What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 14, 2009

More On Scaife's Brain Trust

They just can't help themselves.

Take a look at today's "Midweek Briefing." Here is the middle "brief":
As the BBC's climate correspondent Paul Hudson reminds, global temperatures have not increased over the past 11 years. And he says that solar scientist Piers Corbyn is preparing to report to the international scientific community this month that solar activity is almost entirely responsible for temperature variations. Concludes Mr. Hudson: "One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over.
Before we look at Hudson's reporting, let's just have a look at how Nature.com sees the BBC report:
The BBC quotes Piers Corbyn from weather forecasting company Weatheraction and Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University. Both cast doubt on the widely held consensus view that human activity is driving changes in climate.

Corbyn and Easterbrook are both global warming deniers / sceptics and both have been publicising their doubts for some time (see the references on their Wikipedia entries for more). Without commenting on the merits of their arguments, it is clear that it is slightly disingenuous to use the views of these two men to claim as the BBC does that “It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.”

And a little later:
To summarise then: two scientists who have previously said they didn’t believe in global warming still don’t believe in global warming.
That's the story. That's the entire story here.

And that part about how temperatures haven't increased in 11 years? Take a look:
This discussion focuses on just a short time period – starting 1998 or later – covering at most 11 years. Even under conditions of anthropogenic global warming (which would contribute a temperature rise of about 0.2 ºC over this period) a flat period or even cooling trend over such a short time span is nothing special and has happened repeatedly before (see 1987-1996). That simply is due to the fact that short-term natural variability has a similar magnitude (i.e. ~0.2 ºC) and can thus compensate for the anthropogenic effects. Of course, the warming trend keeps going up whilst natural variability just oscillates irregularly up and down, so over longer periods the warming trend wins and natural variability cancels out.
They have artwork:
See how that works? Taken over a long period of time, the trend is clear. Taken over shorter periods it's easier to smudge the data.

Don't believe me? Right now it's cooler in my living room than it ever was this summer: THAT PROVES GLOBAL WARMING IS OVER.

It does, doesn't it?


EdHeath said...

As Elton John said: "all the science, I don't understand".

Looking around realclimate.org, there are discussions of what the significance of how much free floating icebergs there are, or tree records, and somehow linked that the hockey stick projection is all wrong. And of course you hear people say that tempature has been dropping in the last few years, and man made global warming is in fact a hoax.

But I can't believe people are trying to deny the records of the last 150 years, how the temperature has been increasing the rate of increase has been increasing. We need to consider the possibility, if not probability that we care causing warming. Then there are the other negative effects of burning coal and oil, which we would live better with at least lower levels of (burning). There are problems associated with importing the amount of oil we do, and who we import from. And finally the issue that we will, at some point, run out of oil, first, and coal there after. And before we do, the price of gas and electricity will get much higher.

Now, of course, the free market will encourage the introduction of alternative sources of fuel, except that the market isn't that free, and influential oil and energy companies will protect their higher and higher profits as best they can. Was, for example, GM's EV1 a viable vehicle? It was very expensive to make, and would have never appeared if California had not forced it. But once it was out there, new generations were developed and I am pretty convinced that GM would have found a way to make it at an affordable cost, except GM weaseled out of having to make it at all.

We were making cars that got 45 MPG on the highway in the early eighties. If we had maintained the increases in the CAFÉ standards that Congress had intended, we would cars like Europe does now, and gas would probably cost a buck fifty. We have the opportunity with Cap and Trade to head off global warming that we very likely caused. And even if it turns out were wrong about global warming, we will conserve resources and reduce pollution further, hardly bad results.

Joshua said...

I think the perfect analogy to climate-change skeptics is the case of the early Philadelphia Phillies. That team wasn't bad, it was historically bad. Phillies teams from 1918 to 1931 finished below .500, but for one brief glimpse, the team finished above .500 in 1932. Then the Phillies sunk back below .500 for the next 16 seasons. The climate-change skeptics would seize upon that 1932 winning season and say, "See? Things are looking brighter!" Or the person who seizes upon a flash flood in the middle of a bad drought remarking that because of the flash flood, the drought is over and goes back to profligate use of water, damn the evidence of more drought to come.

EdHeath said...

Oi, looking back I made lots of typos and had some mis-spellings, like "care causing warming" when I meant "are causing warming". I hope my comment is somewhat intelligible.

Picking up on Joshua’s comment, perhaps we are like Philadelphia in 1932. Sure, our team has had a losing record for the last thirteen years, but now for one year we have a winning record. So, yes, there is reason to hope. But would you bet on a winning record in 1933, based on one year? I don’t think so.