Andrew Argyle: IPCC Cools on Global Warming

Few subjects are so controversial and arouse such hostility between debaters as global warming and it’s ‘antidote’, renewable energy. The arguments are complex and many books have been written with claim and counter-claim.

‘The science is settled’, we are told and those who express doubt are likely to be dismissed as ‘climate change deniers’ (a mischievous allusion to ‘Holocaust denial’) and/or fossil fuel lobby ‘shills’. The angry retorts from sceptics include references to the ‘cult of global warming’, a ‘religion whose fanatical left wing high priests would drag us back to basket-weaving and horse and cart transport’.

Given that government energy policy is premised on climate science and the outcome is steeply-rising energy bills and burgeoning fuel poverty, it’s important that ordinary people have confidence that the alarming alleged consequences of increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels used to justify renewable energy subsidies of 100+ percent are based on sound science.

The Mail on Sunday, on 15th September 2013, published that the UK Met Office’s pronouncements about future warming and its climate forecasting computer model have come under fire in a scientific paper by experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”(IPCC). This will come as no surprise to sceptics who have long criticised the Met Office’s record.

Science correspondent David Rose writes:

 “Lewis’s paper is scathing about the ‘future warming’ document issued by the Met Office in July, which purported to explain why the current 16-year global warming ‘pause’ is unimportant, and does not mean the ECS (equilibrium climate sensitivity – how much the world will warm with CO2 doubling) is lower than previously thought.

“Lewis says the document made misleading claims about other scientists’ work – for example, misrepresenting important details of a study by a team that included Lewis and 14 other IPCC experts. The team’s paper, published in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience in May, said the best estimate of the ECS was 2C or less – well under half the Met Office estimate.”

The Mail also leaks information from the forthcoming IPCC’s Physical Science Assessment (AR5) in which they reportedly admit that warming between 1951 – 2010 has been a little over half (0.12C/decade) what they claimed in 2007 (0.2C/decade).

Gosh! Those nasty ‘climate change deniers’ may have a point, after all?

Politicians and the media scrambled aboard the ‘catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”(CAGW) bandwagon and whipped up an international, quasi-religious, hysteria which peaked around the time of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December, 2009.

Global leaders trouped in expecting to sign a momentous treaty in time to meet UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s chilling deadline ‘We have 50 days to SAVE THE PLANET!’

Alas, the ‘Climate-gate’ scandal intervened.

Climate scientists at University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) were exposed manipulating data, obfuscating and preventing other scientists from accessing their data in order to replicate their results (a fundamental requirement of science). Suffice it to say there was ‘a wailing and a gnashing of teeth’ and many of the grimaces have yet to wear off.

The Copenhagen Summit fizzled out amidst acrimony with no treaty. Ominously, fifteen delegates needed hospital treatment for hypothermia contracted while queuing outside the conference centre.

Since then, despite ever-rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), global temperature has remained steady since 1997.

Performance of IPCC Computer Models v Observed Reality.


FAR – FIrst Assessment Report Forecast
SAR – Second        “               “             “
TAR – Third          “                “             “
AR4 – Fourth        “                “             “  (2007)

The black candlesticks represent the range of actual measurements by various organisations e.g. CRU, NASA GISS, etc.

Billions of pounds have already been spent with a further £110 billon planned to help the UK meet its ‘decarbonisation’ targets and despite protests from sceptical scientists and economists, the UK and Scottish governments have ‘barrelled on’, full throttle, like runaway trains in a dark tunnel.

The claims about dangerous global warming are entrenched in the political psyches of the UK and EU, both of whom set extraordinary targets for ‘de-carbonising’ their economies and ways of life. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has become a kind of ‘Vatican’ of global warming theology while green lobby groups like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace slipped naturally into the role of the Inquisition.

Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond, leap-frogging each other with ever-higher bids to occupy the ‘Green Capital of the World’, wrote crippling decarbonisation targets into law with their Climate Change Acts of 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Their folly has been compounded by the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition since their ascension to power in 2010 with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne and his successor Ed Davey leading the charge.

How ironic that the Liberal Democrats in their desperation to ‘tackle climate change’ have decided to overturn their long-standing anti-nuclear policy, just when it appears global warming alarmists are in retreat and cheap shale gas supplies beckon seductively.

Meanwhile the United States, which has copious shale gas supplies, is powering ahead with energy prices less than half those in the EU and UK – and just to rub salt into the wounds, is presiding over plummeting CO2 levels, lower than in 1994 and falling.

When will our politicians get a grip on reality? You may well ask.

Andrew Argyle

The animated graphs reproduced above – Performance of IPCC Computer Models v Observed Reality – are sourced here.

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101 Responses to Andrew Argyle: IPCC Cools on Global Warming

  1. Pingback: Top climate scientists admit global warming forecasts were wrong –

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  4. Pingback: Andrew Argyle: IPCC Cools on Global Warming – For Argyll « Technology « Direct Global Media

  5. “Since then, despite ever-rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), global temperature has remained steady since 1997.”

    What utter disingenuous shite. Choosing the highest year in the temperature record from the peak of an El Nino event to measure from is dishonest. And you know it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

    • I”m sceptical of everything I read about AGW, from all sides of the debate, but I don’t think an outburst qualifies as a rebuttal of AA’s article.

      Beyond that however, I’ll say this with certainty based on a few decades of experience in a field in which similar mathematical approaches to those used to model climate are widely applied: I’m highly sceptical of the precision of anything predicted by non-linear numerical modelling in any field whatsoever, the more so when the problem is multi-facetted.

      I take it the IPCC predictions in the above chart are derived from highly complex, non-linear numerical models. If the predictions don’t correspond with the measured data, no-one should be surprised. It doesn’t prove there is no AGW, it just proves, yet again, what some of us already know about the limitations inherent in numerical modelling techniques, and especially in relation to problems in which the objective to obtain quantitative precision of output, rather than a qualitative picture, is paramount. It proves no more, no less, than just that.

      I don’t follow the AGW business avidly but it looks increasingly like the climate models to date are pretty poor. To repeat, though, it doesn’t prove there is no AGW.

      No-one can argue with Feynman: ““It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong”. Of all people, purveyors of theories based on computer models should bear that in mind.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • As far as I am aware, the data gathered to date are within the range of predictions from the models. They are at the lower end of those predictions, at present, but even based on the fit of the models to historical temperature records some noise and variation within the trend is entirely expected.

        The problem is that there is hard physics at the core of this that is unavoidable. More energy is being put into the system than is going out, it’s basic quantum physics. Some of it may be being absorbed into the oceans, but that has its own problems and cannot continue indefinitely. Unless there is some enormous mechanism for dissipating the excess energy that the denial lobby haven’t found (and they’ve sure as hell been looking and clutching at every straw they can find) then temperatures are going to increase, and increase substantially. The models are simply an attempt to quantify and time that rise. It would be good to have accurate and precise predictions, but the presence or absence of them doesn’t alter the fundamental facts of the matter – more CO2 in the atmosphere results in greater retention of heat.

        The denial movement never seem to address this issue, there is a firm scientific theory there for them to refute, but they never try. They faff around wittering about volcanoes, and sunspots, and whatever unproven quack hypothesis is flavour of the month.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

        • Oh, dear, still “hostile” albeit no profanity this time.

          Hardly anybody in the world disputes the “Greenhouse Effect” exists and CO2 has a warming tendency. The question is, will it lead to “dangeous” warming? The argument is about how much warming we should expect and whether its consequences will be favourable or damaging.

          That depends on a lot of things which are poorly understood, like cloud effects.

          Most if not all, models referred to by the IPCC do not allow the possibility that overall feedback could be negative i.e. negative feedback would moderate CO2-driven warming and have a stabilising influence as opposed to the runaway “Thermageddon” we are accustomed to hearing about.

          The leaks from the forthcoming IPCC report appear to suggest the IPCC is reigning back its predictions in light of the EVIDENCE we see in the graphs above.

          Not before the time!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

          • “Hardly anybody in the world disputes the “Greenhouse Effect” exists and CO2 has a warming tendency.”

            This dodge always appears when this gets questioned, but if it’s true it’s only very recently so. 5 years ago the line was “we know there is warming but we don’t know what’s causing it”. It’s classic obfuscation. The hostility you claim is nothing but exasperation. I see you’ve chucked in the old cloud canard for added fibre.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

          • No wonder you have to ask if “those are your feet”, you appear to have your head “in the clouds”!

            I don’t recognise your “line from 5 years ago” but now I’d say there has certainly BEEN warming however it’s caused by a variety of factors, of which CO2 is almost certainly one however the size of the various contributions is poorly understood.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

        • “…more CO2 in the atmosphere results in greater retention of heat.”

          It does not follow. Negative feedback effects can, and apparently do, attenuate any heating tendency to insignificance.

          Moreover, CO2 alone does not even theoretically produce significant heating in and of itself. The IPCC had to assume positive water vapor feedback in order to produce catastrophic scenarios. The evidence indicates they were wrong.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

      • Thanks for that “pm”. Very well put!

        The only thing I’d add is I’m certainly not saying AGW doesn’t exist (I realise you didn’t say that), it’s well-established that increasing atmospheric CO2 level has a warming tendency and I’ve only ever heard of a handful of scientists saying it’s false (the so-called “Dragon-slayers” claim the Greenhouse Effect runs counter to the Laws of Thermodynamics).

        I’m happy to accept the Greenhouse Effect but the outcome, ultimately, depends on a raft of other factors such as the sum of positive and negative feedbacks which amplify or moderate warming, respectively.

        What the sceptics are arguing about, and what I’m interested in, is how much warming we should expect and what will be its net effects – harmful or beneficial, overall.

        There is a clear trend in recent studies showing that alarmism has been the order of the day and now, after 20 years of predictions, we are able to apply Feynman’s test and exhibit the results in the graphs above.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

        • Why does the trend line in your graph above seem to go below the observed data for most points? It looks, to the naked eye, that the SAR trend is a much closer fit for the observed data. The other question that arises from the graph is whether the models in question were supposed to make accurate predictions for a given year. If you take the data up to any given year from 1990 to the present day, do you get the same effect, or do the models appear more accurate based on some years than others? It’s extremely easy to be selective with data when the data sets and the number of different models and investigations are as large as in this field.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

          • If you want to dispute the trend fits you really need to take that up with the author.

            It’s interesting however that you quite rightly point out that the Second Assessment Report (SAR) provides a better fit to the observed data than either the TAR or AR4 predictions and indeed the nearer we get to fever pitch in 2009 the wilder the predictions become, AR4 (2007) being the steepest, scariest slope.

            Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t that suggest, surprisingly, that the forecasting skill of the models was deteriorating, not improving, with time as we might expect.

            Suddenly, post Climate-gate in 2013, forecasts of future warming are, reportedly, moderating? Funny that, isn’t it?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

          • If you’re going to claim a graph proves something, you don’t get to just pass the buck. You chose to include the graph, if you can’t justify the decisions made don’t rely on it.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  6. See what I mean about “hostility”?
    Mind you, I’m all for opponents being hostile and abusive, if they were pleased I’d be worried they were about to deliver a valid argument.
    There was indeed an El Nino in 1997 which led to global temperatures peaking in 1998. Global temperature in late 1997 was, in fact, about the same as now.
    Would you say it was “disingenuous” of you not to mention the protracted La Nina that immediately followed in 1998-99 which distorted the temperature downwards over the next two to three years, detracting from the underlying stability of the trend?
    If we take out the two distortions I’d suggest the trend will be pretty flat from 1997 until now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  7. When you start by accusing those who support the scientific view of “hysteria” then you lose any grounds for accusing others of hostility.

    We haven’t had an El Nino event anything like as substantial as in 1997, which is why we haven’t seen a new record year. It is telling, however, that all of the top 10 warmest years on record, apart from 1998, have been since 2002, even without a strong El Nino. Nobody was expecting a smooth increase from year to year, and it is again disingenuous to pretend otherwise. It is also dishonest to pretend that the global scientific community, which overwhelmingly endorses the view that human caused releases of greenhouse gases have caused and are causing significant climate change, including long term increases in global average temperatures are on equal terms with the denialist commentariat who barely have 2 PhDs in relevant fields to rub together.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

      • The Carbon Brief is well & truly on to the Mail & MoS and David Rose, and these days are able to publish their de-bunking pieces within a few hours – rather like shooting fish in a barrel. There are dozens of articles on the subject – the link below is as good a place as any to start.

        If by ‘whispered in the cellar’ you mean that they will eventually print a retraction of their ‘accidentally on purpose’ misrepresentations/mistakes buried away somewhere in a small column near the back, then you are probably right :-)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        • Tim,
          As long as they (carbon brief) are outing false information and not spinning any yarns, I welcome it. We need to know the truths and falsehoods of this because the economic stakes are so high – and if the alarmist view turns out to be correct, which some of us do need convincing about, the physical stakes might be high, too.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

          • Andrew – that’s an interesting point you make : “…if the alarmist view turns out to be correct” – what would it take to convince you that it is? And do you think that any action to mitigate it should be left until the evidence is overwhelming? Might it not be too late by then?

            I think ‘alarmist’ is a highly pejorative and unhelpful term. It should be taken out of the debate, along with ‘denialist’ which is no better, and ‘sceptic’ which is meaningless.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Tim,
            I hear what you’re saying about the word “alarmist”, I don’t actually care for it and I have considered my use of it. However what would you call it when:

            1. James Hansen, top scientist of NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) who was Al Gore’s adviser for the making of “An Inconvenient Truth”, predicts in a magazine interview (1988) that the West Manhattan Highway in New York will be beneath the waves of the Hudson River by 2028?
            2. The British prime minister makes a speech (2009) referring to sceptical scientists as “the Flat Earth Society” and proclaiming “we have 50 days TO SAVE THE PLANET!”?
            3. The IPCC being caught out claiming Himalayan glaciers will completely disappear by 2035 causing mass starvation in India because the rivers will dry up and when challenged, the IPCC Chairman dismissed the sceptics point as “voodoo science”?
            Would any who would persuade me that catastrophe is looming like to update us on the progress of these predictions? No, I thought not.
            These alarming predictions came, not from a proverbial “barber”or “taxi driver” but from people at the very top who were trying to push a political agenda by crying “WOLF!”
            I look forward to hearing your alternative to “alarmism”.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          • Andrew – a similar list could easily be compiled of prominent names like Lawson, Monckton and the GWPF, none of whom are taxi drivers either, and could describe them as ‘climate denialists’ on the basis that they are clearly pushing a political agenda by crying ‘NO WOLF’

            I suspect my alternative to ‘alarmist’ would be much the same as your alternative to ‘denialist’ – probably ‘sceptic’ which is why that word is also meaningless as it is claimed by both sides!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Tim,

            The position of Lawson and the GWPF as I understand it is that they accept that there has been man-made global warming and it is likely to continue as more CO2 is emitted. I accept they distance themselves from the extreme views expressed by the likes of Hansen, Brown and Pachauri and that they challenge anything they see as scaremongering.

            Have you read Lawson’s excellent little book “An Appeal to Reason”, his argument is about economics, not science, although I accept the GWPF has an academic advisory council of which includes many eminent climate scientists like Richard Lindzen, as well as economists. And they would hold that “science is never settled”.

            I’d call them “nearly lukewarmers” as opposed to “denialists” however where they depart radically from -pardon the term – “alarmists” is in the approach they prescribe for the problem of global warming-driven climate change which focuses on two areas:

            1. They claim that carbon dioxide and moderate warming, far from threatening to bring catastrophe, are more likely to be beneficial, overall. ThEre is plenty of evidence to support that view.

            2. They claim that any negative effects resulting from “climate change” should be dealt with by “adaptation e.g. flood defences AS AND WHEN the need for them arises as opposed to what they regard as a quixotic “Little Dutch Boy” approach of “mitigation” – sticking our finger in the dyke – with, frankly, ruinous and futile attempts to hold back the rising tide of CO2 by subsidising vast tranches of renewable energy the cost of which is then passed directly to consumers’ bills, be they rich or poor.

            As for Monckton have you ever listened to one of his presentations? I expect not because, given that you think he’s a twister who talks a lot of nonsense, he should be easy to shoot down.

            Monckton used to have a standing invitation to debate global warming with anyone who wished to take him on (probably still open if you fancy your chances), including the redoubtable Al Gore – Gore never accepted and if you ever watch one of Monkton’s presentations you’ll see why.

            We’ll be wise to be wary of all parties involved and listen carefully to the arguments. Just because someone can be shown to be involved with any lobby, be it fossil fuel or renewables, doesn’t mean they are wrong. (I’m unaware of any serious conflicts of interest with any of these you mention)

            My own opinion is that the arguments of CAGW sceptics and adapters carry substantially more weight than the so-called alarmists and mitigators.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Tim, I’m afraid three of your carbon brief super-sleuths, as far as David Rose or anyone like him is concerned, the Met Office, Dana Nuccitelli and Bob Ward are well into the “pots calling kettles black” category. After that I didn’t look any further, you might as well quote John Cook or Joe Romm.
          If you tell me someone like Hans von Storch was criticising Judith Curry or anyone like her I’d certainly look seriously at that but ot any of these three international “spin bowlers”? No, that just wouldn’t be “cricket”!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

          • I think the Carbon Brief do a fairly good job of outing the truth and not spinning yarns. Their articles do usually contain heaps of links to both sides of the stories they cover.

            I’m afraid I don’t know any of the names you have dropped above, but if a journalist is either mistakenly or maliciously misrepresenting the work of scientists in an important field, does it really matter who corrects them?

            The bigger problem is that the ‘Scientists Wrong After All Blah Blah’ headlines appear in bold on the front pages, and then the corrections are printed in tiny text way in the back somewhere for no-one to see. The editors of these papers, who are obviously pushing a politcal agenda rather than seeking the truth, know this very well, and know they can get away with it.

            And to save you pointing it out, yes – I know the press on the other side of the fence do this too. We are just incredibly badly served by our mainstream media on all sides when it comes to these things I’m afraid.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Tim,

          Further to my comment about Bob Ward, the Times “REPORTS” today the following from one of Mr Ward’s colleagues at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Professor Nilay Shah:

          “Professor Shah, lead author of the report by Imperial College’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change, said: “There’s an interesting parallel with South Africa in the 90s where political capital was being out of HIV denial.Those people must now regret what they did. I suspect that some of the politicians [now arguing against rapid cuts in emissions] will still be around in the mid-2030s and will reflect that they didn’t do enough on climate change.” [...]”

          And a great many politicians may well wish they had not done so much!

          No better than the Mail, I’m afraid.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. A small aside Andrew – at the moment – tea time Tuesday 17th Sept – the demand for electricity is 42.66 gW – wind is supplying 0.91GW – an expensive and questionable antidote to man made Global Warming would you not agree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

      • Bart, I despise the lack of consideration for wildlife when man does as he/she pleases for their own interests, however, shall we do away with roads then if this is your argument?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        • There are two answers:

          1) The birds killed by motorcar tend to be common and rapidly reproducing species. The birds killed by the windmills tend to be the rare and slowly reproducing majestic birds of the sky. Would we build a road through a bird sanctuary or wildlife preserve?

          2) Roads are necessary. Windmills are not.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • Macolm – two can play that game. In the 24 hours to 10pm last night, wind provided 14.3% of UK electricity – an average of around 5GW

      PS I don’t claim that my cherry-picked statistic is any more meaningful than yours…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      • “I don’t claim that my cherry-picked statistic is any more meaningful than yours.”

        It is far less so. The question isn’t whether it can meet demand at the best times. The question is whether it can meet demand which is extant 24/7. The answer is “no”.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

      • It gives me no pleasure Tim (yes it does) to point out that you walked straight into it. Between us we have established the complete uselessness of totally unreliable wind turbines and why no more should be built thus saving the bill paying public £zillions more of debt.
        I particularly picked tea time – dinner time for others – when cookers are switched on and some lighting ( all in a few weeks time) and in our case Central Heating ( it’s an age thing). Where was the wind power when it was needed ? Not there ! There is no point in saying it was there on occasions during the previous 24 hours – it wasn’t there when it was needed. We relied on Nuclear,Gas and Coal Power Stations as always.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  9. The problem is that we still need fossil fuel to build, run and support wind power.
    Wind turbines won’t make a jot of difference even if climate change exists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

    • Of course, the Liberals want to build nuclear power stations, now. Problem is, they’re not really any less expensive than wind. Of course, they do produce an average of 90 percent full power continuously, as opposed to 25 percent for wind.

      Ed Davey has hit on a scheme whereby they can say they’re not subsidising nuclear – tax the rest to the hilt until nuclear and wind become competitive!

      Another Lib Dem U-turn. I bet the grass roots members didn’t expect that one, either.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  10. A double whammy really.

    I’m rather surprised that ths SNP government doesn’t disagree with Westminster and try to save us all from such daft renewables development. Guess it’s all about money and nothing else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  11. I don’t suppose any of you will actually bother to read the IPCC report when it comes out, will you? After all, why bother when the Daily Mail will tell you what it really means.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

    • Good point, Longshanks, too few take the trouble, they just believe what they read or hear in the media – that’s why forums like these separate the wheat from the chaff.

      I read the last IPCC assessment and I hope to read this one, too.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  12. Andrew

    Just curious. Before asking Newsroom to publish this article did you actually take the time to do a little research to see if the story in the Mail (which you have pretty much used as the source for your story) was credible?. It appears not as only a few minutes of googling can highlight a lot which casts doubt over the claims in the story.

    The climate change debate is almost pointless now as both sides of the argument just seem willing to spout claims which support their side of the story and totally ignore evidence to the contrary. The Mail article, and this post on here, are just another example of this. They offer nothing to what is potentially a serious issue (and if it isn’t and the global warming claims do turn out to be incorrect then we should be happy about that) and only continue a tired, unproductive and unhelpful attitude and approach to trying to get to the actual facts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

    • With a name like like “Integrity” I can understand the temptation to sit back and let others make the points and then pass judgement when it’s all dying down.

      At the time of writing the Mail article had been out for a day and I was unaware of any dissent, indeed, if you venture a similar article you’ll discover it takes more than five minutes to publish it and mine only appeared here the next day, Tuesday, due to some technical difficulties with the graph animation at “For Argyll.”

      I have said before in these columns that the Mail isn’t exactly the “Ark of the Covenant” and if you read what I wrote, I said “they(IPCC) REPORTEDLY admit…etc.,..,” so there was a “health warning on the packet”.

      The Mail’s quote being wrong doesn’t negate the point of the discussion, quite the reverse, that’s the point of the discussion – to flush out the falsehoods. You are right that this is an important issue, we need to know the truth and too often we aren’t being told it.

      You will also see that I acknowledged Tim’s “fair point” and that’s the beauty of forums (fora?) like this, large numbers of eyes scouring the internet and best of all, that’s really why the CAGW alarmists are now on the retreat – no internet and the sceptics would have been blown away by the mass media hysteria and political momentum. Viva la internet!

      If the IPCC’s claim that Himalayan Glaciers disappearing by 2035 didn’t destroy the IPCC’s argument then I think mine can survive “reporting” what is said in the Mail.

      Any comments on the rest of my argument?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. ‘ The climate change debate is almost pointless now ‘ ain’t that the truth ! It’s only now pointless because the biased misinformation of the last few years is constantly be questioned and proved wrong. I suggest you now put your efforts into changing natural climate progression by coming up with methods of stopping the next Ice Age – that should keep you busy, and please pay for it yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • Or maybe I should take the Malcolm Kirk attitude to it which, if I recall correctly was along the lines of, ‘let the people in the future worry about it, I am sure they will have thought of abetter solution than we can’.

      And of course, if they haven’t and it is a little too late why should you care as you’ll be dead.

      No thanks. One thing I never want to be is a Malcolm Kirk!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

      • I’m sure my family and friends wouldn’t want you to be Malcolm Kirk either. But I am so impressed that you are taking notes on things I have said in the past which I stand by obviously. It’s absolute arrogance to suggest that you know better now how to deal with future problems than say, my two day old grandson will in 25/50 years time – should he get a reasonable education and turn out as qualified as his parents.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

        • Not for the first time you misrepresent what people have said. At no point have I claimed I know better than someone in the future will.

          What I am saying is that, unlike you, I am not prepared to take the gamble that something might happen in the future which will mean we can sit on our hands now. It is an entirely selfish attitude and one which also ignores the commitment to development in the past which we are lucky to benefit from now.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

          • You talk such nonsense. There are very few days in the past 2 years when I haven’t been working, individually, and with others, to get rid of the terrible ‘albatross round the neck’ debts, that you and your ilk are piling on the next generation with your ridiculous airy fairy renewables projects. So what are doing in any practical way ? – other than constantly criticising others of course – putting toy windmills together ? going round primary schools spouting propaganda on renewables to kids ? I bet you have solar panels – even a turbine at the bottom of the garden to go along with the fairies. I have it ! You are on the receiving end of a community bribe from a local windfarm owner. Please tell us however – if you are not sitting on your hands – exactly what are you doing that allows this high and might attitude to real people, making a real effort. ?

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          • Malcolm – you can reasonable argue against wind power on the basis that it is adding a certain (rather small) amount to present electricity bills – however, you cannot predict what will happen to generation costs from fossil fuels in the future any better than I can.

            So all this sob-story nonsense about how you’re grafting tirelessly away to save future generations from albatross-like debt is based on (presumably) your assumption that fossil fuels will get cheaper over the long term, which seems a little unlikely to me given steadily increasing global demand and the inherent irreplaceability of these fuels.

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  14. I’m with Feynman. The only thing that’s real is what you observe. And the important corollary to that is that whilst the reality is absolute, the observation of it is inevitably the subject of imperfections. That is why scepticism is, or at least used to be, a sine qua non of the competent scientist.

    With the AGW debate, none of us is able to make our own direct observations. Much has to be taken on trust. Not all of it is trustworthy. How, then, do the majority, the non-scientific public, and that includes almost all of our politicians, separate the wheat from the chaff, the facts from the propaganda?

    Of the 23 members of the Scottish Cabinet, only ONE has a science qualification (from Abertay, a degree in “science”, subject unspecified). The rest are the usual mix of economists, lawyers, politics graduates and graduates of cooncil chambers.

    To anyone who has dipped into the lightweight alarmist tweets emanating from Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, it will be no surprise to discover that he describes himself in his ministerial biography as a professional economist specialising in higher and further education markets and blah, blah. Good man for the job? The Minister for Energy is Fergus Ewing who, being of the Ewing clan, is inevitably a lawyer. The Minister for Science, Alasdair Allan, has a PhD in Scots Language and was formerly press officer for the Church of Scotland.

    The UK Cabinet as a whole is no better. And likewise Edward Davey, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, with degrees in the dreaded PPE and economics but who in his previous life, apart from being a bag carrier for the LibDems, seems to have done no more than “consultancy in the postal services sector”.

    Into the category of trashy propaganda, I would put much of what emanates from the excitable Blue Peter world that is today’s BBC. Just a couple of examples: Check Attenborough and track the history of his recent made-up claim of Africa’s “observed” 3.5 degree temperature rise; Check the ongoing scandal which is 28gate. Remember what I said about imperfections in observation, about the need to keep an open mind? The BBC is not longer just reporting on this issue: it is forming opinion as a matter of corporation policy and its partisan performance in doing so is both dangerous and disgraceful.

    The non scientist, and that description indisputably encompasses all our political leaders, cannot fail to be influenced to a significant degree by what is presented as scientific fact by the BBC. Ergo, the BBC influences this, the most costly public policy project of all time. That’s the tip of the iceberg, and that’s just from a quasi-neutral perspective.

    From the BBC, to politicians, to Joe Public, across the board the blind lead the blind. And in this particular land of the blind, there are plenty of one-eyed men who have their peeper firmly fixed on the main chance.

    Be careful out there.

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      • And if you cast your eyes beyond these shores – and observe that wind farming is quite the thing in a huge variety of countries – by extrapolation the whole world’s going bonkers, not just this country.

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          • Professor Chubb’s jaicket is on the shakiest of nails.

            Tony Abbot, the new Australian prime minister has been in office only a day and has already bulleted the mandarins who introduced Gillard’s carbon tax.

            Chubb is on record as saying he is appalled at the quality of the debate on climate change whilst stating, virtually in the same breath, that “deniers” should not be given a platform.

            When he was questioned on his competence to take such a dogmatic position on climate (his expertise being in neuroscience) he said, “I think I can read English.”

            Evidently not where the word “debate” is involved.

            His role is to give “high-level independent advice” to the prime minister, but he is appointed by …?

            His term started with Gillard. No surprise there. I suspect his independent advice will soon prove to be the wrong flavour of independent for his new master.

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    • pm – you have managed in a concise manner to sum up the problem with CAGW – politicians with no scientific background being led by nefarious and deceitful faux scientists and political dogma.

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    • Oh the irony.

      Malcolm posts an article which even the author accepts is based on an article which appears to be ‘spun’ and puts it on the ‘Scotland Against Spin’ page.

      I don’t even need to look there to be confident malcolm didn’t put any caveats on it.

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      • @Integrity,
        My article wasn’t based on the Mail article, it was already written and I had to change it to accommodate the quotes from the Mail, one of which I accept appears to contain an error which if I were the author I would find excrutiatingly embarrassing.

        While we cynically suspect spin we don’t know it was deliberate, it’s hardly as if someone wasn’t going to notice a thing like that.

        Do you have any issues with the bit about the Met Offiice?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        • Sorry Andrew only just noticed this.

          The bit about the Met Office is the Daily Mail’s intepretation of it (unles I am misunderstanding). Isn’t that the bit that has already been exposed as possibly being a very loose, deliberate or otherwise, interpretation of the facts?

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          • The Met Office did indeed have a go at the Mail:

            “The (Mail) article states that the Met Office’s ‘flagship’ model (referring to our Earth System Model known as HadGEM2-ES) is too sensitive to greenhouse gases and therefore overestimates the possible temperature changes we may see by 2100.

            There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. It is indeed the case that HadGEM2-ES is among the most sensitive models used by the IPCC (something the Met Office itself has discussed in a science paper published early this year), but it lies within the accepted range of climate sensitivity highlighted by the IPCC.”

            Nic Lewis, the scientist referred to in the Mail quotes reacted to this with:

            “I would like to comment on the statements:

            “The article states that the Met Office’s ‘flagship’ model (referring to our Earth System Model known as HadGEM2-ES) is too sensitive to greenhouse gases…”

            and (referring to the sensitivity of (the Met Office model) HadGEM2-ES):

            “it lies within the accepted range of climate sensitivity highlighted by the IPCC.”

            Table 1 in Forster et al, 2013 ( Evaluating adjusted forcing and model spread for historical and future scenarios in the CMIP5 generation of climate models. J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/jgrd.50174) gives the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of HadGEM2-ES as 4.59°C. (i.e. of the Met Office model)

            The IPCC stated in its 4th Assessment Report (WG1: Box 10.2): “we conclude that the global mean equilibrium warming for doubling CO2, or ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, is likely to lie in the range 2°C to 4.5°C.”

            It gave no other range for ECS in that report, nor has it as yet changed that range. I therefore fail to understand how the Met Office can claim that HadGEM2-ES lies within the accepted range of climate sensitivity highlighted by the IPCC.”

            The Mail’s howler is embarrassing for them however a tabloid newspaper cannot be compared to the Met Office whom we might reasonably expect to get this right, not least, given their multi-million pound computer system, their Hadley Centre and their much-vaunted “world class expertise”.

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  15. @Arethosemyfeet
    “It’s basic quantum physics” – well you could say that about literally every physical phenomenon under the sun and you’d be correct. Whether we actually understand every physical phenomenon under the sun in a quantum mechanical context is another matter altogether. We don’t.

    What you’re not telling us is what quantum physics has to say about the AGW problem.

    And if it’s really all about quantum physics, why are the chief protagonists of the CAGW camp people like the UEA tree ring counters and, at the head of the IPCC, a railway engineer? If I seem to be denigarating these people, that’s not my intention, although I agree that these facts do seem to be rather absurd: I merely point out that these undeniably important people are patently not from a quantum physics background.

    And as for the reliablity of the numerical models upon which so much importance is being placed, or the lack of reliability thereof, this is crucially important.

    The fundamental facts of the matter, to use your phrase, are that because, and only because, the models were predicting CO2 generated global catastrophe, politicians have committed us to “decarbonising” policies on an epic scale. In the case of the UK, the price tag of our commitment so far is £400 billion, by far our most costly national project of all time. If the models are wrong and it turns out that the predictions have been substantially overestimated, then to continue to pursue such objectives will result in economic ruination.

    When you boil it down, as the computer generated predictions look increasingly to be flawed, the new defence for continuing to go down this policy road goes along the lines of, “Just in case”, or, “‘cos you never know …” And that’s not good enough.

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    • pm – what is the logical endpoint of your argument? Should we simply ditch all climate science and leave our future to the market? Would that be a better version of the ‘blind leading the blind’?

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      • Tim – you used to be able to give reasoned constructive replies – now you just seem to lash out in any direction. A constructive argument about why my post 9.9 above should not mean the end of wind turbines would have been useful. At the end of last year it was estimated that wind farms added about £80 to the average bill – that is way out of date now because of the huge massively expensive subsidised offshore wind farms that have been constructed down south. At the same time it was estimated that if Scotland was Independent it would add about £180 to the average scottish electricity bill as we would have to bear the whole cost of wind farm subsidies and updating the grid ourselves. This to be doubled, even trebled by Mr Salmond and of course those amounts would still have to be added to your normal annual electric bill of about £600 in todays money.
        I don’t mind work, in fact have worked 6/7 days most of my life – thoroughly enjoyed most of it so was not seeking anyone’s sympathy or concern just stating fact in reply to an inference from Integrity. On the matter of fuel costs, I would have thought that as coal is cheap we would continue using it and if we can reduce imports of gas by using our own, once the fracking industry is up and running, then there is not a lot to greatly fear price wise.

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        • Tim’s replies seem very rational to me Malcolm, and your track record doesn’t really entitle you to pronounce on whether the comments of others are reasoned and constructive.

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        • Malcolm – I wasn’t lashing out – I asked a reasonable question of pm, and got a reasonable reply (see below). Meanwhile you have called Robert a ‘pain in the backside’ for asking another reasonable question elsewhere on FA tonight, so maybe it’s you that needs to calm down, dear…

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      • TM,
        I don’t really have an endpoint but if you push me to make one, it’s to take nothing at face value. From any side.

        Science in general has been badly corrupted in recent decades, first by the “publish or perish” mentality which originated in the US and is now a global phenomenon, and add to that the zero-sum game of the chase for “research grant dollars”.

        Lowly probationary academics in fourth division universities are now expected to publish at the same rate as Einstein did: otherwise, you’re out. If you can’t attract research grants, you could lose your job at worst, and at best you’ll never get promoted past the first base.

        That’s what I call incentivised. To stay in employment, publish anything and everything you can get past the scientific journal reviewers. Toe the party line, don’t rock the boat otherwise your prospects of getting government funded research council grants are zilch.

        (Having said that, the primary purpose of peer-reviewed scientific journals is to put plausible findings into the public domain so that they can be questioned and tested. It is NOT, as many lay people believe, to hand down truth in tablets of stone.)

        At research council level, the policies, the “mission statements”, etc., and consequently the types of grant application which get funded, are driven to a very considerable degree by the wants of the political paymasters who are, as I pointed out earlier, scientifically illiterate and have questionable objectives at the best of times.

        Those are general points affecting the whole scientific spectrum. Given incentives such as I’ve described, the independence of academics is thereby badly compromised.

        And as we saw with the global financial crisis, kamikaze banks, sub-prime mortgage backed securites and their spurious derivatives, etc., etc., the incentives drive the behaviour, whether that be reckless, corrupt or otherwise.

        That doesn’t mean that all climate science should be ditched. Far from it. It just means that, in common with all other branches of science, an open but discerning mind is required when using it, especially when even historical data, straightforward and uncontentious as global average temperature figures should be, are subjected to presentational sleight of hand by all sides.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • Tim,
        We need to insist on getting good science which aim won’t be served by people like University of East Anglia “hiding the decline” by cobbling together tree ring proxy data with thermometer mesurements into one continuous trend – why not bring the series right up to date using tree ring data?

        Neither is denying other scientists access to their data and computer programs so that their results may be replicated or not as required by “proper” science helpful.

        We need to ditch all that stuff and listen to the arguments.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • pm, Andrew – I agree entirely on the need for ‘good science’, and accept your point that what we get is unlikely to be all ‘good’, so the question is: what is the scale of this problem with ‘bad science’?

          You both seem to be saying that there is so much corruption and venality within the global scientific community that none of their broadly agreed conclusions and recommendations on climate science can be trusted. I personally doubt that, not least because the scale of conspiracy needed to maintain a false scientific consensus over so many years would seem a little unfeasible.

          I also personally doubt that there is any fatal weakness in the science itself – human-induced global warming is not a new theory, and it has been constantly tweaked, refined, updated and subject to continuous and probing scepticism over several decades, which would by now be reasonably expected to have flushed out any major flaws. Uncertainties remain, but the basic message has not changed much, and I would be surprised if the next IPCC report contains any, er, surprises.

          Clearly whether you believe the ‘alarmists’ or the ‘denialists’, decisions on action or inaction cannot be put off indefinitely while we continue with the debate, because both (respectively, depending upon your point of view) will have significant costs, the most significant of which will only manifest in the very long term.

          If your cynicism about the role of scientists in formulating science itself, never mind policy, is so complete, then what or who would you look to for guidance on long-term decision making?

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          • Tim,

            I used to trust scientists for some reason, possibly, because of people like Newton, Einstein and Richard Feynman.

            Have you read Feynman’s “Cargo Cult Science” address to CalTech students in 1974? If not, do. It’s a “tour de force” and about as far as it’s possible to get from the shenanigans revealed by “Climate-gate” whose ringleaders are still “amang the heid yins”. That will reveal the answer to your question about the scale of the “bad science”.

            Somebody made a point elsewhere about people being “incentivised”. You’re right, of course, it would be impossible to have a great global conspiracy. What we do have however is a large number of smaller groups who all stand to benefit from (pm has touched on this) who have a common incentive – the UN, academic societies, universities, the EU, politicians in general, rent-seekers, right down to students.

            Anyone who has been successful in a large organisation has to be politically aware and – it’s about networking and alliances- above all, be seen to be “with the in-crowd” – “Ooh, don’t rock the boat with that kind of talk, you’re in the fast lane but only as long as you don’t fall off!” runs the career advice.

            I don’t have a problem with that, it’s a fact of life, however it behoves us to be aware of how politics works and of the scale of the political impetus and momentum which has gathered behind the global warming movement – reversing it is like trying to turn a super tanker with a rowing boat.

            I don’t see a “fatal weakness” in the science itself – it’s in its infancy and it will grow and mature – I see weakness in the arguments put over by the global warming fraternity. For example, they discount the possibility of overall negative feedback which would lead to a stable climate system. Why?

            Proponents say “the science is settled” yet not only does that contradict the principles of science, it manifestly isn’t settled e.g. the science relating to the interaction of solar variability, cosmic rays and clouds is advancing rapidly and, for those who are swayed by correlations, a much better correlation exists between solar activity and global temperature than exists for CO2.

            Unless and until we see evidence of a serious problem on the way – and it appears the IPCC is backing off – then Lawson’s and the GWPF’s solution of adapting to problems as humans have always done with ever-greater efficacy seems the most logical approach. The Dutch managed it in the 15th century, why can’t we now?

            Technology and prosperity are the best guarantors of environmental protection, not turning the clock back to poverty.

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          • ” a much better correlation exists between solar activity and global temperature than exists for CO2.”

            Seriously? Where’s your evidence for this?

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          • “Unless and until we see evidence of a serious problem on the way – and it appears the IPCC is backing off…” – I think you’ll find most climate scientists are long since agreed that there is evidence of a serious problem on the way, and the only way you can wriggle out of that is to claim that they are all corrupt! And how do you know the IPCC are backing off? Their report hasn’t come out yet.

            “…Lawson’s and the GWPF’s solution of adapting to problems as humans have always done with ever-greater efficacy seems the most logical approach.” sounds like a windy way of saying – to hell with the scientists, we’ll leave the problem we’re creating to future generations.

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          • Where is the evidence? It isn’t a particularly new idea but is one which has been found “inconvenient” to the CAGW crowd so they tried to ignore it but it’s coming home to roost via Svensmark and Japer Kirkby of CERN. For example:

            ” Friis-Christensen, E., and K. Lassen, “Length of the solar cydle:An indicator of solar activity closely associated with climate”, Science, 254, 698-700, 1991.”

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          • Tim,

            You know I’m not saying “to hell with scientists”, I’m asking to see evidence that there is a serious “problem” for future generations before we impoverish ourselves and them by taking precipitate action.
            What is your basis for saying:

            1. Increasing warmth and carbon dioxide will be damaging?
            2. That it will be so damaging that we must act drastically now to avert catastrophe for future generations?

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          • At the head of an online BBC News report:

            “Human action is now affecting the climate more than the Sun”



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  16. “Of course, however, the 72 per cent of the public who acknowledge the climate is changing are backed overwhelmingly by the scientific evidence” – Natalie Bennett, UK Green Party Leader.

    ” “We are now at the point in the age of global warming hysteria where the IPCC global warming theory has crashed into the hard reality of observations.” – Dr Roy Spencer, U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite (global tropospheric temperature measurement)

    Whose word would you take?

    Anyway, I thought everybody believed the climate is changing, it always has been?

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  17. Andrew – is there liable to be a further Ice Age sometime in the future – if so – should we be trying to stop it now ? It would give the pro Global Warming people something to think about whilst we go through the present little bit of natural climate change.

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  18. About eight years ago, three blokes in California set up their own wee “garage band” investment company. Like me, they had figured that everyone, the banks, regulators, credit rating agencies, governments and punters, had completely lost the plot, that we were in the biggest speculative bubble of all time and that betting against it was a sure thing.

    Unlike me, they figured how to profit from such a certainty. Helpfully, the investment banks and their insurers had invented an instrument which could be used to that very purpose, the Credit Default Swap. Wiki it – it’s a cracker.

    They started out with $100,000 made up of their own savings, 20k from mom, 10k from aunty and so on. When the precipitate collapse came three years later, they were $200 MILLION better off, their profits being doled out, effectively, by the guarantees the US government had to make to prevent total collapse of the monetary system.

    If the IPCC is no better at its job than were the lords of creation of banking, investment and finance, then there will indeed be a day of reckoning. Bank auditors never raised a cheap and, lets not forget, there was a strong academic consensus that all was well with the global economy pre-2007, when all the empirical evidence, never mind common sense, pointed the other way. Believe me, I’ve studied the literature in great detail and a consensus there was. We have invented a “new paradigm”, was the mantra.

    What I want to know is, if there’s a “climate glasnost” just round the corner, how do I get a share of the action this time around?

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  19. Re evidence that a stronger correlation exists between solar activity and global warming, a paper published in the journal of the Italian Astronomical Society provides an exciting new perspective:

    “”Once again about global warming and solar activity” by K. Georgieva, C. Bianchi and B. Kirov

    Abstract. Solar activity, together with human activity, is considered a possible factor forthe global warming observed in the last century. However, in the last decades solar activity has remained more or less constant while surface air temperature has continued to increase,which is interpreted as an evidence that in this period human activity is the main factor for global warming.We show that the index commonly used for quantifying long-term changes in solar activity, the sunspot number, accounts for only one part of solar activity and using this index leads to the underestimation of the role of solar activity in the global warming in the recent decades. A more suitable index is the geomagnetic activity which reflects all solar activity, and it is highly correlated to global temperature variations in the whole period for which we have data.”

    Full paper available in pdf at

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  20. Update re Met Office:

    There’s an interesing article by astrophysicist Dr David Whitehouse, forner Science Editor at BBC News Online, now a member of the GWPF Science Advisory Council, on the global warming “pause” and the Met Office’s feeble attepts to play down or even, “deny” it has happened.

    Recommended reading.

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  21. Update re Met Office climate predictions:

    The Global Warming Policy Foundation has called for an independent review of the Met Office’s climate forecasts since:

    “Nic Lewis, an independent climate scientist (referred to in the above article) has “published research that shows that because of the way the predictions are prepared using the Met Office’s computer climate model, they are bound to predict fairly high warming in the UK whatever observational data are fed into the process.”

    A supporting briefing paper has been prepared by the assiduous climate blogger Andrew Montford which is available in pdf at

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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