The 2-Deg Global-Warming Limit

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

Politicians from around the globe gather annually in the UNFCCC meetings so they can propose and fail to come to worthwhile agreements on how to limit global warming and its impacts.  Year in, year out, same thing.  For the results of the most recent failed gathering, see the WattsUpWithThat post GWPF Welcomes Non-Binding And Toothless UN Climate Deal.  One of the primary factors that drive the politicians is an attempt to limit global warming to 2-deg C above preindustrial values, where preindustrial is considered the mid-to-late 1800s.

But where did that 2 deg C limit come from?

Some people might be surprised to discover that it started with a Professor of Economics, Dr. William Nordhaus of Yale, back in 1970s, not from a comprehensive analysis of climate, weather, sea levels and so on by climate scientists.  At least that’s what was presented in a blog post that has gained attention around the blogosphere.

The blog post is Two degrees: The history of climate change’s ‘speed limit’ by Mat Hope & Rosamund Pearce at ClimateCentral TheCarbonBrief. They write:

In the 1970s, Yale professor William Nordhaus alluded to the danger of passing a threshold of two degrees in a pair of now famous papers, suggesting that warming of more than two degrees would push the climate beyond the limits humans were [sic] familiar with:

And they quote Nordhaus:

“According to most sources the range of variation between between distinct climatic regimes is on the order of ±5°C, and at present time the global climate is at the high end of this range. If there were global temperatures more than 2° of 3° above the current average temperature, this would take the climate outside of the range of observations which have been made over the last several hundred thousand years.”

Hope and Pearce then note how James Hansen discussed “dangerous” climate change during his 1988 presentation to Congress, but didn’t present a threshold, and that it wasn’t until 1990 that there was a study to support the 2-deg limit. It came from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), in their report Responding to Climate Change: Tools for Policy Development [Part 1 of 2].  As noted in its introduction, it was:

…devoted to three specific aspects of the issues involved in developing policies for responding to climate change.

Oddly, the First IPCC Assessment Report was published a year later and it was inconclusive, inasmuch as the scientists could not differentiate between manmade and natural warming.

Hope and Pearce’s post at ClimateCentral TheCarbonBrief then run through the remaining history of studies working to support the 2-deg limit, one first presented by an economist.

That brings us to the post here by Pierre Gosselin at the NoTrickZone. It includes a number of quotes from members of the climate science community about the 2-deg C limit.  My favorite is the translation of a speech by Dr. Hans von Storch, in which von Storch is reported to have said in 2011 (my boldface):

We are in a time where scientists and politicians claim, or at least suggest, the science, in the form of the IPCC, or the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), has shown that the 2°C target is scientifically mandatory, and is thus no longer a political question that has to be negotiated by society, but rather a target that policymakers only must execute – quasi an order. However the IPCC has never in any way presented the 2°C target as mandatory. Rather this was done by a few scientists, or shall I say: politicians disguised as scientists.

That reminded me of a quote from Dr. Richard Lindzen, an Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology (emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  A recent April, 2014 presentation to the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) by Dr. Lindzen can be found on YouTube here.  Early in the presentation, Dr. Lindzen states:

…it should be recognized that the basis for a climate that is highly sensitive to added greenhouse gasses is solely the computer models. The relation of this sensitivity to catastrophe, moreover, does not even emerge from the models, but rather from the fervid imagination of climate activists.

The following is the graph being used as the feature image at WUWT.

WUWT Feature Image

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152 thoughts on “The 2-Deg Global-Warming Limit

    • I’m curious about that first graph. Didn’t Willis rather recently have a blog post analyzing temperature records looking for a volcanic eruption signature – and couldn’t find one? Was there something wrong with his methods? Data? Or yours?
      Not sniping, just asking.

  1. Variations in 50-year mean temperatures from Roman Warming to Dark Ages cooling then Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age have not varied even by as much as two degrees. The current warming period is due to end within 50 years and be followed by about 500 years of natural cooling, over which one molecule of carbon dioxide (or even 2) in 2,500 other air molecules will have absolutely minuscule effect, well under one-tenth of one degree, more likely cooling than warming. There is no physics which can be used to prove otherwise.

  2. If Nordhaus made his comments in the 1970s, why don’t you use the 1970s as the baseline for the 2 deg C rise? He said “above the current average temperature.” So there is a discrepancy between the BEST graph and the basis of the thread title. Also, the BEST data does not appear to start until around 1875. If HadCRUt data was used, the start point would be 1850 and the linear trend line would be shallower. Just sayin…

  3. Just for grins:
    http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Toft-CO2-PDO.jpg
    This assumes a “smooth” model for CO_2 that almost perfectly fits Mauna Loa data, with two possible smooth extrapolations, one to around 700 ppm by 2100, one to more like 950 ppm by 2100. Note that the log curves are physics-based fits to the data and entirely defensible (and fit the data well enough to leave almost nothing to “explain”). The sinusoid is purely empirical and I have no good or bad explanation for it, but it works amazingly well over the last 165 years. Also note that 700 ppm is not really “optimistic” CO_2 — it is already probably excessive and assumes the continuation of a hyperexponential growth in the teeth of improvements in technology, the possibility of fusion, LFTR fission, etc. It comes in just at the ~2 C “limit”.
    Which is in and of itself, pretty much nonsense. The climate naturally varies by close to 50C annually in much of the world (for example in NC it goes from around -10C to 40 C). 2 C is lost in the noise. Actually, nearly anywhere it is lost in the noise. And it is simply not possible to ascribe any sort of massive advantages or disadvantages to a 2 C average temperature increase — it isn’t enough to cause massive shifts of climate anywhere. To put it in perspective: The US government provides climate zone weather maps here:
    http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/#
    or here:
    http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/Downloads.aspx
    (beware, the hi-res maps are for wall posters and are huge). The color bands represent more than 2 C differences for the most part. A 2 C shift in global climate wouldn’t even shift your growing season one whole zone “south”. And as we all know, the actual climate is already enormously variable from year to year, with some years not getting close to the minimum temperature, and others setting records. It would take decades for people to notice that minimum temperature records were no longer being set in any given zone, especially when this is not the case for any state in the United States of America at this time. In fact, last winter saw a rather large number of low temperature records set.
    The US Agriculture Department is a far better indicator of climate change than NOAA or NASA or the CRU. If they revise their planting zones by shifting them all (say) 300 miles to the north (which is probably still short of 2 C) and farmers plant according to these zones and a hard frost happens, it is an economic disaster. So far, there is no indication that they are anywhere near recommending this as a good bet. For excellent reason! It isn’t!
    rgb

    • it is lost in the noise

      2°C is not really lost in noise, for example here it maps to two official growing zones and about 150 miles. That means a big difference here for example, Vitis and Malus species.
      The changes so far are small and mostly positive, but 2°C would not go unnoticed even if it is small compared to daily and yearly changes. 200 degree-days more warmth during the summer has considerable positive effect on plant growth, on the other hand, no-snow winters may destroy, for example, Vaccinium myrtillus for good.

      • Fair enough, although note well that nobody has commented on negative effects of any sort from the ~1C warming observed — if we can take HadCRUT4 at face value — over the last 165 years. Sure, WHO reports a gazillion excess deaths due to global warming but that is sheer political piffle as there is absolutely no way to meaningfully attribute deaths to global warming and besides, how to they attribute all of the surplus “lifes” due to increased food supply, fewer deaths from wintertime exposure, shortening of the flu season, and so on? It’s an empty exercise because the climate has not shifted meaningfully outside of its range of natural variation.
        To put that in perspective, just about exactly 1/2 of the state high temperature records in the US were set in a single decade. And it isn’t a decade in the 21st century, or even a decade in the last half of the 20th century. It is the 1930s.
        If you look at the plot I posted above, you’ll note that current warming is just barely resolved beyond the acknowledged uncertainty and noise in HadCRUT4 from most of the 20th century (and note well, you won’t usually see plots of it that include the error bars at all — enjoy). HadCRUT4 omits any sort of UHI effect correction and hence has a known and growing systematic warming bias that I very much doubt is included in those error bars. Furthermore, the error bars themselves are very hard to believe — note that they are only roughly a factor of 2 smaller in 2014 than they are in 1850. Does anyone actually believe that the ratio of currently available “independent” data to “independent” data in 1950 is 4 to 1? Because that’s how standard error scales with the number of independent samples.
        Personally I think that they are underestimating error by a rather large factor. What do we think the ratio is between the number and geographical coverage of reliable sites in 1850 and in 2014? 1 to 10? 1 to 100? I suspect that the true error bars are more than big enough to overlap current temperatures. At the very least, I’d like to see just how they justify only a factor of 2.
        rgb

      • Hugh
        Sorry, but rgb is right: 2°C is certainly “lost in the noise”.
        A rise of 2°C in global average surface temperature (GAST) is commonplace, is trivial, and about double that rise happens during 6 months of each year, so a putative future 2°C in GAST over 150 years certainly would be “lost in the noise”.
        Please remember that the feared 2°C is in global average surface temperature ANOMALLY (GASTA) and NOT global average surface temperature (GAST).
        Global average surface temperature (GAST) rises by 3.8°C (i.e. nearly double 2°C) from June to January each year and falls by the same amount in the other 6 months of each year and nobody notices.
        The 3.8°C rise and fall in GAST during each year occurs because
        (a) water is a much larger heat sink than land,
        (b)
        the Northern Hemisphere (NH) is covered by more land than the Southern Hemisphere (SH),
        (c)
        so the temperatures of the seasons vary more in the NH than the SH,
        (d)
        and one hemisphere is in summer when the other is in winter
        (e)
        but at any moment GAST is the average of NH and SH temperatures.
        As rgbatduke says

        The climate naturally varies by close to 50C annually in much of the world (for example in NC it goes from around -10C to 40 C). 2 C is lost in the noise. Actually, nearly anywhere it is lost in the noise. And it is simply not possible to ascribe any sort of massive advantages or disadvantages to a 2 C average temperature increase — it isn’t enough to cause massive shifts of climate anywhere.

        Richard

      • You have good points there.

        nobody has commented on negative effects of any sort from the ~1C warming observed

        I’d be the last to comment those. I think the difference in mean growing season length, heat sum and frequency of late/early frost is firmly positive. OTOH, the one or two C here at north boreal zone seemed to make a difference.
        richard said:

        Sorry, but rgb is right: 2°C is certainly “lost in the noise”.

        I don’t really get your points. Loosing a real 2°C rise it in the noise is just a question of not measuring well. In daily or even local yearly perspective 2°C is not that much, it just might mean the quality of your corn is/isn’t again high enough to make profit, but you would not immediately notice that the temps have dropped/risen by two degrees, even when two degrees is considered a lot. As I said, here 2°C average matches here about two climatic growing zones, which would roughly mean that a plant that didn’t survive or didn’t produce its product starts to survive say 20 years in a row meaning that agriculture based on it is possible.
        People who do not grow stuff on the very natural limits of the plant in question don’t necessarily understand how one can and can’t notice climate related shift. Sometimes people who do grow stuff get it wrong too. Nice, isn’t it.
        Also the results depend on how the extra heat is supposed appear. By making the growing season longer, by melting snow repeatedly or by making hot dry summers? The first option is pretty promising, the last two have negative effects. The current Arctic amplification talk says the winters become snow-poor and rainy, which has definitely negative effects, while others (from what they say I deduce) expect Riviera to come here. Lol. I expect the variability continues just as is and the growing season gets slightly longer. Who knows? I is easy to scare when theory is not good enough to produce predictions that could be tested.

      • Isn’t it true that the majority (almost all) of the increase in global average temperatures has been because of a rise in the daily minimum temperatures? If that is the case, I don’t think most of us will even notice a change in growing zones, though we may get a week or two extra at the beginning and end of the growing season without killing freezes.

      • rgbatduke
        December 16, 2014 at 2:55 pm
        Also, the tropics SST is a maximum at ~31 C because of the tropical zone’s evaporative and convective cooling. Much of the added temperature would be in the polar regions – activist scientists have harped about this enough that they’ve shot themselves in the foot with this as far as 2C rise is concerned. This means that Elsmere Island might heat up 8C (and still freeze for 10.5 months) but the temperate zone will add a half a degree. Watch the pea!

    • Dr. Brown, I always enjoy reading your replies – always so common sense and logical. Though I would like to add a ‘what if’ to your graph: What if the ‘blue line’ is part of some quasi-sinusoidal cycle also, where the 1850 or a bit before was a ‘local low’, and a few hundred years later we may be reach a ‘local high’ (perhaps around now, or a bit in the future), and then the cycle swings lower again? .
      No reason to think the blue line might not be that way – some sort of cycle (the Medieval warm period I think we all agree was as warm, if not warmer, than today). So even with increasing CO2 and and any temperature effects it might have, I really don’t expect the temps to just continue to follow the ‘blue line’ trend along with the other cycles. But it will be fun to watch and see. AND EVEN IF it did, plenty of time to adapt if it really starts to go beyond the 2 degrees. Sure hope a lot of nuclear or thorium power plants are up and running at that time.

      • Dear Martin C,
        You have put your finger on the fundamental problem with fitting timeseries in the first place. Koutsoyiannis has an absolutely amazing short paper on hydrology in which he makes precisely this point. We can even make it mathematically. Suppose y(t) is some nonlinear non-negative function that is bounded so that it can neither run to infinity or zero (and indeed spends all of its time in some finite range well about zero. Global average temperature is obvious just such a function, but so are many other things.
        We can expand this function (around e.g. t=0) in a Taylor series:
        y(t) = y_0 + \frac{dy}{dt} t + \frac{1}{2!} \frac{d^2y}{dt^2}t^2 + \frac{1}{3!} \frac{d^3y}{dt^3} t^3...
        Now observe. For sufficiently short times, we won’t be able to observe much change assuming that y_0 \gg \frac{dy}{dt}. We will go: “Aha, y(t) \approx y_0, a constant! This is all the more true if there is a lot of short term e.g. gaussian noise superimposed on y(t) and if our measurements of y(t) are crude in their resolution.
        If we wait a bit longer, though, we’ll see the linear term emerge. Insensibly, y(t) will start to trend up, or down! “Aha,” we say, “y(t) is clearly a linear function and will rise without bound!” If there are negative consequences to this growth, we are likely to trumpet this observation in a state of high dudgeon and if we are silly enough or religious enough to believe that y(t) is by its nature supposed to be constant, we will look for somebody to blame it on.
        As still more time passes, the quadratic term emerges. If it, too, is positive, we will hear the mutter of blame become a howl. “Repent, ye sinners! y(t) is accelerating as we proceed towards our justly-earned doom!” However, recall that y(t) is bounded, which basically means that sooner or later in the Taylor series, the terms change sign. In a sine or cosine function, for example, every other term is positive or negative. So perhaps, when we wait long enough, the negative third derivative emerges and the function curves right on over (because in each case, once the t^2 term emerges it dominates, once the $latex t^3 term emerges it dominates). Yeeks! Now y(t) is plunging towards zero! A whole new group of religious fanatics emerges. They cast the priests of the former religion into a fiery furnace to appease the gods that now are carrying y(t) down, down past the original latex y_0$, down to where no good can come of it. And of course, it is Our Fault. Pass the offering basket, and please be generous! You are being watched, and the stake outside is still warm in case you feel heretical today…
        This is one of a zillion reasons that statisticians don’t go around fitting linear trends to data and expecting that data to extrapolate without some other reason to think that the data should be linear. It’s one reason that a wise statistician feels enormous trepidation when they fit a trend to data that is supposed to be linear and they have to place an actual bet on it continuing to be linear with the slope of the best fit. It is the reason I don’t assert anything regarding the observed 2+ cycle harmonic function apparently superimposed on an apparent roughly logarithmic growth in global temperature as a function of a smoothly fit and extrapolated CO_2 as a function of time. Even though there is truly excellent support from physics for the assertion that global temperature should vary with CO_2 concentration like its logarithm, even though, as you can see this theoretically supported physics-based hypothesis is well-supported by the data and has enough explanatory power to explain, well, almost everything but the weird 0.1 cosine and the manifest “noise”, global temperature is almost certainly a highly nonlinear, bounded, multivariate function that is a single output state parameter of an enormously nonlinear chaotic dynamic system with many varying drivers and with internal metastructure such that all of the variation observed above is basically noise surrounding some much larger variation due to nothing but nonlinear dynamics, no partial derivative terms involving drivers need apply!
        This isn’t even an unlikely hypothesis with regard to the climate. Is there anybody alive that expects the function that fits so well above to extrapolate into the indefinitely past? Of course not. We know that the climate has gone up and down and up and down by order of 1 C over a timescale of centuries, and has gone up and down by order of 6-10 C over a time scale of tens of thousands of years. We know that it is multistable and that this is the warm phase of its primary bistable oscillation, but we can see strong evidence that the warm and cool phases multifurcate and that the attractor representing global average temperature can switch without warning or identifiable “proximate cause” up or down by a degree C or even more. We can study far simpler nonlinear oscillators and observe precisely this sort of unpredictable behavior with ease. Chaos was discovered studying the weather and climate.
        This means that it is almost impossible to determine a reliable expected error in the extrapolation even of a nearly perfect fit like the one I have produced above. I know that there are negative terms in the partial derivatives that determine the climate, negative in the specific sense that they oppose changes in temperature. If those terms were not there, the temperature would run away to zero or infinity. Stability, as noted above, requires emergent forcings that firmly oppose both increases and decreases around the stable point, and it is next to impossible to predict the shift in the stable point itself on the basis of naive arguments as it is generally the result of cancellations between these opposing forces. The biggest derivative dominates the behavior — making changes in the linear term when the cubic term dominates has little effect, just as locally it is the other way around, for small t it is the linear term that often dominates.
        In the specific case of temperature, we know that there is a 0.1 C systematic variation, at least, mixed in with the 0.8 C warming from 1850. But is that all? We literally cannot say, as we lack a theory. Perhaps 0.5 C of the warming was warming that would have happened anyway, according to a smooth function in time that can be fit well enough that the log fit “works” to describe it. Perhaps there should have been 0.3 C of cooling, and my log fit is greatly underestimating future CO_2-driven warming because I failed to subtract this systematic variation. We have no idea, and have damn-all way of answering it because our knowledge of the past climate state of the planet sucks! This is perhaps the most maddening aspect of climate science, and is reflected in the factor of two error bar difference between 1850 and the present.
        I’m sorry, but knowledge is being claimed here that we just don’t have! In 1850, Antarctica was a great big empty blob on the map. The interior of Australia too. Stanley and Livingston had yet to discover one another in the middle of Africa (in fact, they had yet to seriously contemplate exploring the middle of Africa). The Amazon was Terra Incognita. Most of both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans were sailed at most by whalers — all other shipping proceeded alone narrowly marked “sea lanes” where one might get help from other ships in the not unlikely event of trouble, and the methodology for measuring and recording sea surface and air temperatures at sea was abominable. Siberia. Tibet. Most of China. The interesting question is in what parts of the world did we know some measure of climate to some degree of accuracy, and the answer is — perhaps 5 to 10% of its surface area was at least poorly sampled, with only 1-2% known to anything like systematic accuracy. One could drop the entire Pacific hot-spot that is going to be used to inflate this year’s average surface temperature into that ignorance and it vanishes without a trace, because it had almost no effect on temperatures in Europe or the Eastern United States, which were the only parts of the world well-covered with thermometers. We might as well just use My Back Yard as a proxy of global temperature. Why not? Surely it responds and varies along with that average. Of course, be careful about the part of my yard that you use, as the front of the house (facing southwest on a hill above concrete and asphalt) is a terrible predictor of the temperatures observed at the back of the house — they often differ by around 2 C all by themselves, and if one goes back in time my “yard” was a tobacco field with no road at all and then a cotton field and then an old-growth forest and then… we are back to UHI and the impact of civilization on thermometers that have predominantly been located in urban areas because that’s where people actually live.
        The proper role of science and scientists in society in this context is to study the climate and to try to figure it out, not to make unsupportable and religious pronouncements of doom based on the naive extrapolation of a local behavior. It is not to pretend to knowledge we just don’t have — yet. It is not to make statements with no foundation at all such as “disaster will occur if there is a 2 C warming relative to pre-industrial temperature levels”. Really? And science tells us this how? If you listen to them actually make such an argument it will always be expressed as:
        If (A = T goes up by 2 C) .AND. (Global Icepack Melts) .AND. (Sea Level goes up by 1 meter) .AND. (Drought becomes more severe) .AND. ((what the hell, why not,) Flooding becomes more severe) .AND. (Malaria makes a comeback in Europe and the United States) .AND. (Deaths from overheating increase, uncompensated by a decrease in deaths due to freezing) .AND. (… ad nauseam) then the economic cost of Global Warming will be greater than or equal to the economic cost of spending a fortune now to prevent all of the above.
        Now a Bayesian — and I am indeed a Bayesian — would try to assign probabilities to each of the conditions above. This dubious statement in logic becomes a more quantitative statement about the probability of the outcome as the product of the probabilities of the conditions (and actually opens the door to a multivariate statistical analysis on the matrix of probable truths). What one discovers is that by the time you get to the end of any reasonable causal chain, the uncertainties in the assertions and outcomes are large. Very large. We have no idea, for example, if CO_2 will exceed 600 ppm if we do nothing, because we cannot even begin to compute the probability or effect of emergent technologies that make even a perfectly well founded estimate of future CO_2 based on all things remaining equal nonsense. Who would have expected natural gas to emerge and make US production of CO_2 level off? Who can begin to extrapolate the effect of successful, cost effective, D-D fusion or LFTR fission power? Who can estimate the impact of a high temperature superconductor or a cheap, high efficiency photovoltaic or an order of magnitude increase in rechargable battery capacities built using cheap and readily available material? Here we have to use Bayes’ theorem the other way. It is A .OR. B .OR. C … — any one of these would make our extrapolation (say, the fit I present above) above pointless even if it were precisely correct and did indeed exactly reflect the physics of the atmosphere. The fit might work, and CO_2 might peak at (say) 500 ppm, well short of 2 C.
        And in the end, we cannot say that there will be the slightest disaster at 2 C (which is roughly 1 C more than current temperatures). There isn’t any reason at all to think that there has been one single disaster or negative impact of the 1 C warming observed — if we can take HadCRUT4 more seriously than it perhaps should be taken — since 1850. SLR has gone up not a meter, but 9 or 10 whole inches. Growing seasons are longer. Plants grow more. Winters are shorter. Not much shorter — almost indiscernibly shorter — but, we can imagine, we can plant a week or so earlier in the temperate zone than they could plant in 1850 (in the tropics this is likely unchanged, and in the arctic it is irrelevant). The temperate zone (by some definition) might reach 100 miles further north, or might not.
        Again, if we weren’t being told that the Earth is warming, would we even notice?
        I think not. I don’t think that there is a single place on Earth where anyone would notice, with the possible exception of people living at the foot of a glacier, and there the changes they observe stretch back to the end of the LIA if not the end of the Holocene. I certainly wouldn’t notice in My Back Yard. In my back yard, it was the second or third coldest winter in the 41 years I’ve lived in North Carolina — it went down to zero, where it has gone down as far as -5 F in my memory. The hottest summers were all back in the early 80’s. The year was neither the driest (80’s again) or wettest (any year where a hurricane e.g. Floyd makes landfall in anotherwise reaonably wet year). The year was remarkably unremarkable, except for the cold and snow, and that is hardly “unprecedented”.
        rgb

      • Hi Dr. Brown,
        Thanks very much for your reply. Yes, how do you fit trends? Long term ? shorter term ? The games can go on and on . .
        AND you are so right, that IF we ‘weren’t being told about global warming, and the ‘hottest year evah!’, would we really notice , , ,? No, we wouldn’t. WELL, maybe a bit . . what I mean by that, it is because of the UHI. Being in the Phoenix metro area since 1978, the area has grown so much, I to think the ‘lows’ aren’t as were back then. Highs, not so much. We had our hottest in June 1990 (122 degrees F). and almost a record again in 1994 I think (121 degrees f). But nothing like that since. And for what it’s worth, the last couple of summers I didn’t think were that bad for us here . . ( . .but that’s just my take . .)
        So the ‘games’ continue. Wonder what will go on in the ‘climate community’ if we REALLY DO see a dip in averages temps over the next 10 or so years . . ?

    • Not the first person to suggest it but the effects on maximum and minimum temperatures is important here. I can’t see any down side to minimum temperatures being 2°C more on average. Maybe someone having a sleepless night in the tropics might disagree with me.

    • The variation in Waterloo this year was over 60 C. In the Arctic it frequently reaches 70. The risk of a hard frost is very real at both ends of the summer. Two degrees up would be welcome and improve food security.

  4. the birth of the 2 degree limit is discussed in this article:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/climate-catastrophe-a-superstorm-for-global-warming-research-a-686697-8.html
    “For this reason a group of German scientists, yielding to political pressure, invented an easily digestible message in the mid-1990s: the two-degree target. To avoid even greater damage to human beings and nature, the scientists warned, the temperature on Earth could not be more than two degrees Celsius higher than it was before the beginning of industrialization.
    It was a pretty audacious estimate. Nevertheless, the powers-that-be finally had a tangible number to work with. An amazing success story was about to begin.
    ‘Clearly a Political Goal’
    Rarely has a scientific idea had such a strong impact on world politics. Most countries have now recognized the two-degree target. If the two-degree limit were exceeded, German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen announced ahead of the failed Copenhagen summit, “life on our planet, as we know it today, would no longer be possible.”
    But this is scientific nonsense. “Two degrees is not a magical limit — it’s clearly a political goal,” says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The world will not come to an end right away in the event of stronger warming, nor are we definitely saved if warming is not as significant. The reality, of course, is much more complicated.”
    Schellnhuber ought to know. He is the father of the two-degree target.
    “Yes, I plead guilty,” he says, smiling. The idea didn’t hurt his career. In fact, it made him Germany’s most influential climatologist. Schellnhuber, a theoretical physicist, became Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief scientific adviser — a position any researcher would envy.
    Rule of Thumb
    The story of the two-degree target began in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). Administration politicians had asked the council for climate protection guidelines, and the scientists under Schellnhuber’s leadership came up with a strikingly simple idea. “We looked at the history of the climate since the rise of homo sapiens,” Schellnhuber recalls. “This showed us that average global temperatures in the last 130,000 years were no more than two degrees higher than before the beginning of the industrial revolution. To be on the safe side, we came up with a rule of thumb stating that it would be better not to depart from this field of experience in human evolution. Otherwise we would be treading on terra incognita.””

    • It’s an absurdity that Schnellenhuber & co are more afraid of 2 K warming than of the 6 K cooling which was prevalent about 80% of the considered human history of 130 ka…
      Why?
      2 K warming and more atmospheric CO2 (indifferent if produced by mankind or by oceanic outgassing) will mean better plant growth and consequently more food and livelihood for even more humans on this little planet than today.
      But 6 K cooling and hence less atmospheric CO2 (due to more gas absorption in cold ocean water) will mean the starvation of around 90 % of todays human population, very likely…

      • And – I did forget to mention:
        Why, oh why were warmer periods of the human history than today, like the first half of the Holocene or the Roman era, called “climate optima” by historians before the current CO2 hysteria started after 1990???

      • Your truths though won’t sell carbon credits, won’t slow the growth of the human population, won’t stop Brazilians and Indonesians chopping down their rain forests for agriculture land-use, won’t stop man looking for mineral resources, and won’t stop Chinese fish trawlers from drift netting the world’s oceans. That is the real reason the environmental movement gets behind the CAGW scare, because it is a means to an end for them.

      • joelobryan
        Indonesians are chopping down the forests to plant oil palms to make biodiesel which is sold subsidised in the EU. It is the direct result of ‘green’ policies for fuel on the other side of the planet. Most of the owners are Singapore nationals who know a sucker when they see one. Malaysia has already been paved with oil palms.

      • So are they actually worried that the CO2 will prevent the 6 degree fall in temperature, and allow that 90% of humanity they wish to kill off, to go on living?

  5. The notion that we humans can control what the temperature of the planet does does is ludicrous insanity. We might as well have a 2° Global Cooling Limit.
    Hey, while we’re at it, how about a “limit” on how many space-aliens we can allow on our planet before planetary destruction?

    • 330 years ago in North America the people were both dancing around fires wearing buckskin and feathers, singing and chanting to change the weather while the newly arrived occupants were burning young women at the stake for being witches with the power to change the weather. Today those who are convinced that we CAN change the weather (by accident no less) and they crucify those who suggest that we cannot change the weather. 300 years of Progress…

  6. “A 2 C shift in global climate wouldn’t even shift your growing season one whole zone “south””
    A point I try to make to warmists. They truly believe that this will be an even, measured increase, and that even if say here in Toronto our climate changes to that of Tennessee, THAT MEANS THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON THE EQUATOR WILL BE VAPOURIZED!!!!
    Or something. Logic isn’t their long suite.

    • You need to look at the weather maps I linked. 2 C doesn’t change Toronto to Tennessee. It changes Toronto to, maybe, Pennsylvania. Every color tone on the map represents over a 2 C shift in minimum temperature.
      But the climate shift isn’t even that severe. What has been observed is that daytime highs are not shifting by much if at all, because they are already strongly limited by nonlinear effects. Night time lows have — maybe — been getting a bit warmer. So literally all that global warming has been doing so far is — maybe — making first or last frost happen a bit later or earlier.
      How much later or earlier? Well, not enough to prevent new records from being set, and not enough to shift the growing zones because you can count on Toronto having last frost any earlier than it usually does. For example, consider the Great Lakes this year. Consider snowfall in NC for Halloween this year. Consider that five or six years ago we had an ice and snow storm on the Outer Banks (usually warmed by the ocean) in mid-April. Consider that I’ve lived in my house for 20 years, and 18 years ago we had a killing frost a full week into May that wiped out all of my azaleas (and hence was memorable). Last frost is usually mid-April, and often the 1st of April. There has been no observable warming since then.
      Basically, if we weren’t constantly being told that the climate is changing, would anyone really be able tell that it was? Of course not. Because whatever changes are occurring, they are all but invisible. That’s why the press has to attribute every single storm to “climate change” — because otherwise nobody could tell. Storms never happened in the old days, eh?
      Fact. Tornado frequency and energy in the US has set an all time 3 year low, IIRC. Fact. We have continued, unremarked, the incredibly long all time record period without a category 3 or higher hurricane making landfall in the US — I think we must be getting close to doubling it if we haven’t doubled the previous record already. In a Poissonian system, that is actually very unlikely. And the hurricane season was very mild indeed — I lived through what was probably the most violent hurricane to hit land in the US this year at the high end of category 1 even though they might tell you it was a 2). It did almost no damage and killed 0 people. The eye went right over my head. Very cool, a bit scary, but a yawner historically.
      What if we weren’t being told that the climate is changing due to anthropogenic causes? Would anybody be able to tell that it was, outside of their own door? I very, very much doubt it.
      rgb
      [Thank you. .mod]

      • RGB, this is the what I have said all along. The scare tactics of CAGW when they say that the world will faced with catastrophe with a 2C average per year rise of temps when you have a mass exodus of people moving from NYC to Miami which is a 10C change. Yup 2C is pretty scary. These people never consider that max temps are relatively unchanged, and it is only the difference between night and day and lows and highs which narrow which changes the average. Not a scary impact, but yet they try and tell us that the world will suffer untold consequences as a result.
        Personally, I will jump the Miami temps and go 3 or 4 degrees warmer and take Hawaii. Yup I am a glutton for punishment.
        Thank You RGB for your logical thoughts and the ability you have to communicate it to all of us. Why is it that the war mists never come online to rebut you directly and try their arguments on your posts?

      • I am worried about the gradual increase in sea level. I can’t notice it, but it could make the beach close to my condo a lot narrower. We need to change zoning to make it impossible to build close to the high tide line. And I would make it mandatory to raise the ground floor at least three meters above current high tides. That’s the climate change problem I worry about until I see something more tangible. Acting now to avoid a lot of spending in 100 years makes sense.

      • You are welcome, mod:-)
        This really should be one of the fundamental messages of the politics of skepticism. Here, let’s make a good billboard:
        IF YOU WEREN’T BEING TOLD THE WORLD IS WARMING, WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO TELL ON YOUR OWN?
        That is even if the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is true and climate sensitivity is the 1.8 C/doubling of CO_2 that I find best fits the 1850-present data and plot above, could you detect the warming outside of Your Back Door?
        The answer to this is unambiguous. It is no. It is literally indetectable against the noise in a human lifespan. There are places it has gotten “noticably” warmer, places it has gotten “noticably” cooler, and almost everywhere else, it is well within the bounds of observational error and natural variation both short and long term.
        As I pointed out above, the Department of Agriculture is a much better harbinger of climate change than NOAA or the CRU. If they fail in their assessments, farmers go bankrupt, gardeners get angry, people notice. And no, they haven’t meaningfully shifted growing zones around because whatever warming might or might not have occurred, one cannot count on record lows being 1 C warmer, or record highs being 1 C warmer, or there being more droughts, more storms, less droughts, less storms, more floods, less floods — in fact the change is will within the range of local natural variation for any given climate zone and if it were likely to have an enormous impact, we would experience that impact every 5 to 10 years as a natural swing carries to one or the other extreme by pure chance.
        I reiterate — people really should download or at least look at the DoA growing zone map I linked above. Every zone is separated by more than 2 C (in fact, by exactly 5 F!), and zones themselves are at most 300 miles wide, often much less (where there are mountains, for example). Florida is banded by five distinct zones, Texas seven, North Carolina two, New York six (and those not in north-south stripes!) I wasn’t kidding — Canada north of New York is separated from the Pennsylvania by three to five climate zones — some ten degrees C in observed minimum temperature.
        So here’s yet another way of politically portraying the impact of global warming. The median (probably exaggerated) warming predicted by the IPCC is very, very close to 5 F. So:
        IF THE IPCC’s AR5 PREDICTIONS ARE CORRECT, BY 2100 YOUR GROWING SEASON WILL BE SHIFTED ONE ZONE SOUTH RELATIVE TO 1850!
        And seriously, who would actually object to that? Especially in places like New York State where it is cold as all hell and where it wouldn’t even shift it south, it might well shift it sideways.
        rgb

      • Fernando Leanme December 17, 2014 at 1:50 am
        May I ask how old you are, and how old you expect to become?
        May I also ask why you would find it reasonable to invest now to avoid spending a lot to raise the ground floor in 100 years? Your condo must be a very solid construction with a long life expectancy.
        Have you thought about the net present value of your investment now to avoid spending in 100 years?

      • “So literally all that global warming has been doing so far is — maybe — making first or last frost happen a bit later or earlier.”
        As someone who grows my own food, this sounds wonderful – IF it were actually happening. I have been more troubled about later spring frosts and earlier fall frosts the last couple years…

      • Yes. Great arguments, as always, Dr, Brown. I like the planting-zone map indicator very much because it’s actual “ground truth”, no pun.
        And it just occurred to me recently with the incessant “climate change” drubbing: where exactly has any actual climate zone on Earth recently changed since man started altering it with CO2, or even before? Nowhere, nowhere at all.
        The last major global shifts were at the end of the last glacial at the end of the Pleistocene I mean we’ve had the same climate zones in the same places for thousands of years with warm and cold blips at various locales along the way.
        Mesopotamia – the “Fertile Crescent” – and large swaths of Saharan Africa are now deserts, where not long ago the climate supported vegetation. I was schooled that deforestation had a major part in altering the regions but I suspect there had to have been some natural climatic shift to so dramatically alter that landscape, and it sure was not due to man’s CO2 output. I do not know of any other similar scale of persistent change. So we still basically have cold and dry at the poles, warm and wet in the tropics, and moderate in between with wet, dry, warm, and cool variations on the local scale all depending on elevation and marine influences. Can you shed any light on what happened in the areas mentions above? Big salinity change in the adjacent seas?
        I also learned another lesson at my local level on the Delmarva Peninsula when the professor quizzed the class as to why pine trees dominated in the southern part. We all came up with the wrong answers, of course, and he finally revealed it was deforestation, man-made. The land was clear-cut to farm and when it reverted the first trees to establish are pines until eventually hardwoods regain dominance. This didn’t cause any climate shift, but it shows man indeed does have the ability to unintentionally alter an ecosystem. However, changing or controlling the global climate is not in man’s power. .

  7. Can anyone please explain how the average temperature of the earth in the 1880’s can be considered “optimum”? Given that we are now by some measures 1 degree hotter than that today, where is the evidence that we are much worse off today? And then how can one further degree of warming become catastrophic given the seasonal variations we all adjust to?

  8. This is like the whispered rumour that is passed around a juvenile classroom, in precisely the same manner as the CO2-AGW myth that had is first airing in the late 19th century.
    The mind boggles at the stupidity in all its manifestations!

  9. In the next few decades we’ll probably be wishing we were at 2 degrees above the preindustrial average. Where did the idea that a cooler climate is better than a warmer one come from?

  10. How much warmer would it have to get to grow wine grapes in Britain again?
    How much warmer to allow dairy farms on Greenland (again)?

  11. Somewhere, somehow, I got the pre industrial as the temperature in 1750. Also, if you look over the draft Lima declaration, it says they want to drop the limit to 1.5 degrees above pre industrial. I cut and pasted this from an UN document
    “Noting with grave concern the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”
    Here’s your link
    http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/lima_dec_2014/in-session/application/pdf/cpl14.pdf

  12. I read somewhere that the 2 degrees figure originally came from a left wing political European Union group, which had little to do with any science.

  13. We have 4.5 billion years with no average temperature data.
    .
    We have 100 years with inaccurate non-global surface measurements
    that may measure local warming from economic growth near the thermometers
    more than anything else.
    .
    We have 35 years of reasonably accurate global data measured from the troposphere.
    At this point in time we can’t even be sure whether average temperature is in a long-term rising or falling trend, much less if humans had any effect on the average temperature.
    .
    And the future temperature, like everything else in the future, is unknown.
    .
    If past cycles repeat there will be another ice age some day, and mild temperature variations between
    ice ages.
    .
    Since so much is unknown, and unknowable, about the climate (both our history and the future), predictions of a coming climate catastrophe can be used by men seeking power as a (false) crisis to convince the masses to do as they say.
    .
    Using inaccurate computer game climate models, and selecting two degrees of warming as a critical level, have nothing to do with real science — they are political tools and decisions used to advance a political agenda.
    .
    That political agenda is the biggest “religion” of the twentieth century: Socialism.
    .
    It’s unfortunate that real science and debate can’t be used with religious people, whether the new secular religion of socialism or traditional religions..
    .
    Trying to convince a warmunist (a science denier) that changes in the climate are natural variations, and more CO2 there is nothing to worry about because CO2 greens the Earth with little or no effect on the average temperature … would be like trying to convince a devout Baptist there is no God.
    .
    You can’t debate warmunists.
    .
    We can only hope the recent cold years continue, and the cold weather makes the sheeple come to their senses (before the warmunists have them convinced colder weather leads to future warming!)
    .
    The warmunists do not deserve respect, whether they have science PhD’s or not.
    The climate models do not deserve respect.
    The surface measurements do not deserve respect.
    And I believe surface measurements get too much respect at this website.
    Just because surface data are the best available pre-1979 does not mean they are useful.
    Does anyone here even know how many thermometers were used to determine the average temperature in 1880 and their margin of error? Yet I see those data on charts … and with no margin of error bars!
    .
    I know REAL scientists, who have better things to do than playing climate computer games financed by government grants, are not politicians.
    .
    But it would be a good political strategy to “use” the current cold spell as a golden opportunity to ridicule the warmunists and their models … because that opportunity may slip away if it gets warmer next year … and its also no fun to get character attacked so often and never fight back!
    .
    Cold weather in 2013/2014 is a crisis (for the warmunists) that should not be wasted by real scientists.
    .
    It’s obvious from climate proxy studies that we should expect normal inter-glacial average temperatures to have natural variations within roughly a 10 degree F. range.
    .
    Athough the future climate is not predictable, climate proxy studies suggest any natural warming (or cooling) trend will last hundreds of years, with at least 2 degrees of climate change.
    .
    The trick is to convince the sheeple +2 C. is perfectly normal, and not dangerous to humans (unless most of the future warming affected the Antarctic ice … completely the opposite of actual warming measured so far, which mainly affects floating Arctic ice … and that local warming is most likely not caused by greenhouse gasses.

    • Richard Greene
      This thread is about the ‘2°C limit’ for global climate. The origins, validity and nature of the limit are all subjects pertinent to this thread.
      But this thread is not intended to enable your promotion of your sadly mistaken propaganda that the political philosophy of “Socialism” is “religion”. Indeed, American capitalism is the political philosophy that proclaims itself to be a religion; e.g. “These truths we hold to be self-evident …”, “One Nation under God …”, etc.
      All such discussions are misplaced here and – as my comment about American capitalism is intended to show you – are divisive and disruptive.
      Richard

      • The USA Constitution doesn’t really endorse capitalism. It’s a description of the government, its branches, how it works, and a list of individual rights. I ran away from a communist dictatorship when I was 14, landed in a refugee camp in Europe, and had time to think and discuss the topic with a very diverse group of people over the years. Capitalism, socialism, communism, and other systems are not necessarily linked to democracy or dictatorship. Communism concentrates power, puts a smallish and very fanatic elite at the top, and therefore it ALWAYS creates the conditions for dictatorship. Capitalism, if allowed to function with monopolies, cartels, and corrupted government officials, can create the environment for oligarchy and autocratic rule. Capitalism is entrenched in the USA because it has worked extremely well. As far as I can see, it is also creating the conditions for oligarchy to emerge. I have serious doubts the system will correct itself. On the other hand, communist systems self correct by imploding or moving into Neo fascism, or whatever you want to call that abomination the Chinese use.

        • The US Constitution does not “endorse” Capitalism because “Capitalism” did not exist when it was written. However free trade did exist. The word “capitalism” Was coined by a novelist (William Thackery) in the mid 19th century based upon the term “Capitalist” coined by Marx.

      • The first Europeans who came here tried socialism and almost starved. Thanksgiving was to celebrate the excess supply of food available only AFTER their utopian socialism ideas were abandoned and replaced by an early form of capitalism.
        .
        People who favor capitalism will debate their conclusions, which are based on economic data and logic.
        Where are the socialists who will debate how well socialism has worked in the USSR, China, and in
        various European nations (with their slow growth, chronic high unemployment, and one recession after another)?
        .
        A discussion of the politics of climate change IS NOT “misplaced” here because politics is the ONLY possible logical explanation for why anyone would demonize CO2, which greens the Earth, and then demonize a +2 degrees C. warming.
        .
        Based on science, and science alone, more CO2 in the air would be celebrated (greenhouse owners will know why) and a small rise in the average temperature would be welcome, since the only other choice is a small decline of the average temperature, which based on anecdotal evidence from past centuries, was hated.
        .
        How quickly the warmunists forget that the warming we believe has happened since 1850 — lets assume + 1 degree C. since 1850 to be generous … gave humans the most prosperous and healthy 164-year period on Earth so far.
        .
        If one degree C. warming in the past was such good news for humans, then where is the logic in claiming another +1 degree C. of warming would be horrible news for humans?
        .
        I’ll answer that question myself — there is no logic — the +2 degrees C. limit is just a political tool to scare people, and gain political power, in a more specific way then just claiming a climate change disaster is coming at some time in the future.
        .
        It’s very interesting the “cure” for every alleged environmental crisis since the 1960s, from DDT, to acid rain, the hole in the ozone layer, and global warming too … is ALWAYS the same: More government regulations and more government power to cut the use of oil, coal, nuclear power and now even natural gas (fracking) by the private sector.
        .
        Plus now there is a strong drive to tax private corporations for their energy use.
        .
        If that is not an attack on corporations, capitalism, and economic growth (faster with capitalism than with socialism), with the goal of bigger more powerful central governments, then what is it?
        .
        Maurice Strong and the other UN originators of the IPCC made no excuses for what they wanted — a massive transfer of wealth from the richest nations to the poorest nations.
        .
        The IPCC was not instructed to study the climate without bias — it was charged with proving humans are causing dangerous warming by adding CO2 to the air.
        .
        Global warming is a political cause.
        .
        Logic, data and reason do not apply to politics.
        .
        The politics of climate change can be seen in many of the stolen ClimateGate eMails.
        .
        Why are accurate global weather satellite data so often ignored, in favor of inaccurate non-global surface measurements? Isn’t that politics? It’s not science!
        .
        Why is the 12 to 18 year “pause” not publicized by the mainstream media? Isn’t that politics? It’s not science!
        .
        Why is skepticism, once a key characteristic of a good scientist, met with character attacks? “Climate denier, climate denier! Isn’t that (smarmy Alinsky-style) politics? It’s not science!
        .
        Why do the warmists fall in love with charts, such as the Mann hockey stick chart, and often refuse to admit that chart was a con job? Isn’t that politics? It’s not science!
        .
        Why do the warmunists avoid calm scientific debate in favor of bogus statistics (“97% consensus”), bogus charts (Mann hockey stick), and character attacks on skeptics? Isn’t that politics? It’s not science!
        .
        The +2 degrees C. “MacGuffin” has nothing to do with science — it is a political tool being used to promote more powerful central governments.
        .
        There is plenty of evidence from climate proxy studies that +2 degrees C. or more is a normal natural variation during an inter-glacial warming trend — there have been hundreds of mild warming/cooling cycles in the past one million years, per Greenland and Antarctica ice core climate proxy studies..
        .
        The is plenty of anecdotal evidence that humans have been much happier and healthier when the climate in their century was warmer, and miserable when it was cold.
        Anecdotes may not be “science” but they come from people who did not have the bias of a pro-big government political agenda.
        .
        If you are a socialist and get upset when I call socialism the fastest growing (secular) religion of the twentieth century, then I will try not to use that description in the future.
        .
        Would you be happier is I called “climate change” the fastest growing cult of the twentieth century, and then mentioned that cult members almost always favor socialism over capitalism?
        .
        “Cult” is a term that applies to people who deny science and character attack skeptics — If “cult” does not correctly describe the warmists, then please provide me with a better term.
        .
        The fact that some cult members have science degrees does not mean they do scientific work.
        .
        Playing climate computer games, which have no ability to predict the future climate, is not science — it is taxpayer subsidized (usually) climate astrology.

      • The first Europeans who came here tried socialism and almost starved. Thanksgiving was to celebrate the excess supply of food available only AFTER their utopian socialism ideas were abandoned and replaced by an early form of capitalism.

        Whoa, dude, you really need to study some history. The Puritans were part of a European movement that endorsed free trade and a lack of taxation — they opposed the kings and state religions of the day (so they could impose their own state religion, but hey, can’t have everything). The Dutch fought whole wars with the English and the French because their socially revolutionary concept of free trade and comparative religious freedom directly competed with the money mill of the nobility and the power and money mill that supported the state religions, Catholicism in the case of France and a bizarre competition between Anglican and Catholicism in England (at the time, the two were almost equally represented both the royal family and the nobility). Remember, this was all around the time of the Revolution — not the American one, the one where Cromwell cut off Charles’ head to establish a Protestant England with substantially freer trade, until the Catholic/Anglican royals took back the crown, put Cromwell’s head on a pike (eventually), and spent fifty years or so at war with William and Mary, with the Turks, with the Spanish, with France, and lined themselves up for an eventual disastrous war with the Colonies.
        Outside of the Pilgrims and the comparatively rare religious colonies, MOST of the colonies were established by the crown (or other countries) and were in no possible way describable as socialisms. Slave based feudal economies, perhaps. Historically, Catholicism totally supported feudal states, not socialisms. The Church of England was simply Catholicism without a pope and did exactly the same thing. It was the early Protestant churches that opposed the feudal state, supported free trade, and were in frequent direct conflict with the major powers as a consequence, played out against a backdrop of nearly continuous European war, the Black Death, and the Enlightenment. Sure, some of the churches that fled to the US tried and even persist in mild socialism today, but the vast majority of the people wanted to be left alone free from taxation altogether, let alone communal taxation.
        rgb

        • I think his reference was to the Pilgrims, who did come to escape religious persecution, but before landing, created the Mayflower Compact. The compact dictated that the new “community” would pool all resources and all share equally in the bounty. And was an utter failure. The first thanksgiving was celebrated because the Compact was dissolved, and each settler then given a plot of land to do with as they pleased, and production increased to the point that the colony thrived. It was not all the settlements, just that one, as that is the one where the American Tradition of Thanksgiving comes from (much to the chagrin of the Berkley plantation).

      • Fernando Leanme, Richard Greene and philjourdan:
        I remind you of – and I draw your attention to – my post addressed to Richard Greene which says

        This thread is about the ‘2°C limit’ for global climate. The origins, validity and nature of the limit are all subjects pertinent to this thread.
        But this thread is not intended to enable your promotion of your sadly mistaken propaganda that the political philosophy of “Socialism” is “religion”. Indeed, American capitalism is the political philosophy that proclaims itself to be a religion; e.g. “These truths we hold to be self-evident …”, “One Nation under God …”, etc.
        All such discussions are misplaced here and – as my comment about American capitalism is intended to show you – are divisive and disruptive.

        Undeterred, the three of you have continued to promote your mistaken and divisive views despite the correction of some of your factual errors provided by rgbatduke.
        Socialism is NOT communism: the two philosophies are VERY different.
        For example, socialism does NOT include any desire to “pool all resources”.
        Perhaps you would each consider constraining yourselves to the subject of the thread instead of inputting divisive irrelevance concerning a subject of which you demonstrate your ignorance.
        Richard

        • @RichardCourtney – I neither promoted nor denigrated socialism, and kept my personal opinions out of my post,. I merely stated history in response to another’s mistaken version of history.
          Your attack is both unwarranted and completely off base. You owe me an apology.

      • philjourdan
        If I owed you an apology then I would give it.
        Please read what I wrote: I quoted your offensive and untrue conflation of socialism with communism.
        I yet again request a return to the subject of this thread.
        Richard

        • @RichardCourtney – you quoted NOTHING of mine. I did not mention Socialism nor Communism. My post was strictly historical, I did not even interject an “interpretation” of the Mayflower Compact. I merely stated what it is. Your dishonesty is disheartening as is your arrogance in trying to weasel out of your intentional insult that was not merited.
          I stated history. I do not care for your re-interpretation of it, nor of your arrogant attempt to bluster through with what is clearly a bald faced fabrication on your part.

      • Philjourdan
        This discussion was about untrue attacks on socialism.
        At December 18, 2014 at 8:09 am you wrote

        I think his reference was to the Pilgrims, who did come to escape religious persecution, but before landing, created the Mayflower Compact. The compact dictated that the new “community” would pool all resources and all share equally in the bounty.

        At December 19, 2014 at 9:51 am I pointed out

        Socialism is NOT communism: the two philosophies are VERY different.
        For example, socialism does NOT include any desire to “pool all resources”.

        You have wrongly demanded that I apologise for writing that because – you wrongly assert – it is an “attack” on you.
        You now say

        @RichardCourtney – you quoted NOTHING of mine. I did not mention Socialism nor Communism. My post was strictly historical, I did not even interject an “interpretation” of the Mayflower Compact. I merely stated what it is. Your dishonesty is disheartening as is your arrogance in trying to weasel out of your intentional insult that was not merited.
        I stated history. I do not care for your re-interpretation of it, nor of your arrogant attempt to bluster through with what is clearly a bald faced fabrication on your part.

        That is a set of falsehoods. I quoted you verbatim as having said “pool all resources” and have again so done here. To quote someone whose behaviour has caused me to regard them with contempt.

        I do not care for your re-interpretation of it, nor of your arrogant attempt to bluster through with what is clearly a bald faced fabrication on your part.

        I would accept your grovelling apology.
        Have a Happy Christmas.
        Richard

        • @Richard COurtney – I do not care what started the discussion,. I merely corrected an historical inaccuracy. I did not comment on the original discussion EXCEPT to correct that inaccuracy. And for that, you stated:

          Fernando Leanme, Richard Greene and philjourdan:
          …Undeterred, the three of you have continued to promote your mistaken and divisive views despite the correction of some of your factual errors provided by rgbatduke.
          Socialism is NOT communism: the two philosophies are VERY different.

          Which is an outright lie. I promoted NOTHING. I corrected an historical error,. PERIOD. And for stating a FACT, you blasted me for stating that fact. I have NOT (as you erroneously state) demanded you apologize for stating ANYTHING about communism or socialism. I have stated you SHOULD apologize for falsely ACCUSING me of mentioning the 2, much less equating the 2. I did not.
          You are not only pushing a lie, you are trying to weasel out of admitting you are wrong. And what respect I had for you is now gone. A real man would apologize for his mistake. I can see where you fail that test.
          Your words are worthless until you admit your mistake, and apologize. And I do not even want you groveling, just manning up. (that is Small m not capital M).

        • @Richard Courtney
          BTW: Nice Selective quoting. The actual quote is:

          created the Mayflower Compact. The compact dictated that the new “community” would pool all resources and all share equally in the bounty.

          So where in history is “the Mayflower Compact” a “synonym” for “communism” or “socialism”? Nowhere. It predates BOTH. And is AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT. What I stated is an historical FACT. What you “created” from that fact is YOUR problem. And your paranoia.

      • Richard Courtenay, please tell me where the “One nation under God” is written, and when that was written in founding and constitutional documents of the US. I understand it was added well after founding.
        Opposition to “capitalism” was popularized by ideological descendants of Karl Marx – you know what they meant by it (exploitation).
        OTOH, philosopher Ayn Rand used a broad definition of a society based on individual rights supported by defense and justice systems. Individual rights are the intent of the founding of the US, equality of _opportunity_ not result as neo-Marxists want.
        IMJ your equivalencies are logical stretches, and that’s being kind.
        You mis-represent socialism – it is based on the same foundations as communism – supremacy of the collective. Just a matter of degree, “socialist” societies survive on the amount of free activity they permit.
        OTOH, a society based on individual rights supported by defense and justice systems is founded in sovereignty of the individual over their own life. (Which by definition means not over anyone else’s life.)
        Facism (Nationalsozialistische in Germany) is a cousin of communism, it pays lip service to private ownership but as one of its top people said “We can kill the president. [Of a company.]” Read Hitler’s words saying that an Aryan gets his value from service to the state.

  14. Fallacy of arbitrary numbers. At 1.9C we all prosper, at 2.1C we are all dying miserable deaths – the whole of humanity, from Greenland to Singapore to Darwin, don’t you see?

  15. Back around 2004 had a friend who said “If we do not do anything, we will have the climate of Malibu in Coos Bay (Oregon) !!”-“THIS will happen in less than a decade!!” Still no Date Palms on Hwy 101. He moved to Vancouver BC to escape the heat…
    He did..

    • Good example in general.
      Beware that palm trees grow in SW BC, but they are bred for that climate. No dates on them AFAIK. I don’t know how well they did in December of 1996 when two feet of snow stayed for two weeks (many plants can stand some freezing for up to a few days, but others cannot), the cold snaps of 1959 and 1936 were probably before palms were planted in SW BC. (Yes, the 1936 that also had a warm summer. At the top of the warmth many decades later, Calgary AB had snow early last September, that is quite early, broke many tree branches as leaves were still on.)
      Hmm – is it weather extremes that hurt agriculture? People say that it’s night temperature that has risen, that’s good news as the first frosts usually occur in the night. Seems to me that plants can stand heat for longer, and that dryness is usually the problem then – the effect may depend on how much moisture is reaching roots, that’s of course the benefit of irrigation (water on roots, sun on leaves).
      Note that wheat grows in both cool and warm climates, likely somewhat different varieties (modern agriculture is marvelous).

  16. The idea that a 2c rise would be “catastrophic” is totally balmy.
    The difference in annual temperature between say Sydney and Brisbane in Australia is just under 4c. Yet life is Brisbane is very similar to life in Sydney – that 4c difference makes bugger all difference to the lives of ordinary people.

  17. C.E 2200 will much less resemble C.E. 2000 than does C.E 2000 resemble C.E. 1800. In one other word; unrecognizable.

  18. Charlotte, N Carolina 22°C High 9°C Low present
    Louisville, Kentucky 20°C High 9°C Low present
    350 miles apart. This is the climate catastrophe we are expected to spend the next few centuries sacrificing to avoid.
    I think we should ask Louisville residents what their feelings are as to their great great great… progeny being subjected to that damn Charlotte weather.

    • Charlotte, N Carolina 22°C High 9°C Low present
      Louisville, Kentucky 20°C High 9°C Low present
      350 miles apart. This is the climate catastrophe we are expected to spend the next few centuries sacrificing to avoid.

      Louisville is 6b and Charlotte 7a. Partly different plants grow well at different zones, even when there are times the zone requiring ‘hardier’ plants happens to be colder than the zone requiring less ‘hardy’ plants.
      There are lots of variables that actually effect on plant growth. People often think it is the average temperature or max/min temperatures, but really it depends on what species we talk about, soil, moisture, sunshine, wind and nutrient conditions as well as what fungi, diseases and pests are around.
      However, you can bet there is a difference between 6b and 7a and that affects if you are planning to grow something which lives on its edge. For every plant, there is a commercial and technical limit. Commercial limit means the plant can’t be cultivated outside its limit in a profitable, efficient way. Technical limit means the plant just won’t survive. These limits are affected by climate and that’s why it is important to know what will happen to central climatic variables, like average temp, mins, max, amount of rain, heat sums, winds, air humidity, etc. Usually single zone difference does not make a huge difference to any single plant species (like 6b-7a) but OTOH, 6b-7a cities may be situated so that the difference is actually almost three zones. That does make a difference.

  19. I think the 2.0C limit is really about keeping CO2 below 450 ppm. That is where it really came from – keep CO2 below 450 ppm.
    The 3.0C per doubling formula gets to +2.0C at 450 ppm in the long-run.
    TempC Increase = 4.33*ln(CO2ppm)*C – 24.4C
    +2.05C = 4.33 * ln(450)C – 24.4C
    You can plug any CO2ppm number into this formula and it produces the temperature increase expected from the global warming theory.

    • Yeah, or you can look at my actual fit to the data above, which makes the number out to be more like \Delta T = 2.6 \ln(cCO_2), or 1.8 C per doubling. That is, \Delta T = 2.82 \ln(400/286) = 0.95 C, which is an excellent match to \Delta T_\textrm{HadCRUT4} =  0.933. OTOH, \Delta T = 4.33\ln(400/280) = 1.54 C, which is off by a factor of 1.65, too high.
      Having the actual data handy (open in a window on my computer as I type this) really helps. I would say that the 3 C TCS hypothesis is soundly rejected by HadCRUT4 itself, unless one wishes to assert that our knowledge of CO_2 concentration in 1850 is off by a rather substantial margin. In which case all is chaos and we have no bloody idea what is going on. Not that I really believe the Laws Dome data — it varies too much relative to Mauna Loa, and in unexplainable (or at least, unexplained) ways. But the data itself clearly indicates that all things being equal, and assuming that our knowledge of 1850 conditions is accurate TCS is less than 2 C per doubling, with a most likely value of 1.8 C.
      This is from fitting the two parameter curve to the actual data, something you would think that people like Hansen might have done first, before making egregious statements about absurdly high TCS.
      rgb

      • Your prior post criticized my knowledge of history, and then proceeded with a tedious lecture on history.
        It appears I can’t reply to that specific post, so I will place my reply here following your next post.
        .
        My source was Forbes magazine and it included many quotes from William Bradford’s book, “History of the Plymouth Plantation”:
        http://www.forbes.com/2008/11/27/thanksgiving-economy-history-oped-cx_jb_1127bowyer.html
        Since that respected magazine supports capitalism, which may mean you don’t trust it, here are some quotes from a respected left wing source that favors socialism, the New York Times (November 2010):
        (the left wing point of view is the Pilgrim’s early form of socialism actually “worked” and that was not the reason they got rid of it — there is agreement among both the left and right-wing points of view the Pilgrims had socialism and then they dropped it. You seem to have a unique point of view.
        From the New York Times:
        “Historians say that the settlers in Plymouth, and their supporters in England, did indeed agree to hold their property in common (socialism) — William Bradford, the governor, referred to it in his writings as the “common course (socialism).”
        “One man’s laziness is another man’s industry, based on the agricultural methods they’ve learned as young people,” he said. … Bradford did get rid of the common course (socialism)…”
        In summary: The Plymouth “Plantation” was socialist.
        The pilgrims apparently didn’t like it.
        So they dumped socialism.

  20. “Fervid imagination of climate activists”
    That’s a good one. I’m gonna use it right here on WUWT.

  21. Temperature has behaved similarly in both pre-industrial and post-industrial time at Tornionjoki valley between Finland and Sweden. About steady rise of 0.9 degrees centigrade per century has been recorded since 1802. I tried to fit a curve consisting of linear change plus exponential change (tau = 50 years resembling the CO2 change) to the data. That exponential part got near zero coefficient meaning no relation to CO2.
    Green is linear trend. Red shows the exponential change.

  22. The warmists have to be careful not to make dire predictions that can be easily verified and falsified. So they tend to predict in small increments, big enough to be a little scary, but small enough to hide “in the noise” so to speak.
    Here’s how I think this can be done. The “2C°” threshold fits the CAGW scheme ideally because it’s the typical range of uncertainty for any large collection of temperature measurements. So really big temperature-caused catastrophes in the future can be simply constructed as a series of many smaller “undecidable” steps, starting now. Each step proposes an increase of a degree or two, so is undecidable, because certain subsets of temperatures will support “increase” while another subset will support “no change”, and a third might indicate “decrease”. It’s just too noisy to decide.
    Sound familiar?
    So, mathematically speaking, it’s like a filtered white-noise process, where the 2C° uncertainty is the white-noise generator, from which the desired increasing signal can be manufactured by application of appropriate filters in the pipeline, similar to way rising-pitch speech can be synthesized from vocal-chord noise by applying time-varying filters with increasing frequency response.

  23. It’s such a stupid goal. Not least because the warmist agenda has little to do with actual temperatures. Given that this is really about the redistribution of wealth, the goal should be expressed in economic rather than climate terms.

    • Redistributive change in the same spirit of corruption as “oil for food” and “carbon credit exchanges”. Not to mention the multi-trillion dollar welfare schemes that leave Americans indigent, homeless, and unidentified. The evidence of extraordinary corruption, including normalization of abortion of a couple million human lives annually (in American and more globally), is enough to doubt their moral motives, and the unpredictable nature of the system is enough to doubt their scientific integrity. A combination of emotional appeals and leaps into universal and even extra-universal domains, should invite elevated and progressive scrutiny of their strategy and tactics.

    • Mike,
      Good point. Given that most people in The US are indifferent to Climate Change and politicians and Warmist are looking to get their attention. Instead of stating Climate Change impacts in terms of 2C of
      warming, how about framing it as: to achieve below the 2C target will require a 10-20k reduction of everyone’s per annum income. That will get their attention!

  24. “According to most sources the range of variation between between distinct climatic regimes is on the order of ±5°C,…”
    ////////////////////////////////////////////
    I do not understand that comment.
    just take one country for example such as Canada where Eureka Nt which is classified as a polar desert climate has an average temperature of -20degC, whereas Abbotsford Bc, which is classified as cool temperate wet forest climate has an average temperature of 10degC. So in just one country one sees a range of some 29degC between different climatic zones/regimes, so where does this guy get his +/- 5degC figure from?
    See: http://www.canada.climatemps.com/
    If one wants to look at a different country mnore towards the tropics, Iraq is classified as subtropical desert (scrub) and many parts of it has an aveage temperature of 24degC. See
    http://www.iraq.climatemps.com/
    Jizan, in nearby Saudi Arabia,,is classified as tropical desert and has an average temperature of 30degC. See: http://www.saudi-arabia.climatemps.com/
    I do not think people realise how nearby places can be that have a 2 degree difference in average temperature, nor what a wide difference in average temperatures exists between where peiople live and where they go on holiday.
    For example, the UK (which is a very small country) varies from North to South by 6 degC. Such that Dalwhinnie in Scotland which is classified as Boreal Rain Forest has an average temperature of 6 degC whereas St Mary’s in the Scily Isles has an average temperature of 12degC. See
    http://www.united-kingdom.climatemps.com/
    I frequenetly point out that most people in the UK would consider it a God send for the UK to warm by 2 or 3 degrees. Scotland would become more like the Midlands, the Midlands more like the South West, the South West more like the South East, the South East more like the Scily Isles, and the Scily Isles more like Brittany in France. I would suspect that most people would think that a climate shift like that to be a wonderful thing (of course, the fact that the UK is surrounded by ocean would dampen and reduce any climate shift for the UK, there would have to be very substantial ocean warming before the UK, which is already warm for its latitude, would significantly further warm).
    Many people from the UK go on holiday, or retire to Spain, where the Spanish costas have an average temperature of about 19 degC (with micro climates some areas are a degree or so hotter). Even though Spain is perhaps some 10 degC warmer than the UK, life goes on. people are not dying in the heat waves. Indeed some of the Spannish costas have the longest life expectancy for women in Europe and are amongst the top regions to live for not simply longevity, but also the age at which serious illness strikes. .
    The whole 2 degree scare does not withstand even a cursory examination of life on planet Earth. We inhabit most of planet earth save that there are no major cities where it is extremely cold.

    • The coldest capital city is Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It has an annual variation of more than 80 degrees C. If warming is mostly in winter the stock losses would be reduced and they would like that a lot.

    • I live in Spain. I’m interested in controlling CO2 to make winters warmer. A hotter summer is fine, but the trick is to get it warm enough to extend the tourist season to say late October. If we could make it colder and rainier in Great Britain that would be a plus, because we can sell more real estate and give more cooking lessons to British retirees.

      • Fernando
        Eventually the real estate will recover since the fundamentals that make Spain so appealling to those who are less fortunate and who live in colder northern climes (the English, the Dutch, Germans, Scandinavians etc) still exist. If the globe does cool over the next 20 or so years, more and more retirees will wish to head south, so long term the real estate will recover. That will only be a good thing for the local economy.
        As you say, you need to teach the English all about Spanish food. Great cuisine and I understand that Spain has most Michelin star restaurants in Europe.
        It is crazy that it is possible for a couple to go out and have a nice meal with ok wine for less than the price of sharing a Pizza Hut pizza and coke. No surprise that many enjoy that life style.

  25. Further to my last post, Life expectancy for women in Europe ranks Andorra (the Principality in the south between Spain and France) as first in Europe with an avaerage age of 85.36 years, and Spain is ranked as second in Europe witha life expectancy of 85.16 years. These are listed as second and third in the world respectively. unfortunately, not so good for men (but as they say it is a woman’s world).
    See gender female at:
    http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/life-expectancy-europe

  26. Not to be overly picky, but shouldn’t the “Deg K” left axis scale of the BEST Absolute Global Mean Surface Temperature Graph just be “K” or “Kelvin”?
    It’s a unit not a degree, right?
    Just askin.

  27. As we saw in the Nature comment on 1 October 2014 by David Victor and Charles Kennel, the semi-sentient AGW believers realize the 2ºC limit needs to be abandoned, largely due to the 21th Century hiatus/pause invalidating the IPCC GCM outputs.
    Here is the cute graphic Nature cartoonists designed for that piece.
    http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.20139.1411992443!/image/Climate1.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/Climate1.jpg
    See their Nature comment here:

    Climate Policy: Ditch the 2 °C warming goal
    http://www.nature.com/news/climate-policy-ditch-the-2-c-warming-goal-1.16018
    Kennel and Victor state, “Bold simplicity must now face reality. Politically and scientifically, the 2 °C goal is wrong-headed.”

    As socialists at heart, they are now advocating to cut straight to heart of the matter. That real matter is hard controls on the energy sources (oil, natural gas, coal) that control the world’s economic engines by using CO2 emissions as the flux valve.
    So forget the 2º C temperature nonsense, nature isn’t cooperating with their best-laid scheme.
    The 2ºC goal was never about climate. It was about control of economic engines, throttling the extraction economies that fuel those engines, and re-apportioning the wealth they create.

    • Damn skippy. And “control” by the energy companies, who make more money than anybody else from the panic. Please don’t throw me into ‘dat briar patch….
      rgb

  28. Want to know why we don’t go to the moon?
    This BS flushing trillions down the drain in regulations alone.

  29. The term “pre-industrial temperature” is one of the worst cases of “propter nomen”. It springs from profound and dangerous ignorance and seeks to transmit and spread that ignorance. It’s a virus of dumbness.
    What AIDS is to the immune system, this monstrous phrase is to real understanding of climate. It’s a phrase designed deliberately to undo and destroy such knowledge. As well as being a crass political tool, the phrase represents a violent assault on the intellect of others.
    This odious and utterly ignorant term should be discarded and condemned along with similar historic rejected terns such as “servant races”.

    • Precisely.
      Why would one pick a temperature that was in the midst of the LIA, a time of stress at least in the Northern Hemisphere.

  30. The rate of change today is glacial when compared to the “speed limit” at end of the Younger Dryas:
    =====
    The end of the Younger Dryas, about 11,500 years ago, was particularly abrupt. In Greenland, temperatures rose 10° C (18° F) in a decade
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/abrupt/data4.html
    =====
    How much has the global temperature risen in the last 100 years?
    “Averaged over all land and ocean surfaces, temperatures warmed roughly 1.53°F (0.85ºC) from 1880 to 2012, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”
    10C warming within a decade VS 0.85 C warming within a century. Those figures tend to silence the average alarmist.

    • Great post.
      And it gets even better when you compare apples to apples: How was the 10C rise measured? Ice-core data? In which case the comparison since c1850 should also be based on ice-core data. This would produce a comparable rise of… somewhere around zero deg C! Just think how much that end-Younger Dryas rise would be if the same instruments which measure today’s ‘global temperature’ were used!

  31. CAGW alarmists are slowly realizing their 2C target is working against them.
    The longer global temp trends remain below 0.14C/decade between now and 2100, the more likely ECS will be less than 2C, which means there is absolutely NO reason whatsoever to waste $trillions on CO2 sequestration measures to supposedly keep GW below 2C, when governments can spend $0.000 and achieve the same result.
    Moreover, technological advancements in LFTR technology or perhaps even Lockheed Martin’s new Compact Fusion Reactor technology will make fossil fuels and CO2 emissions irrelevant in the relatively near future (20 years?):
    http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/compact-fusion.html
    Either one of these technologies produce zero CO2 emissions and are cheaper than fossil fuels in generating energy for just pennies per kWh for ever and ever, amen.
    Historians will not treat this generation kindly. They’ll be absolutely amazed the CAGW hypothesis lasted as long as it did….

    • I agree with you on historian comment. History will record this era as one of crazed, misguided eco-alarmists worrying over the wrong things. Mankind’s other very destructive activities bear far more attention than CO2 emissions.
      I disagree with you on the Lockheed CFR. That is pipedream. A defense company looking to cash in. The science, let alone the technology to make it happen with the pressures, temperatures, material degradation, and radiation blasting, is still science fiction. Lockheed is not to be trusted. Simply drawing some pretty CAD pictures of a supposed CFR is fanciful. Put it in a Marvel comic book or Popular Science. Study it in the national and university labs, and maybe in 20-40 years we might have something on a compact fusion reactor.
      Until then we need Thorium-liquid fueled reactors to replace the coal-powered generation plants that Obama is quite ignorantly shutting down. But history will also record Obama as an ignoramus US President.

      • Joel– I think it’s too early to say Lockheed Martin’s CFR concept is just an unfounded pipe dream, although it’s certainly justifiable to be skeptical at this stage, which I am.
        If CFRs don’t work, I share your enthusiasm on LFTR technology and hope to hear positive developments regarding China’s first test LFTR, which is scheduled to go online next year.
        You’re right about Obama, too. He’ll be a footnote in history for being the first black president, but will likely be better known for adding $10+ trillion to the national debt, and perhaps being the sitting president during the start of the US$ collapse/Great Depression 2.0.

    • I remember 50+ years ago reading we were just a decade or two away from “cheap, unlimited, safe fusion power”. And here we are, after all those years and probably several trillion dollars spent on fusion research with the end goal no closer. Nothing wrong with the theory, but current state of engineering is not adequate to achieve a safely contained and sustained fusion process. We are at least one major technological breakthrough away from overcoming that hurdle.
      So I remain extremely skeptical regarding fusion claims, although I will be delighted if/when someone proves me wrong.
      In the meantime, fission in proven technology. So is coal. Improvements to both are possible and will happen if we continue to use them.

  32. Why do you waste time showing that idiotic linear trend from BEST? It is totally uninformative. Monthly and weakly data are available. They should be used and you probably have the facilities to show them. A semi-transparent colored band over them will show what the temperature really does. That jaggedness will disappear and the ENSO sawtooth will turn out to have rounded corners. And actual global mean temperature can be elicited if you apply the technique shown in figure 15 in my book. There actually are linear segments out there in their data set but you will never know from BEST because despite the effort they put into creating their data set they have no idea what to do with it.

  33. The same BEST data using a Y-scale with better perspective
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/best/scale:3/plot/rss-land
    Satellite data are included, and overlap the BEST graph from 1979.
    The BEST data Y-scale (scaling) is presented on the larger scale to approximate the measurement error intrinsic to the data. Satellite data have less error, so appears as a “flatter” line.
    Conclusion,
    There is no signifcant warming since 1900. The 1930s warm decade is barely visible. Post 2000 temps are not warmer than the 1930s

    • Hell of a graph, actually. Although one has to worry about the zeros.
      Is BEST really so much of a hockey stick? HadCRUT4 is not. Don’t answer — I can do W4T myself… or (probably) download BEST directly and stick it next to my HadCRUT4 data to play with.

  34. “this would take the climate outside of the range of observations which have been made over the last several hundred thousand years.”
    Did I miss the invention of a practical time machine?
    Who exactly was making these observations hundreds of thousands of years ago?
    Where were/are the records kept?
    What medium were the observations recorded?
    In what language?

  35. Odd that you chose to stick a linear trend through 100+ years of data (and the BEST series at that!) for the headline chart.
    Could we not get a better idea of when, if ever, a 2C warming limit might be reached if we considered extending the current pause or hiatus? And should we not prefer the reliable and trusted satellite data?
    Dr Ross McKitrick has recently established (Open Journal of Statistics, 2014) that the trend of the RSS dataset is not significantly different from zero over the past 26 years. So what would it look like if we extended McKitrick’s 26 year “hiatus” as a linear trend. When, if ever, would we reach a level of 2C above pre-industrial levels?
    As generally accepted and confirmed in your chart, by the start of McKitrick’s hiatus, we were already around 0.7C above pre-industrial levels. So we’d need to rise another 1.3C to reach the 2C “danger level”.
    During McKitrick’s 26 year hiatus for RSS data, the trend is statistically insignificant, but it is, nevertheless, positive, and has a value of 0.1184 degrees per decade. Extending that forward, how many years would it take to add another 1.3C?
    The answer is (drum roll…) 110 years. And as we’ve already enjoyed 26 years of hiatus, that would mean another 84 years to go. So we’d reach the 2C level in around 2099.
    So if the current hiatus continues, we reach the 2C level by 2100.
    Can anyone spot where I went wrong?

    • During McKitrick’s 26 year hiatus for RSS data, the trend is statistically insignificant, but it is, nevertheless, positive, and has a value of 0.1184 degrees per decade.
      = = = = = =
      That’s a very, very, very, very precise figure, especially when you consider that the ever changing dynamic Earth, with its day and night and seasonality, with its icy poles and steaming tropics, never achieves thermodynamic equilibrium, and therefore doesn’t have a meaningful temperature to measure.
      And yet, there it is: 0.1184 degrees C per decade stated with absolute confidence.
      That figure probably should include an error margin of around +/- 0.52381593 C, so it’s probably not a good idea to use it for calculating future trends. (error 1)
      Even if you could establish the real value of the trend with great accuracy and precision, it would be very naive to assume that the previous century’s trend will continue throughout the next one. (error 2)

      • The error margin over 26 years would also be +/- 0.1184 degrees C per decade. But why use 0.1184 degrees C per decade over 26 years when you can use Lord Monckton’s change of 0 over 18 years and 2 months to figure out when we reach the dreaded increase of 2 C?

  36. I must say, my first question is: ‘based on the clearly repetitive nature of ice ages/interglacials, how much warmer do we have to get for historical precedent to suggest that the next ice age is now inevitable?’
    Since steady temperature rise in interglacials is followed by equally steady temperature decline into and during an ice age.

  37. The elephant in the room.
    What is the “right” temperature for the Earth?
    Saying that 2 degrees is a “mandatory” limit implies that the bloke who says it knows that a higher temperature would be bad. But in its turn that implies that said bloke knows what temperature would be good. How does he know it and what is it?
    Obviously and not surprisingly these two questions have no answer.
    The statement is therefore a purely political one, a belief.

    • Clearly there isn’t a “right” temperature for the Earth. The Earth wouldn’t care if it was as cold as Uranus or as hot as Mercury. That’s a silly straw man argument.
      There is arguably however a “right” temperature (or at least some very “wrong” temperatures) for mankind. Our civilisation, all our cities, agriculture and infrastructure have been developed during a few thousand years during which the temperature was mostly a little below where it is now. Any major change (whether up or down) would have major consequences, including but not limited to sea level changes, rendering areas uninhabitable (or unfarmable) because of ice, cold, flooding, heat, drought, etc.
      It’s complex and a lot of analysis has been done. The first few chapters of Mark Lynas’s Six Degrees give a reasonable summary of the likely impacts of a modest temperature increase. (I wouldn’t recommend reading beyond that as the science is far more speculative when it comes to increases of more than three or four Kelvin).

      • The early major civilizations were in Egypt, Mesopatania and Souther China. Areas with an average temperature substantially above the average. By several degrees in fact. The Roman era was at least 1 degree warmer than currently for most of its existence; it may even not be a coincidence that its demise was at the beginning of the colder middle ages. The idea that the “little below” now is, by implication, best is therefore demonstrably wrong. What your example demonstrates in fact is that humanity will adapt to whatever conditions it finds itself in and the evidence from Fireland to the equatorial regions to Greenland shows that the temperature range it can adapt to is well over 10 degrees. Whether it’s comfortable is another matter.
        The idea that as the temperature is now, or little less, is best, that’s a pre-Copernican idea: best is what we find ourselves in because we’re fine with it (and we are at the centre of things).

      • Ed
        You are correct. Everuything suggest that the globe is too cold today. Maximum bio diversity in warm wet environments and least bio diversity in cold arid environments. The world is largely uninhabitable for us as a species but for our ability to adapt ourselves and/or environment. Just look at the relatively sparse areas of the globe where people live without substantial clothes, or manmade structure and/or manmade heating. If we did not have that adaption skill man would be contained to only a few small regions on planet Earth.
        I often point out that the history of civilisations can be seen to spread from warmer to cooler. Ditto the obtaining of skills such as the bronze and iron. Warmer climes obtain these skills first.
        It is no coincidence that whiilst we in England were building Stonehenge, the Eqyptians were building the Pyramids. When it is warm, and a time of plenty, one has spare time to learn skills and pass these down the generations. Whilst back in England, most of the time was spent struggling to survive because of the cold, and no spare time to learn skills and educate the generations. That is why Stonehenge is a pile of rough rocks whereas the Pyramids are mamouth engineering process of dressed stone put together with a skill that we would have difficulty in replicating today (especially bearing in mind the primative tools available)..
        The only example (in the European northern hemishere) of a dominating civilisation from a cold clime is the Vikings, and there is no coincidence that this was during the Viking Warm Period (MWP).
        The 2 degree scare, is a complete deception. I do not understand how any sentinent person could take it seriously since it bears not even cursory scruitny before one sees that it is a complete load of b*ll*cks.

  38. Incredible things these human beings.
    some who are born in very cold climates go and live in very warm climates and vica versa – and those differences are a damned sight more than 2 degrees C.

    • Not many people chose to move and retire to and live in a cold climate, whereas many chose to do the opposite.
      Migration in retirement (when work is not an issue and one is looking for quality of life) is usually always to warmer climates. That tells you something about what we humans think about today’s temperatures. We would generally prefer it to be somewhat warmer.

      • No doubt a bit of extra warmth would be very nice in many parts of the world. But in some other places it would be most unwelcome. If that’s all there was to it, there would clearly be no problem.
        We don’t build pyramids or stonehenges these days. We build huge cities with trillions of dollars of infrastructure and many of the major ones are barely above today’s sea level.

      • @Nigel Harris:
        You wrote: “No doubt a bit of extra warmth would be very nice in many parts of the world. But in some other places it would be most unwelcome.”
        Your future temperature projections seem to be rather linear which is maybe far too simple. I guess your argument is that hot areas of today would get unbearable hot after a further warming of the Earth. But this assumption is purely speculative. For instance: The mean temps of the Holocene climate optimum between 8000 – 4000 BC were significantly warmer than today. Following your simple linear approach the Sahara desert should have been even dryer and hotter than today. But the opposite is true: During the Holocene climate optimum the Sahara was a green savanna with regular monsoon rainfalls…
        This example shows that linear thinking can be completely wrong because the possible changes in the climate system (regarding e.g. jet stream movements, changing monsoon patterns, variation in cloudiness or ocean currents and so forth) can be much more complex than we think. I’m convinced that the climate of the Earth is stronger influenced by negative than by positive feedbacks. Otherwise Life on Earth would had gone in extinction long ago…

  39. The much talked about 2 degree limit certainly appears to be an arbitrary figure plucked from the air.
    What is more, remember that this 2 degrees is measured from a baseline set in pre-industrial times, a period known as the ‘little ice-age’. During the little ice-age we had frost fairs on the frozen river Thames in London.
    To be two degrees warmer than little ice-age doesn’t sound particularly scary, it sounds desirable.

  40. What is the correct temperature for the Earth?
    It seems ironic that about 8000 years ago, when temperatures were warmer than today, that period was called the Holocene Climatic Optimum. The following is from the IPCC’s Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (2005)
    http://www.acia.uaf.edu/PDFs/ACIA_Science_Chapters_Final/ACIA_Ch02_Final.pdf

    2.7.4.2 Following the sudden end of the Younger Dryas, the Arctic entered several thousand years of conditions that were warmer and probably moister than today.
    …..the mean July temperature along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5 to 7.0 ºC warmer than present.

    So what’s the problem with a measly two degreees warmer?

    • The problem is that revisionists haven’t gotten around to “erasing” this, any more than they’ve succeeded in “erasing” the Eemian optimum that was apparently 2-5 C warmer than that. Without, as far as we can tell, the help of CO_2 in either case, and in the case of the Eemian in particular “it just happened” and we don’t have a clue as to why — a narrow spike of extreme warming that lasted for maybe 1000 years:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png
      The Holocene, in comparison, is positively benign.

      • The inter-glacials are repeating now about every 100,000 years. Previous inter-glacials appear to have been warmer the present one ( the Holocene). One could propose from that evidence not only that current warming is natural and to be expected but that it has not reached its peak yet.
        Again, from IPCC’s Arctic Climate Impact Assessment

        2.7.3.1 According to most proxy data ,the last interglacial was slightly warmer everywhere than at present (IPCC, 2001c). Brigham-Grette and Hopkins (1995) reported that during the Eemian the winter sea-ice limit in Bering Strait was at least 800 km farther north than today, and that during some summers the Arctic Ocean may have been icefree. The northern treeline was more than 600 km farther north

        Now, if I was presented with something that repeated itself in a regular pattern over 3 million years and had to guess what would happen next , I would guess it would happen again. And lo, it is happening again just like before.
        But this time we have got climate scientists, late on the scene, apparently oblivious to what happened in the past. They say it is not natural because their unproven, unverified, invalidated climate models cannot explain natural cycles. What’s more, wait for it, they say it is my fault because I drive a car and heat my home in winter.
        I think there is some saying which goes “Those who forget the lessons of the past…well I can’t remember the rest but something nasty happens.

  41. From Dr. William Nordhaus of Yale:
    “According to most sources the range of variation between climatic is in the order of ± 5C.,and at the present time the global climate is at the high end of this range. If there were global temperatures of more than 2 or 3C.above the current average temperature this would take the climate outside of the range of observations which have been made over the last several hundred thousand years. Within a stable climatic regime, the range of variation of ± 1C is the normal variation thus in the last 100 years a range of mean temperature has been 0.7°C.
    On the other hand, studies of the effects of carbon dioxide on global temperature indicate that a doubling
    in concentration would probably lead to an increase in surface temperature of between 0.6 and 2.4C
    As a first approximation, we assume that a doubling of the atmospheric concentration of dioxide is a reasonable standard to impose at the present stage of knowledge.
    First, according to the estimates of the effect on temperature, these temperature changes would be
    somewhere between the change observed over the last century and up to perhaps four times this variation.
    Although we do not know exactly what the effect is, we are probably not changing the climate more than
    has been associated with the normal random variations of the last few thousand year.
    -…….to be heading for the danger zone. It appears that the doubling will come around 2030.
    ………..Put differently, according to the cost schedules assumed in the model, it does not pay to curtail carbon dioxide emissions until the time, or almost the time, when the limit is reached; and for the three cases examined this time comes in the period centered on 2020.”
    —————–
    The above is a paste copy from the paper of Dr. Nordhaus… … a little further expantion of the quote shown in this blog post.
    Hopefully Bob wont mind that.
    Dr. Nordhaus work, as related in this blog post, for as much as I can tell is a superb scientific work in principle., as same as the Calendar’s one.
    While in both cases the scientific work is about the potential effect of CO2 emissions and the greenhouse effect on climate in the consideration of the anthropogenic forcing, both guys do not fail but clearly explain their belief also. Is clearly stated in both cases that none of them believes in AGW or the possibility of man changing the climate, even while their work points at it and considers it.
    It is strange but a careful consideration leads to a conclusion that none of them really believes that man can cause climate change. For example Guy Calendar puts the tiping point at 2000 years in the future, while Nordhaus puts it at around the year 2030, but in both cases they treat the conclusion reached as a no AGW, in a way that while actually man may effect the GW by a kind of amplifying it, stil it would not be .able to cause a climate change.
    In both cases the tipping point is considered, and in both cases there is a large degree of no worry implied.
    In the case of Dr. Nordhaus you can see it very clearly at the last part of the selected copy-paste above, and in the case of the Calendar it can be seen at the belief of him that man will adapt his technology long before the mark of the tipping point.
    If that seems doubtful and not as clear as I claim it to be, I will not mind but to explain it further if anyone asks, but my main point in this comment is about how much a real scientific work can help even when considered in error in many parts….
    The errors in the Nordhaus paper are very easy to spot, simply because the numbers and the data used to calculate the tiping point (the ~2C mark increament above the current average global temperatures at his time) are wrong by a very significant margin.
    He uses a numer in the order of ± 5C for variation between climatic, which means a 10C variation BETWEEN the extremes, while actually these days is considered as something between 4.5C to 7C (with a average of ~5.5C to 6C), which still seems to be exaggerated.
    That can be even more clearly understood while considering that to him the 0.7C warming observed up to 1975 from a 100 years earlier is considered as a normal climatic variation because it was inside the 1C max mark possible.
    Actually that seems to be wrong also as the 0.7C is beyond the max mark variation, simply because that happends to be no more than the half of what he considered as such,…….. that mark is at ~0.5C (probably even less than) for a period above the 100 years and closer to a 150 years mark. That is the very basic reason of the modern latest AGW furore.
    Than the error surfaces again, against any odds, he estimates the 2030 as the tipping point when the CO2 emissions will double. Very very odd.
    One thing to really consider here is that actually he sides with the CO2 emissions as a correct pointer of the tipping point not the degree of the warming, which actually shows his care of been as correct as possible, especially while the range of CS he considers is 0.6C to 2.4C for a doubling.
    Meaning that the best metric he considers for the tipping point is the CO2 emissions not the temps..
    To summerize it…. he must have considerd a CS not above the 1C for a doubling and the CR much more significant than the one propagated by the very numbers he used to calculate the ~2C increment as possible, ……..while coming up with the 2030 as the tipping point..
    So if we correct for his errors, we come up with a ~1C warming above the main climatic trend as a tipping point (instead of 2C to 3C), which actually is round about our present time,the ~1C warming as the tipping point, while considering the temp variations.
    While considering the CO2 emissions it means that the tipping point may be well as he has estimated the ~2030 but only if the CS considered as a value of ~0.6C of variation for ~ 200ppm variation (close to 1C for a doubling) , ……meaning that if this correct we will be in a hiatus at least till the 2030 and a tipping point at 460ppm, ……….no AGW.
    Simply put, somehow his CO2 tipping point does not agree with the ~2C warming as a tipping point….. and also it does not agree with the CS above 1C for a doubling (therefor not with ACC-AGW), but strangely, against any odds, it agrees with the actual CR and the hiatus.
    Combining his work and the latest data about climate we are already in a tipping point from present to at least till 2030…..no ACC-AGW there.
    While considering the tipping point in climate, the matter becomes simple to estimate……after that point we either have a ACC-AGW as so much claimed or the climate will not care to change to our will and will impose it’s will on us.
    Also a hiatus happends to be very possible in the case of a climate that does not change according to our will, and quasy impossible in the other case.
    I am sure that many will not get my point, but anyway I have made it…:-)
    don’t mind any typos or grammar errors, please. 🙂
    Cheers

  42. So at +1.99C we’re living in a lush paradise and at +2.01 we’re doomed?
    Really? This is just so, how you say, stupid?
    [img]http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/medium/climate_alarmist_view.jpg[/img]

  43. rgbatduke
    December 17, 2014 at 9:31 am
    “Whoa, dude, you really need to study some history….”
    rgb, you are a one-of-a-kind-all-in-one type of guy! Your history lesson was no less expert and erudite than your physcis/math contributions here. Bravo!
    I added a bit to the discussion on 2C up thread probably too high up to get noticed. Let’s not forget that we have had hammered into our heads that the polar regions are the recipients of most of the warming through polar amplification. This means that a 2C increase would largely be distributed north of 60, and I presume, in the south polar region, south of 60. The tropical convergence zone seems to have an SST maximum of 31C because of evaporative and convective cooliing. Okay, Greenland, northern Canada Siberia and Antarctica would rise 6-8C leaving the temperate zones with perhaps 0.5 to 0.8C rise.

  44. jimmi_the_dalek December 16, 2014 at 5:06 pm “There are plenty of vineyards in England now. There are even one or two in Scotland.”
    http://www.englishwineproducers.co.uk/vineyards/vineyard-search/
    “Richards in Vancouver December 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm NONE of the grapes presently growing in Britain are the strains that flourished there during the Roman occupation.” (Almost said “currently growing”. Caught it just in time!)
    Actually jimmi_the_dalek, there are four known vineyards in Scotland. But the industry is largely southern England, 365 vineyards in SE, South Central and SW England, 207 in the rest of England, Scotland and Wales.
    Richards, I recognize four of the grape varieties grown in England as being varieties also grown in Australia – the producer of the world’s best wines. Perhaps the rest of the UK varieties are special cold climate grape varieties – although I admit in Australia we do have grapes grown in cold climate areas.
    But the UK climate is good for beer – far better than Australian beer which has to be drunk cold so you don’t notice the taste. OK, I admit that on a really hot day, a glass of Australian beer (cannot name the best variety, I think, on this site) goes down well.

    • A friend of mine visited UK some years ago, but she reckoned the British wines were not as good as the Ozzie wines. When I left UK in 1965, I can’t remember any British wines being produced, too cold. We do have cold weather vineyards though here on the NSW Northern tablelands and they are very nice, even an organic wine producer. Lovely reds.

  45. First off A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL, AT LEAST IN THE NH YOU COULD GET A WHITE CHRISTMAS! We don’t in Australia but still have a roast dinner and hot Christmas pub. Although in Armidale we rarely go over 30 C, and one summer had snow, on 23rd December. (1987 I think) Just sago snow. Temps dropped, and we lit fires.
    However, I found an old New Science magazine dated 16th November 1991 N0.1795.
    On page No.7. An article by guess who? David Parker of the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre for climate research and Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit of UEA.
    They say ‘the first half of this year was as warm as the same period in 1990, but the second half has cooled slightly, perhaps because of the shading effect of the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines…’ They go on to say, that The Earth has shown pronounced warming since the start of the 1980s. The decade was 0.2 C warmer than the average for 1950 – 1980 and around 0.5 C warmer than a century ago….then they go on to say ‘…..Warm years have often coincided with an oscillation of the oceans and winds in the Pacific Ocean known as El Nino, in which warm waters spread out across the tropical oceans. Cooler years follow either La Nina events ….. in which cool waters cover the tropical pacific or major volcanic eruptions. The complete data for 1991 will be included in a new report from the UNIPCC to be agreed in February. (1992?) It will strengthen the case of those scientists who believe that the warming of the past decade is a clear sign that the accumulate of greenhouses gases such as carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere is raising temperatures ….’ Written by Fred Pearse
    How the heck could they come to that conclusion? To me it is contradictory? But 1992 a long way off wasn’t it from Al Gore’s Nobel prize.
    Aniow have a gudCrissie, as we Ozzies say. (Well not me but the Ockers do?)

  46. A few points to combat ridiculous climate alarm and any de-carbonisation policies
    The last millennium 1000 – 2000 AD was the coldest of the whole of our currently benign Holocene epoch. At about 10,000 years long, the Holocene is coming towards its end. Then there will be an inevitable slide into the next real ice age, whether this millennium or the next.
    According to ice core records, the Holocene “optimum” 8000 years ago was about 3degC warmer than at present. The previous Eemian interglacial epoch peaked at a much higher temperature than has ever occurred in our current Holocene. Hippopotami thrived in the Rhine Delta.
    The world survived these overheating disasters.
    see
    https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/the-temperature-context/
    Richard Tol confirms that any modest negative effects of warming could only ever begin at ~+2degC.
    And anyway +2degC can never be attained with added CO2 because of the diminishing effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas with its increasing concentration.
    see:
    https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/the-diminishing-influence-of-increasing-carbon-dioxide-co2-on-temperature/
    And take note of what sensible academics have said in formal testimony:
    Professor Judith Curry’s of Georgia Institute of Technology Congressional testimony 14/1/2014:
    “Motivated by the precautionary principle to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change, attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The stagnation in greenhouse warming observed over the past 15+ years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob on climate variability on decadal time scales.”
    Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT UK parliament committee testimony 28/1/2014 on IPCC AR5:
    “Whatever the UK decides to do will have no impact on your climate, but will have a profound impact on your economy. (You are) Trying to solve a problem that may not be a problem by taking actions that you know will hurt your economy.”

    • Mr. Hoskins, thx for the comment and the links to your work. Especially appreciate the cost comparison for CGT v Renewables. Economic suicide explained and the US / EPA is tone deaf. Merry Christmas.

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