Global warming – review

Well, that seems to have got a lot of attention.

Amazing, how our supposedly tolerant and liberal society reacts to the issue of climate change in quite a scary way. It seems that some people believe that they are so right that no one else is entitled to an opinion or question a view. That is not healthy for open and honest debate.

Given that the global warming or is it climate change prevention activities are costing all of us a lot of money and indeed costing the public purse a lot of money it is only right that the subject is debated.

I have had lots of support for raising the question, far more than I expected. Many are experts, some are industrialists but most are ordinary people who feel frustrated that questioning climate change is so difficult.

Interestingly, the common message from this group is a reflection on how fed up they are with the climate change lobby. They are fed up with views being forced on everyone and using it as a trump card card without thought to cost or impact. There is also great concern about the intolerant approach taken.

There have also been lots of comments horrified that I have had the audacity to even mention it, given I am not a scientist. Well, if we only listened to experts and dead certain scientific “facts” a lot of mistakes would have been made as it seems some “facts” stop being “facts” when new “facts” come along. The fact that opinion is split and views so polarised indicates to me that a more rational debate is required.

We need to take into account the wider implications of climate change prevention measures. What is the cost to business both in regulation and as a distraction? What is the impact of the additional tax on fuel poverty? Is this making us increasingly uncompetitive on the world stage? Tax and regulation are never friends of business. Surely, turning to dealing with climate change, should it happen and for what ever reason, makes more sense.

In my travels around the world poor people are usually focused on survival rather than some vague concept of saving the human race. Having enjoyed the fruits of the industrial revolution are we really saying others should not catch up?

Some say we should lead by example. This might make us feel better but is likely to have very little affect of behaviour elsewhere. What will happen is costs will be kept low in China, India and Brazil whilst we inflict cost on our own companies. If our economy does not thrive then there will be no money for R and D to help mitigate and adapt to climate change, if it happens.

I fully support carbon reduction technology and implementation. It saves money and means we don’t run out of energy. But ……….. That is very different from the concept of “saving the planet” which should really be “saving the human race” as I am sure the planet will survive what ever happens. If we were to focus on saving money and preserving resources that is a much easier message and deals with a real problem we face right now.

So what can I deduce from my blog post and responses?

1. Some of the responses I have received have confirmed my hypothesis that any debate on climate change produces an hysterical response, often rude, definitely overbearing and disproportionate.

2. My personal blog is effective at stimulating debate. Special thanks to the Lib Dems and Labour for promoting my blog.

3. Journalists use my blog and turn entries into lead stories in newspapers. Excellent. Can I claim a fee perhaps? Over 27 pages of comment so far. Is that a record? Can’t wait to blog about our adult social care funding issues that I hope will generate just as impressive a response.

4. Opinion is divided on the subject. I have no idea what the future holds in terms of climate change and I am no clearer having listened to both sides. This means who ever is right is failing to engage effectively with the general public and business in particular. The tactic seems to be to try to shut down any debate or flood the argument with so many ” facts” that no one can see the wood for the trees ( I like that green analogy).

5. People can be very unpleasant. I had one email from Dr H who claims me raising the issue is ” redolent of the third reich”. Interesting but scary logic. Question something and you become a Nazi??? How enlightened and I believe he is an academic.

6. My blog hit rates have shot up. Fantastic. Don’t forget to read some of the other articles, in particular about the false claims the Lib Dems regularly make.

7. People who don’t usually speak out have made there views known both for and against since I raised the subject. If just one more voice is heard as a result that is great, if people can be heard through me that is fantastic.

8. The overbearing views expressed has changed my thinking. From just wanting to mildly tweak the tails of the green lobby to stimulate debate my views are hardening. Reflecting on the bullying and hypersensitive attitude I am now wondering what is being hidden. I want to think a little more about this but maybe some digging is required on who is funded by whom and for what reason.

9. It has got me thinking about how we elected politicians can better help groups that don’t get heard easily. Obviously, one idea could be to preface important subjects with ” climate change”. I might try ” climate change – the affects of funding reductions on adult social care”. More work required on this I guess.

Until the 21st May 2013 I was the Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and the member for Fulbourn division. I am the Chairman of the Cambridge Conservative Association. I am now enjoying tennis, cricket and gardening whilst keeping an eye out for business opportunities and non exec positions.

Posted in Personal
29 comments on “Global warming – review
  1. Phil P says:

    You are conflating two points.

    1) Is climate change happening? is man-made-action (the release of CO2) the primary cause of this? is the science settled? is there room for doubt?

    This is the science question. This is really in the realm of experts and scientists to answer. Your misuse of statistics and the “no warming for the last 16 years” stat does you a disservice. It is your argument that you (somehow) can debunk all the evidence that is of concern.

    2) Given that climate change is happening what do we do? Do we massively change our carbon usage? Do we need to cut down on our enegy usage or can we source enough power from reliable carbon-free sources without a huge increase in costs? Do we want to accept that climate change will happen and it is easier to mitigate against it – which in the UK looks like a big increase in flood protection – rather than try and prevent it occuring? What impact will this have on food supply and distribution, and how do we manage this.

    This is really the political question. This is fair game and nobody reasonable would say that any opinion here would be ‘wrong’ just that they would disagree with it.

    You’ll get a much more respectful hearing if you argue about the politics not the science.

    • catweazle666 says:

      Your misuse of statistics and the “no warming for the last 16 years” stat does you a disservice.

      The Met Office would appear to disagree with you.

      “The Met Office now confirms on its climate blog that no significant warming has occurred recently: ‘We agree with Mr Rose that there has only been a very small amount of warming in the 21st Century.’”

      • PhilP says:

        No, the keyword here is misuse. Using that fact (which is basically arrived at by cherry-picking from the data) leads to an inaccurate representation of the underlying trend.

  2. I am pleased to see that you ‘fully support carbon reduction technology’ as ‘it saves money’. Indeed most experts agree that a sensible price on CO2 emissions, which would allow us to reduce income tax and VAT, would stimulate the economy and lead to low-carbon growth. A win-win outcome.
    @cwhope

  3. Derek says:

    Come off it, Phil P – there is a huge controversy about the science. Have you not read the emails released from the CRU scientists? Admittedly there are powerful people trying to suppress these alternative views and to ridicule them. There is only one source of “evidence” pointing to CO2 being the cause of catastrophic global warming and that is from computer climate modeling, and there are senior experts in that field such as Judith Curry who will admit that these models are all seriously defective. Look at the last IPCC report in which there is a table showing that at least 10 of the factors which can affect climate are understood at only a low level.

    Because all 3 main political parties agree on this issue we have never had a proper high level debate. Full marks to Cllr. Nick Clarke for raising the issue. As our energy bills continue to rise, due to the green agenda and our industry becomes less competitive as a result there will come a time when the debate will be forced on top of the agenda – bothe the science and the politics.

  4. climate sceptic says:

    You are quite right Nick – well done for daring to speak out on this issue.
    1. Yes. The hysterical reaction to the Daily Mail plotting a graph of the Met Office’s own data was just stunning.
    4. Yes. Opinion is divided. The ‘science is settled’ brigade are only fooling themselves. Of course there are some issues that are highly complex, but you don’t have to be an expert to look at a graph or to know that ‘hiding the decline’ and ‘redefining the peer-reviewed literature’ are wrong.
    5. Yes, the torrents of abuse from the activists hurled at anyone who dares to disagree with them just illustrates how extreme their views are.
    8. Yes, that’s the irony. The more aggressively they respond, the more sceptical people become.

    • Commentator says:

      The Mail’s graph looks very like this one:
      http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.gif Well done Nick for speaking your mind. What are we looking at really? Minute temperature changes, alleged changes in world ocean pH, and all manner of other doomsday stories (Tuvalu hasn’t sunk beneath the waves yet, has it?).
      Apparently billions have been spent on the supposed catastrophe we are facing.
      What can be done? I’ll vote for the party that repeals the nonsensical Climate Change Act for a start.

  5. Roger B says:

    Firstly, +1 for what Phil P said. Secondly, to address some of your specific points

    4) This is such a common technique that there is a name for it: the Gish Gallop. One of the finest exponents of this is of course the well known man-made climate change denier Christopher Monckton.

    1), 5) and 8) I would condemn these sorts of behaviour whoever did it. However, when you read about the way climate scientists have been treated; for example the death threats, the theft of their private emails, the letters containing white powder that could have been anthrax – causing a full blown security alert then a) you can understand why some people are very sensitive and b) the words “pot” “kettle” and “black” come to mind. If you haven’t read Micheal Man’s book you should do.

  6. grumpydenier says:

    First, can we stop using the disingenuous term ‘Carbon – C’ when talking about Carbon Dioxide – CO2.

    CO2 is a trace gas at a concentration of 0.039% by volume in the atmosphere. Please read that again; 0.039% by volume in the atmosphere.

    Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. It is present in all known life forms, and in the human body carbon is the second most abundant element by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen.

    When you use the term Carbon in relation to GHGs you confuse the issue in peoples’ minds.

    There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that even if CO2 concentrations doubled over time that, due to the laws of physics, the maximum impact on air temperatures, globally, would be an increase comparable to that which has already occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age.

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2012/10/still-not-settled

    • ScientificFactNotOpinionMatters says:

      grumpydenier, I hope it’s not impertinent of me to point out a simple fact, of which I assume from your comment posted here, you are unaware. Ozone, present in the ‘ozone layer’ at concentration as little as 1 part per 100000, absorbs 97 to 99 percent of the medium wavelength radiation from the sun. Without those traces of ozone, the cells of your skin would be torn apart by that radiation. So if I were you I’d thank those small concentrations of ozone present in the atmosphere. Could you now explain what is the significance of your own figure of 0.039% on any argument about CO2. I’m presuming you have assumed such small concentrations cannot have an effect on the absorption of radiation. If this is so, then your position lacks scientific insight and is an incredibly naive view of the whole global warming debate!

  7. Your blog has certainly become exciting, Nick. Keep it up!

  8. ScientificFactNotOpinionMatters says:

    Opinion IS significantly divided on this issue, science IS NOT. Your opinion on this issue is valueless. The article you refer to is of the poorest quality. The credible scientists who oppose the IPCC such as Christy are in full agreement that AGW is occurring. Their position is that the extent of warming will not be as great as the IPCC predicts. The “Earth always warms and cools” argument is quite frankly jaw-dropping in it’s gross stupidity. The reasons these climate cycles occur are well understood. The major issue is that current warming is atypical and occurring as we should be in a cooling cycle! Sharing your opinions is an attempt on your part to add to the political confusion over this issue. Opinion, where it matters, in the US, is changing. It is unfortunate that the poor people of Cambridgeshire are represented by someone who is a wannabe on a wider stage rather than a person focused on the needs of your constituents! Collect the refuse man and let the scientists get on with their work of understanding the problem and give them the support they need!

  9. Derek says:

    “scientificfactnot…etc” – you seem to be saying that “facts are what I say they are”. You simply are unable to countenance any information that conflicts with your narrow belief. What more open-minded people say is that there is much that we do not fully understand. Professor John Christy, for example, accepts that AGW is occuring, but, if you read his recent testimony to the Senate he does not believe it to be catastrophic.

    As for your assertion that “we should be in a cooling cycle” – where are your facts to back this up? In the 17th century we were in the Little Ice Age and so we have been recovering from that. No doubt in the longer term we will expect a return to an ice age, as we are currently living in an inter-glacial, so any slight warming is welcome.

    Your final jibe against Cllr Clarke betrays once again your own self-important view of the world. Cllr Clarke is concerned for his constituents welfare in the face of steep rises in energy costs, as well as emptying their refuse.

    • ScientificFactNotOpinionMatters says:

      No – I say the science gives us the facts. I can countenance conflicts in the science, only no one is presenting convincing counter-facts to the reality of a warming climate caused by mankind.

      I also say there is much we do not understand, we do not understand what the impacts are on climate, on our environment, on our world, on life on this planet if we pursue business as usual. I see you are very much in the camp of inertia and for keep the status quo. You brain, like the majority of mankind, is hard wired for
      optimism. That is your problem. Mine is I understand the precautionary principle to be the only sensible, if painful, way forward. You don’t test a gun, to see if it is loaded by putting it to your head and pulling the trigger, yet that is, in your optimistic way of thinking, what you will do. Pardon me if the stupidity of mankind personified by yourself makes me feel angry.

      As to cooling, the combined effect of solar irradience, the deep La Nina phase of the ENSO and the Pacific Decadal Oscilation are all contributing to a global cooling cycle which should be causing temperatures to fall. Yet the last decade has seen some of the warmest years for a century. Another strong El Nino like 1998 could see a significant warming of the earth. You are correct, we do not know what the future holds, Mr Business As Usual. But all the conditions we see work against global warming, yet arctic ice loss this year reached an alarming minimum.

      What is unknown is whether warming will be slight, or more significant. Christy doesn’t know, it’s his opinion. Already, weather has had an impact on global food production this year. We are experiencing a higher incidence of extreme weather events which are impacting agriculture and food production.

      My problem with politicians like Mr Clarke, who by there own admission don’t understand the science or evidence, is that they should not bring politics into this issue at all. The steep rise in energy costs has more to do with increased demand on energy supply rather than anything to do with climate change.

      I wonder which you consider more important, a litre of petrol or a loaf of bread. To drive your car or leave an inhabitable planet to your children. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of the consequences that could result from the decisions made today by ourselves. Our children will foot the bill.

  10. Derek says:

    Well. Mr Scientificfact, Taking your last point, the choice between crops for food or bio-fuel, that is a choice caused by green policies. We are sacrificing today’s poor for the theoretical benefit of future generations based on the output of incomplete computer climate models.

    I note that you now admit that we don’t know if the warming will be slight or more significant. You then talk about “weather” which we can all agree varies from day to day and is quite different from climate which is based on changes over decades. As far as incidents of extreme weather having increased, the statistics say that is not correct.

    When the science is incomplete and is disputed by leading experts it is then up to politicians to weigh up that evidence and decide on the best policy.

    • J Bowers says:

      “Taking your last point, the choice between crops for food or bio-fuel, that is a choice caused by green policies”

      Green Party opposes Government biofuels plan. 2004.

      http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news-archive/1533.html

    • J Bowers says:

      “As far as incidents of extreme weather having increased, the statistics say that is not correct.”

      When you do the maths without doing the science, you’re really not doing the science. But when you do the science as well as the maths, you’re actually doing the science .

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/hansens-new-climate-dice-loaded-misunderstood.html

    • ScientificFactNotOpinionMatters says:

      Rudolf Diesel invented bio-diesel in 1890. It has been produced in varying quantities for over a century. The companies producing bio-diesel are looking to capitalise on the increasing price of oil. Environmental benefits are cited as part of the marketing of bio-diesel.

      “As far as incidents of extreme weather having increased, the statistics say that is not correct.”. – Do feel free to provide a source for your assertion. Something you need to do if you’re going to throw away such assertions. I’d go with the opinion of those companies dealing with the direct consequences of extreme weather.

      http://www.munichre.com/en/media_relations/press_releases/2011/2011_01_03_press_release.aspx

      “When the science is incomplete and is disputed by leading experts it is then up to politicians to weigh up that evidence and decide on the best policy.”

      And who are you referring to here per chance. I think there is some need to be really clear on this point.

      How about I put forward my side. The American Meteorological Society position on this issue.

      http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.pdf

      The findings of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Report, part financed by Anthony Watts, which changed the mind of Richard Muller, a former skeptical scientist.

      http://berkeleyearth.org/results-summary/

      We’re still waiting for Watts to eat his hat on this one!

      And finally the international joint statement on climate change from the scientific acadamies.

      http://www.nasonline.org/about-nas/leadership/president/statement-climate-change.pdf

      Please, read them, consider what all these reports from the worlds top scientific bodies are saying. The politicians aren’t weighing up the evidence and deciding on policy, they’re obfuscating and ignoring the evidence, especially in the US, but also elsewhere. The “dispute” is a myth. There are some that do question the extent of climate change, they are a small minority.

  11. J Bowers says:

    “8… Reflecting on the bullying and hypersensitive attitude I am now wondering what is being hidden.”

    Indeed.

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2010/02/24/sen-inhofe-inquisition-seeking-ways-to-criminalize-and-prosecute-17-leading-climate-scientists/

  12. catweazle666 says:

    So, Mr. ScientificFact, let’s have some, shall we?

    How about three temperature databases, two from the Met Office and one from NASA?

    RSS satellite lower troposphere, Met Office Hadley Centre sea surface and Met Office Hadcrut3 global surface temperature databases show no warming since 1997 and cooling since 2001.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1997/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/mean:12/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997/mean:12/plot/rss/from:1997/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997/trend/plot/rss/from:2001/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2001/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2001/trend

    Oh, I forgot, you Warmists are allergic to empirical instrumental data, aren’t you? You prefer to base your prognostications on Xbox games computer models, isn’t that right?

    Or that fount of all dubious knowledge Wikipedia, of course.

    • ScientificFactNotOpinionMatters says:

      This is a piece of mathematical nonsense your putting up here.

      From the top of K2, Everest only looks a few hundred meters higher.

      If you picked the year before, or the year after, or for that matter, any other year in the 90′s you get a totally different results showing a rise in temperature . I presume you have sourced this from David Rose and the Mail on Sunday. So your “Empirical” data relies on an outlier year. This whole trick is outlined in the met response below.

      http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/met-office-in-the-media-14-october-2012/

      Taking a longer period, the nineties were warmer than the eighties. The 2000′s were warmer than both!

      You’re evidently a rag-and-bone man. Your in the business of recycling garbage.

      • catweazle666 says:

        Disingenuous BS, par for the course.

        The reason for picking 1997 is that is the year that the hiatus started. Not some other year, 1997.

        And the reason for picking 2001 is that that is the year the cooling started.

        Of course picking other years gives a different pictures, so knock it off with your patronising smears.

        It’s like asserting the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066. Not 1065 or 1067, 1066. There’s a reason for that, you see. These are called historical facts.

        Oh, I’m sorry, you lot really can’t get your heads round stuff like facts and empirical instrumental data, they screw up your fantasy, don’t they? You’re much happier with your silly, thoroughly discredited Xbox games computer models.

        Anyway, take it up with the Met Office.

        “The Met Office now confirms on its climate blog that no significant warming has occurred recently: ‘We agree with Mr Rose that there has only been a very small amount of warming in the 21st Century.’”

        Or are they now ‘deniers’ too, for breaking the faith?

  13. Roger B says:

    Yet another carefully researched article, complete with references to peer reviewed papers in the scientific literature, showing how wrong Rose and Curry are:

    http://skepticalscience.net/rose-curry-double-down-denial.html

    Of particular interest are:

    Figure 1; showing that it is wrong to equate global surface temperatures and global warming because all the heat is going into the oceans.
    Figure 3; showing that when you remove the short-term influences of El Niño (ENSO), changes in incoming solar radiation, and changes in volcanic activity the human-caused global surface warming signal has remained very steady.

    Or maybe this is all you really need.

  14. Eli Rabett says:

    Not among the insurance companies, a noted lot of wooly socialists

  15. catweazle666 says:

    Figure 1; showing that it is wrong to equate global surface temperatures and global warming because all the heat is going into the oceans

    Wrong again, as can be expected from skepticalscience, just what one would expect from a site run by a failed cartoonist, of course.

    Here is an extract from a recent peer reviewed paper on the Southern Ocean published in Geophysical Research Letters – not a Warmist advocacy site.

    These observations enable the first accurate quantification of the annual cycle of net air-sea heat exchange and wind stress from a Southern Ocean location. They reveal a high degree of variability in the net heat flux with extreme turbulent heat loss events, reaching −470 Wm−2 in the daily mean, associated with cold air flowing from higher southern latitudes. The observed annual mean net air-sea heat flux is a small net ocean heat loss of −10 Wm−2, with seasonal extrema of 139 Wm−2 in January and −79 Wm−2 in July.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2012GL052290.shtml

  16. Roger B says:

    “These observations enable the first accurate quantification of the annual cycle of net air-sea heat exchange and wind stress from a Southern Ocean location.”

    Seriously, have you actually read this article, or even the abstract? It’s about the results from a single monitoring station at one position in the Southern Ocean. And from this you think you can draw conclusions about the entire heat content of all the worlds oceans. That’s just silly.

  17. Derek says:

    I see the argument is still raging over here! Since the discussion has moved on to the “heat must be in the oceans” phase, I offer this link – http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/31/nodc-revises-ocean-heat-content-data/#more-15879

    I here that warmist are on the defensive all over the place. Is this blog a final battleground?

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