using less 'stuff' to do a given task is good, as there's clearly a limited supply of every kind of 'stuff'.

  42. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Read the report

    it bears little resemblance this article.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    HAHA!

    I detect a major "HAHA!" coming............

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Where's the Paris Angle?

    Surely no sulfurous emissions here?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    goldilocks time

    It is worth remembering that the global climate is usually (i.e. for most of the planet's existence, past & future) much worse than it is at the moment - either most of the planet is frozen or it is a heat trap, and often the oxygen content is up/down by 5% on current levels. So whatever may or may not be at stake it is neither the planet nor its (long term) climate.

    ( It used to be thought that life acted as a moderating influence on this climatic variability, but as it is largely driven by physical attributes of the planet that idea is no longer in vogue afaik. )

    I suspect the real reason for the growing resistance to the climate change lobby is simply that it has become a global commercial enterprise which is somehow entitled to take money directly from taxpayers (us) without any meaningful debate. As has been pointed out previously, in the EU this includes us paying for companies to lobby the EU to spend more of our money on a wide range of 'climate moderating' corporates and financial 'instruments' created by those geniuses at the banks & investment funds.

    So people reckon its a financial stitch up, and any climate science gets tarred with the same brush - not helped by the interconnections between, say, the IPCC and those who seem to be coining it in. Also, of course, criticism of the money-making stuff quickly becomes described as 'denier' rantings as the standard 'play the man' method for avoiding the original issue raised - although reversing this ploy with 'follow the money' when someone pushes climate-related policies is not considered reasonable.

  46. Lou 2
    Trollface

    Its all about the money ....

    Rest your weary souls, no need to get you knickers in a knot, ... sorry overuse of idioms.

    Its about cuts in scientific spending so ProfA need to make more news than ProfB so that he will get the larger piece of the rapidly shrinking pie. There is no reality in all of this - it is about how "scientists" can bamboozle the illiteraty to give them more $$'s.

    And yes, the stupid politicians (read illiteraty) who are always a few years behind is still in Global Warming Cloud Coo-coo land and we are having to pay for a frivolous waste of money in carbon taxes.

    What a ponzi scheme - I wish I dreamed it up.

    1. indulis
      FAIL

      Yeah the whole scientific process is rubbish isn't it

      "What a ponzi scheme - I wish I dreamed it up."

      Yes the whole process of science is flawed/rubbish/conspiracy etc. Which is why you are living in a society with massive benefits due in a large part to the scientific process.

      Science means the PROCESS by which humanity establishes what is/is not likely to be the truth based on available evidence. This means peer review, and consensus until the evidence to the contrary becomes significant.

      On science's side:

      - medicine

      - technology

      - understanding of the very large (e.g. universe)

      - understanding of the very small

      On your side:

      - creationism

      - climate change denial

      - naturopathy

      - crystal healing

      - "HIV does not cause AIDS"

      - "vaccines are deadly"

      Sure, science has "got it wrong" sometimes but the process eventually allows real data and findings to overcome lack of data and older hypotheses. Get rid of the process and you're left with... well just superstition and rubbish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @indulis

        You invalidate your right to claim rational argument as soon as you start with the unfounded insults - once you start to label people who disagree with you as creationists, crystal healing advocating, anti-vaccination holocaust deniers (OK that last one was DrXym but I think it is fair to include) simply because they disagree with you then any claim you have to hold any moral, scientific or rational high ground becomes clearly invalid.

        But, hey, I a in a feeding the trolls mood so how about this:

        science does not fully understand medicine, clearly as people are still dying of treatable conditions and new discoveries are made every day (not to mention the huge swathes of medical disagreement regarding effects / benefits of things like alcohol, aspirin and lots more)

        I still don't have a robot butler so technology is a big FAIL

        There are many things about the universe we don't understand, or even agree on - dark matter / energy, the origin of the universe, its likely ending etc.

        Ah, the very small - not that long ago we knew an atom was like a plum pudding - then we knew it was protons and neutrons surrounded by electrons, then we knew there were over 600 sub atomic particles and now we know there are about a dozen. Plus the Higgs Boson which all scientists agree about.

        I like the way you put quotes around "got it wrong" - very passive-aggressive that - kind of reminds me of a teenager being made to apologise for something - sure they say the words but you damn well know they don't mean it. But, that aside - you seem to at least pretend to accept that science has got it wrong in the past but you are unable to accept any whiff of suggestion that science may have got AGW wrong now, like all possibility of errors in science was eradicated in the late 80's or something.

        I do not believe the current AGW "consensus" (yes, I know what I did there), but neither do I believe in God, or homeopathy, or healing with crystals and I absolutely believe HIV causes AIDS, the holocaust occurred and was at least as horrible as most mainstream books show.

        If you want a rational discussion then I would be delighted, if you want to claim everyone who disagrees with you must be exactly like a mix of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, because those two disagree with you as well - then you show your inability to think and act scientifically* and rationally and have no place in a discussion such as this, except in a kind of Jester capacity

        *If I claimed pigs went "moo", tasted of beef and had horns on the basis that cows do all of those things and both cows and pigs have 4 legs so QE fucking D then I would be rightly mocked. Think about that next time you claim to speak for science.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      @Lou 2

      Prof B could become immensely rich by going along to B.P and saying "I've got some data here which contradicts the current consensus belief on AGC - how much is it worth?"

      So ALL the "scientists" are so stupid they haven't cottoned on to this despite cuts in government funding?

      1. Lou 2
        Headmaster

        ...and ... @AC

        Clearly you do not understand the terms of tenure - if it was about the money all the nay-sayers would have been productively involved in commerce.

        Tenure is a great job if you can get it - doesn't pay that much but you only have to publish a few works that gets your institution pushed up the lists of places to be. So either think of a new idea or jump on the bandwagon and start beating that drum!

        Finally when you work for BP - they expect results. Only exec management can do nothing and still get paid. If you do not get it - start goto Clearly.

  47. 42
    FAIL

    Yawn

    Selectively misquoted data, check. Irrelevant comments check. Attempt to discredit all the experts check. Another hopelssly biased article by Orlowski check! Lots of misinformed comment from

    supposedly intelligent people check.

    Just another ELREG denialsit puff piece.

  48. David321

    Ignorance is Bliss!

    And Bigfoot is real! And the UFO's are coming! Did you hear about the recent crop circle formations?!

  49. T J
    FAIL

    Why an Economist?

    Why is an Economist commenting on physics? Shall I go and ask a Lawyer to explain Biochemistry?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps humans have very little input

    Volcano activity puts out far more gas and particulate than mankind has ever done.Global warming is just an excuse for higher taxes

  51. dannymot

    When the boundaries of science and retarded journalisn collide

    When retarded journalism and scientific data concerning an almost infinitesimally complex subject collide. Don't concentrate on the wealth of worrying studies. Just concentrate on the fact that scientists don't understand everything and are taking many many small steps. Then conclude that not understanding everything casts doubt on all the masses of worrying studies and falsely creating a stupid and non existent believers versus non believers scenario amongst scientists. Pretending it is balanced journalism.

  52. Spotthelemon

    Not exactly new

    The article so distorts this paper that it is impossible to comment on it, one could only start from scratch and rewrite every word.

    What I really don't like about the paper is that it sets out to debunk denialist claims and papers that set out to counter a particular view tend to be much less reliable than ones where someone has simply gone out and done piece of science and come up with a result. A notable aspect of its approach is to accept denialst interpretation of the temperature record in the first instance, its clearly intended for a particular audience. If the paper is correct, it does potentially add to the understanding of short term global temperature changes but there's actually been a lot of other papers on this topic, here's 3 examples, one from 1995, one from 2005 & one from 2010

    Climate response to increasing levels of greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols, J. F. B. Mitchell, T. C. Johns, J. M. Gregory & S. F. B. Tett Nature 376, 501 - 504 (10 August 1995); doi:10.1038/376501a0

    or

    Strong present-day aerosol cooling implies a hot future, Meinrat O. Andreae, Chris D. Jones, Peter M. Cox Nature 435, 1187-1190 (30 June 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature03671

    or

    Aerosol exposure versus aerosol cooling of climate: what is the optimal emission reduction strategy for human health?, Löndahl, J., Swietlicki, E., Lindgren, E., and Loft, S.: Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 9441-9449, doi:10.5194/acp-10-9441-2010

    There is also the recently concluded European Integrated project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interaction based at the University of Helsinki,, an article on their conclusions can be found here

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629083115.htm

    along with some older articles on the topic.

    As to articles suggestion that the best way to counter global warming is to burn more fossil fuels, that is only true if you want to live in a world of smog ridden cities with all the associated health problems & then only until the fossil fuels run out which they will do rather more quickly than expected if we increase use.

  53. kingnj

    The Sun's Energy is low

    How come these clever people have not accounted for the change in sun spot cycle. I'm sure they have really it just makes a good story not to say so.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/06/lockwood_solar_minimum/

  54. Get the puck outa here

    A famous scientist once told me

    "You could fill a library with the publications whose conclusions are dependent on flawed pseudo random number generation algorithms."

  55. JP19

    level of scientific understanding was low

    Theories are incredibly useful for predicting what will happen in the future. A theory can not be proven, a theory can only be tested and fail to be dis-proven. The more a theory is tested and fails to be dis-proved the more reliably (and so useful) we consider it to be for predicting the future.

    That is what science is, formulating theories and trying to test and dis-prove them.

    The trouble with global climate is there are hundreds (if not thousands) or theories required to predict it and we can't properly test any of them. We can't test them because they require planet sized experiments and results of a test may not be available for generations. All we can do is make observations of the past which is really low quality testing because little data remains and there is no accurate way of attributing that data to one theory or another.

    So yes the level of scientific understanding is very low and so the reliability of future climate predictions is also very low. It doesn't matter how much money you throw at it (and plenty is being thrown) that level isn't going to increase much any time soon because the only improvement we have is better observation of the present which will eventually give us better quality data from the past.

  56. Dominic Cioccarelli
    WTF?

    Misleading

    This kind of article is completely misleading. Anyone will be able to quote some data over some period of time that contradicts global warming. The fact is that burning hydrocarbons does have an effect on the planet: not only in terms of increasing temperatures but also in terms of decreasing reserves on non renewable energy sources. Arguing that we can continue our profligate existence at the expense of oil is counterproductive: not only does it ignore the effect of climate change but it also encourages the consumption of non renewable energy sources.

    Whilst we may well be able to replace our dependancy on oil and coal for power production, we will always rely on it for long distance air travel and manufacture of plastics. Arguments against limiting the consumption of fossil fuel not only ignore climate change but they also (more importantly) ignore the fact that once we have no access to cheap hydrocarbons we will face serious problems when it comes to air teavel and manufacture of plastics.

  57. SteyBrae

    "A team of two geographers and two economists ..."

    Are you serious? I can't think of any reason to believe they know much more about global climate change than I do.

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