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Müller lite: Why Every Scientist Needs a Classical Training

Müller lite: Why Every Scientist Needs a Classical Training

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
About 18 months ago, as soon as I heard of Dr. Richard Müller’s Berkeley Earth Temperature project, I sent an email to several skeptical scientists drawing their attention to his statement that he considered his team’s attempt to verify how much “global warming” had occurred since 1750 to be one of the most important pieces of research ever to be conducted in the history of science. This sounded too much like propaganda.

“…from 1695 – 1735 Central England warmed seven times faster than what Muller finds in the 262 years during which we are supposed to have influenced the weather.”

He was posing, I said, as a skeptical scientist; his results would broadly confirm the pre-existing temperature series; when his research ended, he would declare himself to have been converted from scepticism to the belief that merely because the world had warmed the warming must be our fault; and publication of his results would be exploited as a triumphant and final confirmation of the “global warming” orthodoxy.

My doubts about Dr. Müller’s motivation intensified after I met him at the Los Alamos Climate Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, late last year. We lunched. He was visibly disappointed when I said that I was happy to accept the official temperature record, at least for the sake of argument. And he subsequently seemed uninterested in getting to grips with the real divide between skeptics and true-believers, which has little to do with the accuracy of the temperature record and much to do with climate sensitivity – the question how much warming we will cause.

In this reply to Dr. Müller’s much-touted editorials in the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, I shall demonstrate by Classical methods that his principal conclusion “that global warming is real, that the prior estimates of the rate were correct, and that the cause is human” is incorrect a priori.

Yes, the world has warmed since 1750. However, even if one accepts Dr. Müller’s estimate of 1.5 C° warming since then, that rate is indeed well within the natural variability of the climate. Indeed, in the 40 years from 1695 to 1735, Central England (not a bad proxy for global temperature change) warmed naturally at 0.4 C° per decade, seven times faster than the 0.057 C° per decade he finds in the 262 years during which we are supposed to have influenced the weather.

Natural variability, therefore, is sufficient to explain all of the warming since 1750. No other explanation is necessary. Accordingly, it is not legitimate to claim, as the Berkeley team claim, that in the absence of any other explanation the warming must be attributed to CO2. That claim is an instance of the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental logical fallacy of argument from ignorance. It is not sound science.

Dr. Müller’s assertion that fluctuations in solar activity are too small to have any effect on the climate is fashionable but erroneous. At the nadir of the Maunder Minimum, the 70-year period from 1645-1715, there were almost no sunspots. During that solar Grand Minimum, the Sun was less active than during any other similar period since the abrupt global warming that ended the last Ice Age 11,400 years ago. The weather was exceptionally cold both sides of the Atlantic: the Hudson in New York and the Thames in London frequently froze over in the winter.

“…the mere fact of that rate of warming tells us nothing of its cause.”

As solar activity recovered at the end of the 70-year period of exceptionally few sunspots, global temperature recovered very rapidly in parallel. Man cannot have had any measurable influence on the rapid warming from 1695-1735. The warming, therefore, was natural. The solar recovery may have been amplified in some manner, perhaps by Dr. Svensmark’s cosmic-ray effect, so as to cause much (if not all) of the rapid natural warming over the period. Or some other natural cause may have been present. But Man cannot have been the cause.

It is worth noting, in passing, that solar activity increased quite rapidly from the Grand Minimum of 1645-1715 to the Grand Maximum of 1925-1995, peaking in 1960, during which the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years.
Yes, prior estimates of the warming rate since 1750 may have been correct, but the mere fact of that rate of warming tells us nothing of its cause. There was considerable warming in the Middle Ages: indeed, Dr. Müller concedes that the weather may have been every bit as warm then as now. Yet we were not emitting CO2 in vast quantities then. It necessarily follows that the cause of the medieval warm period must have been natural. Accordingly, there is no reason why much (perhaps nearly all) of the warming since 1750 should not also have been natural.

No Classically trained scientist could ever have uttered such a lamentable sentence in good conscience…

The greatest error in the Berkeley team’s conclusion is in Dr. Müller’s assertion that the cause of all the warming since 1750 is Man. His stated reason for this conclusion is this: “Our result is based simply on the close agreement between the shape of the observed temperature rise and the known greenhouse gas increase.”

No Classically trained scientist could ever have uttered such a lamentable sentence in good conscience. For Dr. Müller here perpetrates a spectacular instance of the ancient logical fallacy known as the argument from false cause – post hoc, ergo propter hoc. However closely the fluctuations in one dataset appear to follow the fluctuations in another, one cannot legitimately assume that either caused the other.

Dr. Müller admits elsewhere in his editorial that mere correlation between one data series and another does not imply a causative link between them. Nor, one should add, does it tell us which caused which; nor whether all possible natural influences that might have driven both data series simultaneously have been allowed for.

In logic, though correlation does not necessarily imply causation, the absence of correlation necessarily implies absence of causation. During the past 15 years, notwithstanding record increases in our CO2 emissions, there has been no global warming at all. The former, then, cannot have been the principal cause of the latter.

Dr. Müller describes the current stasis in global temperature as “the ‘flattening’ of recent temperature rise that some people claim”. Yet the failure of temperatures to warm at all over the past 15 years is plainly evident in all the principal datasets. If Dr. Müller were as “careful and objective” as he claims, he would surely concede that there has indeed been no global warming for a decade and a half. He would not have described it merely as a phenomenon “that some people claim”.

He is entitled to his opinion that “the ‘flattening’ of recent temperature rise that some people claim” is not statistically significant. However, I beg to differ. Since CO2 emissions have risen at a record rate during the past 15 years, it necessarily follows that the failure of the planet to warm at all over that period points to a natural influence strong enough to overcome – at least temporarily – the rather weak warming effect of the large additional volume of CO2.

What might that natural influence be? Step forward the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a naturally-occurring warming and cooling cycle. In 1976, the PDO switched suddenly from its cooling to its warming phase. Global temperature rose rapidly till late in 2001, when the PDO switched just as suddenly to its cooling phase, since when there has been no global warming.

The global temperature anomalies since 1850, compiled by the Hadley Centre for Forecasting, show three periods of warming that lasted more than a decade: 1860-1880; 1910-1940; and 1976-2001. These periods coincide with the cyclical warming phases of the PDO. On any view, the first two periods could not have been much influenced by us. Only in the most recent period were our CO2 emissions sufficient to cause some warming, at least in theory.

Yet in all three periods the warming was at the same rate: just 0.17 C° per decade. The warming rate in the most recent of the three periods was – within the margin of statistical error – no greater than in the two earlier periods. This inconvenient truth vitiates Dr. Müller’s conclusion that Man is the sole cause of warming.

Dr. Müller’s claim that his results are “stronger” than those of the IPCC also needs some qualification. If he were right that all of the 1.5 C° warming of the past 250 years was our fault (or, rather, our achievement, for warmer weather is better for life on Earth than cooler), it would follow, unexcitingly, that his estimate of climate sensitivity is more or less identical to its own.

“Then the expected warming since 1750, on the assumption that we caused all of it, is … 1.5 C°, which is Dr. Müller’s value”

Here is the math. To obtain climate sensitivity, one multiplies the radiative forcing of 5.35 times a given proportionate increase in CO2 concentration by some climate-sensitivity parameter. The IPCC’s implicit value of that parameter over the 200 years to 2100, on all six emissions scenarios, is 0.5 C° per Watt per square meter. Dr. Müller’s analysis covers 260 years, so let us call it 0.6. CO2 concentration has risen from 280 ppmv in 1750 to 390 ppmv today. Note also that the IPCC increases the estimated warming from CO2 by 43% to allow for other greenhouse gases. Then the expected warming since 1750, on the assumption that we caused all of it, is simply 1.43 x 0.6 x 5.35 ln(390/280), or 1.5 C°, which is Dr. Müller’s value.

In short, the IPCC’s central climate-sensitivity estimates are already predicated on the daring assumption that all of the warming of the past 260 years was caused by us, even though they state no more than that “most” of the warming was our achievement.

What, then, is the implication of Dr. Müller’s result for global warming to 2100? That is the $64,000 question. By that year, the IPCC estimates there will be 710 ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere, compared with 390 today. Its current central estimate, as the average of all six emissions scenarios, is that there will be 2.8 C° warming, of which 0.6 is warming that is already in the pipeline as a result of our past sins of emission. That leaves 2.2 C° caused by the greenhouse gases we shall add to the atmosphere this century.

If Dr. Müller had had a Classical training, he would have been made familiar with the dozen logical fallacies first codified by Aristotle 2300 years ago.

Calculating on the basis of Dr. Müller’s result, and taking 0.4 as a suitable climate-sensitivity parameter for a period as short as 90 years, one would expect 1.43 x 0.4 x 5.35 ln(710/390), or 1.8 C° warming. This result is not “stronger” than that of the IPCC, but just a little weaker. To reach Dr. Müller’s implicit result, one would have to assume that natural influences on their own would have caused a little cooling over the past 260 years. But that assumption would contradict the exceptionally rapid increase in solar activity from Grand Minimum to Grand Maximum over the period.

If Dr. Müller had had a Classical training, he would have been made familiar with the dozen logical fallacies first codified by Aristotle 2300 years ago. He would not have attempted to draw any firm scientific conclusions as to causality merely from a superficial and in any event inadequate and uncertain correlation; and still less from a monstrous argumentum ad ignorantiam. Perhaps it is time to ensure that every scientist receives a Classical training, as nearly all of them once did.

 

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73 comments to Müller lite: Why Every Scientist Needs a Classical Training

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    Speedy

    Morning all.

    Classical training is desirable, but basic honesty would be good start…

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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    Rod Stuart

    I am not certain what Lord Monckton means by Classical training, but given the excellent argument that he poses, I suspect it to be the logic of Socrates. I have studied Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, and if so Lord Monckton’s logic is quite familiar to me. Two of the TOC’s “thinking processes” depend upon “necessary conditions” and “sufficiency”. i.e. necessary conditions consist of effect-cause-effect such as if I have this, and I also have this, then that will be the result. i.e. in terms of sufficiency if I have this, and desire that, then then I must have this. Are the five TOC thing=king processes the Classical training to which Lord Monckton refers?


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    Phil Ford

    Christopher Monckton once again demonstrates why it is that just about every MSM newsroom in the world is running scared of him. In an honest reporting atmosphere ‘principled’, ‘impartial’ MSM journalists (as they hilariously like to think of themselves) should have no problem inviting Lord Monckton into their studio discussions in the interest of ‘balance’ and ‘informed debate’; instead we are treated like children; continuously (and willfully) denied the full story whilst being subjected to an endless parade of pro-CAGW propaganda drones.

    Thanks for posting this article, Jo. Always a pleasure to read Monckton’s take on these important issues.


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    It is curious that in identifying the strong possibility of unknown natural causes of modern global warming and in ruling out man-made CO2-increases as the causative factor (because there is no demonstrable correlation between global temperature and atmospheric CO2 trends) Lord Christopher Monckton does not mention that the vast majority of CO2 increases is not man-made.

    Only about 3.5 percent of annual CO2 emissions are man-made, while the remaining portion of annual emissions (96.5 percent) is from natural sources. The tail does not wag the dog!

    Therefore, even if it could be shown that global temperature trends follow global atmospheric CO2 trends (something that no one has been able to prove, let alone measure), it would then follow that the resulting temperature increase could not possibly be caused by man but would instead be caused by Nature.


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      Mat L

      Hi Walter, you’ve made a mistake when you state the vast majority of CO2 increases is not man-made. You are correct to say about 97% of annual CO2 emissions are natural, but all of that 97% is re-absorbed in other natural processes (it’s cyclic). The problem is every year we top this up with our 3% man-made emissions, so every year the total gets bigger by a few percent, and all of the increase is man-made.


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        Andrew McRae

        Mat L is probably referring to the Mass Balance argument represented by this picture.

        The nett sequestration of carbon in the ocean can be detected by carbon accounting as reliably as theft can be detected by comparing receipts to a stocktake. Which is to say, it is totally reliable within an error range that is small compared to the numbers involved.

        Again, nothing to be worried about because there is no evidence that more CO2 is bad, and the Ents will be thanking us profusely.


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        Shyguy

        CO2 records has gotten an ever bigger rewrite than the temperature records.

        http://drtimball.com/2012/pre-industrial-and-current-co2-levels-deliberately-corrupted/

        If humans could actually increase the CO2 levels of the planet and CO2 could increase the temperature of the planet that would be GREAT news.

        Because ice-ages, like the present one, are Extinction Level Events.


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        Rob JM

        Hi Walter, you’ve made a mistake when you state the vast majority of CO2 increases is not man-made. You are correct to say about 97% of annual CO2 emissions are natural, but all of that 97% is re-absorbed in other natural processes (it’s cyclic). The problem is every year we top this up with our 3% man-made emissions, so every year the total gets bigger by a few percent, and all of the increase is man-made.

        We don’t know what proportion of the CO2 increase is man made, it may be 95% or 5%.
        We do know that CO2 increases in the atmosphere when the oceans warm (henry’s law) and that their appears the lag is somewhere between 1500 and 400 years.
        The other consequence of henrys law is the fact that 98% of CO2 is dissolved in the oceans, so humans are only adding 2% of 2% to the system every year or 0.04% per year. With the fast turnover between atmosphere and ocean (IPCC use 5-10% per year in carbon cycle graphs) It can be concluded that humans are responsible for 5-10% of the CO2 in the atmosphere.
        Of course Established Physics should be Ignored when you believe in Doomsday scams!


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        cohenite

        MatL refers to the ongoing dispute about whther human CO2, ACO2, is the sole cause of increases in atmospheric CO2. MatL comes down firmly in the camp that says ACO2 is the cause of the increase in CO2.

        That being the case he should explain this and this.


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          Mat L

          I’m surprised, and a little confused, by this argument. Does it boil down to:
          1. The annual human emission doesn’t vary much year to year.
          2. The annual net increase in CO2 varies quite a lot year to year.
          3. Therefore the annual net increase is not caused by human emissions?

          If I’ve missed something, please expand, but if that is the argument, it’s very weak.

          We already discussed that natural sources make up ~97% of annual emissions, which then are reabsorbed – called the carbon cycle. Therefore a very small change in natural emission/ absorption for a single year will show up clearly on the annual net increase. An analogy might be a pool with a wonky filter, and a garden hose slowly adding water to the pool. The filter splutters a little when cycling water, but the hose just keeps on adding at a constant rate. You have to look at the long term trend, not annual splutters.

          Salby talks about why we know the increase CO2 comes from plant sources: from isotope ratios. So the long term trend of increased CO2 is caused by either large scale changes to existing vegetation, or the burning of fossil fuels. The first can be ruled out because recent ice ages (which change vegetation patterns dramatically) failed to raise CO2 above 250ppm in the last 100,000 years, and we are currently at ~400ppm. Therefore recent increases can be attributed to burning fossil fuels.

          Past CO2 levels source from Nature paper: (http://epic.awi.de/18281/1/Lth2008a.pdf)


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    tckev

    “Berkeley team claim, that in the absence of any other explanation the warming must be attributed to CO2″, or “Dr. Müller’s assertion that the cause of all the warming since 1750 is Man. His stated reason for this conclusion is this: “Our result is based simply on the close agreement between the shape of the observed temperature rise and the known greenhouse gas increase.””

    All this rapid temperature changes happen when total human population was below 3 million.
    Is that truly logical?


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    Mark D.

    I propose the adoption of “CPhD” or DPhilC to be awarded to those demonstrating the academic skills that Monckton points to.


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    Mat L

    Again, Mr Monckton fails his own logic in drawing a correlation/ causation link between solar activity and global temperatures. The two have been going in opposite directions for over thirty years.

    The Pacific Decadal Oscillation argument is more interesting (although equally an argumentum ad ignorantiam). So with the current PDO index seriously negative, will Monckton change his view on AGW if the next few years show further warming? I will certainly rethink my view if we see a sustained drop in global temperatures as he seems to be predicting. Lets see…


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      Again, Mr Monckton fails his own logic in drawing a correlation/ causation link between solar activity and global temperatures.

      Considering over 99% of the energy entering Earths atmosphere originates from the Sun, drawing a correlation/causation link between solar activity and global temperatures is…..just plain silly.
      Only those in the pay of big oil would dare claim such a foolish connection eh Mat L?


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        Mat L

        Only 99%? So should I spell it out and say link between changes to solar activity and recent global temperatures? Obviously changes to solar activity can and will affect global temperatures, but it can be shown that recent warming is not caused by changes to solar activity.


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        Tristan

        So with the current PDO index seriously negative, will Monckton change his view on AGW if the next few years show further warming? I will certainly rethink my view if we see a sustained drop in global temperatures as he seems to be predicting. Lets see…

        2012 seems to be stubbornly refusing to go down in temperature, it’s almost as if the earth is accumulating heat at a greater rate than the 0.7C/dec which the PDO is supposedly shoehorned onto.


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      Jaymez

      But Monckton is just giving examples of other factors which are more closely correlated to temperatures and could therefore be a natural factor without claiming that they ate the entire, or only case.


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      Roy Hogue

      Lets see…

      Now there is the right attitude. And so far, “Let’s see…,” has shot down the CAGW hypothesis in any variation you’d care to look at.


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    tckev

    OOOPs,

    should be -
    All this rapid temperature changes happen when total human population was below 3 Billion.
    Is that truly logical?


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  • #

    Does anybody really believe that Muller wasn’t fully aware of the fundamental notion that coorelation does not indicate causation? Muller was lieing and he knew it. Clasical training won’t fix dishonesty.


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      Roy Hogue

      Clasical training won’t fix dishonesty.

      True! But I can think of training that might do it. Unfortunately we think ourselves too enlightened to use such methods these days.

      Just kidding. But it is tempting.


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    Rod Stuart, @ July 30, 2012 at 12:06 am, said:

    I am not certain what Lord Monckton means by Classical training,….

    Lord Monckton repeatedly mentioned, in writing and in his talks, that the logical fallacies he makes reference to are those commonly considered to be a product of Aristotelian logic. See also: http://changingminds.org/disciplines/argument/fallacies/aristotle_fallacies.htm and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-logic/


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    Jaymez

    You don’t need ‘Classical Training’ to avoid Muller’s mistakes, you simply need lower high school statistical and logical analysis ability, and an avoidance of being blinded by confirmation bias and ideological blindness caused by his belief that human activity is damaging the ‘fragile earth’.

    I do admire Lord Monckton, but I do wish he would drop the Latin. It makes him sound like a pretentious wanker and looses a lot of readers. I did Latin three years of Latin at school but have never found that breaking out into my smattering knowledge of the ancient language has enhanced my ability to communicate to the masses. When writing in English it would make just as much sense to break out my smattering of Japanese, Mandarin, Indonesian, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Pidgin or Russian!

    In Paragraph 10 Monckton quotes Muller as follows:

    ” “Our result is based simply on the close agreement between the shape of the observed temperature rise and the known greenhouse gas increase.”

    That of course was the primary school error Muller made which just about every climate scientist who hopes to prove the connection between global warming and human green house gas emissions desperately clings to as a belief. But Muller and his believers, as Monckton quite rightly points out, are hung on their own petard, because there is no evidence of rising global temperatures over the past decade or more, and certainly no acceleration, yet the rate of human green house gas emissions has continued to grow.

    Isn’t it about time Muller, the IPCC and all their Ilk turned their research efforts towards discovering all the potential causes of climate variability and how we might predict them, maybe mitigate them and adapt to them? And lets stop wasting huge amounts of money and creating poverty and economic disruption by trying to limit harmless CO2 emissions.


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    I post this to make sure everyone understand that Dr. Muller was NEVER a skeptic and he himself says he was never a skeptic.

    In his own words:

    “It is ironic if some people treat me as a traitor, since I was never a skeptic — only a scientific skeptic,” he said in a recent email exchange with The Huffington Post. “Some people called me a skeptic because in my best-seller ‘Physics for Future Presidents’ I had drawn attention to the numerous scientific errors in the movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ But I never felt that pointing out mistakes qualified me to be called a climate skeptic.”

    LINK

    A short story about his lies as being a skeptic or not can be found here at Real Science.


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    Here is a commentary pertaining to the latest information available on the lack of correlation between the global CO2 trend and the global temperature trend:

    Contrary To IPCC Climate Models, Massive Human CO2 Emissions Still Unable To Reverse Nature’s Global Cooling Over Last 15 Years

    Over the last 15 years, we’ve been told that human CO2 emissions would cause global warming to accelerate to new dangerous levels, and this “unequivocal” warming would generate fantastic, catastrophic climate change disasters – the IPCC’s climate models told us this, and truth be told, they were absolutely and spectacularly wrong.

    h/t to Global Warming Policy Foundation;
    More: http://www.c3headlines.com/2012/07/contrary-to-ipcc-climate-models-massive-human-co2-emissions-still-unable-to-reverse-natures-global-c.html

    However, even that comment too, as correct as it is with respect to the lack of correlation between CO2 trend and temperature trend, refers to massive human CO2 emissions and fails to mention that mankind cannot possibly be the controlling influence with respect to CO2 emissions.

    Annual emissions: 5Gt are man-made and 150Gt are produced by natural sources.


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    One of life’s pleasures. Watching a first class mind at work.

    Pointman


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    Mick Greentree

    Matt L: Lindzen, Spencer, Douglas, Singer (all atmospheric physicists) have already shown unequivocal negative feedback to any extra Co2. Atmospheric C02 was apparently at ~3000ppm in the last severe ice ages, according to ice records please explain if you can. Please don’t quote Al


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    The Truth about Richard Muller

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2012/06/truth-about-richard-muller.html

    Richard Muller has never been a skeptic, at best he had a moment of intellectual honesty towards skeptics when he acknowledged Steve McIntyre’s debunking of Mann’s Hockey Stick, only to later dismiss this as irrelevant to the global warming debate, “This result should not affect any of our thinking on global warming”. Hardly surprising, as Muller considers the carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels to be, “the greatest pollutant in human history” and likely to have, “severe and detrimental effects on global climate”. The future outlook for global warming according to Muller is that, “it’s going to get much, much worse” and thus advocates that the United States immediately pay China and India hundreds of billions of dollars to cut back their carbon emissions or, “it’ll be too late”. No wonder he endorsed “The Earth is the Great Ship Titanic”, Steven Chu as “perfect” for U.S. Energy Secretary and Al Gore’s hypocritical alarmism,

    If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion – which he does, but he’s very effective at it – then let him fly any plane he wants.” – Richard Muller, 2008

    There is a consensus that global warming is real. …it’s going to get much, much worse.” – Richard Muller, 2008

    Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.” – Richard Muller, 2003


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    • #

      I was just about to post on the same subject when I saw your post PopTech.

      Just to add, Muller writes an op-ed in the NY Times with this heading..
      The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic

      Muller is A LIAR.

      Here he is on 3/11/2011

      “It is ironic if some people treat me as a traitor, since I was never a skeptic — only a scientific skeptic,” he said in a recent email exchange with The Huffington Post. “Some people called me a skeptic because in my best-seller ‘Physics for Future Presidents’ I had drawn attention to the numerous scientific errors in the movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ But I never felt that pointing out mistakes qualified me to be called a climate skeptic.

      This LIAR and FRAUD is called out by Steve Goddard HERE


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    Andrew McRae

    It would appear that the Climate Science Olympics have begun and The Monck’ is going for gold.

    Faster, Higher, Cooler?? :)

    ~

    Also, for anyone who thinks his statement…

    Accordingly, there is no reason why much (perhaps nearly all) of the warming since 1750 should not also have been natural.

    …is anything less than ironclad, it’s an outcome of Bayesian reasoning by conditional probability.

    There’s an intro to Bayesian reasoning at this site, which was just the first one I found but there are plenty of others which you can Google for.
    Their plain english version is: “the probability of the model given the data (P(M|D)) is the probability of the data given the model (P(D|M)) times the prior probability of the model (P(M)) divided by the probability of the data (P(D))”

    When applied to the climate this would say:

    P(High ACO2 Sensitivity|Fast Warming) = P(Fast Warming|High ACO2 Sensitivity) * P(High ACO2 Sensitivity)
                                            -----------------------------------------------------------------
                                              P( Fast Warming )

    In the first part of the numerator you can see that the probability of fast warming assuming there is a high sensitivity to anthropogenic CO2 is now somewhat limited by the recent observation that ACO2 is at record highs and temperatures are flatlining.

    The prior probability of there being strong sensitivity is a matter of some debate, but is constrained in part by CO2 chemistry and radiative physics, and presence of negative feedbacks such as clouds, and a planetary thermostat effect of the Iris or Miskolski type, and of course the Venus evidence.

    Finally, well you can see from the denominator that the more probable a strong warming trend is in general REGARDLESS of anthropogenic CO2 being present, then the less likely it is that a strong sensitivity is justifiable on warming evidence, because you have the effect appearing without its alleged cause, or rather the occurrence of the effect is not being sufficiently boosted above bakground levels by the presence of the putative cause.
    There was a Medieval Warm Period very similar in temperature to today, so the probability of AGW given recent warming is reduced according to Bayesian reasoning.

    The formula means this does not have to be merely a intuitive result but it can in principle be quantified. It would be interesting if someone could do this, calculate the probability, then multiply the inverse probability by the total amount of money spent “stopping global warming” to determine how much of the public’s money has probably been wasted.


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    • #

      Conditional probability is nothing but an attempt(not measurement) to express the degree of our ignorance. Our ignorance or lack thereof has no impact upon the thing referenced. However, what a thing IS will have an impact upon us without regard to the level of our ignorance of what it is.

      Guessing, wishing, expecting, and computations based upon guessing, wishing, and expecting (Bayesian statistics) won’t do much good except by accident. Considering that there are far more ways to be wrong than right you will be wrong almost all of the time.

      What all this means is that we had better really know what it is so we can be prepared for things being what they actually are. Our lives and wellbeing depend upon it.

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        Andrew McRae

        Clearly Lionell is from the school of thought that says there are only two probabilities, 100% and 0%, because something either happens or it doesn’t. The Dunce school basically.

        He initially asserts incorrectly that our level of certainty makes no difference to our fate, whereas in fact taking an unlikely option whilst believing it to be a sure thing is only going to end in a disaster.

        Then he proceeds to argue that Bayesian reasoning is futile because it only expresses our ignorance, whereas taking a fool’s wager with baseless confidence is preventable by suitable application of Bayesian reasoning.

        He then contradicts his initial assertion by stating it is vital that we reach 100% certainty – implying being certain does make a difference to our fate.

        We are not gods. In reality we sometimes are forced to make decisions and take actions in spite of having missing or uncertain information. If you have a way to reduce the uncertainty down to zero, great, that’s even better, but if you don’t then Bayesian reasoning provides a rational way to pick the best option based on limited historical data. New uses for Bayesian reasoning are being found all the time (by people who are not all dunces). The proof of the practical usefulness of Bayesian reasoning is that Bayesian classifiers have found success in a range of applications from spam filtering through to computer vision. It is found useful literally millions of times per day.

        Sorry if I didn’t spell it out earlier, but the result of applying this technique is the probability of CAGW being true and you can bet it will be far less than the ridiculously contrived “95% certainty” claim that issues forth from the IPCC.
        So sorry for trying to provide a rational alternative to both total surrender and impossible goals.


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          Joe V.

          I think all Lionell was trying to say there, without due deference to Baysian techniques perhaps, was that confidence in our ability to compute uncertainty shouldn’t be allowed to substitute or distract from our efforts & determination to get it right.
          Normal people have huge problems with assimilating probability, which makes it all too easy to exploit their misunderstanding.
          You can still be 100% wrong about a proposition you had 95% certainty of.
          Don’t let snazzy techniques lure you into a false sense of security. The effect of a technique is after all only a good as the person applying it.


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          Unlike you, I am saying that reality is real. A thing is what it is without respect to what you think it is, want it to be, need it to be, expect it to be, or feel it to be. Reality simply doesn’t care what you think. You are simply one of many entities with a specific identity. What happens to you depends upon your actions or failure to act. The consequences of that depends only upon your actual reality context and not your thoughts.

          I say there are only two possibilities in reality: existence or non existence. Inside one’s mind, you can be certain, kind of certain, not sure, uncertain, or no opinion with many shades of grey in between. Your belief of degree of certainty expressed however you want to express it is simply a report of the nature of your belief. By itself, your belief says nothing about reality. It is simply an attempt to express the degree of your ignorance about the actual state of reality.

          Your taking a particular action may and likely should rely on how certain you are of your knowledge of reality. However, what happens when you act depends only upon what reality actually is. Your precious computed probability, Bayesian or not, does not exist in reality. It exists in your mind ONLY and impacts reality not one whit. Reality doesn’t care what you believe one way or the other. It simply is.


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            Andrew McRae

            Yes, Groucho, Reality is indeed real. Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.

            You’ve only imagined I have ever implied reality isn’t real.
            I believe in the Objective reality; it’s at the basis of Science. But it is hardly post-modernism to notice that you cannot predict the future perfectly unless you perfectly know the state of the present. Probability is needed because even if there was nothing more to discover in Science, fundamentally Heisenberg’s principle prevents us from gathering all state information about everything simultaneously, and even at the macroscopic level a 1mm resolution country-sized snapshot would provoke an enormous power bill from Energex.

            Your taking a particular action may and likely should rely on how certain you are of your knowledge of reality. However, what happens when you act depends only upon what reality actually is.

            This is the most sophisticated long winded concession and begrudging agreement I have seen from you so far. Well done. Yes, you can choose your actions with reasoning but Reality chooses the consequences. You should advise Lord Monckton that he was grossly in error to form a belief about reality by “reason” instead of by fact. As soon as we invent time machines or discover the long-lost weather satellites of 1750 we can put your sound advice to practical use.

            I am glad we agree. It was quite a surprise to see anyone, let alone your good self, object to using rational methods to deal with uncertainty. Perhaps being more accurate with your communication would help us avoid getting wires crossed unnecessarily in future.
            I didn’t want to upset you but I have a tendency to call a spade a spade if it functions like a spade. I’m sure we’re both seeking truth. You likely have many experiences you could recall and such relevant stories (from Reality) can be more instructive than distilled philosophical abstractions.


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          Your concern in your top post was with computing probabilities based upon what is thought/felt/wished/needed/expected and NOT upon reality. You left reality out of the picture.

          Only KNOWING works. Probability is inherently unreliable and is premised upon a fraction of replicate experimental results of a particular kind. By such experiments, you have measured the probability within reality context. If that context is not known, all bets are off and you have essentially a very precise but meaningless (without referent in reality) number.

          Basing your so called probability on thoughts/feelings/wishes/needs/expectations does not measure reality, it measures your thoughts/feelings/wishes/needs/expectations. It too can give a precise but meaningless number. Such things have no necessary relationship to reality except that provided by an objective and rational process.

          To be objective and rational MEANS to have a process (aka reason) that integrates the data presented by our senses and applies logic to experience and experiment. It is fallible but correctable. The law of non-contradiction is our error check. Disconnect from reality and the contents of your mind is white noise no matter what you feel or intend it to be.


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    John F. Hultquist

    Christopher M. of B. does an excellent exposé here, as usual. His wordsmithing is a welcome change from what is offerred by most other writers.

    He borders on making a mistake regarding the Pacific Decadal Oscillation

    “ . . . a naturally-occurring warming and cooling cycle. In 1976, the PDO switched suddenly from its cooling to its warming phase.”

    The PDO is a confusing thing. It is reported by a + or – (positive or negative) number or index that references a pattern of temperatures on the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. Note the word “pattern” in the sentence. This does not indicate a warm or a cool surface, but rather a change in the pattern (geography, spatial aspect).

    This change in pattern on the surface does have other components. The PDO became apparent with research about the good and poor fishing periods along the coast of North America. It seems that what the PDO is all about is still unknown. It is likely not the driver of warm and cool global temperatures. More likely El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, is the place to look for an explanation.

    Bob Tisdale has produced numerous articles on these topics and is working on a book. See the following link. His posts are also on WUWT. Find and read them.
    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/qa-for-who-turned-on-the-heat/

    Do the reading and then be careful about reporting on what the PDO is, what it isn’t, what it does, and what it might be telling us.

    Finally, I think Christopher’s analysis and comments regarding Dr. Richard Müller and the BEST project are excellent.


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    Roy Hogue

    Monckton is delightful to read — clear, concise and convincing. I can overlook the Latin complained about by Jaymez at #11, though I share his view of it.

    I would like to see him in a head-to-head debate with Hanson, Gore, Mann, Jones, et al, any and all of them. I would pay the asking price for a seat at that event.


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    Doubting Rich

    One of the few positive achievements of climate panic is the debate, which has taught genuinely sceptical scientists the concept of logical fallacies. I learnt them a few years ago, after finding I had no hope of arguing with my girlfriend who was a philosophy graduate otherwise. She has a small company teaching school children how to think: let us hope she can grow the business.


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    [...] Lord Mockton does a scientific smack-down on the apparent PR stunt that is the Berkley Earth Temperature Project.  The BET Project is devoid of science and full of theater for the scientifically challenged. In an absurd announcement this weekend, the man playing the lead role as an AGW skeptic-turned-IPCC-groupie, Professor Muller has concluded his initial faux resistance to Al Gore’s siren song was all wrong, and in fact humanity has caused the last 250 years of warming (coming in at a ho-hum 1.5° C, or a tortoise blazing pace of 0.06° C/decade). How did he come to this stunning conclusion (as opposed to the more obvious conclusion the Earth warmed from the Little Ice Age – the coldest cold snap since the last glacial period)? Here is the basis for his new Chicken Little suit: The greatest error in the Berkeley team’s conclusion is in Dr. Müller’s assertion that the cause of all the warming since 1750 is Man. His stated reason for this conclusion is this: “Our result is based simply on the close agreement between the shape of the observed temperature rise and the known greenhouse gas increase.” [...]


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      Rob JM

      Somebody should have mentioned to him that humans only started producing significant CO2 after the second world war!
      His study should actually be used to estimated the background natural warming and subtract that from the post WW2 trend to estimate the “possible CO2 contribution”
      We can the compare computer models estimate for CO2 (we should have seen 1.5-2degC for the 50% increase) to reality (ie sweet FA)


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    There’s nothing wrong with the climate!
    [excerpt from my Real Science comment, getting to the heart of the temperature issue:] Even if things are warming significantly according to unbiased satellite observations (they’re not), we’re recovering from the Little Ice Age and temperatures rising in this cycle is only natural and to be expected, nothing to make a big hubbub or brouhaha or ruckus or uproar about, nothing to get all hot under the color about. No, unbiased reliable measures showing temps rising would truly be nothing to get excited about. But the satellite measurements are ambiguous, and depending on how the data is interpreted, the satellites shows static temperatures, or even declining temps going back decades.
    All the leftist propagandists have to back their assertion of any noteworthy warming are ground-based thermometer measurements … … that are CLEARLY biased, and need to be tossed out. To begin with, the manipulative warmmists have removed scores of rural stations in the 1990s that would have shown a cooling trend! Someone give a link. And case after case after case, photo documented, shows thermometers in obviously compromised positions that will accentuate warming! On top of all that, incredibly, the alarmist manipulators take this biased data and perform sleight of hand data manipulations to further enhance their trumped up gwarming hypothesis. Finally, despite all this, they think they might be losing the public opinion battle that it is warming in any alarming way, so they change the moniker of their movement to climate change. This is a farce, a complete unmitigated joke.
    The doomsayers try to base their whole pitch that we shut down industrial civilization based on this risible data. I say this, for anybody that has been around for more than a couple of decades, and no matter where you live… go outside! There’s nothing alarming about the temperatures or weather. It’s just like it’s always been. The doomsayers want you to look at the newspapers and trumped up sensationalist stories fabricated by the leftist media. Keep reading the propaganda. Watch the ABC nightly news baloney. But don’t go outside and look around and say “all is fine.” Instead, they want you to go outside at dawn, and holler early and loud like a pea-brained rooster, and scream and whistle so you wake up all the neighbors: “the sky is falling!” If I were a neighbor, I’d get out the slingshot and fling one your way.
    There is nothing wrong with the climate (hockey stick debunked), and there is no evidence that CO2 has anything to do with it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_WyvfcJyg&desc=GGWarmingSwindle_CO2Lag


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    Reed Coray

    Mathematicians end their proofs with the Latin acronym QED (quod erat dēmōnstrandum), which the internet tells us stands for “which was to be demonstrated.” CAGW climate scientists end their arguments with the English acronym WECIB, which stands for “what else could it be.”


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    Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

    To reach Dr. Müller’s implicit result, one would have to assume that natural influences on their own would have caused a little cooling over the past 260 years. But that assumption would contradict the exceptionally rapid increase in solar activity from Grand Minimum to Grand Maximum over the period.

    To resolve this issue, one needs to look a longer period. A recent tree proxy study of Northern Scandinavia – “Orbital forcing of tree-ring data” Jan Esper er al. – goes back over 2000 years. This shows the recent warming to be similar to the Roman and Medieval periods. This in the context of a general cooling trend. So Dr. Müller could argue that there is a general cooling trend, but would then have to explain why the warming was not predominantly natural.
    The study also may confirm other studies showing that a doubling of CO2 will cause around 0.4 degrees of warming, not the 3 degrees of warming the UNIPCC claims as its mid-point.
    Esper et al. estimate that the 0.6 degrees of cooling in the last 2000 years was due to a reduction in forcings due to changes in the earth’s orbit of -6 W m−2.

    As with any tree-ring study, one has to be slightly skeptical of the results. However, this is over a smallish area with lots of trees. It also corroborates what we already know.


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    Another Ian

    Jo, I just got a junk mail return on this as an reply email

    Some more on Monckton at

    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/18662

    The start -

    “Berkley Players’ Theater Of The Absurd
    Published by AJStrata at 12:45 pm under All General Discussions,Global Warming

    Lord Mockton does a scientific smack-down on the apparent PR stunt that is the Berkley Earth Temperature Project. The BET Project is devoid of science and full of theater for the scientifically challenged.”


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    Bruce of Newcastle

    Further to Poptech’s link, I’d add that Hillary Ostrov’s forensic examination of Richard Muller’s historical statements and his rather green business interests do not suggest he was ever a sceptic.

    The latest piece of BEST silliness seemingly fits this track record.

    Furthermore it is in complete contrast with Gleckler et al 2012 who ascribed a SST rise of 0.125 C over 50 years to (gasp!) human action. Using similar calculation as above this would equate to a 2XCO2 of only 0.4 C.

    Of course the problem with sea surface temperatures is it is rather hard to build airports and cities on it, so UHIE is effectively absent. Not so with WORST BEST.


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    More good stuff from Monckton.

    As a grumpy old man of 63, a card carrying member of Gen VW who got out of uni with 3 solid science degrees in 1972 (despite the inhaling) – an education dished out by people who had mostly lived through WWII, could actually engineer landings on the Moon, and could really educate, I suspect that when all this hoo ha is over, when the dust is settling etc., we will have to acknowledge that, when it comes to this overwhelmingly global warming alarmist Gen X, we (Gen VW) ‘blew it’ big time.

    Yep. The blame for the advent of soft science degrees, the fast-track HECS-style sausage machine educations, the pernicious influence of post-modernism on many disciplines, the obsession with money gained for minimum effort expended….the whole schtick ….can be sheeted home to us baby boomers.

    We ‘educated’ these Gen X suckers. And now we are copping the total balls-up which was that education.


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      Rod Stuart

      As Class of ’68 I couldn’t agree with you more. Except perhaps that even then, the seeds were sown in the Arts Faculty.


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      Gnrnr

      As a Gen X member, i have to say just remember that not all of us are tarnished with the “CAGW is real” patina. :D

      But then I didn’t do a “soft science” degree (unless mech engineering became one and i didn’t notice).


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    [...] Jo Nova Share this:PrintEmailMoreStumbleUponTwitterFacebookDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Climate Change and tagged climate hysteria, climate research, weather superstition. Bookmark the permalink. ← Not Muller’s BEST day: U.S. Temperature trends show a spurious doubling due to NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments [...]


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    dan bloom

    LORD M,above you wrote: Muller, who has combined P.T. Barnum showmanship and science throughout his three-year project, chose to break the news in a NYT OpEd article. But Andy, you should know, Muller was ASKED to write that piece for the NYT oped page by its assignment editor, he did not submit it cold, as you know. All opeds are assigned first and commissioned. The oped team asked him to write that oped. There is a difference, no? Even Roger Pielke Jr made the same mistake, tweeting that [The bigguer issue is how NYT let itself be conned into running Muller's op-ed']. But in fact, RP is wrong, the Times oped page was not conned. The oped page assigned the article to Muller. Ask him. Ask the editors. I know this for a fact. No opeds ever come in unassigned, Period. Marc Morano is wrong, Watts is wrong, RP is wrong, and Andy you are wrong here to assert that he chose to break the news in an oped in the Times. The Times asked him to explain himself as an assigned commissioned piece and Muller got paid over $1000 for it too. FACT CHECKING DEPARTMENT!


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      Joe V.

      You seem quite sure of that Dan and indeed thankyou for that insight. Even so, Muller still had the choice, what to say via this commissioned article.
      Monckton’s statement stands.


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    Reggie

    The propagandists won’t admit the Holocene, the Roman Optimum, the MWP, nor the cooling in the last 15 years, even when it is shown their masters have been caught sending memos and emails to each other discussing just that.
    How many “gates” were there in this AGW hoax debacle anyway? Climategate, Fakegate, Glaciergate, when is enough enough?
    Cooling for the last 15 year despite emitting ever-increasing amounts of CO2, ok? It’s not CO2. Leave CO2 alone. Stop bothering CO2. Let CO2 do its thing and feed our friggin plants so they can feed us.
    You got a problem with this “global warming” thing, take it up with the SUN. Yeah, that super gigantic electro-nuclear ball of fire that crosses our sky every day?
    That’s your huckleberry.


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    Warren

    Adding the umlaut to Muller’s name? Ah,Moncky is a batty as ever!


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    I think he was just showing he could grind Ricky up really finely……

    In fact, I think he made quite a Mehl of him…..


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    crosspatch

    It would seem to me they need a classical education in basic economics. Here’s a place to get one, watch this 10 part series from Milton Friedman that aired on the US PBS network in 1980 (updates from 1990 also available). A basic college level economics course available free.

    http://miltonfriedman.blogspot.com/

    Australia might be learning a lesson soon. It looks like Ford is going to end car manufacturing there. I wonder if this has anything to do with the “carbon tax”.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-30/ford-expected-to-end-local-production/4164204?section=business


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    Joe V.

    Thank you for sharing that useful link Crosspatch. I look forward to studying it.

    As for the speculation in Ford pulling out, even if it is the Carbon Tax that finally does for them, I doubt they’ll be aloud to say without risking further penalties.
    And even if Abbott has repealed the Tax by then, the damage may have already been done. Many businesses will have gone to the wall before a repeal comes .


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    DougS

    Always a pleasure to read a Lord Monckton piece.

    No wonder Al Gore has never responded to his challenge for a debate on AGW!


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    Arno Arrak

    I have problems with Müller’s new temperature chart. First, he claims that the “strong negative excursions in the early period closely match major volcanic events” we have never heard of. I have proved that volcanic cooling does not exist (see “What Warming? Satellite view of global temperature change” pp. 17 – 21). What makes his claim even less likely is that these cooling fits repeat on a regular 30 year schedule. The same thirty year oscillation shows up in tree ring data from California coast ranges which tells us that they are real. It just could be that we are looking at the prehistory of the PDO which is said to have a thirty year period. I know it is alleged to have two phases but the observation time is too short to accurately pin down their differences. In either case, they have no idea that they have a climate oscillation and not some volcanic cooling present in their data. And that, they think, is a publishable paper.


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    Mindert Eiting

    Muller should certainly have a look at studies about storks around Berlin and the number of births. The relationship is the most impressive if only births at home are taken. The explanation is that hospitals often have their windows closed making that a stork cannot deliver his present. See:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/perfect-health-diet/201203/the-theory-the-stork-rises-again


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    Arno Arrak

    Müller’s principal conclusion “…that global warming is real, that the prior estimates of the rate were correct, and that the cause is human” can be shown to be totally false. First, there is no doubt that warming exists but to speak of “prior estimates of the rate” is scientifically incoherent. There is no “rate” of global warming. Warming, such as it is, has been intermittent and unpredictable, interspersed with long stretches of no warming and sudden spurts of step warming they refuse to recognize. These all have their own physical reasons for existence that must be elucidated if you claim that you have made an actual study of global temperature. He obviously didn’t so we will have to do it for him. Starting with the twentieth century, available records show that it started with a ten year period of cooling. This was followed by warming that started suddenly in 1910 and stopped equally suddenly in 1940. There was no parallel increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide in 1910, hence greenhouse warming as a cause is ruled out by radiation laws of physics. Bjørn Lomborg has assigned this warming to solar influence and I agree with him. In the fifties, sixties and seventies there was no warming while carbon dioxide relentlessly increased. People were worried about a coming ice age and newspapers and magazines had articles about it. There has never been a satisfactory explanation of why the increasing carbon dioxide failed to do any warming for thirty years, only contorted hypotheses trying to explain it away. One of them was smoke and aerosols from war production blocking out the sun. There was no warming in the eighties and nineties either according to satellite temperature measurements while carbon dioxide kept going up. Müller deliberately did not include satellite data in his analysis because it shows no warming in 1988 when Hansen testified that warming had started. Ground stations Müller used show a spurious “late twentieth century warming” in that slot. In my book “What Warming? Satellite view of global temperature change” I show how ground-based temperature curves were changed in figures 24, 27, and 29. This period ended with the giant super El Nino of 1998 that initiated a step rise in temperature. In only four years global temperature rose by a third of a degree Celsius and then stopped. Considering that according to IPCC the entire temperature increase for the twentieth century was 0.6 degrees this is a hefty increase. It, and not some greenhouse effect, is responsible for the record-breaking warmth of the first decade of our century. While it was warm there was no further increase of temperature since that time. It so happens that the IPCC AR4 report made a firm prediction that twenty-first century warming shall proceed at 0.2 degrees per decade. We are now in the second decade of the century and there is no sign of this predicted warming. In science, if a theory makes a false prediction that theory itself is also considered false. The greenhouse theory of warming that the IPCC used has made a false prediction of warming in the twenty-first century and must be considered a false theory. All their predictions of dangerous warming were made by that same false theory and are also false. And all societal measures to fight that non-existent warming were passed under false pretenses. They cost billions of dollars. They should be stopped and the laws used to set them up taken off the books.


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    [...] Anyway I have no doubt that the big guns of counter-alarmism will have a thing or two to say about it http://joannenova.com.au/2012/07/muller/ [...]


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    [...] Climate apostate bloggers have pounded a analysis, angry that a association between CO2 and heat doesn’t infer a causal relationship. [...]


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    William J. Holly

    It seems to me that Lord Monckton’s main point thoroughly destroys the AGW thesis. We need not bother with computer models or estimates of how much CO2 humans have been producing. Even a very brief familiarity with the geological history of our planet shows that natural variability in climate is huge compared to what we have seen since the LIA. There have been several periods warmer than today since the end of the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago. (There was the Medieval Warming Period, the Roman Warming period,the Egyptian Warming period, and on and on.) The glaciers that covered NA and Europe all melted without any help from the evil oilmen. Natural variability.
    Indeed, in the past 750,000 years or so, with CO2 levels generally declining, there have been SEVERAL successive ice ages, intersperced with brief (roughly 10,000 yr)interglacials. One of Al Gore’s chief exhibits for AGW was a graph of these successive ice ages inferred from the Greenland ice cores, which also showed a correlation between warmng periods and CO2 levels. Gore was guilty of what I call the correlation-to-cause fallacy. From the fact that high C02 levels were correlated with the warming periods between ice ages, he concluded that the high CO2 caused the warming periods. A closer analysis, however, has shown that the CO2 levels, while correlated with the warming, actually lagged behind the warming by about 800 years. Since causes must precede their effects, the rise in CO2 (following the warming)could not have been the initial cause of the warming. Indeed, it is more likely that the warming caused the rise in CO2, since warmer oceans cannot hold as much CO2.
    The correlation-to-cause fallacy committed by Gore in this instance, and presumeably by Muller as indicated by Monckton, is NOT post hoc. In Post Hoc fallacies, we know which comes first. For example, I know that Fred got a fever first, and then got a rash, and I conclude that the fever caused the rash. The mistake is that there might be a third thing, perhaps a virus, that first causes the fever and then the rash. In correlation-to-cause, we know that A is correlated with B, but do not know which comes first; so, we might conclude that A caused B, when in fact it might be that B caused A, or that some third thing C, causes both. For example, educators found a slight correlation between high self-esteem and high academic achievement, and assumed that high SE causes high AA. Further research, however, showed that achievement usually precedes the high SE (it improves our self-esteem to actually succeed at something). Or, a third factor (just being more intelligent) might make high esteem and high achievement both more likely. The point here is that the correlation cause fallacy is NOT post hoc. Its common Latin name is CUM HOC.
    In any event, huge climatic variations have cycled for the past 750,000 years, with natural variablity great enough to melt glaciers miles deep and covering entire continents, raising sea levels hundreds of feet, all without any help from burning fossil fuels. And, the history of our planet is about 6000 times as long as that brief “recent” history. Go back 500 million years, and you will see that the vast majority of that half a billion years (about one ninth of our history)had temperatures that were far higher than today. Moreover, during most of that half billion yr history, CO2 levels were almost always several TIMES higher than they are today, sometimes even during occasional ice ages. And, those periods where the CO2 levels were several times higher than today did NOT lead climate to TIP over into the heat death of our world. See for example Daniel Rothman, PNAS 2002 for a chart of pCO2 for the past 500 my. He says the chart show NO correlation between temp and CO2 levels. So, Muller does’t need a classical education in identifying fallacies. He just needs to read a few good books and articles on the geological history of the earth. Check out Geocarb III.
    When I first became interested in the Global Warming controvery, I was amazed at the parade of fallacies employed by the AGW catastrophists. Not just cum hoc, and post hoc, but ad hominem, absurd appeal to illegitimate authority, ad misericordiam, etc … and just plain lying. But, I did not turn to logic books. I began with a couple books on the ice ages. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Knowledge of geology is the main remedy for this AGW nonsense.


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    Arno Arrak

    CO2 levels are actually irrelevant for temperature changes we have experienced. As I pointed out above (#38) none of the warming within the last 100 years can be attributed to rising carbon dioxide levels that Mauna Loa reports. Curiously, advocates of global warming theory are either stupid or ignorant enough to invoke it as a cause of that non-existent global warming that is sure to cook us if we don’t pay our carbon tax.


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