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Venerable CliScis Fire Off Shots in Rapid Response to GWPF ‘Contrarian Pseudo-Rebuttal’: Shoot Themselves in Feet

 

 

Eminent Meteorology Professor J. Ray Bates has written a paper for the GWPF about the discrepancies between the scientific case for climate change concern set out in AR5 WG1 and the more urgent, quite obviously politically motivated, less robustly evidenced climate alarmism in SR15. It’s a fairly long paper. I intend to concentrate here only on the issues concerning attribution which two well known climate scientists – Gavin Schmidt and Peter Thorne – have picked up on and roundly criticised Professor Bates for highlighting, even to the point of publicly ridiculing him. Schmidt writes at Real Climate here and Thorne writes for the Irish Times here and for the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units at Maynooth University here. Stones and glass houses spring to mind. I’ll tell you why.

Bates says:

The recent special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, known as SR1.5, goes far beyond all its previous publications in raising the level of alarm about climate change and in calling for drastic action to combat it . . . . .

The report calls for radical changes in the world’s economy to achieve zero carbon emissions by mid-century. Given the extremely costly and highly disruptive changes this course of action would entail, the rigour of the underlying scientific case should be beyond question. Here, some central aspects of SR1.5 are examined to see whether the report exhibits a level of scientific rigour commensurate with the scale of its prescribed course of action. The conclusion, based on the evidence, is that it does not.

You can’t argue with that, other than to contest the assertion that the level of scientific rigour on display in SR15 is not sufficient to justify the prescribed course of action.

So let’s look at the IPCC AR5 WG1 attribution statement and that of the attribution claims as set out in SR15, which Schmidt and Thorne claim are consistent with one another and presumably scientifically robust enough to justify the SR15 climate policy prescriptions. I’ve criticised SR15 myself for its less than rigorously substantiated attribution claims here.

Firstly AR5 WG1 attribution statement:

It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.

The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.

Thorne criticises Bates for ‘wilfully misrepresenting AR5 attribution findings’. Alas, his evidence for doing so turns out to be a wilful misrepresentation of what Bates actually wrote in the report for GWPF! His method is subtle and rather snidey, but I’ll unpick it right here and now, bit by bit, so you can see what he actually did.

Bates did indeed quote the AR5 attribution statement, but he omitted to quote the IPCC’s best estimate of the warming, alas leaving himself open to attack by the climate elite. It would have been better to include that second part, even though the scientific justification for the ‘best estimate’ is risibly poor, ignoring as it does systemic uncertainties in order to derive a wholly probabilistic assessment of human influence – but that’s another issue.

What Bates actually says about SR15’s attribution of human caused warming is:

This statement did not necessarily attribute all the observed post-1950 warming to anthropogenic effects, nor did it attribute the substantial early 20th century warming (1910–1945) to such effects. In contrast to this caution, SR1.5 portrays all the global warming observed since the late 19th century as being human-induced (see Figure 1). This major departure from the Fifth Assessment is presented without any rigorous justification.

So, in addition to noting that post 1950 warming is not necessarily all attributable to human causes, Bates clearly takes issue with the fact, as I have done, that SR15 attributes all warming from the late 19th century to anthropogenic influences. But Thorne attacks him only for what he says about the post 1950 attribution statement in AR5 and the fact that he omitted the ‘best estimate’ part. He says:

Why is this a wilful misinterpretation of AR5? Well, the complete statement rather than a partial lift is:

It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.

Spot the difference? It’s this:

The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.

I see no other way to describe this presentation other than wilful misinterpretation.

So, in order to levy the accusation that Bates wilfully misrepresents the AR5 attribution – and thus as a consequence also misrepresents what SR15 has to say about attributable human-caused warming, he deliberately misrepresents Bates by omitting the vital context of his comments on warming before 1950. He makes a half-hearted, disjointed attempt to ‘prove’ that all warming from 1910 is anthropogenic by throwing in a series of quite laughable graphs of models with/without anthro forcings vs. observation for different regions plus global averages where the early 20th century observed warming is notably almost absent. I personally find his tactics quite reprehensible, especially coming from one scientist in response to another. Thorne says finally:

So, does SR1.5 start from a distinct premise from the AR5 conclusions around attributable warming contribution from us humans? That’ll be a resounding no.

 

The truthful answer is a resounding, yes.

Gavin Schmidt is just as bad at the Real Climate blog. He says sneeringly:

As dark nights draw in, the venerable contrarians at the GWPF are still up late commissioning silly pseudo-rebuttals to mainstream science. The latest, which no-one was awaiting with any kind of breath, is by Dr. Ray Bates (rtd.) which purports to be a take-down of the recent #SR15 report. As Peter Thorne (an IPCC author) correctly noted, this report is a “cut-and-paste of long-debunked arguments”. I’ve grown a little weary of diving down to rebut every repetitive piece of nonsense, but this one has a few funny aspects that make it worthwhile to do so . . . .

And then states “This statement did not necessarily attribute all the observed post-1950 warming to anthropogenic effects”. This is of course true. You actually need to read the next line for that:

The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.

But instead of noting that (or the substantive discussion in Chapter 10 that supported it), he claims that

In contrast to this caution, SR1.5 portrays all the global warming observed since the late 19th century as being human-induced (see Figure 1). This major departure from the Fifth Assessment is presented without any rigorous justification.

This is categorically, absolutely, and totally, untrue. The starting point for SR15 is actually exactly what was in AR5 together with more recent literature.

So Gavin’s scientific accreditation of the new, improved SR15 all inclusive ‘attribution statement’ is, like the authors of AR15, a few scientific papers released after AR5 which suggest all post industrial warming is anthropogenic, conveniently ignoring all those scientific papers which suggest that this is not the case and that the 1910-1940s warming was largely natural. This is what Gavin considers to be “rigorous justification”. He even then goes on to have a pop at his favourite ‘climate contrarian’ Judith Curry, as if misrepresenting scientific evidence wasn’t enough. But it’s his sneering dismissal of Bates which is really telling:

Overall, this is basically a dialed-in work-for-hire. It’s incoherent, inconsistent, a little bit funny and adds nothing to our understanding of the science behind the SR15 report, or indeed any aspect of the attribution issue.

Since I started with a Shakespearean quote, I’ll finish with another one that is more apropos:

It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 5

 

23 thoughts on “Venerable CliScis Fire Off Shots in Rapid Response to GWPF ‘Contrarian Pseudo-Rebuttal’: Shoot Themselves in Feet

  1. Pingback: Venerable CliScis Fire Off Shots in Rapid Response to GWPF ‘Contrarian Pseudo-Rebuttal’: Shoot Themselves in Feet – Today,s Thought

  2. Attribution looks like a game of assertions – mine is better than yours, yah boo sucks. ‘Papers suggest’ – no doubt, but where’s any actual evidence?

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  3. Clive Best sums it up nicely, talking about the ‘magic’ way climate science manages to sum very large uncertainties in climate forcings to somehow arrive at a very much reduced uncertainty in anthropogenic forcing, thus giving credence to their ‘extremely likely’ attribution of anthropogenic influence on global temperature rises. I keep saying, attribution is not proper science, it’s wizardry.

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  4. The big myth is that SR15 is a scientific document, although leading the charge was physicist Myles Allen of Oxford ECI, who is a major proponent of climate litigation.

    He was a participant in the 2012 meeting at La Jolla, co-funded by the Grantham Institute, when the Union of Concerned Scientists, led by Peter Frumhoff, constructed a strategy to bring prosecutions against fossil fuel companies in the manner of the tobacco class action.

    http://www.climateaccountability.org/pdf/Climate%20Accountability%20Rpt%20Oct12.pdf

    A co-strategist was Naomi Oreskes, brilliantly taken apart by Brad Keyes at WUWT yesterday: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/23/oreskes-harvard-and-the-destruction-of-scientific-revolutions/

    Having searched the list of SR15 authors published by the IPCC, the list is heavily seeded with specialists in “Sustainability”, “Justice and Equity”, “Governance”, “Political Science”, “Psychology”, “Social Science”, together with the usual sprinkling of Economists and Lawyers. Additionally, the list had to comply with UN requirements of diversity and gender balance, meaning that some authors were not selected necessarily for their scientific acumen, but to achieve the required PC complement.

    Yet we are repeatedly told by the MSM, that the report was produced by “The World’s Leading Climate Scientists”. It was commissioned by the UN two years earlier, specifically for release prior to the Katowice COP, in order to ramp up the ante for advancing the Paris Agreement. It was a blatant propaganda document.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jaime,

    Clive Best sums it up nicely, talking about the ‘magic’ way climate science manages to sum very large uncertainties in climate forcings to somehow arrive at a very much reduced uncertainty in anthropogenic forcing, thus giving credence to their ‘extremely likely’ attribution of anthropogenic influence on global temperature rises. I keep saying, attribution is not proper science, it’s wizardry.

    No, it’s actually quite straightforward. Consider the figure below; the relatively large uncertainties in GHG and OA indicates that the anthropogenic influences could produce much more than the observed warming, or much less (maybe even less than half). However, if you consider the NAT and Internal Variability contributions then you see that their uncertainties indicate that it is extremely unlikely that they could contribute more than half of the observed warming. Hence, if you consider all of the various possible contributions, you can constrain the ANT contribution (overall anthropogenic) more tightly than if you consider anthropogenic contributions alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ATTP,
    You finally admit the impact could be much less than predicted (and more in line with reality).
    Amazing to think that even a published troll like you can learn something.

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  7. Hmmmm
    “No , it’s actually quite straightforward. Consider the figure below; the relatively large uncertainties in GHG and OA indicates that the anthropogenic influences could produce much more than the observed warming, or much less (maybe even less than half).”
    And your “However…” doesn’t actually support your alarmist position either.
    Perhaps climate obsession, besides corrupting academia also reduces the cognitive and short term memory functions in the afflicted as well.
    But anyhow, since the climatocracy has not yet banned Christmas best wishes to you and yours.
    Thanks for being a gift that keeps on giving.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jamie,

    You have to dig down into Fig 10.4 in AR5 to discover how they did it. The model studies are all done over the timescale 1951 – 2010 and in fact all the header labels only mention 1951-2010. However the ‘Anthropogenic’ factor ANT instead is based on 1861-2010 trends assuming an “effective radiative forcing curve” (volcanoes, aerosols etc). This is then scaled to 1951-2010. To my mind this is all rather a circular argument because we all know that the effective radiative forcing is itself derived so as to produce the observed warming! So hey presto ‘ANT’ can explain all the warming from 1951-2010 !

    Happy Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Merry Christmas to you all. I wish that AGW and renewables could be relied upon to keep everyone warm enough, but they won’t. Brandy is a poor substitute, but will have to do.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Merry Christmas to everyone.

    It’s very cold and hardly a breeze to stir the blades of the wind turbines to generate some much needed ‘free energy’, so I guess the country will be relying upon planet-destroying fossil fuels this festive period. Hey, octopus Energy are even giving smart meter users 4 hours free energy on Christmas day so they can cook their Christmas dinner and wash the dishes in the dishwasher for nowt! The rest of you who don’t like the idea of being spied on and being conned by a smart meter, but who nevertheless pay for their installation in other people’s homes – too bad.

    Ken, so what you’re saying is that, by artificially constraining the magnitude of and uncertainty in natural forcings, the IPCC are able to ‘fingerprint’ virtually all warming since 1950 as anthropogenic, despite the huge uncertainty in the individual anthropogenic contributions. That’s a neat trick!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yet Schmidt, in an open debate, couldn’t win.
    And has avoided debate since.
    That said, it is important to get the editing quality up to speed.

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  12. Yes, Merry Christmas one and all. Let’s hope 2019 is a better year and brings more tolerance all round. Less hate in hearts and minds (and on twitter – not least because it tends to get you suspended :-)) and more peace and goodwill. Thanks for all the posts this year. I read with interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Tamino also has a post on the “fictional” pause and how he has co-authored papers denying its existence. To most people, that alone is proof enough that the pause was real.

    Another proof, Connolley (struggling to understand philosophy) also disdains the idea of a pause.

    It’s almost as if these beacons of intellect are denying the authority of the IPCC

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  14. MiaB:
    “It’s almost as if these beacons of intellect are denying the authority of the IPCC”

    Much more than ‘almost’ from some scientists. The issue is that despite much catastrophe narrative from the UN elite (and many other authorities) and even occasionally from leadership of the IPCC itself, the actual IPCC baseline, i.e. the AR5 chapters, do not support a high certainty of imminent (decades) global catastrophe, which the catastrophe narrative nevertheless claims in the name of science. So those (minority) scientists who support this narrative have to break with the IPCC in order to make a case. See para that begins ‘starting even before AR5…’ https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/26/cagw-a-snarl-word/

    There’s a similar issue with ‘the pause’. Those who accept it’s existence (so including the mainstream literature on same plus the IPCC acknowledgement of this), are likewise countering the catastrophe narrative; if normal natural variability can eliminate / muchly reduce warming for such a long period, then even upon return it’s far less likely that warming will be powerful enough to lead to imminent global catastrophe.

    In practice, those scientists theorizing imminent global catastrophe are as far away from the mainstream consensus at one wing, as the skeptical scientists are at the opposite wing. So many folks who believe that a global catastrophe outcome, and the mainstream climate science judgement, are essentially one and the same, are now getting increasingly stretched as the sharp division between these two further emerges. I think this is the context of the current pause exchanges, and too the impossible consistency act that SR15 and its accompanying press attempted.

    Generically speaking, cultural narratives are polarizing. For all those whom the emotive persuasion of the catastrophe narrative picks up, there will also be those who are turned off by it, in the above cases because some will perceive that even mainstream science does not support the catastrophic, let alone anything skeptical.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well yes this whole pause thing shows how uncertain climate science really is and how large the effects of analysis methods can be. My guess is that the majority of climate scientists have either written a paper about the pause or believe there was a slowdown. Mann, Oreskes, Lewindowski, and Ramsdorf are better at making noise and spotting questionable confirmation bias.

    I will be more convinced of the attribution statement when some of the forcings are better constrained. The uncertainty around aerosols is still quite large. Even CO2 as Lewis points out, has quite different effective forcings in different climate models. There is lot of back and forth about efficiencies of other forcings like solar forcing. it seems Schmidt thinks its effective forcing is twice the change in incoming. Black carbon likewise has a high effectiveness.

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  16. They may be shooting themselves in the foot, but to little real effect because they wear academic sabatons.

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  17. IIRC, Schmidt and Mann both, previously admitted to the pause.
    Hangng out with the leaders of the Climate Inquisition, Lewandowsky and Oreskes, seems to have a bracing impact on one’s thought processes.

    Liked by 1 person

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