Climate Change: The Nail in the Coffin


Multiple century records exist for only a few sites, all cities. Downward adjustment for urban heating not show

It’s over.  Finished.  Dead.  Kaput.  Surely no one who so much as glances at the chart above can give any credence to climate alarmism ever again.  It is the most stunning refutation of global warming hysteria that I have ever seen.  Of course I believe I have a pretty good handle on the facts — I’ve been following the debate for years.  But I’ve never seen the case made so graphically — in both the literal and metaphorical senses of the word.

There are relatively few instrumental temperature records going back two centuries.  This chart pulls together eight of them: one from UK; three from the USA; and four from Europe.  The youngest dates all the way back to 1840; several go back to the mid-18th century, and one, the Central England record (the world’s oldest instrumental temperature record) is mid-17th century.

And what do they show?  A long-term, slight upward trend — the long, slow, cyclical recovery from the Little Ice Age, which is well established and not in dispute.  They show small random variations around the trend line.  And they show absolutely no sign of the “Hockey Stick” effect beloved of Al Gore and James Hansen, which (as we now know from the CRU e-mails)  was only fabricated by cobbling together two unrelated data sets in order (in their own words) to “hide the decline”.

Only the UK record appears to show even a hint of a sharper rise in recent decades, and even this is entirely comparable to the patterns seen in 1700/30, and indeed in 1820/40.

Of course the Warmists will question the quality of the data — after all, what were thermometers like in 1660?  Fair point.  But thermometers were not bad in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and half a degree would not make much difference to the overall picture, which is astonishingly consistent and compelling.  Most importantly, in the last three decades when (we are told) there has been alarming global warming, thermometers have been excellent.  And they just don’t support the orthodox narrative.

There is nothing to worry about.  Nothing to fear.  Nothing that requires any special or anthropogenic explanation.  Above all, nothing to mitigate, and no justification in the world for the ruinously expensive programme that Brussels, and Chris Huhne, are undertaking.  We’ve been sold a pup, but it’s time to put it out of its misery.

Hat-Tip to Nik from New York, who drew my attention to this chart in a comment on an earlier blog item.


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18 Responses to Climate Change: The Nail in the Coffin

  1. Si says:

    Oh dear Roger.

    Temperature readings from 7 cities on the same latitude do not an argument about global temperatures make. Moreover, climate change is not the same as global warming. And if there is no climate change, why is the temperature a wiggly line wot goes up and down?

    And I know you’re a slow reader, but did you not notice all of your graphs show the average temperature line rising to the right?

    That line means the average is rising, Roger. Your graphs disprove your conclusion. Must try harder.

    • Andrew Shakespeare says:

      You’re absolutely right that 7 cities do not an overall picture represent. We don’t have an overall picture today, with large parts of the earth still largely unmonitored. It is necessary to extrapolate what evidence we possess.

      But the most heavily industrialised parts of the world should be relatively representative. They are, after all, the parts of the world that are churning out all this carbon dioxide. If New York City in the nineteenth century doesn’t reflect global warming, where will? Northern Rhodesia? The Dutch East Indies? The Sandwich Islands?

      If you’d read Roger’s comments rather more carefully, yo’d have noticed that he does, indeed, acknowledge that the average temperature is rising. Guess what: 1 degree over a couple of centuries is not something to lose sleep over.

      Climates change — nobody’s denying that. We just don’t believe this quasi-religion that a) temperatures are rising massively (although with increasing qualifications, since nobody in the world actually seems to be noticing any great build up of heat) and b) that, if they were, such rises would be catastrophic.

      Think on this: the average annual temperature in Helsinki is 5 degrees.

      In Athens, it’s 15 degrees.

      In Cairo, it’s 25 degrees.

      Yet all three of these cities support huge populations, despite their massive variations in temperature. Why should I therefore worry if somebody says the earth’s global temperature could rise by 6 degrees?

      It should dramatically improve our food production, at the very least.

    • No Si. It’s Oh Dear You. The orthodox alarmist position is that there has been a sudden and exceptional rise in temperature over the last few decades, which is caused by human activity and emissions. These graphs clearly show that there is no such surge — in eight cities over two continents. The graphs do show short-term variation (which is weather, not climate). They also show a slow, steady recovery from the Little Ice Age — an effect which is not in dispute. I have never denied climate change. But I do dispute whether there is any sudden and alarming change in climate caused by human activity.

      Feel free to apologise.

    • Andrew Shakespeare says:

      Oh, and a little nit-pick, but one that illustrates your inattention to detail — these seven cities are not, as you say, on the same latitude. The most northerly city is Copenhagen; the most southerly, New York.

      You’re apparently unaware that New York is on the same latitude as Madrid, Naples and Istanbul — more than a thousand miles south of Copenhagen!

  2. Sue says:

    The above comment just goes to prove that no matter what scientific evidence you give, they’ll always be some patronising little vegan turd who will see it differently.

    The obnoxious way in which these people speak to us is in itself proof that they are so far up their own backsides that no matter how hot or cold it is, man and cow farts will always be to blame.

    It gives them a sense of superiority to lecture us. They think we’re all as gullible as they are.

    • alexei says:


      Though sharing the sceptical view as to the actual cause of climate change (and having qualified as an “environmental scientist” myself many moons ago), I happen to also be a longtime vegetarian.

      It does not help ANY cause if, instead of evidence or arguments, people throw ad hominems into the debate. What exactly do YOU consider to be so infinitely “superior” about meat-eating, a practice that requires the rearing for slaughter of billions of animals per year, not to mention their 3x space requirements as compared to crops? With the world doubling its population every 30 years and cultivable soil running out, it’s pretty clear the “meat business” faces a problem.

      • Sue says:

        I was a vegetarian for 12 years and when I had children I decided that they needed a well balanced diet in order to develop properly.

        We are animals and I think that meat is quite an important part of a healthy diet.

        I just can’t help myself. If the “gentleman/lady” had been polite and had given a well argued comment on Roger’s post, I wouldn’t have got all high and mighty.

        Unfortunately, it brings out the worst in me :)

  3. Ross J Warren says:

    The post Sue is displeased by is quite mild really, although discribing Roger as a slow reader is compleatly unjustified.

    I have been told numerous times by so say scientists that I don’t understand the issue and should stay out of things I do not understand. Of course its pointless quoting ones qualifications.

    There is a rise in temperature of around 1 degree a century, which has been going on since the end of the mini-ice age. Rogers graph simply prove that is the case.

  4. David W says:


    It’s all about what the meaning of the word “is” is, eh? One day it’s “global warming”, and when it gets totally debunked the new word is “climate change”; and when the decline is hidden the new word is “global climate disruption”. Yada yada yada.

    All the illustrated metropolitan regions have sprawl, but to varying degrees. And the widely appreciated heat island effect has some to do with the rise in temperature for each one. Indeed, there is no indelible CO2 effect on climate except when the oceans respond to the sun’s heat and proximity to this earth.

    The global warming/climate change/global climate disruption has been over-exposed, millions to billions of people with good sense are finally tired of hearing of the crap, and it’s time to move on to another crisis structure. What’s it gonna be; global toadstool infestation? Pandemic pre-madonna syndrome?

  5. G Robin Edwards says:

    As a dedicated student of climate affairs for the past 16 years, and in particular of climate time series I feel I might have something to offer this debate. I do not know how many of you examine the monthly CET numerical data (NOT the their graphics, which as some of you have noted do not necessarily illuminate the situation) published on an ongoing monthly basis by the Met office (a department of the Ministry of Defence, I understand). If you do not, it is really worth doing (presupposing that you are truly interested in actual observations of climate/weather at specific locations). If you would like to see some comprehensive analyses of CET (Central England Temperatures) I’d be very happy to provide some that will give an insight into what has really happened over the last 350 years. No data fudging – which appears to be a speciality of government funded climate scientists, no data smoothing – which is a method employed by many analysts in an attempt to “simplify” naturally noisy data, frequently done so that they become acceptable by journalists and politicians. I work with /all/ the data, but use methods of presenting them so that the major conclusions become virtually self-evident. You will almost certainly find the outcome rather surprising.
    Roger, if you’d care to email me I’ll send you details and some typical graphical output that shows what one can discover about past climates, ocean indices, precipitation data and so on using transparent methods that anyone with some facility for driving spreadsheets can reproduce.


  6. Si Hope says:

    I don’t see that I have anything to apologise for. Your article was wilfully disingenuous. More than anything I criticise the mischaracterisation of what climate science says, and what people interested in the field “believe”.

    Firstly, upscaling climate data from 8 cities is not only statistically invalid for determining global mean temperatures , it does not support your conclusion that global temperature rise is “nothing to worry about” and there is “nothing to mitigate”.

    The basis of that assertion is in the final graph, where you gaze into your crystal ball and claim that the rise shown is analogous to the rise from 1690. I admire your conviction, but a more honest, and indeed scientific, approach might be to acknowledge that you can’t see into the future.

    Whether you believe that climate change is “man-made” or not doesn’t matter- the Earth’s climate has always changed, and has generally presaged large-scale extinction and misery for our forebears, such as during the Little Ice Age which was a change of, what, 1 or 2 degrees? I would very much like to mitigate the destruction of our food crops, or the premature disintegration of our infrastructure. Our economy hasn’t historically allowed us to change fast enough to adapt to natural fluctuations in climate without disaster.

    Climatologists seem to be flagging up a risk that human activity is making a natural cycle more acute- if a bath tub is filling with water, surely dumping more water into it isn’t helpful? To dismiss this is alarmist is irresponsible to say the least, but this truly is the point where reasoned debate flies out the window.

    What is a “warmist”? What is an “Orthodox alarmist?” You attribute to people raising a perfectly reasonable concern a basket of beliefs they do not possess and falsely associate any concern about climate change with Al Gore. Then criticise them for it. It’s a cheap, bullying oratorical trick and you have nothing to refute what scientific consensus claims which, actually, you agree with. The difference is in the response. You’re the one who brought up the “hockey stick”, and countered it with your unreferenced graph.

    That’s what I see you as. Al Gore from the other side, blithely blaming an angry Sun God for the crop failure but, bizarrely for someone charged with protecting our interests, gambling that there’s nothing to be done. Meanwhile, the majority of climate science rumbles on with all of its uncertainties and genuine concerns, while oil keeps getting more expensive and cities clog with traffic fumes. What on Earth is wrong with diversifying our energy supply?

    Watching Brian Cox on TV doesn’t mean you understand quantum physics, and observing climate science from afar doesn’t make you an expert either. For goodness sake, take your responsibilities seriously.

    • Andrew Shakespeare says:

      the Little Ice Age which was a change of, what, 1 or 2 degrees? I would very much like to mitigate the destruction of our food crops, or the premature disintegration of our infrastructure.

      Well, look, I’m not a climatologist (although I am a Master of Science), but even I can look at average annual temperatures for varying cities. And when they harvest crops equally as well in Helsinki (average annual temperature, 5 degrees) as they do in Cairo (average annual temperature, 25 degrees), I really doubt a change of a couple of degrees is going to be anything like as calamitous as you make out.

      For that matter, nothing is ever without its benefits. As the old proverb has it, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” I wonder if you could explain to us all the benefits of climate change?

      For example, some parts of Greenland are now able to grow potatoes commercially, for the first time ever. What other benefits are there?

      But something tells me you’re going to simply ignore this post, aren’t you? As you did my previous one. The tempting conclusion is that you don’t have a response, so you just ignore it. But while you pretend to this respect for science, and even use an element of scientific-sounding language in an effort to make yourself seem more credible, cherry-picking evidence is not a scientific approach.

      I’ll grant you that we realists tens to do the same, but that’s the privilege of sceptics. The burden of proof is upon you, so you don’t have that luxury.

      It is, however, the modus operandi of the climate change lobby — opportunisticaly claim that every disaster must be a consequence of climate change (did you see that post a couple of weeks ago attributing the Japanese earthquake to climate change?), and just ignore all the evidence that they’re talking @rse. Like, for example, that the earth’s average temperature has fallen every year since 1998.

      Oh yes, “global warming isn’t the same as climate change” isn’t it? Except that it is. It’s exactly what they called they called the same phenomenon until it all started looking a bit silly. Now, even “climate change” is looking a dubious description, so we have “climate disruption” instead. How far can we be from the time when a hurricane strikes the Carribean, and is attributed to “global climate disruption”?

      • Si Hope says:

        Hmm. Where to start.

        I don’t think I cherry-picked anything. Please correct if I’m wrong about that.

        I think I ignored your last post because I was busy, and if I were to reply I would simply ask you to research historical average temperatures relative to its impacts on the planet and I’m sure you’ll see that, yeah, a 5 degree rise is pretty significant. The biggest ever fluctuations were about 9 degrees and they had extinction-level impacts.

        Now that is not to say that this it would be an extinction-level impact, and it leaves aside for the time being the debate over man’s contribution to it. It simply states, at this point, that there seems to be a rise in historical global temperatures since the Little Ice Age. Nobody here disagrees with that, hence we all believe in a trend of global warming.

        Next is the distinction between global warming and climate change. The two are not the same, since climate change is about regional variations and global warming is about average temperatures. We would expect to see Russia get hot, for instance, which is why they’re in no hurry to mitigate change. The UK, by contrast would get very cold. Labrokes would stop taking bets on a white Christmas. None of this is controversial- it’s the expected outcome we can all agree on and we can all see it happening.

        However this change is likely to outstrip our economy’s ability to adapt to it, and adaptation to climate change by governments takes the form of fuel levies, grants for alternative energy sources, emissions legislation, home insulation and bolstering of infrastructure such as roads, rails and flood defences. Of these, only fuel levies don’t have other rationale recommending them, such as cheaper energy bills, energy security, cleaner air in cities and not being balls-deep in flood water. If the revenue from fuel levies is used to build a hospital even that starts to look OK, but I’d argue that there are fairer taxes since everyone uses petrol regardless of income.

        A sceptic, as you call yourself, would maintain that all knowledge is uncertain, including knowledge that there is no climate change, and therefore is a “don’t know”, not a climate change denier. You’re more of a cynic, but not in the classical Greek sense- more the modern definition, where you have actively decided that one thing is true and another isn’t. The addition of the idea that there is a worldwide conspiracy of climatologists acting in their own self interest nudges you well into this camp.

        I happen to find this to be a rather swivel-eyed worldview, since it’s hard enough to keep a birthday party secret, let alone collude in a worldwide conspiracy. That governments are also part of this “conspiracy” is particularly far-fetched. The Chinese seem to believe in it too, and it’s not like they need an excuse to levy further charges upon their populace. Their resistance to worldwide legislation on the topic is founded on their (perfectly reasonable) perspective that carbon emissions per capita in China are 2 tonnes, whereas they’re 10 tonnes in the UK, and closer to 20 in the US. What puts a UK citizen above a Chinese citizen? By country they have the highest emissions, but then they house 1/5th of the world’s population in a relatively energy-efficient manner.

        I agree that some organisations talk @rse about climate change creating earthquakes etc, but then I contend that equal and opposite @rse is being generated by the likes of Roger here and neither are correct.

        I think there will be benefits to global warming, but not to the UK, and not for countries too poor to adapt to the rapidity of change being observed. We know that there are current affects upon glaciers, monsoons, deserts. Greenland might well benefit, but then their population wasn’t starving to death for want of potatoes, whereas farmers in parts of the third world would feel the sharp end of change more acutely.

        So I suppose my position is that climate science is nuanced, we agree that changes are happening, we don’t know how far they’ll go because we’re not psychic but the direction of travel’s been pretty resolute for hundreds of years and the vast, vast majority of climate scientists seem to think that we’re exacerbating this change at a rate that will outstrip our ability to effectively manage it. Meanwhile there are perfectly good secondary reasons for following the path they recommend.

        I do think there are flaky scientists who use spurious methods to obtain screamin’ headlines in the Daily Mail, but it would be foolish to tar them all with the same brush on the basis of a minority.

        On your point about global temperatures falling since 1998- it ain’t necessarily so. That comes from the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, which excludes warming in the Arctic because there are no permanent data collection centres there. It is also based only on surface temperatures, so it reflects only what’s happening to the very thin layer where air meets the land and sea. The stratosphere is also cooling, but that is thought to be because the greenhouse effect happens beneath it- it’s what we’d expect to see.

        The claim that the planet has continued to warm comes from the oceans. It takes more than 1000 times as much energy to heat a cubic metre of water by 1 degree C as it does the same volume of air, and they have been getting hotter. Most of the year-to-year variability in surface temperatures is due to heat sloshing back and forth between the oceans and atmosphere, rather than to the planet as a whole gaining or losing heat. The 1998 El Nino, for example, the winds weaken and the hot water spreads out across the Pacific in a shallow layer, which increases heat transfer to the atmosphere. La Nina in the same year had the opposite effect. When you combine land and sea measurements, there has been a warming effect- you have to cherry-pick one aspect to get the cooling.

        As a scientist you must know that uncertainty is the essential element of the craic. We’re a strangely Kantian bunch, which leaves the door open for sophists to paint us as frauds, when in fact all we’re saying is “this appears to be the case, here’s the evidence”.

        When we qualify our statements, we start to look oily and uncertain, when in fact there’s a probability attached to our pronouncements. Here’s a scientific statement: You probably won’t win the lottery today. But there’s a chance you will. We can’t responsibly build national policy on the latter, but we can on the former.

        You also cannot articulate this post in a 10-second soundbite on the telly.

        My final point is that we’re all entitled to an opinion, no matter how doolally, but where we’ve elected someone to be our temporary ruler they have an obligation to rise above this sort of jingoism and act in a way that protects the interests of the population, because it’s us who’ll be paying for late mitigation measures long after Dr Helmer’s pushing up the eco-friendly daisies if he proves not to be as clever as he thinks he is.

      • Si: You say “at this point, there seems to be a rise in historical global temperatures since the Little Ice Age. Nobody here disagrees with that, hence we all believe in a trend of global warming”. I’d rather say I believe that climate tends to be cyclical, and we’re on the up-swing of the cycle. The biggest mistake in science, business and politics is to believe that a recent trend will continue indefinitely.

      • Si Hope says:

        My mistake Roger- I should said the “current trend”. I’m not sure it undermines my wider point however. Particularly the interval estimate required to judge the best policy response.

    • Interesting point, Si. But there’s no point buying insurance if the premium outweighs the risk. I recommend Lord Lawson’s book “An Appeal to Reason” for an excellent economic analysis on why “wait-and-see” plus adaptation is a better policy response than mitigation.

  7. Yet another excellent post, thankyou, Roger! The “climate alarmists” will almost inevitably continue with their fanatical quest, to frighten and coerce people into changing how they want to live. This is also morally wrong, in addition to the huge sums of money which are wasted on “climate change” propoganda, flawed research into this ideology and economic damage which these policies inevitably bring.

  8. Wilson Boardman says:

    I love these debates:
    On the one side the alarmists – desperate to provoke fear and improve their careers and research funding by continually pointing to an unpredictable climatic future based on the notoriously unreliable ability of computers to model climate.
    On the other side the sceptics – Unable to see anything that is happening, or has happened, as being outside the expected variation in climate which has actually been observed and measured historically, and increasingly resentful of the squandering of our meagre current resources on trying to ameliorate the unreliably predicted, but potentially damaging future climate change.

    I keep looking for any account of the benefits we’ll get from the enhanced CO2 levels, but can find nothing published, can anyone help me there?

    As a plant nutritionist it is abundantly clear to me that crop yields around the world are going to be boosted by any increase in average temperature and the elevated CO2 levels, but by how much? What increase in food production can we expect from the land now able to grow food that was unable to do so 20 years ago, and against that; what extension of desert regions can we expect and will that impact food production?

    Keep the debate going chaps, tone down the abuse and lets see what happens.

    I do have to say that amongst those I meet with a science-based education, scepticism is mounting and in my personal (but limited) experience seem to form the majority. This would definitely not have been true even five years ago.

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