RSS Reaches Santer’s 17 Years

WoodForTrees.org – Paul Clark – Click the pic to view at source

Image Credit: WoodForTrees.org

Guest Post By Werner Brozek, Edited By Just The Facts

RSS stands for Remote Sensing Systems, which is a satellite temperature data set similar to the University of Alabama – Huntsville (UAH) dataset that John Christy and Roy Spencer manage. Information about RSS can be found at here and the data set can be found here.

The plot of the number on the left column from November 1, 1996 to October 31, 2013 can be found in the graph at the head of his article and here. When the “Raw data” is clicked, we see that for 204 months, the slope is = -0.000122111 per year. I wish to make it perfectly clear that the focus is not on the magnitude of the negative number since this number is zero for all intents and purposes. The only thing that is noteworthy is that the slope is not positive.

And of course, 204 months is equal to 17 years. In the “Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale” Benjamin Santer et al. stated that:

“Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

I am sure that I will be corrected if I am wrong, but in plain English, my interpretation of this statement is as follows:

“There is a lot of noise in the climate system and it is quite possible that the noise can mask the effects of man-made carbon dioxide for a period of time. However if the slope is zero for 17 years, then we cannot blame noise any more but we have to face the facts that we humans do not affect the climate to any great extent.”

Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?

Richard Courtney offered a very interesting perspective in a comment previously:

“The Santer statement says that a period of at least 17 years is needed to see an anthropogenic effect. It is a political statement because “at least 17 years” could be any length of time longer than 17 years. It is not a scientific statement because it is not falsifiable.

However, if the Santer statement is claimed to be a scientific statement then any period longer than 17 years would indicate an anthropogenic effect. So, a 17-year period of no discernible global warming would indicate no anthropogenic global warming.

In my opinion, Santer made a political statement so it should be answered with a political response: i.e. it should be insisted that he said 17 years of no global warming means no anthropogenic global warming because any anthropogenic effect would have been observed.

Santer made his petard and he should be hoisted on it.”

Some may wonder why I am ignoring UAH. In response, I would just say that while UAH does not have a slope of 0 over the last 17 years, within the error bars of statistical significance, it is indeed possible for UAH to have a slope of 0 for this period of time. Nick Stokes’ Trend Viewer page shows: “CI from -0.384 to 2.353“. So while a larger trend cannot be ruled out, a slope of 0 is certainly possible according to climate science criteria for statistical significance.

You may be interested in how the other data sets compare over this same 17 year period. My recent post Statistical Significances – How Long Is “The Pause”? (Now Includes September Data) offers an in depth analysis and below is the plot for five other data sets. In addition to the RSS plot using all points for RSS and its slope line, I have just drawn the slope lines for the other five and offset them so they all start at the point where RSS starts in November 1996.

WoodForTrees.org – Paul Clark – Click the pic to view at source

It is interesting to note that over this same 17 year period, the largest slope is that of UAH with 0.009/year or less than 1 degree C/century. That is certainly nothing to be alarmed about.

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94 Responses to RSS Reaches Santer’s 17 Years

  1. wws says:

    I hate to say this, but you have missed something in Santer’s belief system that he obviously expected to be taken for granted. When Santer wrote:

    “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

    He intended this corollary to be taken for granted: “Of course that only applies to warming, but if we measure no changes at all for 17 years then it might take 25 or 50 or 100 years to see the Global Warming, because it’s tricky that way, and it hides in all the spooky places like a Halloween goblin – and just when you think it’s gone for good it’ll jump out of the Deep Ocean or something and shout “BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!!!”

  2. Bloke down the pub says:

    Warmists must be well qualified as groundsmen considering the number of times they’ve moved the goalposts.

  3. Steve from Rockwood says:

    I interpret the “at least 17 years” statement differently. It is meaningless to look at temperature changes of shorter duration because of natural variability. Only after that period of time will the human effect be measurable. This is a slow motion fight that “denialists” are going to win one month at a time. We only had to wait 17 years. Problem is, living in a cold climate, I didn’t really want to be on the winning team.

  4. oppti says:

    WoodForTrees have periods with negative trends during other long periods.
    1944-1978 as an example-over 30 years.

  5. Doug says:

    Refuting CAGW and the growth of a plague of locusts both require 17 years.

  6. Frank K. says:

    So, let’s recap the year in climate so far, shall we?

    * The Nenana, Alaska “ice out” date breaks the old record.
    * Arctic minimum sea ice extent rebounds sharply from 2012 lows.
    * Antarctic maximum sea ice extent sets new records.
    * Tornado activity to date is near record lows.
    * The hurricane season in the Atlantic basin has been (and probably will end up being) a dud.
    * We have now reached 17 years with zero trend in “global temperature”.

    Others can add to the list…

  7. ConfusedPhoton says:

    The goal posts will be moved soon and we will see that we need 25-30 years of non warming.

    It is a bit like the timing of the end of the world madmen, everytime we reach it some excuse is used and a new date is given.

    Do not make the mistake that Climate ” Science” has anything to do with real science!

  8. Does this mean that taxes on fuel and subsidies on wind and solar power will go?
    I doubt it, no doubt “it will be the wrong 17 years”, or “the models are now predicting this lack of warming, because the heat is going into the ocean” (regardless of the fact that the atmosphere has to heat up first before the seas can).
    As Bloke Down the Pub states, they will move the goalposts again by making up some total c**p about the “travesty” that they don’t know what has happened to the missing heat. If it helps I can tell them that heat and temperature are not synonymous; the same as climate and weather in fact!

  9. Ric Werme says:

    oppti says:
    November 4, 2013 at 6:51 am

    WoodForTrees have periods with negative trends during other long periods.
    1944-1978 as an example-over 30 years.

    This implies faith in the accuracy of the ground (and ocean) record.

    The significance of the RSS records is that it covers very nearly the entire planet with a consistent measure.

  10. JimH says:

    Personally I’m waiting (hopefully) for the 20 year mark. Because then the 1980-2000 (roughly speaking) rise will be no longer than the 2000-2020 level/cooling period. I don’t think AGW will survive that. We’re nearly three quarters of the way there, as the years tick by the warmists will be getting more and more worried. I think post 2015 the cracks will really begin to show as more rats leave the sinking ship.

  11. Ric Werme says:

    So, what the consensus (yerch) of the length of warming, 1978-1998? Once the length of the pause equals the length of warming (I don’t mind a little overlap), it will be harder for people to claim X years is too short without putting doubt on the the warming period being long enough to be significant.

  12. oppti says:

    Ric Werme 7:00
    Ok so what is the RSS reading for the period 1944-1978?
    Climate has long time periodicity, something CO2 has not changed completely!

  13. michael hart says:

    Of course if we wait long enough it will go up again. Or down. In fact, if we wait long enough it will probably dice carrots.

  14. Col Mosby says:

    Steve from Rockwood is mostly right, but I object to the idea that 17 years would “always and forever” be long enough to see thru the varibilities that may occur. Even though that period length may be long enough to cover the past occurances, that doesn’t mean it woud cover future situations. There is no limit that I know of to the extent of natural variability possible. There is a more important issue by far in all this : how much anthropogenic warming are we talking about? Whether or not anthropogenic warming is statistically significantly greater than zero (which is the question answered by statistical significance tests) has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of whether the warming is indeed significant, or worrisome. One should instead statistically evaluate the data to answer whether one can be certain that warming greater than some agreed to magnitude is occurring. A warming of 2/10ths degrees per century might very well be shown to be statistically significant (which it is). But it’s not significant in any other way. “Statistical significance” is by far the most misunderstood scientific term. No one seems to know what it actually represents

  15. Brian says:

    “Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?”

    Werner,

    Yes. Although Santer doesn’t say it directly, Figures 4 and 6 make clear what he means. In an ensemble of model runs, over a period of 17 years, only 2.5% of models have a negative trend. As seen in Figure 6a, over 14 years only 5% of model runs have a negative trend. And as seen in Figure 4b, over 20 years only about 0.5% of model runs have a negative trend. Since the 95% confidence interval determines statistical significance, one can say that a non-positive trend over 17 years or longer would imply that the models are wrong. They must either have the wrong trend or they must have a too-low variability. If scientists are being honest, they must acknowledge and confront this discrepancy, though they can try to save the CAGW claims by arguing that the variability, not the trend, is what’s wrong.

  16. Steven Mosher says:


    Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?

    no.

    and courtney botches it as well.

  17. Alan the Brit says:

    As people have already noted, the goalpost shifting will soon begin, with warmists ready with a veritable bank of excuses as to why the Earth hasn’t warmed or indeed started to cool!!!! Under no circumstances could they be wrong!

  18. DirkH says:

    oppti says:
    November 4, 2013 at 6:51 am
    “WoodForTrees have periods with negative trends during other long periods.
    1944-1978 as an example-over 30 years.”

    So the rise of CO2 from 1960 to 1978 had no effect as well?
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2

    That’s great! We can dump the doubly falsified CO2AGW theory! Rejoyce! Thermageddon ain’t gonna happen! Dance in the streets, warmists! You’re saved!

    As to us skeptics; we didn’t worry about it anyway so we’ll just continue working.

  19. richardscourtney says:

    Steven Mosher:

    At November 4, 2013 at 7:35 am your post says in total


    Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?

    no.

    and courtney botches it as well.

    Please explain how I have botched it.
    I await your explanation in awe and anticipation of your wisdom.

    Richard

  20. Marcos says:

    Does anyone know how many years of warming there had been by 1984 when Hansen started saying the world was going to burn up and the West Side Hwy in NYC would be under water? Had it been at least 17 years?

  21. MinB says:

    Steve Mosher, what is the significance, if any, of 17 years without warming wrt Santers statement? (This is not a provocative question, I sincerely want to know how you interpret this.)

  22. Chris R. says:

    To oppti:

    You wrote:

    WoodForTrees have periods with negative trends during other long periods.
    1944-1978 as an example-over 30 years.

    However, the UN IPCC has put forth the statement that man-made greenhouse
    gas emissions began to dominate the Earth’s climate beginning in 1976. So
    the earlier periods of negative slope are less relevant.

  23. mkelly says:

    From: Phil Jones [p.jones@uea.ac.uk]

    Sent: Thu 07/05/2009 15:17

    to: “Lockwood, M (Mike)”

    Bottom line – the no upward trend has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried. We’re really counting this from about 2004/5 and not 1998.

    There will be a new version of HadCRUT3 (which we will call HadCRUT4!)

    ################

    The goal post have already begun to move.

  24. JohnWho says:

    Steven Mosher says:

    November 4, 2013 at 7:35 am


    Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?

    no.

    and courtney botches it as well.

    Let me try:

    What Santer meant was that we must wait to see what the 17 year data shows and then we can determine whether the data means anything meaningful or not.

    If it shows warming, it is meaningful, but if it shows either flat temps or any level of cooling, then we must investigate further.

    It appears he rejected Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion – “We must analyze the data before we see it.”

    :)

  25. Karl says:

    @ andrewmharding

    Why should the subsidies go? Nuclear power has been subsidized by an order of magnitude or more based on real dollars; for development of the basic tecnology, for construction of power stations, and development of fuel. Without conversion of weapons stockpiles for fuel, or a transition to thorium reactors, there is not enough U3O8 production capacity to support the expansion of Nuclear power as a significant contributor to electricity. There is barely enough to meet demand now. Approximately 68,000 tons of U3O8 is needed in 2013 http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Facts-and-Figures/World-Nuclear-Power-Reactors-and-Uranium-Requirements/ (that is a nuclear industry site) — production worldwide – 58,000 tons http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Facts-and-Figures/Uranium-production-figures/

    That is a 16% shortfall — just to maintain the current reactor force.

    Oil demand exceeds supply now by several hundred thousand barrels a day. The production shortfall is projected to be a few million barrels per day by Q4 2014. http://omrpublic.iea.org/

    Oil is not viable in the very near term. Nuclear is not viable for at least a decade, yet rooftop solar can be done in a month, and a wind farm can be sited and producing in a year or 2.

  26. wws says:

    Richard C., you really think you’re going to get a rational explanation???

    The only one you’ll be getting is that made famous by Ring Lardner in his “Stories and Other Writings”, and I quote:

    “‘Shut Up!’ he explained.”

  27. highflight56433 says:

    My contention has been that if we dilute the atmosphere’s water vapor with CO2, it will have a cooling effect. There is more correlation to this per the inter-glacial periods.

    Also, temperature readings at airports are for the purposes of aircraft performance, not climate monitoring. My contention (lots of contentions) is not to use any airport weather station data. They are heat islands.

    Another contention is the sun drives our climate followed by “other stuff.”

  28. JohnWho says:

    oppti says:

    November 4, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Ric Werme 7:00
    Ok so what is the RSS reading for the period 1944-1978?
    Climate has long time periodicity, something CO2 has not changed completely!

    I don’t believe the RSS satellites were reporting temps before they were launched.

    I could be wrong.

  29. richardscourtney says:

    Col Mosby:

    In your post at November 4, 2013 at 7:22 am you say

    I object to the idea that 17 years would “always and forever” be long enough to see thru the varibilities that may occur. Even though that period length may be long enough to cover the past occurances, that doesn’t mean it woud cover future situations. There is no limit that I know of to the extent of natural variability possible.

    With respect, I point out that your comment is true and accurate but it misses the point.

    It is claimed that anthropogenic (i.e. caused by human activity) global warming (AGW) is now so large that it overwhelms the natural climate variability of the Holocene. It does not matter if cooling happened in the past when the anthropogenic effects were less: AGW is now so large that lack of warming is improbable.

    Indeed, Santer et al. claimed

    Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.

    As the above essay reports, I can see two possible interpretations of that. However, Mosher says my interpretations “botches it” and we all await his sure to be cogent explanation of that. In the absence of his explanation, I will consider the two possible meanings of the claim I have identified in the light of the achieved 17 years with lack of identifiable global warming.

    Either
    (a) Santer et al. made a political statement that has no meaning
    or
    (b) AGW is shown to not have a magnitude sufficient for it to become discernible according to the understandings of AGW reported by Santer et al. and evinced by their climate models.

    Richard

  30. rgbatduke says:

    This (17 years) is a non-event, just as 15 and 16 years were non-events. Non-events do not make headlines. Other non-events of the year are one of the fewest numbers of tornadoes (especially when corrected for under-reporting in the radar-free past) in at least the recent past of not the remote past, the lowest number of Atlantic hurricanes since I was 2 years old (I’m 58), the continuation of the longest stretch in recorded history without a category 3 or higher hurricane making landfall in the US (in fact, I don’t recall there being a category 3 hurricane in the North Atlantic this year, although one of the ones that spun out far from land might have gotten there for a few hours).

    We (the world) didn’t have an unusual number of floods, we don’t seem to have any major droughts going on, total polar ice is unremarkable, arctic ice bottomed out well within the tolerances slowly being established by its absurdly short baseline, antarctic ice set a maximum record (but just barely, hardly newsworthy) in ITS absurdly short baseline, the LTT temperatures were downright boring, and in spite of the absurdly large spikes in GASTA in GISS vs HADCRUT4 on a so-called “temperature anomaly” relative to a GAST baseline nobody can measure to within a whole degree centigrade, neither one of them did more than bounce around in near-neutral, however much the “trend” in GISS is amplified every second or third month by its extra-high endpoint.

    The US spent months of the summer setting cold temperature records, but still, aside from making the summer remarkably pleasant in an anecdotal sort of way (the kind you tell your grandchildren when they experience a more extreme weather, “Eh, sonny, I remember the summer of ’13, aye, that was a good one, gentle as a virgin’s kiss outdoors it was…”) it was unremarked on at the time.

    Let’s face it. The climate has never been more boring. Even the weather blogs trying to toe the party line and promote public panic — I mean “awareness” — of global warming are reduced to reporting one of GISS’s excessive spikes as being “the fourth warmest September on record” while quietly neglecting the fact that in HADCRUT4, RSS and UAH it was nothing of the sort and while even more quietly neglecting the fact that if one goes back a few months the report might have been that June was the fourth coldest in 20 years. Reduced to reporting a carefully cherrypicked fourth warmest event? Ho hum.

    So, good luck in getting any news agency to report reaching 17 years in any or all of the indices — this isn’t news, it is anti-news. It is olds. It is boring.

    It is also irrelevant. If GASTA stubbornly refuses to rise for five more years, stretching the interval out to 20 to 22 years in a way that nobody can ignore, does this really disprove GW, AGW, or CAGW? It does not. The only thing that will disprove GW or CGW is reaching 2100 without a climate catastrophe and without significantly more warming or with net cooling. A demonstrated total climate sensitivity of zero beats all predictions or argument. The “A”(nthropogenic) part is actually easier to prove or disprove in a contingent sort of way, although it will probably take decades to do so. Contingent because of there is no observed GW at all, AGW seems difficult to prove. But since we are in the part of the periodic climate cycle observed over the last 150 years where the climate remains neutral to cools around an overall warming trend, we might well see neutral to very slow warming even if AGW is correct, if there is an anthropogenic component to the long term trend and oscillation that we can observe but not really explain over the last 150 years.

    The one thing the 33 years of satellite measurements and increasingly precise surface temperature measurements have been able to prove is the one thing that the 17 year interval is truly relevant to. The GCMs used to predict CAGW suck. The GCMs in CIMP5 that contribute to the conclusions of AR5 are almost without exception terrible predictors of the Earth’s actual climate.

    This conclusion is unavoidable. Even if they all cannot be rejected at the “95% confidence level”, almost none of them are close to predicting even GASTA alone, let alone RSS/UAH, global rainfall, frequency and violence of storms, etc. As we leave 2013′s hurricane season behind with almost no chance for an Atlantic storm this year, which GCM predicted the paucity of hurricanes and tornadoes over the last few years? Where are the droughts and floods? Which GCMs actually got the temperature distribution right (when they didn’t get the average or average anomaly right, the answer is almost certainly “none of them”)?

    We are told “Catastrophic warming is coming, it is just around the corner”. We ask why and without exception we are told “Because the 30 or more GCMs we carefully built in the 1990′s in response to the CAGW threat and normalized with the warming data from the 70′s and 80′s (not to mention Hansen’s initial model report from the late 1980′s) all say so. We then quite reasonably ask what they predicted for the last 20 years, and of course we can see that they all did indeed predict shockingly rapid warming. We then compare this to what actually happened, which is almost no warming over the last 20 years — a single warming pulse associated with the 1997/1998 ENSO event and then neutral ever since. We note that the warmest of the models that are still included in the CIMP5 data because nobody ever rejects a model just because it doesn’t work are a whopping 0.5 to 0.6C warmer than reality — they are the models with a total sensitivity of 5 or 6 C by 2100, so they have to warm at 0.5C a decade to get there.

    This really is shocking. Shockingly bad science, shockingly dishonest political manipulation of policy makers on the part of scientists who participated in the creation of AR5 and permitted their names to give the report its weight.

    As I’ve pointed out once and will point out again, by failing to be honest in AR5, by removing words that expressed honest doubt from the earlier draft and redrawing the figure to obscure the GCM failure, the IPCC has now gone far out on a limb that will end the career of many scientists and politicians before AR6 if there is no significant warming by that time. Not only significant warming, but a resumption of some sort of regular upslope to GASTA. Even if there is another ENSO-related burst of warming (which I’m sure is what they are hoping for) if it is only 0.2 C — and it is difficult to imagine that it could be much more given evidence from the past — it will barely suffice to restore the warming trend to 0.1 C/decade give or take a hair, roughly half of the lowest estimates of climate sensitivity. And they run the very real risk of getting to 2020 with GASTA basically the same as it was in 2000.

    At that time, the hottest GCMs are going to be almost a full degree C too hot compared to reality. The people who contribute to the IPCC reports aren’t fools — most of them know perfectly well that the high sensitivity models are trash at this point, and they know equally well that it will no longer be possible to conceal this fact even from ignorant politicians by 2000 if there is no statistically significant warming by that time. Because it is an open secret that there was a cover-up that deliberately concealed this, effectively lying to policy makers, there will be a public scandal. Heads will roll.

    The only way the IPCC can possibly avoid this as it proceeds is to issue a correction to AR5. Go back in and eliminate the GCMs with absurdly high sensitivity, the ones that obviously fail a hypothesis test when compared to the actual climate record. Personally I would advise eliminating at a much more generous level than 95% — a complete idiot with experience in computational modeling could go into these models and figure out what is wrong, given an additional 16 years of data — simply retune the models until they can manage both the warming of the late 20th century AND the warming hiatus since. Models for which no tuning can reproduce the actual past go into the dustbin, period — ones that can manage it will all have a vastly lowered climate sensitivity and will produce a much larger fraction of warming from “natural” variability, and less from CO_2. Finally, insist that all models use common numbers for things like CO_2 and aerosol contributions instead of individually tuning the largely cancelling contributions to reproduce an interpolated temperature change.

    I’m guessing that over half of the participating models will simply go away at this point. They can then reconstruct figure 1.4 in the SPM, note the good news that even though the remaining models will all still predict more warming than actually occurred the warming that they project by 2100 will be between 0.5 and 1.5 C, not 2.5 C or more. This is almost precisely in line with what was observed in the 19th and 20th century without CO_2, and will grant a far larger role to natural variability (and hence a smaller one to CO_2).

    Why should they do this, even though it is near-suicide to do it at this point? Because it is sure thing suicide not to do it. Because it is the right thing to do. Because they have a queasy feeling in their tum-tums every time they look at figure 1.4 in the AR5 SPM and realize that the dent that they made in the car isn’t going to go away and Dad is going to be even more pissed when he finds out if they lie about it. After all, everybody knows that the worst models in CIMP5 are wrong at this point. The people that wrote the models and ran the models, they know that their models are broken at this point. It’s not like the failure of a model is difficult to detect or something.

    If it were “just science”, all of this would have been happening in the literature for some time anyway. People would jump all over models that fail, because in the usual realm of science there is little money on the line and because trial and error and try try again is the normal order of business and what keeps you getting paid. Not so in climate science. Here it is all political. Hundreds of billions of dollars and the directed energy of the entire global civilization ride on the numbers. Here there is a real risk of congressional hearings where a flinty-eyed committee chair grills you by showing you GCM curves selected from figure 1.4 of the AR5 SPM and asks you “Sir, at what point was it obvious to you that this curve was not a good predictor of the future climate?” Because if the answer was “2012″ — and given the REMOVED TEXT from the earlier draft of AR5 everybody knows that it was 2012 at the latest — that’s contempt of congress right there, given that AR5 directs billions of dollars in federal research money and hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies and misdirected governmental energy at all levels from federal to state to local to personal.

    We pay, pay, and pay again in the form of taxes, higher energy prices, neglect of competing services and goals — and what we pay pales to nothing compared to the terrible price paid by the third world for the amelioration of hypothetical CAGW. Millions of people die every year from respiratory diseases alone brought about because they are still cooking on animal dung and charcoal because coal burning power plants are now “unclean” and have artificially inflated price tags at every level.

    If CAGW is a true hypothesis, them maybe — just maybe — it is worth sacrificing all of these people, most of them children under five, on the altar to expiate our carbon sins. But given this sort of ongoing catastrophe, this ongoing moral price we pay on the basis of the “projections” of the GCMs, how great is the obligation of the scientists who wrote AR5 towards “mere honesty”, to put down not their own beliefs but to put down the objective support for their beliefs given the data?

    For some time the data has been sufficient to prove that the tools that claim the biggest, scariest AGW are simply incorrect, broken, in error, failed. Yet their predictions are still included in AR5 because without them, the “catastrophe” disappears and we are forced to rebalance the cost of gradual accommodation of the warming while continuing to civilize and raise the standard of living of the third world against the ongoing catastrophe of adopting measures that everybody knows will not prevent the catastrophe anyway (if the extreme models are correct) at the cost of a hundred million or more lives and unspeakable poverty, disease, and human misery perpetuated for decades along the way.

    rgb

  31. richardscourtney says:

    rgbatduke:

    re your excellent post at November 4, 2013 at 8:14 am.

    SECONDED!

    Richard

  32. JohnWho says:

    @rgbatduke

    Request permission to repost your statement of November 4, 2013 at 8:14 am.

    Thank you for taking the time to make such a meaningful post.

  33. Karl says:

    @ richardscourtney

    you said:
    “Millions of people die every year from respiratory diseases alone brought about because they are still cooking on animal dung and charcoal because coal burning power plants are now “unclean” and have artificially inflated price tags at every level.”

    Please cite where this occurs. Environmental regulations limiting coal burning plants are primarily first world in nature. I am unaware of millions in the first world cooking with animal dung.

    Secondly, without extensive scrubbing, coal plants are unclean. That is an unarguable scientific fact. Cadmium, sulfur, lead, mercury, and other metals as well as significant particulates that cause respiratory distress are present in significant quantities in coal plant exhaust.

    All one need do is look at the smog from Chinese coal fired powerplants.

  34. Frank K. says:

    @rgbatduke

    “The GCMs used to predict CAGW suck.”

    …and here’s the prime example of BAD GCMs (but, perhaps, an outlier):

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

    And the message posted forever but NEVER updated…
    NOTE: we are updating the documentation – please excuse any out-of-date information. “

    Total FAIL…

  35. Frank K. says:

    Karl says:
    November 4, 2013 at 8:24 am

    @ richardscourtney

    you said:
    “Millions of people die every year from respiratory diseases alone brought about because they are still cooking on animal dung and charcoal because coal burning power plants are now “unclean” and have artificially inflated price tags at every level.”

    Please cite where this occurs. Environmental regulations limiting coal burning plants are primarily first world in nature. I am unaware of millions in the first world cooking with animal dung.

    Karl – please visit Mumbai, India for a prime example. People living in the streets and cooking in tents. You will not be able to breathe the air there too long without difficulty…

    (Note: I visited Mumbai in 2006, so things may have improved but I rather doubt it.)

  36. Steve from Rockwood says:

    As the 17 year interval grows the realization that CO2 rise does not guarantee temperature rise will settle in. This will not be a knife-edge “Da-Da” moment. Eventually the greater question will arise. “What makes the temperature of the Earth go up and down like that?” We don’t know. But we like to make the unknown known, even if we’re wrong.

    As David Stockwell wrote here a few days ago, the dominant paradigm is being stressed and uncertainty is settling in.

  37. dbstealey says:

    rgbatduke says:
    November 4, 2013 at 8:14 am: [ ... ]

    Excellent comment! Thanks for posting.

  38. The goal of global warming climatology is not to provide a basis for communicating the global temperatures of the past but rather is to provide a basis for controlling the global temperatures of the future. There is an asymmetry between communications and control that is neglected by Dr. Santer’s argument regarding the anathropogenic signal and the associated noise. This is that the signal of communications propagates at a speed that is less than or equal to the speed of light. However, if there is a signal of control it must propagate at a speed that is greater than the speed of light. It follows from Einsteinian relativity that the latter “signal” does not exist.

    While a signal cannot reach us from the future, Einsteinian relativity does not bar the possibility that information about the outcomes of events will reach us from the future. Currently, however, this is not a possibility for global warming climatology contains no such events. Contrary to Santer’s implict claim, then, global temperatures are currently uncontrollable.

  39. Jeff Alberts says:

    Great post, as always RGB.

    One minor correction, I think it’s “CMIP5″ as opposed to “CIMP5″.

  40. Karl says:

    @ richard

    Sir, you are in error.

    Mumbai India has 1 1000-2000MWe coal fired plant and 2 1000MWe> coal fired plants.
    India also has a huge health burden from the dozens of other coal fired plants (over 100 total).

    “In 2011-12, the emissions from coal-fired power plants, resulted in an estimated 80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths and more than 20.0 million asthma cases from exposure to total particulate pollution, which cost the public and the government an estimated 16,000 to 23,000 crores of Rupees (USD 3.2 to 4.6 billion). The largest impact of these emissions is felt over the states of Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Indo-Gangetic plain, and most of central-east India.”

    http://www.urbanemissions.info/india-power-plants

  41. Jim Cripwell says:

    rgbatduke. Thank you for putting into a wonderful essay what I have been trying to say for months. But it is still only words. There are no actions that can “force” the scientific community to honestly debate the scientific basis for CAGW. The warmists simpy refuse to come to the table. I have discussed with Richard Courtney before as to what could actually be done. I have another suggestion for him.

    The Astronomer Royal, and former President of the Royal Society, Lord Rees, recently gave a lecture. http://theconversation.com/astronomer-royal-on-science-environment-and-the-future-18162. In it he stated “. Doubling of CO2 in itself just causes 1.2 degrees warming. But the effect can be amplified by associated changes in water vapour and clouds.” This is the so called no-feedback climate sensitivity, which it is impossible to measure, and which has no meaning in physics. Might it be possible for someone like Christopher Monckton to challenge Lord Rees to debate this issue?

  42. Karl says:

    @richard

    The coal plants you espoused are the cause of the miasma in the air in Mumbai — and India as a whole.

  43. Daryl M says:

    wws says:
    November 4, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I hate to say this, but you have missed something in Santer’s belief system that he obviously expected to be taken for granted. When Santer wrote:

    “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

    He intended this corollary to be taken for granted: “Of course that only applies to warming, but if we measure no changes at all for 17 years then it might take 25 or 50 or 100 years to see the Global Warming, because it’s tricky that way, and it hides in all the spooky places like a Halloween goblin – and just when you think it’s gone for good it’ll jump out of the Deep Ocean or something and shout “BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!!!”

    wws, you really put a smile on my face. Your post is priceless.

  44. Jimbo says:

    What I want to know is this, has Dr. Phil Jones been worried over the last 2 years?

    Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 7th May, 2009
    ‘Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’

    Many climate scientists have expressed puzzlement about the standstill since over the years. Here are many temperature standstill quotes from 2005 right up to this summer. Among them are Jones, Hansen, Latif, Von Storch, the Met Office etc. Even the Warm economist Lord Stern has said “I note this last decade or so has been fairly flat,” (27 May 2013).

    Q) How many more years of a temperature standstill do we have to wait before Warmist climate scientists hold a conference to declare the failure of the climate models used by the IPCC? Twenty? Twenty five? Thirty? It seems to me they will keep pushing the goalposts. They already did from 15 to 17 years. Expect a paper out soon pushing this ponzi scheme out to 2030.

  45. Jimbo says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    November 4, 2013 at 7:35 am


    Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?

    no.

    and courtney botches it as well.

    Can you explain why not?

    The models have failed, get over it.

  46. Bob Greene says:

    Excellent post justthefactswuwt and rgbatduke.
    I have no reason to doubt that any time period of “no warming” was simply a number to put off into the future any discussion of no warming and was never meant to be a measurement. That’s why the goalpost shifted. This is not science and has never really been science. How else could the failed predictions (Ehrlich’s ice age predictions, Hansen’s by 1988 prediction, ice free Arctic in 5 years predictions, etc) not result in any changes in thought by the elite climate scientists? It’s simply political science cloaked in the trappings of real science.
    Undeterred by any facts or data, the dear leader is taking charge of all US climate policy with political groups. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/01/obama-creates-climate-change-task-force/

    Neither facts, data nor time periods really matter, I’m afraid.

  47. Jimbo says:

    Chris R. says:
    November 4, 2013 at 8:01 am

    To oppti:

    You wrote:

    WoodForTrees have periods with negative trends during other long periods.
    1944-1978 as an example-over 30 years.

    However, the UN IPCC has put forth the statement that man-made greenhouse
    gas emissions began to dominate the Earth’s climate beginning in 1976. So
    the earlier periods of negative slope are less relevant.

    I thought the IPCC said since 1950? Anyway even if you are right then that brings us back to the 17 year standstill of no domination?

    Maybe I’m interpreting the following wrong, so my apologies.

    IPCC – AR5
    Headline Statements from the Summary for Policymakers
    Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/docs/ar5/ar5_wg1_headlines.pdf
    —————————————-
    BBC – 27 September 2013
    IPCC climate report: humans ‘dominant cause’ of warming
    A landmark report says scientists are 95% certain that humans are the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950s.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24292615

  48. Rex says:

    The usual hit and run from Mosher.
    Doesn’t do much for his credibility.

  49. oppti says:

    Jimbo 9:22
    I dont know if IPCC has an explanation of the of the warming period 1905-1944? It has not been detected by satellite observations fore some reason.
    Take a look!
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1957/to/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1900/to:1956/offset:0.4

  50. Mike Lewis says:

    @Karl – Not necessarily true because WHO says so, but definitely eye opening..

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/

  51. Jimbo says:

    If it were “just science”, all of this would have been happening in the literature for some time anyway. People would jump all over models that fail, because in the usual realm of science there is little money on the line and because trial and error and try try again is the normal order of business and what keeps you getting paid. Not so in climate science. Here it is all political. Hundreds of billions of dollars and the directed energy of the entire global civilization ride on the numbers.

    Absolutely agreed. If this was about model projections for swallow flight patterns being wrong, no one would care except those involved in the science. The errors would be pointed out and corrected / adjusted without song and dance. Climate scientists have painted themselves into a corner and the great CAGW scheme is ‘too big to fail’ – therefore the brazen dishonesty.

    Anthony, this comment from rgbatduke deserves a full post.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/04/rss-reaches-santers-17-years/#comment-1465759

  52. richardscourtney says:

    Karl:

    At November 4, 2013 at 8:24 am you pretend to quote my words but I have no recollection of saying or writing them unless they are a conflation of parts of two different statements to make it seem I said other than I did.

    Please reference when and where I said or wrote what you claim I did.

    Your point was answered by Frank K. at November 4, 2013 at 8:31 am but in subsequent posts at November 4, 2013 at 8:52 am and November 4, 2013 at 8:55 am you claim his statements are mine (in another thread they could have been because Frank K. is right).

    Your questioning of me is completely off-topic, ascribes to me statements I did not provide, and attempts to argue purportedly with me when I had made no response.

    I await your needed reference and your apology for your trolling. It seems there is a concerted effort by trolls to ‘have a go’ at me on WUWT threads over the past few days. And I wonder who is organising this.

    Richard

  53. Karl says:

    @richard

    Apologies for the post — the post cited to you in error regarding Mumbai was Frank K

    the earlier cite to you in error was rgbatduke

    Please accept my apologies for citing you incorrectly as the poster.

  54. Jimbo says:

    Karl says:
    November 4, 2013 at 8:24 am

    @ richardscourtney

    you said:
    “Millions of people die every year from respiratory diseases alone brought about because they are still cooking on animal dung and charcoal because coal burning power plants are now “unclean” and have artificially inflated price tags at every level.”

    Did he say that??? I think the person you are referring to is here.

    You go on to say:

    Please cite where this occurs. Environmental regulations limiting coal burning plants are primarily first world in nature. I am unaware of millions in the first world cooking with animal dung.

    Did he say some people from the FIRST world burn dung? You talk about dirty coal and you are absolutely correct. I am also correct to assume that you don’t live in a poor third world country with intermitent blackouts. I do. And they would rather have soot in the air from coal burning fire stations than soot going directly into their lungs. They would rather have electricity to turn on the light etc. than none at all. You have no idea my friend.

    You might also have missed this from last week.

    Reuters – 29 October 2013
    The United States said Tuesday it plans to use its leverage within global development banks to limit financing for coal-fired power plants abroad, part of Washington’s international strategy to combat climate change.

    The U.S. Treasury said it would only support funding for coal plants in the world’s poorest countries if they have no other efficient or economical alternative for their energy needs.

  55. Jimbo says:

    Karl says:
    November 4, 2013 at 8:24 am …………..

    Here is what the WHO has to say about indoor air pollution in the developing world.

    September 2011 – Fact sheet N°292
    Indoor air pollution and health
    Key facts
    • Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and leaky stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.

    Nearly 2 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution from household solid fuel use.

    • Nearly 50% of pneumonia deaths among children under five are due to particulate matter inhaled from indoor air pollution.

    • More than 1 million people a year die from chronic obstructive respiratory disease (COPD) that develop due to exposure to such indoor air pollution.

    • Both women and men exposed to heavy indoor smoke are 2-3 times more likely to develop COPD.
    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/

    You see, if they are not allowed to burn coal in a power station they burn it anyway. Have you considered deforestation? Have you see the aerial map of Haiti and its neighbour? One side is greener that the other over the border. Think about it. If you want to accelerate deforestation then hold back on energy. The results are occurring NOW.

  56. richardscourtney says:

    Frank K. and Jimbo:

    Thankyou.

    For the record, I agree – indeed, I applaud – all of the post by rgb and your support of a statement in it. But I deplore the attempt by Karl to get me involved in an argument which would derail this thread. And I don’t ‘buy’ his claim that it was not such an attempt but was three errors each made in a different post.

    I will ignore any and all further mentions of this matter.

    Richard

  57. Jimbo says:

    Karl says:
    November 4, 2013 at 8:52 am

    @ richard

    Sir, you are in error.

    Mumbai India has 1 1000-2000MWe coal fired plant and 2 1000MWe> coal fired plants.
    India also has a huge health burden from the dozens of other coal fired plants (over 100 total).

    “In 2011-12, the emissions from coal-fired power plants, resulted in an estimated 80,000 to 115,000 premature deaths and more than 20.0 million asthma cases…

    And how many lives were saved by providing hospitals etc. with electricity? I bet you this is a price they are willing to pay to get electricity anyway. Cost benefit kinda thing. Think about it.

  58. Karl. Thank you for your reply to my post. Wahtever the answer to the problem of shortages of uranium ( I will have to take your word on that one, I will check out the link when I have finished work tonight and have more time). I accept that oil is not limitless, but I also accept that unless the wind blows between two speeds there is little, or no electricity, likewise when the sun doesn’t shine or is only 12 degrees above the horizon in midwinter here in NE England.
    I saw a posting on Facebook a couple of weeks ago in which someone said “If we could cover the deserts of North Africa with solar panels we would have enough electricity to supply the whole world, cleanly”
    A very glib statement, because:
    a) When it gets dark in N Africa the power goes off all over the world
    b) I calculated that 192,000 square miles of solar panels would be needed, there and another 192,000 square miles 12000 miles east or west to maintain this power.
    c) There would be insufficient cadmium to build these panels and I would guess insufficient copper to manufacture the cables to distribute the electricity anyway.
    d) If, as the “scientists” keep telling us that climate change is occurring, when clearly it isn’t then:
    a) We don’t need these panels.
    b) If we did, then we would look pretty stupid if North Africa and the place on the same latitude 12,000 miles away became cloudy due to AGW!

  59. bones says:

    rgbatduke says:
    . . . there will be a public scandal. Heads will roll.
    —————————————————–
    Much as I enjoy rgb’s astute comments and wish that he were right, I think that it needs to be recognized that environmentalism is the religion of an increasingly secular world. Belief that we are destroying the planet has replaced original sin. The concern for CAGW will be replaced with alarm over ocean acidification and the politicians and a cadre of compliant scientists will continue to fleece the public. As Walter Lippmann wrote years ago “…the modern man who has ceased to believe, without ceasing to be credulous. .”

  60. lurker, passing through laughing says:

    This may have been asked before, but what does Santer have to say about this?

  61. Frank K. says:

    richardscourtney says:
    November 4, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Frank K. and Jimbo:

    Thankyou.

    No problem – I was simply relating my own (brief) personal experience in Mumbai. One has to see it for themselves to believe it…

  62. Gareth Phillips says:

    If I said that it takes at least 17 assessments to detect Hypertension, does that mean that if 17 assessments are negative, that means there is no hypertension? Or does it mean that no hypertension has been detected, so it is less likely, but by no means excluded as it can take many more measurements until we have an accurate picture?

  63. Rob says:

    That “Incredibly Normal” stuff again…

  64. M Courtney says:

    So what significance does 17 years have? Obviously not much more than 15 or 16 years. But it was picked out as the upper limit before the anthropogenic effect must be evident. (It isn’t but so what? Why set a hostage to fortune anyway?).

    So why pick 17 years? My guess is that 17 years was the time until the EU regulations kicked in that shuts the UK’s coal-fired power plants.
    The 17 years was not referring to when the catastrophic AGW hypothesis was untenable – scientifically.
    The 17 years was referring to when the catastrophic AGW hypothesis was untenable – politically.

    How can you shut the cheapest power plants on environmental grounds if the environmental justification doesn’t happen?

  65. rogerknights says:

    Ric Werme says:
    November 4, 2013 at 7:04 am

    So, what the consensus (yerch) of the length of warming, 1978-1998?

    I’ve read that it’s 1976-98: 22 years.

    Karl says:
    November 4, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Environmental regulations limiting coal burning plants are primarily first world in nature.

    Well, foreign funders of third-world coal plants could insist that they include extensive scrubbers. Come to think of it, maybe the World Bank and so forth should fund the addition of scrubbers to existing plants.

    (If China is going to spend any money on pollution mitigation, it will be on coal plant scrubbers, whose emissions are costing China itself in the near term, and causing it to lose face internationally. Money for CO2 mitigation will have to wait in line until that’s done.)

    Karl says:
    November 4, 2013 at 8:06 am
    @ andrewmharding

    Why should the subsidies go? Oil demand exceeds supply now by several hundred thousand barrels a day. The production shortfall is projected to be a few million barrels per day by Q4 2014. http://omrpublic.iea.org/ Oil is not viable in the very near term.

    Oil demand could be satisfied if restrictions on drilling in federal lands were lifted. Or if Obama chose to finance the construction of coal-to-oil conversion plants (or guarantee them a backup in case the price of oil fell). Or if Obama focused on converting the nations’ vehicles to natural gas power, rather than batteries.

    More efficient ways of fracking are being discovered at a rapid pace, which will increase oil production from that source beyond what is currently expected.

  66. Karl says:

    There is no prohibition against building coal fired plants in India. They have them all over.

    Realistically, most burning biomass openly, could never afford an electric range, or heater, and live nowhere near electricity infrastructure.

  67. richardscourtney says:

    M Courtney:

    Re your post at November 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm, I draw your attention to the above post from Brian at November 4, 2013 at 7:34 am. To save your needing to find it, I copy it to here

    “Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?”

    Werner,
    Yes. Although Santer doesn’t say it directly, Figures 4 and 6 make clear what he means. In an ensemble of model runs, over a period of 17 years, only 2.5% of models have a negative trend. As seen in Figure 6a, over 14 years only 5% of model runs have a negative trend. And as seen in Figure 4b, over 20 years only about 0.5% of model runs have a negative trend. Since the 95% confidence interval determines statistical significance, one can say that a non-positive trend over 17 years or longer would imply that the models are wrong. They must either have the wrong trend or they must have a too-low variability. If scientists are being honest, they must acknowledge and confront this discrepancy, though they can try to save the CAGW claims by arguing that the variability, not the trend, is what’s wrong.

    Obviously, and as several people have observed in this thread, no length of ‘the pause’ can prove AGW does NOT exist because nothing can prove a negative.

    However, we are discussing a scientific assessment of whether AGW exists as predicted by the climate models.

    As Brian says, in context Santer’s 17 year limit is important. It says – using the 95% confidence used by so-called ‘climate science’ – a period of 17 years without discernible warming is an indication that AGW does not exist as it is emulated by the climate models.

    You point out that Santer’s 17 year limit was a “hostage to fortune” for the climate modeled ‘science’. Perhaps so, but so what? As rgb says, reaching that limit is a “non event”.

    However, as I observed, Santer’s 17 year limit can be understood as being a political statement. And you say it was a political statement with some utility. Hence, although it was a “hostage to fortune” scientifically it was a “hostage” with little ‘cost’ to the science, and it has been very valuable politically.

    In summation, publication of the 17year limit by Santer at al. was very astute.

    Richard

  68. Mark Johnson says:

    Mr. Brozek needs to be worried that Mr. Santer will come to beat him up, just as he threatened to do to Pat Michaels.

  69. Karl says:

    @ andrewmharding

    **** I am NOT an AGW believer, nor am I anti-CO2. I am, however, pragmatic, and opposed to the generation of radioactive and toxic waste streams. I am also opposed to technologies that leave the US reliant on foreign commodities, namely Uranium and Oil. We came out on the short stick for Uranium, and even with all the new exploration, our US oil is running out.
    Next-
    1. Nobody that is normally lucid argues to only use solar, to the exclusion of other energy sources.
    2. I’m all for clean (really, truly , CLEAN ) coal. However, the issue of waste ash must be dealt with; as well as the heavy metals (giant ocean mercury deposit off the Carolinas from coal fired plants) – and this http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/toxic-coal-sludge-pollutes-kentucky-town-10-years-later
    3. Regardless of assertions to the contrary, wind can be used as baseload power. Search ” wind baseload power stanford” — read the study.
    4. Distributed (read home and community based) power generation is inevitable. It is inherently more redundant and resilient to both intentional and unintentional damage/failure.
    5. 192,000 square miles is .1% of the surface area of the earth. That = 5.0 E+14 Joule/sec at 1000w/square meter incident power (500,000km^2 * 1000m*1000m*1000w/m^2). At a conservative 6 hours/day and 365 days for the year that gives us 3.875E+21 Joules — 3600 QUADS. Use 15% efficiency for panels thats 540 QUADS, now lets get crazy and cut it by half for weather and half again for conversion/inversion — that gets us to 135 QUADS (540*.5*.5). More than all the energy usage on the planet. Not even taking into account the drastic decrease in energy usage when converting from IC engines to electric motors.
    – where can you find such land ?? the empty quarter(250,000 square miles by itself), on rooftops, in the outback, in the desert southwest, — and offshore isn’t just for wind farms — there are places (near shore) that are sunny all the time.

  70. John in Oz says:

    For those commenting on burning dung, Australia is on the verge of powering itself using dog droppings (http://www.poopower.com.au/index.html).

    Visit Oz to see us re-create the third world from the first.

  71. Richard M says:

    While the flat trend now extends 17 years it really isn’t quite true that we have gone 17 years with no warming. As shown below the 17 years can be shown to include a modest warming followed by a modest cooling.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1996.8/to/plot/rss/from:1996.8/to:2005/trend/plot/rss/from:2005/trend

    In many ways this is worse for the CAGWers. The global data over the last century correlates quite nicely with the PDO (stadium wave). The warming can easily be explained as a random walk of the strength of the PDO over time. The null hypothesis thus explains all the warming of the last 100+ years using only natural factors.

  72. Richard M says:

    I’ve read from 3 separate sources that the coal power plants in China have scrubbers. I also wouldn’t be surprised that power plants in India have them as well. Scrubbers have been around for decades. They may not have the latest and greatest but most of the bad stuff is already removed.

    The real problem appears to be the small fires/furnaces used by about 3 billion people mostly in SE Asia. That seems to be backed up by the WHO reference.

    “Around 3 billion people still cook and heat their homes using solid fuels in open fires and leaky stoves. About 2.7 billion burn biomass (wood, animal dung, crop waste) and a further 0.4 billion use coal. Most are poor, and live in developing countries. “

  73. Jimbo says:

    Frank K. says:
    November 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    richardscourtney says:
    November 4, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Frank K. and Jimbo:

    Thankyou.

    No problem – I was simply relating my own (brief) personal experience in Mumbai. One has to see it for themselves to believe it…

    This is the problem I find with many Warmists. They have had comfortable lives in the West and have only spent time on nice holidays overseas. Many have have not ventured and seen poverty up close. What poor people care about is not the harmless, trace gas co2 but food, energy, education and a general better standard of living, even if that means burning coal to achieve it. If you prevent them then they will burn shit if necessary.

  74. Adam says:

    Everybody is keen to agree that CO2 does increase temperature. To say otherwise is heresy, even in the “Skeptical” circles. But the empirical evidence is that at least over a 17 year period, CO2 did increase and temperature did not. So if it does cause increase, it is a much weaker effect than some other factors.

    When we look further back we see that empirically CO2 lags temperature. I.e. CO2 does not cause temperature to increase.

    Despite the fact that all of the theory does say that CO2 does increase temperature, the empirical evidence appears to say otherwise. Either we need to change the Empirical Evidence or the Theory.

  75. Brent Walker says:

    I thought the 17 years was equivalent in round terms to one and a half solar cycles and the half was included to allow for the lag between the continued occurrence of weak sunspot activity and the general effect on global temperatures. Santer probably thought that cycle 23 was going to be like cycle 20 and would be followed by strong cycles like 21 and 22.
    The problem with the AGW hypothesis is that the slight overall upward trend in temperatures in the last 160 years is but a blip in the multi-millennial trend of a cooling planet. If you look at the major warm periods of the last 8000 years you will see that each successive major warm period was cooler and was usually shorter than the previous major warm period. I am referring to the two Holocene warm periods, the Minoan warm period, the Roman warm period, the Medieval warm period and the current warm period, which if it doesn’t continue after the current grand minimum is over will be considered to be the shortest, coolest millennial warm period of the last 8000 years. This ought to be very concerning to those who take a much longer term view than the IPCC as it indicates that eventually, presumably in a few thousand years, there will be another full blown ice-age. When this happens the Geneva headquarters of the IPCC will probably once again be covered by a glacier!

  76. OssQss says:

    Excellent job as usual Werner and JTF. Indisputable, and painful to some…..

  77. Arno Arrak says:

    Seventeen years is nothing, for in the eighties and the nineties there was a no-warming period of 18 years. The reason you don’t know about this earlier warming pause is IPCC’s criminal cover-up. What they did was to invent an imaginary warming they called “late twentieth century warming” for this time period. There was no natural explanation for it so they started to claim that this proved the existence of man-made warming. Doing research for my book “What Warming” I discovered that satellites do not show any warming there. That alleged warming was obviously a fake and I said so in the preface to my book when it came out in 2010. Nothing happened for two years but then suddenly the big three of global temperature, GISTEMP, HadCRUT, and NCDC, decided all in unison to stop showing this fake warming. They did this by secretly by aligning their data sets with satellites that don’t show warming. No reason was given for this. Such cooperation requires cross-ocean coordination so clearly they had to plan ahead for that. And now we have not just Santer’s 17 years but an uninterrupted 35 years of no-greenhouse warming time, Can anyone believe that any warming prior to this could have been greenhouse warming? I vote no on that. It follows that greenhouse warming is not warming up the world now and it never has done so. And that is exactly what the greenhouse theory of Ferenc Miskolczi tells us. He published that in 2007 in a peer reviewed journal but was disbelieved because the stupid warmists did not understand his math. By 2010 he had experimental proof, however. Using NOAA weather balloon database that goes back to 1948 he studied absorption of infrared radiation by the atmosphere. And discovered that absorption had been constant for 61 years while carbon dioxide at the same time went up by 21.6 percent. It follows that the addition of this substantial amount of carbon dioxide to air had no influence whatsoever on the absorption of IR by the atmosphere. And no absorption means no greenhouse effect, case closed. And since IPCC was established to study man’s influence on climate which now has proven to be zero it is time to close down that organization because there is nothing more for it to do.

  78. Brian H says:

    Steve from Rockwood says:
    November 4, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Problem is, living in a cold climate, I didn’t really want to be on the winning team.

    Here’s another mind-bender: the lack of storms is in fact characteristic of warming eras, as the range of global temperatures narrows (the tropics remain fairly constant, and the poles swing widely). So it’s not an argument against actual warming, only against the narrative of the warmist whackos. If storms do strengthen, it will be because cooling is a-comin’, exacerbating the clashes of air masses, and disproving the warmist memesters, whp will tout the storms as evidence of hidden warming (fools that they are).

    Alice is having a good laugh. Or cry. Or both.

  79. Brian H says:

    typo: whp who

  80. Werner Brozek says:

    Arno Arrak says:
    November 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm
    Using NOAA weather balloon database that goes back to 1948 he studied absorption of infrared radiation by the atmosphere. And discovered that absorption had been constant for 61 years while carbon dioxide at the same time went up by 21.6 percent. It follows that the addition of this substantial amount of carbon dioxide to air had no influence whatsoever on the absorption of IR by the atmosphere.

    At the following, Dr. Roy Spencer has this to say:

    “I would remind folks that the NASA AIRS instrument on the Aqua satellite has actually measured the small decrease in IR emission in the infrared bands affected by CO2 absorption, which they use to “retrieve” CO2 concentration from the data. Less energy leaving the climate system means warming under almost any scenario you can think of. Conservation of energy, folks. It’s the law.”

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/10/the-danger-of-hanging-your-hat-on-no-future-warming/

    However this does not necessarily mean a contradiction. It could be that extra CO2 causes some additional warming at certain bands, but less H2O negates that at other bands. The issue for most of us is not that there cannot be a minute amount of warming due to extra CO2, but that the amount of warming will never be catastrophic.

  81. TImothy Sorenson says:

    Mosher is wanting to be argumentative but in reality he is just refusing to accept the reality of the situation. It would seem that since he is saying no without justification, without cause, and simply by faith that that would equivocate to ‘denial’. Hmm….

  82. rogerknights says:

    We had the “seven fat years” long ago.

    Now it’s the “17 flat years.”

  83. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @Karl and Jimbo and Others

    This is a very sensitive and therefore difficult subject to discuss in this format, but there is so much anti-coal BS that has been generated for so long that it is hard to introduce light into the dark meme-plex that is the war on coal. So I will only write a little.

    (from Karl) >Secondly, without extensive scrubbing, coal plants are unclean. That is an unarguable scientific fact. Cadmium, sulfur, lead, mercury, and other metals as well as significant particulates that cause respiratory distress are present in significant quantities in coal plant exhaust.

    Unfortunately life the universe and coal are not than simple. It is like saying that all nuclear power is deadly and evil and therefore should never used, even though there are many different types of reactors and fuels and waste stream types and half-lives involved – and the fact that solar energy is nuclear. If you stand in its deadly rays a lot you will get cancer. Comments on coal are usually gross oversimplifications and it does not do any subject justice to use that as a way to ‘fight something’.

    Coal content varies enormously. There are really toxic coals like in Western China. People from Berkeley are noted for cleverly asserting that because there is fluorine-contaminated coal (in fluorine contaminated watersheds) people should not burn coal – at all, anywhere in the world. It is alarmist BS like that which gets people killed by the cold.

    The USA has really crap coal, most of it, with high sulfur and, by international standards, really high. That means having to have a (profitable) sulfuric acid plant attached to the power stations. That’s all.

    But coal’s metallic content has to be divided into metals that are in the ash and metals that are evaporated into the air, and secondarily, evaporated into the air at concentrations that are meaningfully dangerous. Our environment is full of mercury and uranium and lots of other things. Just because something is detectable does not make it dangerous – at all. It depends a lot of variables and waving hands wildly about ‘dangers’ that ‘could happen’ is no better than shouting about CAGW and seas that ‘could rise’.

    To make a long and complicated story short, most of what comes out of a crummy old coal plant is not the result of combusting coal, but is the result of not combusting it and blowing the ash into the air, This is fundamental to understanding a) what the problem is and b) what to do about it. Scrubbers are there to capture (mostly) ash and sulfur. That CO2 has been lumped in with mercury and uranium (etc) should tell you that there is a lot of inordinate hype involved in the anti-coal brigade messages. And who is involved in that? Natural gas of course. ‘The low-carbon alternative’.

    To repeat: “Cadmium, sulfur, lead, mercury, and other metals as well as significant particulates that cause respiratory distress”

    These ingredients do not cause respiratory stress. You are thinking of dust, especially respirable PM4.0 and smaller particles which are from the ash, not the metals. The dust may or may not have heavy metals in it. It depends on the coal. The vast majority of the mass of dust particles is silica SiO2 and Al2O3. In other words, rock. Asthma is not caused by metals, it is caused by high dust levels just like you get walking behind a tractor. Maybe we should ban tractors, eh?

    Coal combustion does produce small particles of organic and black carbon – and the amount varies widely with the quality of the burn. New plants are extremely clean compared with old ones. The cleaning up of Beijing involved replacing those power plant burners first.

    >All one need do is look at the smog from Chinese coal fired powerplants.

    Arrgh! Smog is caused by vehicles and sunlight, mostly but industry has a big role too. Coal fired Chinese power plants vary greatly in emissions of PM. That impacts the quality of the burn, not the content of the coal which is an independent variable. What on sees in Beijing, for example, is 50% from the farming areas around (fugitive dust) and 50% from vehicles and factory emissions and coal burning plants. The fogged-in Harbin pollution shown around the world a few days ago was caused not by the burning of coal but by the ignition of a large number of space heating appliances for apartment buildings and homes over the weekend during a cold inversion. That was the weekend from which heat is provided. That is how they do public heating in China. It is the ignition of these things that creates so much smoke from poor ignition, not the running of them.

    This has also been shown in spades in Ulaanbaatar where the ignition of domestic stoves has been dramatically changed by modifying or replacing stoves to the point of decreasing smoke in the city by about 30% per year. The fuel is exactly the same – only the ignition and then the subsequent burning processes have been changed,

    The coals in Ulaanbaatar are wet, high volatiles lignites – supposedly the worst polluters available. But they burn so clean in the correct devices that the fires are actually cleaning particles out of the air as it passes through the stoves. In other words the new coal burning stoves are scrubbing the air of particles emitted by other sources, while still burning supposedly wet lignite. That is how far reality is from the memes about coal.

    Uranium in coal is often mentioned as a ‘danger’ by people who are standing at the time inside a concrete building that is made of radioactive granite aggregate. It is so dumb as to inspire ridicule. Walking into a concrete building raises your exposure to ‘radiation’ by 50% (compared with standing outside and receiving the deadly blast in interstellar cosmic debris. This is just radiation bunk. We evolved in a radioactive environment for heaven’s sake. We are surrounded by it. People go to Washington DC to see that red granite stature – it is seething with radiation. Why aren’t all the tourists dropping dead? If we could burn ignorance instead of coal we would have an unlimited supply of energy.

    Being an environmentalist is a lot more than repeating ad nauseum every invective and meme you ever heard about the devil-du-jour. People burn coal and dung because they have to. In Northern China, if you don’t burn coal you die. Same in Tajikistan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Eastern India…

    Because coal is often burned very badly, like animal dung, it is blamed for the inadequacies of the device burning it. How typical is it for an environmentalist to get it backwards? It is like blaming diesel because if you put it into a gasoline engine it makes a huge amount of smoke. Well…duh! No kidding.

    Coal and animal dung both make a lot of particulate matter if burned badly or pushed with fans. So does diesel. So does kerosene. So does candle wax. So does wood. So does everything. Environmental protection is as much about efficiency (of combustion) as it is about reduce, reuse, recycle. Dung is an excellent biofuel and can be burned without smell or smoke – in the right devices, which do not include a bucket with a hole in the side.

    We have a long way to go but the fog is clearing.

  84. bobl says:

    @JimH
    I too think the point where the period of no warming exceeds the period of warming may be a watershed moment since it’ll be really hard to argue a correlation exists where the period of no correlation exceeds the period of correlation, however you are wrong to think this is a fixed term. If the expected cooling comes about because of the poor solar cycle, then the period of no warming will extend back beyond 1997, and the period of warming will become shorter as the period of cooling becomes longer.

    For example should cooling bring us back to the temp of 1970, then you can either characterise that as a period of warming followed by a cooling or no temperature change from 1970 with the average temperature being the temperature in say 1985 – I always thought 1985 might be a socialist nexus.

    The point at which the period of cooling exceeds the period of warming therefore might come a little earlier than 2020, perhaps as early as 2017 if we experience significant cooling through the low point of the solar cycle pulling the 11 year filtered average lower.

    Meantime the pause plays havoc with the demonstrated climate sensitivity from 1850 which was when I first calculated it was 1.41 degrees per doubling, but now because CO2 has risen so much with no temperature rise has a demonstrated upper limit inclusive of all feedbacks of 1.35 degrees per doubling, and a likely value of half that if half the warming since the LIA was natural. It seems to be forgotten that the longer the pause goes with CO2 rising , the lower the climate sensitivity to CO2 must be. This is really Santers basic premise, that if the sensitivity is as forecast then CO2 warming must be statistically distinguishable from natural variation after 17 years of rising CO2. Since its not ( NOT EVEN CLOSE TO DISTINGUISHABLE) then the sensitivity must be lower, extending the time needed for the CO2 warming to emerge from the noise. Fact is that 17 years of no warming is much much worse than a statistically indistinguishable warming. If that amount of warming is say 0.5 degrees, then how many more years will be needed to gain enough rise to be statistically certain that warming is due to CO2, even if temperature resumed rising would it be statistically significant. I would think after a 17 year pause we’d need some extraordinary years to show any statistically significant rise any time in the near future.

    Natural variability could also be higher, but the corollary of that is that a smaller fraction of the warming from the LIA to now can be attributed to C02 implying lower lower sensitivty anyway.

    Let me apologise in advance for any typos, I’m composing this on my tablet and text editing in Firefox on android sucks plenty.

  85. beng says:

    Crispin in Waterloo says:
    November 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Good comments.

    The coal plant I worked at had just gotten to where better precipitators pretty much eliminated any visible ash emissions at the stack. Then, they pretty much closed it down (and the little town around it). What a waste of a profitable 340 MW generating plant & all the hard work/money put in to modernize it. Closed due to EPA-sponsored scaremongering.

  86. Karl says:

    @ Crispin

    Umm – no the term originated in 1905 as a portmanteau of smoke and fog — maily in reference to pea-soup fogs caused by coal burning fires.

    particulants and sulfur compounds much more prevalent in coal plant emissions than auto exhaust

    Chinese smog from Coal Plants

    “Visibility in the northeastern city of more than 10 million people reportedly was reduced in places to less than 65 feet (20 meters) as coal-fired heating systems ramped up for the winter months. Officials also pointed to farmers burning crop stubble and low winds as additional causes for the pollution crisis.”
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/10/131022-harbin-ice-city-smog-crisis-china-coal/

    Historically
    “Coal fires, used to heat individual buildings or in a power-producing plant, can emit significant clouds of smoke that contributes to smog. Air pollution from this source has been report in England since the Middle Ages.[3] London, in particular, was notorious up through the mid-20th century for its coal-caused smogs, which were nicknamed ‘pea-soupers.’ Air pollution of this type is still a problem in areas that generate significant smoke from burning coal, as witnessed by the 2013 smog wave in Harbin, China, which closed roads, schools, and the airport.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smog

    Pittsburg PA has a similar problem — due to the coal used in steel production
    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2012/06/what-pittsburgh-looked-when-it-decided-it-had-pollution-problem/2185/

  87. Karl says:

    Pittsburgh, PA had a similar problem – typo

  88. rgbatduke says:

    One word of reply — since wordpress once again ate 10,000 or so words of pure poetry on my part that I do not have the time or energy to reproduce again (grrr):

    Globally, indoor air pollution from biomass fuel use is responsible for 1.6 milliondeaths due to pneumonia, chronic respiratory disease and lung cancer. Biomass fuelsaccounts for 2.9 % of all deaths per year worldwide, and 3.7% of the overall diseaseburden in developing countries. In India, 400,000 to 2 million premature deathsoccur per year due to indoor air pollution with a majority of deaths occurring inchildren under five due to acute respiratory infections (pneumonia; Awasthi et al.,1996; Mishra et al., 1997; Smith, 1999; Bruce et al., 2000). There is also strongevidence of impact on women, up to 34,000 deaths resulting from chronicobstructive disorders (Smith, 2000). In contrast, mortality due to outdoor airpollution is 200,000 to 570,000 representing about 0.4 to 1.1 % of total annualdeaths (WHO, 2002). In fact, indoor smoke from biomass burning is the mostimportant health hazard after malnutrition and lack of safe water and sanitation (Fig.6)

    from:

    http://www.academia.edu/1071891/Health_effects_of_chronic_exposure_to_smoke_from_Biomass_Fuel_burning_in_rural_areas

    Coal burning plants, even dirty ones, reduce mortality and morbidity, and never more than when they are situated so that they displace biofuels. You cite China and its decision to build massive numbers of coal burning plants as if they are doing something wrong. Are you mad? In China, unlike in the US, they can actually do the math. Every coal burning plant they build, by providing comparatively clean and inexpensive electrical power to displace inefficient biomass fuels, saves lives. It was the advent of coal-based electricity that cleaned up the cities of the first world, that prior to electricity burned the coal or even less efficient and far dirtier wood one household at a time to produce heat or cook. My first house was a century old and had a coal chute into its basement. Whenever I worked on replacing its antique asbestos-insulated electrical wiring in the attic, I came down liberally coated with coal dust.

    Please understand — today, over 1000 people will die in India because they use biomass of various sorts to cook. Well over half of the deaths will be of small children. Worldwide, between 4000 and 5000, with easily ten to a hundred times that number suffering from chronic diseases and morbidity in various degrees that will supply tomorrow’s 4000 deaths. This does not even include the even greater number of deaths that will occur because of a lack of access to clean water and sewage treatment — both of which require ample, inexpensive electricity to provide, or the deaths due to simple exposure due to a lack of heat when it is cold, or the deaths due to all of the other failures of civilization when one is forced by circumstance to live a life almost unchanged from the 15th century.

    Here’s the trade off. Imagine just for one moment how many of these utterly needless deaths could be prevented if we invested the hundreds of billions of dollars currently being extorted and embezzled to line the pockets of the entrepreneurs who are perfectly happy to supply a need whose sole support is the assertion of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming with horrific consequences well in the future (since one has to resort to statistical bullshit to “discover” the slightest real impact now) in saving the lives of the world’s poorest people by building even dirty coal burning plants to displace the even dirtier use of animal dung and wood by the two billion poorest people in the world that will cook their dinner tonight on a smoky open fire.

    If CAGW is a true hypothesis, perhaps — and even there it is at best perhaps, because the cost of amelioration is so horrific — perhaps it is worth it to sacrifice a few thousand people a day to line the pockets of the many first-world investors who hope(d) to get rich selling amelioration while not altering their own carbon-rich lifestyle in the slightest (think, Al Gore here). If it proves to be false in a single letter — not catastrophic, not anthropogenic — then do you really think that there will not be a reckoning? Not for forming the hypothesis, that is simple science and ethically neutral , but for deliberately concealing uncertainties in e.g. AR5′s SPM, for removing the words of doubt in an earlier draft that might have caused policy makers to consider the trade-offs, to weigh — as China has — the calculated risk of future disaster against the undeniable and unspeakable human cost today.

    If there is no warming for four more years, or if warming resumes but is anemic, nowhere near the feverish pace of the models, or if the science improves and models are built that can hindcast the last 17 years (at the expense of most of their prediction of future warming) and the catastrophic bit alone disappears from the hypothesis, then CAGW will have indirectly contributed to the deaths of more human beings than Adolph Hitler. A number of climate scientists and environmental activists are finally coming to realize this and are starting to push for nuclear power as the lesser of the three evils. But China has done the math. Coal now, thorium later. The lives saved now are real lives, not subject to any uncertainty at all. Lives saved in the future are “expectation value” — subject to a dizzying tower of probabilities and assumptions, the most important of which is CAGW is a true hypothesis.

    One that is currently not particularly well supported by the actual data, however fervently the theories and computations seem to predict it, or project it, or whatever you want to call it when people make certain assertions about the future based on a hypothesis that isn’t in terribly good agreement with the data. Prophecy it.

    rgb

    [The mods regret your lost time, and our lost opportunity to read your thoughts, and our readers lost ability to keep them visible. ]

  89. rgbatduke says:

    **** I am NOT an AGW believer, nor am I anti-CO2. I am, however, pragmatic, and opposed to the generation of radioactive and toxic waste streams. I am also opposed to technologies that leave the US reliant on foreign commodities, namely Uranium and Oil. We came out on the short stick for Uranium, and even with all the new exploration, our US oil is running out.

    Dear Karl,

    I too am a pragmatist, and agree with most of what you say. The US is sitting on cone-head quantities of thorium, however, and we could burn Thorium alone for well over 10,000 years at 100% of our total energy consumption using domestic sources. NC alone has large thorium resources (mixed as usual with equally valuable rare-earths) and it is far from being the best resource nationally. India is actively developing thorium, as is China, because both countries have large thorium resources. In China it is being produced and stockpiled as a side effect of their rare-earth mining; in the US we are NOT mining our OWN rare earths because thorium is viewed as toxic waste instead of a potential fuel.

    Fusion, too is a potential future energy resource that would simply end all of the discussion. Humanity will evolve into something else before the available fusion energy is even partially depleted. Sadly, nobody sane is holding their breath waiting for it at this point, but still, a breakthrough could happen tomorrow, or in ten years, or in twenty years. There is a finite probability that in fifty years basically all of the world’s energy is produced by fusion as older resources age out and are not cost-effective to replace any other way.

    As a pragmatist, you should agree with Crispin of Waterloo that the bulk of the “problem” associated with burning coal comes not from the burning of coal per se but from burning it badly. You should also be able to understand China’s motivations in all of this — even cheap coal-burning electrical plants that burn the coal comparatively badly, by displacing the even more inefficient burning of coal in open bucket stoves, the burning of wood, charcoal (as “preburned wood”), or other biomass fuels such as dung or crop waste, actually reduces mortality and morbidity. I provided a document that reviews the direct evidence for this assertion, and I trust that you now agree that it is true.

    Of course, it is not that much more expensive to equip coal burning plants so that they do not pollute so much, as long as one does not count carbon dioxide itself as “pollution”. This is the fundamental issue connecting coal burning plants with CAGW. If the CAGW hypothesis is true, then CO_2 is a pollutant in the sense that it has a potentially significant, although very long time displaced, impact on public heath. If it is not true it changes everything regarding the utility of building new coal burning plants clean or dirty or continuing to operate and burn coal in old coal burning plants worldwide.

    Regulating pollution per se is clearly desirable, although it is always going to be a cost-benefit problem and not one where a monolithic solution is optimal. Regulating pollution at the expense of eliminating civilization is not optimal, and applying that sort of an axiom thoughtlessly leads one to conclude that e.g. genocide is desirable because humans produce pollution on a per capita basis. Yes, this is an extreme case, but there are indeed extreme environmentalists who secretly wish for a plague that wipes out 2/3 of the human species (but not, of course, themselves).

    I trust that — whether or not you agree with the findings of WHO and the researchers that are referenced in the review of the mortality and morbidity associated with biomass burning presented above and by others, where easily 1/3 of the 7 billion people alive today use biofuels with all of their risks and inefficiencies daily where they could be using kerosene (in well adjusted stoves), natural gas, or electricity generated even in dirty coal plants at a lower overall impact in mortality and morbidity even before adding in additional energy poverty related deaths and morbidity — you agree that the point I made in the top article was not indefensible or false, but rather is what is supported by the mainstream epidemiology of biomass energy use among the 1/3 of the world’s poorest people, precisely as I asserted it. I could be wrong, in other words, but I’m not making stuff up, and for me to be wrong you really need to be challenging a large body of published research.

    For the record, I lived in the midst of this sort of energy poverty while growing up, and I’ve revisited it within the last fifteen years, and if anything things have gotten worse with growing populations. It is quite reasonable to insist on building coal burning plants that are as clean as possible ignoring CO_2 as a “pollutant”, but because of efficiencies, it quite possibly reduces net CO_2 production when one displaces the use of biofuels and coal burned in every household in open grates, open clay buckets, simple ground fires built in pits, in fireplaces, in open brickwork stoves, and all of the other ways humans burn stuff to cook food or heat their homes when electricity, LPG, natural gas, kerosene (in a well-adjusted stove), or other comparatively smokeless forms of domestic energy are not available.

    So it all comes down to CAGW. If it is a true hypothesis, then CO_2 is indeed a catastrophic pollutant. If not, then it is insufficient cause to eschew the use of coal to generate electricity and thereby displace the less efficient use of coal and biomass to generate energy. It is comparatively cheap to clean up coal generated electricity and almost impossible to clean up biomass-consuming energy sources (although yes, distributing efficient stoves one at a time to every household can have some impact).

    Regarding the other trade-offs a pragmatist should look over, e.g. the cost-benefit of photovoltaics — in general I agree with your analysis as to the long term. In the short term, photovoltaics and alternative resources such as wind suffer heavily from technological weaknesses, some of which are quite fundamental and not “just engineering”. For example, our inability to store it (and hence our absolute requirement to run fossil fuel resources in parallel with them, limiting their utility if one takes CO_2 off of the table as a nonlinear future cost). Questions about the practical lifetime of solar cells — up until recently I would have said that this wasn’t an issue, but in actual fact solar cells built in China and sold at low cost have proven to be of low quality and prematurely fail at an alarming rate. And first and foremost, the simple fact that they are still absolutely marginal investments when compared to existing well-proven energy resources. In most of the US, they are barely break even to win a bit, and then only if the cells last 20+ years at 90%+ capacity as they are supposed to. Only in e.g. the Southwest are they solidly profitable. Electricity is not particularly transportable over very long distances (technology again) so we cannot just turn Arizona into the power supply of the entire US and Canada, not without new technology that I as a physicist am quite unaware of.

    Pragmatically then, trying to force a subsidized conversion over to PV solar (for example) is premature. The technology is close to being ready, close enough to be marginally profitable in some locations, but it is sadly lacking in many dimensions from being capable of actually replacing fossil fuels or significantly ameliorating their use, and they aren’t a good investment at this time without the extra “benefit” associated with displacing CO_2. If there is no benefit to displacing CO_2 per se, we would be better off waiting a decade or two for the cost of PV cells to drop by another factor of 2 to 4 and make the cost-benefit of PV electricity a no brainer, to give time for truly efficient and cost effective large-scale energy storage technologies to be developed and prototyped.

    I personally think that is precisely why we shouldn’t worry about CAGW even if CO_2 is a threat. In thirty years I think that we’ll be converting to solar worldwide not to save the world, but to save money. So why should we spend money converting at a loss right now, especially when we’re spending human lives as well?

    rgb

  90. sergeiMK says:

    @rgb
    I agree that to provide cheap plentiful energy to the poor is desirable.
    However, you seem to be ignoring many things
    Water. Thermal power stations require vast amounts of water. (see Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Power Plant-Water R&D Program)

    Water Consumption Gallons/Megawatt hour electric produced
    Nuclear 720
    Subcritical Pulverized Coal 520
    Supercritical Pulverized Coal 450
    Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle 310
    Natural Gas Combined Cycle 190
    You therefore site them on the coast or river. Coast means long distribution = large cost. The discharge in the river in some cases may reach unacceptable temperatures necessitating switch off. (happened in France and US).

    The above problems are true of any thermal station a local personal nuclear reactor of any design is still going to produce vast amounts of waste heat to disburse.

    Infrastructure: For economy thermal stations are large and so supply many distant communities. Who pays for the wiring. They require a good transport system to source of coal/gas/radioactives. This sort of infrastructure will not usually be available where the stations are required.

    Waste: thermal stations (not gas obviously) produce waste. In the long term this needs addressing where will you store spent radioactives? where will the spoil heaps (mining and ash)for coal go?

    Cost: Cooking requires vast amounts of energy – 2kWH per meal(?) this will cost at least £0.07 This is a lot to find on a daily basis. Refrigeration in hot climates would be a great improvement allowing food to be preserved. But who will pay for the ‘fridges?

    safety: Who will mind your decommissioned power station for 50years as they cool off. Who will prevent illegal access to the distribution network? Who will repair ailing stations?

    Security of network: Who will fund the multiple redundancy of the power grids like those in western countries?

    Solar or wind are local to use – no grid no wires. waste generation in use is negligible. when they break they can be allowed to rot without risk to life. In use, correctly sited they are safe.
    solar is guaranteed for a few hours every day, wind may be intermittent, so cook when the sun shines, or the wind blows. If you have a fridge then intermittent can work! If you have a laptop intermittent can work! Lights at night can be provided by rechargeable batteries. A 11 watt led bulb now produces the equivalent of 75 watts of incandescent (1000 lumens)

    So rural poor may not have a continuous power supply but at least some of the smoke can be limited. The WHO also has designs in place for efficient, less smoky fuel burners for cooking (in the doc you referenced)
    @rgb
    I agree that to provide cheap plentiful energy to the poor is desirable.
    However, you seem to be ignoring many things
    Water. Thermal power stations require vast amounts of water. (see Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Power Plant-Water R&D Program)

    Water Consumption Gallons/Megawatt hour electric produced
    Nuclear 720
    Subcritical Pulverized Coal 520
    Supercritical Pulverized Coal 450
    Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle 310
    Natural Gas Combined Cycle 190
    You therefore site them on the coast or river. Coast means long distribution = large cost. The discharge in the river in some cases may reach unacceptable temperatures necessitating switch off. (happened in France and US).

    The above problems are true of any thermal station a local personal nuclear reactor of any design is still going to produce vast amounts of waste heat to disburse.

    Infrastructure: For economy thermal stations are large and so supply many distant communities. Who pays for the wiring. They require a good transport system to source of coal/gas/radioactives. This sort of infrastructure will not usually be available where the stations are required.

    Waste: thermal stations (not gas obviously) produce waste. In the long term this needs addressing where will you store spent radioactives? where will the spoil heaps (mining and ash)for coal go?

    Cost: Cooking requires vast amounts of energy – 2kWH per meal(?) this will cost at least £0.07 This is a lot to find on a daily basis. Refrigeration in hot climates would be a great improvement allowing food to be preserved. But who will pay for the ‘fridges?

    safety: Who will mind your decommissioned power station for 50years as they cool off. Who will prevent illegal access to the distribution network? Who will repair ailing stations?

    Security of network: Who will fund the multiple redundancy of the power grids like those in western countries?

    Solar or wind are local to use – no grid no wires. waste generation in use is negligible. when they break they can be allowed to rot without risk to life. In use, correctly sited they are safe.
    solar is guaranteed for a few hours every day, wind may be intermittent, so cook when the sun shines, or the wind blows. If you have a fridge then intermittent can work! If you have a laptop intermittent can work! Lights at night can be provided by rechargeable batteries. A 11 watt led bulb now produces the equivalent of 75 watts of incandescent (1000 lumens)

    So rural poor may not have a continuous power supply but at least some of the smoke can be limited. The WHO also has designs in place for efficient, less smoky fuel burners for cooking (in the doc you referenced)

  91. barry says:

    “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

    I am sure that I will be corrected if I am wrong, but in plain English, my interpretation of this statement is as follows:

    “There is a lot of noise in the climate system and it is quite possible that the noise can mask the effects of man-made carbon dioxide for a period of time. However if the slope is zero for 17 years, then we cannot blame noise any more but we have to face the facts that we humans do not affect the climate to any great extent.”

    Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?

    Absolutely not. It is a preferred point of view sticky-taped on a much more cautious statement.

    “At least” is conditional. So do they give a more positive estimate? Yes, in the last line of the conclusions.

    The clear message from our signal‐to‐noise analysis is that multi‐decadal records are required for identifying human effects on tropospheric temperature.

    17 years is a minimum, but not definitive. 20 – 30+ years is “required”.

    One sentence from a study energises such a narrow focus? Actually ‘skeptical’ analysis of the paper woud be preferable to wildly over-interpreting this cherry-picked sentence. Hello talking point. Goodbye reading for comprehension.

  92. rgbatduke says:

    So rural poor may not have a continuous power supply but at least some of the smoke can be limited. The WHO also has designs in place for efficient, less smoky fuel burners for cooking (in the doc you referenced)

    No arguments, but this is a short term band-aid, not a long term solution. I don’t even have any objection to PV solar for a lot of the rural poor — in some places (the very places where there are water issues, often) it may be the best possible solution. It’s just that solving the real, immediate problem of world poverty and solving the problem of hypothetical, future CAGW are without question in conflict — resources and policies devoted to the latter often come at the expense of the former or often make it far worse.

    Until there is better agreement between GCMs and reality, I think we have the priorities of human civilization precisely backwards.

    rgb

  93. Werner Brozek says:

    barry says:
    November 7, 2013 at 9:27 am

    “Is that reasonably accurate interpretation?
    Absolutely not. It is a preferred point of view sticky-taped on a much more cautious statement.”

    I must say I did not like the wording either since it made little sense to me as stated. Note Brian’s comment above at the following which I really liked:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/04/rss-reaches-santers-17-years/#comment-1465713
    NOAA made a certain statement with regards to 15 years with some conditions. For me, the only valid interpretation of Santer’s statement was that he extended NOAA’s time from 15 years to 17 years. But if the other interpretation of Santer’s is correct, that it takes at least 17 years to identify human effects, then NOAA’s condition can not possibly be met. At least that is how I see it.

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