Aussie retailers need to face up to climate change

Australian Public Broadcaster, ABC released a survey this week of Australia’s ten largest companies to find out what they knew and what they were doing about their own carbon emissions. Most of those ten companies also own major companies here in Aotearoa, so the results of the survey are of some consequence to our own situation. Worryingly, the retail multinational, Woolworths (which owns Woolworths here as well as Countdown and Foodtown) and Westfield (which operates a number of malls here in New Zealand) had no idea of what their own carbon emissions were. And, so not surprisingly, neither has a strategy in place to tackle the problem.

Retailers have an incredibly important role to play in ameliorating and preventing climate change. Their purchasing power dictates the behaviour for a lot of other companies that produce and manufacture goods. The food miles debate got some bad press last week with the poor old New Zealand kiwifruit being somewhat slighted over in Europe, and the Greens had to come to the defence of NZ dairy and lamb, which actually have greenhouse advantages over European produced dairy and lamb. Food miles is a useful concept but it’s not the whole story as we also need to consider whether the food was airfreighted or shipped, and the greenhouse emissions released in production and storage. But in general we cannot afford to be importing huge amounts of food that we can equally effectively be producing here in New Zealand. Locally produced seasonal fruit and veges come out on the upside environmentally.

I’d love to see Woolworths and Westfield adopt a vision of minimising their greenhouse emissions, supporting local producers, as well as working with their local city councils to integrate more effectively with public transport in the area and dramatically shrink the huge carparks attached to their complexes. Woolworths and Westfield could aim in a relatively short space of time to have customers leaving their stores more regularly to hop on a bus or train with a handful of (reuseable) bags full of local produce, rather than to drive off with a bootful of imported food and products that used to be made by New Zealand workers. And they could reduce their energy use by turning off lights and cleaning aircon filters more regularly – Richmond Mall near Nelson made huge savings in the their electricity bills by taking a few of these simple steps.

81 Comments Posted

  1. We all need to be more accountable for what we are doing to change our environment to green. My father-in-law gave me the best advice before he died concerning money, “Watch your pennies, and the rest will come”. This can be applied to our everyday living. We can start with the plastic bags our groceries are packed in, use paper bags, or make sure you recycle the plastic ones.
    The only thing I have to say about Al Gore is he should practice what he preaches. I was surprised to see the big private plane, tremendous house with all lights on, large cars, etc. that he uses. Doesn’t seem like he is as green as he should be.

  2. That’s an interesting article and a very good point. I was actually shopping at my local supermarket the other day. Sainsburys for anyone else from the UK… And I don’t normally bother looking, but I thought I’d try and do the right thing and find produce produced locally. But however hard I searched I couldn’t find an English apple! It seems crazy to me when we live in an area famed for Cider production, that they were selling apples from Brazil, China, Holland, New Zealand and loads of others, but not one single English apple.

    It’s a crazy world we live in… I ended up going for the Dutch apple and it was very nice 🙂

  3. A TV advertisement last night proudly proclaimed that Westfield’s Queensgate mall has 1800 free car parking spaces.

    Didn’t mention the bus stop outside though.

  4. There aren’t millions of free navigating devices out there. I used to be a ship driver back when moby dick was a minnow, and the idea of putting 40,000 of these things out at sea is not one to be taken lightly. Not saying it can’t be done, but there are definite issues. There are issues enough with the ships that are crewed and powered. These things are technically sailboats, clearly big enough (much bigger than a typical sailboat) to cause a hell of a hole in anything that hit one of them and possibly anything they hit… and because they are not powered their navigation is quite a bit more challenging. They won’t be able to “see” other boats out there nor can they maneuver “at will”.

    No… not as designed, for all Salter’s genius. It’s not the same as a moored platform or buoy that has a definite charted position. It’s not the same as a ship under power, it would have to tack to beat upwind and it would be pretty easy to wind up on beach or into the rocks somewhere as a result. There are a few floating buoy systems that are station keepers, and they stay close to one spot. 40 thousand however, is is a lot to keep track of.

    How do you protect them from people who simply want them for parts?

    I like the theory, but I don’t thing that well of the implementation plan.

    …and it doesn’t really fix things. It just buys time. Precious time, and we should buy if it is really available, but it only handles one symptom of our excess. The next two will show up quick enough and then we’ll get 5 at a time and there is no way for Engineers and Doctors to prevent the madness of continuous growth in a sealed environment from eventually stifling the species.

    Our job as engineers is to buy time. It is important for us to realize that we can’t SOLVE the problem with measures like this, we can only postpone it. Cheap Access to Space postpones the problem for a long long time (the closed environment becomes the solar system, not the planet), but it doesn’t really prevent us from overflowing even that bounteous cup.

    We must as a species, start acting like adults instead of ignorant superstitious, greedy children.

    respectfully
    BJ

  5. I sat in a lecture by Stephen Salter once, he was talking about how his nodding duck wave power research got shafted by the UK science funding body because it was controlled by nuclear energy proponents. He seemed a nice guy, so if he thinks it’s a good idea I support it.

    I agree that there are some people in the environmental movement who would be distrustful of technological fixes and advocate against them, but their are plenty of others who are not, and that “freelance science writer” has clearly gone out of his way to build his case, selectively quoted and really put the boot in with his choice of words.

    It does sound hopeful and I disagree that there are marine safety issues when there are millions of anchored buoys, platforms, even arrays of scientific measuring stations (e.g RAPID) out in the ocean already. Reckon I’ll look for more on this.

  6. The point Latham is making is that if you approach Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth or almost any “green” you will get a disinterest in the engineering fix. Part of this has to do with their lack of resources to create an engineering fix. It isn’t in what they regard as their job description, and any randomly selected Green is unlikely to have a degree in Engineering.

    Even my interest is strictly limited to curiousity. I note too, that this article goes back to 1990. So it is indeed, classic.

    There’s more to it of course. Green’s think in terms of the long haul, and even this “fix” is really only a stay of execution. We all know that, and even Latham couches his proposals in terms of delay. In the end society has to abjure the idea of incessant growth until and unless we get cheap access to space. CATS isn’t in the greens job description either… so they ignore that too.

    The problem here is that the author of this article seems to expect non-engineers with few engineering resources to be enthusiastic “supporters” of engineers. Just what does he expect Greens to do? Should we cheer for Latham as he drives by? Should we lobby for this solution which isn’t really a solution, just a postponement of the date and possibly a change in the method of execution.

    Inherent in the Green philosphical approach is that there are LIMITS to growth. There are limits to the carrying capacity of the planet, there are limits to how much of it we can use without destroying it as a habitat for the human species. That philosophical approach leaves us relatively unimpressed by any magic that an engineer may come up with to buy us a few more decades. The fact that the monetary and engineering resources to build 40000 of these boats is a matter for governments, not voluntary organizations seems to have been missed by the author. The fact is that we have nothing to do with this sort of answer.

    respectfully
    BJ

  7. It’s a good thing I don’t work for Greenpeace, as I tend to like the idea of using techno-fixes if I can figure out a good one. I don’t think this is a good one for a number of technical reasons, but it might be made to work.

    The “rapidly spinning cylinder” with seawater inside it, doubling as a propulsion system but dependent on the wind to actually operate, on a completely automated seagoing vessel gives me, as a person who has spent a lot of time at sea, and on sailboats, a hell of a lot of problems.

    I wonder if it might be feasible to use ultrasonics to form the droplets, and I wonder how they intend to power the spinning.

    As proposed they have a lot of potential as a hazard to navigation and I am not fond of the reliability and maintenance implications, and I am finally not entirely sure of all the climate implications vs “salting the earth” implications, but the principle of modifying cloud reflectivity in this manner, particularly if it is mostly at sea, could be useful and might be an engineering fix that could help. It’s worth looking at… and if I were the guy they asked for funding I’d be asking them to answer my questions and if they can, then telling them to go ahead and see if they can make it work.

    We aren’t Greenpeace. Don’t expect us to give you the Greenpeace answer. You want to lumber someone with this, go find a Greenpeace blog.

    BJ

  8. >>Greens squirm when a relatively cheap way of stabilising the temperature is mooted:-

    Thanks Mouldwarp. Interesting article, wonder if that’s plausible?

    bjchip – cheers, I’ll read up on those sources you reference.

  9. Mouldwarp – Why are you still talking about “the hockeystick”?

    Ahhh… you want to rub it in somehow? Enjoy yourself. 🙂

    It makes absolutely no difference to you (afaik) that every (again afaik) actual scientific organization on the planet recognizes this as a problem.

    You have determined that the rest of the world is misguided and misled and you are on a personal crusade to correct all that… by posting endlessly on the public blog of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

    Which isn’t even part of the government for bogs sake. What sort of obsessive compulsive are you anyway?

    Neither the MWP (Medieval Warm Period) nor the LIA (Little Ice Age – not “Last Ice Age”) (and you probably should qualify those at least once in each post) do anything whatsoever to diminish the current science. We don’t have to “get rid of them” to see what is happening now. We MEASURE what is happening now.

    You have yet to present (because there is no such thing), any internally consistent theory to match the measurements. AGW is a theory that not only matches the results it also accounts for the expected (by basic physics) results of the CO2 forcing, cannot work without CO2 forcing and the results cannot be explained without including that forcing.

    The natural cycles that lead to natural variations in temperature have natural causes. Most of these causes are not mysteries. We understand orbital mechanics and we can directly measure solar insolation.

    Please note that there is still a problem even excluding Mann and Briffa. Just using ice-cores and boreholes we get much the same result. The MWP you are so fond of is more visible of course, and so is the LIA… but neither of them look like what is happening now…. do they?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

    You really think temperature changes of the MWP and LIA are as abrupt as what is showing up in the instrument record now? AND tracking the CO2 the same way as what is showing in the instrument record now?

    Scientists know about the sun and orbital parameters Mouldwarp… really they do. Certainly well enough to put them into the models correctly.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/holocene.html

    You have the problem that while you are right that the Mann experiment should be excluded from the debate, you are wrong about what the result is when it is gone. You hate AGW, but you have nothing with which to replace it.

    You hate that there is consensus, and you won’t admit it exists…

    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/there-is-no-consensus.html

    … and you no doubt hate me as well. No problem. I’m used to it, but I don’t hate back (though I may answer you somewhat sharpish when I am tired).

    All I can say is: Why are you bothering to come here at all? You get your ears hammered back every time you poke your nose in ( Perhaps I should adjust my aiming point, but my aim is to make you listen ).

    BJ

    Oh yeah… I didn’t need to google black bodies…. we had one in our lab to calibrate the AVIRIS spectrometers.

    BJ

  10. bjchip,

    – “Mann’s choice of normalization creates “hockeysticks? in random data.”

    This is not, in any sense whatsoever, “normalization.” This is gross distortion of the data.

    What did the Wegman report say about the hockeystick (MBH98/MBH99) and M&M’s(MM03/0a/05b) critisicisms?:
    “In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling.”
    And it added, somewhat dryly: “the error may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr. Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians”

    Quite so. Remember, Mann did not do any original research. He simply collated other people’s proxy data and wrote a program to process it. He was simply not competent to do this. A statistician should have done it.

    You say that “If corrected brings their data in agreement with Mann’s assessment of the error… which is not important in the final result. As shown in the Wegman analysis presented.”

    What I genuinely don’t know is whether you believe what you write here or whether you are cynically peddling what might politely be called “untruths.”

    The report says “It is not clear that Dr. Mann and his associates even realized that their methodology was faulty at the time of writing the MBH paper. The net effect of the decentering is to preferentially choose the so-called hockey stick shapes…The graphics’ prominence together with the fact that it is based on incorrect use of PCA puts Dr. Mann and his co-authors in a difficult face-saving position. ”

    Contrast that with what the report says about M&M’s criticisms of the hockeystick:-
    “We have been able to reproduce the results of McIntyre and McKitrick (2005b)” [specifically the demonstration of a hockeystick graph using purely random data input into Mann’s computer program].

    Interestingly, the Wegman report then refers to the 1990 IPCC report, which at that time didn’t contain Mann’s whitewashing of the MWP:- “The 1990 report was not predicated on a global warming scenario. It is clear that at least in 1990, the Medieval Warm Period was thought to have temperatures considerably warmer than the present era.”

    Once Mann’s scandalous hockeystick is chucked in the bin where it belongs, the MWP and LIA suddenly reappear to discredit the alarmists.

    As always, I simply repeat that nobody has to believe either of us. The Wegman report is available for all to see:- http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

    It is perfectly clear that, despite your misrepresentations here, Mann’s hockeystick is politely crucified in the report.

    – “vathena.arc.nasa.gov is an educational aid for teachers, updated last in 1997 and the chart you refer to has no scale whatsoever. Not real useful.”

    Please explain what difference the absence of scale makes. Unless they have abruptly changed the scale halfway through, it makes precisely zero difference. As long as the scale is constant we can all see that the current warming was preceded by the Little Ice Age which was in turn preceded by the Medieval Warm Period.

    – ““recent warming since the last LIA? – you outdo yourself here. What does this mean Mouldwarp? Recent? or since the last LIA?”

    They are one and the same thing. The last significant climate event was the Little Ice Age. Since then the planet has thankfully been recovering.

    – “What we are seeing now is an argument that “since Bristlecone pines respond significantly to CO2 levels they are not good proxies?, and thanks for linking the McIntyre rebuttal as I had NOT seen it before.
    A decent argument… but not the one that you’ve been giving me or this board forever. Basically McIntyre is changing the subject”

    You should try and keep better informed. This is very old news. It has long been known that the hockeystick shape that Mann’s program highlights at the expense of the the mass of other proxy data is that of a particular bristlecone pine series; and it turns out that that particular signature is generally attributed not to warming but to a CO2 fertilization response.

    If you were open-minded enough to frequent M&M’s http://www.climateaudit.com site you would know this.
    It is essentially Steve McIntyre’s site. He goes out of his way to explain that he is not commenting on the greater global warming debate, he’s just taking the time to scrutinize the claims of other people.

    – “But telling me that you don’t understand how wrong Monckton was about Black Body Radiation is a whole ‘nother level of not knowing.”

    Like you didn’t google for it yourself.

    – “The researchers I worked with were measuring the Ice back in 1996 and getting scared”

    Which really goes to show just how ignorant they were. Did they really think we live in a stable climate? Sheesh. Talk about a “whole ‘nother level of not knowing.” That’s simply embarrassing.

    – “Your problem is that you are overfocused on this one detail and not on the whole question or the bulk of evidence. I told you many MANY posts ago that I didn’t really give a rats patootie about the Hockey Stick”

    You should do. Or rather, you should care about putting recent climate change in the context of an accurate climate history. The hockeytick showed what was apparently unnatural climate behaviour since the time of industrial revolution. By contrast, a realistic climate history shows absolutely nothing out of the ordinary since the industrial revolution. Big difference. It means your AGW theory is a complete false alarm.

    Certainly anthropogenic CO2 will have made some difference, but the amount we are talking about is *trivial* in the great scheme of things and, as you will know, the effect per ton of CO2 decreases *very sharply* as more gets added. Solar power is becoming more and more viable. Technology, as ever, will confound all our predictions about the future.

    eredwen,

    – “The “debate? and the “argument? took place years ago. ”

    Yes, and we now know that it was a complete travesty.

  11. PEL – Yeah… Wellington might get an improvement, but with more energy total in the system the wind velocity might go up too… and I would hate to lose TePapa… but most of the Ground Floor is car park and gift shop so maybe it wouldn’t be TOO bad

    The situation as it stands is ( this is just my read of what is going on )… Anthropogenic Global Warming – warming caused by humans – is accepted by the US National Science Council, the British, the French, the Germans, the CSIRO, the Japanese, the UN IPCC, our own Scientists, NASA and the Chinese, the Economist, almost all major News Organizations except the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. It is rejected by XOM (Exxon-Mobil), the aforementioned WSJ editorial board, the Neo-Conservative movement currently still occupying the White House, a Russian Scientist who reckons it is a Solar Forcing, another who reckons it is Galactic Cosmic Rays affecting high cloud cover, some Libertarians (who apparently reckon it is a plot to expand government power) and Lindzen who claims it is all natural variation but won’t bet on it without odds of 50 to 1.

    That’s a quick summary off the top of my head. CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere at a rate that is fifty times as fast as it has ever increased in any record we can discover in the past 5 Ice-Ages and Interglacials. It is also higher than it has ever been in those periods. As a climate forcing function CO2 leads the actual temperature changes it creates by about 30 to 40 years. In other words, the temperature changes now are determined by the levels of CO2 back in 1970.

    To think of the temperature as stable is actually wrong. The temperature is a snapshot of the balance of energy coming in and energy going out.

    The actual operation of the system is a bit like a cup with some holes in the bottom and water being poured into it.

    The temperature we see is the level of the water in the cup… and it looks stable to us (at our timescales and with our limited perception), but in fact it is a balance struck between the input and the output, and even a tiny change in either can cause the level to change.

    Remember that if the cup is more full the water comes out of it faster, so there’s a feedback that comes into play to keep it in balance.

    CO2 pulls one of the holes closed a bit. If everything else is the same then it’ll get warmer.

    This is an experiment you can do in your kitchen sink with a paper cup and a pencil btw. You should be able to poke holes with the pencil and run water at a rate that balances at some level in the cup…

    To complicate things, neither the input nor the output are completely stable quantities. There are cyclical changes and variations which make measurements of data for a single day or even a yearly average for a single year, quite useless. The cycles in question can run a hundred thousand years or 11 years or 75 years…

    Humans are not good at problems that run longer than a single lifespan.

    Hopefully I haven’t stepped on anyone’s toes here. I’ve never actually written a summary for a non-scientist before.

    respectfully
    BJ

  12. On the contrary, I can’t wait for a lot more global warming. Wellington’s climate sucks, even with the hot air spouted by parliament.

    >>Your selection of contributors (and jury?) must be a very biased sample

    I’ve been reading both sides. I’m first to admit I cannot follow the science, as I’m not a scientist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

    What I do know is that there are clear underlying political agendas, and a great deal of hyperbole, hence my skepticism.

    BTW – Are Greens really happy about the issue becoming mainstream? All National and Labour need do is pay some lip service, plant a few trees, walk around in nature for a bit, then gather in the environmental vote for themselves.

  13. besides … these changes can be fun (says she as the proud owner of a new state-of-the- art bicycle … which will pay for itself (in ChCh discounted bus fares) in a year, and in (unused) car running costs in MUCH less than that!!
    (not to mention the saved gym fees … the saved roading costs … the reduced air pollution … etc)

  14. P.E.L says: “From what I’ve been reading over the past year, the jury still appears to be out, but the “yays? (GW is real) hold the moral high ground.”

    Your selection of contributors (and jury?) must be a very biased sample, if the “nay sayers” appear to hold equal place, or predominate.

    I suggest you modify your terms of reference, no matter how uncomfortable the results may feel. Things are going to get a whole lot less comfortable the longer we as a group delay necessary changes in our lifestyles.

  15. >>today our family bought three state-of-the-art bicycles, to substantially reduce our (already small) use of fossil fuels.

    Good for you. I’ve recently chipped my BMW, providing 12 @ 4500 rpm.

    >>Where was your focus during that time ?

    Gobbling resources like a rabid capitalist, I guess.

    Fun, though…

    >>I suspect you are here to “stir?

    Just a little. BUt I am interested in this question. From what I’ve been reading over the past year, the jury still appears to be out, but the “yays” hold the moral high ground.

  16. fastbike:
    Those look GREAT! … in fact the small bike shop we use has similar (but not quite as easy access) bikes to the German one … and has a similat tandem!

    My request was for a light but strong mountain bike, mainly for commuting (which includes a windy causeway and hill climbing). I probably will go on tracks occasionally “but not over jumps” … my daughter says “except maybe a few small ones.” (One can’t really expect a crazy old ski racer to be totally sedate.)

  17. That is of course because the huge commuter/shopping/transportation market exists in many markets OVERSEAS… not here…. 🙁

    respectfully
    BJ

  18. Good move eredwen. However is it …

    … as fast and as fun as this ? 😉

    …as fast and versatile as this ? 😉

    Good move anyway. My wife’s mother has just bought a wonderful European city bike. She was told by NZ bike shops there was “no demand”, even though the money was burning a hole in her pocket. It’s a very short sighted industry here – that caters for young sports oriented cyclists rather than the huge commuter/shopping/transportation market that exists in many countries overseas.

  19. PeterExits Left wrote:
    “I’m genuinely surprised at the level of fundamentalism. There is no debate. There is no argument.”

    The “debate” and the “argument” took place years ago. It is well documented elsewhere. Where was your focus during that time ?

    Now, most of us are more interested in the imperatives of global warming than “debating” the all-too-obvious.

    I suspect that the replies you are getting here are motivated by politeness (in taking your posts at face value). However, some of us have given up. In my case, because I suspect you are here to “stir”.

    I have much more important things to do with my time.
    One example: after serious research, today our family bought three state-of-the-art bicycles, to substantially reduce our (already small) use of fossil fuels.

  20. Since I DID address your “totally random data” and the hockeystick I don’t know what you are on about. Perhaps you missed my final whack at this thoroughly dead horse… concentrating on the initial post… benefit of doubt is given.

    Yes, Mann’s choice of normalization creates “hockeysticks” in random data. Consider the scale though. M&M however, made a rather larger error which results in a large scaling up of their “random hockeysticks”. If corrected brings their data in agreement with Mann’s assessment of the error… which is not important in the final result. As shown in the Wegman analysis presented.

    I really find this conversation far from edifying. You have no intention of ever letting go of your OWN misconceptions and you read what I write only in order to find some reason to regurgitate some point that has been addressed 10 messages ago again and we go around again.

    vathena.arc.nasa.gov is an educational aid for teachers, updated last in 1997 and the chart you refer to has no scale whatsoever. Not real useful.

    And when you say “the CO2 goes up, the temperature goes up? you are neglecting the rather crucial fact that the amount of CO2 we a talking about is utterly trivial in the overall greenhouse effect and could not possibly account for a significant amount of the recent warming since the LIA

    “recent warming since the last LIA” – you outdo yourself here. What does this mean Mouldwarp? Recent? or since the last LIA?

    A trivial amount that is only half again higher than it has ever been in the last 650000 years? Why are you demanding that all the changes since the last ICE-AGE have to be due to CO2? We know that Ice-Ages and emergence from them aren’t anthropogenic… and we never ever claimed they were.

    As far as my use of RealClimate goes, yes I do rely on it. It is a convenient place for me to link to for valid answers to the BS you parrot from all over.

    What we are seeing now is an argument that “since Bristlecone pines respond significantly to CO2 levels they are not good proxies”, and thanks for linking the McIntyre rebuttal as I had NOT seen it before.

    A decent argument… but not the one that you’ve been giving me or this board forever. Basically McIntyre is changing the subject, but it is a good change. Excluding the evidence that shows the thing you don’t want to find is a bit chancy as a scientific policy…. and it doesn’t nearly agree with the data from the measured period which has far less variance (I love measurements, proxies are inherently error prone), but it is a fair argument that the bristlecones are now responding to/reflecting the CO2 signal rather than the warming signal.

    About all you do in terms of the hockeystick though, is to make a lot of the handle entirely invisible.

    As I said earlier, I have no particular axe to grind with respect to that handle… but you have dedicated your entire life to trying to persuade me that it isn’t there and that Mann is wrong to have produced it. With an argument about the validity of the proxies based on CO2 sensitivity you finally appear to have something worth noting.

    OK.. it doesn’t have a handle. Not “it has the handle that’s shaped the way you think it is”, it doesn’t have ANY handle as far as the MBH series is concerned, or any other proxy series relying on Bristlecones. So what does that mean to AGW? Not a heck of a lot.

    Let us assume that medieval temperatures after all had been warmer than the present. Even that would tell us nothing about anthropogenic climate change. The famous conclusion of the IPCC, “The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate?, does not depend on any reconstruction for the past millennium. It depends on a detailed analysis of 20th Century data. In fact, this conclusion is from the 1995 IPCC report, and thus predates the existence of quantitative proxy reconstructions like the “hockey stick?.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/what-if-the-hockey-stick-were-wrong/

    Note that I am not refering to the chart in the middle any more. The chances are better than good that almost anyone using proxies used Bristlecone pines.

    The main reason for concern about anthropogenic climate change is not that we can already see it (although we can). The main reason is twofold.
    (1) Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are increasing rapidly in the atmosphere due to human activity. This is a measured fact not even disputed by staunch “climate skeptics?.
    (2) Any increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will change the radiation balance of the Earth and increase surface temperatures. This is basic and undisputed physics that has been known for over a hundred years.

    That’s the argument you have to answer to Mouldwarp.. and it isn’t going to be resolved by McIntyre’s tireless effort to correct what he sees as a problem with Mann…

    But telling me that you don’t understand how wrong Monckton was about Black Body Radiation is a whole ‘nother level of not knowing. Way past my missing McIntyre’s rebuttal to Huybers.

    The whole global warming scare was originally based on what we now know is a totally false representation of climate history

    Really? The researchers I worked with were measuring the Ice back in 1996 and getting scared THEN… well before Mann. I think your reliance on this measurement is a bit scary.

    No matter what proxies show up for the last 20K years, the problem for the NEXT century comes out of our tailpipes. That’s what the science tells us without any equivocation… and without any hockey sticks.

    Your problem is that you are overfocused on this one detail and not on the whole question or the bulk of evidence. I told you many MANY posts ago that I didn’t really give a rats patootie about the Hockey Stick… but you persisted and you did finally find an argument that convinces me to exclude bristlecone pines and thus I should regard the handle as invisible.

    Good for you. However, the theory of anthropogenic global warming is not DISproved by the removal of this dataset… the handle is gone as far as I am concerned. Not replaced, gone. AGW however, has many many threads of evidence supporting it and no research yet that looks like a “green crow”.

    So you’ve won a battle to eliminate data.

    It doesn’t make you any smarter. Monckton, Chinese Navy, Black Body radiation… nope… not with the company you are keeping.

    BJ

  21. bjchip,

    – “When the data is properly handled the hockeystick is simply THERE… with a pretty damned fuzzy handle… What part of this do you fail to understand?”

    In fact, the reverse is true. The hockeystick shape is simply a function of incompetent data handling. The reason for this is fully understood and is explained in the Wegman report. So, since you ask, what I fail to understand is why you insist on losing all credibility by defending the indefensible.

    Here’s a good graphical depiction of the mishandling of the data:-

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=218

    I think even you would agree that virtually all the proxy data plots in black have no trend whatsoever. Yet somehow Mann managed to massage those proxy series and produce the chart shown in red, which bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the original data. It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious.

    By contrast, what does a realistic climate history chart look like? Here’s one from NASA:-

    http://vathena.arc.nasa.gov/curric/land/global/climchng.html

    You’ll notice that, in the chart some halfway down the page, there is most definately no hockeystick and most definately nothing to be alarmed about. So perhaps you could tell NASA that you are tired of their “badgering BS”?

    You posted a link to realclimate’s supposed response to the Wegman hearing. Again, they erect a strawman and proceed to knock it down with all the faux integrity they can muster. What they totally fail to address is the rather important fact that *totally random data* passed through their program almost invariably produces an identical-looking hockeystick chart. Why do they, and you, continually avoid addressing this show-stopper?

    – “As far as whatever Wegman’s performing statisticians came up with, their relevance is perfectly zero. They were asked very specific questions in order to get very specific answers. We are talking about professional politicians. They only ask questions for which they know the answers.”

    I think this paragraph tells us all we need to know about your integrity. You sound like a politician yourself. It is really quite shameful. In what way is a skillful report confirming the complete invalidity of Mann’s data handling not relevant? How are the facts any less damning depending on who asked the question? Why should be take your opinions on this subject seriously when you demean yourself like this?

    – “The problem with the MWP is that it wasn’t necessarily and isn’t clearly global.”

    I’m aware of the argument – used to try and diminish the scale of historical climate change and thus exaggerate recent changes – that the Medieval Warm Period was essentially a phenomenon of the northern hemisphere only.
    Firstly, this is probably not true. I’ve already provided a link to a site which is collating evidence showing the true global nature of the event:-

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/data/mwp/mwpp.jsp

    But the point I want to make here is that even if, for the sake of argument, we agree that the MWP was restricted to the northern hemisphere, the crucial fact is that the hockeystick chart also is derived from *northern hemisphere* proxies. So your argument falls to the ground. A northern hemisphere MWP is entirely missing from the northern hemisphere hockeystick chart.

    – “The CO2 goes up, the temperature goes up just about the amount predictable using the actual instruments and information available to us.”

    No, it doesn’t. The climate models are entirely useless and have zero predictive skill.
    Where certain models are able to reasonably recreate recent climate change it is simply because they have been adjusted after the event to do just that. It is simply curve-fitting.
    And when you say “the CO2 goes up, the temperature goes up” you are neglecting the rather crucial fact that the amount of CO2 we a talking about is utterly trivial in the overall greenhouse effect and could not possibly account for a significant amount of the recent warming since the LIA (this essential fact is usually omitted or not understood by global warmers who concentrate exclusively on the coincidence of the end of the LIA with the start of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.)
    It would be more accurate to say “After the Little Ice Age, the temperature goes up.” That’s it. That’s all we can say for sure right now, unless you want us to believe that natural climate variation abruptly stopped in the depths of the LIA?

    – “you are clearly not qualified to question the rest of the climate science ”

    You should know that I can and do read realclimate myself and am quite aware that your “contribution” here largely consists of regurgitating stuff written there. Unfortunately it means that you, like them, have painted yourself into a corner defending the indefensible hockeystick.
    Realclimate’s censorship unfortunately also means you are not exposed to anything like a balanced argument: If you don’t see the refutations then you will be left with a very one-sided viewpoint.
    Take for example the piece about Huybers’ criticism of M&M’s work that you referred to; it really doesn’t take the slightest effort to find their discussion of this matter:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=369

    Or their full reply:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/reply.huybers.pdf

    So, unless you were just throwing mud, why did you uncritically post Huybers’ criticism without bothering to find out that it had been taken on board and that the original fault with the hockeystick still stands? (and was confirmed independently by Wegman’s group of statisticians).

    The whole global warming scare was originally based on what we now know is a totally false representation of climate history. When you acknowledge the full scale of normal climate variability and couple that with our basic ignorance about how the climate works, it has to be conceded that there is no rational basis for the alamism over anthropogenic CO2: Its contribution is likely dwarfed by natural variability.

  22. Lindzen… again in the WSJ (which reports science pretty well but the findings never seem to reach the editors)…

    First thing to note here is that Lindzen is not really arguing science here. Nor is he that committed to the cause he does argue. I suspect he likes “stirring”

    Recently, my attention was drawn to some comments attributed to Lindzen: “Richard Lindzen says he’s willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now.” (thanks to William Connolley for the tip). Given his widely-promulgated views, I took this quote at face value and contacted him to arrange a wager. A payoff at retirement age would be a nice top-up to my pension.

    Now here’s the kicker. Richard Lindzen will indeed accept a bet – but only if offered odds of 50:1 in his favour! He actually started out quoting 100:1 – but came down to 50:1 in what he described as a “special favor” to me. If the temperatures went down, I was to hand over $10,000, but in the event of a rise, I’d get a whopping $200.

    Hmmm… that’s not exactly the odds I’d expect either. If he thought the science really supported his case he’d have to offer at least even money.

    Now the article hasn’t gotten any less vague but we have a clue as to what he really believes will happen.

    More on Lindzen may be found here.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=222

    Fundamentally he accepts that the planet is warming, but regards CO2 as a minor contributor. He does not offer a major contributor… he regards natural variation as the culprit perhaps. I do not intend to guess for him and argue straw men, but without an alternative hypothesis we have to find some explanation for what is happening.

    The WSJ does not offer an alternative. It offers to keep doing what we’ve been doing. It has always worked before so why shouldn’t we?

    … how much will the ocean rise? Gore v Stephanopoulus ? Gore gave a true answer, but this WSJ editorial twists it around again. Scientists are being honest. Scared yes, but honest. There’s a lot of uncertainty in a predictions about ocean level a century into a climate we can only model.

    However, those scientists form the consensus that Lindzen goes on to attack in the next paragraph… that it will rise, that it will get warmer, that it is humans causing a significant part of it – No we aren’t sure how much, it could be X and it could be 10X, how much isn’t part of what we claim as consensus. So what consensus is HE talking about, since it isn’t related to what we talk about. Clearly he is heaping contempt on “alarmists”… but he makes a fair few claims that have been shown to be incorrect.

    that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore’s movie.

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/greenland_slide.html

    oops…

    He does not have a perfect record in his predictions with respect to what will be found in the atmosphere, despite his credentials. He missed in an argument with Hansen about the effect of water vapor.

    Then there is his assertion, unsupported by any reference that the temperature has remained flat since 1998…

    Most of the climate community has agreed since 1988 that global mean temperatures have increased on the order of one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, having risen significantly from about 1919 to 1940, decreased between 1940 and the early ’70s, increased again until the ’90s, and remaining essentially flat since 1998.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2005/

    … this is less accurate than I’d expect of him… but he goes further and further into error as he progresses.

    So I take this sort of as a typical WSJ hatchet job, and the WSJ is well known among the climate community for their editorial hostility to change.

    I won’t get too personal about him… but he pulls in a lot of nonsense in his efforts to write something agreeable to the WSJ and difficult for the average WSJ reader to check. I know what he’s done, and he likely does as well.

    I wonder how he sleeps at night.

    respectfully
    BJ

  23. Well, maybe one more whack…

    Inspection
    of the MM05 Monte Carlo code (provided as supplemental online material) shows that realizations of x are not adjusted to the variance of the instrumental record during the 1902 to 1980 training interval — a critical step in the procedure.

    The MM05 code generated realizations of x having roughly a fourth the variance of y, biasing RE realizations toward being too large. MM05 thus estimate a RE critical value substantially higher (RE=0.6) than that of MBH98 (RE=0.0) and incorrectly conclude that the AD1400 step of the MBH98 temperature reconstruction is insigni?cant.

    When the MM05 algorithm is corrected to include the variance adjustment step and re-run, the estimated RE critical value comes into agreement with the MBH98 estimate1 .

    Do you understand their (M&M’s) error?

    In summary, MM05 show that the normalization employed by MBH98 tends to bias results toward having a hockey-stick-like shape, but the scope of this bias is exaggerated by the choice of normalization and errors in the RE critical value estimate. Those biases truly present in the MBH98 temperature estimate remain important issues, and corrections for these biases will be taken up elsewhere.

    This analysis by Huyber addresses only the ability of “random” data to generate a lot of hockey sticks.

    I have already addressed the scope of the “bias” in the results.

    BJ

  24. Do you have any evidence that the statisticians were incompetent when the confirmed that the hockeystick is junk? When they explained exactly *why* it’s junk? When they reproduced M&M’s demonstration that even *totally random* data fed into Mann’s program almost invariably produces a hocksystick shape?

    Which I explained to you in terms of the mathematical error made by M&M and which you persist in pursuing, like the great white whale.

    You are going to get this response EVERY time you drag that sorry excuse for an argument out of the closet. I will not permit bad science to go unanswered here, so just expect it.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=7
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/11/pca-details/

    Curiously undisclosed by MM in their criticism is the fact that precisely the same ‘hockey stick’ pattern that appears using the MBH98 convention (as PC series #1) also appears using the MM convention, albeit slightly lower down in rank (PC series #4) (Figure 1). If MM had applied standard selection procedures, they would have retained the first 5 PC series, which includes the important ‘hockey stick’ pattern. The claim by MM that this pattern arises as an artifact of the centering convention used by MBH98 is clearly false.

    Once again, do you understand that you are being lied to, that there is a reason why MM weren’t published and the reason is that THEY are the ones guilty of the bad science?

    Then you haul out the 2005 10be numbers, confounded though they are by their disagreement with the only other set of 10be numbers available, the sunspot proxy, the lack of change in GCR and the neutron count. No apologies for the bad data from you. Just the cherries thanks.

    Finally, As far as whatever Wegman’s performing statisticians came up with, their relevance is perfectly zero. They were asked very specific questions in order to get very specific answers. We are talking about professional politicians. They only ask questions for which they know the answers.

    Were M&M correct in saying that centering on the first principle component had impacts on the result? Sure they were.

    The unasked questions: Did this make a difference to the final reconstruction? Not asked.. What would the effect of the PC centering have had on the final reconstruction? Not asked… cause the answer would have been – No difference.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/the-missing-piece-at-the-wegman-hearing/

    But you have “no idea” whether Monckton, who is a really total waste of ink, is right about treating the planet as a black-body… you are clearly not qualified to question the rest of the climate science being done here on planet earth by referring to one of two conflicting bits of data relating to 10be and the possibility that the sun is radiating more strongly but only in ways we can’t measure, since all our actual measurements show no changes. That 10be measurement is basically the only actual true data worth noting in your entire presentation.

    I doubt that even one thing in Monckton’s diatribe actually has a basis in real science,

    Take the carcass away. I am done exercising with this deceased equine.

    BJ

  25. Russell,

    – “This report was done for this Committee by an “ad-hoc panel? consisting of three statisticians. The chair of the Committe was Joe Barton, Republican, Texas (an oilman and known climate change sceptic).”

    But the statisticians were highly qualified and weren’t oilmen, right? So why did you mention it, apart from just trying to smear the evidence?
    Do you have any evidence that the statisticians were incompetent when the confirmed that the hockeystick is junk? When they explained exactly *why* it’s junk? When they reproduced M&M’s demonstration that even *totally random* data fed into Mann’s program almost invariably produces a hocksystick shape?

    Anyone can make a mistake. Mann’s offense is his response when the fatal flaws in his work were revealed: The way he pretends he’s answered the substantive criticisms when in fact all he’s done it set up strawmen; the way he continues his desperate rearguard action from his realclimate vanity site to whitewash the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age from history to maintain the fiction that resulted from his statistical incompetence.

    As for the NAS report, its significance is that it *did not* support the claim that the the temperature now is the warmest its been for a millenium. It said, quite rightly, that it’s the warmest it’s been since the Little Ice Age just 400 years ago. Given what we know of natural climate variation, this is neither surprising nor worrying. Anyone alarmed by such an inconsequential fact clearly knows nothing about the issue.

    With regard to the claim that it is warmer now than it has been for a millenium, the NAS panel said that this was merely “plausible.” I suggest that this was entirely due to the very limited remit of the panel: Had they been free to go out and examine the mass of evidence on this matter there can be little doubt that they would have dismissed such a claim:-

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/data/mwp/description.jsp

    So let’s be clear. Are you saying that the hockeystick is the result of properly processed data and is an accurate representation of climate history?

    Do you agree that the Medieval Warm Period was likely as warm or warmer than the current temperature?

    Stuey,

    – “1) the hockeystick has been independently verified by other researchers.”

    What exactly did they verify? The statistical handling? How independent were these reasearchers? How did they explain the fact that random data passed through Mann’s program almost always produces a hockeystick? Did they use the same set of proxies? Are tree-rings an accurate proxy for temperature? (clue: no, they’re not).

    – “2) the hockeystick is not the only evidence anyway”

    Evidence for what, exactly? You have to be more precise.

    – “3) it is M&Ms papers that find it hard to pass peer review and get published in science journals, not Mann’s.”

    This is quite true. And yet it was M&M who were finally vindicated. Intriguing, no?

    What’s your opinion on the multi-proxy physical evidence provided at the link shown above, which demonstrates the the MWP was warmer than today?

    Pip,

    – “By the way, do you agree with Monkton that it is wrong to treat Earth as if it is not a black body?”

    I have no idea.

    Meanwhile, this. A discussion of the effects of solar activity on the Earth’s climate. It says “never during the past 10,000 years has the Sun been as active in ejecting magnetised plasma as during the past few decades.”

    I’ll say that again.

    “Never during the past 10,000 years has the Sun been as active in ejecting magnetised plasma as during the past few decades.”

    What effect will this have had on the Earth’s climate?

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/spac/2005/00000120/F0020003/00007046

    Unfortunately it also says that this activity “may recently have passed its maximum and that it may decrease in coming decades.” Meaning cooler temperatures to come perhaps? That’s not so good.

  26. Mouldwarp…

    When the data is properly handled the hockeystick is simply THERE… with a pretty damned fuzzy handle… What part of this do you fail to understand?

    If you spread out a 400-500 year period and associate all the temperature proxies for it as though they are simultaneous, you are falsifying the data… and the idea of a Medieval Warm Period DOES NOT make a great problem for CO2 forced warming apparent in this century.

    However, even as early as 1197, the climate had turned much less favorable and drift ice was beginning to appear along the vital trade routes (Lamb, 1995.)

    That’s only 200 years ahead of Monckton’s claimed end of the MWP? Whatever was forcing that particular climate change is hard to discern at this point in time… no thermometers until the 1700’s either, but the sea ice was encroaching and shut down commerce with the colony and whatever WAS forcing it was effective before the year 1200. The problem with the MWP is that it wasn’t necessarily and isn’t clearly global. There is a temporal problem in the proxy records and there is a logical problem in the analysis of Soon and Baliunas. If you define a proxy for warmer as indicating warmth, a proxy for drier as indicating warmth and an proxy for wetter as indicating warmth you have basically created a matrix of meaninglessness. If you define proxies that are within oh about a hundred years of each other as being simultaneous, you’ve compounded the errors.

    Mouldwarp, I am simply tired of your badgering BS. You appear to “know” that anything that is related to climate science and climate scientists is a vast hoax perpetrated on the world to some perverse end. You can’t tell me why these people would make this stuff up and you can’t begin to explain the facts of the situation now. The CO2 goes up, the temperature goes up just about the amount predictable using the actual instruments and information available to us. The temperature match to the forcing functions isn’t possible without recourse to the CO2 forcing function. You can’t tell me anyplace the CO2 comes from, and you can’t tell me any other reason the temperature would be rising…. because the measurements of solar insolation don’t show that increase.

    Cosmic rays? How can there be a change as a result of this when there is no trend in the actual measured GGR? No trend in Sunspot or solar cycle lengths… the mechanism could be real enough, but there’s got to be some CHANGE driving it, which we have not seen, and what do we need to introduce this explanation for anyway, given that we know without question that we’ve burned about a guarter of all the carbon sequestered by natural forces over the past 40 million years… in the past century and a half. You are familiar with Occam, I know.

    The steepest rate of change in the Antarctic Ice core data is roughly 0.025 ppm/year. That’s the fastest NATURALLY occuring CO2 change recorded.

    What we have now is a change that runs close to 1.18 ppm./year.

    You can do the math. I make it about 50x faster…. and it is in the middle of an interglacial. Not, as the other spikes have been, at the melt that ended the ice-age.

    BJ

  27. Mikeymike – as I say, there’s still (obviously) a debate in progress, so there really is no need to be patronising. Mouldwrap disagrees with you “yays”? Is s/he an idiot? S/he doesn’t appear to be….

    Pip, you’re clearly used to preaching to the converted. Perhaps you should “move on” just because I said so. Rubbish argument, no?

    Like that Al Gore film….people were saying this film will change your life. I watched it, and the only enlightenment I experienced was I that finally began to understand why he lost to Bush. At least Bush had an ounce of charisma.

    Gore’s one-sided argument, full of holes. Propaganda. If an oil company had produced a counter argument of that quality, it would have been (quite rightly) trashed.

  28. Peter says “These guys appear to be “neutral?, as can be expected. http://www.climatescience.org.nz/

    You are joking, right? You can’t possibly look at that site and see “neutral”. Show me one post on that bulletin board that doesn’t reject climate change.

    The fundamentalist argument in the climate change debate is coming from the denialists – those who cling to their fervent belief that it isn’t happening and cherry pick anything which might possibly support their belief that it isn’t happening, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    There is a valid debate in progress, it’s about what can and should be done about Climate Change. Move on.

  29. Peter

    The debate here has been largely founded on refuting an illustration (hockeystick) that was used in the late 80’s. Life has moved on. So should we.

    The debate on climatescience.org.nz is a minority positional stance that (again) refutes existing data extrapolation. It posits nothing constructive itself.

    “…fundamentalist religous argument…” come on Peter. You’ve done, and can do better than that. Science helps inform policy, policy informs action. In some instances actions inform policy. In absense of policy we should act.

    Life has moved on. So should we.
    M

  30. >>The science has been all but settled for more than a decade

    Clearly it has not.

    >>In short, its time to get off of our arses and do something about the way we consume.

    Ok, ’cause you said so….

    Curious how much of the fundamentalist religous argument on GW is coming from the far-left. “Believe, brothers and sisters!”

    No. There still appears to be a valid debate in progress.

  31. kiore

    You’re simply reflecting on how mainstream media (used to) cover the issue. Its not for us (as amateurs) to decide which science is right. Sure, its up to the media to represent it right, but they are not experts or neutral.

    The facts are plain: Scientific consesnsus says AGW is real. So lets do something about the causes. It’s a no brainer.

    I say again: Ignore the smoke screen. Lets do something.

  32. We do need to address consumption and general sustainability. Even beyond AGW, we have rapidly filling landfills, lots of toxic waste being produced etc etc. It’s shameful. Everyone in the chain from production to final consumption has a part to play.

    Right now, we go to stores and see bright shiny products and that’s it. Consumers aren’t told about any of the environmental impacts, in general. I think that we should be told about these things at point of purchase or before – like the health warnings on cigarette packets.

    TV advertising is irresponsible as well. We see endless commercials that glamourise large cars; that promote air travel to far-off destinations (many of which aren’t nearly as nice as NZ!); or that show huge unhealthy hunks of meat on plates – and here I am commenting with regard to all sorts of environmental effects. Large cars are promoted in all sorts of game shows and lotteries. Home improvement shows depict houses being enlarged and backyards being paved over, with BBQ areas added! – about as unsustainable as you can get! The media are cottoning on to sustainability issues, but they seems to be largely promoting the opposite.

    The current modus operandi has to change sooner or later – and I think the sooner the better.

  33. Peter

    The science has been all but settled for more than a decade. Even Mr Auer is a dissenting minority among meteoroligists. Neutrality comes out of the peer review process. That is a concern of scientists. Not ours.

    My point is that the issue is not the science. For us non-scientists, we should accept the scientific consensus and be working on day-to-day issues such as that raised by Russel in this post.

    The Life of Brian came up in a post a month or so back. There’s a scene which mirrors the comments in this post.

    “So, let’s just stop gabbing on about it. It’s completely pointless and it’s getting us nowhere!”

    “Reg, for God’s sake, it’s perfectly simple. All you’ve got to do is to go out of that door now, and try to stop the Romans nailing him up! It’s happening, Reg! Something’s actually happening, Reg! Can’t you understand?!”

    In short, its time to get off of our arses and do something about the way we consume.

  34. Peter is right that many of the arguments are so specialised that even scientists in other disciplines cannot understand them. The same can be said for a great many policy decisions that require scientific background knowledge, GE and vivisection being two examples.

    So in many cases we are forced to rely on the imperfect argument from authority. This is not necessarily a bad argument, but we do need to closely look at both the expertise of the authorities and their vested interests.

    On the side of climate change we have most (though not all sicentists) publising in peer reviewed journals.

    As everyone knows support from an enemy has greater credibility than support from a friend. So the views of the Pentagon (not generally associated with tree-hugging and environmental protection) is a huge argument in favour of climate change actually happenning. In addition, neutral organisations such as the Stern report, and neutral businesses such as the insurance companies come out on our side.

    On the other side, we have businesses and “think tanks” affiliated with oil companies. It has been known for a long time that organisations with financial incentives for supporting a certain view point can not be trusted, which is why medical journals now require full disclosure of all conflicts of interests and will not accept publications where the author does not have control of the material.

    So based on the relative credibilty and vested interests of the authories, it is almost certain that climate change is a reality. There are still a small number of indepenent scientists who believe the opposite view, but they are increasingly a minority.

  35. See, this is the problem.

    Scientific arguments, that no lay person can ever hope to understand, on both sides. I tend to reject what is said by the Greens in the same way I reject what is said by the oil companies. Either might be right, but their vested interests invite a great deal of skepticism.

    These guys appear to be “neutral”, as can be expected. http://www.climatescience.org.nz/ Can you point me to a neutral research group on the man-man global warming side?

    Preferably something a non-scientist can follow…

  36. I’m constantly bemused by the insistance on arguing proven fact with flummoxing denial.

    Here we have a post from Russel talking about real life, day-to-day AGW impacts and yet again discussion degenerates behind the smoke screen.

    AGW is real. Either accept it and work on solutions (through analysis of day-to-day situations that we can individually and collectively address), or (mouldy, peter, etc) go and contribute to or find rigorously peer reviewed contrary evidence.

    This post is an example of promoting the former, yet its comments reflect a key success of the AGW denialists: argue and keep arguing doubt. This is exactly how solution inertia became entrenched.

    Its like hearing the manager of the football team you support say that he felt your side was “in it all the way” – despite losing 4-0 – and then watching the highlights to see if he was right. Crikey, move on!

    We have to address the way we consume. And address the way organisations provide what we consume (yes Russel, “[r]etailers have an incredibly important role to play”).

    Forget the AGW yes/no smoke screen. The majority of us are not scientists – we have little to offer. Lets work on solutions. The nature of this post is a move in this direction. Its comments are not.

    M

  37. Mouldwarp, if you want to approach this issue with your critical faculties turned on, it would be a useful start to realise that Monkton’s chinese fleet talking point cannot possibly be a genuine misreading of a document. It’s right up there with aliens built the pyramids. It suggests either that he does not check his sources (if he did, he’d realise it was crap) or that he has no capacity to judge his sources (which suggests that going through every point in his pdf would be a waste of time).

    I believe it is intellectually dishonest of you to characterise the chinese fleet myth as a genuine misreading of a document. a) you have no way of knowing whether it is genuine or not, b) it is not a misreading, c) there is no evidence that he ever actually read the document.

    There is no way that you would let anyone who agreed that climate change is happening and it is heavily influenced by humans get away with such an idiotic statement. And nor should you, but you’re giving Monkton a pass for no reason other than that he agrees with your conclusions.

    By the way, do you agree with Monkton that it is wrong to treat Earth as if it is not a back body? Or is that another obvious instance of Monkton either lying or completely failing to understand the issue he feels qualified to write about?

    Feel free to turn your critical faculties on and drop the talking points.

  38. hi mouldy, yes I do understand what you’re saying, the same point that is made at length with lots of pretty pictures in the “Monckton of Brenchley” references PDF. I believe that Myth#4 of this page covers that point:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=11

    and leaving that aside

    1) the hockeystick has been independently verified by other researchers.
    2) the hockeystick is not the only evidence anyway
    3) it is M&Ms papers that find it hard to pass peer review and get published in science journals, not Mann’s.

  39. The Wegman report on which Mouldwarp relies to attack the Mann curve is a report of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce. This report was done for this Committee by an “ad-hoc panel? consisting of three statisticians. The chair of the Committe was Joe Barton, Republican, Texas (an oilman and known climate change sceptic).

    In response to this attack on climate science by Barton, the Chairman of the US House Science Committee (Sherwood Boehlert, Republican, New York) requested that a science panel be established by the US National Research Council, a part of the US Academy of Science, to review the Mann work. In their 155 page report, this panel of 12 eminent scientists concluded:
    – average temperatures on earth had risen by about I degree (F) over the last century, a development that “is unprecedented for the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia?
    – “human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming?
    – “There is nothing in this report that should raise any doubts about the broad scientific consensus on global climate change…or any doubts about whether any paper on the temperature records was legitimate scientific work? said Boehlert.

  40. bjchip,

    You are just sputtering now.

    I’m presenting a sound refutation of the hockeystick and all you can do is offer a paranoid “People are lying to YOU… they can’t lie to me.”

    The fact is that, the devastating criticisms by McIntyre and McKitrick have been confirmed.
    It is the work of statistical incompetence. End of story. It is a huge scandal.

    – “I am not basing anything in particular on “the hockeystick?… it appears naturally in the datasets used”

    Good grief. This is so fundamentally wrong. How can you be so misinformed?

    When the data is properly handled, the hockeystick shape *disappears*. That’s the point.

    Do you understand what I’m saying?

    If you read the Wegman report he confirms M&M’s findings and provides an explanation as to how Mann’s statisticial incompetence resulted in the false hockeystick shape.

    Everyone can read the analysis for themself at:

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

    So this piece of propaganda, which falsely depicted a millenium of highly stable climate in a declining trend until some 150 years ago when it sharply reversed, is exposed as worthless.
    Significant and sometimes rapid climate change is the norm. It is *never* stable. You can no more prevent climate change than you can stop the tide coming in.

    – “but the warming is happening for damnsure and the CO2 is going up for damnsure and the results of those things are tracking pretty accurately with the models.”

    Yes but (small point) the models are utterly worthless.

    – “Stories about the Chinese Navy don’t help your cause a lot. Doesn’t it bother you at all that many of the people championing this idea of yours are complete nutcases?”

    This is another interesting attempt at a smear. Let’s examine it further.

    Someone collects together a large body of evidence which contradicts your global warming scare. One small item is a genuine misreading of a document. It is plainly wrong and can be discarded.
    But that leaves a whole body of other fully-referenced evidence from third-party scientific reports to be examined.
    Your tactic is to try and have people dismiss the whole body of evidence by sneering at that one error and attempting to adopt a tone on detached amusement.
    That’s pretty sad. You actually seem more afraid than amused: Afraid that people will actually start looking at this stuff with their critical faculties turned on.

    Again, people can look for themselves. They don’t have to listen to either of us:-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/graphics/2006/11/05/warm-refs.pdf

    – “Temperature response in the climate lags CO2 by more than 30 years. We expect to be seeing it starting strongly maybe 10 years ago no more, and oh looky… when did we get the record high temperatures?”

    I dunno exactly. Sometime between 1000 and 1400 AD.

    Here’s just one piece of evidence for that:-

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2006/10/23/tropical-seas-sink-hockey-stick/#more-178

    There’s plenty more to show that the Medieval Warm Period was as warm, and probably warmer, than today.

    – “An awful lot of records set in the last decade… hmmmm…”

    Only if you arbitrarily restrict the definition of “records” to the last 400 years, which you obviously wouldn’t do unless you were trying to “prove” something.

  41. Too tired to spell…

    The National Academy of Sciences panel certainly didn’t agree with Mann’s central claim that recent temperatures are the warmest they’ve been in a millenium.

    Because this was not one of the scientific claims of Mann… which you well know and if you had any sense of decency you’d also remember rather than insisting on being reminded.

    How could YOU be so wrong about this… I don’t want to get into the deep end here but… If one can push something down the stack by playing with the matrix and then they truncate the list they can create all sorts of interesting conclusions. People who do this need to mention how much of the variance is in the few components kept and how much is in the topmost reject. Arbitrary use of the “top five” is traditional. A break in the variance explained would imply that there was physical or other basis for including the components (eigenvectors) with high statistical relevance while guessing that the others are spurious. Unfortunately the real world doesn’t always provide clear breakpoints.

    What is NOT valid: Formulating and reformulating the statistical problem undil an eigenvector with the reough appearance the reformulator “hates” slides down the explanation of variance list far enough to be arbitrarily dropped.

    In other words. People are lying to YOU… they can’t lie to me.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/false-claims-by-mcintyre-and-mckitrick-regarding-the-mann-et-al-1998reconstruction/

    Now if you understand what I just said, you also will understand that I am not basing anything in particular on “the hockeystick”… it appears naturally in the datasets used and it appears to indicate that we are already getting anomalous warmth for this interglacial… but it doesn’t indicate that warmth that strongly, and that is not a conclusion drawn by Mann or by myself, nor indeed as you point out, by the National Academy of Sciences with a lot of confidence. It is a WEAK conclusion… at present. Maybe true, maybe not, because the data isn’t that good, but the warming is happening for damnsure and the CO2 is going up for damnsure and the results of those things are tracking pretty accurately with the models. Maybe everyone else is wrong and Mouldwarp is right… but

    Stories about the Chinese Navy don’t help your cause a lot. Doesn’t it bother you at all that many of the people championing this idea of yours are complete nutcases?

    Temperature response in the climate lags CO2 by more than 30 years. We expect to be seeing it starting strongly maybe 10 years ago no more, and oh looky… when did we get the record high temperatures? An awful lot of records set in the last decade… hmmmm…

    BJ

  42. Mouldwarp

    Don’t make us laugh. WCR = Dr. Patrick Michaels

    He has admitted receiving funding from various fossil fuel industry sources. His latest book, published in September 2004 by the Cato Institute, is titled: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.

    Michaels is the Chief Editor for the “World Climate Review,” a newsletter on global warming funded by the Western Fuels Association. Dr. Michaels has acknowledged that 20% of his funding comes from fossil fuel sources: (http://www.mtn.org/~nescncl/complaints/determinations/det_118.html) Known funding includes $49,000 from German Coal Mining Association, $15,000 from Edison Electric Institute and $40,000 from Cyprus Minerals Company, an early supporter of People for the West, a “wise use” group. He recieved $63,000 for research on global climate change from Western Fuels Association, above and beyond the undisclosed amount he is paid for the World Climate Report/Review. According to Harper’s magazine, Michaels has recieved over $115,000 over the past four years from coal and oil interests. Michaels wrote “Sound and Fury” and “The Satanic Gases” which were published by Cato Institute. Dr. Michaels signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration. In July of 2006, it was revealed that the Intermountain Rural Electric Association “contributed $100,000 to Dr. Michaels.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/story?id=2242565&page=1)
    etc, etc ….
    source

    The guy is a shill for Cato and Co.

    When you finally track down some peer reviewed science, let us know. In the meantime, we’ll choose the comedy channel when we want entertainment.

  43. bjchip,

    Could you explain what you mean when you say that “Mann and McKittrick” have been “answered pretty thoroughly”? (I presume that was a freudian slip and you meant to say McIntyre and McKitrick.)
    The truth is that M&M’s demolition of the hockeystick has been vindicated.

    The National Academy of Sciences panel certainly didn’t agree with Mann’s central claim that recent temperatures are the warmest they’ve been in a millenium. Rather, it said that all we know for sure is that recent temperatures are the warmest for just 400 years – an entirely uncontroversial claim since that was the time of the Little Ice Age (an event which Mann tried to whitewash from history but which the NAS panel specifically referred to).

    Recent warming is largely a recovery from the LIA. It is either dishonesty or profound ignorance to spread alarm by cherry-picking the lowest temperatures of the LIA and then implying that the warming since then is evidence of anthropogenic warming.

    Secondly, Professor Wegman – one of the top statisticians in the US who was asked by Congress to evaluate Mann’s handling of the proxy data – confirmed in his report that M&M’s criticisms of the hockeystick were “valid” and their arguments “compelling.” They confirmed that Mann’s homemade program used to process the proxy data is effectively a program for generating hockeystick shapes.

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

    How could you be so wrong about this?

    The question is, if you so misrepresent or are so ignorant of this one issue, why should we trust you in your unseemly rush to dismiss all the other contrary evidence? I really don’t understand what you think you are achieving by twisting and misrepresenting the skeptical case like this. If you were so sure of your argument you would not be engaging in such trickery.

    Here’s a short piece on the rise and fall of the hockeystick:-

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2005/03/03/hockey-stick-1998-2005-rip/#more-6

    It concludes: “it will be remembered as a remarkable lesson in how fanaticism can temporarily blind a large part of the scientific community and allow unproven results to become mainstream thought overnight. The embarrassment that it caused to many scientists working in the field of climatology will not be soon forgotten. Hopefully, new findings to come, as remarkable and enticing as they may first appear, will be greeted with a bit more caution and thorough investigation before they are widely accepted as representing the scientific consensus.”

    – “I know what the science says…”

    Apparently you don’t.

    Here’s some science for you, again from http://www.worldlimatereport.com, concerning a core of peat extracted in China revealing “tremendous variation over the past 6,000 years, with climate variability the rule, not the exception. There are many periods much warmer than today, and of course, periods much cooler as well…Comparisons between temperature variations and solar activities indicate that both temperature trends on centennial/millennial timescales and climatic events are related to solar variability, suggesting that solar variability is possibly a primary driving force that influences temperatures.”

  44. >>NZ businesses stack up on action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

    I own a 20 hectares of pine forest.

    And a BMW M3.

    >>And who among you good frogblog posters drove to the mall last weekend

    I did. And I thoroughly enjoyed the drive.

  45. In the meantime, how do NZ businesses stack up on action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

    Time to start avoiding Westfield and Woolworths etc, perhaps?

    And who among you good frogblog posters drove to the mall last weekend – come on, own up!

  46. Who to believe ? I haven’t a clue.

    Neither, would it appear, has the poor Viscount !
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Monckton,_3rd_Viscount_Monckton_of_Brenchley#Eternity_Puzzle
    It looks like he vastly over rates his intellectual abilities 😉

    But more seriously, he re hashes all the same tired debunked arguments – although I hadn’t heard the Chinese nay one before – and his contribution has not received serious scientific support.

    On the other hand, Real Climate points out the logical and factual errors in the article.

    Ho hum.

  47. >>who worked for and who talks with climate scientists

    Isn’t that the problem, though? There are hugely qualified bods on both sides.

    Who to believe? I haven’t a clue.

    Admittedly, the “yays” appear to outnumber the “nays”, although there’s still enough of the “nays” in high enough places to indicate to me that man-made global warming is far from being established scientific fact.

    I’m all for less pollution. Only a fool could argue that more pollution is a good thing. But when I start reading scare stories about flying less often, and such, I can’t help but seeing the far-left anti-global, anti-capitalist agenda coming through.

    Which then makes me take a few grains of salt to wash it all down, then think a cautious middle ground is perhaps the right approach.

  48. PeterExitsLeft

    The only place opinion is really divided these days is at the fringe… which was my point. We COULD swap links, but the science isn’t divided… Soon and Baliunas have been answered pretty thoroughly, as have Mann and McKittrick, and there’s not much point in my reading more junk science like Monckton’s… although the Chinese Navy thing was I admit, pretty amusing.

    We’ve got almost universal agreement now that there is a problem and we are now arguing about how big the problem will become.

    I don’t have a degree in climate science, its true. I’m a software engineer from the Jet Propulsion Lab who worked for and who talks with climate scientists. I also worked on the Mars Exploration Rover 🙂

    They know what the science says…

    I know what the science says…

    We are all more than a little scared.

    respectfully
    BJ

  49. I guess we could endlessly swap links, proving one thing clear:

    Opinion is divided.

    I’m not a scientist working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, so I don’t know if man is causing global warming.

    And neither do you.

    I think it’s a good thing if we pollute less. But let’s not get too excited…..

  50. Peter

    Apparently links got my comment moderated… I don’t think I actually insulted you, though Monckton gets a working over.

    Guess you’ll have to wait for it.

    BJ

  51. PeterExitsLeft – We already poked Monckton full of holes, because he actually is. I mean seriously full of holes.

    You guys keep coming back with garbage. We hand you science and all we get back is MORE garbage. Just because we’re greens and we know how to recycle doesn’t make this tripe valuable to us.

    ” There was little ice at the North Pole: a Chinese naval squadron sailed right round the Arctic in 1421 and found none ”

    Tui gets a new advertisement I think…

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/11/chinese_navy_disproves_global.php

    .. and the rest of it is no better… the people he listens to have nothing more than the same stuff that we’ve shown to be in error over and over again. You can trot out just about any piece of Monckton’s treatise and find gaping flaws in the science and the logic… I don’t think it worthwhile to do more than point out this one really interesting absurdity… it is after all both new and funny…

    However, if you want to bring an argument to the table, it has to be better than this.

    What is missing of course, is any sense of responsibility on the part of the Newspaper to actually check facts or verify truth… they just printed it, possibly because there is no longer “balance” in the scientific consensus… as almost all the actual scientists are convinced… and to find people who disagree they have to canvas a rather less qualified pool of writers.

    The question is whether this approach to “balance” actually serves truth… or if it merely serves profits.

    BJ

  52. A nice game about consumption choices and their environmental effects is at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ website here .

    It is oriented towards the US but is still informative – and fun.

  53. I have just had an email from Ecological Internet that says

    “Southeast Asia’s Annual Rainforest Fire Emissions = Carbon
    Reductions from 5 Kyotos!

    Joint Press Release by Ecological Internet, Biofuelwatch, Watch
    Indonesia and Save the Rainforest (Germany)”

    Maybe something needs to be done about this as well.

  54. Benw

    In defence of open chest freezers and fridges, they use less power than you might think — the dense cold air stays inside, unlike their vertical counterparts. An insulated door when not in use is still a power saver, though.

  55. benw:

    There are so many changes to make!

    Getting the momentum to do this will be a challenge, and very interesting to watch.

  56. Interestingly Monbiot looks at the energy use and emissions from supermarkets in his new book (Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning). His goal is to find how various parts of the economy could reduce emissions by 90% by 2030 (he provides an explanation for why those sorts of reductions are in fact what are required vs. the more conservative numbers used in the Stern report, for example).

    Monbiot found that a big part of the problem in the UK is the lighting but the worst aspect of business-as-usual in supermarkets in the UK (and it seems in NZ too) is the use of open fridges and freezers to keep the food cool (and the number are growing as heat-and-eat meals become more and more popular) and the heaters to keep things warm. This is something that WholeFoods in the USA has addressed where they use glass doored freezers (some fog, but totally workable) so you don’t have to have the heaters fighting the freezers.

  57. (maybe?) not so much delusional as to the degree of your gore-adoration stuey…

    maybe just more an inveterate p*ss-taker….i reckon….who finds it (physically) difficult to ‘just walk past an opportunity’..

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)..

    and see how you are trapped/misrepresented..?
    all down to the unwarrented tyranny of the capital letter..eh.?

    set yourself free..!…stuey…(or should that be Stuey).?..or Mr Stuey..?

    .looks a bit ‘funny’..eh..?..and sorta outta place..eh..? ..maybe even a tad egocentric/pretentious..?

  58. phil_u said:
    “..women didn’t vote for brash because they didn’t want to be in the position of thousands of american mothers..
    mourning the deaths of their sons/daughters in a lunatic foreign war….

    and how eminintly sensible of those new zealand mothers/women to see that and to vote against that…(and thank you..!..)”

    You are welcome phil !
    …and I won’t vote for Don Brash at the next election either!

  59. mind you…i would rather he had become president..than bush..eh..?

    gore wouldn’t have invaded iraq….or opened up national parks to the mining industry..and..and..eh..?

    but.. as was ably proven by bj on that other thread…nader and the greens ripped the presidency off him..

    and handed it on a plate to the carpet-munching/war-mongering/environmental visigoth/barking(god speaks to me) bush..(now accepted as the ‘worst president ever)..

    a president who (now that his power has largely gone) has motivated the decent americans to mobilise..

    and the good news is that mobilisation will not stop with the toppling of the republicans..

    and the further good news is that when americans decide to do something..they do it..(think marshall plan)..

    and i am confident we will now see a marshall plan for the environment..

    and also will see the united nations finally become the power it should…behind that marshall/reconstruction plan..

    and as for the costs of such a plan…the benchmark for expenditure justification from here on in will be the costs of this disaster in iraq..

    but just back to that uncomfortable (for greens) bush/gore/nader/greens business..

    wouldn’t now be a good time to have another look at the main mantra used to justify that carve into the centre-left/liberal vote..back then..?

    namely..(speaking of gore)..they said …

    “he is as bad as bush..there is no difference..that is why you should vote green..”

    would now be an appropriate time to throw that particular pile of bullsh*t back in their faces..?

    and seeing you are obviously such a big fan of “Mr Gore”..stuey..

    you could be the one to give the american greens their reality check..eh..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    and if i could just add another thought…i see in the listener this week don brash still puzzled why women didn’t vote for him..

    to me the reason has been as clear as..namely..women didn’t vote for brash because they didn’t want to be in the position of thousands of american mothers..
    mourning the deaths of their sons/daughters in a lunatic foreign war….

    and how eminintly sensible of those new zealand mothers/women to see that and to vote against that…(and thank you..!..)

    because be in no doubt..had brash/national won that election….he would have sent our young men and women to those horrors…

    and we should never forget that…

  60. stuey..what’s with the “..Mr Gore..”

    (do you yearn to touch the hem of his gown..?..)

    i mean..good on him with the movie..and all..

    but let’s not get too carried away..eh..?..stuey..?

    check out how much tobacco money he has sucked up over the years..

    that’s just for starters..there’s much much more..

    and don’t get me started on tipper..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  61. did you know that australia has three times the greenhouse emmissions of european countries of similar populations..?

    whoar..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  62. Russel –

    I agree with a lot of your comments.

    The book “Affluenza” has an interesting look at consumption. I think I recall the book saying that big chain retailers prefer people to drive to their stores, because this allows people to buy more of their stuff. It’s all about profit, and not about the environment.

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