Alarmists refuse to take on skeptical geologists

By Tom Harris

Anyone not already familiar with the stance of geologists towards the global warming scare would have been shocked by the conference at the University of Ottawa at the end of May. In contrast to most environmental science meetings, climate skepticism was widespread among the thousand geoscientists from Canada, the United States and other countries who took part in GAC-MAC 2011 (the Joint Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of Canada, the Mineralogical Association of Canada, the Society of Economic Geologists and the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits).

The lead symposium of the conference, Earth climate: past, present, future, was especially revealing. Chaired by University of Toronto geology professor Andrew Miall, the session description starts: “The scientific debate about climate change is far from over. Some of the projections of climate change and its consequences contained in the 2007 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the United Nations’ IPCC) have been called into question. This symposium will address some of these issues and present a geological perspective on the scientific debate.”

The talks were from “climate rationalists,” defined by Australian geology professor Bob Carter of James Cook University as “persons who are critical (on balanced scientific grounds) of the IPCC’s alarmism … reflecting the primacy that such persons give to empirical data and thinking. The climate rationalist approach contrasts markedly with the untestable worlds of computer virtual reality that so many climate alarmists now inhabit.”

Leading off the GAC-MAC climate symposium was fellow Australian, Ian Plimer, professor in the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at the University of Adelaide. In a keynote presentation entitled Human-induced climate change: Why I am skeptical, Plimer completely dismantled the greenhouse-gas-driven climate-change hypothesis. He showed how climate has varied naturally on all time scales and how recent changes are not unusual. Plimer explained the lack of meaningful correlation between the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) and planetary warming and cooling, and how “climate models throw no new light on climate processes.” He concluded, “Pollution kills, CO2 is plant food, H2O vapour is the main greenhouse gas…. Humans can adapt to future changes.”

Following Plimer were 14 other climate presentations by leading geoscientists. Henrik Svensmark of the National Space Institute in Denmark spoke about how cosmic ray variations in the atmosphere are influencing climate by changing the microphysics of clouds. University of Ottawa emeritus professor Ján Veizer presented his research describing the role of the Sun and water vapour on CO2 and climate change. Calgary geophysicist Norm Kalmanovitch showed how satellite radiation measurements demonstrate that the “enhanced greenhouse effect” from greenhouse gas emissions has never even existed to any measurable extent. Carleton University researcher Hafida El Bilali showed how her work with paleoclimatologist professor Tim Patterson revealed that variations in the output of the Sun have had major influences on regional climate for the past nine millennia.

And so it continued. Although one speaker presented information that was consistent with IPCC claims, no other presentation in the symposium supported the UN’s human-caused dangerous global warming hypothesis. In the discussion period following the talks, climate rationalists decried the lack of media or public attention to the symposium or their research findings. In the exhibit hall, few participants seemed interested in human-caused global warming. The catastrophic messages that so overwhelm other climate-related conferences were nowhere to be found.

Where were all the other scientist supporters of climate alarmism? Did they not know that climate was a major focus of this, the largest geologic conference in the country?

They knew. According to Miall, even though some were directly invited, they either refused to participate or ignored the invitation. “The people on the ­IPCC side generally will not debate,” explained Miall. “Anything that’s brought up that they disagree with, they say has been dealt with and is no longer considered important, or is a minor effect. This is often quite wrong.”

In the Q&A following the public lecture at last June’s Canadian Meteorological and Ocean Society (CMOS)/Canadian Geophysical Union Congress in Ottawa, the prospect of a public debate between the two sides was put to keynote speaker Warwick Vincent of Laval University. Vincent was supportive, as was a CMOS past president communicated with later. Yet, when I approached CMOS executives and directors about taking the steps necessary to arrange such a public event, the responses were negative to the point of abuse and nothing transpired.

This was perhaps not surprising. Proposals for a proper climate science debate have been opposed by CMOS leaders for a long time. As early as 1990, the chairman of the CMOS congress scientific committee, Tad Murty (then a senior research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Institute of Ocean Sciences) tried to arrange a global-warming debate. But it never happened. Murty cites a “lack of enthusiasm” from other committee members as the reason.

When the Kyoto Protocol was created in December 1997, long-time CMOS member Madhav Khandekar (then just retired from his research scientist position at Environment Canada) highlighted several uncertainties in IPCC science and called for an open debate on the issue in the CMOS Bulletin. His article, Global warming & climate change in Canada: A need for an open scientific debate, was completely ignored by CMOS executives and its membership at large.

At this week’s congress in Victoria, CMOS, like many organizations of its ilk, still maintains a rigid stance of climate catastrophilia. The congress includes sessions described with clearly mistaken statements such as “Recent research has highlighted the irreversibility of CO2-induced climate change on centennial timescales …..” Other, less extreme but also unjustified assertions abound: “It has become widely recognized that under a changing climate, the frequency and intensity of meteorological/hydrological extreme events and associated damage costs would more likely increase in the 21st century.”

The narrow-mindedness of CMOS and other climate alarmists matters because they have the ear of the mass media, most of which uncritically reports on CMOS’ statements that the science is settled and debate unnecessary. Recent surveys show that the public is highly influenced by these assertions and so seriously flawed CMOS messages are incorporated into government pronouncements.

Miall maintains that the views of geoscientists are crucial for a proper understanding of climate.

“This should have been accepted practice all along, not because geoscientists are necessarily right, but because this should be the normal process of science,” said Miall. “The idea that any science is ‘finished’ violates all the norms of the science process, which should, by definition, be permanently open to new data and new ideas. The history of science is full of examples of so-called ‘normal science’ that is shown to be wrong on the basis of a single critical piece of data or a new idea. That’s all we were trying to do at the GAC meeting — keep our minds open.”

Uncomfortable though it may be for geoscientists, society needs them to speak out forcefully now. Otherwise, the climate alarm, its science failing but the movement still heavily funded, will stagger on, leading society into wasting billions of dollars more and destroying millions of jobs worldwide.

Financial Post

Tom Harris is the executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition.

Short summary: Climate scientists not interested in debating geoscientists as reported in the Financial Post section of the National Post

Story title: Canadian Climate Scientists and Canadian Geophysicists – not birds of a feather

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Jeroen B.
June 8, 2011 10:37 pm

These geologists, they’re the bedrock of the scientific method!
(Sorry, couldn’t resist the obvious pun)

June 8, 2011 10:45 pm

I am proud to say that I was one of Andrew Miall’s PhD students in 1992. To see him stand up and hold forth these views is almost stunning…and a strong voice for science done right. That nobody from the alarmist side engaged is very telling…I’ll wager that they are basically unable to withstand such an onslaught.

Oakden Wolf
June 8, 2011 10:46 pm

Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
The two areas of expertise in the survey with the smallest percentage of participants
answering yes to question 2 were economic geology with 47% (48 of 103) and meteorology with 64% (23 of 36).
Question 2 was: Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
Scientific Creationists “won” a lot of debates against legitimate paleontologists and evolutionary biologists. Obviously that indicates the Scientific Creationists were correct.

Peter Miller
June 8, 2011 10:48 pm

The reality is geologists understand the processes of climate change far better than ‘climate scientists’. They are aware that climate change is natural and normal, while ‘climate scientists’ and alarmists have an unattainable goal of fixing climate in a static state, similar to that prevailing early last century.
I, like every geologist I know, have complete contempt for the processes and conclusions of ‘climate scientists’, which have been utterly corrupted by: i) the demands of tax hungry politicians, and ii) personal financial considerations – grants and generous salaries..

Dave Dardinger
June 8, 2011 11:10 pm

This failure to debate on a regular basis with skeptics is really all an intelligent seeker needs to know to decide which side of the issue the science supports. Even if the CAGW proponents didn’t figure they’d learn much, having the other side’s positions in black and white would be worth the effort.

June 8, 2011 11:21 pm

It’s been my experience that warmists refuse to take on skeptics in general.

June 8, 2011 11:54 pm

How can anyone still take Ian Plimer seriously after the debacle that was Heaven & Earth? Not a single climate scientist disputes the fact that climate has changed in the past naturally, sometimes more dramatically than now (accompanied by mass extinctions). The main problem for Ian is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from human activity (this falsification has not occurred); let alone show another likely mechanism that would explain the trend.

June 9, 2011 12:05 am

Peter Miller says:
June 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm
Ditto from myself.
I would also add that geology is a big subject (as in both spatially and of course timescale) and there are many folk that find it hard to understand the sizes, volumes, 3D imagery and sheer billions of years of timescale involved. (I am not saying folk can’t learn this, but the ordinary man in the street often thinks that the time of the last dinosaurs (say 65mya) is ”really old’ when in fact it’s relative peanuts compared to the age of the earth (4600my old)! Similarly, considerations like the fact that some extinctions occurred over a ‘geologically’ short timescale of say 10000 years! In ‘our’ current timescale – 10000 years is a long time – but its a snip in ‘earth’ time – so WTF does anyone think that 150 years of temp data is worth? LOL! These kinds of facts, along with many others, such as the sheer scale involved in the ‘real’ carbon cycle, (i.e. the billions and billions of Gt of carbon in various parts of the worlds surface!) – all seem to be conveniently ignored by the AGW theorists and warmistas.

Mark Nutley
June 9, 2011 1:01 am

Was this written up in the financial post? A link would be nice to view any comments on the story. And well done to those guys for finally speaking up, now they need to learn to shout louder 🙂

June 9, 2011 1:26 am

“climate catastrophilia”
A great term! Science in general is extraordinarily compartmentalised with minimal communication between tribes. In one community – geology – sanity and true science reigns, in another, “climate science”, corruption,deceit, mafia politiking and cynical opportunism are the rule.

June 9, 2011 1:27 am

gincko syas:
“Not a single climate scientist disputes the fact that climate has changed in the past naturally”
Wrong. That is exactly what Michael Mann tried to show in his hockey stick chart. If it were not for projection, the alarmist side wouldn’t have much to say.
“The main problem for Ian is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from human activity (this falsification has not occurred); let alone show another likely mechanism that would explain the trend.”
Once again the scientific method is turned on its head. Scientific skeptics have nothing to prove. The onus is completely on the alarmist crowd to show that human activity has altered the warming trend from the LIA. They have failed; the trend is unchanged.
There are known and unknown mechanisms driving the climate. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that CO2 is not one of them. The sooner the alarmist contingent accepts that fact, the sooner they will start to learn something about what really causes climate variability.

June 9, 2011 1:33 am

ginckgo says:
June 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm
“How can anyone still take Ian Plimer seriously after the debacle that was Heaven & Earth? Not a single climate scientist disputes the fact that climate has changed in the past naturally, sometimes more dramatically than now (accompanied by mass extinctions). The main problem for Ian is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from human activity (this falsification has not occurred); let alone show another likely mechanism that would explain the trend.”
Why should Ian have to show another mechanism, as Phil Jones has admitted the CAGW theory relies on ‘There is no other mechanism we can think of other than CO2’. Hardly monumental stuff.
So going by the Scientific Method the theory has been proposed but as the predictions of the models are not being met CAGW theory is false, it’s not CO2. There is no need for anyone to prove it’s not CO2. They should now be looking for what the real driver is.
All the money being wasted on CAGW research should be being spent on find out what really drives the climate.

UK Sceptic
June 9, 2011 1:33 am

Yes, but what do these geologists know? Their opinion doesn’t count because they are not real climate scientists, are they.

Adam Gallon
June 9, 2011 1:37 am

“climate catastrophilia”
I like that term!

June 9, 2011 2:03 am

Geologists are heavily associated with the fossil fuel industry so their opinions, even if well-founded, can easily be dismissed by Team AGW as having financial motivation. Nobody cares to point out the Team AGW has exactly the same and opposite financial motivation.
Follow the money – from the fossil fuel industry to the green energy industry. There is nothing a good capitalist likes more than money moving from one direction to a new direction. Too many people with their hands in the same till.

Albert Frankenstein
June 9, 2011 2:27 am

I am also a geologist. I think what frustrates me most is the lack of appreciation of the timescales involved along with basic methodologies which approach the issues with the end result already decided.
Looking back to events like the PETM, there was scant evidence of CO2 driving those changes. There was no identified source which could account for the increase of 4Gt of carbon into the environment. Various sources have been suggested, comets, methane clathrates, changes in ocean circulation and warming polar surface waters leading to less absorption of CO2, but my overall impression from published literature is that it is a mystery.
The mystery of course vanishes the moment you stop trying to invoke carbon as the cause, but a symptom of the warming at that time.
There is very strong evidence of orbital forcing for this thermal maximum which probably lead to the increase in temperature and the outgassing of CO2 from carbon sinks as a result. Then the oceans are warmer in polar regions, which slows the CO2 pump down which causes a rise in CO2 which is consistent with the proportions of carbon released.
And look at the Jurassic oceans…over 1000ppmv CO2 but highly productive oceans which were able to support a large number of species which of course should not have been able to exist in the “acid oceans”. Species adapt to changing carbonate dissolution profiles. The majority are pelagic and unless the changes invoke moving through the anoxic zone of the ocean, then they can simply swim to a tolerable depth.
Of course, this opens another can of worms, that the species used as temperature proxies actually move in the water column so are not reliable indicators of anything other than oxygen 18 isotope ratios for ice sheet dynamics studies. But is is of course probably against the law to suggest that the isotopic demigods should be questioned.
No, there is no debate because the hypothesis will stand no real analysis. The earth is cooler now than at almost any time during its history outside of snowball earth. Rarely do we have polar ice caps. This is unusual. That is the inconvinient truth.
Meanwhile, the really important things we should be scared to death about, like water mining, unsustainable flux of PAH into groundwater and biodiversity are not widely debated.
The other issue I always thought was quite amusing was the idea we are actually going to vapourise all the stored carbon, on which the figures you will find for AGW disaster often rest.
Does any scientist genuinely think that anyone will be burning fossil fuels in 30 years time? Think Craig Ventor’s waste water to biofuel project, capable of creating feedstock from algae and the advances in Thorium Reactor technology, ignoring fusion of course or any new exotic physics. Given the pace of progress in energy technology prior to the advent of the sort of sophisticated computing tools we have now, who seriously thinks we will be burning any of this in the future?
It is difficult to tax biodiversity loss, water quality and indirect pollution though isn’t it?
Emperors New Clothes.

June 9, 2011 2:46 am

I had thought that Ian Plimer had been (thankfully) dropped as a standard bearer by the sceptic community. I took the view that he had no credibility after reading George Monbiot’s correspondence with him and the Spectator over a planned 2009 Spectator debate on “climate change”.
In short, Monbiot said he would debate Plimer, but Plimer first had to answer some basic questions about his book (things like “Please give the source for your claim”). The Spectator agreed the conditions. Plimer appeared to agree as well, and then he (Plimer) started stalling, then blustering, and ultimately refused to answer any questions at all. See:
I became a sceptic partly because the alarmists seemed to be so obviously dishonest in the way they obstructed Steve McIntyre, among others, while Steve Mc & Anthony Watts seemed to be so straightforward. In that whole Spectator episode, Plimer seemed to be as slippery as they come. I can well understand why nobody would want to debate him.

Alexander K
June 9, 2011 3:16 am

It is very telling that the Warmists will not debate except in echo chambers!

June 9, 2011 3:26 am

Peter Miller says:
June 8, 2011 at 10:48 pm
“[Geologists] are aware that climate change is natural and normal, while ‘climate scientists’ and alarmists have an unattainable goal of fixing climate in a static state, similar to that prevailing early last century.”
Peter, thanks for that because this is the bit I just don’t get: why do climate alarmists want the world’s climate to remain forever as it was when they were young? THEY are the real deniers about climate; they refuse to accept it changes naturally. There are so many cycles involved, from tiny ones observable by humans to vast ones.
Where I grew up in Australia way back in the fifties we had lots of rain on the east coast. Whether it was a La Nina I don’t know. I remember the government sending in army ducks to rescue people from flooded rivers, especially at Maitland in the Hunter Valley. I was eight. But even where I lived on the outskirts of Sydney we had days off school because local creeks were flooded and the school bus couldn’t get through. Or maybe Mum just didn’t want to deal with muddy children. But it was very wet, and hasn’t been as wet since. Some sort of cycle?

June 9, 2011 3:28 am

HK I suggest you find out the full story behind Plimer/Monboit debate , it was Monboit that cut and ran becasue Plimer wanted a more balanced debate where Monboit wanted to load it in his own favor, carrying on his CIF role of ‘school bully’ , all Plimer did was use the same approach to Monboit as Monboit used to Plimer .

June 9, 2011 4:21 am

Albert Frankenstein,
Thank you for one of the most insightful posts I’ve read in a long time.
Do you have a blog?

June 9, 2011 4:24 am

Denialist scum lacking wrist numbers. Move along! Nothing to see here, don’t gawk!

June 9, 2011 4:32 am

Even in the days of the early Church religious leaders in conflict with each other over dogma would at least debate.
I have always found the cowardice of the AGW promoters to debate a great tell that they know at some level they are peddling bs.

John Stomper
June 9, 2011 4:34 am

Agree with HK.
Why should anyone want to debate Plimer? His credibility has already been found wanting.

June 9, 2011 4:35 am

@ Mark Nutley says:
June 9, 2011 at 1:01 am

Bob in Castlemaine
June 9, 2011 4:45 am

As expressed today on Andrew Bolt’s blog warmist scientist’s definitely don’t want open debate. In Australia the Government in trying to sell it’s new carbon dioxide tax clearly has adopted this strategy in order to stifle any serious debate concerning the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis. Obviously this is because they don’t want the ordinary punter to work out that he/she is being conned, and that no credible evidence supports the main tenets of the warming scam. As Andrew Bolt puts it:

This is a deliberate tactic to avoid awkward questions, marginalise sceptics and pretend there’s no debate. What you should conclude is not just that these people have no real confidence in their arguments.

UK Sceptic
June 9, 2011 4:47 am

HK, why only tell half of the Plimer/Monbiot story? Here’s the other half for balance:
You have to ask yourself, if Monbiot really wanted to debate, why did he insist upon a need for private answers to loaded questions that should have formed part of the warmist side of the open “debate”?

June 9, 2011 4:58 am

What is obvious to me, an ordinary man in the street, is that scientists do not agree on anthropomorphic climate change. So more study needs to be done. Until then it would be best not to embark on expensive “solutions” that will cost the economy severely with very little return.
In the meantime, let us be civil towards one another and keep an open mind.

June 9, 2011 5:11 am

Time for the free hit for warmist opinion media to start asking their “climate scientists” to actually debate the science in public. Its easy to make alarmist claims and deny sceptics any access, but this tactic is a real gamble now as the meme unravels in a cooling world. That is what we are all asking for an open and searching debate, the debate that has been denied for too long.

Theo Goodwin
June 9, 2011 5:15 am

ginckgo says:
June 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm
“The main problem for Ian is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from human activity (this falsification has not occurred); let alone show another likely mechanism that would explain the trend.”
Amazing, another scientific method know-nothing. Sir, it is the responsibility of the scientist who has put forth a hypothesis to explain it and defend it. The critic of the hypothesis is required simply to criticize the hypothesis. There is no symmetry here. All the burden of proof is on the scientist offering a hypothesis.

June 9, 2011 5:28 am

KnR – I have read the full set of correspondence (in the links I gave). I haven’t ever read anyone (including the Spectator) suggest that Monbiot has misrepresented the communication.
Monbiot didn’t want to debate – that is true – but he was persuaded to by the Spectator, and he agreed on the condition that Plimer answered those basic questions. The Spectator agreed. The questions really were of the “you say this on page xx, what is your source?” type. I would have thought Plimer would want to answer them, to show that his book was based on solid work.
Plimer started by saying “After undergraduate lectures have finished today, I will start compiling questions for you and will start addressing your questions.” but later stalled by saying things like “It has taken some time to look at your questions and determine which version was used for compilation of the questions.” (i.e. which edition of the book Monbiot was referring to. Monbiot later wrote that “the edition I have read is published in the UK by Quartet books, ISBN 978 0 7043 7166 8. I gave the page and figure numbers as they appear in the text of the edition I possess, which, to judge by other people’s references, is the same text (with the same numbers) as in all other editions.”) Plimer never answered those basic questions.
In 2009 I was a sceptic (still am), and thought Monbiot was wrong on climate. I assumed Plimer would wipe the floor with him in a debate. But when I read the email exchanges it became clear Plimer was just as bad as all the people Steve McIntyre ran up against with their “dog ate my homework” excuses for why they couldn’t provide data.
But don’t believe me – you can read this all for yourself in the links. It is very self-explanatory.

June 9, 2011 5:44 am

“The main problem for Ian is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from human activity (this falsification has not occurred)”
And the main problem for climatologists is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from natural causes (this falsification has not occurred either)

June 9, 2011 5:46 am

@Ginckgo – You might want to read might enlighten you a bit more about the AGW has nothing to prove.
Or this is also good for both sides of the debate (Is it a debate when the side with all the money and power refuses to talk about it?)

June 9, 2011 5:51 am

“Yes, but what do these geologists know? Their opinion doesn’t count because they are not real climate scientists, are they.”
That brings up another myth about climate science; the claim that only climate scientists can understand it. This is the same claim made in the past when very few people were literate other than local preachers, folks claimed that they were the only ones who could understand the bible so you has to accept their opinions. I know of no science except climate science where only those on the inside can understand it. Good science is understandable by all. Sometimes I feel like climate science is voodoo science.

June 9, 2011 6:00 am

ginckgo says:
June 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm
Sorry, but you have the scientific method completely turned around. It is up the the warmists to show that the current warming is not natural in nature. You have failed to do this.
The claim that “I don’t know what else caused it, so it must be man” was dealt with in yesterday’s post on the exclusion principle.

Geoff Sherrington
June 9, 2011 6:03 am

Ian Plimer is not “slippery”, There are ways to ask questions that will be ignored; there are ways to ask questions that will be answered by a fine mind. Tip. Don’t try throwing loaded dice.
One thing the geological and related earth scientist learns is the magnitude of natural events as opposed to human events. When you approach a topic like climate change, you know that it will take immense effort to change the natural state. So, you ask, where is the evidence for this effort? That is why we persist in asking for evidence of the hand of man, via CO2 or whatever. Quantitatively. When you work out the cost to move the rock from Mt St Helens, that Nature did in a few seconds, you know that Man is puny.
As to the charge that geologists etc are not climate workers, bunkum. There are many areas of overlap and in may of these the geologist has a better understanding than the climate worker. For example, many climate workers have talked about a particular South American soil with a high carbon content, ‘terra preta’. This has led to suggestions of carbon remediation schemes whereby all soils can carry an increased carbon content, which by the way might be better for agricultural yield as a bonus.
Geochemists know that the carbon content of soils worldwide seldom approach the terra preta level, because the normal processes of weathering keep total organic carbon in soils to a couple of percent C at the surface and down to say half a metre. Geologists can also show you abundant soil profiles with deep saprolitic and lateritic zones much less carbon, often down to 40 metres below surface. Carbon is just not terribly stable in Nature when air and water can get at it. If you enrich shallow soil with it, oxygen and plant growth will most likely take it back to where it was before, as controlled by geology and weathering. Sure, plants might grow better through better availablity of nutrients, but plants will steadily consume it while growing better.
And so on. Example after example, nothing to do with funding from Big Oil.

Albert Frankenstein
June 9, 2011 6:08 am

TMJ, thank you! Very kind. I don’t have a blog but I have been thinking about it. The sad truth is I am quite scared by the reaction my views would have if anyone figured out who I was. We are fed to the dogs if we step out of line in the wider scientific community. I am also working on a few papers which I want to publish which relate to the PETM and carbon cycling budgets. Will certainly think about a blog now though.
I did have an amusing spat with a coworker recently when asked to review a paper on a computer model. She didn’t like it when I pointed out that the only reason the model produced warming, (keeping out of the debate that models can never hope to approximate a complex non linear chaotic system anyway….), was that the CO2 feedback was hard wired positive!
So of course I pointed out the potential for CO2 to trap long wave radiation was a log function and diminishes to almost zero above 300ppmv, so this then forces you to invoke a 10x amplification in the forcing to get the modeled temperatures and asked what exactly this (has to be rapid and long lived) positive feedback comprised of. Could not tell me. Just said everyone knows that there is one and that I must be mad to think there wasn’t one.
I pointed out that during various recent phases of climate over the last 250M years, nothing in geological terms, we had up to 3000ppmv and how did she explain the falling temperatures experienced by the planet which happened on more than once with very high levels of CO2. Again, no answer.
QED. It is junk science.

June 9, 2011 6:16 am

ginckgo said: ” The main problem for Ian [Plimer] is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from human activity (this falsification has not occurred); let alone show another likely mechanism that would explain the trend.”
What an incredibly upside-down approach. Pilmer has to show falsification instead of the “climate scientists” showing that falsification of their hypotheses is possible! And therefore, by exclusion, (“climate scientists” can’t think of another cause,) “climate scientists” are right! But exclusion is the weakest of all possible scientific “proofs.”
When will folks understand that “Climate science” doesn’t exist? It’s simply the use, or misuse, of pieces of other basic sciences and math. It is way past time for the alarmists to compare their uses of other basic sciences with some experts. They can start with biologists and review bristlecones. When they get to geology, they will have a large number of surprises.

mike restin
June 9, 2011 6:19 am

I believe I am a “climate realist.” It indicates a level of reality not shown by the “Henny Penny” alarmists.
ginckgo says:
June 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm
“Not a single climate scientist disputes the fact that climate has changed in the past naturally, sometimes more dramatically than now (accompanied by mass extinctions). The main problem for Ian is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from human activity (this falsification has not occurred); let alone show another likely mechanism that would explain the trend.”
What kind of logic is that?
“It’s ALWAYS been natural so now prove that this time it isn’t man made.” HUH?
I didn’t prove it was natural before and NO ONE has proven this is man made.
The “null hypothesis” still requires proof that current “climate change” is not only AGW but can be controlled.
They keep showing they are wrong on both counts.
My non-scientific background tells me the increased co2 causing the climate change is actually caused by chocolate consumption.
I’ll try to plot them both to disprove my theory. But the timing does seem right and I can think of no other cause.

Harold Pierce Jr
June 9, 2011 6:37 am

ATTN: Antonia
From 1945 to 1975 the PDO was in a cool phase, and in this interval La Nina years out numbered El Nino years by about 2 to 1. Moreover the La Nina years were “srong” while the El Nino years were “weak”.
In 2010, the PDO shifted into a cool phase, and after a 10 year lag the NH and SH are starting to cool down. This spring (i.e., Mar, April and May) has been one of the coldest on record in Metro Vancouver.
If this trend continues and it probably will,. the next 20 years will be cool like it was in the 1950 to 1970 period.
It will only take one or two really cold winters in the NH and several wet cold years in Oz to put AGW to rest.

June 9, 2011 6:38 am

The feud between geologists and physicists is over a century old. The geologists have the most significant victory.
In the late 19th century, the dominant theory among physicists was that the sun was no more than a few million years old. The theory among geologists was that the Earth, at least, was a billion or more years old. The physicists said the geologists had no appreciation of simple basic laws of nature. Of course the sun was heated by gravitational “in fall” of comets and meteors. “What else could it be?” The ongoing, literal, “catastrophe” of collisions between the sun and other debris of the solar system made the sun hot — but the solar system was running out of resources — space mass. The system had long passed “peak mass” freely available to the sun. So the sun was going to go out, relatively soon.
The geologists said the earth /rock record did not show such catastrophe. Gradual, gentle change was the word — and that over billion year periods, not million.
The physicists accused the geologists of being ignorant of basic laws of conservation of energy, and mass. And of denying the truth without suggesting a plausible alternative explanation.
The geologists didn’t care. The rocks were the rocks.
Then came Curie, and Einstein, and mass/energy conversion, and all the physicists tried to pretend they’d never said anything to the contrary ….

June 9, 2011 7:04 am

It is amusing that the TV media steadfastly refuse to open any kind of debate here in the UK. Threaten to cut funding to hospitals or bring back the death penalty or withdraw from the EU or whatever and the subject will be argued over from all angles. But not AGW.
Personally I’m still puzzled why I’m going to be stopped from buying tungsten filament lamps when I get my leccy from windmills.

June 9, 2011 7:08 am

UK sceptic – “HK, why only tell half of the Plimer/Monbiot story? Here’s the other half for balance:”
I don’t think the “other half” provides balance if it is demonstrably not based on the actual exchanges at the time. The article you link to is self-defeating because the assertions made in the article are not supported by the emails. E.g. “Initially, Monbiot agreed to the debate, but someone reasoned that it was a high-risk venture”… “Then Monbiot, obviously following advice from his new-best Australian friends, started to play games”… “Monbiot came up with a debate-avoidance strategy”… “He told Plimer (via email) that he would only agree to a debate if Plimer would answer a series of questions”
If you look at the emails, it is very clear that he said he was happy to debate in writing – an exchange of answers to written questions. The Spectator badly wanted Monbiot to do a debate in person. Monbiot badly didn’t want to, saying that if Plimer wouldn’t provide simple factual answers, what was the point? He eventually said he would debate – one three conditions. One of his conditions was:
“Ian Plimer responds to my challenge, and writes precise and specific responses to each of the numbered questions that I will send him and you over the next few days, for publication on the Guardian’s website. The reason for this condition is that I don’t want him to use our debate as an excuse not to answer my points. I accept his challenge if he accepts mine.”
The Spectator agreed (no mention of that in the article you link to) so the debate was on. Ian Plimer said he would get working on them (no mention of that in the article, either). Were Monbiot’s questions loaded? Well perhaps: how could Plimer answer a question like:
“4. In your discussion of global temperature trends, you maintain that “NASA now states that […] the warmest year was 1934.” (p99)
a. Are you aware that this applies only to the United States?
b. Was this a mistake or did you deliberately confuse these two datasets?”
without looking silly? (The context on p99 makes it clear Plimer was talking about global temperatures.) But loaded or not, they were clearly not private questions: they were to be published on the Guardian’s website. If Plimer had been able to answer them (as agreed), he would have made Monbiot look foolish and out of his depth.

June 9, 2011 7:11 am

I’d like the alarmists to move the global warming to the NYC area weekends and the “just weather” to the midweek so we can enjoy the shore on our days off. Right now their models are causing the reverse. Just asking. It’s near 100 now and projected for 75 on Saturday. Wattsupwiththat?

John B
June 9, 2011 7:13 am

The reason climate scientists do not debate skeptics is the same as the reason biologists do not debate crreationists. It’s all about the “Gish gallop”:
“The Gish Gallop is an informal name for a debating technique that involves drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood that has been raised. Usually this results in many involuntary twitches in frustration as the opponent struggles just to decide where to start. It is named after creationism activist and professional debater Duane Gish.”
You may disagree, but that is the way the climate scientists see it.

June 9, 2011 7:15 am

To the point of the author’s last sentence, the US government has wasted $99 BILLION on “climate change policy” since 1998. This is not per the guess of Rush Limbaugh, or the allegations of David Koch or of Senator Inhofe, it is proudly admitted by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. Link below.
As a 22 year practitioner in the environmental industry, I ask you: what/how much measurable good could have been done for human health and the environment with $99 BILLION over the last 12 or so years? How many federal superfund cleanups could have been completed, where the sites pose an actual risk to human health and the environment? How many RCRA sites? How many DoD chemical munitions? How much PM2.5 and PM10 could we have removed from the air from coal-fired power plants with this money?
Wake up, Western society. This is the green road to serfdom, an economic and central planning nightmare shrouded in the motherhood and apple pie “environmental” savior.
The waste of $99 BILLION should outrage every U.S. citizen, as should the misanthropic, anti-freedom, anti-industrialization, anti-capitalism motives of a healthy portion of AGW exponents.

June 9, 2011 7:18 am

Geoff Sherrington – “Ian Plimer is not “slippery”, There are ways to ask questions that will be ignored; there are ways to ask questions that will be answered by a fine mind. Tip. Don’t try throwing loaded dice.”
My tip: if you say you’re going to answer written questions as a condition to a debate, answer the questions. Don’t renege on your commitment if you don’t want to be called “slippery”.

June 9, 2011 7:23 am

John B, as usual, misrepresents the situation when he says:
“The reason climate scientists do not debate skeptics…”
That is not honest. This is the honest way to put it:
“The reason alarmist climate scientists do not debate scientific skeptics…”
As we know, scientific skeptics are the only honest kind of scientists. John B needs to get up to speed on the scientific method, and quit prevaricating. The real reason alarmists hide out from debate is because they consistently lose.

June 9, 2011 7:58 am

The NPR blog “Cosmos and Culture,” hosted by biologist Ursula Goodenough, recently entertained the question “What Motivates Climate Change Deniers.” Never mind the implied conclusion, it’s a symptom of the failings common to believers.
The 850+ responses, thankfully now closed, give an incredible insight into the reasoning processes of people, especially of non-scientists, regarding CAGW. One glaring error was saying that geologists are not climate scientists and therefore have nothing to contribute to the discussion. Actually, some went so far as to say that geologists have no ability to review the results of “climate scientists.”
If you can stand inanity, take a look at the discussion there. The supporters of CAGW seem to have in common that they cannot reason and/or they do not understand the scientific method. Plus, of course, they take as gospel what the “climate scientists” and their supporters say, including the absurd claims that all skeptics are funded by big oil.

Carolina Skeptic
June 9, 2011 8:32 am

Would not the use of the term “climate scientist” be analogous to the use of the term “rocket scientist”? They are both fields of work, but neither are academic disciplines. I don’t think I could send my son to Stanford for a degree in “Rocket Science” nor will he signup for a course with that name.
He will absorb a familiar set of disciplines that together prepare him to work in that field.
In a like manner, I would think that the field of “climate science” requires a mastery of academic disciplines including geology, statistics (and hopefully logic?).
As in most fields, the practitioner is a generalist who often depends on academic specialists in critical situations.
(I did well in statistics in both my engineering and business degrees, but the path between my office and the office of my colleague with a PhD in statistics was well worn.)

June 9, 2011 8:48 am

HK says:
June 9, 2011 at 2:46 am
In that whole Spectator episode, Plimer seemed to be as slippery as they come. I can well understand why nobody would want to debate him.
OK so Ian Pilmer (depending on whose version you take) has a history of evasiveness and perhaps scientific skeletons in his cupboard. Who’s perfect anyway? But why is this a reason NOT to debate with him – on the contrary, if you feel you have the measure of your opponent, and can dish some dirt on him/her, and can expose contradictory positions etc., then this surely makes a debate even MORE attractive and winnable.
That is of course, unless you have your own skeletons and vulnerabilities that you would rather not have exposed.

Doug Proctor
June 9, 2011 8:54 am

The alarmist argument is based on the position that the past is not a reasonable explanation of the present and does not reflect the future, as man has become the dominant variable in the Earth’s climate. Geologists – and I am one – work on the premise that the mechanisms of the past explain the present and foretell the future. The alarmist and the geologist therefore come at situations in the world from different and incompatible positions.
The argument against the uniqueness of today’s position because similar, if not greater, CO2 levels of the past are not correlated with Earth’s temperatures will never succeed in convincing an alarmist who views this day as special. Could CO2 levels of the past and the temperature them be explained by additional or lesser levels of insolation, volcanic dust or some other, unknown variable? Of course we cannot define exactly what the world was like during the Jurassic heat or some previous ice age. So the warmist walks away content.
The only way to defeat the alarmist belief is to show that the predictions within his worldview are not happening. Even then there will be difficulty. Think of Harold Camping and his end-of-the-world prediction for 21 May 2011. Those who believe in the Bible (or the IPCC) accepted the date. When the world survived 21 May, he shifted the date to 21 October; those who believe Camping (and his interpretation of scripture) now await October. The belief holds strong, secure from a slight miscalculation of time.
Geologists rail – as I did – from an argument that does not legitimately hold if `today`is special. Only time will show the warmist his predictions are wrong. But then the shift is – I`m predicting here, note – going to be that the date is wrong, not the concept. The world is still warming to a disaster, but it will be 2150, not 2100. The End is still real, still made by man, but just a little further away and – thank the Lord! – we now have more time to mend our ways.
Or – I shudder here – the global temperature will no longer be considered an ìmmediate`threat, but ocean acidification will become the bete noire for our grandchildren. Fossil fuel CO2 will still be the reason, and man`s inhumanity to the world, the cause.
The historically based reasoning sciences can provide only a bedrock (pun intended) from which to argue that the IPCC position requires that today is special, that the IPCC needs to explain in what way today is different for climatological reasons from the past. Geology does not provide `proof`against AGW, but it does provide a reason to demand to know what about the present (at least that of 1980) is different from historical times, and so why now, and not then, CO2 input is such a critical matter.

UK Sceptic
June 9, 2011 9:04 am

HK, it still doesn’t account for the fact that Monbiot, if he believed he had Plimer bang to rights, needed to insist upon these pre-debate questions in the first place. If he wanted to nail Plimer then why didn’t he press his questions during the debate? Monbiot was the one who walked away, remember. Maybe because he didn’t want to answer a reciprocal set of questions set by Plimer.
Pot, meet kettle.

June 9, 2011 9:23 am

DCC: I see this all the time among liberal politicians. They are smart they never make mistakes and conservatives are stupid and not worth taking seriously. Dan Qualle was stupid as was George W Bush and Sarah Palin. John Karry and Al Gore are smart. Never mind that gore dropped out divinity school and got Cs in earth science. Never mind that Karry got worse grades than George W. Bush. Naturally the smartest person in history is Obama. Never mind that he thought he went to 57 states with one to go er two to go. Never mind that he can’t pronounce corpsman.

June 9, 2011 10:09 am

Geologists … heh … probably all funded by EEEEEEEEEvil big oil and big coal! /sarc

Crispin in Waterloo
June 9, 2011 10:29 am

ginckgo says:
“How can anyone still take Ian Plimer seriously after the debacle that was Heaven & Earth?”
I see no reason why one could term Heaven & Earth a ‘debacle’. Wow. The book is comprehensive and sets forth a vast array of well organised information with more than 1000 reference to scientific publications supporting the view that there is nothing climate-unusual about the past 50 years which included a cooling episode, you will recall. In the same way the claim he has not proven that view (natural variation), neither has the CO2 idea been shown to be true, and as as I read it, the proponents of it have no falsifiable claims remaining – the majors ones have been falsified already (linear relationship to temp, tropical hot spot, continuous rise, exceptional weather, melting Antarctica, yatta-yatta). As there is more natural varation even in recent centuries that the past 50 years, there is nothing to be alarmed (literally) about.

June 9, 2011 12:43 pm

It’s a shame that the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) has bailed on the climate debate. The current leadership wants nothing to do with the subject because of the politics. They even altered the society’s position statement to be less out of tune with the so-called consensus.
It wasn’t that long ago that the AAPG was giving an award to Michael Crichton for State of Fear and actively engaged in the public debate. They even published one of the best climate science text books you can find: Lee Gerhard’s Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change.

Crispin in Waterloo
June 9, 2011 12:49 pm

John B says:
June 9, 2011 at 7:13 am
The reason climate scientists do not debate skeptics is the same as the reason biologists do not debate crreationists. It’s all about the “Gish gallop”:
I find exactly this sort of thing dominating the (significant) volume of material put out per day in support of the CAGW meme. “Every time you start your SUV a polar bear dies, a child starves in Africa and a tornado is spawned in Kansas.” The utter tripe trotted out on a daily basis is nothing less than gagging Gish Gallop. The fact that the CAGW proponents use the creationist arguing technique is well known: if you have no answer, just paste in, “It is impossible to have a rational conversation with someone who is clearly …[insert epithet] of the oil industry…” It is not even childish. It is just silly.
It is also amazingly dumb. Do warmists think no one reads, or counts how many times fake AGW claims are refuted? Climate scientists, as you call them, are famous for talking to each other and when forced to debate, carefully choose the weakest possible person to debate, or someone who they can smear and walk away from if the debate turns against them, wihch is nearly inevitable because it is rooted in jiggery-pokery play-dough quality modelling. In genuine debates such as at Oxford, warmist nonsense does not fly in the face of intelligent observers, let alone their opposite. The audience understands the implications of a little fraud here and a little stretch there and a little overstatement on the other hand.
This will surely be one of the most intensely studied periods of human history: when ad-men took over henhouse and invited in the foxes. You know, if you subtract ‘x’ (the unknown) from foxes, you get ‘foes’. Someone is stealing the e-e-e-eggs…..!
Climate puffery and CO2 ‘1+1=5’ math has no future. Why support it?

June 9, 2011 3:55 pm

phlogiston “But why is this a reason NOT to debate with him – on the contrary, if you feel you have the measure of your opponent, and can dish some dirt on him/her, and can expose contradictory positions etc., then this surely makes a debate even MORE attractive and winnable.”
UK Sceptic “If he wanted to nail Plimer then why didn’t he press his questions during the debate? Monbiot was the one who walked away, remember.”
Some people might fancy themselves in that situation. Monbiot didn’t hide the fact that he did not: he said this to the Spectator right from the very start. I wouldn’t want to either. If you can’t even get Plimer to give sources for his own book – in answer to questions he has already agreed to answer – what hope is there of getting a straight answer out of him in a debate. Why would you need to expose his slipperiness in a debate, when you have already exposed it in writing for all to see.
And the reaction of some people here shows why that would have been pointless. You have the evidence that Plimer dodged and evaded (all you have to do is read the emails – it’s not a question of “depending on whose version you take”) and yet people want to ignore it and say “why not debate anyway?” What would have happened if, in debate, Monbiot said “first answer the basic questions you already agreed to answer”? Plimer would have blustered (as he did in writing) and eventually the chair of the debate would have said “OK, I can see we’re not going to get anywhere on this, let’s move on.” So really, what would the point have been?

June 9, 2011 4:18 pm

actually I do think that geology is the ‘answer’ – and it does provide the proof against catastrophic AGW. its quite simple really – if co2 levels have been higher than current levels at any time in the past (+/- the uncertainties) then it it is clear that no ‘runaway/tipping point” was ever reached! it’s not rocket science – it’s pure logic. End of argument………

June 9, 2011 4:21 pm

Let’s forget all the peripheral crap and push for a real debate, where all questions can be put to the opposition. Keep in mind that Moonbat is the one who set up his strawman debate, then quickly declared that he was out. So don’t be an apologist for the Cowardly Lyin’, let’s have that debate!

June 9, 2011 5:51 pm

To everyone who says I know nothing about the scientific method, brush up on your reading comprehension; I said:
“The main problem for Ian is to show that the trend in the past 50 years is not from human activity (this falsification has not occurred); let alone show another likely mechanism that would explain the trend.”
You’ll note I said the main problem is for Plimer to falsify AGW, yet you’ve only focused on the part after the semicolon, which is simply a ‘it would be nice if he could then also find a different cause’. Falsification is part of the scientific method (rather than proving something), and it doesn’t matter who does it. Most scientists consider AGW in it’s fundamental form unfalsified and matching all available data better than other proposed explanations (which is where we get terms like ‘consensus’). Plimer is free to do his own falsifying, yet his attempts to date have been shown to be FUD.

June 9, 2011 11:25 pm

Smokey – “Keep in mind that Moonbat is the one who set up his strawman debate, then quickly declared that he was out”. Not much point keeping that in mind, since (as the emails show) that is not what happened.

Shanghai Dan
June 9, 2011 11:33 pm

What if the predictions of the warmists were not coming true, and the predictions of geologists were coming true? Would that count as falsifying the warmists theory?
What standard by the warmists would be accepted as falsifying their hypothesis?

June 9, 2011 11:59 pm

Jeroen B. said:
June 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm
These geologists, they’re the bedrock of the scientific method!
Just don’t take them for granite.

June 10, 2011 1:25 am

ginckgo says:
June 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm
‘it would be nice if he could then also find a different cause’
I assume you mean cause for CAGW, strange your asking someone to find a cause to something that they do not believe is happening.
It’s simple the climate is changing, you state it’s humans that cause it, prove it, you can’t.
To then turn round and say it’s man doing it prove it’s not is double think and wrong. You cannot start with the default position that it’s man that causes all problems in the world, you must start with it is natural and work from there.

Steve C
June 10, 2011 4:07 am

John B says:
June 9, 2011 at 7:13 am
… “You may disagree, but that is the way the climate scientists see it.”
Obvious typo there –
“You may disagree, but that is the way the climate scientists play it.”
There you go, John. Fixed it for you.

June 10, 2011 7:37 am

Any idea why my comment to Smokey – which for hours was awaiting moderation, has been moderated out?
It wasn’t rude – it just pointed out that it is hard to “Keep in mind that Moonbat is the one who set up his strawman debate, then quickly declared that he was out” (as Smokey suggested) when the emails make it clear that that did not happen. The tone was at about that level – so why moderate it out?
[I don’t know I wasn’t on duty at that time . . the comment isn’t in spam or deleted folder . . try reposting perhaps? . . kb]

June 10, 2011 8:40 am

Thanks kb – it wasn’t there at the time of my last post but it is there now.

Doug Proctor
June 10, 2011 11:11 am

Kev-in-UK says:
actually I do think that geology is the ‘answer’ – and it does provide the proof against catastrophic AGW
Geology is only the answer if you agree that what was before is so now. The logic of it is irrefutable if you hold that position – which personally do. My point is that the alarmists take the position that today IS special and different, that different processes are in-place. The +/- uncertainties that you and I accept are present and unimportant are the items the warmists say make today special and different – whatever they are, which is not stated.
You cannot argue logic with a warmist on those ground. Their retort, “That doesn’t count”, or “It’s not the same, now”, invalidate the approach. It’s a child’s argument, for certain, and grounded in emotion (guilt or otherwise). But that is where we are at.
Logic doesn’t sway belief, but may make those arguing angry. Emotions, when challenged provoke anger; intellect, when challenged, provokes derision or confusion.

June 10, 2011 1:15 pm

Doug Proctor says:
June 10, 2011 at 11:11 am
Yes Doug – I agree with your point..
But re the CO2 issue and any supposed tipping point, I find the stance of the alarmists really annoying. The logic really is simple, i.e. – consider the earth as a ‘closed system’ i.e. it receives bugger all ‘material’ from external sources (yeah, yeah, ok, we have had the odd metorite/asteroid!). But If we accept that the earth is a closed system, the quantities of water, carbon, and other components are essentially ‘fixed’ – only the relative ‘positions’ of such components within the earth cycle (e.g. water and CO2) have changed, either in ice, oceans, air or in the land. Taking the general ‘concensus’ (just to use one their own words!) that CO2 levels have been much higher in the past – which we know pretty accurately (in terms of relative qualitative values) from the types and analysis of the rocks deposited – and the subsequent result of said accepted high CO2 was NOT that the earth boiled dry or entered any kind of total runaway situation – indeed, it cooled back down again, etc, etc – The absolute deduction is that no catastrophic tipping point has ever been reached – life continued, flourished, adapted, etc….and ergo, the currently talked about CO2 levels cannot possibly be expected to create a thermal runaway or in the more techno speak – an ‘uncontrolled positive feedback’ with the end of the world doomsday scenario!.
Taking the basic premise/logic a stage further, if the so called GHG of CO2 is really THAT strong or SO bad for the planet, as they wish us to believe – then the logical deduction MUST also be that there is/was an equally strong negative feedback effect(s) to have prevented the alleged catastrophe! This point seems to be ignored, certainly in the media hype and so called ‘models’. These effects are quantitatively unknown and hence any model using a ‘guessed’ low negative feedback input will produce the results they want!
With respect to the ‘then was different to now’ argument – the closed system kind of refutes that – hey, even the carbon in human burning of fossil fuels was actually once ‘somewhere else’ in the carbon cycle! It could even be argued that we are simply putting it back where it once was – i.e as CO2 in the atmosphere! LOL (even though, of course, this fossil fuel carbon ‘volume’ pales into insignifcance when all the actual total ‘carbon’ reservoirs are considered, but they like to ignore that point too!).
One could argue that the current state of the earth (as in, with deep stored carbon as fossil fuels) does not necessarily reflect the ‘equilibrium’ state of the so called carbon cycle? And there lies the final point – where the feck is the equilibrium state? not just of CO2 – but of anything related to the earth and its resources – who the feck can say whether the current state is ‘optimal’ or indeed natural equilibrium. What is natural climate variation and its extremes? They can’t define it and to try to do so is folly, if for no other reason in that we know past earth has had massive changes, with no humans and no AGW! – and yet, if there was such a thing as natural equilibrium, with the ecosystem in perfect balance – the earths climate would not have varied much at all over the last billion years! So, obviously, Mr Warmist says, oh, that was the sun, plate tectonics, orbital variations, volcanoes, blah blah blah, etc – because its convenient to use them to dismiss the past – but wait a minute, curiously, we cannot use these same natural variations argument for ‘todays’ climate!!! Oh no, no, no – they say the variance in TSI cannot explain climate variation, but of course, it ‘used’ to, along with various other things, when it suits their argument! WTF??
It makes me laugh, it really does. I don’t doubt that initially some genuine science was responsible for identifying so called global warming (basically recovery from the LIA) – but the subsequent labelling of all global warming as human induced is pure fantasy. And now we have the idiots thinking man can play Canute and believing that we can ‘geoengineer’ the planet FFS !!?…..
and you’re right, getting emotional about the subject is pointless – but I would, just for once, like to see a documentary on mainstream media (indeed, played in every school like Gore’s film!) illustrating these basic facts without a hidden agenda!

June 10, 2011 5:45 pm

The actual schedule of the event paints a very different story. The vast majority of the sessions weren’t even about climate change, as you’d expect given the meeting is of geologists.
Andrew Miall’s arguments seem to be the same old rubbish (climate’s changed before, it used to be warmer in X). If he wanted to debate scientists he could…I don’t know, send them an email asking them to explain things to him? Or he could publish his arguments online for us all to see. I bet they are not great at all.
The past climates of earth suggest high climate sensitivity and no barrier to the climate warming up far more than the current climate.

June 10, 2011 10:09 pm

Someday I’d like to ask some of these alarmists exactly what happened to natural processes that change climate.
To listen to some of the interviews, you’d think that these natural variations simply ceased to exist and CO2 Global Warming took over in a blink of an eye, because all events now that are hyperventilaed over have happened before.

June 11, 2011 1:29 am

nomnom says:
June 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm
Why use the word ‘sensitivity’ – when really, the more correct word should be ‘VARIABILITY’ ? You cannot say if the climate was highly ‘sensitive’, as you have no idea of the natural variations and their (probably) cyclic effects. The use of the term climate sensitivity, implies a knowledge of the processes and interaction between them and that at any time, the climate is in a state of ‘balance’ – which, just from the past extremes, is clearly unadulterated BS!. The processes, interactions and sensitivity aren’t known today, let alone in the geological past!
Let’s recall a known serious ‘event’ – an asteroid impact – this caused mass extinction and planetary wide climate change for a long time. But what happened in the end? The earths climate returned to its ‘natural’ state ! So how would one interpret the climate ‘sensitivity’ to such a massive event? Obviously, it was not catastrophic in the sense it didn’t cause a ‘tipping point’ scenario of ‘no return’! Yet, the warmist/alarmists want us to believe that the current climate is so ‘sensitive’ to minute iddy biddy changes in a few atmospheric parameters, and will reach a catastrophic tipping point in a relative flash of (geological) time? Hence, the reason I find such a stance to be crazy, illogical – and in my opinion, rather crass.

June 11, 2011 3:01 am

If Douglas Adams had been a geologist, maybe he would have started his preamble to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” like this:-
Time is long. You just won’t believe how indefinitely, immensely, mind- bogglingly long it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long wait ‘til Christmas, but that’s just peanuts to Time.
So here we have the problem, geological time is just that “immensely, mind-bogglingly long”.
I remember at a first year Environmental Science lecture in 1971, we were shown a picture of a desert in the western USA, the foreground was riven by open fractures and we were asked to speculate on the cause of the faulting. I don’t think any of us knew the answer (I certainly did not). The cause was an underground coal seam fire. The desert water table was so deep, that atmospheric oxygen was able to reach and maintain the fire over decades of unchecked burning.
When I was a boy in the 1950s, a trip to Oldham would take us past colliery spoil heaps around St Helens, some parts of which were burning as the waste slack combusted on contact with the air. Considering that the frequent Lancashire rain did nothing to douse these coal waste fires, I should have realised then that coal seams in the desert, once ignited, would burn unchecked for decades.
After graduation, in my first job in the Institute of Geological Sciences in London, I remember talking to an experienced field geologist about his observation that detrital coal had never been observed in the Lower Permian desert rocks of the UK. This lack of carbonaceous material in early Permian sediments contrasted with the presence of reworked Middle Jurassic coal fragments in the deep marine sands of the subsequent Upper Jurassic sediments. I told him the story of the burning desert coal seams in the US and he agreed that the natural oxidation of Carboniferous coals in the extreme deserts of the early Permian could well account for the lack of detrital coal in these ancient desert rocks.
I later used this insight in analysing the sequence stratigraphy of the Carboniferous and Permian rocks of the Irish Sea basin, offshore from my native Lancashire. We were able to identify hundreds of feet of Carboniferous rocks, now devoid of any coals, that had been completely oxidised by the early Permian desert environment. In support of this observation I found a report about the Neston Colliery on the Wirral where the miners had worked seams in this concealed coal field. They found that the coal being won was replaced by calcareous rock as the seam approached from below the overlying unconformity that marked the ancient Permian desert surface.
The UK geological record shows us that in the interior of the immense Permian supercontinent, the surface rocks were oxidised to the extent the older Carboniferous coals were diagenetically removed and all the black (reduced) shales surrounding the coal seams were turned red. So here we have an example of another natural experiment, the combustion of coal is nothing new. The earth is so old that it has had time enough, and then some, to try all the geochemical experiments you can conceive of and still not yet managed to turn itself into a second planet Venus.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 11, 2011 3:52 am

That is fascinating – thank you for sharing it. I would never have thought was possible that early coal is ‘missing’ due to natural processes.

June 11, 2011 5:28 am

yes, Philip is entirely correct – the processes that change layers of rocks after deposition (diagenesis) do of course affect what we ‘see’ today. But this is part of the whole ‘carbon cycle’ thing – some of it is in the air/ground/sea, etc and the percentages are constantly changing – naturally – and all of the time! It just seems like the alarmists cannot get a handle on the scale of the whole cycle and the tiny part that any ‘human’ induced carbon effects, (movements of carbon – if you will/prefer) are within that cycle!

June 11, 2011 7:04 am

“These geologists, they’re the bedrock of the scientific method!”
“Just don’t take them for granite.”
Schist be gneiss to them.

June 11, 2011 12:30 pm

Jeroen B. said:
June 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm
These geologists, they’re the bedrock of the scientific method!
Just don’t take them for granite.
sandw15 says:
June 11, 2011 at 7:04 am
“These geologists, they’re the bedrock of the scientific method!”
“Just don’t take them for granite.”
Schist be gneiss to them.
These puns are getting boulder and boulder!

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