1.5 image of eiffel tower

The Masters of the Universe (political division) did their bit in Paris to give licence to their technical brothers and sisters to keep on doing their thing. These diligent folks are getting ready in turn to do their bit to keep things nicely rolling along on the highly rewarding (for them at least) CO2 Scare Front. Their focus is on the 1.5C target, the one the Masters do believe they have both the duty and the ability to force upon us and our climate system.

On Tuesday the 20th of September this year, in Keble College, Oxford (shame be upon it), there will begin a gathering entitled


First they will examine the ball they have been given by the politicals (bullets are all from the conference themes):

•  Why and how did we arrive at 1.5 degrees?
•  Moral questions surrounding a 1.5 degrees goal

I daresay they’ll find it not all generally fine and dandy, but it will be good enough to be getting on with. Then they will turn to their part of the Faustian bargain. When they achieve their 1.5, what will we get:

•  Impacts of 1.5 degrees: sensitivity of the Earth system
•  Impacts of 1.5 degrees: damage avoided and residual damage

One imagines it will be mostly bad, but not as bad, no sir, as 1.6C or anything up to the much dreaded 2C when we know all hell would be let loose (never mind that our supposedly fragile system copes with nearly 4C shifts in that ‘global mean temperature’ twice a year, every year). Perhaps they would also frown upon 1.4C or less?

Next, the bit about getting there.  What knobs can we turn? Or, in the jargon, what are our:

•  Mitigation pathways to 1.5 degrees

That was all too brief. I wonder why. It will, I presume, include a lot of personal reputational-protection phrases about uncertainty and variation and the need for more research, but the main thing is it will say something that will suffice to give the politicals the licence they need to carry on.  The scratched-backed ones getting ready to return the favour.

Then they shall turn their attention back to the easy stuff to chatter about – the impacts, the adaptions to this goal of 1.5C change when it is reached in due course:

•  Societal and development implications of 1.5 degrees
•  Technology options for radical emissions reduction and negative emissions
•  Implications for land use and biodiversity
•  Adaptation to climate change in the context of a 1.5 degrees goal

Finally, they plan to go the extra mile to help get the ball ready for the political division by giving them some hints and pointers about money and politics:

•  Financing 1.5 degrees
•  Governance of 1.5 degrees
•  Weighing up the benefits and costs of 1.5 degrees

Will they publish their proceedings this year, or will a headline-generating SPM style report or press-release suffice, leaving the nuts and bolts to be published much later? Whatever, the ball will be readied for COP22. And so the cycle will continue, each division providing the succour which the other needs. Everybody is happy. Or are they? Expert commentator Ben Pile, for example, was not impressed with the anti-democratic antics in Paris, and ended one article about them with these words:

‘What the Paris talks has given the climate champion, however, is a superficial ‘agreement’, which, by virtue of its vagueness, will allow anything to be projected on to it. Paris is, therefore, a triumph of meaninglessness over the rest of the world. In many respects, a Humpty Dumpty fudge gives more licence to climate champions than a precisely worded document ever could. Just as the fact of the scientific consensus on climate change allows environmentalists to ad-lib about its substance, so too the pretence that an agreement on climate change exists will free the mediocracy assembled under its protection from being held to account. That is the main function of this so-called agreement.’

We shall learn in the Autumn, what ‘champions’ on the technical side will do with this gifted licence. Repay it with interest to those on the political side is my guess.  And so the ritual will continue

COP 22 is expected to be held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7th to 18 November, 2016.


  1. “… never mind that our supposedly fragile system copes with nearly 4°C shifts in that ‘global mean temperature’ twice a year…”

    And never mind that I have to cope with a nearly 10°C drop of a morning every time I pop out to buy the croissants or pick a strawberry. (The mild winter has got them confused, but it’s still chilly at 8am.)

    It’s worth pointing out that the 1.5°C is in fact 0.5°C, since most “experts” seem to mean a rise from “pre-industrial temperatures” which may mean pre 1760, 1860, or 1950, depending on which expert you listen to.

    Maybe someone at Oxford has some dim awareness that talking about “Governance of half a degree” or “Weighing up the benefits and costs of half a degree” might seem a little foolish even to the most blinkered cult member, like discussing how many angels can dance on half a pinhead.

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  2. “Look, we previously defined an arbitrary threshold of 2C for ‘dangerous’ global warming based upon an equally arbitrary increase on some theoretical global mean temperature in 1850 which we can’t actually measure in any absolute sense – we just ‘know’ that it’s about 1C warmer now than it was back then – and when it warms another 1C, we’re officially done for. But because it isn’t warming as quickly as we told you it would, we’re now officially ‘done for’ when the mean of all the thermometers in the world (many of them now sited in urban development areas), which we arbitrarily define as something called ‘global climate’ (which doesn’t really exist because climate and climate change can only ever really be referenced meaningfully by looking at regional climates) reaches the new magical figure of 1.5C. It’s now more urgent than ever. We were almost officially ‘done for’ in February and some really, really bad stuff was getting ready to happen, but fortunately the ‘weather’ intervened and now it looks like we may have a few more months to save the world – well, seven to be exact, when the new ‘last chance to save the planet’ manifests itself to concerned delegates in a haze of Moroccan spiced wine, sweet mint tea and couscous.”

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  3. IMO, the new push for 1.5C rather than the arbitrary 2C is because all the observational energy budget studies the past couple of years (e.g. Lewis and Curry, and Lewis revision using Stevens new aerosol estimates) are coming in 1.5-1.8. Which means nothing need be done at all given current CO2 emissions trajectories. The Charney ECS 3 ever since UNFCCC founding, which IPCC repeatedly reiterated, and which CMIP3 and 5 GCMs reinforced, is just wrong.
    This signals the growing warmunist cult death spiral. It grows increasingly detached from reality (pause and no pause at the same time), ever more transparently shrill (last week Nature’s SLR nonsense from Penn State), ever more absurd in dire warnings (this week Obama administration climate change impacts health warnings: asthma, Lyme disease, allergies…), and ever more demanding of self evident economic suicide (Port Talbot steelworks being the present UK example).

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  4. Climate change is the perfect vehicle for the professional chatterer. Firstly it allows a satisfying amount of condemnation which is in short supply in a politically correct world. It’s become very hard to point fingers at dictators and religious extremists because it smacks of colonial arrogance. Sure, those people might rape or murder en masse but most of them are brown. Interfering might be considered an attack on their culture and that’s just not done anymore. They might also hunt you down and kill you, so it’s better not to draw attention to yourself no matter what the body count. Fossil fuel companies are another matter. They’re guys in suits who have nice lifestyles to defend. They’ve demonstrated they don’t even want a PR fight, never mind anything more bloody. Fossil fuel companies are also a good target for public and media condemnation. A professional chatterer can stand back while they are savaged by a rabid green or hippy celebrity. This rule only applies to fossil fuel companies that can be classed as western. Anything brown, yellow or Cyrillic is pretty much out of play. If western fossil fuel companies get black female presidents, the event of a white male millionaire green haranguing a minority, minority, might cause a break in the space time continuum. With a bit of luck Leonardo Dicaprio might be sucked in.

    Today’s issues can be quite taxing for the professional chatterer but climate change is different. All you need to know is ‘the scientists say’. It doesn’t matter what you follow it with because not only will few people know the truth but they are unlikely to call you on it. Even if what you say is insane, you have the option of claiming the stress of worrying about the next generation or that you were just exaggerating to make a point.

    Another of the reasons climate change is a firm favourite with the professional chatterer is that failure IS an option. Nobody bats an eyelid at year after year of zero progress. It’s not the fault of the chatterer, it’s someone else’s – the Republicans, the press, industry, the sceptics, the small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. What can a poor chatterer do but move on to the next climate conference?

    Yes, if the climate change band wagon can be kept rolling along, it could mean a long, happy, lucrative career for a climate chatterer.

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  5. “… never mind that our supposedly fragile system copes with nearly 4°C shifts in that ‘global mean temperature’ twice a year…”

    Can you point me to the source of that claim please? Look at GISS plotted at WoodForTrees: http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1979

    The whole 40 years of data spans a range of only 1.6C, the yearly range being tiny. HADCRUT and RSS have even lower ranges over 40 years.


  6. Raff the global temperature peaks in July, falls about 4°C by December/January and then rises again. Every year. The northern hemisphere swings 13°C.


  7. There are changes of anomoly over a few years that would be alarming today (eg between the end of 1876 and the beginning of 1878 the global anomoly shifted 1.1°C) except we survived that, so it’s never mentioned. The ‘noise’ of normal temperature habits are much larger than the scary warming signal and so must be removed so we can zoom in and see the horror.

    Just goes to show how effective communication on climate scare stories have been and how poor communication of the actual science is. If


  8. Global mean temperature is of course a very troublesome thing to construct, and it would be no bad thing if a neutral (i.e. not part of the CO2 Scare Establishment) analyst were to give it a thorough review. But be that as it may, we do have published values. Here are ones obtained for the 20th century global mean (land and sea combined) values from a NOAA site (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/ ):

    Jan 12.0 degrees C
    Feb 12.1
    Mar 12.7
    Apr 13.7
    May 14.8
    Jun 15.5
    Jul 15.8
    Aug 15.6
    Sep 15.0
    Oct 14.0
    Nov 12.9
    Dec 12.2

    Thus we see an estimated excursion, on average, of 3.8C between January and July and back again.

    Note that these excursions cannot be revealed by the commonplace use of charts of temperature anomalies such as this one: http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1979. For example, if by some extraordinary circumstance the data for a given year exactly matched the above monthly means, then the chart of the associated anomalies would be a horizontal line at the value of zero.


  9. I sometimes wonder if the anomaly is used specifically to confuse people. Saying that the rain we’ve had these last few winters was the result of global warming would have far less credibility if people realised that while warmer than the average winter, the rains fell at a global temperature that was the same as a few weeks earlier. Certain plants and creatures may suffer because there isn’t a clearly defined winter but a lot of other plants and creatures will gain because the cold doesn’t kill them off.


  10. I agree that the use of ‘anomaly’ may well have been deliberate – part of the hype and PR efforts that the prophets of CO2 driven doom deemed desirable to get us all more agitated. The term ‘residual’ is a more commonplace term in statistics for what is left behind after some computed value is subtracted from an observation. ‘Fluctuation’ is another term which could have been used, but neither quite convey the desired message of something out of the ordinary going on – some ‘anomalous’ departure from ‘ordinary’.


  11. Right, my graph was anomalies. Silly me.

    …the desired message of something out of the ordinary going on…

    Surely it is still something out of the ordinary when temperatures that were cycling on average 12C…16C annually and probably had been for a long time move to 13C…17C. It makes no difference whether you express that as those numbers or as an anomaly of 1C, although the latter is certainly more conscise. And to say that, just because 1C is small compared to 4C, it is nothing to worry about is odd. 1C is clearly is a quarter of the difference between winter and summer and the change in conditions between the two is profound. So what is a the result of the sum (profound / 4) = ?


  12. “Surely it is still something out of the ordinary when temperatures that were cycling on average 12C…16C annually and probably had been for a long time move to 13C…17C”

    But it’s not that simple Raff. The 4C difference I presume is due to the land mass in the NH heating up faster in summer and cooling more quickly during winter (in comparison to the vast southern oceans).

    The NH has warmed a lot more quickly than the SH since 1980 and some ‘experts’ also put this down to the NH land mass, but to my mind this is a seasonal effect. The NH warming trend has been largely due to milder winters and I suspect that this in turn is largely due to changes in global atmospheric/oceanic circulation. If it was due to CO2 and other ‘well mixed’ GHGs you would expect far less asymmetry between warming trends in each hemisphere. So I don’t know what effect this is having on the 4C seasonal difference between global mean temp in ‘winter’ and ‘summer’, but I suspect it is probably not unvarying.

    This is why it strikes me as pretty meaningless to assess ‘climate change’ using global mean surface temperature. So much more is involved. A better metric would be total ocean heat content but this is very difficult to measure accurately with just 4000 Argo floats in my opinion. Equally, we could look at TOA energy imbalance but measuring this directly for the entire globe is also technically beyond our reach at present.


  13. “It makes no difference whether you express that as those numbers or as an anomaly of 1C”

    It does if you claim winter rain is the result of warming.

    Between the end of 1876 and the beginning of 1878 the global anomaly warmed 1.1°C was that profound?


  14. A 1 degree increase in the anomaly would have the BBC and Guardian in a frenzy and the warmunistas would be chaining themselves to railings in droves


  15. Raff’s question is a reasonable one and deserves a more technical response than I can give. A detailed response would involve quoting at length the kind of objections that Lindzen has voiced about the whole idea of averaging out the unaverageable. A simpler answer is to point out that the change in the “average” temperature (assuming that can be given a meaning) is trivial compared with the span of maximum and minimum temperatures, whetther annual or diiurnal. The butterfly or buffalo or peasant planting his crop cares not a hoot about the 1°C rise in some average figure. What counts is if he dies out from some extreme. A butterfly stuck on one hectare will die out, climate change or no climate change, because some pesky weather will come along that wipes him out, and the same goes for the peasant who can’t move or forage or plant something else.

    So yes, 1°C – a quarter of the difference between average winter and average summer – is profound on paper, but maybe not to the butterfly or peasant who’s been living through much bigger annual and diurnal variations for thousands or millions of years.


  16. This meeting is part of the agreement produced from Paris COP21.
    Para 17 noted that all the INDC submissions fully enacted would still mean that emissions in 2030 would be about 10% higher than in 2010, whereas to meet the 2C of warming target they would need to be about 20% lower. The way of meeting this was by a special report laid out in Para 21.

    21. Invites the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to provide a special report in
    2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related
    global greenhouse gas emission pathways;

    This I discussed the PARIS AGREEMENT here.
    The only difference from the PARIS AGREEMENT is that the IPCC seems to have been ditched in favour of an independent NGO. Alternatively, the Environmental Change Institute are trying to get a bit of the action.

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  17. Geoff, the real point is that no one experiences the average. Everyone lives in a local climate, where temperature, rainfall, cloudiness vary all the time, massively , unless you are in the tropics. The global temperature anomaly is possibly the worst metric to use about climate change. So why has it become the headline? Those maps that show that Siberia is warming, when it is 50 below zero are the real humdiggers. Misleading, intentionally misleading, or just downright dishonest?


  18. Man in a Barrel
    Agreed. The fact that no-one experiences global average temperatures (or global anything else) is just one of the arguments against taking this measurement seriously. Is it misleading or dishonest? Certainly, but it’s still useful to try to understand how this situation came about.

    Scientists warned us (via the media) that global warming was happening and might be a problem. What were we to do but ask (via the media): How much warming? How dangerous? And the scientists replied with their GISSes and HADCRUTs. Up to there, it’s a perfectly normal interaction between science, the media and the public – imperfect, but not unreasonable.

    What’s going on now, the obsessive discussion of 1.5°C versus 2°C, which – Gaia help us! – will turn into 2.7°C if China and the U.S. Congress can’t be persuaded to follow the lead of Tonga, Vanuatu, and Lord Deben – this is pure madness.

    I only intervened to suggest that RAFF was right to pose the question: Is +1°C something to worry about? The answer is of course: We don’t know, but probably not.


  19. ATTP, who knows? If they can continue make changes to global temperature figures measured with thermometers mere years or decades after the event, how acurate can proxies be over hundreds of thousands of years? Maybe the scale is right, maybe it’s not.


  20. No, I don’t dispute it, I don’t trust it. That’s not the same thing at all. A few years ago I wouldn’t have questioned it but that was before I realised how much science wraps up best guesses as facts.


  21. Tiny,
    No, obviously not. However, I do think that our best evidence suggests that the change in global average temperature between a glacial and an inter-glacial is something like 4 to 5C. It might be a bit more, maybe a bit less, but that’s roughly where it is. If you have some evidence to suggest that it’s likely to be wildly different to this, feel free to present it.


  22. But why do you think it’s that figure? Do you know how they arrived at it? Do you know if the components have been subject to revision? Do you know if the thermometer records that were used to calibrate it are the same as they always were or if the proxies have been recalibrated? Do they have enough records to tell what the whole planet was doing or just where those proxies are? What would the global temperature look like if you just used those proxy locations as modern thermometers?

    You are essentially taking the figure on trust. Fine, that’s you thing but to me climate science has demonstrated it’s not trust worthy. It’s very bad at highlighting what’s rock solid and what’s wild guess, never mind the graduations between those two. The global thermometer record is the foundation of all the science and yet it’s remarkably fluid.

    I don’t potentially dispute the figure, I just don’t know.


  23. You are essentially taking the figure on trust.

    No, I’m not. I’m telling you the figure that is regarded within the scientific community as being what the evidence suggests. I clearly have not developed a level of understanding comparable to that of a full time researcher in that field. However, I have seen little (if anything) to suggest that this figure isn’t a reasonable estimate.

    I don’t potentially dispute the figure, I just don’t know.

    This could apply to virtually anything. You must find it very difficult to make any decisions.

    I’ll tell you the point behind what I’m getting at. If the change in global surface temperature between a glacial and inter-glacial is 4 to 5C, then the claims made here that a change of 1 to 2C will be negligible, would seem to be questionable. It’s possible that it would be, but if 4 to 5C is associated with the difference between a glacial and an inter-glacial, then 1 to 2C could indeed lead to quite substantial changes.


  24. People who live in ice ages should take climate change seriously, and should be particularly exercised when the study of it is abused by zealots, religious and political, and by sundry others with agendas of their own to pursue and for which just about any sufficiently popular agitation will serve as a handy platform.

    The spectacle of the preparations now underway for COP22 is something to behold. A Google of that conference abbreviation will open portals to all manner of busybodies keen to exploit it. It is not just the self-anointed Masters of the Universe of this post, but whole troops of what might be called camp followers. A dismal sight. A search of Amazon books using just ‘millennialism’ reveals that this nothing new. It seems to be a feature of our personalities, but at least it has been recognised and studied. I daresay these past few decades of CO2 Alarmism will add a few more insights into that body of knowledge.

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  25. “I’m telling you the figure that is regarded within the scientific community as being what the evidence suggests.”

    And that’s what you could have said about global temperature series back in 1988 only it has changed. Why would I expect the more tricky job of estimating the global temperature many thousands of years ago to be more reliable?


  26. John Shade, is it me or are the COPs beginning to resemble kids asking ‘are we there yet?’ every five minutes? They must be panicking. They’ve had the super El Nino and they may have to milk the current warming for another 5 years. What if there’s a big La Nina? Obama’s winding down. Now he may have a last green splash or the Democrats may worry he might sour the election so stiffle his ambitions. China will post big reductions because its economy has contracted but won’t make more than noises about the future. Most European politicians will have other things to worry about. There will be a dilema whether to trumpet the stall in global man made CO2 emission, espeially as CO2 in the atmosphere has increased.

    I predict the next COP will be a quiet affair.


  27. John,

    “Popper regarded both the belief in chosen destiny and the prediction of the future as sheer superstition. However, iy was the extension of such beliefs into the active life of the state that he found particularly threatening. He pointed out that once people have obtained what they believe to be the absolute truth, they have, in their own terms, a moral obligation to impose their standards of behaviour and principles on other people . . . . .
    The environmentalist Green Movement, which has tended to react against most other current historicist models, also includes many people whose vision of the future combines the fear of an imminent cataclysm with the activist commitment to the propagation of a new ‘environmentally friendly’ age of peace and rustic harmony.
    The pervasiveness of the belief that change is moving at so great a pace that society is about to hit a critical phase is such that psychological explanations might seem to be most appropriate. After all, when both left and right wings of conventional politics, plus the apolitical esoteric fringe and the religious evangelicals, all believe that, with one last activist push, a new model world will come into being, it suggests something profound about the nature of the human psyche.”

    ‘The Great Year’ Nicholas Campion Arkana 1994 [pp.10-14]

    Perfectly encapsulates the madness that is COP21/COP22 and is probably right up your street I’m guessing.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Geoff, thanks. I though it a reasonable question too. Just like the similar difference between glaciation and interglacial. Whether it is 4C or 8C, the change between the two states is profound. Again, what is profound/4 (or 8)? I also think it reasonable to say that average body temperature is 36.8C, whatever Lindzen might say about temperature being “unaverageable”. 36.8C describes no single person all of the time, but it has a use, just like the average global temp.

    Your musings on whether individual animals ‘bother’ about average temperatures (ignoring the literal sense of being conscious of it) misunderstand the issue. We need to look at population level. At the edges of any given creature’s range, average temperature is likely to affect survival probability. Northward movement of populations/species is already seen. That may be beneficial, or not, depending upon species and perspective (eg. a ‘pest’ species that evades its predators or controls because of a change in emergence timing or a lack of cold winters would experience that as beneficial). In any event it is likely to be a profound change.


  29. “the change between the two states is profound”

    Well yes, but consider the viability of where you live now for life during the ice age. Was it occupied by the same number of species or was it essentially dead? Are the tropics more life supporting or the poles?

    A lot of the most endangered plants are threatened by things other than a warming temperature. eg Alpine flowers for instance can’t cope with over fertilised soils. They are pushed out by more vigorous species. As higher mountainous areas can support life, those plants have a new opportunity to colonise. Hopefully farmers won’t make the same mistakes of the past. None of that is reason to ignore CO2 or warming as an issue but it’s part of the equation that is too often left out.


  30. The task of computing, and indeed making use of, a global mean temperature is far more like doing either for a global mean core temperature for all animals. Both tasks are very difficult to do. Both results are troublesome to interpret.

    By the way, nowhere in the post, nor in the comments, is any judgement made by me, nor anyone else, about the seriousness or otherwise of any changes in global mean temperature, be they up or down. TinyCO2 noted that we have ‘survived’ the 1C or so increase of the last 150 years or so, but that does not necessarily mean it was not serious. Regarding the forthcoming conference on achieving a 1.5C shift, I speculated in the post about the judgement of the various Masters about it, and there I was bordering on the sardonic and that perhaps is what has triggered Raff and ATTP:

    ‘One imagines it will be mostly bad, but not as bad, no sir, as 1.6C or anything up to the much dreaded 2C when we know all hell would be let loose (never mind that our supposedly fragile system copes with nearly 4C shifts in that ‘global mean temperature’ twice a year, every year). Perhaps they would also frown upon 1.4C or less?’

    So this statement: ‘the claims made here that a change of 1 to 2C will be negligible’ is a lie.
    As is this one: ‘And to say that, just because 1C is small compared to 4C, it is nothing to worry about’

    They are also vexatious. But that much at least may be intentional.


  31. John,

    So this statement: ‘the claims made here that a change of 1 to 2C will be negligible’ is a lie.

    Oh FFS, grow up! I wasn’t trying to misrepresent anyone; there were clearly suggestions that 1 to 2C will not that big a deal. Change it to “the suggestions made here” if you want. Change it to “around 1C” if you like. I was genuinely interested in why people would suggest that these supposedly small changes would not be a problem if 4C to 5C is potentially the difference between a glacial and an inter-glacial.

    You are also vexatious. My impression is that it’s not intentional. That isn’t a compliment.


  32. Adding to ATTP’s response, criticizing as a “lie” my “And to say that, just because 1C is small compared to 4C, it is nothing to worry about…” shows a poor understanding of the subtleties of language. I’ve noticed that skeptics often have trouble there.

    Anyway, can we conclude that everyone here does indeed see a 1C rise as something to be worried about? That would be interesting, but you should note that targets are nominal and fairly arbitrary. The purpose of a 1.5C or 2C target is to help prevent an even greater increase that, even to people here, might be considered much more worrisome.


  33. How wonderful, warmunists always have to fall back on the principle that they are poor misunderstood people when they are dealing with people who appear to have considerably more experience of communication. To try to clarify things for the hard of understanding, my view is that everyone apart from ATTP and Raff is simply saying that we have no idea whether 1 degree is dangerous. It seems hard to believe that it should necessarily be dangerous. It might be dangerous but that it really depends on the situation, which is completely unknown. If some region experiences a 5 degree rise whereas another region gets a 1 degree fall and the whole ramshackle average is 1 degree higher, then it is possible to make assessments of the impact. In any event, it is surely the case that historical human interventions have had more impact on the ecology of the planet than anything caused by an average 1 degree rise – the introduction of grey squirrels to the UK, dogs and cats to Mauritius, rabbits to Australia, the attempts to prevent or control forest fires in Australia and the USA etc.

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  34. “shows a poor understanding of the subtleties of language. I’ve noticed that skeptics often have trouble there.”

    Pot, meet kettle.

    “Anyway, can we conclude that everyone here does indeed see a 1C rise as something to be worried about?”

    I’m not worried about anything climate related. That doesn’t mean that can’t change. I don’t sense much worry from most people including you. More of a hobby than a cause.

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  35. ATTP (2:10pm), I am sorry to learn how vexed you are, but pleased that you realise my intentions were innocent. I would like this place to be a congenial one for you to visit and express yourself, because I think you could learn a lot. But you shouldn’t mind if I point out when you have been a bit naughty.

    But let me return to my supposition that more technical folks in the Masters of the Universe camp are preparing to give their more political counterparts a boost for their November conference in Morocco. They were given a 1.5C target on a plate from Paris, along with suitable admonitions to us all to act now to save the world by shooting ourselves in various feet that we really do need such as abundant affordable and reliable energy supplies.

    Now the politicals turn to the technicals for authority, and the technicals turn to the politicals for funding and prestige. So we really do seem to have a mutual back-scratching situation here, an ‘ongoing’ one as some say, or even one we face ‘going forward’. Meanwhile uncounted thousands of active players and chatterers are out there doing their bit to scare the public, get donations, make profitable scoops of subsidies for windfarms and the like, and generally have a high old time of it. Some like to march with placards, some like to run hedge-funds; some like to impose privations upon themselves, others cling to their private jets and energy-guzzling mansions; but they are all united in a grand cause: saving the world!

    But I have this niggle: they seem intent on saving it by making it worse for most of us, and they are doing so it would seem based on a flimsy conjecture that our emissions of CO2 have a controlling, and seriously detrimental, effect on the climate system. A role which that vital gas does not seem to have had in the past, nor does it seem to have it in the present. Nigglesome, that.

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  36. The argument that we should be worried about a 1C rise in GMST because 4-5C is the difference between a glacial and interglacial strikes me as unsophisticated and lacking in context. GMST has fluctuated up and down by at least 1-2C over the course of the Holocene, with more pronounced fluctuations in regional temperature at high latitudes and the poles. Increases in temperature have generally been beneficial to human civilisation whereas decreases have often proved fairly catastrophic.

    So if you ask me whether I am worried about a 1C increase in GMST over pre-industrial (when the world was still struggling to recover from the LIA), I can say that I am not at all worried. If you ask me whether I would be concerned about another 1C rise over the coming century, I would be more concerned – on the assumption only that the rise was due entirely to CO2 emissions. But to say ‘well, that’s 1/4 or 1/5 of the difference between a glacial and interglacial’ completely misses the point.

    Firstly, it assumes that 1C will turn into 2, then 3, then 4 and so on. Secondly, as we are talking an increase in temperature, the baseline is totally different. It may or may not have escaped some peoples’ notice that we are not currently in the depths of an Ice Age. So we don’t have huge ice sheets covering Chicago and northern England (latitudes where solar insolation is very significant in summer) which are going to melt and produce huge albedo feedbacks. Thirdly, at the poles and at high latitudes the temp difference between an ice age or not is of the order of 8-10C and I’m pretty sure that the poles have warmed nowhere near this amount since 1850.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. John Shade

    they seem intent on saving it by making it worse for most of us, and they are doing so it would seem based on a flimsy conjecture that our emissions of CO2 have a controlling, and seriously detrimental, effect on the climate system. A role which that vital gas does not seem to have had in the past, nor does it seem to have it in the present

    The link between CO2 and temperatures has been heavily researched and is far from flimsy. I’m also unsure whether anyone claims that changes will have a “detrimental effect on the climate system”. Maybe some do, but my impression is that the greater worry is about damage to people, societies and ecosystems, not the climate for its own sake – that would be stupid. So saying CO2 has not had a detrimental effect in the past is rather silly.

    Jaime, the comparison of 1C with the 4C difference between average winter/summer temps or glacial/inter-glacial temperatures is that it indicates how profoundly a relatively small change in average temperature (among other things) can alter the environment. It is clearly of no use in an analytic, quantitative sense, but it might provide useful context.


    Pot, meet kettle.

    I make mistakes, like most people. I don’t remember ever calling anyone a liar, an accusation that seems to slide easily from the lips of many “skeptics”.


  38. Raff you insult people on a regular basis, by putting the worst spin on everything people write. You accused me of racism when I caught you lying about your origin. You’ve referred to sceptics as deniers which is the same as saying we’re lying. After that, the gloves were off. You’re not squeaky clean Raff, pretending you are is lying. If you were worth it I’d go through some of your more offensive posts but you’re not.


  39. Jamie @ 07 Apr 16 at 5:16 pm
    I agree with your comment

    The argument that we should be worried about a 1C rise in GMST because 4-5C is the difference between a glacial and interglacial strikes me as unsophisticated and lacking in context.

    I would like to enlarge upon it. You rightly say that at the poles it is 8-10C warmer today than during the last glacial. But I do not think that this is where the most extreme warming has taking place. Currently average annual temperatures in Manchester (UK) and Chicago are 10C and 10.7C. (See Wikipedia entries for the cities) When they were covered with 1000 metres of more of ice I am sure that average temperatures would be well below zero.
    In both cities the coldest month is January and the warmest is July. The difference in the mean temperatures of these months is 12C in Manchester and 28C in Chicago.
    Globally the 1C of warming since 1880 has a lot of variation. For instance Gistemp split the average temperature data into eight bands of latitude. Last year I graphed these.

    The most Northerly – extending slightly south of the Arctic – shows 2C of warming in the early 20th century and also 2C of warming since the 1970s. The most southerly band is the most interesting. As there were no weather stations on Antarctica until the 1950s it seems that Gistemp used Base Orcadas (60.8 S 44.7 W) as a proxy. There the average temperature variation is highly erratic before 1940, and post 1960 does not seem to bear any relationship to the Gistemp anomaly for 90S-64S.
    In appears to be extremely dangerous to use average global temperature as a metric without endeavoring to understand the variation within that figure, along with the assumptions made when raw data quality is poor, or there is a shortage of data.


  40. mbc,

    Thanks for the reply. Interesting. I’m not too sure about the NASA GISTEMP graph of Arctic temperatures. It shows the 1930s/40s a full degree colder than the present warm peak, which may be the case, but Hadcrut 4 data conflicts with this and even NASA themselves quoted a study in 2012 which purportedly demonstrated that the Arctic was warmer in the 1930s than now. Whatever the case, as you say, raw data on Arctic and especially Antarctic temps before 1950 is very sparse, even more so prior to 1900. Just for the record though, satellites show Antarctic temperatures declining considerably since 1979 with even the warming in the Arctic tailing off since 2011 (this year being the exception of course, but the trend is downwards).

    In terms of the long term trend over the last 1500 years, Arctic temps appear to be on the decline according to one reconstruction published in 2008, using tree rings in Northern Sweden. It also shows that 1900 was the coldest it has been throughout the entire 1500 years, so it is perhaps no surprise that it has warmed since then. Looking at past natural variability, there appears to be little case to be made for attributing the current warming to human emissions of co2.


  41. …AND THEN THERE’S PHYSICS (07 Apr 16 at 2:10 pm)
    You link to my comment for support for your statement that “there were clearly suggestions that 1 to 2C will not that big a deal.” Fair enough. I’m going by the evidence available to any informed layman. We’re told there’s been a 1°C rise in a short time (because of the ups and downs and the unreliability of the temperature data you can choose your time period). We’re not offered any evidence of negative effects. We’re told they’ll be bad above 1.5°C. Why? Or, to put it more generally, what damage has ever been caused by man-made climate change that couldn’t just as well have been caused by ordinary weather? Try telling a poor Filipino peasant whose house has been swept away by a mudslide that the event was rendered more probable by man-made climate change. What would he prefer? A reduction in your and my carbon footprint? Or a better (energy intensive) house made of concrete?


  42. Raff, you write, “Northward movement of populations/species is already seen. That may be beneficial, or not, depending upon species and perspective (eg. a ‘pest’ species that evades its predators or controls because of a change in emergence timing or a lack of cold winters would experience that as beneficial). In any event it is likely to be a profound change.”

    Likely? We have seen this happen for centuries–read your almanacs. From changed migratory patterns to poleward movements of species, there is abundant evidence that species adapt their behavior in response to climate change. All without our help.

    In most cases it hasn’t been a big deal. I suppose it’s possible that this time will be different, but… why? How?


  43. Geoff (7:55 am), you illustrate one of the most poisonous, divisive aspects of the glib, widespread, and unsupported attribution to the first industrialised nations of severe bad-weather associated events.

    Imagine the view of those affected by such events if they have been led to believe that the blame is with the rich folks to the north. A recipe for bitterness, confrontation, and conflict. Another consequence of the gross irresponsibility of those who have promoted alarm-hype about our CO2 emissions.


  44. Tiny CO2, John Shade,

    It isn’t so much the anomaly as the base period used for the anomaly. E.g. much of CRU presentations have always been anomalies compared to 1961-90, which in the CET had some of the coldest years in the record, guaranteed to give a warm anomaly.

    18 December 2001
    “The year 2001 is set to be the second warmest year in the past 142 years, according to figures released by the Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva today. Globally, the current trend of very warm years continues. Nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 1990, including 1999 and 2000; only 1998 was warmer than 2001. Average global temperatures have risen by more than 0.6 °C over the past 100 years, although the rise has not been continuous. These global statistics are compiled using data from land and sea, which have been analysed by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia. The global mean temperature is likely to be about 0.42 °C above the 1961-1990 normal.”

    “Fourth warmest year globally – fifth warmest for England
    Figures compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia (UEA) for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reveal that 2004 has been the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1861. Global mean surface temperature over land and sea was 0.44 °C above the 1961-1990 average; for land areas alone, it was even warmer at 0.67 °C above the average. The last ten years has seen 9 of the 10 warmest years on record with only 1996 not making the top ten.”

    Mon Oct 20 14:09:27 2008 CRU E-mails
    from: Phil Jones

    1. The Arctic issue. We’re getting SST data in from ships travelling around in regions where we haven’t had any data from for the 1961-90 base period. We’re still figuring out how to use these. However we do it, it will only raise temperatures.
    2. SST is being measured differently now than it was in the 1980s. Before about 1990 it was almost exclusively from ships. Automatic instruments called drifters began to be deployed (by both research and some merchant ships). They do what the name implies – drift around – and send SST an sea-level pressure measurements back to ground stations by satellites. They work for a few years till they pack up or get beached. The issue is that they now (2008) form about 85% of the SST data coming in. With now about 15 years of overlap, we are learning that their SST measurements are about 0.1 deg C cooler than the ships – probably because on average they measure at slightly different depths than the ships.

    Anyway the 1961-90 base period is a ship-based base period, so when the adjustments have been completed we will likely raise SST values by about 0.1 deg C now, reducing to zero gradually back to the mid-1990s. This type of adjustment has to be made, and it can only be made in retrospect. How the temperature is measured is as important as the temperature value itself. The drifters are giving us much better spatial coverage – especially the Southern Oceans. We will probably have to revise our 1961-90 averages for these regions, now we have many more observations for them – not just drifters but satellite estimates as well.

    From Phil Jones
    To: “Parker, David (Met Office)” , Neil Plummer

    Subject: RE: Fwd: Monthly CLIMATbulletins
    Date: Thu Jan 6 08:54:58 2005
    Cc: “Thomas C Peterson”

    Just to reiterate David’s points, I’m hoping that IPCC will stick with 1961-90. The issue of confusing users/media with new anomalies from a different base period is the key one in my mind. Arguments about
    the 1990s being better observed than the 1960s don’t hold too much water with me.

    There is some discussion of going to 1981-2000 to help the modelling chapters. If we do this it will be a bit of a bodge as it will be hard to do things properly for the surface temp and precip as we’d lose loads of
    stations with long records that would then have incomplete normals. If we do we will likely achieve it by re-zeroing series and maps in an ad hoc way.

    There won’t be any move by IPCC to go for 1971-2000, as it won’t help with satellite series or the models. 1981-2000 helps with MSU series and the much better Reanalyses and also globally-complete SST.

    20 years (1981-2000) isn’t 30 years, but the rationale for 30 years isn’t that compelling. The original argument was for 35 years around 1900 because Bruckner found 35 cycles in some west Russian
    lakes (hence periods like 1881-1915). This went to 30 as it easier to compute.

    Personally I don’t want to change the base period till after I retire!



    That’s climate science for you……


  45. Dennis,
    It’s almost as if you’re suggesting that the choice of base period somehow influences the anomalies? You do realise that it simply moves everything up or down, it doesn’t change whether or not an anomaly is warm, or cold, relative to another.


  46. Thomaswfuller2, Yes movement of populations according to conditions always happens, whether change is anthropogenic in origin or not. I suggest that there will be profound changes because the change in temperatures could be profound – one quarter of the average difference between winter/summer or glaciation/interglacial. That is not proof but it is suggestive.

    Denisambler, the anomaly base period is not important unless one wants to compare graphs etc. in which case using the same relatively long base period is essential. The BP only affects where zero is. One could use the period 1986-2016 if one wanted and then all the anomalies before about 2000 would be negative. Or one could use just 2015 as the BP and then everything would be negative. So what?


  47. Raff, on what is your suggestion that there will be profound changes based? Although changes have been observed in some species (plant and animal), they are mostly the same species that have changed behaviour in the past to accommodate the exigencies of the climate. I see nothing in WG2 or WG3 to indicate there is a base of evidence available to query.


  48. Just a guess.

    …mostly the same species that have changed behaviour in the past to accommodate the exigencies of the climate

    Like humans for example. But when we numbered only in the millions globally that didn’t matter much.


  49. Dennis (8 Apr, 10:39 am) you do well to remind us of the peculiar, doesn’t want to be inconvenienced, attitude of one Phil Jones. Was he not head of CRU during the data mis-management so evocatively captured in the HarryReadMe file (see extracts here, for example, http://a-sceptical-mind.com/heres-harry)?

    Perhaps our Phil was aware of the shambles, and did not want to add to it by going for reforms of base-periods? Easier than dealing with the shambles I suppose, and that shambles never got in the way of them all positioning themselves in the vanguard of planet saviours.

    Oh sorry world, that our saviours of this ilk are so, without exception as far as I can see, made of such unimpressive stuff! Yet they they act as if they are Masters of the Universe, and treat we humble citizens with contempt for failing to fall meekly into line. Strange, or what?


  50. He also shows Phil Jones to be right that explaining baseline periods to most people is too much trouble. Even Dennis (and maybe others here) who presumably knows much more than most lay people about climate science (even if close to nothing) doesn’t understand that the base period is arbitrary. What hope is there for the general public understanding that?


  51. Jamie @ 08 Apr 16 at 7:42 am
    Had a few issues with the website over the weekend, or I would have got back to you sooner.
    There are issues with the GISTEMP figures. In John Shades’s “Extremely Disconnected from Reality” article he discussed Michael Kelly’s article “Trends in Extreme Weather Events since 1900 – An Enduring Conundrum for Wise Policy Advice”. Look at Figure 4 to the article, comparing a Hansen 1981 temperature reconstruction with 5 Year Running Mean with the current GISTEMP on the same basis. (NB spot the typo in the description)
    The switch from 1980 being 0.15C cooler to 0.2C warmer needs a better explanation that some bland statements about improved scientific understanding, or pointing to the hundreds of papers on the subject. In most other areas (e.g. safety standards, testing of pharmaceuticals before approval, forensic evidence used in court) it is generally accepted that clear independent standards are laid down. With GISTEMP there are plenty of reasoned arguments as to why changes are necessary by the folks developing the series, but no real checks to see if the revised estimate is closer to the actual, but unknown, mean anomalies over time. The rogue Antarctica series suggests not.


  52. Jamie
    As is known, prior to 1950 temperature data becomes sparser. But does this cause a problem when creating a global mean? As I tried to show, even when the GISTEMP global data is broken down into just eight bands of latitude, there are huge differences in trend. There is also the general acceptance that the temperature data is of poor quality and has measurement biases such as due to re-siting of the weather station or the urban heat island effect. Such anomalous data will bias the results. Data homogenisation – normally pairwise comparisons between adjacent temperature stations – are used to wheedle out the larger biases. There are issues with this process. A fierce exchange on data homogenisation was kicked off by Paul Homewood early last year when he found that a cluster of temperature stations covering much of Paraguay had similar homogenisation adjustments. Critics picked up on a single temperature station – Puerto Casado – to show that it was anomalous. I looked at the eight affected stations, finding that they had similar cooling of about 1C at the end of the 1960s. This feature was not shown in the wider area, such as in central Brazil or Northern Argentina. As such a real discrepancy in the data was eliminated by data homogenisation.
    This leads to a general problem. Temperature trends may vary randomly from one area to another. What appears to be rouge data might well be due to genuine differences between one location and another. Given that temperature trends differ across the globe (see the
    Gistemp global maps) the sparser the weather stations, the greater the genuine disparities are likely to be. Conversely many of the longer data sets are in cities or near to airports, where over time there is a growing UHI effect. Consistent biases will be at least partially retained by pairwise comparisons. For these reasons the early twentieth century warming is likely to be understated and the late twentieth century warming overstated.


  53. The switch from 1980 being 0.15C cooler to 0.2C warmer needs a better explanation that some bland statements about improved scientific understanding, or pointing to the hundreds of papers on the subject.

    The answer is actually pretty obvious. It’s not a correct comparison. In 1981, Hansen clearly did not have data beyond 1981 and, in fact, probably only had data till about 1980 (given that the paper was published in 1981). Therefore the final data point in the left-hand figure is not 1980, but more like 1977. The reason it might look like 1980 is because it just happens to line up with the tick mark on the right-hand axis. If you look at the right-hand figure you will notice some fairly rapid warming in the late 1970s that the left-hand figure has not yet captured. To do a proper comparison you should consider 1977 in the right-hand figure and the difference will be considerably smaller than Michael Kelly claims in his paper. It should also be clear if you consider the other structures between 1940 and 1980. It’s clear that the data has not been shifted up by 0.35C.

    FWIW, I emailed Michael Kelly about exactly this point. He responded to say that others had also pointed this out and that he would try and issue a correction.


  54. Mbc,

    Sorry for not responding sooner.

    “For these reasons the early twentieth century warming is likely to be understated and the late twentieth century warming overstated.”

    As regards the actual magnitude of the warming in the late 20th century compared to the peak in the 1940s, this may be the case if UHI effect has been underestimated. I’m no expert so I can’t comment too much, but Willie Soon and the Connolly Bros. had an interesting paper last year which tackled this issue in the NH temp record:

    “Then, in order to account for the problem of urbanization bias, we compile a new estimate of Northern Hemisphere surface air temperature trends since 1881, using records from predominantly rural stations in the monthly Global Historical Climatology Network dataset. Like previous weather station-based estimates, our new estimate suggests that surface air temperatures warmed during the 1880s-1940s and 1980s-2000s. However, this new estimate suggests these two warming periods were separated by a pronounced cooling period during the 1950s-1970s and that the relative warmth of the mid-20th century warm period was comparable to the recent warm period.”

    I think that whatever, GISTEMP seriously overestimates the slope of the warming trend post 1980 in comparison to the 1910-1940s warming trend. In Hadcrut3, the slope of both is about the same, but obviously the sharp cooling after 1940 is not enough to reverse the general warming over the entire period; hence the latter half of the 20th century ends up warmer than the 1940s peak.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Green celebs march on Morocco for Green March celebs then COP22:


    In 1975, Morocco’s king got lots of his subjects, escorted by lots of his soldiers, to march towards the border with Spanish Sahara AKA Western Sahara, which was then a Spanish colony on the verge of independence. This so-called ‘Green March’ (green then being the colour of Islam) triggered Morocco’s armed takeover of the colony, which to this day remains a reluctant colony of Morocco. (Remember the Polisario?)

    Tomorrow, Diego Maradona will be playing in a football match commemorating the 41st anniversary of this not-so-peaceful, not-so-green invasion (as will Rivaldo, and maybe even Pele). After the match, Maradona will stick around to appear at the opening ceremony of COP22 alongside other ‘green’ celebs – Sir Bono, Akon, Robert Redford, Arnie, Sir Leonardo DiBloodyCaprio etc.

    Most odd.

    Or, in the modern parlance: WTF?


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