The Science Was Settled Enough? – from the book – Culture and Climate Change:Narratives

Guest Post by Barry Woods

NarrativesI was invited several months ago, to contribute to a collection of essays and narratives about what sort of story is climate change. The book – Culture and Climate Change: Narratives – edited by Joe Smith, Renata Tyszczuk and Robert Butler, it was launched on the 24th June 2014. I originally submitted a rather long essay, and with some careful editing reduced it to the ~ 800 word limit (a big thank you to Hannah/Casper for their patience and help) .

Please take a look at all the contributions, some here might consider mine a rather lone voice, but I am glad to be included, and it is probably all the better for being tightly edited.  Looking back now, I may have been experiencing mild ‘Climate Burnout’ when I wrote it. An extended revised version of my original submission is below, I called it:

The Science Was Settled Enough

I arrived very late to the man-made Global Warming debate; I was for want of a better phrase, totally ‘climate oblivious’ for years. If I had been surveyed say 5 years ago I would probably be considered as concerned about climate change and thought something should be done. That said I was largely oblivious to the issues of the debate, the ‘science’, the ‘policies’, The Inconvenient Truth, the Big Ask campaign, the UK Climate Change Act 2008, the IPCC, Rio, Kyoto had meant absolutely nothing to me. I was graduating, post graduate, then too busy with a career, getting married, day to day life and then three children.  Which does seem to me to demonstrate the pointlessness of those surveys, presumably conjured up to persuade politicians that the weakly green public, largely totally oblivious to the issues of the debate, want politicians to take radical ‘action’.

I only became interested in climate change a few weeks before the Copenhagen conference following a blog post on a News and Politics forum I’d been a member of for a decade. The forum discussion it went on for tens and tens of pages and I finally took a look at the blog it referred to – WattsUpWithThat – (I’d never heard of it before) and I downloaded the climategate leaked material for myself.  What struck me was FOI requests for data, that should have been freely given, apparent utter incompetence in the handling of data, and most striking to me (and for me the major ‘truth’ of the emails) was the apparent subtle pressure on scientists to provide a ‘nice tidy story’ for the politicians. Something I have since seen for myself in the twittersphere / blogs /media with warnings from climate concerned activists (and some scientists) to other scientists when they were trying to be accurate about the science, that ‘they are giving ammunition to sceptics. An awful situation for Science, if trying to  scientifically accurate is to be thought of as spreading doubt?

Then came the Copenhagen conference, the media/political hype of ‘Saving the Planet’, the COP15 opening conference video being the worst offender, a child running from the rising ocean, leaping into a tree screaming for her life, which gave my daughter nightmares for months after, metres of sea level rise, cracked earth, tipping points, climate doom and catastrophes and climate denier rhetoric  in the media. I asked an old friend of mine (a UK climate scientist) for the official sea level projections, and I was told the actual and most current IPCC figures(AR4) and that the high end figures were thought very unlikely and I thought why is this video being shown without any criticism or analysis from the media. Around the same time, one day my 5 year old daughter came home from infants school and started turning off all the lights in the house (great-it saves electricity and we are always telling our children to do this), but then she cried when we asked why she was, because all the polar bears are dying because of humans.

So I started getting involved, reading and commenting on newspaper articles, on blogs, discovering the below the line comments in the mainstream media were utterly fruitless and a time suck (despite many climate concerned people thinking they were plagued by astro-turfing climate denial paid trolls), and submitted a guest post or two at ‘sceptical’ websites and was quickly labelled as a ‘sceptic’ or even a ‘climate denier’ and pushed to one side (or out of) of a very polarised debate. I was motivated (in part) by ‘The Science’ being misused to push policy, the rhetoric used, with policy being thought of as science, and to ask questions was to reject or be anti-science.

There are people (some activists, politicians and scientists – a few)  convinced that a climate catastrophe is coming, tipping  points,  a future climate disaster en par with multiple holocausts, and the public (and even climate science) is in denial of this. With this worldview, all to easy  to rationalise anybody that questions policies to be dismissed as deniers, cranks, flat-earther (and that was just my Prime Minister’s words at Copenhagen) with motivations questioned and people as bad, mad, sad, or conspiracy theorists, or in the pay of an organised fossil fuel denial industry.  It was also disconcerting to find many people I have met, correspond with, or read, to be named and shamed in Deniers – Halls of Shame – Denier Disinformation databases, tagged and labelled disinformers, deniers, denial machine.

Why could these people not all merely be just said to be wrong?

But which ‘public’ is in denial or in ‘climate silence’? The very small subset that are actively aware of the debate, or the billions just getting on with their day to day lives (like myself previously), where climate change issues, and media reporting of, is just so much background noise or not even noticed at all. If the disinterested Western public (and what of Africa, China, India, and billions more) have not taken to the streets and lobbied for action by now (after decades) despite hearing that the ‘science is settled’, ‘97% of scientists say’ or ‘300,000 people are dying every year of climate change’ (Global Humanitarian Forum -2009). Science sounding soundbites used as an authority, moral pressure on the public and politician’s to conform to this consensus, no more questions, Act!

The ‘300,000 people dying’ given  media headlines, Guardian, 10:10, quoted at UN conferences and on the lips of journalist and politician, motivating Greenpeace activists into shutting down power stations, clambering on the roofs of the Houses of Commons, and a soundbite to assert moral authority for action to shutdown any questions in a debate.

All feeding into an environmental vision (utopian?) of changing society away from industrial, capitalistic and economic growth. Limiting any possibilities of a technological climate change solution, embracing nuclear technology, a ‘Manhattan Style’ quest for fusion, of exploring conventional and new energy technologies, including shale gas.

and now?


In 2014, we find the psychological and social sciences seeking to find out why the general public and  climate change sceptics are sceptical, is it motivated reasoning, ideology, worldview, their cultural values, or are they just mad, bad, cranks and conspiracy theorists, and just in the pay of somebody (much of this frequently stated in academic papers without much questioning or thought).

But all those soundbites, surveys and psychological research are just seemingly produced to be used to persuade a weakly green but disinterested public to allow politicians to take action, yet survey after survey shows the public put climate change repeatedly at the bottom of lists of issues that concern them. Are they just ‘climate oblivious’ like I used to be, not in denial of anything or has ‘climate fatigue’ set in and it becomes just background noise, much like the latest repeated  medicine ‘science says’ scares in the media.

The science was settled enough for some policy action and has been for decades.

A range of temperature projections and possible consequence was, decades ago and still is sufficient to take some policy action. But politicians could not encompass radical demands of total decarbonisation and an added factor was,  emissions were a consequence of industrialism and economic growth and horror of horrors, capitalism. A compromise had to be sort between the demands for rapid decarbonisation, and the growth of the developing countries who would not contend emission reductions, thinking the West historically caused the problem. So a compromise was set, the richest nations would seek to reduce emissions whilst the developing world would have no such constraints, thus the seed for the failure of the Copenhagen conference was set decades ago, years prior to the Kyoto agreement.

So what should happen in the future?

I think that the future narrative of the 21st century will be, that the developing world brought its citizens out of poverty, and if this is also allows these citizens to grow resilience from potential risks of man-made climate change (let alone from the ‘normal’ ravages of nature) escape from disease, so much the better. If, as I think there is no chance politically (East, West, developing, developed) of ever being any meaningful global agreement in the reduction in world emissions, then we should build resilience and adapt to the possible peril of dangerous climate change or very unlikely risk of catastrophic climate change. Then even IF this does not occur, we will have saved millions of people’s lives every year into the future. By allowing their economies and wealth to grow and by wealth I mean, clean water, access to regular electricity supply, refrigeration, cheap energy, infrastructure.  Everything  we in the developed world forget is a ‘luxury’ to many millions of people that simply aspire to what we have and take for granted.

I am not sceptical of climate science as a  field, more the futile symbolic gesture climate policies and politics which the authority of ‘The Science’ is used to push for. So perhaps if all the people that have been labelled ‘climate sceptics’  took a long holiday and stayed ‘climate silent’, would the climate campaigners  be forced to deal with the pragmatic hard realities that policymakers face, energy policies, jobs, economic growth, technological realties, the publics aspirations for their families in the developed world and more importantly the public in the developing world.

“….A second obstacle to action is the pathological obsession of many environmental campaigners with the climate sceptics. By concluding that the sceptics are the main obstacle to action, campaigners are not only demonstrating a spectacularly circular logic, but they are also devoting their energies to a fruitless fight. Make no mistake, fighting sceptics has its benefits – it reinforces a simplistic good versus evil view of the world, it gives a sense of doing something, and privileges scientific expertise in policy debates. However, one thing that it does not do is contribute towards effective action on climate change.

The battle over public opinion on climate change has long been won, and not by the sceptics. But simply by virtue of their continued existence, the climate sceptics may have the last laugh, because many climate campaigners seem to be able to see nothing else in the debate. Climate sceptics are not all powerful and may not even be very relevant to efforts to decarbonise the global economy. They have, however, cast a spell upon their opponents…..” – Dr Roger Pielke Jnr – Guardian

I think however, that the spell is of the campaigners own making, creating by their rhetoric, sceptics at every turn and then the campaigners needing, some group,  some focus, some reason, to blame for all the political failure, even though the reasons for the failure of COP15 (and subsequent meetings) are very clear. If there were no sceptics to blame for political failure, would then the calls for, Radical Plans, for degrowth, or almost total decarbonisation in a short term, be looked at critically, determined as unworkable and the policymakers could move on and actually achieve something merely good.

If there were no sceptics (all finally convinced now by ‘97% of scientist say’) would the climate change campaigners then realise that the failures of policymakers were because of the hard realities of developing world’s  fossil fuel economies which will bring many millions more of the world’s poorest out of poverty, and even if the World’s leaders agreed about climate change, compromises, health, wealth creation and economic development would remain the primary goal of the now mostly highly emitting developing world. (China now having caught up with the EU average per capita emissions, in less than a decade and growing still)

What has motivated me? Well principle of science being accurately presented in the media, that we should focus on the poor NOW, not the future poor, which is a total poverty of the imagination; by 2050 ‘we’ should be ashamed if there are any future ‘poor’. Over 6 million children die of disease, malnutrition, lack of sanitation and many other factors all related to poverty every single year,(an annual catastrophe) all causes all but eliminated in the relatively wealthy developed world. But perhaps at a very personal level, motivated by a future where even my 5 year old daughter was not (very) concerned enough to ask her father (she was), ‘please don’t tell anybody, what you think about polar bears’.

I hope the political rhetoric and intolerance of sceptical voices soon burns out and politicians can constructively deal with hard policy choices and achieve something, the science is settled enough to be pragmatic (especially no regrets policies, achieving a merely good outcome is always better at failing to achieve perfect), yet I heard whilst writing this:

“Will the Prime Minister clarify his position? Is he happy to have climate change deniers in his Government? – Ed Milliband – Leader of the Labour Party – 26th Feb 2014

I think I will be increasingly ‘Climate Indifferent’ the only label I really want to be associated with or will accept in the future is, Member of the Public.


The complete book is available as a free PDF here,


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June 27, 2014 11:29 am

“I think I will be increasingly ‘Climate Indifferent’ the only label I really want to be associated with or will accept in the future is, Member of the Public.”

June 27, 2014 11:29 am

all over a fraction of a degree you can only get through adjustments…and can’t even see on a thermometer
We should have all been laughing at them from the get go…..
I can’t thank James enough for this:comment image

June 27, 2014 11:30 am

Brilliant ! You expressed exactly how skeptics will be blamed for the failure of scientists to take responsibility.

June 27, 2014 11:35 am

It won’t matter how many skeptics there are or aren’t if the global temperature stays flat or decreases; if the rate of ocean rise stays at 8 inches per century; if the arctic and Antarctic ice level off or grow. The models have diverged from reality and if they diverge even more the argument will be over.

James Strom
June 27, 2014 11:50 am

Even if mainstream climate science turns out to be right it will not be very interesting, because of the sloppiness of its methods and the murkiness of its conceptual framework. But it is a slam dunk that this era will be a bonanza for study by sociologists and historians of science, whichever way the debate is finally resolved.

June 27, 2014 11:56 am

I find that much in the story resonates with me, in fact the timing as well. However, my subsequent finding was that natural Global Warming is over and that natural Global Cooling has started. There is no pause. It is either warming or cooling. The climate change due to the cooling period may present some challenges to mankind.

Eugene WR Gallun
June 27, 2014 11:57 am

This is a short poem written in 1899 by Hughes Mearns. I think it will help you understand the mindset of people who believe in catastrophic man-made global warming.
Yesterday, upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away
Politicians don’t believe in catastrophic man-made global warming. What they believe is that catastrophic man-made global warming is politically useful. When it ceases to be politically useful you will never hear another word about it.
Skeptics have turned the tide and politicians are realizing that catastrophic man-made global warming has outlived it usefulness. But it is going to take them a while to disengage.
Eugene WR Gallun

June 27, 2014 12:16 pm

I’ve always been baffled as to why many Warmists blame sceptics for their own lack of action. They have the people in power and the alleged ‘mountains of evidence’. They imagine Koch et al can actually stop them. The whole blame game is to deflect attention from THEIR OWN FAILURES to take action. Thus blame septics.

June 27, 2014 12:32 pm

Let us imagine a world with now sceptics, no WUWT, zilch, nada. Let us imagine we never said a peep since the IPCC was set up. There would not be any meaningful action on global warming. They had decades to take action, the ear of the media and a political consensus yet very little to show for it. You failed Warmists, live with YOUR own failures and stop blaming sceptics. There is no vast conspiracy, no large funding pool, there is a poorly funded group of people asking questions.

June 27, 2014 12:35 pm

“which gave my daughter nightmares for months after”
not credible.
nor did it cause kittens to be born crosseyed or cows to give sour milk.

Brian P
June 27, 2014 12:38 pm

Eventually they may figure out that it is nature herself who has stopped them.

David L. Hagen
June 27, 2014 12:52 pm

Well crafted and expressed. We who are rich must remember the needs of the poor. We are responsible to exercise prudent stewardship over the resources we have been entrusted with and not bury them.
James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:14-30

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ . . .
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said,. . .I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!. . . you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. . . .

June 27, 2014 12:56 pm

A rather rambling, nearly incoherent treatise telling me to be quiet and trust that the ineptitude of lying politicitians, ennui of the idiotic public, and timidity of all but a few of the sheep like “climate scientists” is enough to prevent totalitarian control and economic disaster? I think not. It is not the sceptics’ fault that CAGW is a hoax, and it is my right (if I have any rights at all remaining) to bore my friends, family, and neighbors with that fact until the next ice age.

June 27, 2014 1:04 pm

[I] submitted a guest post or two at ‘sceptical’ websites and was quickly labelled as a ‘sceptic’ or even a ‘climate denier’

That is unclear, if you were referring to the “skeptical science” site–which is not on the skeptics’ side.

Sam The First
June 27, 2014 1:33 pm

I’m totally with John the Cube. I found the article so ungrammatical and poorly written as to be almost incomprehensible: I’m still not sure quite what the author was trying to say, but whatever it was, I think he has missed the point of the sceptic argument.
The reason people who have the knowledge and skills to follow the argument question ‘climate science’ – both its methods and its conclusions – is because the ‘science’ and the statistics upon which it depends are demonstrably faulty.
We in the West are being beggared, our landscapes and seascapes covered with useless wind and solar farms which can never meet our energy needs, and our agricultural land given over to useless biofuels, all on a false series of premises. The so-called ‘settled science’ is based on computer projections, which in turn are based on erroneous data.
The ramifications of this massive deception are almost endless. That is why ‘climate sceptics’ will not acquiesce in polite silence, nor walk away from their often painful search for the truth.

June 27, 2014 1:48 pm

I find the analogy in Easter Island. Those that heed warning of future disaster should build boats rather than statues. Climate scientists unfortunately now view themselves as ancient priests.

george e. conant
June 27, 2014 2:10 pm

Well written essay Barry, you touch on some good ideas. One thing I have encountered inadvertently is the open hostility and character assassination directed at skeptic’s of CAGW when I stepped into a comment thread over at thinkprogress (climateprogress?) and merely stated that the article (MAY 2014 – Hottest EVER) was utter non-sense in my opinion, citing weather around the globe that was cold and snowy etc. I just could not give credence to this latest pronouncement this time from Japan …. ANYWAY, I got drawn into a long discussion with particularly a Mr. David Lawrence of Carlton University, who using many links to many peer reviewed papers to defang my argument’s against CO2 being a most relevant driver of CAGW. I saw in this exchange so much vitriol and distain that there is no way to engage in meaningful dialogue when it comes to things climate change. I really tried to reach out , be polite and respectful in order to get to “How we BEST make a transition as a world civilization to sustainable economies and ecologies and industrial behavior”. I got no where.

June 27, 2014 2:49 pm

Barry, your questions “May I ask what have you done and achieved?” is a not at all germane. Should I insert my resume (CV) at the front of this reply before I critique your essay?
I too, by the way, found the essay a bit rambling and unfocused and the ending is rather anti-climactic (er, so to speak)

Berényi Péter
June 27, 2014 2:55 pm

I am not sceptical of climate science as a field

You should. The field is rotten, its central paradigm, computational climate modelling is flawed, datasets are illegitimately tampered with, funding is politically biased and the few scientists who speak up are excommunicated. It is right on the slippery slope to become a full fledged pseudo science.

Christopher Hanley
June 27, 2014 3:05 pm

“The science was settled enough for some policy action and has been for decades …”.
Oh sure, the science became settled when phrases like “No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes” and “Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced” were surreptitiously removed from the IPCC-SAR in 1995, further bolstered by the prominent and repeated inclusion of a colourful depiction of Mann’s absurd graph in IPCC-TAR.
Of course a slightly warmer planet with a CO2 enriched atmosphere may just possibly be, on balance, beneficial.

June 27, 2014 3:17 pm

Latitude says:
June 27, 2014 at 11:29 am
I like GAST series graphed in K, starting with absolute zero.

June 27, 2014 3:38 pm

I love to read good writing, it keeps you asking for more…..

June 27, 2014 3:40 pm

Well thought out Barry and I agree with your sentiments.
‘environmentalists’ have had the 97% certainty, the weight of the UN, control of most progressive governments in so called developed nations and what really have they done?
Yet they blame anyone that questions their ‘reasoning’ for their lack of action in developed countries while hidden from most people in those same countries are their appalling actions in developing and third world countries which are killing the poor as we speak.
It is good to see the Indian Government taking a stand against greenpeace and whilst there is always the need for knowledgeable people to critique and refute where appropriate the ‘science’ of the consensus ‘environmentalists’ it is time that the Public was made aware of the current costs to humanity of the ‘environmentalist’ Luddites.
From another concerned Member of the Public

June 27, 2014 3:43 pm

Hi Barry,
You make a good point that I hadn’t considered before and I like your hypothesis that the anger and vitriol that the alarmists direct at ‘the great sceptic conspiracy’ derives primarily from their own failures. They can’t blame themselves, so they make straw sceptic dogs to kick. However, I think their anger derives primarily from the failure of their models and hypotheses. These failures don’t just falsify their science, they threaten their livelihood.
The warmists have been moderately effective at achieving policy changes – the landscape is littered with windmills and solar panels and billions in tax dollars are directed to their research. You can’t submit a grant proposal or paper without genuflecting to AGW. As you point out, the political establishment sees the advantages of CAGW posturing and will continue to do so as long as they think it profitable. So, I don’t think the sceptic bashing comes primarily from perceived policy failures. What really galls the alarmists is that the climate isn’t getting warmer, sea levels aren’t rising faster, snow isn’t disappearing, the Arctic clings to its ice, there aren’t more tornadoes or super cyclones, droughts and floods are about the same as usual, etc. Someone must be to blame for this!
NB: I hope the version in the book is lacking the several grammatical errors in your text above, but if not, I wouldn’t worry about the carping: your points come through fine.

Michael 2
June 27, 2014 3:47 pm

I’m kinda with Eugene on this one. Scientific facts, by themselves, do not move billions of dollars — policy does (footnote 1).
Altruistic people are doing good already, real good for real people, not “policy good” or “we should do this” lazy suggestions of good.
1: Landing a man on the moon was primarily emotional. Science did not lead to this outcome; the outcome was declared and then science used to achieve it. Science does not lead policy, policy pays for and thus leads science.

June 27, 2014 3:47 pm

Some people may be interested in this article over at The Pointman…

June 27, 2014 3:50 pm

Barry Woods
You were correct to be concerned about your daughter’s behavior after her indoctrination(sorry education) at school.
My brother who lives in a small town in western Alberta told me about a funeral that recently took place in his town. A young woman originally from the community committed suicide in Edmonton. Her father said later that her family was well aware of her depression and had tried to talk to her about some of the things that were giving her difficulty. One theme that often came up was her concern about ‘the planet’ and the hopeless feelings she had because nothing was being done.
Obviously it wasn’t just concern about the environment that caused her death, but when children from the time they are 5 years of age, are faced with a constant barrage of negativity about the state of the planet, is it any wonder that feelings of hopelessness can start to consume them.

Evan Jones
June 27, 2014 3:51 pm

Actually, I liked the essay. I think y’all are being too hard on him.

June 27, 2014 4:04 pm

had to link to the cached version to read this Non-Reality narrative by a Green politician from New Zealand. 8 hours of Gore talking – no wonder she wanted to cry!
27 June: The Daily Blog: Julie Anne Genter: My day with Al Gore
This week I have the enormous privilege of attending The Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Melbourne. The Climate Reality Project was founded by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President…
I am one of about 500 leaders at this training. Many are from Australia, but also New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, and other Asia-Pacific countries. There are about 6,000 leaders around the world who have completed the training since it started in 2006…
***Al Gore’s presentation on climate change is the main bulk of the training, and he spoke for about 8 hours today going through the detail of the slide show, with several prominent climate scientists on stage to assist with answering technical questions…
Al Gore is an inspiring and energetic speaker. I don’t cry easily, but throughout his presentation I found myself holding back tears….
Take Syria, for example. The 2006-2009 drought turned 60% of Syria’s fertile land turned into desert. They lost 80% of their cattle. There were one million refugees from the drought, who collided with one million refugees from Iraq…
(COAL DECLINING?) Renewable energy is already growing as coal use is declining…
But we have major political barriers because the transformation to a clean economy will cost a few big companies some profits, especially in the short term.
That’s why the Climate Reality Project and others like it are so important. It’s a grass roots movement to inform and inspire people to act.
As Al Gore said at the end of his presentation, this planet is our home. We have got to fight for it.
Wikipedia: Julie Anner Genter
She is a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives in her role as the transport spokeswoman for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand…

Michael 2
June 27, 2014 4:06 pm

Sam The First says: “I’m still not sure quite what the author was trying to say, but whatever it was, I think he has missed the point of the sceptic (*) argument.”
There is no “skeptic argument” per se. Instead, skeptics argue with *the* argument: Human caused global warming. Some are skeptical of policy, some are skeptical of method, some are skeptical of science, some are skeptical of persons — and any combination of the above. Even the word skeptical can suggest anything from slightly doubting to fully denying. Some skeptics have alternative theories, some do not.
Meanwhile, it seems reasonable to contemplate the consequences of global warming as a precautionary measure or risk assessment regardless of how much humans are to blame. It would be just as reasonable to consider and prepare for the next ice age. It isn’t guaranteed, but is rather likely, certainly more likely than Earth turning into another Venus.
Quite apart from science is policy and politics. Many people have wished for a global government for a very long time. Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin felt it inevitable, and then somehow this socialist government would simply vanish into a classless society. Numerous failures at socialism have not bred this desire out of the human race.
* if the “c” is silent in science and scenery, why is it not scilent in septic?

June 27, 2014 4:36 pm

* if the “c” is silent in science and scenery, why is it not scilent in septic?

Here’s a commentary on that inconsistency by Britisher H.W. Fowler in his classic Modern English Usage :

“The established pronunciation is sk-, whatever the spelling; and with the frequent modern use of septic and sepsis it is well that it should be so for fear of confusion. But to spell sc- and pronounce sk- is to put a needless difficulty in the way of the unlearned, for sce is normally pronounced se even in words where the c represents a Greek k, e.g., scene and its compounds and ascetic. America spells sk-; we might pocket our pride and copy.”

Michael 2
June 27, 2014 4:47 pm

David L. Hagen says: “We who are rich must remember the needs of the poor.”
That leaves me out since I am neither (or both), but I wonder, what does “must” mean in this context? How did you obtain this ethic and why do you think it universal? What does it mean to “remember” the needs of the poor; does it feed or clothe them to do so? You cited scripture; I will do likewise: James 2:150-17.
Bringing it back on topic I realize it speaks to the heart of the global warming activism issue —
Some people remembered polar bears and have polar bear needs in mind.
Some people remembered Micronesia and have Micronesian needs in mind.
Many people remembered socialism and have their own needs in mind!
All stem from fear.
The big difference between Christian charity and government mandated solutions is OPM — Other People’s Money.
What would happen if this climate crisis was suddenly solved? Thousands of people would be out of work and the carbon exchanges would collapse leaving many angry investors. Governments would be compelled to abandon carbon taxes. What does Australia DO with its carbon tax money?
“Brisbane City Council increased its rates by 1.9 per cent to cover the tax but will not say whether it will remove this additional charge if the tax is repealed.”
“The Australian reports that the $1,350 average tax on each household for the year to Sept 2013, produced an emissions fall from 543.9 million tons down to 542.1. Not a dramatic return on $7 billion in taxes on consumers.”

Michael 2
June 27, 2014 4:52 pm

Madman2001 says: “Barry, your questions “May I ask what have you done and achieved?” is a not at all germane.”
I disagree, but only in the case of offering ideas and suggestions. Then it matters whether, to use a phrase, you consume your own product or live by your own advice. If you advocate LED illumination, do you use them? (I do). If you advocate solar power, do you use it? (I do, on a small scale). If you advocate one-child-per-family; how many do you have?
That sort of thing.

Michael 2
June 27, 2014 4:56 pm

gnomish says: “not credible.”
It is to me. I spend rather a lot of time correcting or balancing public education on common left wing themes. For instance, to her stress and worry about global warming, I point out that Greenlanders love it and Greenland could conceivably return to being green. I also point out that more people might be harmed than helped, but it is unscientific to consider only one side of a coin.
That business about polar bears falling from the sky shouldn’t be on the coin.

June 27, 2014 5:17 pm

Lets play with a couple of thoughts which like those hundred or so chicken entrails powered climate model’s predictions are nothing more than mere speculation about the future.
First it is being increasingly acknowledged that the increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 are most likely the reason behind the now accepted “greening of the planet”.
Alternatively .perhaps the “greening” is a long term cyclic phenomena such as is possibly the case with the greening of the Sahara Desert as one example but such greening is far more likely to be due to the recent five decades long increases in that vital plant food requirement of atmospheric CO2 created from human activities and energy production if we are to believe some of the propaganda.
Next lets assume that within the next couple of decades Fusion power as opposed to nuclear fission powered reactors, with it’s almost totally pollution free energy generation capabilities and it’s capabilities for almost limitless energy generation is harnessed, commercialised and becomes mankind’s main and almost sole means of energy generation.
All possible by the latter part of the 21 st century if the Fusion technologies being worked on by a number of corporations including such as Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks whose program and time table if achieved will have a transportable power generating Fusion reactor technology proven by around 2017 and be commercialised by the mid 2120’s and dominate global energy production by the mid 21 st century
In such a situation by the late 21st century human generated / fossil fuel generated emissions of CO2 could be dropping dramatically and atmospheric CO2 could even be starting to fall back towards the 1930’s levels of around 330 PPM.
Thats getting down much closer to the 180 ppm minimum that plants need to actually survive let alone to grow. As a side line if the 180 ppm is the minimum CO2 required for most plants survival.
So going from about 300 ppm CO2 pre mid 20th century or about 100 ppm above minimum plant requirements for CO2, with the doubling of atmospheric CO2 to 400 ppm, we now have about 200 ppm CO2 above the minimum plant requirements.
We have in effect doubled that vital usable and available to global plant life CO2 over the last 40 or so years.
And as ALL sentient life on this planet, which includes us, depends in some way or entirely on the planet’s plant life we are all benefitting from that increased level of CO2 in so many ways ways.
And it is those those benefits from the increased levels of CO2 that have never had an honest, bigotry free comprehensive analysis done on looking at all the societal, economic and biological benefits for all life on this planet from increased levels of CO2.
With the inevitable advent of a Fusion power generating technology, the time frame for such a development is not known but is likely to be much sooner than most expect as the economic rewards for being amongst the first to create fusion power generating technology are so promising, then there is likely to be a fall in global fossil fuel powered energy created CO2 emissions to a point where few such emissions will barely exist by the latest decade of this 21 st century.
That will possibly lead to a fall in global atmospheric CO2 levels over time back to much closer to the pre mid 20th century levels of CO2.
That will lead to a situation where plant productivity will be again be limited by the low availability of CO2 to plants thus limiting plant growth and reducing global plant cover back to the pre mid 20th century levels.
A late 21st century “browning” of the planet. due to lower CO2 levels
Toss in the very good chance that perhaps is already under way, a significant global cooling with a consequent reduction in plant productivity for food production and mankind could be looking at a triple whammy by the end of this century.
With the advent of new energy production technologies such as Fusion power.
* / Lowering of CO2 back to pre mid 20th century levels.
* / The consequent reduced global plant growth, a “browning” of the planet.
* / A global population approaching 10 billions but by the end of the 21 st century more than likely starting to decline or a population decline already well under way .
* / The probability of a cooling planet for most of the latter two thirds of the 21 st century if climate history is any guide.
To counter and overcome most of those problems, a major program of increasing atmospheric CO2 will need to be implemented by around the end of this 21 st century.
And I didn’t even need a climate model for all that !

Christopher Hanley
June 27, 2014 5:21 pm

Michael 2 says:
“What would happen if this climate crisis was suddenly solved? …”.
For pity’s sake what climate crisis?
Show me the evidence of a “climate crisis”.

June 27, 2014 6:40 pm

below is the latest narrative of how Gore met up with mining magnate, Clive Palmer:
***bear in mind the money-making Clean Energy Finance Corporation isn’t money-making at all, they merely forecast they might one day make some money from the billions of taxpayer dollars they will receive (twenty-two per cent of the CEFC’s loans in its first year were for wind projects).:
27 June: SMH: The four who brought together Clive Palmer and Al Gore
James Massola, Tom Arup, Heath Aston
As late as Wednesday morning, the conspirators behind one of most unlikely press conference in political history were still not completely convinced it would go ahead. It wasn’t until Al Gore stepped off the plane that Don Henry, Ben Oquist, Andrew Crook and John Clements breathed a sigh of relief…
Clive Palmer’s headline-grabbing double act with Gore may have appeared impromptu but the former US vice-president’s road to Canberra began months earlier.
Henry – until this year the long-serving chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation – had already organised an Australian visit as part of Gore’s climate change education venture. Gore sought Henry’s advice about meeting other people in his time down under. Henry suggested Palmer, given his party’s role in the Senate…
At the same time Clements – a long-time staffer to former independent MP Tony Windsor – was lobbying Palmer about the importance of the climate change measures agreed by the former Parliament.
As an insider explained, for Clements ”there were legacy issues involved in protecting elements of the package … he was interested in protecting the [Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the renewable energy target]”.
Oquist, a former chief of staff to Greens leaders Bob Brown and Christine Milne who is now with the Australia Institute, was also working on Palmer…
Oquist lobbied him to consider the merits of the Climate Change Authority, ***the money-making Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the possibility of a zero-dollar emissions trading scheme. He pushed the benefits of the renewable energy target, supported by few Coalition MPs….
Palmer agreed quickly to back the financing corporation, a position some PUP senators had already warmed too. But for Gore to get on stage, Palmer had to swing behind the renewable energy target…
Henry told ABC Radio on Thursday that Gore had not been ”played” by Palmer. He said Gore did not give his blessing to axe the carbon tax but saw the merit in saving clean energy infrastructure and a commitment to a future ETS…

June 27, 2014 6:42 pm

meant to post this as a source for the wind project percentage:
28 June: Australian: Sid Maher: Direct action to benefit from Clean Energy Finance Corporation funds
THE Clean Energy Finance Corporation is likely to be directed away from lending to wind farms in favour of programs that ­support the Coalition’s “direct ­action” plan such as energy-­efficiency schemes and leasing for solar hot water systems.
In the wake of Clive Palmer’s declaration this week that his ­senators will vote to retain the CEFC, it has emerged that Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have the power to alter the CEFC’s investment mandate without parliament being able to reverse the move…
Twenty-two per cent of the CEFC’s loans in its first year were for wind projects…

Charles Davis
June 27, 2014 6:52 pm

This is the discourse that is needed. What needs to happen to empower the live of several billion have-nots? Denying them energy is certainly not the solution. From all recorded history in the public weal had grown with the availability of abundant cheap energy and fallen in its absence. Retreating to a parsimonious pre-carbon society will inflict horrendous suffering.

June 27, 2014 6:53 pm

meanwhile, back in Clive’s constituency, the voters are restless (if the poll is accurate):
(subscription req)
28 June: Australian: Phillip Hudson: Clive Palmer on the nose in Fairfax
CLIVE Palmer is losing votes in his own backyard and would not retain his Queensland seat of Fairfax if an election was held now.
While Mr Palmer is talking up the power of his Palmer United Party in the new Senate to make or break government legislation, one-third of the people who voted directly for him last September have abandoned him according to a 7 News-ReachTEL poll…

June 27, 2014 6:57 pm

Christopher Hanley, crisis, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

June 27, 2014 11:50 pm

Who played havoc with the commas?

June 28, 2014 1:06 am

The point is not that people are sceptics. The point is that real data shows that warming has ceased for over 17 years now, while computer model predictions are for continued rises with increased CO2.
Any scientist worth his salt should be asking why. All warmists believe the models are correct and reality is wrong because they confidently state that this decade is the warmest on record.
The only people who believe in it now are the politicians looking to screw more taxes out of their countries to cover their horribly inept economic management.

June 28, 2014 1:19 am

“On current evidence, I anticipate warming in the range of 1.25-0.5°C[…].”
That is a strange way to express a range; one would have expected to see it stated as 0.5-1.25°C. Which makes me wonder if there was a transcription error in the PDF and you meant 1.25-1.5°C?
I have no point to make. Just wondering.

Martin A
June 28, 2014 1:42 am

“I am not sceptical of climate science as a field”
Barry, in that case, you have a serious blind spot. Like most subjects that have the word “science” in their title, climate science is not science.
– Ad hoc doctoring of raw data – and failure to record the details of the doctoring.
– Regarding the output of unvalidated computer models as scientific evidence.
– Depending on concepts that have no physical existence and cannot be observed/measured (for example ‘radiative forcing’).
– etc etc

June 28, 2014 2:50 am

The presented story is an X-Ray of the well-known mixing of politics and science resulting in premeditated science and bad politics. We are all losers.

Harry Passfield
June 28, 2014 3:21 am

Hi Barry! I tend to read – try to read – anything I see with your name on. I am a great admirer of someone prepared, like Anthony and Andrew (the Bishop), to stick their head above the parapet; so it seems frivolous to have a go at the style of your writing. There is, though a constructive point to such critique.
I know of two authors I admire who were famous for their long sentences: Dickens and (Bernard) Levin. The latter, who wrote so beautifully for the Times of London in the ’70s, once famously wrote a piece where most paragraphs had but one full stop. You are of that ilk. Unfortunately, you do not have access to Levin’s editorial assistance. That is a shame. You have much to say and it is worth reading, at times: in this instance your editors let you down.
Please don’t come piling back in at me with a question about what I have done (very probably not a tenth of what you have done, but I do spread the word and argue the toss with alarmists, and have done for very many years. As it happens, I also spent many years as a technical author.). All I wanted to do was give you credit for sharing your thoughts and ideas and giving you the humble advice that you get a better editor – and don’t give up: KBO ( as Churchill said).

June 28, 2014 4:21 am

Barry Woods says:
June 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm
John the cube..
I think you miss my point. May I ask what you have actually done and achieved.
What i’ve done or not done is entirely irrelevant. You are correct, I missed your point. Snce the point of essay reading is to impart a point, rather than being defensive and immediately questioning my credentials you should rather be examining your work and trying to understand why it is that you were unable to achieve your goal with me, an arbitrary reader.

June 28, 2014 4:29 am

Nice essay Barry.
The reason for the disconnect from reality you describe, for the lack of progress and the constant obsession with skeptics, is that the agenda belongs to the CAGW narrative itself (NOT sentient, NOT agential), not to any of the population that hosts it. The discipline of cultural evolution has long known of this effect, and the supporting mechanisms are the same as those in religions. Secular social entities of this kind follow similar developmental trajectories, e.g. for ‘deniers’ think heretics or blasphemers. Climate worries triggered the process, but with such high uncertainty it was easy for the narrative to distance itself from any science. It’s only ‘purpose’, (one falls easily to agential terms – same as in biology, e.g. diseases, but an agential nature is not implied) is to sustain itself, which it is doing very well. As memeticist Susan Blackmore points out regarding religious entities, the agenda of these things has no alignment to our own agendas, or necessarily our benefit either.

Harry Passfield
June 28, 2014 6:54 am

Barry: My mistake was assuming your props to your editing team at the beginning of the post meant that this was an edited version.

June 28, 2014 7:20 am

In 2014, we find the psychological and social sciences seeking to find out why the general public and climate change sceptics are sceptical, is it motivated reasoning, ideology, worldview, their cultural values, or are they just mad, bad, cranks and conspiracy theorists, and just in the pay of somebody (much of this frequently stated in academic papers without much questioning or thought).
FAR more sinister than that. As you experienced, the psychological, social sciences and educational system are (and have been) actively involved in putting down skepticism, enforcing conformity and even brain-washing/scaring defenseless little children.

Michael 2
June 28, 2014 8:27 am

Christopher Hanley says:”Show me the evidence of a climate crisis.”
Your participation, my participation and the existence of this website for starters. Anything that costs $20 billion every year must be some sort of crisis. Perhaps I should call this a meta-crisis.
Perhaps you mean “looking out the window and seeing it” evidence. This is a website. Even if I had such evidence, how would I give it to you? I cannot. So what is evident is that many people are deeply and emotionally committed to a crisis that seems not to exist. That creates a meta-crisis right now, a political crisis for many politicians.

Michael 2
June 28, 2014 8:46 am

John The Cube says: “you should rather be examining your work and trying to understand why it is that you were unable to achieve your goal with me, an arbitrary reader.”
Mr. Woods wrote it for me. I seem to understand it, a sentence repeated twice is the clue: “The Science Was Settled Enough.”
Enough for what? Social policy. That’s what it’s all about. Science serves policy, not the other way round. A “bubble” has been created where too many people think it is about “science” and Mr. Woods brings it back down to the ground, it is about *people*.

June 28, 2014 8:52 am

Michael 2 says: June 28, 2014 at 8:27 am
“So what is evident is that many people are deeply and emotionally committed to a crisis that seems not to exist. That creates a meta-crisis right now, a political crisis for many politicians.”
Yes. Per my 4.29 am above, self-sustaining narratives work by engaging emotion and engendering a sense of crisis: we must atone for sins, or save the planet, or those guys are subhuman, or whatever. In practice, the social phenomenon has long proceeded independently of any actual physical climate realities, and so whether these are good, bad, or indifferent for us. Hence it’s still possible that there is something bad to discover one day, when sense and science regain control. But it does indeed seem on such real data as slowly trickles out so far, very unlikley that any real climate ‘crisis’ worth this word, actually exists. Emotive narratives can be surprisingly powerful, penetrating the psyche to produce effects like noble cause corruption, confirmation bias, motivated reasoning etc, which tend to obscure reality and maintain the uncertainties that allowed the narratives to arise in the first place. Likely, this is a big contributor to the very poor progress on climate sensitivity over the last few decades.

Chuck Nolan
June 28, 2014 8:53 am

“I think that the future narrative of the 21st century will be, that the developing world brought its citizens out of poverty,…”
I don’t know if you’re dreaming or just ignoring the obvious.
The primary problem for the poor of Africa is leadership.
During the last 5000 years as we grew, innovated and developed our modern world with plenty of food and energy to go around the third world was prevented from joining.
Corrupt despots and dictators supported by hatred and tribalism have prevented the third world from fully taking part in the civilized world.
Until the liars in government and the media admit that better and worse societies,cultures and governments really do exist, the third world will wallow in poverty, disease and ignorance.
Just like the Cancer Society needs cancer the UN wants, needs and takes action that ensures poverty and conflict in the third world.
This is substantiated by the UN support of islam and it’s third world tenets against infidels including women, homosexuals and anyone who has other religious beliefs.
Life is short, brutal and cheap in the third world.
The UN’s work continues.

June 28, 2014 9:12 am

Barry Woods says: June 28, 2014 at 8:35 am
“I asked him once about his own motivated reasoning and ideology…”
Very good questions to aske a psychologist! It has always seemed to me an ultimate irony that the type of phenomena of which CAGW is an example, has been fully described by the overlapping discliplines of psychology, cultural evolution, neuroscience, anthropology, memetics, and others. None of the characteristics have anything to do with climate either. These disciplines have even given out very sound warnings about falling to the influence of such phenomena. Yet they seem either to be in blissful ignorance of CAGW as being a subject related to their field of work, or, as is the case with pyschology, actively attempt to use the tools of their trade to (usually via incredibly shallow arguments that typically clash with all their main findings) diss skeptics. It’s an unfortunate fact that influence by aggressive cultural entities is very highly domain orientated. We can all have reason as sound as a bell in one domain, and yet be highly influenced and so unreasonable in another, to the extent that knowledge of such entities is itself not protection against becoming prey to the influence of one.

June 28, 2014 2:21 pm

Michael 2 at June 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm includes a statement that puts the issue in better focus.
“Landing a man on the moon was primarily emotional. Science did not lead to this outcome; the outcome was declared and then science used to achieve it. Science does not lead policy, policy pays for and thus leads science”. This explains why pointing out the fallacies of CAGW on the science side will never work. The policy is set, the science never mattered except as a tool to convince the masses that draconian action, wealth redistribution, and control of energy by the central government is required. Proving that the the alarmists are wrong about the science will not stop them.
In the US, we are starting on the path to shutting down our coal fired power plants, as many as 400 of them by some estimates, which will create power shortages and higher power costs for everyone. One can’t help but wonder if this stupidity is due to warped logic or evil intentions on the part of the leaders we elected to improve our lives and keep us safe. Oddly, the general population by a wide margin appears to have some idea that the dangers are exaggerated, but the politicians intend to go forward anyway.

June 29, 2014 1:28 am

Barry, I figured from your early discussion that this must not have been the version that received critical editing. So I wasn’t as worried about that as some, though I did find it a somewhat difficult read.
I get where you are coming from. And I would agree with others that you do seem to be suffering from climate fatigue. I do too, as many of us probably do.
I came at the thing from a whole different perspective. Before the last oil “bust” in the mid 1980’s, I had made it to R&D Director for a multinational oil company. Climate change was old-hat to petroleum geologists even back in the 80’s. Here’s a taste from a thorough workup of the Powder River Basin I did in ’86:
“The Pennsylvanian and Permian periods were characterized by large scale eustatic sea level changes that Heckel (1980) attributes to extensive glaciation in the south polar regions. Heckel (1980) has documented as many as 25 transgressive events associated with Upper Pennsylvanian sediments (approximately 10 million years) throughout the mid-continent and western United States. These transgressive-regressive events are well represented in the middle and upper Minnelusa rocks as sabkha cycles consisting of shales, evaporites and eolian sandstones. Therefore numerous unconformities exist within the three units of the Minnelusa, with the most economically important being the contact between the upper Minnelusa and the overlying Opeche shale member of the Goose Egg Formation.”
from deeper in the paper:
“Trotter (1984) reminds us of a 350 foot sea level change during the Wisconsin stage of the Pleistocene in the Persian Gulf region. With a surface gradient of 6 inches per mile, fluctuations of 100 feet could conceivably have affected 200 miles of Trotter’s (1984) Late Paleozoic seaway.”
So climate change was not a debate for me when it became a debate for everyone else. Climate change was, and is used today, as sequence stratigraphy. You see, it isn’t that climate doesn’t change, it’s that it does. That, and everything that that entails, has long been put to fruitful use in O&G exploration.
So I was not surprised to watch the evolution and perfection of the electric ice coring drills by the early 1990’s, nor was I surprised to learn that at the end of the most recent interglacial, the Eemian, was a climatic “Madhouse”, with 2 or 3 strong thermal excursions right at its typical half precession cycle end. I had long since ceased exploiting what that meant economically (by mapping and drilling the favorable horizons that resulted), but what I hadn’t expected to encounter was the inanity that was global warming alarmism!
It’s difficult for me to remember why I was so struck by the AGW meme back in the day because I am now all too familiar with the wealth of research which has eventuated since that time. The best way I can describe this mindset is to relate how scared and horrified I was to learn that “we” could cause a worst-case and whopping absolute climate change measure of +0.59 meters above mean sea level (amsl) by 2099 in IPCC’s 2007 Assessment Report 4 if we took the upper error bar of the do nothing scenario.
Why was I so scared and horrified? Well, by 2007 we knew that the lowest estimate for the last (2nd or 3rd) end-Eemian thermal excursion had resulted in somewhere between +6.0 to +52.0 meters amsl sea level rise. Without much of any anthropogenic input.
At least MIS-5 (the Eemian), MIS-11 (the Holsteinian) and MIS-19 each had at least 3 strong thermal pulses right at their very ends, the last one always being the stronger.
Take, for instance, Desprat et al. (2005) on MIS-11:
“The Marine Isotope Stage 11 interglacial, centered at ~400 ka, appears to be the best candidate for understanding climatic changes in the context of low insolation forcing such as that of our present interglacial. Direct correlation between terrestrial (pollen) and marine climatic indicators and ice volume proxy from deep-sea core MD01-2447 (off northwestern Iberia) shows for the first time the phase relationship between southwestern European vegetation, sea surface temperatures in the northeastern Atlantic midlatitudes and ice volume during MIS 11. A warmest 32,000 years-long period and three following warm/cold cycles occurred synchronously on land and ocean. THE END OF THE WARMEST PERIOD SEES THE GLACIAL INCEPTION which coincides with the replacement of warm deciduous forest by conifer (pine-fir) expansion in northwestern Iberia and, consequently, with the southward migration of the tree line in high latitudes in response to declining summer insolation. As weak insolation changes alone cannot account for ice growth, the associated vegetation changes must now be considered as a potential major feedback mechanism for glaciation initiation during MIS 11.” [emphasis mine]
The same was true with MIS-19.
“During the glacial inception from MIS 19 to MIS 18, the low resolution EPICA Dome C water stable isotope record (Jouzel et al., 2007) has revealed millennial variability principally marked by the occurrence of three consecutive warm events (hereafter called Antarctic Isotope Maxima – AIM, following EPICA-community-members, 2006, and noted A, B, C on Fig. 2).”
People identify, or are identified, as “skeptics” for a plethora of reasons. I arrived here by reason alone. My reservations, as regard the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis, may be distilled down to some pointed questions:
1) “The End of the Present Interglacial: How and When” Wallace S. Broecker, 1998
2) How do you propose to recognize, much less measure, the first-ever anthropogenic sea level rise, which hasn’t occurred yet, from normal natural end interglacial climate noise that comes in between 1 and 2 orders of magnitude higher in relative sea level (the absolute measure), not just once, but as many as 3 times, rapidly, during glacial inception?
3) What if Ruddiman’s 2003 “Early Anthropogenic Hypothesis” is correct? Could it possibly be that:
“The possible explanation as to why we are still in an interglacial relates to the early anthropogenic hypothesis of Ruddiman (2003, 2005). According to that hypothesis, the anomalous increase of CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the atmosphere as observed in mid- to late Holocene ice-cores results from anthropogenic deforestation and rice irrigation, which started in the early Neolithic at 8000 and 5000 yr BP, respectively. Ruddiman proposes that these early human greenhouse gas emissions prevented the inception of an overdue glacial that otherwise would have already started.”
conclude Muller and Pross (2007)
If so, then Houston, we have a problem. We can’t say that we have delayed glacial inception for quite some time now with GHGs so that is why we demand that they be removed quicksmart, now can we?
“Do you realize what this means?” spouts Doc’ Brown in “Back to the Future”. “It means that this damned thing doesn’t work at all!”
You can’t have AGW both ways. GHGs are either capable of the climate feat of obviating glacial inception, and indeed may already have if Ruddiman 2003 is correct (and presumably could continue to do so if we don’t do anything about them) or they can’t.
4) Increasingly, I have come of the opinion that none of it really matters. Your concept of going back to being a Member Of The Public may have more merit than some give you credit for. Here’s my take, which bolsters yours, but from way in left field. Go ahead. Remove anything not late Holocene hominid atmosphere approved. It is conceded that this will indeed quell that ominous IPCC AR4 upper error bar worst-case “business as usual” +0.59 m amsl sea-level rise by 2099. Fantastic! Then, like MIS-19, MIS-11, and MIS 5e before it, sea level goes up anyway, which in MIS-11 resulted in a +21.3 M amsl highstand, and anywhere from +6.0 to +52.0 m amsl during the last and strongest thermal excursion right at the end-Eemian. And not just once, but perhaps 3 times, again, before dropping off into the next ~80-90kyr ice age.
Yes, there is a question in here, in fact two. What is it climate alarmists actually hope to accomplish, again? If all “we” are going to do is futz about with +0.59 m, what does your climate health plan provide in terms of protection against a +6.0, +21.3, and +52 m amsl sea level rises which might just happen anyway? And maybe 3 times at a half-precession old interglacial, like it has done 3 times before? OK, that was 3 questions.
5) We are often told there is a silver-lining in every cloud. We had been on the interglacial stage, as our stone age selves, for as long during the Eemian as our civilizations have been during this interglacial, the Holocene. So, we have actually been through the climatic “Madhouse” known as glacial inception before. We actually made it through a triple-header and the Wisconsin glacial arriving here, today. What you may not realize is just how dependent the genus Homo is on climate change:
“An examination of the fossil record indicates that the key junctures in hominin evolution reported nowadays at 2.6, 1.8 and 1 Ma coincide with 400 kyr eccentricity maxima, which suggests that periods with enhanced speciation and extinction events coincided with periods of maximum climate variability on high moisture levels.”
state Trauth, et al (2009) in Quaternary Science Reviews
Which is where the rub is. We are at an eccentricity minima, not a maxima. We aren’t actually due for our next potential “hardware upgrade” for another 200kyrs when we can look forward to “periods of maximum climate variability on high moisture levels.” Feel better yet? No, that wasn’t the question. But we are either overdue, due, or maybe not due for the next glacial inception. Back at the end of MIS-5e, the Eemian, we made it through the climatic “Madhouse” of glacial inception. Famous astronomer Fred Hoyle stated this question best back in 1999:
“This is why the past million years has been essentially a continuing ice-age, broken occasionally by short-lived interglacials. It is also why those who have engaged in lurid talk over an enhanced greenhouse effect raising the Earth’s temperature by a degree or two should be seen as both demented and dangerous. The problem for the present swollen human species is of a drift back into an ice-age, not away from an ice-age.”
6) Would not the worst case be that CO2/GHGs aren’t the heathen devil gases they are made out to be?
7) Has there ever been a more “damned if we do and damned if we don’t” conundrum in hominid history?
It is here, after asking such awkward questions of the sciences, I also find myself “A Member of The Public”. The only really relevant climate question was that which Broecker asked way back in 1998 “The End of the Present Interglacial: How and When?”
If we can prevent it, I would be for doing so. We may only have “to do so” for a paltry ~4,000 years or so, if Sirockos and Seelos (2005) are correct:
“Investigating the processes that led to the end of the last interglacial period is relevant for understanding how our ongoing interglacial will end, which has been a matter of much debate…..”
“The onset of the LEAP occurred within less than two decades, demonstrating the existence of a sharp threshold, which must be near 416 Wm2, which is the 65oN July insolation for 118 kyr BP (ref. 9). This value is only slightly below today’s value of 428 Wm2. Insolation will remain at this level slightly above the [glacial] inception for the next 4,000 years before it then increases again.”
we may need only prop-up Gaia’s climate for that long. If we fail to do so, for any reason, then, well, you know, it might be glacial inception all over again.
GHGs either can or cannot mitigate glacial inception. It is no more complicated or simple than that. Period.
Which lends itself readily to the final questions of the whole climate change non-debate:
a) If GHGs can get us over the next ~4,000 years of glacial inception risk, then why are we having this discussion at all?
b) If GHGs can’t vault us across the next ~4,000 years of glacial inception risk, then why are we having this discussion at all?
I rest my “Member Of The Public” case.

Brian H
July 4, 2014 4:07 am

Barry, the fact that you don’t get immediately the outrageous contrast between the 300,000 undocumented (and almost certainly imaginary) climate deaths and the 10s of millions of real deaths from biofuel initiatives and misguided de-development economics that have already happened consigns your treatise and opinions to the dustbin. Discuss with Willis. I dare you.

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