Climate spending cut in Trump’s budget

Donald Trump has published a budget, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again

There’s an increase in defense spending (+10%), and cutbacks, often referred to as savings, in the Department of State (-29%) and the Environmental Protection Agency (-31%).

Climate is explicitly mentioned in just two paragraphs. Under the Department of State:

The President’s 2018 Budget:

Eliminates the Global Climate Change Initiative and fulfills the President’s pledge to cease payments to the United Nations’ (UN) climate change programs by eliminating U.S. funding related to the Green Climate Fund and its two precursor Climate Investment Funds.

And for the EPA, where 3,200 jobs will go:

The President’s 2018 Budget:

Discontinues funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts—saving over $100 million for the American taxpayer compared to 2017 annualized CR levels. Consistent with the President’s America First Energy Plan, the Budget reorients EPA’s air program to protect the air we breathe without unduly burdening the American economy.

It seems that he wants the EPA to focus on “protecting air, land and water”.

There is a section on NASA, which gets a small cutback (-0.8%). It doesn’t explicitly mention their climate work, though some climate-related satellite programs are cut.

Before any of this actually happens, it would have to be approved by Congress, which is likely to be a problem for Mr Trump.

 

107 thoughts on “Climate spending cut in Trump’s budget

  1. The President is required by congress to submit a budget proposal. It serves as a starting point for the House of Representatives to begin to construct the actual budget, which is just the series of funding appropriations the Constitution requires the House to originate and pass, then get Senate approval. Watermelon heads exploding all over Washington DC today. WaPo is apoplectic already. Both UNFCCC and the affiliated Green Climate Fund have to be zeroed by US statutory laws passed in 1991 and 1994, respectivly. They require complete defunding of any UN agency (UNFCCC) or affiliate (GCF) that recognized Palestine as a member state. UNFCCC did so in April, 2016. So that part of the cuts is certain. The second $500 million GCF tranche Obama sent was illegal.

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  2. We all know that ATTP thinks that publishing the climategate emails was shocking, unethical, scandalous and so on. And right – thinking people should just ignore them. Any guesses for his views on the theft, illegal possession and illegal dissemination of Trump’s tax return?

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  3. Man in q barrel.
    I shall, on principle, ignore and shun Trump’s tax returns, as I tried to do with mine. But the taxman cameth.

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  4. I found publication of the bits of Trump’s returns interesting. They support the view that he pays taxes…a lot by wealthy high end standards. ATTP pretending that climategate should be ignored relegates him to the intellectual space occupied by by religious fanatics and other faith based extremists whose views cannot accept any counter information.

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  5. Paul Driessen has a guest post up at WUWT in which he outlines the schemings of the ‘little-known FSB’:

    A powerful international organization, the Financial Stability Board, includes a task force that is helping to coordinate numerous attacks on financial, investing, insurance and other firms … and their clients … in the name of preventing dangerous manmade climate change. By locking up centuries of fossil fuel reserves, the FSB’s army of agitators hope to benefit immensely – at the expense of ordinary people everywhere.

    He is none too pleased about their machinations:

    Even though it is already overly complex, the current financial reporting system works. It deals with real, measurable, familiar risks, and helps countries address and overcome those risks. Politicizing the system, and forcing it to refocus on conjectural, exaggerated and fabricated climate and sustainability risks would upend the entire international energy, insurance and financial system. It would bring disastrous results for jobs and families – but no climate, environmental or sustainability benefits. And it would do absolutely nothing about the unreliable energy, health risks, environmental impacts, child labor and other problems embedded in the renewable and sustainable schemes the Cabal promotes so passionately, and deceitfully.

    But the rewards of this FSB/Climate Cabal deceit are enormous – incomprehensible to normal people. Says Thimann: “Over the next 15 years, an estimated $93 trillion will be needed for investments in low-carbon infrastructure.” That’s five times the size of the entire 2015 US economy!

    Perhaps worst of all, these FSB and other government officials, unelected bureaucrats, industrialists, and tax-exempt pressure groups are colluding to enrich and empower themselves … and fundamentally transform the global economy – to our detriment, and especially the detriment of the world’s poorest families – using our taxpayer, consumer, and investment, retirement, insurance and pension fund money!

    Congress, the Trump Administration and responsible state officials need to investigate, terminate and punish this deception, self-dealing, extortion, and incalculable harm to businesses, workers and families that rely on reliable, affordable carbon-based energy (and will for decades to come).

    The Trump administration is faced with a target-rich environment when it comes to finding harmful extravagances to cut back on. May they go from strength to strength in doing just that,

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  6. John, you see sense and sanity in the Trump administration, but many people see dysfunction and chaos. His tax return shows that he pays the alternative minimum tax – a tax that he wants to abolish. Admirably sticking to his principles, do you think? – the principle that he shouldn’t have to pay taxes like ordinary people. Maybe you will be unbothered that he apparently wants to abolish the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program despite all the bleating here about energy poverty.

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  7. “The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. We provide federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with:

    Home energy bills
    Energy crises
    Weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs
    LIHEAP can help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer through programs that reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices.”

    https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/liheap/about

    For the record, subject to more information about how it is implemented, I think that programme seems sensible, and it would be foolish to cut it back.

    On the other hand, cheaper energy would be good (even better), and might mean that there was less need for such a programme.

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  8. By the way, William, it’s interesting that you consider concern about fuel poverty to be “bleating.” Interesting choice of word. Can I assume that paying your energy bills are not a problem for you personally?

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  9. Mark, much talk about fuel poverty appears insincere. For example, making the first hundred kWh per month cost much less cures any effect of renewables on the fuel poor but will you find support for the idea here?

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  10. Actually, yes, William. Tiered pricing and subsidies for the poor are just fine with me. I’m not sure how that actually relates to fuel source but I think you’d be surprised at the support the idea might garner. I’m not sure you actually know too terribly much about either the blogging crew or the audience here. Is it possible you arrived with one or two preconceptions?

    And if so, are those preconceptions open to adjustment if facts fly in the face of fancy?

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  11. Tom, I’ll be open to being persuaded that sensible opinion is not overwhelmed by extremist thought here when I see some kickback from people other than me against suggestions from the likes of John that the Trump administration has injected any sort of sense or sanity into government policy. You and Mark seem to have better instincts, but you fail to challenge the crazy and thus to an extent, you own it.

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  12. So “climate concerned” people say skeptics are bleating about energy costs. How revealing. The chances are about 100% that the low income energy program has become bloated and wasteful under the stewardship of the climate kooks running the last Administration. Reforming it can only help. Of course not finishing the comment that President Trump made that taxes on the wealthy should increase doesn’t fit the alt.reality world if our lefty friends.

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  13. William, do you ‘own, Guy McPherson, Michael Tobis and commenters ranging from Barton Paul Levenson, sod, BBD and on into the mists of insanity?

    I own what I believe, think and say.

    Regarding comments here regarding the US federal bureaucracy, I believe, think and say that there is some truth to what I read here–I consider it natural that after 8 years of a Democratic administration (I am a Democrat and a progressive liberal as well, not always the same thing) that some federal departments do get a bit plus-sized. Typically the succeeding Republican adminstration(s) put them on a starvation diet and a lot of good things get lost as well as the excess weight. But that doesn’t mean I agree with everything written in the comments by skeptics and shame on you for trying to assign such responsibility.

    If you wish to succeed in being a part of the Climate Conversation you would do well to start by confronting the best of the opposition’s arguments rather than the worst. Your second step would be confronting what your interlocutor actually writes.

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  14. How does increasing taxes for the rich tie in with wanting to get rid of the alternative minimum tax, the tax that meant the difference between Trump paying 5% and 25%. Doubtless abolishing the AMT is simple good sense for Trump’s personal finances, but we wouldn’t know that if Trump had had his way. Sanity (in John’s world) is clearly letting the little people pay taxes while cutting taxes for billionaires.

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  15. Tom, I don’t comment anywhere where those people write, so they are not my concern. You do comment here and you let nonsense go by unchallenged, such as that the Trump team is introducing sanity into policy. I judge you by what you say – if you don’t challenge nonsense on a thread to which you contribute, I assume you don’t disagree with it. You challenged me, why not John?

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  16. The real question is what should the US Environmental Protection Agency be doing for a living? Should their remit be focused on air, land and water or should they be leading the country’s efforts to combat climate change?

    If the latter, they are woefully under-resourced in terms of rational thinking. Just look at how they arrive at fantasy figures for the social cost of carbon as one example. If the former, then they should shed those resources committed to climate efforts and get back to their original task.

    If they are to be assigned both areas of responsibility the department needs extensive overhauling and considerably more resources, both physical and in terms of good judgment.

    Returning to their efforts to calculate and impose a social cost of carbon by the ton, as with similar disasters like calculating levelized cost of energy production, they did it so badly that the resultant product is worthless. Worse, they don’t admit error. Worse they’re setting up a regime that will perpetuate their error. I am not against using a figure for SCC or LCOE. But I want the figures to be at least sane, if not correct.

    I think Donald Trump will be an absolutely horrible president. Horrible for the country, horrible for the world. But I felt the same about George W. Bush and after he left office I was forced to concede that his efforts in advancement of the Millenium Goals and the fight against HIV/AIDs merited not just grudging and half-hearted acknowledgement but sincere thanks from the world. With that in mind I think that the current administration may prove a useful corrective to previous policy on climate change. I think Trump may actually do something right, even if it’s unintentional.

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  17. Our posts crossed, William. I see you are adopting the familiar Pontius Pilate attitude towards those who are cheerfully robbing your position of credibility. That’s okay.

    I challenge you and not John Shade because the consensus position bears the responsibility of authority. When John’s team fully assumes the mantle of decision-making I will be equally vigorous in confronting them.

    For thirty years your ‘team’ has been studiously ignoring the idiotic things that some of your ‘team’ say. It has done a lot of damage. However, I at least have learned something from your errors.

    When John Shade says that the Trump administration has a target rich environment for cuts, I disagree on the facts of the matter. A Republican congress kept federal spending very low during the Obama administration, which shamefully retarded our recovery from the recession. But I am not going to clutch pearls because a Republican espouses Republican policy.

    I am offended by what your ‘team’ has done to both the Democratic party and the ideals of social liberalism–you’ve trashed them in pursuit of a goal that science has yet to validate. My lingering question to all of you is ‘But for Wales?”

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  18. Tom, I don’t know what you find objectionable in what the people you named write, eg BBD. I’ve looked at a few comments by some of them and nothing jumps out. Maybe you have an example.

    Politically, I think we are quite close. I find it hard to see where your objection to climate science comes from or why your perspective should be so different from mine.

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  19. William

    I can’t speak for others (and they are certainly more than capable of speaking for themselves) but I suspect the difference between you and me isn’t so much with regard to BASIC climate science as with the policy response to it, and also with the more extreme claims of climate science.

    If I interpret you correctly (and I may not) you are happier with the more extreme claims of climate science than I am, and you have less of a problem with the policy prescriptions stemming therefrom than I do. These are perfectly respectable areas for disagreement between decent and intelligent people. That being the case it’s why I get annoyed when some people (not you) label people like me as “deniers” etc.

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  20. William, I don’t object to climate science–I don’t know where you get that idea. There’s quite a lot going around that either pretends to be climate science or hides behind the skirts of climate science that I do object to.

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  21. If someone can read more than 3 comments by BBD and not see something that resembles a chimp throwing shit then maybe something is wrong, or maybe ATTP has succeeded in eliminating opposing points of view. If ATTP understood the scientific method, I would have used the word sceptical there rather than opposing But he doesn’t. The concepts of proof and evidence are beyond his intellectual capacity. Is BBD allowed to throw tantrums on any other websites these days? I remember that Ben Pile had a really good example a few years ago

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  22. Mark, my understanding is that there is a range of possible outcomes from enhanced CO2 that includes minor and major disturbance of ecosystems and populations. Since we have the knowledge and the technology to address the issue, it seems foolish to just hope for the best.

    Tom, does that mean that you also accept what I just wrote to Mark?

    Man in a Boat, I’ve just read numerous a few articles at ATTP including comments by BBS and see nothing unreasonable. Can you point out something that causes such ire in you?

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  23. Sniff…sniff…sniff…

    Hmmm, I detect a very strong stench of ‘Concern Troll’ on this blog.

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  24. Hiya Cat–how’re you doing? Sure that isn’t a cold you’re fighting? 🙂

    William, I have been writing about measures we should be taking for close to a decade now. Some of which we should do even if we’re heading into an Ice Age. Some of which are prudent stopgaps to buy us time to prepare if climate impacts turn out to be large. Some of which are just plain mitigation. Some of which are things I call ‘pre-adaptation’, in that they need to be done to deal with present weather, but can have a safety margin added in recognition of climate change. And some of which are just plain adaptation.

    They range from carbon taxes to technology transfer to the developing world, from withdrawing insurance guarantees from flood plains and surge-prone areas, from attacking black soot and deforestation to booms in front of harbor cities, from investing in nuclear power to subsidizing renewables.

    And none of those ideas originated with me. All of them came from the lukewarmer crew and all were immediately attacked by those staunch defenders of the consensus and earned them and me the labels of denier, luckwarmer, delayer, etc.

    So don’t expect me to take you too seriously, William. As Catweazle sniffed out, you ask for lots of information from us and volunteer none of your own. That’s pretty much the first sign of a tone troll.

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  25. Tom & cw, it is not so much that William is a troll. It is that he seems to be trying the best he can, and this is apparently his best. He likely offers no actual ideas because he has none to offer. He can only look for ways to quote the climate obsessed equivalent of bible verses as a verbal charm to scare away evil denialists. And like any fanatic, anyone who is not as rabid and shallow as they are is a denialist/heretic. The climate extremists are hoping to achieve by repeating their apocalyptic mantra endlessly what they cannot achieve in reality: be correct. William seems to be doing little more than that. Perhaps he will surprise me but I doubt it.

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  26. Might I add a few words in support of people like William who inhabit sites like this and eventually get called trolls. I believe they provide a valuable service (even ATTL). First they keep these sites lively and stimulating; second they commonly cause us to examine our beliefs, to question them and ultimately to strengthen them. Finally, when as a group we challenge such people we inform each other of our latest thinking that otherwise might never surface.
    Value our trolls, good ones add spice and bring out new flavours.

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  27. How about this as a fairly typical example of a certain debating style?

    Do we pander to the nutters when it comes to their thinly-veiled racism? No. Never. Do we pander to the nutters when it comes to their lunatic economic “policies”? No. So why do so when it comes to their promotion of physics denial? We have to fight back instead of constantly making excuses for the behaviour of the denial industry and its opportunistic political enablers and witless camp followers.

    A large part of the problem here is that too many people involved on the sanity side are that little bit too decent and kind by nature to be effective against the ruthless dishonesty being used against them. And they do not seem able to see this.

    BBD on December 11, 2013 at 9:14 am
    That is why I have some sympathy for Barry’s approach of trying to find points we can at least find some agreement.

    That is not Barry’s approach. Barry simply *sounds* reasonable on the surface. Look carefully at the content of what he posts – here and elsewhere – and you will see an unyielding rejection of mainstream physical climatology and incessant undermining of trust in climate scientists. [Mod : I’ve just removed the last bit of the comment. A bit too close to being a personal judgement.

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  28. His tax return shows that he pays the alternative minimum tax – a tax that he wants to abolish. Admirably sticking to his principles, do you think?

    I admit to knowing little about the different tiers of income tax in the USA. However, if it is possible to compute the affairs of one individual in one way that amounts to $5m tax and in another way that amounts to $38m tax (quoting from my memories of various news bulletins which are mostly written by people with less than a precise knowledge of Tax) , then the system appears to me to be a shambles and in urgent need of a major overhaul. In other words the chaos and disorder that you see precedes Trump’s presidency. It could be that the voters saw in Trump a person prepared to do something about seemingly absurd features of the US state.

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  29. William: “Mark, my understanding is that there is a range of possible outcomes from enhanced CO2 that includes minor and major disturbance of ecosystems and populations. Since we have the knowledge and the technology to address the issue, it seems foolish to just hope for the best.”

    I would go a long way to agreeing with the first line of that (while noting that it makes no mention of possible benefits arising from CO2 emissions, such as increasing food supply, greening the Sahel etc – we need a more balanced and nuanced debate, rather than one which just assumes everything will be bad and refuses to believe there could be any benefit).

    I disagree with the second line of your comment. I think we over-estimate our knowledge of a chaotic climate system, and our ability to do anything useful about it. Like many lukewarm sceptics, I don’t believe in just hoping for the best, but think that adaptation will be far more useful and cost-effective than many of the attempts at mitigation suggested or tried to date. But I could of course be wrong. It is why I wish the debate in the MSM and among the more extreme alarmists would move on from allegations of denialism, and spend more time having an intelligent discussion of appropriate policy responses.

    By the way, I would also endorse Alan K’s comments. It’s not my site, so it’s not my call, but so far as I am concerned, William is most welcome here, both as a matter of common courtesy, and for the reasons Alan sets out.

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  30. I mostly agree with Alan K’s comments too, as well as yours Mark H. I say mostly because I fear I do not have the saintly levels of patience required to get engaged with these generally tiresome visitors. But such engagement is very admirable in my view, because I think, in my optimistic way, that it is very desirable that that takes place on a widespread scale in order to provide pastoral care for the generations of folks who have been through any or all of nursery to tertiary schooling over the past few decades of the Great CO2 Scare. I further suspect that most do not have much by way of knowledge of climate variation and its possible causes, but are, as Hunter notes above merely repeating catechisms of the new faith.

    Manic has noted (on another thread: https://cliscep.com/2017/03/08/illustrations-of-conjectures-are-not-evidence-for-them/#comment-12193 ) what one must sometimes expect if challenging what people may hold as gospel truth, not in need of defending: ‘The response is to ignore the problem. Some, when cornered will be quite rude in their avoidance of reality.’ [and he gives this link to cast some some light on poor manners and jaw-dropping convolutions that can occur: https://manicbeancounter.com/2015/04/26/attp-on-lombergs-australian-funding/ (see the comments section expecially)]

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  31. Here’s a question I think I’ve asked before, but I’ve never really had a satisfactory answer, so I’ll try again. There are a number of people here who seem to be complaining about the conduct of others, while appearing to completely ignore their own conduct and how their conduct might contribute to the poor dialogue when it comes to online discussions about this topic. Here’s the question (and I am seriously in an answer): why is it that some people here seem to expect better behaviour from others than from themselves? This seems – to me at least – like a double standard, but maybe you have a valid reason that I haven’t yet considered.

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  32. I was taking another look at Nicola Scafetta’s 2012 paper for the SPPI this morning, and for the first time followed up a link he gave at the end of it in this paragraph:

    About the other common AGW slogan according to which the current mainstream AGW climate science cannot be challenged because it has been based on the so-called “scientific consensus,” I would strongly suggest the reading of this post by Kevin Rice at the blog Catholibertarian entitled “On the dangerous naivety of uncritical acceptance of the scientific consensus”
    https://catholibertarian.com/2011/12/30/on-the-dangerous-naivete-of-uncritical-acceptance-of-the-scientific-consensus/
    It is a very educational and open-mind reading, in my opinion.

    The [fixed]link is to a long article from a Christian perspective, and that is relevant to my previous comment since that religion has a fine tradition of pastoral care as part of its compassionate approach to humanity. The author recalls many examples of failed ‘scientific consensus’, and of how harsh the treatment can be for those who dare challenge them, and notes that a friend of his has decided to rely on his presumption that there is a modern ‘climate consensus’ justifying very harmful interventions in our lives:

    To his credit, my old friend Kyle is quite up front and honest about his ignorance of climate change science, nevertheless he is inclined to trust the conclusions of the scientific consensus and support the urgent and coercive actions of the state to curb the carbon dioxide emissions of much of the industrialized world which would certainly lead to a catastrophic collapse of the global economy and a massive transfer of wealth into the hands of a very small club of billionaires who control most of the still highly ineffective, inefficient (and incidentally, environmentally destructive) “green jobs” technologies, all on the chance that anthropogenic global warming might be happening, and the even smaller chance that such drastic action might save us.

    I think the whole post is worth reading.

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  33. Hey climate sceptics (=deniers), when did you stop beating your spouses? Uncle Ken wants an answer and has already asked before. How long does it take to get the simplest of answers from you deniers? – or at least one I find acceptable/can use to further denounce you.

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  34. Alan,
    No that’s not what I’m asking. I’m asking why people here seem to complain about other people’s behaviour without acknowledging their own poor conduct. You, unfortunately, being a prime example. To be fair, I wasn’t expecting a serious answer, but I thought I would ask in case someone decided to surprise me (in a positive way, I mean, as opposed to surprising me in a negative way).

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  35. ATTL.
    “I’m asking why people here seem to complain about other people’s behaviour without acknowledging their own poor conduct. You, unfortunately, being a prime example.”
    Oh dear, suffering from short term memory problems are we? Forgotten apologizing, quickly to be replaced by a post stating that that was “ironic” ie. A lie. I have never lied to you, I just got exasperated by your question for which I judged you already knew the answer, so was designed to waste my time. I gather this is not an unusual practice with you.

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  36. Man in a Barrel, people here quote freely from WUWT, a site at which comments are both ignorant and unpleasant. In comparison, your quoted comments are mild. The US tax code is doubtless in need of reform. But if a certain orange person wants to abolish the AMT he should make it clear what a great positive effect that would have on him, not keep it secret.

    Tom, I don’t know what you mean by me “tone trolling”. I’ve looked it up and I’m still not clear. But then I didn’t follow your reference to Wales either. I looked at your blog and found some interesting posts. But is there one that summarizes what you mean by being a lukewarmer? I know what others mean using that word, but do you have a post that justifies you position scientifically?

    ATTP, your blog is rather different from this in that you understand and discuss the physics of climate science. Many of your readers seem to have a relevant academic background too. There are educated people here too, but the authors seem unable to discuss the science (or at least I’ve seen no articles that do so). Unsurprising then, to my eyes, that this blog is where people, on average, have a low opinion of the science. And unsurprising that they need to attack you and your blog. If one can’t dispute the message, attack the messenger. I’d recommend you stick to the physics though – popping up here and asking why they wont be nicer to you is like a red rag to a bull.

    Mark, adaptation is for the rich. In the poor world it translates to suffering. And a Trump’s proposed cuts to State indicate, he and his supporters care little about the latter. Also, how do you feel about the current “adaptation” of the Great Barrier Reef to warming?

    John, you don’t have to talk with me. I really don’t care. But you supposedly know about statistics. Why not write some articles that enlighten readers about the statistics of climate? Tell us for example, as some proclaim, why average global temperature doesn’t exist.

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  37. Another example of the type of behaviour condoned by Ken on his own site from BBD

    Geoff Chambers

    You asked for evidence of strong positive feedback which was immediately provided. You said that if given this evidence you would “shut up”. Why are you still commenting on this thread? Especially with very silly arguments from assertion (a logical fallacy) like this:

    You know there’s nothing in the current surface temperature record that suggests that anything very bad is going to happen this century.

    I reject your fallacious assertion. ATTP/Wotts/whatever has already answered you above so there’s no need for me to re-plough that particular patch of the sea.

    For some reason I am reminded of another gnomic comment from Ken about the need for people to own their ignorance. I see that Ken is very reluctant to own his rudeness in making an apology to Alan, which it seems was not heartfelt, and is still trying to pass it off as “irony”. What does he expect from us? Deference to his powers of miscommunication? The fawning adoration of a guy such as BBD who reads academic papers and claims to understand them? For reference, BBD thinks that Lewandowski is a reputable social scientist.

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  38. Hi William, I think the last post on The Lukewarmer’s Way gives a pretty good summary.

    ATTP, to answer your question, probably for the same reason you and those on your side do. Being human sucks, doesn’t it?

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  39. Oh dear, William

    But if a certain orange person wants to abolish the AMT he should make it clear what a great positive effect that would have on him, not keep it secret.

    At a stroke you destroy any credibility you might have. Given that Trump as far as I know has not presented any proposals re tax it is a waste of time to speculate about what he might be thinking. Have you still not worked out his modus operandi? You have had over a year by now. Perhaps learning is something that comes hard to you

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  40. The proposed cutbacks to the EPA look sensible to me, but there may be even more benefits arising from another proposal.

    President Trump plans to drop climate change as a factor in making government decisions, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

    The move, which would reportedly cover environmental reviews of appliance standards, industry regulations and pipeline projects, would largely reverse how the Obama administration addressed climate change.

    Former President Obama required government agencies to submit formal environmental reviews that factored the possible economic harm and impact projects would have from climate change.

    Trump’s plan would also reconsider the metric the Obama administration used to measure projects’ expected economic costs and damage to the climate, called the “social cost of carbon,” Bloomberg reports. Obama used the metric to justify a set of environmental regulations.

    Should Trump sign the order reversing this Obama-era approach, some changes could be implemented immediately while some could take years.

    Source: http://www.thegwpf.com/trump-dropping-climate-change-impact-from-government-reviews/

    Hat-tip: http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/03/18/trump-dropping-climate-change-impact-from-government-reviews/

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  41. Alan,

    A lie. I have never lied to you

    I’ve never lied to you either. You not believing me does not make it a lie.

    William,

    popping up here and asking why they wont be nicer to you is like a red rag to a bull.

    Indeed, although I wasn’t really asking that – I doubt it’s possible and I wouldn’t really expect it. I’ve got rather used to it. I was more trying to understand why people seem to complain about other people’s behaviour, while ignoring their own.

    Tom,

    ATTP, to answer your question, probably for the same reason you and those on your side do. Being human sucks, doesn’t it?

    In a sense, that is my point. I’m more than happy to acknowledge that we don’t always behave as well as maybe we should. What I’m trying to understand is why people here seem to find other people’s behaviour so appalling while appearing to ignore that their own is often no better. I also have a sense that some here would like to be able to engage in discussions others, but seem unwilling to temper their behaviour in order to maybe do so.

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  42. ATTL again justifies his new designation. I am even more loath to believe anything he writes.

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  43. Alan,
    You’re perfectly entitled to not believe anything I write. I’m perfectly entitled to not care. I would have expected you to realise that you not believing what someone has said does not make what they’ve said a lie, but I’m really starting to think that you don’t.

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  44. Tom, your Last Post, referring to sensitivity, just says “Lukwarmers, for a variety of reasons, think it’s lower.” There is no justification beyond the “variety of reasons”. Your list of actions looks good though.

    Looking in your book, you estimate sensitivity at a remarkably precise 2.1C. Am I likely to find a derivation of this value if I buy the book? What range of values does your analysis deliver – there has to be a range I assume? The “data points” that apparently inform this choice of value are rather unpromisingly unscientific, including a “pause” starting remarkably in 1998; 7% increase in vegetation without mentioning that this is a positive feedback (albedo change); and that ‘advocates’ call people ‘deniers’. And why plot GISS only to 2011 when the book was published in 2015 and mentions 2014 being the warmest year since 1850? Your policy prescriptions make me inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt, but these points are straight from “skepticism”.

    ATTP, no I know you didn’t really say that, but it sounded better 😉

    Man in a Boat, I don’t understand your beef with BBD. If you can tell me that you object to the nastiness often seen on skeptic blogs as well, I might take you more seriously. Similarly those who whine about ATTP; if you wrote something even vaguely as coherent and thoughtful on climate science or physics as ATTPs articles, I’d take you to be more worthy adversaries of his. As it is you appear just to be sore that he knows and understands so much more than you.

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  45. William: “Mark, adaptation is for the rich. In the poor world it translates to suffering. And a Trump’s proposed cuts to State indicate, he and his supporters care little about the latter. Also, how do you feel about the current “adaptation” of the Great Barrier Reef to warming?”

    The first line of that is a statement of opinion (fair enough) but it is not a fact, and is highly arguable. Indeed, it is my opinion that mitigation is for the rich, and in the poor world it translates to suffering (being denied cheap and reliable energy being the most obvious example). Adaptation should be carried out at a state-wide level, and should benefit all. There’s a real debate to be had around these questions.

    Linking to Trump doesn’t strengthen your climate case. I repeat, I and several others on here are not Trump fans. Please don’t tar us all with the same brush.

    Last time I was at the Great Barrier Reef it was doing fine. There are a lot of scare stories about it, I acknowledge, but there are plenty of websites where it is suggested that the scare stories are overdone. If you think about it, the earth has been much warmer than it is now, and we still have coral and polar bears.

    How do you feel about the planet’s increasing food production?

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  46. “the earth has been much warmer than it is now, and we still have coral and polar bears.”

    Are you serious?

    Food production seems less of a problem than efficient and fair distribution, but I know little about it really.

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  47. Yes, I am serious. Do you deny it has been warmer in the past (since the evolution of coral and polar bears) than it is now? If you don’t deny it, how do you think the polar bears and coral survived? We are constantly being told that warmer temperatures are putting their existence in danger. Well, if it was warmer in the past, that rather reduces the need to worry about them, doesn’t it? They’re still here.

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  48. “Lukwarmers, for a variety of reasons, think it’s lower.”

    You want estimates for a doubling of CO2, William?

    Here is a graph showing a summary of the recent published estimates.

    It is perhaps interesting to surmise what ECS and TCR will be estimated to be if the current trends are extrapolated out to 2020, 2025 at the latest.

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  49. As to the “Greening” of the planet, here is the ‘Nature Climate Change’ peer reviewed paper on the subject.

    Global environmental change is rapidly altering the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation, with consequences for the functioning of the Earth system and provision of ecosystem services. Yet how global vegetation is responding to the changing environment is not well established. Here we use three long-term satellite leaf area index (LAI) records and ten global ecosystem models to investigate four key drivers of LAI trends during 1982–2009. We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States. The regional effects of unexplained factors suggest that the next generation of ecosystem models will need to explore the impacts of forest demography, differences in regional management intensities for cropland and pastures, and other emerging productivity constraints such as phosphorus availability.

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n8/full/nclimate3004.html

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  50. So William thinks that Trump is concealing the personal impact of modifying what is obviously a stupid alternative tax. The impact is $33m, since William finds arithmetic hard. I supplied the numbers before but I cannot be arsed to check and William seems to bereft of intelligence to do the sums. Is he perhaps the legendary climate retard William Connolley? The man who claims Hobbes as an influence without demonstrating any signs of understanding 17thc English. Connolley’s intellectual pretensions are always hilarious. But they play well amongst the climate faithful sheep. [snip]

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  51. And as for giving rebates for fuel costs to the poor. There was a time when means testing was considered bad. I agree. It is inefficient and stokes resentment. The proper answer is pricing energy properly rather than distorting the price and handing out selective rebates. The deserving poor is an attitude that should have died in 1945 but it is still alive and kicking in William’s world

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  52. William, what colour is your hair? Since you have no substantive arguments against the US president, then it must be about his hair colour. Tell us. Are you a badly groomed ginger stinker? Just emulating your style of “argument”, although it’s clear that, as with ATTP, words are not your strongest point

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  53. Mark, catweazle666 my surprise at your use of the “it’s been hotter in the past” meme is not at the fact of ancient temperatures, but that you would call on one of those red flags that instantly categorizes the user as belonging to the nonsense, non-scientific side of the debate that cliscep, WUWT, etc. represent. Of course corals as a class will continue to exist; that is not the issue.

    Man in a Barrel, I tend to think of WUWT as being the home of the vilest comments and commenters, but you show that Cliscep is battling for position in that dubious firmament. Anyone here who gets upset about ATTP’s mild rebukes should be cleaning their own stable first.

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  54. Coral will happily grow upward to fill whatever headspace rising sea level provides. Every modern coral reef would have been several hundred feet above sea level 15000 years ago. Of course they weren’t. Their ancestors lived in areas that are now too deep, but as sea level rose at a rate much faster than it is now, they simply built up.
    If corals can’t deal with a temperature increase measured in tenths of a degree, then can’t they colonize places that were formerly too cool? Where are the reports of coral growing in places where there didn’t used to be any?
    What kills off coral is falling sea level, clastic sedimentation and pollution.

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  55. “but that you would call on one of those red flags that instantly categorizes the user as belonging to the nonsense, non-scientific side of the debate”

    Ah, now I’ve actually introduced some hard science you want to move the goalposts so as not to discuss the scientific aspects, drop the passive-aggressive BS and launch into the personal insults, right “William”?

    Why am I not surprised, you sad, transparent little twerp…

    Are you saying you don’t believe temperatures were warmer in the relatively recent past – the Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods – as has been recently demonstrated to have been the case worldwide by several Global studies, and that reference to historic temperatures is somehow unscientific?

    Really…

    Not a single comment on the recent estimates of ECS and TCR either, I note…

    Too difficult for you?

    You know, I was right about your stench, and I rather think – in fact I’m damn certain – that it’s stench I’ve come across on a number of previous occasions, and in reality, you’re just another sockpuppet of one of our common blog parasites, probably based over at that sad little astrologer Ken Rice’s joke blog along with all the other losers he’s surrounded himself with.

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  56. Sycophancy is the tic that reveals William’s messaging rules. Adoration of Ken (and Barbie?) fulfils his inner soul and he is a right proselytizer. ATTL’s “mild rebukes” says it all!

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  57. William

    So that there can be no confusion, I don’t endorse the abuse directed at you recently, and I don’t believe it’s conducive to progress or debate.

    More constructively, since you mentioned the Great Barrier Reef, by great coincidence, this has just appeared at Paul Homewood’s site:

    “Divers say less than 5% of Great Barrier Reef is dead, not half”.

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/divers-say-less-than-5-of-great-barrier-reef-is-dead-not-half/

    The difficulty is knowing who to believe, but I would suggest the issue is not so black and white as you seem to believe.

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  58. On trolls:
    “Some think they should be engaged with, and their comments examined to expose their nature further e.g. to highlight their poor manners, or flaky logic, or low relevance, or whatever. Others think they should be ignored, since any critical response can so readily trigger a fast and furious jumble of more comments. While that can be amusing or informative on occasion, I think I mostly fall into the latter camp, generally on the ‘life is too short’ principle. As a further confession, I do sometimes feel myself cheering the engagers on, from the shadows so speak. My immediate reaction to Catweazle’s ‘drivel’ reaction was a simple ‘spot-on!’ for instance.

    So, this will no doubt continue. Some will engage, some ignore, and some just express their disdain for these troubled people and their malevolent ways. Maybe like me, you will find yourself doing any one of these from time to time despite whichever way your general inclination lies.”

    https://cliscep.com/2015/11/25/quality-versus-quantity-richard-lindzen-takes-on-the-commissars-of-co2-alarm/#comment-680

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  59. Mark, thanks. You seem like a decent type and one of few here who doesn’t comment at WUWT or curse opponents or both. Those who do, including Alan Kendall who gets so upset when he a detects a slight against him, clearly don’t give a damn about tone or rudeness on blogs when it comes from their own pen or is not directed at them.

    Catweazle666, your daft plot of sensitivity estimates is worthless. Just like your conceit that you know something about temperature history or anything else that I or others don’t.

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  60. William. I have only rarely commented at WUWT and then only to give factual information (with one exception where I commented that perhaps commenting Americans did not have the whole story about a UK matter, and was immediately called a communist for my troubles). I have never cursed opponents – I have called ATTL a liar (but then I can point to evidence that he is) and I called you a sycophant (ditto).

    Mark H. I did think this morning about expressing some remorse over this morning’s post calling William a sycophant, following your post, but then rejected doing this because 1) he has been niggling away at me for a few days now, and 2) evidence of sycophancy was rampant. I needn’t have written my post this morning, but on balance I have few regrets.

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  61. Alan,
    Your justification for you poor behaviour is kind of what I was getting at with my initial comment. It seems that this debate is full of people who feel justified in their vitriolic rants. Maybe you feel good about it, but I don’t quite see how it achieves anything constructive (maybe that isn’t your intent, though). Admittedly, you’re not alone and you’re in good company here.

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  62. ATTL. Thank you for your comment. I take it most favourably that you think I am in good company here. I agree with you.

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  63. Alan, I noted ATTP’s record of quality posts to contrast with the failure of any authors here to write anything of substance about climate science. You can call that sycophancy if you’re determined to be insulting; maybe that is your style – join catweazle666 and MiaB in that.

    On lukewarmers, it always seems strange that apparently intelligent people can say things like “it’s been warmer in the past” as if they think that other conditions today match those in the past, or giving a precise value to sensitivity with a partial justification that a line drawn from the top of the ’98 El Niño gives a flatter slope to 2011 than one drawn from a year earlier. Such positions make people like me think the other person is either stupid or disingenuous. That is reinforced when no further justification is forthcoming. When stupidity can be ruled out, what is left as a conclusion?

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  64. William. Oh blinkered one. You are the horse led to contaminated water, who drinks. Wake up, realize that all sides in these arguments are selecting their data to fit their purpose. However “deniers” and “lukewarmers” are predicting no or little change which is tantamount to a null hypothesis needing little supportive data (although most evidence to date supports their views), whereas those proposing significant climatic changes due to CO2 (and consequent scary stories) are making extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence. Where is it? Model results don’t count, what else you got?

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  65. William

    Simple question. Are you a denier? Do you deny the MWP, LIA and Roman Warm Period?

    The existence of all cause problems for conformist climate alarmism.

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  66. William

    Michael Mann’s notorious hockey stick denies the LIA, which we know occurred. Most alarmists believe in the hockey-stick with a quasi-religious fervour. When stupidity can be ruled out, what is left as a conclusion?

    Any idea why Michael Mann keeps litigating against critics, then drags his feet over going to trial and failing to make discovery regarding his supporting evidence?

    If it was warmer during the iron age, without causing any apparent problems of which we are aware, why the alarm now? Please don’t try to tell me it wasn’t warmer during the iron age. I have stood inside the hill forts on the summits of Yeavering Bell in the Cheviots and Carrock Fell in the northern Lake District. Both are locations where we would struggle to live now, even with central heating, double glazing etc. Iron age people lived there over 2,000 years ago. How did they manage that?

    As Alan K says, climate alarmism’s extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I haven’t seen any so far.

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  67. Mark,

    Simple question. Are you a denier? Do you deny the MWP, LIA and Roman Warm Period?

    The existence of all cause problems for conformist climate alarmism.

    I don’t know about climate alarmism, but these don’t really cause any problems when it comes to our basic understanding of climate science. We have a reasonably good understanding of what can cause the kind of changes you mention. It’s probably a combination of changes in solar and volcanic forcing combined with some changes in internally-driven forcing (which can certainly operate on multi-decade timescales). We might expect changes of up to (or just over) 1 W/m^2 which could produce temperature changes of around 1K (these numbers are just approximate). Hence, there may well be periods in the past 1000 years that had similar temperatures to today, and I don’t think that even the IPCC really contradicts this (although, I think they suggest that temperatures over the last few decades are probably the warmest in the last 1000 years).

    Here are two things to consider.

    1.) The key issue is not really comparing today to other periods in the past 1000 years; it’s to consider what we could do in the future. The current change in anthropogenic forcings is just over 2W/m^2. We could, however, triple – or even quadrupole – this if we continue to emit CO2 into the atmosphere. This would probably produce a change substantially greater than anything we’ve seen in the last 1000 years and could be comparable to the change between a glacial and an inter-glacial (but about 10 times faster). The issue is whether or not we should be looking at ways to reduce our total emissions so that the change is not as great as it could be.

    2.) If you’re arguing for quite large changes during the MWP, LIA, and RWP then you’re potentially arguing for high climate sensitivity, rather than low. The physical processes that amplify warming/cooling probably do not depend on whether, or not, these changes are internally-driven or externally-driven. Therefore if relatively small natural changes produced quite large changes in the past, then we would expect the response to changes in external forcings to have a similar magnitude (i.e., if our climate is very sensitive to natural changes it should also be very sensitive to changes driven by anthropogenic influences). This Realclimate post has a good discussion of this potential feedback paradox.

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  68. Alan, they are predicting “little of no change” and at the same time, like Mark, “it’s been warmer before”. They may be blinkered enough not to see the contradiction there, but you surely must. Tom, moreover, is not predicting little or no change, but precisely 2.1C, partly on the basis, it seems, of a “pause” starting precisely in 1998. You may have a chip on your shoulder about your treatment by all and sundry but don’t turn your brain off.

    Mark,
    “Simple question. Are you a denier? Do you deny the MWP, LIA and Roman Warm Period?”

    We were talking about the potential loss of the Great Barrier Reef and you suggested that “…the earth has been much warmer than it is now, and we still have coral and polar bears.” By your reckoning, since the planet has been “warmer in the past (since the evolution of coral and polar bears) than it is now” and coral still survived, modern warming could wipe out the reef and there’d be no problem because corals (as a class of organism) would still survive. I’ll admit that it is a logical argument if we place no value (beyond exploitation value) on nature – we can wipe out the reefs secure in the knowledge that we probably won’t make all (or maybe any) coral species extinct; the organisms will migrate to more suitable waters and after a few centuries when conditions stabilize there will probably be reefs elsewhere. Problem solved. Except that I think you want me to believe that you are an environmentalist. What sort of environmentalist places no value on the Great Barrier Reef.

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  69. William
    “…. they are predicting “little of no change” and at the same time, like Mark, “it’s been warmer before”. They may be blinkered enough not to see the contradiction there, but you surely must.”

    I see no contradiction. It doesn’t take much change to increase temperatures to the same level as they were in the Holocene optimum. Whether temperatures are rising to that point is debatable, but presumably not to climate alarmists like yourself. Or do you deny (as Mark asked) that periods of the Recent past have been warmer than they are today? Do you deny that several interglacials have been significantly warmer, such that sea levels were substantially higher, than they are today, even though humans had yet to evolve, let alone be capable of altering their environment? If non-human factors can generate these higher temperatures, what’s to stop those same causative factors being responsible for our present-day, non-catastrophic climate changes?

    As to your trying to get me to rise to your feeble jibes, forget it. You get boring.

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  70. One notable characteristic of arguments in currency in the climate ‘debate’ is that the language of the orthodox position does not improve as its advocate moves from the internet, towards the highest profile research, and global policy institutions. That is to say that the standard of argument improves little between the Internet troll and the president of the Royal Society, or chair of the IPCC, for instance. (E.g. comparing Lomborg to Hitler, or recourse to conspiracy theories about oil companies).

    That requires further explanation. The tu quoque whinges about ‘concern trolling’/’tone-policing’.whatever don’t work in the face of the mild-mannered Lomborg, or the precise arguments offered by Pielke, Curry, McIntyre et al — i.e. a substantial contingent to which the labels ‘sceptic’, or ‘denier’ never applied, yet which applied nonetheless, from people whose positions might cause us to think they should know better, but we are forced to think again.

    This is not to make an equivalence, for instance, between what happened to those people, and the victim status claimed by Mann. The point here is that no counterposition has been admitted to the ‘debate’.

    This intransigence is an institutional, or ideological characteristic, and that value — and a concomitant sense of entitlement — is transmitted to members and advocates, latterly self-appointed ‘Consensus Enforcers’, many of whom internalise a complex technical discussion in irrational and emotional ways. (For e.g see Eric Idle’s unguarded comments on Twitter last week, calling for the trial and execution of ‘deniers’). The (mostly unstated) political design from the outset having been that research institutions produce an unimpeachable understanding of things, the design either never took account of either its own potential shortcomings (perhaps by being unstated), or that anyone either affected by, or with expertise in the field of research might have something else to say.

    The problem, which has apparently been unanticipated by the advocates (but not their critics), is that exclusion from debate creates a schism, essentially institutionalising the differences between parties to the would-be debate. On the internet, it seems like so many pointless, interminable squabbles. But ultimately, and one way or another, avoiding debate leads to a material consequence in wider society as policies and politics produce material changes. This is a fact of political life, not something unique to climate science and politics. Those fissures in society will manifest as counterposed forces, and all such antagonisms will ultimately be tested by weight of numbers — not of papers, but people.

    Climate advocates have only ever felt the need to justify their own arguments to themselves, not to convince a wider population, that their opponents are their moral and intellectual lessers. Unfortunately for them, whether or not they are right about the science; they have profoundly misjudged the politics of their own argument, and demonstrated their bad faith, writ large: contempt for ordinary people (and those with expertise, for that matter), their capacities, and their right to have decisions affecting them debated and tested.

    Time will tell whether Trump has accumulated enough political capital to do as he seems to want to, and whether those on the receiving end of his agenda will have enough residual political muscle to thwart him. What will take much longer, however, is the dawning on climate advocates that they have created the opportunity for him.

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  71. Alan, sorry about the jibes. I get carried away sometimes. We expect nearly 4 W/m2 forcing from doubling CO2 and you say that will produce little change. And yet we are to believe that global warming in the MWP was greater than now – so what was the forcing then? It must have been substantial if sensitivity is low, so where is the evidence? Don’t you see the contradiction?

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  72. William. You expect nearly 4 W/m2 forcing from doubling CO2 and you claim that I say that will produce little change.
    Firstly prove it will generate that amount of forcing. I am suspicious that what will happen is that cooling feedbacks will offset much of your predicted temperature increases.
    Secondly I don’t claim anything. I am but a lowly “deep time” geologist, but one that has practiced doing science for nearly half a century and have had to make judgements on undergraduate dissertations on multiple sciences (including economics and politics) for more than 20 years. I don’t get it right all the time, but I have a good track record. My judgement is that the alarmist arguments are full of holes (denied vigorously), supportive evidence is weak, and proposed policies are grossly overblown.
    Lastly, the evidence for warmer conditions during past interglacials is overwhelming. However, unless you can provide estimates of all the variables that control climates in those past times, you have absolutely no way of determining past forcings, and so your whole argument, in my view, falls apart. But then what do I know?

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  73. I guess that one of the things that bugs me, along with the concept of a global temperature, is sensitivity. It is a metaphor rather than a scientific concept. What is the unit of sensitivity? Who can describe the processes by which an injection of CO2 creates a temperature change on a global basis? It is all so reminiscent of phlogiston theory or the interplanetary aether,or those intercontinental land bridges that allowed dinosaurs to get from Europe to America. And finally what exactly are the components of natural variability that led to the heatwaves of the 1930s, let alone the mechanisms that determine whether this planet is a snowball or a beetle paradise?

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  74. aTTP – interesting comment. And if I may so, one of your more compelling interjections for some time.

    At the risk of sounding as though I’m changing my position, I mentioned the LIA, MWP and Roman Warm Period (which, interestingly, as a time when it was probably warmer than now, is also commonly referred to as the Roman climatic OPTIMUM) to demonstrate that the climate/temperature has changed pretty dramatically over the last 2,000 years, and it was an attempt to draw William out. Sadly William didn’t give me a straight answer to a simple question.

    Despite the banter, and occasional irritation shown by those of us holding different positions, I suspect there isn’t actually that much between us, with one important exception. You are greatly concerned by what might happen if increasing volumes of CO2 in the atmosphere lead to significant temperature increases. Fair enough, but that doesn’t bother me, for two reasons. First, there is no certainty that it is going to happen, given that absent anthropogenic CO2 the earth might well be cooling (which WOULD concern me); though I was impressed by the logic behind your second numbered point in this regard. Secondly, I don’t see the downside to global warming that others do (or claim to). The financial claims contained in things like the Stern Report I don’t accept, as it was a report which was IMO prepared to satisfy a political agenda, wasn’t remotely balanced, put the worst possible construction on everything, and made no allowance for possible benefits. As for the other aspects of warming, I again don’t see that there’s much to worry about, and I do see benefits. It was the point I was (not very eloquently) trying to make to William – if it has been much warmer in the recent (in geological terms) past, then the claims of destroyed coral and extinct polar bears don’t make a lot of sense to me – if they survived warmer temperatures in the past, why the assumption that they won’t do so again the future?

    William – We were talking about the potential loss of the Great Barrier Reef and I posted this comment:

    “More constructively, since you mentioned the Great Barrier Reef, by great coincidence, this has just appeared at Paul Homewood’s site:

    “Divers say less than 5% of Great Barrier Reef is dead, not half”.

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/divers-say-less-than-5-of-great-barrier-reef-is-dead-not-half/

    The difficulty is knowing who to believe, but I would suggest the issue is not so black and white as you seem to believe.”

    You have ignored it, and intend seek to imply that I don’t care about the Great Barrier Reef, therefore how dare I claim to be an environmentalist? My point is that the Great Barrier Reef is almost certainly doing better than the alarmists would admit. You have not tried to rebut that suggestion, but have instead carried on repeating your mantra like a broken record.

    The fact that some call the Roman Warm Period the Roman climatic optimum suggest that some people think the climate was better then (when it was warmer) than now. One question climate alarmists can never answer is what the global temperature SHOULD be (NB given the huge variations in temperature over the planet and by season, I also doubt the utility of the concept of a global temperature). What is the perfect climate? How on earth can we preserve it (even assuming we can agree what it is or should be), given the chaotic climate system and the many natural factors (some of which we understand, many of which we may not understand or even be aware of)?

    I also have a problem with looking at things over human time scales when the planet has been around for some 4.5 billion years. The last 1,000 or 2,000 years represents a tiny fraction of a second if we convert the life of the planet to 24 hours. We need to stop thinking purely in terms of human timescales and see the bigger (longer) picture.

    According to wikipedia (OK not a scientific source, but not exactly known for sceptic “propaganda”) Carbon dioxide concentrations dropped from 7,000 parts per million during the Cambrian period about 500 million years ago to as low as 180 parts per million during the Quaternary glaciation of the last two million years.” Today it is a little over 400ppm. Still from wikipedia:

    “On long timescales, atmospheric CO2 concentration is determined by the balance among geochemical processes including organic carbon burial in sediments, silicate rock weathering, and volcanism. The net effect of slight imbalances in the carbon cycle over tens to hundreds of millions of years has been to reduce atmospheric CO2. On a timescale of billions of years, such downward trend appears bound to continue indefinitely as occasional massive historical releases of buried carbon due to volcanism will become less frequent (as earth mantle cooling and progressive exhaustion of internal radioactive heat proceeds further)….

    “In billion-year timescales, it is predicted that plant, and therefore animal, life on land will die off altogether, since by that time most of the remaining carbon in the atmosphere will be sequestered underground, and natural releases of CO2 by radioactivity-driven tectonic activity will have continued to slow down.”

    I would like to see much more research into the effects of rising CO2 levels on the prospects for life on this planet. Personally I am pleased that we are not sinking towards the 180ppm of the Quartenary glaciation.

    Before leaving the subject of polar bears and coral, consider also this from wikipedia: “More than 99 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct.” I don’t suppose our current climate would be considered ideal by many of those 99% of species that have existed on this wonderful planet (I accept that not all died out due to climatic factors).

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  75. Alan, if we are talking evidence, where is the evidence for your suspected negative feedbacks sufficient to suppress CO2 forcing? There does seem to be evidence for positive feedbacks that turn a small drop in forcing into a 4C drop and a glaciation, and equally that turn a small rise in orbital forcings into a 4 degree rise. But those are the opposite of what you propose and seemingly quite strongly so.

    As to determining past forcings, is “absolutely no way of determining past forcings” right? We know past CO2 levels, we know our evolving distance from the sun and the sun’s physics, and I thought past TSI could be estimated in various ways (cosmic rays and C14 calibration curves etc). Volcanic activity and aerosols must leave traces in ice cores, etc. And ice cores must give an idea of the degree of glaciation. We may not be able to be as precise as Tom’s sensitivity figure, but we must have a lot of clues.

    As for your judging of economics and politics dissertations, I’m unconvinced whether that gives you the authority you would like to assert. In fact I’m pretty sure that thinking you are able to assess entirely unrelated fields (unless you were checking the spelling and grammar) is strong evidence of hubris, but the what do I know?

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  76. Mark, I didn’t comment on your link because I don’t actually know the truth of the matter any more than you do. Since it was a link to Not A Lot Of People Know, I assumed it was suspect. Looking at it now, I see that it is in “Blasting News”. Here’s what http://www.fakenewschecker.com/fake-news-source/blasting-news says about it:

    “That Blasting News publishes information that cannot be validated and that is anti scientific fact. The information provided should be regarded as speculative opinion or propaganda and cannot be substantiated by fact or evidence. It is among the most untrustworthy sources in the media.”

    Now that is not proof, but I’ve got an article in Nature that says your “Blasting News” is wrong. You are free to believe your odd source, but excuse me if I don’t.

    The rest of your comment might well make a good Blasting News article. Was the Romans Climate Optimum optimal for the Romans? Very possibly, but so what? What SHOULD the temperature be, what is the perfect climate? Well apparently it was perfect for Romans in the RCO so let’s all be Romans and 7 billion of us. These are not useful questions. We have what we have; the question is how fast do we want to change it and what are the consequences?

    “Personally I am pleased that we are not sinking towards the 180ppm of the Quartenary glaciation.”

    You were just telling me that you “have a problem with looking at things over human time scales” and yet you are now looking at the geological timescale in which we are sinking into a glaciation on the scale of your own life. I’d expect you to see the irony in that, but I’m not hopeful.

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  77. William

    Good effort, but not good enough. Why should a climate that was good for the Romans not be good for today’s 7 billion people? “These are not useful questions.” Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but your failure or disinclination to answer or to try to answer such questions speaks volumes about your blinkered outlook, IMO.

    “We have what we have; the question is how fast do we want to change it and what are the consequences?”

    Agreed. You seem to assume, however, that things are within our control. That’s rather a big assumption.

    You also rather miss the point, it seems to me, that CO2 is vital to life, and that left to natural sources, CO2 levels would probably be falling. You don’t address the question of higher temperatures in the (very recent) past, and the apparent lack of problems caused thereby for those aspects of the environment that seem to concern you.

    Yes, I’m concerned about what happens to the climate during my lifetime. I’m only human. It seems to me, however, to be moving in a reasonable direction. For the sake of humanity going forward (and life in general) I’m also glad that the likely forthcoming ice age is possibly being deferred for the time being.

    In general though, I don’t think there’s much we can do about any of it, nor do I think we should we waste our time trying – back to the mitigation/adaptation argument from earlier on the thread, that you keep side-stepping.

    Pointless (IMO) attempts to mitigate are very expensive, and often damaging, if not actually counter-productive in their own terms (Drax burning wood chip; NI RHI scandal etc).

    By the way, I’ve visited the Great Barrier Reef. Have you? I don’t just rely on Paul Homewood’s website.:-)

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  78. “William wrote “As for your judging of economics and politics dissertations, I’m unconvinced whether that gives you the authority you would like to assert. In fact I’m pretty sure that thinking you are able to assess entirely unrelated fields (unless you were checking the spelling and grammar) is strong evidence of hubris, but the what do I know?”
    A typical comment by someone who writes of which he knows little. Assessing the worth of undergraduate dissertations in subjects other than one’s own is not difficult and gets easier with practice. It is possible to make assessments of whether the student had a clear view of what they intended to do, whether they knew how their research fits within the bigger picture, if data and interpretations were clearly separated, were all conclusions supported by sufficient evidence and discussion, and so on. A good dissertation is easy to identify, it’s the poor ones that are difficult. Furthermore, our students’ dissertations were always assessed by two people, one always by someone in the same field. So it was always possible to judge one’s own assessments against those with more familiarity with the topic researched. In some cases our assessments could be matched with those of an external examiner. So no hubris.

    Interesting comments by you, someone very willing to make negative comments based entirely upon their own prejudices, and lacking experience and the critical information upon which judgement should be based. So to answer your final question- nothing.

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  79. William. So you think we have enough data to determine forcings during interglacials do you? Pray tell me what was the cloud cover over Spain during the Eemian climate optimum? The speed of the Kurile current, the forest cover over the Argentinean pampas. Awaiting your reply with the greatest of interest.

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  80. William, your failure to understand anything at all of all the science is quite remarkable. You warble on about CO2 forcing, showing how successful the brainwashing has been.

    The “contradiction” is entirely on your side. You are in denial of the historical record of past warming and coolings, because of your devout belief that every little wiggle in the temperature history has to be “caused” by the “forcing” from CO2.

    In the early 20th century, the temperature rose, and the IPCC models cannot explain that.
    Here is a graph from the IPCC report. It’s the first graph in chapter 10. The mismatch between model and observations is there for all to see, but some people don’t want to see it.

    ipccch10

    This graph alone shows that anyone who believes that CO2 is the ‘principle control knob’ of the climate is either ignorant or dishonest.

    If you knew anything about modelling of complex systems like the climate, which clearly you don’t, you would know that the models are massively over-simplified and over-damped, meaning that natural fluctuations are suppressed in the models. It’s a bit like using treacle to model air.

    The graph also shows how the models over-respond to Krakatoa, 1883 – the actual temperature drop is much less than that expected in the models.

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  81. Helping poor William must seem like a thankless task. Scholars and gentlemen have engaged with him on this thread, but he is neither and therefore we have something of a communication challenge on our hands. But it may not be hopeless. People who have been foolish and rude do not necessarily rush to admit it, but their future behaviour may yet be better. ATTP has shown signs of that, for example, and so while the good folks here will never be thanked for all their forbearance, they remain on the side of the angels and thereby win my admiration.

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  82. Paul, I think it is you whose understanding of the science is dubious. You do after all read, comment on and link to articles at WUWT, which implies that you really don’t understand why it is held in such low esteem. You are also prime fodder for Breitbart and probably, like Mark, think you can learn something from Paul Homewood and Blasting News! I’ll come back to your graph…

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  83. William

    Your debating style consists of:

    1. Ignoring arguments you can’t deal with, or else brushing them off with throwaway comments like “but I know little about it really” which, while honest, doesn’t do much for a discussion.

    2. Stating of difficult questions which you can’t answer that “These are not useful questions.”

    3. When confronted with a news source which doesn’t fit with your world-view, you simply disregard it, choosing instead to believe Nature (without providing a link), a source that long since demonstrated its bias and disrespect for science when it comes to issues of climate change. You could, of course, have dug deeper, and checked out some of the links provided by commenters on Homewood’s original article, e.g.: http://cairnsdiveadventures.com.au/2016/10/coral-bleaching-update/

    4. Impugning the integrity and doubting the motives of your interlocutors.

    All of the above is fine in a free society, but don’t expect to win any arguments that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  84. “All of the above is fine in a free society, but don’t expect to win any arguments that way.”
    Trolls like “William” have no interest in winning or losing arguments. In any case, it is impossible to win an argument with them, they are fully conversant with dubious rhetorical devices as described by their hero Saul Alinsky.

    They’re only interested in provocation and entangling the unwary in their silly little clown dances.

    Attempting to engage them is simply a waste of time and bandwidth.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. I’ve heard of guilt by association, but guilt by reading verboten websites seems a bit much.

    I guest-posted for a month or so on Watts Up With That when Anthony had health/family issues. And I posted the same schtick I write here and elsewhere–Lukewarmerism unalloyed and wonderful. And I didn’t lose my sanity, good looks or health.

    Good Lord, I even read Real Climate and And Then There’s Physics. And Bishop Hill and Judith Curry. Am I schizophrenic, undiscriminating or just interested in the climate conversation? The world wonders… or would if I were important in any way shape or form.

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  86. Tom, guilt doesn’t come in to it. Paul is judging my understanding of climate science yet his dubious understanding comes at least in part from sources that would normally be considered unreliable. I assume you get that since you haven’t commented there since 2010.

    Paul, I don’t think I have denied the historical temperature record or claimed that CO2 is the only influence on climate. As for the graph, the mismatch might be either because the models are wrong, the observations​ are inaccurate or both. Skeptics usually proclaim distrust in the temperature indices, so it interesting that you have such faith in most uncertain parts of the curve. Consistency is not your forte, evidently. BTW, the models take many factors into account, not just CO2, so your assumption that the mismatch must be mishandling of CO2 forcing displays ignorance of models, perhaps from too literal belief in what you have read at wuwt – just a guess.

    Mark, Alan, later.

    [PM: More blatant falsehoods from you. I show you data from the IPCC reports and you say I get my information from WUWT. ]

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  87. Alan, I can see that it should be possible to tell a bad thesis, whatever the subject. But I don’t see how one can see “whether they knew how their research fits within the bigger picture” without knowing the bigger picture. Moreover, you mentioned your history of assessing theses to support your assertion that “the alarmist arguments are full of holes (denied vigorously), supportive evidence is weak, and proposed policies are grossly overblown.” So you were extending your supposed expertise from undergraduate dissertations to the rest of climate science academia, where you are unlikely to know the literature of every branch. I guess I misplaced the location of your hubris.

    “So you think we have enough data to determine forcings during interglacials do you? Pray tell me what was the cloud cover over Spain during the Eemian climate optimum? The speed of the Kurile current, the forest cover over the Argentinean pampas.”

    Well no, I can’t answer those questions. But neither can you and yet you take that uncertainty to mean that everyone else in the field is wrong. Hubris again. We don’t even know what causes glaciation cycles but they align with small forcings from orbital changes. Something amplifies those small forcings enough to get a 4-5C temperature change. If you think that your suspected negative feedbacks, which you apparently cannot name, are going to negate 4W/m2 from CO2, why didn’t they negate the huge warming that resulted from those small orbit-related forcing changes? Something to do with the rain in Spain, the Kurile current or Argentinian forests, perhaps? I’m sure you have a theory.

    Tom, since you are back, I looked at your book. You estimate sensitivity at a remarkably precise 2.1C. Am I likely to find a derivation of this value if I buy the book? What range of values does your analysis deliver – there has to be a range I assume? The “data points” that apparently inform this choice of value are rather unpromisingly unscientific, including a “pause” starting remarkably in 1998; 7% increase in vegetation without mentioning that this is a positive feedback (albedo change); and that ‘advocates’ call people ‘deniers’. How do these lead to a sensitivity estimate accurate to 0.1 of a degree? And why plot GISS only to 2011 when the book was published in 2015 and mentions 2014 being the warmest year since 1850? Your policy prescriptions make me inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt, but these points are straight from “skepticism”.

    Mark, I said I wasn’t hopeful and so I wasn’t disappointed.

    “Why should a climate that was good for the Romans not be good for today’s 7 billion people?”

    Again, seriously? How does that even work? A bit of warming leads to the same temperature for the whole of humanity? Or do 7 billion move to the Mediterranean? Much of North Africa looks to be wholly unsuitable for supporting its current population let alone warming it more and adding billions of people.

    “…left to natural sources, CO2 levels would probably be falling”

    And again, seriously? When you look at glaciation period historical levels you should notice the x-axis is usually thousands of years or greater. This whole idea of heading into a glaciation on any relevant timescale is the dumbest of things, but fit for WUWT, no doubt.

    As for whether I should take more seriously some random link from Homewood or Nature, only in climate-skeptic-world could the former be a better choice. You’d probably believe the Mail or even RT over a scientific publication if it fit your preferred narrative.

    If you think I’ve avoided and ‘difficult questions’ please feel free to remind me.

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  88. William. Do you think it might be possible for you to carefully read what people write before you put your foot in your mouth. What I wrote was that it is easy to identify and judge a GOOD undergraduate dissertation, not a bad one. Non specialist assessors find it difficult to identify potentially good aspects, therefore tend to undermark.

    As for your problem of believing that it would not be possible for a non-specialist to judge whether a student has placed their study within the greater body of science, well that’s where practice comes in. Over time you get more knowledge, you have read more dissertations, you have read more and talked to colleagues, and in my case you have audited lectures (one year for instance I attended a module on environmental politics). Finally, it is always possible to read the literature quoted in the dissertation. I also wrote a guidebook to writing good dissertations, and in it was the specific advice that students should write their dissertations with the second assessor (ie the non specialist) in mind.

    Over time you get better at the job. You don’t always prevail. I recall one dissertation whose question was to explain why one British tree species was so uncommon. She did a series of experiments that I judged were elegant, so I gave a high mark. The ecologist assessor saw that she used the incorrect statistical method and gave her a failing mark, as did a third (also ecologist) marker and eventually an external examiner. To this day I think I was right. An ability to do elegant science is uncommon and ought to be rewarded. If the dissertation had been written up and submitted for publication, the peer reviewers would have told the author to go away and apply the correct statistical technique to what was otherwise interesting and significant data. They wouldn’t have condemned the whole study. As it was, that student never submitted, believed she was not cut out for research and we lost a budding good candidate (IMO). So William, on rare occasions I will admit to hubris – believing I had better judgement than my more expert peers. But then sometimes expert reviewers are so incensed by a defect in a dissertation that they are blind to its good points. It may take an experienced non-specialist assessor to restore balance (more hubris, I’m afraid).

    There are other academics that comment here, I would welcome reading their views.

    [PM: Yes, of course we can judge the quality of student dissertations to a considerable extent without being experts in the precise field. We have to do this all the time, with double marking of projects by the supervisor and another academic. We can certainly read the literature section and get a good idea of whether the student understands things or is just regurgitating soundbites (in the case of a certain person here, it’s the latter!)]

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  89. William

    Given the low-level of thought involved in what you’ve just posted, I almost don’t know where to start. Debating with you is like wrestling with treacle, so I think I’ll make this my final effort, then I’ll give up – I have better things to do with my time.

    You quoted me: ““Why should a climate that was good for the Romans not be good for today’s 7 billion people?” then said:

    “Again, seriously? How does that even work? A bit of warming leads to the same temperature for the whole of humanity? Or do 7 billion move to the Mediterranean? Much of North Africa looks to be wholly unsuitable for supporting its current population let alone warming it more and adding billions of people.”

    You seem to be confusing the name (“ROMAN warming period”) with the idea that it was only warmer in the part of the world occupied by Romans. As for your comments about North Africa, you might do yourself a favour and read some history (history never seems to be a strong-point of the alarmist community). Much of what is now desert in North Africa was the bread basket of the Roman empire and sustained ancient civilisations. You can’t argue that is because it is warmer now than it was then, because it wasn’t. The climate has changed naturally there for the worse, since the Roman Warm Period.

    You quoted me: “…left to natural sources, CO2 levels would probably be falling”, then said:

    “And again, seriously? When you look at glaciation period historical levels you should notice the x-axis is usually thousands of years or greater. This whole idea of heading into a glaciation on any relevant timescale is the dumbest of things, but fit for WUWT, no doubt.”

    Oh dear, what a demonstration of bile and bias. Although I have been more impressed with aTTP of late, your fondness for him is showing through in your hatred of sites that don’t fit with your world-view. Maybe you’re not old enough to remember the ice age scare of the 1970s that was the great alarmist stick before many of those telling us we were all going to freeze did an abrupt about turn and started to tell us we’re all going to fry instead. I fear it’s your idea that is the dumb one. The Little Ice Age (so named for a reason) only happened a few hundred years ago. It wasn’t a fully-fledged ice age, but it was a lot colder than now (and a lot colder than the warm period that preceded it). Some estimates suggest that due to famine caused by the cold, and by the wars that may in part at least have been climate-induced, perhaps a third of the world’s population died during that dreadful time. Admittedly full-scale ice ages tend to last for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years, but inter-glacials are much shorter. Look at any chart of temperature over the long-term, and current temperatures are near the bottom end of the range, not the top. Ditto CO2 levels on longer-term scales.

    I can mirror Tom in saying “I even read Real Climate and And Then There’s Physics. And Bishop Hill and Judith Curry. ” Presumably you don’t, having being brain-washed against anything that challenges your view. I assume that’s why you can’t contemplate alternative answers to interesting questions, or even acknowledge the relevance of said questions.

    If you wonder why I’ve lost patience with you, you should stop expressing your prejudice and lack of understanding of those with whom you are debating by posting rubbish like this:

    “You’d probably believe the Mail or even RT over a scientific publication if it fit your preferred narrative.” You should also take a good look in the mirror and contemplate the hilarious irony of that statement, given your behaviour on this site.

    Don’t expect to me to respond further. That doesn’t mean you’ve won the debate – far from it. I’ve just lost patience, have better things to do, and can’t be bothered any more.

    For the record, though, I don’t argue that you should stop posting here if you still want to. I still welcome your input, if only because you’re doing a great job of reminding me why I’m a sceptic!

    Liked by 1 person

  90. Paul, your graph came from an IPCC report. Your interpretation –
    “This graph alone shows that anyone who believes that CO2 is the ‘principle control knob’ of the climate is either ignorant or dishonest. “
    in effect that it is modeling the action CO2 only, came either from you or one of your dubious sources. Either way it is wrong.

    Alan, if you don’t know the literature for the subject, you wont known what the relevant references are. So reading the ones quoted may not help. And reading academic papers of a subject in which one doesn’t have a background is not necessarily enlightening. All the same, I accept that reviewing cross-department is common, but that still doesn’t give you the authority over climate science in general that your seemed to claim.

    But back to substance, please give us your best guesses at the negative feedbacks that you suspect will negate 4W/m2 from CO2 and tell us why they didn’t they negate the huge warming that resulted from small orbit-related forcing changes that end glaciations. And Paul, if you think that question is a “regurgitated soundbite”, you should have a ready answer that you can help poor Alan with.

    Mark, if you think only your patience is being tried you should try it from my side. ★The Roman optimum may have been optimal for the whole planet, but I doubt it. ★Warming might result in changes in rainfall patterns over the Med. but probably at the expense of other regions. ★ If you believe that CO2 levels would be falling because of 1970’s articles about a new ice age, you have problems.

    I think we started with you implying that losing the Great Barrier Reef wouldn’t matter because corals, having survived extinction for millions of years through varying conditions, would not go extinct. I still want to know what sort of environmentalist could think that.

    [PM: you are now directly contradicting yourself within your posts, as well as lying about other people.]

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  91. PM, care to explain? Where are the contradictions and lies?

    [PM: I already have explained your lies. I showed you a graph from the IPCC report and you said I got my info from WUWT. In your last post you say it’s not all about CO2, then burble on about CO2 forcing. This is what you do: your errors and falsehoods are spelled out to you, then you just repeat them. As pointed out by Mark, you are a complete waste of time except for illustrating the case for scepticism. You are now in moderation.]

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  92. William. Discussing evaluating undergraduate theses with you is getting tiresome. You seem to be arguing from false logic and a lack of any experience (not much new there then). Have you ever marked any dissertation, or even discussed marking students’ work with anyone who has? I will make a flying leap of faith that I can predict your answer.

    You asked “give us your best guesses at the negative feedbacks that you suspect will negate 4W/m2 from CO2”. This presumes that your figure of 4W/m2 is correct, which I do not necessarily accept. I don’t think we can predict how any increase in CO2 will affect cloud cover, and without that all forcing predictions are illusionary. You can’t even predict the Earth’s albedo. We don’t know how temperature changes will affect heat transfer by ocean currents, and we know that forest cover greatly influences moisture retention and maximum temperatures (which is why I asked for your estimates of these during the Eemian). We don’t have these data so any estimates of forcing then are spurious.

    You question my abilities to make judgements on climate change, so what exactly are your qualifications?

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  93. I have to make one final comment, because I simply cannot let the following inaccuracies from William pass without rebuttal:

    “If you believe that CO2 levels would be falling because of 1970’s articles about a new ice age, you have problems.”

    I said no such thing, nor could any reasonable person infer that I did. You have (deliberately?) conflated two completely separate arguments that I was making and apparently decided that I linked the two, even though I did not. Stop making things up!

    “I think we started with you implying that losing the Great Barrier Reef wouldn’t matter because corals, having survived extinction for millions of years through varying conditions, would not go extinct. I still want to know what sort of environmentalist could think that.”

    Again, I did not say that, nor did I imply it, nor could any reasonable person infer it. You have (deliberately?) misinterpreted what I wrote.

    William, if you cannot read and understand simple English, you have problems.

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  94. “William. Do you think it might be possible for you to carefully read what people write before you put your foot in your mouth.”

    Alan, once again you make the mistake of assuming “William” is posting on here in good faith with the intention of stimulating debate.

    He isn’t.

    Hw won’t bother to read your posts sufficiently to understand them, he will extract a snippet and build a straw man around it.

    When you demolish that straw man, he will build another, ad infinitum.

    He is purely here to waste your time, no more and no less.

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  95. Catweazle. I do know this (from time to time at least) but I hope that by addressing William’s nonsense I might interest others here in some aspect of my responses. I certainly learn from reading other peoples’ replies.

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  96. Agreed, Alan.

    Posting clear explanations following troll posts may not do anything for the troll, but may well instruct a blog follower whose mind is not entirely closed.

    Further, it is often enjoyable to poke trolls with sharp sticks to make them froth and wrigle and tie themselves in knots!

    Like

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