The BBC’s obsession with Anthropogenic Global Warming

Last Thursday, Nov 19th, I got back to Birmingham Airport in time to hear the BBC’s “Material World” programme on Radio 4 as I drove home.  Yet again, they were banging on about Climate Change, this time because a group of scientists has insisted that we are “at the top end of IPCC estimates”, and that global temperatures “could increase by 6 degrees”.  Of course the alarmists are ramping up the rhetoric in the hope of scaring us to death ahead of Copenhagen in December.  The truth is that global temperatures are below the low end of IPCC predictions, and the alarmists are terrified of the truth getting out.  See James Delingpole’s excellent exposé of the shenanigans being practiced at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) to keep the Great Carbon Myth alive, at http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100017393/climategate-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-anthropogenic-global-warming/
 
They had a scientist called Louise Sime in the programme.  She had just undertaken research on ice cores in the Arctic, showing that during the Eemian Interglacial around 125,000 years ago, temperatures had been relatively high, and atmospheric CO2 levels had also been high.  Of course there is nothing new there.  We have had for some time the temperature and CO2 level records from the Vostok and other ice cores covering over half a million years, and they do indeed show a close correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2.  And it is worth recalling that temperatures in that last Interglacial were higher than this time round, yet the polar bears survived, there was no runaway global warming, no tipping point, no disaster — at least until the end of the Interglacial, when the ice came back again.
 
The whole debate on the programme simply assumed that this was further evidence that CO2 causes climate change.  But hang on a minute.  There was no industry, no oil, no coal mining, no 4x4s.  So where did this elevated CO2 level come from?  It is of course just possible that a super-volcano eruption could have caused elevated CO2 levels 125,000 years ago, but I am not aware of any such event.  We know that Interglacials have occurred around every 120,000 years for over two million years, and just about everyone agrees that that regular periodicity can only be the result of astronomical cycles.
 
If you have two variables A and B, like temperature and CO2, that show a correlation, there are four possible conclusions:
 
1  A causes B.
 
2  B causes A.
 
3  Both A and B are caused by some third factor C (like the correlation between the number of murders and the number of Methodist Ministers in the USA over many decades — presumably both driven by rising population).
 
4  Or the correlation is purely coincidental.
 
In this case the correlation is too close, over too long a period, for coincidence.  And there is no very obvious “C” in this case.  So either temperature drives CO2, or CO2 drives temperature.  Which is it?
 
In fact if you look at the graphs of CO2 and temperature in high resolution, it becomes clear that the changes in temperature precede the changes in CO2 by around 800 or 1000 years.  This is conclusive proof that temperature drives CO2, not vice versa.  And it explains the elevated atmospheric CO2 discovered by Ms. Sime in the Arctic.  Why should temperature drive CO2?  Because there is a great deal more CO2 in the oceans than in the atmosphere, and warmer water can dissolve less CO2.  So rising temperatures cause the upper levels of the ocean to release CO2 into the atmosphere.
 
The whole global warming scare is driven by the wrong interpretation of this correlation.  Al Gore and the BBC jump to the conclusion that CO2 causes warming, without stopping to consider the obvious alternative.  And they threaten to bankrupt Western economies on the altar of their blind faith in the Great Carbon Myth.

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31 Responses to The BBC’s obsession with Anthropogenic Global Warming

  1. Tony says:

    Can you not refer to the scandal of the leaked data next time you stand up and speak as an MEP or in fact any platform be it TV, radio or the press. This scandal is in danger of dying a death with only those who follow AGW on the net the only ones in the know. This could be the scandal of the age. Get the word out at every opportunity Roger.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Philip Burrows says:

      Appears that Roger Helmer made up the following line, as he doesn’t appear to be able to reference it. Do you regularly make things up Roger or are you going to prove me wrong and provide that reference?

      “The truth is that global temperatures are below the low end of IPCC predictions, and the alarmists are terrified of the truth getting out.”

  2. Philip Burrows says:

    Please can you reference this to the source that you got it from?

    “The truth is that global temperatures are below the low end of IPCC predictions, and the alarmists are terrified of the truth getting out.”

    In regards to the email hack.

    A) It wasn’t the Hadley centre, it was the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

    B) Can you point me to the allegations you are most concerned with so I can put them back into context. James Delingpole used stolen information and manipulated it to his own ideology. I am sure you will agree that this is a deplorable act.

    The CO2 lag is in no way inconsistent with climate science. Actually the lag was predicted by Lorius et al (including Hansen) before it was discovered. http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/1990/Lorius_etal.html

    If you take time to understood the science you would realize that one thing that we would have had trouble explaining is if there was no lag … the Deniers have it totally backwards.

    The report I referenced is more clearly explained in this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJeqgG3Tl8

    If you would like more peer reviewed papers regarding this subject then I would be only to happy to provide them.

    • Philip Burrows says:

      Apologies for the grammatical errors. What I meant to say was:

      If you take time to understand the science then you would realise that we would have more trouble explaining global warming if there was no lag.

  3. Emil says:

    it gets funnier and funnier : http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/22/bishop-hills-compendium-of-cru-email-issues/

    a compendium of the most fascinating emails in that archive

    In my country, that would provoke an investigation … and we’re the “most corrupt etc.” …

    • Philip Burrows says:

      I would prefer my scientists to be accurate rather than nice. It seems like you would prefer them to submit to your ideology.

  4. tty says:

    A minor correction, interglacials have occurred every 100,000 years for the last 800,000 years, beforet that they happened every 40,000 years. Why did it change? Nobody knows, apparently not even the IPCC.

    • Philip Burrows says:

      Please quote your sources.
      I believe a lot of this can be explained by the Milankovitch Cycle, but I am not clear about what you are talking about until you reveal your source.

    • Philip Burrows says:

      P.S. The Milankovitch Cycle takes Millenia to switch, how can this explain the change in global warming over the last 50 years.

      This decade has been the warmest on record, and every year this century has been warmer than the last (excluding the 1998 El Nino induced anomoly). Source http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/

  5. Richard J says:

    I would venture to say that an explosive venting occurred last week, and the ashfall is about to encircle the globe

    • Philip Burrows says:

      Notice Tim Ball was the former head of the Friends of Science, who refuse to release who they are being funded by.

  6. Dan says:

    If you look back further in time, you see even less correlation between CO2 and temperature. See:

    http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-08-18/dioxide.htm

    CO2 was as much as 11 times higher than today….. long before there were people to affect the weather.

  7. Roger Helmer says:

    Several people have commented on the use of “stolen material”, and become very heated and self-righteous over it. Yet there is a fine and respected tradition in public life of whistle-blowing. The behaviour of these CRU scientists was reprehensible and dishonest at best, possibly in some repects criminal. And they were doing it on public money. In these circumstances, releasing the evidence was a public service and entirely commendable, and it is entirely proper for journalists and other sceptics to present the findings to the widest possible audience.

    • Philip Burrows says:

      I notice you still haven’t referenced your sources.

      • Philip Burrows says:

        Several comments have been made on this page as an article of fact. Without references to credible sources, they cannot be verified, please could you tell me the source of the following:

        “The truth is that global temperatures are below the low end of IPCC predictions, and the alarmists are terrified of the truth getting out.”

  8. Sceptic says:

    Oh dear Philip….. Could you tell me why you think climate change is man made if climates on other planets change also – and increase in temps with no humans there.

    • Philip Burrows says:

      Changes in surface temperatures on other planets can be explained by solar variations including sunspot cycles, orbital shape (eccentricity), axial tilt, axial precision, apsidal precision and orbital inclination.
      This changes the number of watts per square meter that hit our planet and other planets surfaces, but sadly, they cannot explain global warming on their own.
      Try reading Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, Third Edition by John Houghton.
      What do you think is causing global warming?

      • Philip Burrows says:

        P.S. Do you think that Roger can’t reference the point in the article above? I am not sure, but I am waiting to see if it comes from science or if it is made up.

      • Philip Burrows says:

        I am beginning to think that he can’t reference it, because he has made it up.

  9. Sceptic says:

    I thought the trend towards warming actually hasnt happened so much over the last decade! D’oh.. And all those dodgy stats being falsified – naughty climate change proponents – Of course if you do believe its down to humans the simplest solution is population control – are you advocating that?

  10. Philip Burrows says:

    Statisticians reject global cooling

    An analysis of global temperatures by independent statisticians shows the Earth is still warming and not cooling as some global warming skeptics are claiming.

    The analysis was conducted at the request of The Associated Press to investigate the legitimacy of talk of a cooling trend that has been spreading on the Internet, fueled by some news reports, a new book and temperatures that have been cooler in a few recent years.

    In short, it is not true, according to the statisticians who contributed to the AP analysis.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33482750/ns/us_news-environment

    Population

    I don’t advocate population control for two reasons:

    1) It doesn’t work. China undemocratically imposed its one child policy upon its people. During this era their carbon emissions increased to the point where China is now the worlds biggest single emitter.

    2) Not only is a one child policy ruthlessly authoritarian and widely despised, but it is also morally bankrupt.

    A much more sensible policy is to tackle market failures using the polluter pays principle outlined in Pigouvian economics.

    I think free access to family planning could help to address other problems though e.g. Aids, unwanted pregnancies etc.

    • Grant Perkins says:

      Philip,

      The scientists most central to the IPCC pronouncements – and indeed most well known perhaps to the public, seem to think that few if any people outside their specialist interest area, even with related knowledge, are capable of doing any statistical analysis of their work because they won’t understand all the nuances of the various scientific disciplines that are bolted together to give us the number presented through the media.

      They also have no time to prepare any information required to verify the results.

      So, on that basis exactly who were these independent statisticians and how did they satisfy themselves that the results are ‘correct’ in the way that you might wish the public at large to understand them to be correct? Oh, don’t tell me, it was a ‘blind’ analysis right? So they would not need to know anything about the underlying science and of course would not recognise any climate data under any circumstances.

      And since when has the AP qualified as a bona fide scientific organisation? Or was this a Seth Borenstein activity dressed up as an AP investigation to give it more apparent independence?

      So, let’s see. The result is that one non-peer reviewed (not a major deal for me but seems to be for others) media article all alone kills off any discussion of global cooling (who was worried about that since the mid 1970s?) and also established that any trends using less than 10 years (or more?) of data are not to be considered. And this was a blind test of unidentified data? Anyone told the stock market analysts that have to work with trends longer than 10 years?

      If and when someone works out, scientifically and demonstrably, what the optimum CO2 level and Temperature should be for this planet that will give us all a target. Until that time we have nothing to work with – except, of course, the tax take.

      • Philip Burrows says:

        Thanks Grant, I think you make some really good points, so I will go through them one at a time.

        1.) I believe one of the statisticians was John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina. He is quoted as saying in regards to global cooling “If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,”

        2.) The AP sent expert statisticians NOAA’s year-to-year ground temperature changes over 130 years and the 30 years of satellite-measured temperatures preferred by skeptics and gathered by scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

        Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past 10 years in either data set. The ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in data as far back as 1880.

        Saying there is a downward trend since 1998 is not scientifically legitimate, said David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor and one of those analyzing the numbers.

        3.) The associated press approach was an interesting look from another perspective. You are correct that it is not a scientific institution, but:

        4.) If you are after peer reviewed papers, there are hundreds in the IPCCs bibliography.

        5.) I don’t think one article from the AP kills off talk of global cooling, but I think this paper does: http://www.agu.org/journals/pip/jd/2009JD012442-pip.pdf

        and Swanson, K.L. and A.A. Tsonis, 2009: Has the climate recently shifted? Geophysical Research Letters, 36, doi:10.1029/2008GL037022.

        Alternatively, if you don’t like reading science papers, watch this:

        6.) I think you are right that we do need to work out the optimum point at which we should stop temperatures from rising. The UNFCCC has a target of constraining global warming to a 2 degrees celsius rise.

    • Grant Perkins says:

      Philip,

      Population control.

      Your point one.

      Are you serious? Do you not see a few flaws in your logic?

      Your Point two.

      I’m no fan of population control but green logic seems to want things every way. Developed nations tend to have balancing birth and death rates and stable population except for emigration and immigration numbers.

      Undeveloped nations do not have such a regular picture to present. Plus life spans have been historically short and infant mortality rates historically high in those parts of the world.

      Given the rapid population expansion through internal birth rate growth in many of the less developed countries (assuming that the number are not simply evolving counting methods ….) one can only assume that either a miracle has occurred or something has been added to the their health and safety systems, no matter how rudimentary.

      Based on your earlier statement about China it is clear that ‘polluter pays’ policy would have them paying for real pollution (not aerial fertilisation) and the other countries with rapidly growing populations and associated energy demands would not be far behind.

      This would obviously be something of a financial burden for them. Perhaps the developed countries could assist by offering their expensively developed technologies at a discounted rate? This would be better than handing over cash. At least one would know that there was some potential for value for money.

      It is noteworthy that by not restricting birth rates or even contemplating it certain countries (whose fundamental aims and ambitions may not align with, say, ours) seem to be growing by far the fastest. This is entirely opposite the objectives for either energy management or population control. More over it seems that certain very deprived countries, those in Northern East Africa come to mind, seem able to grow their populations despite their best attempts to starve themselves and kill each other in large numbers. Quite remarkable.

      Why has population growth stopped in most western countries? Birth control? Maybe, except that there seem to be parts of societies, certainly in the UK, where having more kids means more cash. In other parts of the world it might have meant greater chance of survival of enough to help with farming, defence of the tribe and so on. Altering that perceived need might have a greater chance of success than attempts to educate about something that is anathema to them. Give them relative wealth and an SUV and show them that they don’t need to breed heavily and that having a smaller family allows them to do more than just survive and you might just have some success and quickly. After all, such messages about what you can have works fine as soon as they arrive in this country as refugees so why would it not work back home?
      You present fine sound bites Philip but put them together and sum seems to be less than the parts.

      A final thought.

      Personal carbon allowances, should they be adopted as part of a ‘polluter pays’ scenario, would be a great reason for having a large family, especially in any location where the energy cost for survival overheads – heat, maybe a little light, and hot food when the weather is cold – are high. Interestingly it would be an inverted poll tax.

      Carbon allocation by family might however, have a more universally successful result since many people may be less inclined to share their allocation. Still, not great moral position really, using people’s personal greed to control world population.

      In any case the Optimum Population Trust – the East Midlands connection being David Attenborough at the very least, suggests that population must be reduced by, from memory, 2/3rds in the next 50 years. (Or was it 100 years?) If we go with 50 years – selling the benefits of birth control – is just not going to hit the targets.

      So, look around your family Philip. 2 out of 3 gotta go. Who are the weakest links?

      • Philip Burrows says:

        Your point one.
        Are you serious? Do you not see a few flaws in your logic?

        I think you are probably going to reply with: Emissions would have been even higher, if it wasn’t for the one child policy. This would beg the question of allowing poor countries that emit little being allowed to develop their economies to the point that they enjoy the same lifestyles that we do in the west. This is addressed at COP15 by Technology and Technology Transfer to developing nations, allowing them develop sustainably.

        My point is this: Sustainable development through low carbon technologies takes precedent over population size.

        Your Point two.
        I’m no fan of population control but green logic seems to want
        things every way. Developed nations tend to have balancing birth and
        death rates and stable population except for emigration and immigration
        numbers.

        Developing countries need to be given the opportunity to develop their economies sustainably and given access to family planning. Please point me to a country that has both of these and a (significantly) increasing population.

        Based on your earlier statement about China it is clear that
        ‘polluter pays’ policy would have them paying for real pollution (not
        aerial fertilisation) and the other countries with rapidly growing
        populations and associated energy demands would not be far behind.

        Again this is being dealt with by the COP15 where developing countries are assisted to develop in a sustainable way. We in the west have higher per capita emissions and higher historical emissions, making us responsible for our current situation.

        This would obviously be something of a financial burden for them.
        Perhaps the developed countries could assist by offering their
        expensively developed technologies at a discounted rate? This would be
        better than handing over cash. At least one would know that there was
        some potential for value for money.

        Hopefully this is what will happen.

        Personal carbon allowances, should they be adopted as part of a
        ‘polluter pays’ scenario, would be a great reason for having a large
        family, especially in any location where the energy cost for survival
        overheads – heat, maybe a little light, and hot food when the weather
        is cold – are high. Interestingly it would be an inverted poll tax.

        I believe in upstream accounting, where the pollution is paid for by the organisation that digs the hydrocarbons out of the ground. Many people have enough difficulty controlling their own finances let alone having to manage carbon allowances too.

        Carbon allocation by family might however, have a more universally
        successful result since many people may be less inclined to share their
        allocation. Still, not great moral position really, using people’s
        personal greed to control world population.

        Reminds me of a comedian I saw who started talking about ‘vaginal emissions’. Very amusing, but not very practical.

        So, look around your family Philip. 2 out of 3 gotta go. Who are the weakest links?

        I will remember to lock my doors at night.

  11. Grant Perkins says:

    Philip,

    Thanks for your itemised points.

    I have read the Borenstein piece. I don’t claim that there is a cooling trend over a period long enough to get interested in. On the other hand when one starts to consider the way the data that survive measurement system and location changes and disruptions are tortured in order to produce a result I don’t think that anyone could derive any conclusions from most of them – at least none that might be certain to stand up to real scrutiny in, say, 100 years from now. But of course by then I won’t care either.

    For point 4 – yes I am sure there are hundred of peer reviewed papers in the IPCC bibliography. Of course there would be, after all over a period of more than 20 years the 2500 (or less) climate specialists must have published at least a few papers each one assumes and they are hardly likely to not refer to them when they are also the editors of the IPCC chapters.

    That said my impression of what peer review entails, from academics who are friends but work in non-climate areas, combined with the comments in the CRU emails and elsewhere and observations made about the code (or lack of code and data posted to support papers) suggests that peer review, notably in this particular area of science. may not be all that insiders would like outsiders to believe it is. After all, even papers that are ultimately proved inaccurate may have been peer reviewed.

    On the other hand there does seem to be ready confirmation that a number of researchers have been prevented, by one means or another, from having their papers published in what where once thought of as the gold standard journals. Which is odd, for if the quality was poor and the conclusion so evidently wrong surely it would have been a positive for the AGW associated side of the debate to make that proof and kill off the paper. Why did they feel it necessary to avoid that opportunity by preventing publication?

    A rhetorical question for which no doubt we will have different answers.

    The PR argument is not one I have confidence in.

    I’ll see if I can find the Swanson and Tsonis paper in the wild. Looks like a need an AGU login to read it via the link. I’ll check the video later.

    Re 6)

    So what did the UNFCCC base its decision upon and what level of CO2 does that set?

    And how realistic is it likely to be.

    And once policy has been set against whatever targets the politicians dream up to compete with each other, if they have got it wrong who will be culpable in 100 years from now? Will out (great) grandchildren simply have to live with the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown of their day ‘apologising’ for getting it wrong?

    Well, of course not. They know they are full proof safe even in the history books because there is absolutely no way any of this can or will be proven one way or another. And to that end, at this point in the process, the scientists are redundant to the arguments – almost.

    If this has not appeared as an in-line response, apologies – but there did not seem to be a reply button on your post. It might have been due to the embedded video upsetting the box display.

    • Grant Perkins says:

      OK, I’ve watched the video and read the bio. He does some good graphics as would be expected. I found the voice and the music annoying.

      I’m not sure what point was. The post on here that started the mentioned cooling is yours. None before that. Just a red herring?

      Presumably the Swanson paper is the same thing.

      • Philip Burrows says:

        I agree with you on the voice and music.

        I mentioned global cooling in response to Skeptics comment:

        “I thought the trend towards warming actually hasnt happened so much over the last decade!”

  12. Poor old Philip Burrows is becoming boring and vexatious. My reference to temperatures being below IPCC forecast ranges is based on a graph presented by Emeritus Professor Fred Singer of the University of Virginia — one of the world’s foremost atmospheric physicists — at my Brussels Conference on Nov 18th. Frankly, Philip, I don’t have time to rush round sourcing quotes for your convenience, but the DVD of the event should be available shortly, priced at €10. I await your cheque.

  13. Philip Burrows says:

    Link to graph mentioned above:

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