Royal Society blinks – embraces sceptics and uncertainty

WUWT Flashback:

Royal Society to review climate consensus position

Posted on May 27, 2010

“I don’t think they were very pleased. I don’t think this sort of thing has been done before in the history of the society.”


Society to review climate message

Today: (Via email press release from the GWPF) Royal Society Bows To Climate Change Sceptics

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 22:09 Ben Webster, The Times

Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.

The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.

The new guide says: “The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.”

The Royal Society even appears to criticise scientists who have made predictions about heatwaves and rising sea levels. It now says: “There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.”

It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.

“There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

The working group that produced the new guide took advice from two Royal Society fellows who have links to the climate-sceptic think-tank founded by Lord Lawson of Blaby.

Professor Anthony Kelly and Sir Alan Rudge are members of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. They were among 43 fellows who signed a petition sent to Lord Rees, the society’s president, asking for its statement on climate change to be rewritten to take more account of questions raised by sceptics.

Full article at The Times, 30 September 2010

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164 thoughts on “Royal Society blinks – embraces sceptics and uncertainty

  1. Make sure to include scenarios for intense cold, heavy snows and dropping sea levels.
    The last one would be a show-stopper, should it ever occur.
    Since warming is unpredictable, so is cooling. Nature is squirrely.

  2. “Professor John Pethica, ….. stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.”

    And what were those activities specifically?

  3. Monbiot, Harrabin, Black, Pearce, the RS — the list of people trying to negotiate their way back to credibility after years of Warmist dogmatism is growing to a steady trickle, reminiscent of the demoralised remnants of Napoleon’s army straggling back from Moscow….

  4. Didn’t they get curbed stomped for not towing the AGW line at one of the pseudo enquiries then back track? It will be interesting to see if they keep fluttering in the wind or pick a story and stick with it. Of course fluttering in the wind tells a story all it’s own and it isn’t very, ahem, settling.

  5. This does not sound like an enthusiastic ’embrace’ of skeptics and uncertainty, but it does appear that the RS has had a reality check. Huzzah!

  6. The sun is rising. The quotations are:
    “There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.”
    It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.
    “There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

    The 43 fellows who demanded this new report have restored science to its rightful place in the Royal Society. There will be “significant modifications in our understanding” of climate. The quotations above accurately describe the state of climate science today. I find this statement totally satisfying. The Great Climate Fraud is finished. Thank God. Thank Science. Thank Anthony.

  7. Joe Romm will blow a gasket. The fireworks and steam vent from that alone will warm the winter.

    REPLY: You know, I actually typed in almost that exact line, then deleted it. I didn’t want to spoil the story with snark – Anthony

  8. What else can one say, but “Wow”. This counts as a M=8 seismic shift.

    Imagine, acknowledging uncertainty and things unknown after so many years of “settled science”.

    Next we know, folks will be talking about “falsifiable hypotheses”

    Change we can believe in.

  9. “ . . . the Government is planning an exercise to test how England and Wales would cope with severe flooding caused by climate change. Exercise Watermark will take place in March . . .”

    In England and Wales severe flooding can be caused by excessive rain or rapid snow melt. Climate change does not have to be invoked. They might want to examine their plans for prolonged cold, and by March find it necessary.

    Regarding The Royal Society: When your name includes the term “Royal”, wise behavior ought to be expected. (Wanted to say “inbred” but that’s another story.) They goofed and are paying the price.

  10. This is so refreshing after going through the John Holden PP presentation. I was looking for rope, but found and 7 day delay of sale…

    Good on the RS for thinking about PERSPECTIVE. How rare these days.

  11. This sounds nice but I am skeptical of any firm results that will be truly satisfactory, to me and most of the WUWT readers. The original statement was anything but based on the scientific method. Why should a review, forced on the believers, produce a result that meets its criteria now?

    I strongly suspect this is nothing more then window dressing and a publicity stunt. I strongly suspect the Royal Society gets is whitewash from the same supplier as the others.

    This is one of those times when I sincerely hope to be in error.

  12. This little bit of news is HUGE in its tacit implications. Claims of scientific consensus can’t find a reputable home any more.

  13. The Times web site has a paywall so I didn’t read the article. However, it is hoped that this shows an increasing trend towards real science and not political consensus.

  14. I suspect that my colleague Mr. Nikols may be closer to the truth than I would like. This smells a bit like a set up.

  15. “Professor Anthony Kelly and Sir Alan Rudge are members of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. They were among 43 fellows who signed a petition sent to Lord Rees, the society’s president, asking for its statement on climate change to be rewritten to take more account of questions raised by sceptics.”

    Just when looked like science would be reduced to poli-sci they take a stand. Good for them!!!

    Now lets see if makes any difference. The politicians are set on a course like lemmings to the sea.

  16. HAH!! At LAST!! Vigilant Fish said:

    “This does not sound like an enthusiastic ‘embrace’ of skeptics and uncertainty, but it does appear that the RS has had a reality check. Huzzah!”

    I agree; more like ‘dragging their feet every inch of the way’. It’s no more than a hairline crack in the dam, at present; but you know what a hairline crack is?

    It’s a place where you can fit the thin end of a wedge . . . ;)

  17. Shub says:
    September 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Where is Oreskes now?
    ——

    She’s in Toronto, scheduled to give a talk about “Merchants of Doubt” early tomorrow afternoon at York University. Still have not made up my mind whether or not to go, as getting to York U is a pain, and my slate is full. I doubt her stance has changed.

  18. Good thing its now GLC not AWG, Glibbering Climb Down. But I wanted to watch them fall so am terribly dissapionted.Soon they will be stating how they never really mean their past certainty, or were fooled by their peers.

  19. “There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

    Can anyone say “cosmic rays” and “CLOUD”? Actually I’m so glad that this statement is in the text. It’s basically what I have been trying to say for several years. We have no warming since 1997 and the AGW proponents seek to handwave it away with “natural variation”. But they are unable to account for any elements of natural variation that are responsible. Yet every year we get new papers that reveal new information about how the climate system works. The reasonable response is to expect this process to continue rather than to assume that we have all the answers that we need now to model the climate of the future.

  20. It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.”

    I can’t believe this, they missed it AGAIN! If honest should have read:
    “It is not possible to determine if the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future.”

  21. Theo Godwin:
    “The 43 fellows who demanded this new report have restored science to its rightful place in the Royal Society.”

    Unfortunately, it’s also 43 guys that we won’t be seeing in Nature in the near future. Nevertheless, it does my heart good to see that there are still some heroes in the world.

  22. Well England is starting to come around, now if we could just get the leadership of the good old USA to follow suit.

  23. Too cheap to go through the pay wall, but I thumbed through some of the society’s online policy archives to see if I could find the new document. Unsuccessful. Maybe somebody a bit more proficient can find it and provide a link. I did find this interesting item:

    The Society welcomes open debate, underpinned by sound science, on the subject of climate change. In September 2006, the Royal Society wrote to Exxon Mobil to express concern that some of its corporate publications were presenting a misleading view of the scientific evidence about climate change and were over-emphasizing uncertainties about what we do and don’t know. This letter followed a meeting which had taken place at the request of Exxon Mobil where the Society raised concerns about Exxon’s position on climate change and the company’s funding of lobby groups that misrepresented the science. At the meeting Exxon Mobil indicated that it intended to stop funding these organizations. The letter asked for clarification as to when the company would carry out this pledge. Although we have exchanged further letters with Exxon Mobil, it has still not addressed this issue.

    Perhaps someone should make real sure that Exxon Mobil management is informed of the policy revision.

  24. The Royal Society is certainly a good place for a change in attitude to take place. I think the politicians are continuously looking at the numbers and the quality of the skeptical response to climate variability, this is going to help immeasurably.

    “There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

    Bloody marvellous !

  25. Before you know it, everyone will be saying that the entire notion of AGW was only a minor fringe element, never wholly embraced by science. A perfectly natural turn of events as we transition to a new paradigm of a cooling climate.

    And just as hysteria mounts around a belief in a new ice age, the climate will start warming again.

    Here we go again.

  26. It is late at night and I’m tired after 16 hrs of work. But to be sure………….., this post is about Royal Society ( considered in the past to be fine scientific organisation ), or Mutual Adoration Society ? :-)

  27. Encouraging, until this quote:

    “Professor John Pethica, the society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.”
    ===================
    Is this just his opinion?
    The excerpts of the new “guide” from the press release by GWPF, never mention “human activity”.
    I would say, the new “guide”, needs to be studied?
    Maybe it was just written to appeal to both sides?

  28. Personally, I’m already prepared for a “nothing to see here, go back to your homes” result. The fix is in, don’tcha know.

  29. I gave a presentation to Professor Tony Kelly while he was out in Perth in January. We met at Professor Cliff Ollier’s place and had lunch there afterwards. I brought along a bottle of Veuve and a McLaren Vale shiraz. Pleasant memories. The Royal Society should keep going and warn society of the coming cooling.

  30. Notice the one word or phase the RS uses along with Holdren ?
    ” regional differences” No more global temps. They have try to continue with the theory looking at regional differences. But I’ll be generous and say this is just a few steps along the line of getting out of the corner they have put themselves in.

  31. Patrick Davis says:
    September 29, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I pasted a comment and the link to the BBC article here…

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/science-has-spoken-on-climate-its-now-up-to-politicians-20100930-15ydp.html?comments=12#comments

    But it has not been posted. The title of the article speaks volumes about how climate disruption is being covered in Australia. Australia is truly forked!!

    Patrick, send it to your local Federal politician as well, I did. That is where the real debate will be.
    Keith.

  32. Ross says: September 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm
    ”regional differences”

    They just need to draw up the “regional” climate map, once they have the ‘right’ boundaries and areas defined then:

    More that 80% of the climate regions showed pronounced warming in 2011.
    Some regions show a 100% increase in drought this year.
    63% of the global climate regions show significant differences to the other 63%
    Over 50 climate regions have migrated north in search of work in the past 6 months.
    A poll of the different climate regions shows that over 75% favor Coke over Coal.

    PS.
    Like any electoral map the boundaries will be changed as and when needed to produce the desired results.

  33. David Archibald says:
    September 29, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    They will get around to that, slowly, so as not to take all of the pie in the face at one time.
    Can you imagine what it was like to be taken by the Piltdown Man scam?

  34. This is very significant. The Royal Society has been a cornerstone of the international scientific community since the reign of Charles II (over 300 years!!). It is extremely conservative and cautious about its statements, which is why the extraordinary departure from this tradition – with the previous alarmist statement on climate change – was met with consternation and now dissent from many of its more vocal members. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Royal Society has had a pivotal influence on the credibility of the CAGW predictions. This new statement restores the Royal Society’s position to one that is once more in keeping with its cautious traditions and seems to me to endorse the kind of uncertainties re feedbacks etc which this blog, amongst others, has tried so hard to bring to the public’s attention.

    It is also a massive and I believe fatal blow to the CAGW position. The pillar upon which they have for so long built their case, has at last been removed. The “peers” of peer review have removed their endoresement. Now watch the policymakers search for ways to re-explain their views, whilst slowly backing away……

    This is significant!!! I’m going out to buy a nice bottle of Champagne as soon as I’ve finished emailing Tony Abbott (The Australian conservative leader and climate sceptic) and everyone else I know who’s as obsessed as I am about this subject.

  35. Celebration may be premature.

    The alarmist rag, The Guardian, published an article that says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/30/royal-society-climate-change-guide

    “The document entirely supports the mainstream scientific view of man-made climate change as summarised by the UN’s climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

    The article also quotes Bob Ward:

    “Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute, described the new guide as ‘excellent’ and ‘an authoritative summary of the current state of knowledge’ .”

    Bob Ward is not going to say that about a report sympathetic to skeptics.

    It’s as if there are two entirely different reports.

    I fear all that has happened is that we skeptics have been thrown a little bone.

  36. If I may repeat my comment from May 27…
    As for Lord Rees, make no mistake that this will be difficult for him.
    For his brand of cool alarmism try his book Our Final Hour.
    The Cicerone-Rees weasel-worded letter to Fin Times is here:
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/72e349c8-436e-11df-833f-00144feab49a.html

    Or listen to Rees in Oz last month:
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2010/2881446.htm

    …given the lack of belief in very well established science like evolution, one should not be so surprised that there is a large body of people who don’t accept arguments about climate change because the climate change arguments are not entirely straightforward, the evidence is not staring us in the face….

  37. Not much talk about The Black List anymore?

    And where is Gordon Browns Tipping Point?

    50 days left wasnt it? A while ago?

    Okay, so the RS is not leaders. They are followers. They say what the political leadership expects them to say. The political leadership are followers too. They say what they think is smart to say, based on what gives the most votes.

    So sad.

  38. ‘because the climate change arguments are not entirely straightforward, the evidence is not staring us in the face….’
    One wouldn’t have known that for all the “proof of global warming” claims being tossed about.
    Turned out to be a facade of adjustments and illusions, all of which vaporized faster than Count Dracula caught in the noontime sunlight.

  39. That 43 Fellows of the Royal Society have prevailed and brought some level of sanity to the global warming debate is encouraging. I suspect that for each one who signed the petition, there are likely several more who agree, but were not willing to go public. Therein lies the problem.

    Fellows of the Royal Society are scientists, engineers and technologists who have “made it”. A Fellowship honors the contributions they have made and is a recognition of their success. In other words, as high an honor as it is, there being only just over 40 new appointees each year, for the bulk of the Fellows, the major parts of their careers are already behind them. They have little to lose in terms of research grants, tenure, or job opportunities as they are nearing or already in retirement in many cases.

    That they have the guts to go public is commendable. But the tide won’t turn until the research active youngsters join the grey haired veterans in raising their voices publicly. The funding mechanisms for research make that pretty tough for a lot of the younger crowd, to whom I would offer this observation:

    Someone at CRU was so incensed with the manner in which science had been corrupted by the politics of global warming that they risked their career, and possibly their liberty, to expose Climategate to the world. That they remain anonymous to this day is a testament to the fear so many have of speaking out publicly. There were times in our history when admitting you knew how to swim branded you a witch, to be burned at the stake, there were times when the prevailing wisdom of doctors was that the ill had too much blood in them and should be leeched, there were times when women were not allowed to vote and there were times when slavery was an accepted practice.

    History books show that these practices and beliefs died a prolonged death, their supporters were entrenched in the status quo because they were the beneficiaries of things that no sane person today would try to defend. The names we remember from those history books are not those who attempted to continue the lies. The history books are written about those who defeated them.

    So do you want your name in the history books? Or are you satisfied with being just a footnote that future generations will look on with scorn, though they likely will never learn your name.

  40. “Professor John Pethica, the society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.”

    Hmmm. Where is that strong evidence to be found? They always talk about the strong evidence, but never say what it is, or where it is to be found.

  41. Good stuff. Perhaps science can get back to being the pursuit of pure knowledge, instead of being policy validation for suspect political agendas.

    However, in Australia the media and political elite still refuse to discuss the science. Our Labor minority government won’t even allow sceptics to have a seat on a carbon tax discussion group arranged by the Prime Minister…. only those with an “open mind” about climate change and a price on carbon are allowed to speak!!?

    …..We still have a way’s to go before these Eco-fascists are put in their place.

  42. “……Professor John Pethica, the society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity….”

    They keep saying that.

    Putting aside the ‘hockey stick’ fraud and doubts about the accuracy of the instrumental data (and good faith of its custodians), “strong evidence” is all the AGW skeptics are looking for, but all they seem to get from the so-called experts are flawed arguments relying on elementary logical fallacies viz., cum hoc ergo propter hoc; post hoc, ergo propter hoc; argumentum ad ignorantium, ad verecundiam, ad nauseam leavened with lashings of consensus gentium, ad hominem, circulus in demonstrando and petitio principii thrown in for good measure.

  43. As far as I can tell, the strong evidence that warming was caused by human activity is the climate models. We all know that climate models are not evidence.

  44. “There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

    Professor Ian Plimer wrote a whole book (Heaven + Earth) listing dozens of these factors, explaining how poorly they are understood and providing a couple of thousand references from the literature. The Royal Society is very slow on the uptake…..

  45. Movielib; re the Guardian

    one of their columnists may have written the RS statement up in those terms, but it doesn’t even mean that their own readers are going to accept it, let alone that it’s an accurate assessment of what the RS said.

    For example; try reading the responses to George Monbiot’s articles, and see how many of them argue directly against him (and allow for all the others which show up only as ‘deleted by moderators’!). The RS aren’t the only ones who are feeling the ground shift under their feet these days.

    Though I’m not taking that as a reason to let the pressure up, yet – not by a long shot. There are plenty of people out there with a lot of face to lose over this, as well as the people whose funding and / or career prospects depend on the AGW con being accepted – and they aren’t going to give up without a fight.

    As Churchill said;

    “This is not the end – nor even the beginning of the end. But it may be the end of the beginning.”

  46. Don’t believe them – they’re just stringing us along, there’ll be no serious backpedaling there – leopards don’t change their spots overnight. It’s a palliative, a sweetener, it’s on the back burner until they find some other insidious way of pushing their agenda, with the reminder that “it’s still getting warmer, and it’s still out fault” hanging in the air.

  47. The Walls of Jericho are starting to show signs crumbling.

    For the first time, tonight on my way home from work, I heard the BBC admit to the fact that anybody on the planet was sceptical about the Great Global Warming Farce.

    Richard Lindzen was interviewed and he was just marvellous. Wasn’t sucked in by any wormy questions, and, too my mind, his matter-of-fact replies just seemed to be the epitome of reason and truth.

    I just love that man! And that is really saying something, being a bloke.

    FYI, I have to access WUWT via unblockandsurf.com because my ISP considers it a threat. Now why would that be, I wonder?

  48. They may now have got the science broadly right, but they are still basing that science on atrocious temperature readings and are still totally underestimating the uncertainties arising from using a temperature monitoring system which was never set up to measure the kind of minuscule changes they are trying to detect.

    Or to put it in simpler terms — a 0.25C difference in temperature amounts to approximately 15mins. 0.1C=6mins. If they are trying to tell me that each and every manual measurement up to the automation which began in the 1970s (as did apparent warming) was done spot on time, and not 10,20 even 30minutes after the nominal time … well basically they are lying if they think people took the temperature at the nominal time of day … unlike automated systems!

  49. DRE says:
    September 29, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    A little more “Nullius in verba” is just what they needed

    Amen.

  50. It is my understanding that the position of the equivalent U.S. organization, the AAAS, is still “We Shall Overcome” all global warming skepticism and doubt.

  51. Garacka says:
    September 29, 2010 at 7:12 pm
    “Professor John Pethica, ….. stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.”

    “And what were those activities specifically?”

    A: Adding .5C to recent temperature records.

  52. Phillip Bratby says: ‘“Professor John Pethica, … said … there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.” Hmmm. Where is that strong evidence to be found?’

    Phillip, the strong evidence is that during the period of automation of weather stations, we saw a strong upward drift in average temperature. Since 2001 when most temperature stations had been automated, and it was beginning to get difficult to fudge the readings to show an upward trend because the satellite monitoring was also in place …. we have a steady world temperature (actually the 21st century trend is cooling).

    Is this not very strong evidence that all the apparent warming is due to human influence?

  53. Ref: @berniel, 10:36
    Rees, having stated that scepticism can be understood by comparison of lack of belief in very well established science like evolution, would appear to be at odds with the (now) stated position of his own society. Warmistas can be understood by comparison to what exactly: piltdown mannism perhaps?

    [REPLY: Let us try to avoid terms like “warmista”. Pejorative slurs do little to advance discussion. Try CAGW supporter. … bl57~mod]

  54. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Confucius?)

    Yes, movielib, celebration may be premature, but this feels like a nice first step.

    Has anyone thought to download the previous statement on climate by the Royal Society, so that we can compare? [How did I fail to think of this until it had gone? aaaaaaaargh!!]

    I note that under “Aspects of climate change where there is a wide consensus but continuing debate and discussion” and “Aspects that are not well understood“, there is little indication of what the alternatives might be, so as soon as you have forgotten what the section heading was you will get the impression of much greater certainty than is justified. But having said that, at least there is now a recognition of some uncertainty.

    The other thing that I found disappointing – inevitable perhaps but disappointing – is that clouds were still only considered to react to climate change.

  55. If the RS, the most respected scientific and technological body in the UK, casts just a tiny piece of doubt upon the AGW alarmism, and the consensus dogma, then the UK government should take notice and modify its stance. Just recently we heard William Hague promoting the importance of combating man made climate change, absolutely certain of its truth. So far all the leading figures of every political party, other than UKIP have accepted the worst aspects of CAWG, and follow policies affected by the IPCC ‘projections.’

    I agree with the many other comments that point out the importance of acknowledging the possibility of a decadal cooling period. There seems to have been no attempt by the UK government to face up to this possibility. This is very worrying, bearing in mind the perilous state of our power generation capability.

  56. movielib says: “I fear all that has happened is that we skeptics have been thrown a little bone.

    Movielib, societies like the Royal Society are like dinosaurs ~=~ kick them hard between the legs and it will be five of more years before the nerve impulse finally makes its way up the spinal cord to the tiny brain.

    Climategate was that kick between the legs. That nerve impulse is still making its way to the brain … this report is just a automated nerve twitch and it will be years before this dinosaur even feels the of that eye-watering pain from the kick between the legs let alone responds.

    Be patient!

  57. It seems to me that the Royal Society’s new guide to climate change looks like a summary that paraphrases much of John Holdren’s slide show.

    Of course, it could also be argued that John Holdren’s slide show is based on the Royal Society’s new guide to climate change. For one thing, he argues now just as vocally that to promote the systematic deconstruction of the economies of the developed nations’ economies by means of the phrase “global warming” was a mistake as the Royal Society does.

    The basic truth quite possibly is that both of those consumer products for the masses were devised to reflect a common agenda.

    It remains to be seen what the EU version of the “new” agenda will look like and what words and slogans it will use.

    We have new terminology, a common scope and more or less a common goal that varies little from what it has been so far: globalization through normalizing economic progress down to the lowest common denominator in the name of saving the environment.

    Some say regional, other say continental, some say global warming, others say global climate change and others yet say global climate disruption. In the end it is all the same.

    Comparable to what Aristotle said when he commented on what was not yet called affirmative action for women by stating “Whether women rule or women rule the rulers, what is the difference?” (Politics), so with political and economic restructuring to achieve globalization.

    The end justifies the words and the slogans constructed with them. The slogans change and set the way we think. The way we think makes us sufficiently pliable to adjust our actions to make us achieve the desired goal without complaining too much.

    Maybe I am a little too suspicious, but after the global climategate scandal, is it not of the utmost importance to demonstrate that, because varying terminology is used by ostensibly national discourses in what is an international climate science establishment, the illusion is maintained that no international agenda is in existence?

  58. The BBC just reported this story as The Royal Society saying man is largely causing global warming *but there is still a lot we don’t know* instead of the real story which is the RS’s unprecedented climb-down. Hardly suprising.

  59. Professor John Pethica, who wrote the report, was interviewed by the BBC this morning. He enphasised that there is strong evidence that human activity is causing global warming… the science remains the same…

    The interviewer tried repeatedly to get him to admit that the earlier report did not give sufficient weight to the uncertainties. Each time, Pethica denied this. The interviewer asked, in desperation what was the different between the earlier report and this one. He didn’t answer that, either.

    I was quite disappointed that the interview came over as complete waffle apart from the science being settled, move along, nothing has changed. I have not yet seen the report, but comments here are much more optimistic than I would have expected.

    I’m left a bit bemused and wonder if others who heard the interview could comment.

  60. The first I heard of this was the BBC TV morning news summary this morning which gave a mention of the Royal Society’s new climate change guide. My casual impression was “no change there, then” – the brief item emphasised the statement that the recent warming was very likely man made, and didn’t at all give me the impression of a major change of opinion. Either the BBC has put their own spin on this (very likely), or celebrations here are premature about the Royal Society’s headlong retreat on the subject (also very likely).

  61. I note however that the BBC Toady programme presented it as just a small concession to sceptics but the overall conclusions unchanged – just a bit less so!

    Ah, the BBC. Don’t you just love (to hate) it!

  62. Denial – Check.

    Anger – Check.

    Bargaining – In process.

    Depression – On its way.

    Acceptance – We never said that…

  63. The Stoat and his [/snip] sidekick, Kim Dabelstein Petersen, are probably already working overtime to keep this out of their pet global warming propaganda pages on Wikipedia. In particular, I suspect they will resist every attempt to insert the updated RS statement into this article. At the very least, we can expect them to downplay the significance of it and/or spin it into a strong pro-AGW statement. Such is life in the killing fields of Wikipuchea.

  64. No Mike (Mike Haseler says: September 30, 2010 at 12:32 am) it doesn’t.
    That means that we’ve seen a drift upwards in temperatures, same as we saw between c1910 & 1940.
    The question as to what part of this is due to our activities and which of these activities contributes to what part of this warming hasn’t been answered in a satisfactory manner.
    Remember, correlation does not necesarily equal causation.

  65. Daniel H says: “The Stoat and his [/snip] sidekick, Kim Dabelstein Petersen,”

    [REPLY: Crass descriptors tend to lower the intellectual level of discussion and make the threads less friendly…. bl57~mod]

    In the case of Silly Billy, I think Daniel is being very modest. Let’s put it this way: anyone with an ounce of sense who has ever come into contact with silly billy’s antics on wikipedia has come away with a profound sense that something is very wrong with the argument for manmade global warming when such zealots are behind it.

    He certainly was directly responsible for turning me from a card waving warmer into a sceptic.

  66. Very brave of the Royal Society to make such a sea change on the CAGW dogma it has been pushing for the last 30y of so. Like the MSM, they are drifting into damage limitation mode as our cooling world scuppers this cargo cult science scam.

    Be interesting to see if this U turn causes the fuming Prince Charles to get the queen to revoke their ‘Royal’ charter???

  67. On the BBC television news, about 2 hours ago, all that was reported was the extract:

    “……there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.” Followed by some wooley statement about there being still some uncertainties.

    The BBC still has a long way to go in objective reporting, and it does not look to me as if the RS is backing away from CAGW.

  68. The solid PR-wall sought by the IPCC and provided by the Royal Society and many others in order to prevent politicians being stalled by any talk of uncertainties has been well and truly broken by this new position statement. It may be modest. It may be highly-spun. But it gives a little more political credibility to those who have not been convinced by any evidence yet brought forward to justify alarm about CO2 in the atmosphere.

  69. >>Russ:
    >>Well England is starting to come around,

    Possibly. The Times did a big article on the giant new windfarm, just opened in the Thames estuary somewhere.

    Two days later, the letters page had several replies – and they were all critical, asking what happens when the wind does not blow, like it failed to do when we had our recent cold winter. That is unusual for The Times.

    The Times used to be a solid right-wing paper, but under the Blair era it towed the New Labour line and went distinctly liberal. Perhaps the wind of change are blowing, with the new government, and The Times is veering off to the right again.

    .

  70. I doubt the royal society has changed, but it indicates a shift in the case that they think they can defend. It may also indicate that they are starting to realise that the credibility of a scientific institution rests on its objectivity and support of the scientific method. It can only continue to cover up and sell the cagw hypothesis when not too many people are looking at its position in detail. Maybe they want to back out of leading the charge. That will surely be the turning point, when institutions like the royal society no longer feel comfortable putting their reputations on the line for this stuff. Do they elect their leaders?

  71. Jack Enright 12:48:
    Thanks, Jack, for the link to the RS. I’ve downloaded the report and I’ve just read it. It doesn’t seem like too much of a climbdown to me, but if the door has been opened an inch I suppose it’s a start.

  72. Perhaps someone very gifted in data management could collate all the signatories to the Manhattan Declaration, the Petition Project, the 60 German scientists who wrote to Angela Merkel, the 43 RS bods and other Climate Realists [ to borrow from Dr Corbyn ] and begin circulating the list to all politicians and policy makers who are not “settled” over the AGC/CCC/GCD ‘science’.

    An additional feature could be to annotate the list with qualifications, years of experience and numbers of peer reviewed papers published.

    This might also encourage others who are living and working in fear of persecution and marginalisation such that they are able to endorse the scientifically robust assessments rather than the fables.

  73. This statement in the RS document is misleading

    “38. When only natural climate forcings are put into climate models, the models are incapable of reproducing the size of the observed increase in global-average surface temperatures over the past 50 years. However, when the models include estimates of forcings resulting from human activity, they can reproduce the increase.”

    Firstly, it means nothing that “when the models include estimates of forcings resulting from human activity, they can reproduce the increase”.

    Atributing recent climate change to “estimates of forcings resulting from human activity” on that basis would be the logical fallacy of ‘argument from ignorance’.

    This isn’t new. In the Middle Ages experts said,
    “We don’t know what causes crops to fail: it must be witches.”

    Now, experts say, “We don’t know what causes global climate change: it must be emissions from human activity.”

    Of course, they phrase it differently saying they can’t match historical climate change with known climate mechanisms unless “estimates of forcings resulting from human activity” are included. But evidence for these “forcings resulting from human activity” is no more than the evidence for witches.

    Importantly, all global climate models and energy balance models are known to provide indications which are based on the assumed degree of “forcings resulting from human activity” resulting from anthropogenic aerosol cooling input to each model as a ‘fiddle factor’ to obtain agreement between past average global temperature and the model’s indications of average global temperature.

    A decade ago I published a peer-reviewed paper that showed the UK’s Hadley Centre general circulation model (GCM) could not model climate and only obtained agreement between past average global temperature and the model’s indications of average global temperature by forcing the agreement with an input of assumed anthropogenic aerosol cooling.

    And my paper demonstrated that the assumption of aerosol effects being responsible for the model’s failure was incorrect.

    (ref. Courtney RS An assessment of validation experiments conducted on computer models of global climate using the general circulation model of the UK’s Hadley Centre Energy & Environment, Volume 10, Number 5, pp. 491-502, September 1999).

    More recently, in 2007, Kiehle published a paper that assessed 9 GCMs and two energy balance models.

    (ref. Kiehl JT,Twentieth century climate model response and climate sensitivity. GRL vol.. 34, L22710, doi:10.1029/2007GL031383, 2007).

    Kiehl found the same as my paper except that each model he assessed used a different aerosol ‘fix’ from every other model.

    He says in his paper:

    ”One curious aspect of this result is that it is also well known [Houghton et al., 2001] that the same models that agree in simulating the anomaly in surface air temperature differ significantly in their predicted climate sensitivity. The cited range in climate sensitivity from a wide collection of models is usually 1.5 to 4.5 deg C for a doubling of CO2, where most global climate models used for climate change studies vary by at least a factor of two in equilibrium sensitivity.

    The question is: if climate models differ by a factor of 2 to 3 in their climate sensitivity, how can they all simulate the global temperature record with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Kerr [2007] and S. E. Schwartz et al. (Quantifying climate change–too rosy a picture?, available at http://www.nature.com/reports/climatechange, 2007) recently pointed out the importance of understanding the answer to this question. Indeed, Kerr [2007] referred to the present work and the current paper provides the ‘‘widely circulated analysis’’ referred to by Kerr [2007]. This report investigates the most probable explanation for such an agreement. It uses published results from a wide variety of model simulations to understand this apparent paradox between model climate responses for the 20th century, but diverse climate model sensitivity.”

    And Kiehl’s paper says:

    ”These results explain to a large degree why models with such diverse climate sensitivities can all simulate the global anomaly in surface temperature. The magnitude of applied anthropogenic total forcing compensates for the model sensitivity.”

    And the “magnitude of applied anthropogenic total forcing” is fixed in each model by the input value of aerosol forcing.

    I cannot post Kiehl’s Figure 2 here. Please note that it is for 9 GCMs and 2 energy balance models, and its title is:

    ”Figure 2. Total anthropogenic forcing (Wm2) versus aerosol forcing (Wm2) from nine fully coupled climate models and two energy balance models used to simulate the 20th century.”

    The dots on the graph are all over the place.

    The underlying problem is that the modellers assume that additional energy content in the atmosphere will result in an increase of temperature, but that assumption is very, very unlikely to be true.

    Radiation physics tells us that additional greenhouse gases will increase the energy content of the atmosphere. But energy content is not necessarily sensible heat.

    An adequate climate physics (n.b. not radiation physics) would tell us how that increased energy content will be distributed among all the climate modes of the Earth. Additional atmospheric greenhouse gases may heat the atmosphere, they may have an undetectable effect on heat content, or they may cause the atmosphere to cool.

    The latter could happen, for example, if the extra energy went into a more vigorous hydrological cycle with resulting increase to low cloudiness. Low clouds reflect incoming solar energy (as every sunbather has noticed when a cloud passed in front of the Sun) and have a negative feedback on surface temperature.

    Alternatively, there could be an oscillation in cloudiness (in a feedback cycle) between atmospheric energy and hydrology: as the energy content cycles up and down with cloudiness, then the cloudiness cycles up and down with energy with their cycles not quite 180 degrees out of phase (this is analogous to the observed phase relationship of insolation and atmospheric temperature). The net result of such an oscillation process could be no detectable change in sensible heat, but a marginally observable change in cloud dynamics.

    However, nobody understands cloud dynamics so the reality of climate response to increased GHGs cannot be known.

    So, the models are known to be wrong, and it is known why they are wrong: i.e.

    1. they each emulate a different climate system and are each differently adjusted by use of ‘fiddle factors’ to get them to match past climate change,

    2. and the ‘fiddle factors’ are assumed (n.b. not “estimated”) of forcings resulting from human activity ,

    3. but there is only one climate system of the Earth so at most only one of the models can be right, and

    4. there is no reason to suppose any one of them is right,

    5. but there is good reason to suppose that they are all wrong because they cannot emulate cloud processes which are not understood.

    Hence,the statement in the RS document (which I quote above) is misleading.

    Richard

  74. Tenuc says: “Like the MSM, they are drifting into damage limitation mode as our cooling world …

    Yes, it does look as if the stark facts of the temperature record are forcing them to adopt a defensible position if or when we see further cooling – and the timing is pretty apt, because it now seems very unlikely that we could get a temperature rise sufficient to overturn the current cooling trend for the first decade of the 21st century. On the face of it, this may just sound like empty propaganda, because it is warming if you count your decade from 2000 rather than 2001 (but centuries officially start with 01).

    However, 2001 was the beginning of a period of years when there wasn’t much variation in the temperature, so basically it makes a lot of scientific sense because if you take any of the year immediately after 2001, you get the same basic answer: it hasn’t been warming recently.

    As I’ve said many times, a scientific consensus is as nothing compared to the cold reality of scientific data.

  75. Congratulations to Professor Anthony Kelly and Sir Alan Rudge for standing out and insisting that the RS lives up to its past scientific reputation. As an intermittent observer of RS affairs over the past two decades I can attest to the view that they have moved from an open enquiring society to a more politicised stance on a number of topics. Also, those RS members who have not accepted the RS establishment polemic have been put at some disadvantage in getting their voice heard. But, perhaps now the RS43 will be in a position to restore the scientific balance.

    Peter Stroud:
    If the RS, the most respected scientific and technological body in the UK, casts just a tiny piece of doubt upon the AGW alarmism, and the consensus dogma, then the UK government should take notice and modify its stance.

    Well, the RS shift is a welcome start, but I feel that our UK politicians will need a bigger push. For example, Tim Yeo, the Climate Change Minister, recently called for the resignation of Rajendra Pachauri, but he still is giving 100% backing to carbon tax, proposing wind farms in preference to nuclear, has a belief in CO2 as a pollutant, and going along with predictions of dire weather patterns due to increasing CO2.

  76. Hi Anthony,

    For any readers trying to chase the ‘times’ link through the paywall, the easiest way is to find a phrase (the title works well) and do a ‘Google News’ search. The google link will usually get through the paywall for places like the times and wsj.com.

    Feel free to pass this on to your readers if you think it useful.
    Keep up the good work.

  77. You can download the report from here: http://royalsociety.org/climate-change-summary-of-science/

    IMO it summarises the mainstream science view of AGW very well. Uncertainties and all.

    Now it appears that many people here embrace the bit of the Royal Society report that mentions uncertainties: what’s your view of the “certainties” that they mention such as:
    “The size of future temperature
    increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still
    subject to uncertainty. Nevertheless, the risks associated with some of these changes
    are substantial.”

    And how about where they explain the scientific certainties behind the Greenhouse effect?

  78. Edward Bancroft says:“Well, the RS shift is a welcome start, but I feel that our UK politicians will need a bigger push. For example, Tim Yeo, the Climate Change Minister, recently called for the resignation of Rajendra Pachauri, but he still is giving 100% backing to carbon tax, proposing wind farms in preference to nuclear, has a belief in CO2 as a pollutant, and going along with predictions of dire weather patterns due to increasing CO2.”

    Edward, perhaps I can put this in perspective. In the late 1990s I got involved in wind energy and there was a constant frustration at the lack of action from government. At the time the temperature record showed a dramatic and accelerating increase and the only explanation available was manmade warming from CO2 emissions, yet still, in the face of an obvious and overwhelming need to start acting … they did bugger all.

    It took time. Policy needs to be developed, civil servants (few of whom know anything of science) need to educated. Options explored, committees formed, but slowly, slowly, very very very slowly, the wheel of government grind and eventually what seems obvious looking from outside becomes ingrained in government action.

    Now that the bubble has burst … people like me can look back and see how we over-reacted (in retrospect). We didn’t have the full picture, the coincidental accelerating rise in CO2 and temperature was just that: coincidental. Now that we know more about the “consensus” (aka group-think) of the experts, the huge hidden uncertainties in the temperature record and the vastly over-exaggerated effects … we know the potential problem is much smaller than we were told, the liklihood of that problem is much smaller and indeed the whole thing may just disappear in the face of other problems like fossil fuel shortage.

    Quite clearly the bubble has burst. The mainstream media have lost their enthusiasm for the global warming scare story, the world economy has forced people to look at the stark reality of economic facts and not the luxury of beating their breasts about fluffy polar bears.

    The world has moved on, even the RS have changed their position … but as I said before, government is like a brontosaurus: you kick it between the legs, but that nerve impulse takes an awful long time to make its way up through the body politic to the head. My estimates are that UK government action lags the real world by around 5 to 10 years.

    In 2000 what that meant was that the UK government hadn’t a hope in hell of seriously reducing CO2 emissions within a reasonable time period (and about the only reduction in the UK has been from a transfer of manufacturing of goods bought here to places like China). In 2010, that means that the government are currently accelerating their action on CO2 at a time when the political reality is that the public have lost their appetite for such notions.

    That is the nature of the UK civil service/government. They are always 5-10 years behind the rest of us!

    And there can be no doubt, that if we entered a period of cooling winters (we had more early snow in Scotland!!!), we will just about be coming out the decade of cooling as the politicians order the first new snowploughs!

  79. Tilo Reber says:
    September 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Begin quote:
    Theo Godwin:
    “The 43 fellows who demanded this new report have restored science to its rightful place in the Royal Society.”
    Unfortunately, it’s also 43 guys that we won’t be seeing in Nature in the near future. Nevertheless, it does my heart good to see that there are still some heroes in the world.
    End Quote

    I do not mean to pick on Tilo, many others wrote the same.

    I said that the sun is rising. I did not say that it is noon. The 43 have restored standards of science in the debate. So, we have a prestigious organization that has returned to science and published the fact in a guide for laymen. Maybe the 43 will be blackballed, but maybe they will be paid richly to testify in US courts against Lisa Jackson and her minions at the EPA. If so, the 43 will serve the winning side. Ordinary Americans know enough science to judge that the 43 are speaking from within science while Climategaters are speaking from policy concerns and shaping the science to serve those concerns.

  80. “There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

    Ouuch. Some people must have said that through gritted teeth.

  81. “The original statement was anything but based on the scientific method. Why should a review, forced on the believers, produce a result that meets its criteria now?”

    I don’t think you need the scientific method to get to a position of skepticism.

    Part of the previous problem was the insistence on taking a strong stance in the absence of a complete alternative theory. That position also skirts the scientific method and relies instead on the well known formal fallacy a form of reversal of the scientific method that because you cannot demonstrate y, x must be correct.

    Now that those shenanigans are behind us maybe we can get back to doing real science.

  82. Mods: Ref my comment at 12:43 am

    I did not intend my term to be perjorative but as a counterpoint to the use by Rees of the term ‘sceptics’ in his comparison to disbelievers of evolution and on which I was commenting. However, you are quite correct & I apologise to WUWT which I hold in high regard.

  83. What will the HuffPo do now? Last year, having published me by “accident” (see below), the august publication unleashed the hounds of hell. One ad-hom piece was titled “When It Comes to Climate Is it the Royal Society or Harold Ambler?” That becomes a more complicated question now.

    Here, by the way, after undue delay is the final correspondence between Arianna Huffington and myself prior to her directing that my piece be published. (She had, by this time, read and responded to several e-mails and prior submissions, all of them overtly skeptical.)

    Many thanks, Harold. I’m CCing our blog editor, David Weiner to
    coordinate. All the best, Arianna.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Harold Ambler
    Date: Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 9:21 AM
    Subject: Mr. Gore: apology accepted
    To: Arianna Huffington

    Hi Arianna. Happy New Year! I have written my a 2,000-word piece on
    why Al Gore is wrong about climate. May it increase your enjoyment of
    the new year so much that you feel compelled to publish it!

    All the best,
    Harold Ambler

    I surmised when Arianna disavowed me and my piece that her left-liberal funding had been threatened over the article. At any rate, one wonders what the Royal Society’s position on climate change will be twenty years from now.

  84. “The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.”

    Yeah? Well, my question is just this: WHY the hell did it take THEM so damned long?

    You see? So far as I’m concerned, the so-called ‘leadership’ in that organization sure as hell jumped onto the bandwagon with such great zest, zeal, and gusto, as to give any reasoning, thinking, human being pause as to the cause, if you know what I mean.

    If their bank demanded that they pay 300% more on a loan than what they’d borrowed, would they have enamored themselves of the idea in the same way as they embraced an entirely corrupt and deceitful proclamation?

    Science is ~supposed~ to be critical and NOT political, yet there they were prancing and dancing in the streets like a pack of inebriate pixies, proclaiming doom and gloom.

    Hell, even a drunk leprechaun saw through the whole charade!

    Well, what the hell happened? Did the money and carbon-come stock options all of a sudden dry up, and now they relent if only because they have egg on their faces and NOTHING to show for it?

    Do tell: What is it that weather getting colder all of a sudden causes the charlatans to get a clue?

  85. To me this is not a climbdown but simple window dressing.

    “The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.”

    This indicates to me the view that “increases” are certain and only their size may be open to question, and even that doubt perhaps pertinent only to regional aspects.

    Then we have:
    “There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

    It looks to this layman that the existence of unknowns is a certainty, not a mere possibility.

    They are a long, long way from saying, “mea culpa”.

  86. This is good, however it won’t make any difference unless the “Regulators” (EPA, etc. ) are convinced to abandon their current path of regulation of human activity. That will have to be driven by those who have profited by such regulation; either financially, politically or both. They will not voluntarily give that up. Would you?

  87. Richard S Courtney says:
    September 30, 2010 at 3:55 am

    I cannot post Kiehl’s Figure 2 here.
    ——–
    Here you go.

  88. Caption under photo at The Guardian article:

    ¨Polar bears have become a threatened species since the Arctic sea ice has been retreating. The Royal Society’s guide explains the physical science behind the environmental change. Photograph: Juniors Bildarchiv/Alamy¨

    Keep up the good work, Anthony.

  89. Not exactly sure why this is being called a concession to skeptics. Here is the first paragraph of the conclusion:

    57 There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last half century. This warming trend is expected to continue as are changes in precipitation over the long term in many regions. Further and more rapid increases in sea level are likely which will have profound implications for coastal communities and ecosystems.

    Report is exactly same as IPCC4 ; body of report states that surface temperature rose non-linearly with rapid rises between 1910-1940 and 1975-2000, while CO2 concentration rose linearly, from 1850 to 2009. It concludes from these observations that temperature rise correlates with CO2 rise, even though they just stated that it does not, and then they attribute causation to the ‘correlation’.

    Also throughout the report, data output from theoretical computer models is called evidence and its reliability is related to how complex the models are, not on how well their conclusions correlate with accurately predicting real world data.

    Finally, after stating there is uncertainty in the models in the body of the report, they conclude there is strong evidence for AGW and we need to be concerned about ‘changes in precipitation’ (read ‘Floods in Pakistan’) and ‘coastal communities’ (read ‘British Coastal Preparation Program’) ; ie any weather worry on the mind of the public is still being caused by CO2.

    looks like Business as Usual to me…

  90. I regret to say that the Royal Society review has tempered alarmism a bit, but doesn’t [f]all on the side of “neutrality” in any way. It speaks of values of “climate forcing” and “climate sensitivity” as if these values were known and as determinate as the acceleration of gravity.

    There’s no mention of the probability that the MWP and Bronze Bronze Age were at least as warm as the modern period, no mention of the variable causes of sea level rise, no mention of snow and ice depletion by sublimation to an atmosphere of low humidity.

    The document states that it is “drawn heavily from the IPCC report” and they don’t challenge a thing IPCC says. I’m not happy that there was no mention that there is strong disagreement over IPCC conclusions, including “there is strong evidence human activity has altered the recent climate.”

  91. I am not sure why everyone is so excited about the new report when one of the concluding paragraphs (67) states:

    “There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last half century. This warming trend is expected to continue as are changes in precipitation over the long term in many regions. Further and more rapid increases in sea level are likely which will have profound implications for coastal communities and ecosystems”

    The report’s concluding remarks also go beyond science by advocating action in paragraph 69:

    “Like many important decisions, policy choices about climate change have to be made in absence of perfect knowledge. Even if the remaining uncertainties were substantially resolved, the wide variety of interests, cultures and beliefs in society would make consensus about such choices difficult to achieve. However, the potential impacts of climate change are sufficiently serious that important decisions will need to be made.”

    I submit that these two paragraphs are sufficient for ANY politician to take any action to curb human emission of greenhouse gases. (Would this include water vapour too?)

    Until the concluding remarks of the Report are significantly altered, the body of the report is mere “window dressing”

  92. “para 30, it may be that past CO2 variation was driven by temperature rather than vice versa”

    That para alone is worth its weight in gold to me, though with all the evidence the “may” bit seems somewhat grudging! Still, its a start and for the first time in hell knows how long, I will be able to quote the R.S.
    Nearly the weekend, lets see what Monbiot comes out with
    .

  93. That will have to be driven by those who have profited by such regulation; either financially, politically or both. They will not voluntarily give that up. Would you?

    Yes, if I was aware how badly this regulation was hurting people, especially people who couldn’t afford pay for it

  94. Harold Ambler says:
    September 30, 2010 at 5:06 am

    “At any rate, one wonders what the Royal Society’s position on climate change will be twenty years from now.”

    Probably something along the lines of: “We told you it was going to get cold”.

  95. [REPLY: Let us try to avoid terms like “warmista”. Pejorative slurs do little to advance discussion. Try CAGW supporter. … bl57~mod]

    Aww! I hope we all don’t have to start being politically correct! ;-)

  96. I appreciate Piers Corbyn’s skepticism — and evidence — re the Royal Society’s change of “heart”. This smells to me like repositioning by the same elitists who chose to demolish science and the scientific method. Has there been any political change within the Royal Society suggesting that scientists are now in charge — or is this mere backpeddaling for appearances sake in order to remain “in power”? That’s my yardstick. I want the rule of law which includes punishment (loss of office and affluence) for “demolishing science and the scientific method”.

  97. There does appear to be dissension among the ranks regarding the wording of a RS pamphlet called “Climate Change Controversies”.

    “The review member said it might not be possible for the document to be agreed at all. “This is a very serious challenge to the way the society operates,” I was told. “In the past we have been able to give advice to governments as a society without having to seek consensus of all the members.”

    “…in any society like this there will inevitably be people who disagree about anything – and my fear is that the society may become paralysed on this issue.”

    “Another review member told me: “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised. It’s not clear to me how we are going to get precise agreement on the wording – we are scientists and we’re being asked to do a job of public communication that is more like journalism.””

    Of course, the alarmist spinmeisters like The Guardian and others are, and will be hard at work spinning this and doing damage control, but the CAGW/CC/CD fraud is finally, bit by bit, coming undone. The science that “we think, maybe, something is happening with our climate, and that man has had something to do with it (whatever “it”) is still seems safe, though. What the heck, they can have that.

  98. AllenC says: “I am not sure why everyone is so excited about the new report when one of the concluding paragraphs (67) states: …

    Allen, you could well have made similar comments on board the Titanic regarding “a bit of ice on the deck”. Like big ships, large organisations take time to change direction (or sink), but once they start changing they keep changing and changing.

    The change is almost imperceptible … but because the momentum for change is so massive in large organisations, even a very modest change in direction is very significant because it signals:

    1. The end of a period of increasing alarmism by the Royal society
    2. The beginning of a period of increasing scientific scepticism.

    The global warming boat may only be tilting at an almost imperceptible angle so that all most can see is the ice of the deck, but please bare with us a while even if right now we seem to be overly interested in a few bits of ice scattered around the deck!

  99. Pig walks on two legs

    30 Sept 2010

    A pig which can walk and do handstands (hoof-stands?) on two legs has become a local celebrity in China.

    The 10-month-old porker is known by villagers as “Zhu Jianqiang” (Strong-willed Pig) after it was born with only two front legs and learned to balance on them well enough to walk. According to its owner, Wang Xihai, it was one of nine piglets born in a litter this January. He said: “My wife asked me to dump it but I refused as it’s a life. I thought I should give it a chance to survive and unexpectedly it survived healthy.”

    Several days after its birth Wang decided to train the two-legged piglet to walk by lifting it up by its tail. He said: “I trained her for a while each day. After 30 days she can now walk upside down quite well.”

    Wang said since the birth of the pig, which currently weighs 50kg (110lbs), his home has been besieged by visitors. A circus even offered to buy for the pig for a large sum but Wang refused to sell. He said “She proved to us that no matter what form life is it should continue to live on. I won’t sell it no matter how much the offer is.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8034669/Pig-learns-to-walk-on-two-legs.html

  100. simpleseekeraftertruth said: …Warmistas can be understood by comparison to what exactly: piltdown mannism perhaps?

    [REPLY: Let us try to avoid terms like “warmista”. Pejorative slurs do little to advance discussion. Try CAGW supporter. … bl57~mod]

    —–

    What’s wrong with the term “warmista”? It describes a specific subgroup of AGW proponents who are ideologically driven to hijack climate science in order to further their questionable political ends. Hence, the “warmista” label advances the discussion by adding context and clarity to it. If you honestly believe that the term “warmista” is a “pejorative slur” then please take it up with the proprietor of this blog who recently created a thread entitled When warmistas attack.

  101. Garacka – building more and better thermometers, then building airplanes that like good weather data, then placing those thermometers at airports, and then improving those grass fields with asphalt – see all of the warming was definately man’s fault.

    Well, except for the sun’s part, because a small percentage change in something, regardless of how big and powerful it is can’t matter.

  102. While we can count on change in the earth’s climate, we can hope for change in the political climate. We can also hope that latter change has begun, yet still skeptical.

  103. They’ll reach 180 degrees. It’s just that an august body like the RS can’t be seen to do things too quickly …

    Pointman

  104. dixonstalbert says: September 30, 2010 at 6:09 am: “Not exactly sure why this is being called a concession to skeptics. Here is the first paragraph of the conclusion:…”

    You don’t understand how propaganda works. Anthony knows perfectly well that the R.S. has not made any substantive change in it assessment of climate science. But with the right spin and a fan base that wants to believe AGW is false he can spread a false impression. And if you tell people they have been conned they get even madder.

    REPLY: amusing – Anthony

  105. The new RS guidelines on climate change generally support the “accepted” science of the past decades.

    There are a few statements, as pointed out in the lead post, that show some allowance for skepticism in the mix of future “accepted” science.

    That is a significant step in the right direction. But just a step toward a more open scientific process . . . . . . we must keep steady on our course toward more open science.

    John

  106. davidmhoffer says:
    September 29, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    That 43 Fellows of the Royal Society have prevailed and brought some level of sanity to the global warming debate is encouraging. I suspect that for each one who signed the petition, there are likely several more who agree, but were not willing to go public. Therein lies the problem. . . . [edit] . . .

    . . . [edit] . . So do you want your name in the history books? Or are you satisfied with being just a footnote that future generations will look on with scorn, though they likely will never learn your name.

    ———————

    davidmhoffer,

    I enjoyed your comment on encouraging us all to step forward.

    Your deep perspective add weight.

    John

  107. “para 30, it may be that past CO2 variation was driven by temperature rather than vice versa”

    It is not a Boolean ‘Or’. It is a Boolean ‘And’.

    Para 30 “Evidence from ice cores indicates an active role for CO2 in the climate system. This is because the amount of carbon held in oceans, soils and plants depends on temperature and other conditions. In other words, changes in CO2 can lead to climate change and climate change can also alter the concentrations of CO2.”

    Or to quote Skeptikal Science “When the Earth comes out of an ice age, the warming is not initiated by CO2 but by changes in the Earth’s orbit. The warming causes the oceans to give up CO2. The CO2 amplifies the warming and mixes through the atmosphere, spreading warming throughout the planet. So CO2 causes warming AND rising temperature causes CO2 rise”

    BTW None of the science in this report is new or changed, it has just been categorised into three degrees of uncertainty, uncertainty being a two-edged sword, of course.

  108. [REPLY: Let us try to avoid terms like “warmista”. Pejorative slurs do little to advance discussion. Try CAGW supporter. … bl57~mod]

    Perhaps Global Warming Believer (G.W.B.) might be good.

  109. Lawrence Solomon at the National Post has a comment piece on this:

    “The UK today has made it official. With the release of its revised guide to climate change by the Royal Society, the nation’s preeminent scientific organization, the UK now formally joins the ranks of the denier nations. The science on climate change is no longer certain, the Society now says.”

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/09/30/lawrence-solomon-uk-becomes-a-denier-nation/

  110. Mike says:
    September 30, 2010 at 8:04 am

    You don’t understand how propaganda works. . . . [edit] . . .

    —————-

    Mike,

    Well Mike, I am waiting for you to instruct us deluded masses on how propaganda works. Your comment gave us no clue.

    Oh, enlightened Mike, with your politically correct version of propaganda, please guide us toward the light of the true “accepted” science! You know, that “accepted” science that doesn’t look very “accepted” so much anymore . . . . if it was every really “accepted” at all.

    You sound a little angry there Mike. Need some anger management counseling?

    John

  111. Mike 8.04

    I can only assume you have been reading the Guardian or Real Climate edited version of the RS paper when you say we have been conned by Anthony into believing that the RS hasn’t changed its position when you say they haven’t :

    Even wearing your darkest blinkers you will be able to note the welcome transition from an advocacy group to something resembling the worlds oldest scientific body.

    September 2010 version under

    http://royalsociety.org/climate-change-summary-of-science/

    The previous RS statement (from 2007/8) is here:

    http://royalsociety.org/Climate-change-controversies-a-simple-guide/

    and an even earlier one (2005) is here

    http://royalsociety.org/Facts-and-fictions-about-climate-change/

    Here are some of the RS remarks verbatim in case you can spare a few minutes of your time to read what has been written, as opposed to what you WISH had been written.

    “Observations are not yet good enough to quantify, with confidence, some aspects of the evolution of either climate forcing or climate change, or for helping to place tight bounds on the climate sensitivity. Observations of surface temperature change before 1850 are also scarce”.

    “47 As noted above, projections of climate change are sensitive to the details of the representation of clouds in models. Particles originating from both human activities and natural sources have the potential to strongly influence the properties of clouds, with consequences for estimates of climate forcing. Current scientific understanding of this effect is poor”.

    “48 Additional mechanisms that influence climate sensitivity have been identified, including the response of the carbon cycle to climate change, for example the loss of organic carbon currently stored in soils. The net effect of changes in the carbon cycle in all current models is to increase warming, by an amount that varies considerably from model to model because of uncertainties in how to represent the relevant processes.The future strength of the uptake of CO2 by the land and oceans (which together are currently responsible for taking up about half of the emissions from human activity –see paragraph 26) is very poorly understood, particularly because of gaps in our of the response of biological processes to changes in both CO2 concentrations and climate.”

    “49 There is currently insufficient understanding of the enhanced melting and retreat of the ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica to predict exactly how much the rate of sea level rise will increase above that observed in the past century (see paragraph 45) for a given temperature increase. Similarly, the possibility of large changes in the circulation of the North Atlantic Ocean cannot be assessed with confidence. The latter limits the ability to predict with confidence what changes in climate will occur in Western Europe.”

    “50 The ability of the current generation of models to simulate some aspects of regional climate change is limited, judging from the spread of results from different models;”

    “Remaining uncertainties are the subject of ongoing research worldwide. Some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced, because of, for example, the lack of observations of past changes relevant to some aspects of both climate forcing and climate change.”

    “56 There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

    Now Mike and other commentators can bluster all they want but please explain which parts of the RS document you feel we have been conned by and misunderstood. Is it the bit that says;

    “current scientific understanding of this is poor:’

    or

    “is very poorly understood” or

    “insufficient understanding”

    Or perhaps point 56 in its entirety when at last the Royal Society is living up to its motto’ nobody’s word is final’ in recognising that the science is by no means settled and in some cases very poorly understood.

    tonyb

  112. Mike Haseler’s comment reminded me of a Sociology paper I enrolled in many years ago. I know many at WUWT don’t approve of Sociology as some Sociologists such as Paul Erlich strayed beyond the bounds of scientific rationality, but it can provide a dispassionate and structured way of looking back at history.
    The topic was ‘Social Lag’ and the paper made clear that history is replete with examples of this, such as the new wave of scientific thinking that swept along the movers and shakers of the Renaissance at the end of the Medieval period in Europe, but left the general populace straggling along behind in their unenlightened and God-centred fashion for as much as three hundred years. Now that communications are almost instantaneous and pretty much world-wide, general changes in understandings and perceptions among educated and moderately prosperous populations rapidly outstrip the speed of change within tradtional organisations embodying notions of ancient prestige such as the Royal Society.
    In view of this, I feel that the Royal Society’s view on climate change is changing just about as fast as it can change; maybe the basic problem is that communities such as WUWT, which are a product of the rapid communications of ideas, project unrealistic expectations upon such institutions. Perhaps we need to encourage such organisations by exercising more patience with them.

  113. Best news I’ve heard all week – yes – yes – yes!!

    ….and this is probably the most venerated science institution in the world!!!!! – not a ‘U’ turn but a change of mind, maybe? – Certainly!

    Hansen, Maan, IPCC, CRU, Ed Millepede, et al, take note.

  114. Garacka says:
    September 29, 2010 at 7:12 pm
    “Professor John Pethica, ….. stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.”

    And what were those activities specifically?

    More to the point; what is this “strong evidence” specifically?

  115. I listened to the BBC interview and the RS rep repeatedly argued that the ‘science’ was solid and it appeared to me in his rather smug way he couldn’t really accept how anyone could doubt what all those ‘top’ scientists were saying. Try looking up the history of the RS and see all the mistakes they have made over the years!!

  116. I’m sorry, but I don’t see this as particularly interesting. The IPCC reports already give a broad range of possible temperature increases for the 21st century (1.7C-7C), so the uncertainty has always been acknowledged. The Royal Society is simply telling us what we have already heard a million times before: Temperatures will continue to rise, forcings are a little uncertain, feedbacks are very uncertain, and the effects can only be predicted on a global or continental scale. Regional effects cannot be determined with current models, but they’re probably not good. Hardly an admission that AGW advocates are barking up the wrong tree.

    I would have preferred to see something that recognized that solar activity in the 20th century was remarkably high, and that ocean currents seem to have been in a warming phase as well, so much of the observed temperature increase was probably entirely natural. Perhaps a little note about the differences between datasets, and that even with a global network of sensors, we still can’t assign a definite value to “global temperature”. I pop the champagne when I see a non-skeptic publish ONE graph that presents temperature in Kelvin (the whole graph, not a partial of the top 5 degrees) and makes it clear to the public that we’re talking about tiny changes that are extremely difficult to measure, let alone predict.

    This will be just another announcement that R/C will spin into an affirmation of the IPCC’s work. If the Climategate emails can be made into a benign “boys will be boys” thing, this isn’t likely to turn a lot of heads.

  117. Not an adequate position statement by the RS. They ignore the historical and recent geological records without which their declaration merely upholds the status quo. Disappointing, but good to know there are at least 40 disinterested scientists there.

  118. Under “Developments in Climate Science,” there is this paragraph:

    “Other uncertainties may start to be resolved. For example, satellites now incorporate
    improved techniques to measure cloud characteristics across the globe. Using climate
    models for day-to-day weather prediction will enable, for example, identification of
    errors in the representation of clouds in models; any such errors will lead to errors in
    forecasts of maximum and minimum temperatures (which are easily observed). New
    high-performance computers will allow climate models to represent some smaller-scale phenomena (including cloud systems and details of tropical storms) directly, and are expected to improve confidence in regional predictions.”

    Doesn’t this paragraph imply that modelling of cloud systems is now “seat of the pants” and that satelites will permit collection of data for error correction sometime in the future? Doesn’t that show a humility that is characteristic of science? I believe that this report takes quite a few steps away from policy advocacy and toward science.

  119. DAVID SPURGEON says: “….and this is probably the most venerated science institution in the world!!!!! – not a ‘U’ turn but a change of mind, maybe?

    No, not a U turn, just an angular translation by pi radians.

  120. “Well England is starting to come around, now if we could just get the leadership of the good old USA to follow suit”

    I think you will find that the Royal society is a UK institution which includes Scottish, Irish and Welsh input. We in the Celtic countries also have had our doubts for some time!

  121. Effects at continental scale are not well known either.

    Still short of a realistic view but not as bad as it was.

  122. In my opinion, the Royal Society missed an opportunity by not updating there position without the prompt. They have now compounded the situation by trying not to deviate from their original position, whilst appearing to suggest that they have moved.
    As a result, they have managed to further damage their already tarnished reputation.
    It’s another sad day for the RS and for science.

  123. Gee they say that there is so much uncertainty and there may be entirely new things to learn but not so much that it will switch the trend to global cooling. Nah it still isn’t recovered enough to be seen as a scientific institution. We better get out there and photograph the titles of government offices, departments and institutions for posterity. They are going to be investing in new signage, letterheads, mission statement, museum science displays…. I’m serious. The main clergy will also be born again as sceptics at the forefront climate science. I personally am cancelling my appointments for overcoming climate denialism with my shrink.

  124. Mike says:
    September 30, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Please explain your accusation and the basis for your “spin” comment that Anthony has supposedly fomented from this article.
    ———-
    “Wednesday, 29 September 2010 22:09 Ben Webster, The Times

    Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.

    The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.”
    ———-

    Yea Mike, and to use the surfer vernacular: some of us are somewhat “stoked” to see this ‘concession’, the action taken by the RS after yielding to 40 of its fellows who are apparently more informed of the facts concerning CO2′ role in “anthropogenic climate disruption”. How many concessions have ever been made to date, and at this level? Not many. We’ll take this one, if maybe with a grain of salt on the side for the very reason you stated.

    No substantive changes in their assesment? Ok, so what? Bringing down an a pyramid scheme starts with the ‘capstone’, which I will equate with Mann’s hockey stick deconstruction and subsequent annihilation. Then the thankless job by Anthony, et al (thank you BTW) on the condition of the surface stations ‘stone’. Then the “smoothing” and “adjustments” made by GISS, NASA, etc, etc, exposed by Goddard and many others, another ‘stone’, then the climategate stone…and on, and on.

    One stone at a time until the edifice is removed and real science is restored. Ya see Mike, it’s not that we don’t believe…really. What we can’t believe is that (our$/your$) billions are being spent to mitigate/adapt to a problem that MAY not exist at all. We can’t believe that upper level decisions are being made and policies implemented that may well negatively impact the well-being of entire populations (already impoverished populations at that) on such shoddily contrived theories based on corrupted science. All over a trace gas that we contribute to the tune of about 3% to 5%.

    No I don’t think ALL of the AGW are bad people, some true scientists I am sure. But some of them are very bad scientists. Are they ALL involved in a global conspiracy to install a global government? No, I don’t think so (at least I hope not), but somebody is. I think John Holdren is: just look at his PPP at the Klavi Symposium. I think as a general rule anyone espousing CAGW might very well be a conspirator.

    There are too many contradictions, too many tactics such as Holdren’s ploy to regionalize the effects of a warming planet. How does that work? As mentioned above: now any anomolous/extreme weather events can be blamed on global warming (which, in reality, is already being practised: Russian heat and Pakistani floods for example). Why would somebody do that??? For power, control, and money, period.

    I guess after all my rambling (apologies) it boils down to this:

  125. Mike says:
    September 30, 2010 at 8:04 am
    ———-
    “Wednesday, 29 September 2010 22:09 Ben Webster, The Times

    Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.

    The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.”
    ———-

    Yea Mike, and to use the surfer vernacular: some of us are somewhat “stoked” to see this ‘concession’, the action taken by the RS after yielding to 40 of its fellows who are apparently more informed of the facts concerning CO2′ role in “anthropogenic climate disruption”. How many concessions have ever been made to date, and at this level? Not many. We’ll take this one, if maybe with a grain of salt on the side for the very reason you stated.

    No substantive changes in their assesment? Ok, so what? Bringing down an a pyramid scheme starts with the ‘capstone’, which I will equate with Mann’s hockey stick deconstruction and subsequent annihilation. Then the thankless job by Anthony, et al (thank you BTW) on the condition of the surface stations ‘stone’. Then the “smoothing” and “adjustments” made by GISS, NASA, etc, etc, exposed by Goddard and many others, another ‘stone’, then the climategate stone…and on, and on.

    One stone at a time until the edifice is removed and real science is restored. Ya see Mike, it’s not that we don’t believe…really. What we can’t believe is that (our$/your$) billions are being spent to mitigate/adapt to a problem that MAY not exist at all. We can’t believe that upper level decisions are being made and policies implemented that may well negatively impact the well-being of entire populations (already impoverished populations at that) on such shoddily contrived theories based on corrupted science. All over a trace gas that we contribute to the tune of about 3% to 5%.

    No I don’t think ALL of the AGW are bad people, some true scientists I am sure. But some of them are very bad scientists. Are they ALL involved in a global conspiracy to install a global government? No, I don’t think so (at least I hope not), but somebody is. I think John Holdren is: just look at his PPP at the Klavi Symposium. I think as a general rule anyone espousing CAGW might very well be a conspirator.

    There are too many contradictions, too many tactics such as Holdren’s ploy to regionalize the effects of a warming planet. How does that work? As mentioned above: now any anomolous/extreme weather events can be blamed on global warming (which, in reality, is already being practised: Russian heat and Pakistani floods for example). Why would somebody do that??? For power, control, and money, period.

    Please explain your accusation and the basis for your “spin” comment that Anthony has supposedly fomented from this article.

  126. Gaylon writes:

    “No I don’t think ALL of the AGW are bad people, some true scientists I am sure. But some of them are very bad scientists. Are they ALL involved in a global conspiracy to install a global government?”

    Well, since you raise the question, climate science is dominated by people who are policy advocates first and scientists afterwards. They have the cart before the horse. They are willing to bastardize science to serve their vision of Green Gaia. According to that vision, world government is necessary to exercise the level of control necessary to prevent humanity from causing suffering to Green Gaia. From Gore and Pachauri on the bottom rung, through Oppenheimer and his modellers in the middle, to some unknown actual scientist on the top rung, everyone of them puts policy before science and harms science. The harm they have caused to science education throughout the world is incalculable.

  127. Pesadia writes:

    “They have now compounded the situation by trying not to deviate from their original position, whilst appearing to suggest that they have moved.”

    My guess is that inside the Royal Society they are fighting like cats and dogs. We must do what we can to support the dogs.

  128. Gaylon says:
    “Wednesday, 29 September 2010 22:09 Ben Webster, The Times
    Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested….”
    ———-
    Yea Mike, and to use the surfer vernacular: some of us are somewhat “stoked” to see this ‘concession’…”

    The scare quotes are probably well placed, given that the 2005 Royal Society Guide to Fact and Fictions about Climate Change included this statement:

    “The IPCC 2001 report openly acknowledged uncertainties in modelling climate change in the future.”

    Any change in the latest Royal Society statement seems to be more a matter of emphasis than concession, but I guess you could interpret it both ways.

    More importantly, if sceptics and warmers can agree that this statement is a fair representation of the current state of the science, many areas of disagreement can be laid to rest.

  129. Like a great ship turning, the evident change in course is measured in degrees and compass points, rather than entire quadrants. Despite the confident notes still sounded from the bridge, the RS may be avoiding the fate of the Titanic. It’s far too much to expect the command “hard left rudder, all engines astern!”

  130. Mike Jonas said:
    September 30, 2010 at 1:03 am
    “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Confucius?)

    No, this is a quote from Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)
    often quoted by Mao Zedong in reference his long march.

  131. Richard S Courtney September 30, 2010 at 3:55 am
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/29/royal-society-blinks-embraces-sceptics-and-uncertainty/#comment-495197
    Very good analysis.
    I am in total agreement, except with “But evidence for these “forcings resulting from human activity” is no more than the evidence for witches.“.
    I think you have misunderstood the process: (1) they run the model without human forcing, and it is out by x deg C. (2) they calculate that x deg C is equivalent to y Wm-2 forcing. (3) they insert human activity at y Wm-2 into the model. (4) they run the model again and get a very good match with measured temperatures.
    This process obviously must differ from the process used to blame witches for things. It’s called the scientific process. Nowadays.

    Actually, I would also take issue with you over the use of the term “fiddle factors”. This is not proper scientific terminology. The correct term, as used by the IPCC, is “parametrization“, as in “Although the large-scale dynamics of these models are comprehensive, parametrizations are still used to represent unresolved physical processes such as the formation of clouds and precipitation,[…]“.
    In this context, parametrizations work the same way as human forcings in the models (or aerosols), except that they don’t match any observations of cloud behaviour or precipitation.

    —–

    alan : thanks for the correction re Lao-tzu. Now all I have to do is remember it somehow …

  132. DaveF says:
    September 30, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Jack Enright 12:48:
    It doesn’t seem like too much of a climbdown to me, but if the door has been opened an inch I suppose it’s a start.

    It’s the end of the beginning.

  133. Mike Jonas:
    Thank you for your response at September 30, 2010 at 11:06 pm to my earlier comment.

    I lack the wit to put the matter in the words you have, so I am especially grateful.

    I enjoyed the laugh, and your use of humour may make the issue more intelligible for many than I could.

    Richard

  134. Why do you act like uncertainties are new to climate science?

    The Royal Society document notes that the uncertainties in climate science were noted in the IPPC Report:

    “This document draws upon recent evidence and builds on the Fourth Assessment Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2007, which is the most comprehensive source of climate science and its uncertainties.”

    The Royal Society also states:

    “Climate change: a summary of the science describes how and why the earth is currently warming and explains the wide range of independent measurements and observations which underpin this understanding.”

  135. Snapple:

    At October 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm you ask:

    “Why do you act like uncertainties are new to climate science?”

    But the important issues are not the uncertainties but the certainty that claims of AGW based on climate models are wrong. Please see my post at
    September 30, 2010 at 3:55 am.

    Richard

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