Freeman Dyson on ‘heretical’ thoughts about global warmimg

By Freeman Dyson

My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak.

But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in.

The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

1. The Need for Heretics

In the modern world, science and society often interact in a perverse way. We live in a technological society, and technology causes political problems. The politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to the problems. Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers. The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, “Sorry, but we don’t know”. The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities. So it happens that the experts who talk publicly about politically contentious questions tend to speak more clearly than they think. They make confident predictions about the future, and end up believing their own predictions. Their predictions become dogmas which they do not question. The public is led to believe that the fashionable scientific dogmas are true, and it may sometimes happen that they are wrong. That is why heretics who question the dogmas are needed.

As a scientist I do not have much faith in predictions. Science is organized unpredictability. The best scientists like to arrange things in an experiment to be as unpredictable as possible, and then they do the experiment to see what will happen. You might say that if something is predictable then it is not science. When I make predictions, I am not speaking as a scientist. I am speaking as a story-teller, and my predictions are science-fiction rather than science. The predictions of science-fiction writers are notoriously inaccurate. Their purpose is to imagine what might happen rather than to describe what will happen. I will be telling stories that challenge the prevailing dogmas of today. The prevailing dogmas may be right, but they still need to be challenged. I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies. Since I am heretic, I am accustomed to being in the minority. If I could persuade everyone to agree with me, I would not be a heretic.

We are lucky that we can be heretics today without any danger of being burned at the stake. But unfortunately I am an old heretic. Old heretics do not cut much ice. When you hear an old heretic talking, you can always say, “Too bad he has lost his marbles”, and pass on. What the world needs is young heretics. I am hoping that one or two of the people who read this piece may fill that role.

Two years ago, I was at Cornell University celebrating the life of Tommy Gold, a famous astronomer who died at a ripe old age. He was famous as a heretic, promoting unpopular ideas that usually turned out to be right. Long ago I was a guinea-pig in Tommy’s experiments on human hearing. He had a heretical idea that the human ear discriminates pitch by means of a set of tuned resonators with active electromechanical feedback. He published a paper explaining how the ear must work, [Gold, 1948]. He described how the vibrations of the inner ear must be converted into electrical signals which feed back into the mechanical motion, reinforcing the vibrations and increasing the sharpness of the resonance. The experts in auditory physiology ignored his work because he did not have a degree in physiology. Many years later, the experts discovered the two kinds of hair-cells in the inner ear that actually do the feedback as Tommy had predicted, one kind of hair-cell acting as electrical sensors and the other kind acting as mechanical drivers. It took the experts forty years to admit that he was right. Of course, I knew that he was right, because I had helped him do the experiments.

Later in his life, Tommy Gold promoted another heretical idea, that the oil and natural gas in the ground come up from deep in the mantle of the earth and have nothing to do with biology. Again the experts are sure that he is wrong, and he did not live long enough to change their minds. Just a few weeks before he died, some chemists at the Carnegie Institution in Washington did a beautiful experiment in a diamond anvil cell, [Scott et al., 2004]. They mixed together tiny quantities of three things that we know exist in the mantle of the earth, and observed them at the pressure and temperature appropriate to the mantle about two hundred kilometers down. The three things were calcium carbonate which is sedimentary rock, iron oxide which is a component of igneous rock, and water. These three things are certainly present when a slab of subducted ocean floor descends from a deep ocean trench into the mantle. The experiment showed that they react quickly to produce lots of methane, which is natural gas. Knowing the result of the experiment, we can be sure that big quantities of natural gas exist in the mantle two hundred kilometers down. We do not know how much of this natural gas pushes its way up through cracks and channels in the overlying rock to form the shallow reservoirs of natural gas that we are now burning. If the gas moves up rapidly enough, it will arrive intact in the cooler regions where the reservoirs are found. If it moves too slowly through the hot region, the methane may be reconverted to carbonate rock and water. The Carnegie Institute experiment shows that there is at least a possibility that Tommy Gold was right and the natural gas reservoirs are fed from deep below. The chemists sent an E-mail to Tommy Gold to tell him their result, and got back a message that he had died three days earlier. Now that he is dead, we need more heretics to take his place.

2. Climate and Land Management

The main subject of this piece is the problem of climate change. This is a contentious subject, involving politics and economics as well as science. The science is inextricably mixed up with politics. Everyone agrees that the climate is changing, but there are violently diverging opinions about the causes of change, about the consequences of change, and about possible remedies. I am promoting a heretical opinion, the first of three heresies that I will discuss in this piece.

My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak. But I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

There is no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global. I am not saying that the warming does not cause problems. Obviously it does. Obviously we should be trying to understand it better. I am saying that the problems are grossly exaggerated. They take away money and attention from other problems that are more urgent and more important, such as poverty and infectious disease and public education and public health, and the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans, not to mention easy problems such as the timely construction of adequate dikes around the city of New Orleans.

I will discuss the global warming problem in detail because it is interesting, even though its importance is exaggerated. One of the main causes of warming is the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from our burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and natural gas. To understand the movement of carbon through the atmosphere and biosphere, we need to measure a lot of numbers. I do not want to confuse you with a lot of numbers, so I will ask you to remember just one number. The number that I ask you to remember is one hundredth of an inch per year. Now I will explain what this number means. Consider the half of the land area of the earth that is not desert or ice-cap or city or road or parking-lot. This is the half of the land that is covered with soil and supports vegetation of one kind or another. Every year, it absorbs and converts into biomass a certain fraction of the carbon dioxide that we emit into the atmosphere. Biomass means living creatures, plants and microbes and animals, and the organic materials that are left behind when the creatures die and decay. We don’t know how big a fraction of our emissions is absorbed by the land, since we have not measured the increase or decrease of the biomass. The number that I ask you to remember is the increase in thickness, averaged over one half of the land area of the planet, of the biomass that would result if all the carbon that we are emitting by burning fossil fuels were absorbed. The average increase in thickness is one hundredth of an inch per year.

The point of this calculation is the very favorable rate of exchange between carbon in the atmosphere and carbon in the soil. To stop the carbon in the atmosphere from increasing, we only need to grow the biomass in the soil by a hundredth of an inch per year. Good topsoil contains about ten percent biomass, [Schlesinger, 1977], so a hundredth of an inch of biomass growth means about a tenth of an inch of topsoil. Changes in farming practices such as no-till farming, avoiding the use of the plow, cause biomass to grow at least as fast as this. If we plant crops without plowing the soil, more of the biomass goes into roots which stay in the soil, and less returns to the atmosphere. If we use genetic engineering to put more biomass into roots, we can probably achieve much more rapid growth of topsoil. I conclude from this calculation that the problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem of land management, not a problem of meteorology. No computer model of atmosphere and ocean can hope to predict the way we shall manage our land.

Here is another heretical thought. Instead of calculating world-wide averages of biomass growth, we may prefer to look at the problem locally. Consider a possible future, with China continuing to develop an industrial economy based largely on the burning of coal, and the United States deciding to absorb the resulting carbon dioxide by increasing the biomass in our topsoil. The quantity of biomass that can be accumulated in living plants and trees is limited, but there is no limit to the quantity that can be stored in topsoil. To grow topsoil on a massive scale may or may not be practical, depending on the economics of farming and forestry. It is at least a possibility to be seriously considered, that China could become rich by burning coal, while the United States could become environmentally virtuous by accumulating topsoil, with transport of carbon from mine in China to soil in America provided free of charge by the atmosphere, and the inventory of carbon in the atmosphere remaining constant. We should take such possibilities into account when we listen to predictions about climate change and fossil fuels. If biotechnology takes over the planet in the next fifty years, as computer technology has taken it over in the last fifty years, the rules of the climate game will be radically changed.

Read his entire essay here It is well worth your time.

Here is a video of his presentation:


FREEMAN DYSON is professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton. His professional interests are in mathematics and astronomy. Among his many books are Disturbing the Universe, Infinite in All Directions Origins of Life, From Eros to Gaia, Imagined Worldsand The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet. His most recent book, Many Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe (Page Barbour Lectures), is being published this month by University of Virginia Press.

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237 thoughts on “Freeman Dyson on ‘heretical’ thoughts about global warmimg

      • ‘In science we have evidence, observations, measurements…’

        And in climatology those are adjusted until they fit the propaganda.

      • when evidence, observations, and measurements meld to reinforce a certain idea that idea can then morph into a theory.

        When a theory begins without significant evidence and the measurements/observations are skewed to “fix” the theory there is something wrong. There is still evidence, observations, & measurements, but it is not science.

      • In science we have evidence, observations, measurements

        Not necessarily true, Griff. In climate science we don’t always have the observational data, because researchers refuse to provide it, even to the extent of fighting in court to prevent its release.

        Some of the “evidence, observations, measurements” is based on incompetent research, unwarranted manipulations, or even faked data. Reading articles at Retraction Watch might help you understand the limitations of science as currently practiced.

        In climate science we also have a lot of failed predictions, which lead to justifiable doubts about the reliability of predictions for the future.

      • “In science we have evidence, observations, measurements…”

        Still waiting to see some from you, Griff.

      • “When a theory begins without significant evidence and the measurements/observations are skewed to “fix” the theory there is something wrong. There is still evidence, observations, & measurements, but it is not science.”

        except the opposite is done.

        1. the ocean represents 70% of the planet. Those observations are COOLED over the entire period.
        2. The land is 30%, It is warmed slightly by adjustments. AND if you pick the best stations, unadjusted
        if no different than adjusted

        The planet is warming. We dont only have the surface temps to show us that.
        A) the rise is sea level signals a warming planet
        B) Proxies that show a colder LIA signal a warming planet.
        C) the migration of animals signal a warming planet.
        D) The receding glaciers signal a warming planet.
        E) The change in ice break up dates, signal a warming planet
        F) The change in some plants signal a warming planet.
        G) The cooling of the stratosphere signals a planet warming that can only
        be explained by Green house gases, signal a warming planet.

        It is warming. There was an LIA. The SUM TOTAL of all adjustments to the land sea record
        COOLS the record it does not warm the record.

        In 1896 science predicted that more c02 would lead to more warm conditions
        In the 1930s this prediction was refined,
        In 1967 the first Climate model prediction was made.
        https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/03/15/the-first-climate-model-turns-50-and-predicted-global-warming-almost-perfectly/#60a15566614d

        In all the cases the science predicted correctly. Increase c02 and over Time, over long periods, this small forcing will result in small warming– a few degrees C. Ghgs, Including c02 and h20, do not cool the planet, they warm the planet. Its basic physics ( from 1896), It’s First order estimation ( 1930s) and its full blown
        physics modelling ( 1967-present)

        the accuracy achieved by the models is frankly astounding given the complexity of the system.

        Here is what we knew. In 1896 and the 1930s, and from the late 60s on we knew that the best science
        told us that increasing GHGs would have an effect. That effect would be warming. Warming was predicted,
        warming has occured.

        The questions are: How will we emit in the future, how much warming will that cause, what good and
        bad effects will that have, who will win and who will lose, and what, if anything, is our duty to future
        generations.

      • sure ..and that’s the problem. but dyson says he doesn’t beleive in clmate models numbers ie he needs facts…mann says i do. so why should i beleive Mann and models numbers if dyson doesn’t and says he doesn’t see evidence of their validity..

      • @ Mosher
        You have only one true reliable proxy thermometer for global warming and that’s sea level rise aka ice melt or thermal expansion. So the geology of Hallett Cove in South Australia can show an average annual rise of 16.25 mm/yr between 15000 and 7000 years ago while the CSIRO note the tide gauge at Port Arthur in Tasmania shows only an average yearly rise of 0.85mm/yr between 1841 and 2000.

        Now tell me what part of one nineteenth of natural warming for 8000 years is down to anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere nowadays and why should I care? On the contrary, given previous ice ages I should actually start to worry if the sea level stops rising and begins to fall as we know it can and if that happens I want all the greenhouse effect you folks can rustle up in those panicky little minds of yours.

        How about it Mosher? Put a percentage on that 1/19th of natural warming that’s down to your dreaded plant fertiliser. Go on I challenge you to point out to me among all those billions of dollars poured down the gullets of taxeating computer modellers with an attack of the vapours where they’ve ever put a percentage to it. As if we didn’t know why not and the political séance they’re all up to.

    • I would like to believe that Freeman Dyson is more credible than Michael Mann. He seems to have more common sense, but in this article he assumes that CO2 in the atmosphere is a problem. He talks about transferring carbon from China to US topsoil. There is no need to transfer it out of the atmosphere if it isn’t a problem. I would be interested in his thoughts on water vapor as a greenhouse gas.

      I do like his pointing out that there are ways to offset CO2 in the atmosphere if it were a problem. His methods would entail a lot less cost, and have a lot less opportunity for graft, which is why I believe the issue is so political. People seem to be willing to do a lot of shady dealing to profit from promoting alarm.

      • methods would entail a lot less cost, and have a lot less opportunity for graft

        But that would defeat the whole purpose of climate alarmism.

      • Dyson’s thesis that CO2 (carbon) sequestered in topsoil is somehow ‘permanent’. I wonder what experimental data that is based on..? I DO know that carbon in wood (from trees) is oxidized back to CO2 by the bacteria which cause the wood to rot when it sits on a forest floor. I see no obvious reason to assume anything much different in the soil itself – either on a large or small scale. That CO2 then escapes – as a gas – to be quickly re-used in the photosynthesis process all living plants take advantage of.

    • Freeman Dyson – a breath of fresh air in the world of goofy climate change madness.

      I read his book Disturbing the Universe in college in the ‘80s. He demonstrated by statistical analysis the effectivity, or lack thereof, of the allied bombing campaign in WWII. It was a great read and gave me a real appreciation of understanding the statistical relevance of any particular data point in a larger data set.

      His statistical prowess is what enables him to conclusively discern that the climate change alarmists have been blowing hot air for a long time.

      Where are the other great scientists like Richard Feynman (oh crap he’s dead) who can debunk the climate kooks?

  1. Of course, they say, I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak.

    You have a degree in common sense. That is the best conceivable qualification.

    • Yes, whenever the issue of tree rings comes up, I always point out that a botanist would be a better expert to decide on what they mean, not whatever Mann calls himself.

    • He has a degree in physics. Meteorology is basically just applied physics. With a MS in meteorology, I am generally unqualified in many areas of climate that a physicist can handle with ease.

      • I would hope that as someone with an MS in meteorology you can recognize data manipulation when you see it, as is the case with the surface temperature records of this and many other countries…I have a lowly BS is meteorology and it is easy for me to see the seemingly endless examples of the warmanistas data malfeasance…

      • ‘Freeman Dyson is now retired, having been for most of his life a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He was born in England and worked as a civilian scientist for the Royal Air Force in World War II. He graduated from Cambridge University (Trinity College) in 1945 with a B.A. degree in mathematics. Cornell University made him a professor without bothering about his lack of Ph.D. He subsequently worked on nuclear reactors, solid state physics, ferromagnetism, astrophysics and biology, looking for problems where elegant mathematics could be usefully applied.’

        Mathematics BA from Trinity and no Ph.D (too busy being a genius probably!). Too many prizes and awards to list or count but (unlike Michael E Mann!) no Nobel Prize.

      • I continue to be pleasantly surprised at just how many eminent scientist and engineers stalk the corridors of WUWT.
        Thank you all. You continue to educate an uneducated layman, me, and lend even more credibility to the site than I believe even Anthony ever imagined.

    • I would say that Freeman Dyson has a degree in unlimited curiosity and is severely deficient in empty or self serving belief. I only we could bottle those qualities.

      • Freeman Dyson is educated. He is capable of taking evidence from all over and contextualizing it into ‘The Big Picture’.

        One of my big complaints is that over specialized experts squirrel away at their theoretical castles in the sky all the while ignoring the bloody obvious. Iain McGilchrist would look at someone like Dr. Michael Mann and conclude that Mann’s education has damaged the right hemisphere of his brain. The result is a disconnection from reality that closely mimics schizophrenia. As a result, Mann can ignore the historical evidence for the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age and assert that the global temperature was more or less constant for a thousand years. The contrast between Dyson and Mann could not be more stark.

        I agree with Anthony, Dyson’s full essay is well worth reading.

    • As it’s oft said ‘Common Sense isn’t that Common’
      (especially if there is a hidden ‘Trojan Horse’ agenda that many are unaware of consciously).

    • John: – anyone who has drilled into pockets of natural gas (methane) in Precambrian shields will have no trouble in accepting that there is methane seeping up from the mantle. Oil is a whole other issue and the idea of abiogenic oil has been neatly put down in a couple of WUWT discussions, by David Middleton (IIRC).

      Also, take note that the experiment referred to by Prof. Dyson involved subducted sedimentary rock. It did not involve primitive mantle material, so the question of whether the gas generated was abiogenic is by no means answered.

      As to the potential for immeasurably large reserves of abiogenic hydrocarbons (assuming pro tem that you believe Thomas Gold that the stuff exists) – where’s the porosity? Voids just don’t exist in the mantle, or if they do they don’t last more than an instant in geological time. You can’t have reserves without porosity. And if you don’t have porosity there’s no point in talking about permeability, which would have made those non-existent reserves recoverable.

      Gold was a free thinker and people like that are valuable in that they can set others of us thinking about novel ideas. BUT. Just because a radical idea fits into your own world view does not in any way validate the idea. E.g. the Soviets, who spent a lot of time and effort into ultra-deep drilling in search of the elusive abiogenic hydrocarbons. Not to mention Lysenko’s ideas on inheritance of acquired characteristics (which BTW did not die with Lysenko or the USSR – they keep popping up as the “science of epigenetics”, and there’s just a hint of a remote possibility that there might be something there – don’t be put off by 100 percent of geneticists crapping all over it).

      I well remember seminars discussing Gold’s idea of electrostatic transport of dust particles on the moon. Quite plausible, but it only took the one moon landing to disprove it.

      • Try actually READING Tommy’s book. He generally anticipates (and preemptively refutes) the objections others nonetheless still attempt. For example, he discusses your issue of porosity (pages 52-54 of DHB) mentioning an amusing discussion he had had with Fred Hoyle suggesting that one simply consider the schoolboy who worries he is about to be crushed by the 14.7 psi of the atmosphere! That’s where you, “Smart Rock”, should have STARTED – if you read the book.

      • Professor Dyson urges us to keep our minds open to heretical scientific ideas. He might be disappointed by your statement that “the idea of abiogenic oil has been neatly put down in a couple of WUWT discussions, by David Middleton”. I respect David Middleton’s informed opinions but still have an open mind regarding abiogenic oil. It’s a well-established fact that a wide variety of hydrocarbons can be made from methane via the Fischer-Tropsch process. Some scientists believe this polymerization process can occur in nature:

        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/S0016702914120052

        If true, abiogenic oil is a very real possibility. So for me, the jury is still out.

      • OK. Here’s a memory flashback. As a student at Cornell in the 60’s, pre-1st moon lander, I was taking an astronomy course from a crusty old professor (name forgotten) Gold was an upcoming shining star prof who had predicted that we would find the surface of the moon “crunchy – cookie like” based on his theories (as I recall). Well after the results were in that it was just dust, an anonymous news clipping with that info went up on the bulletin board with an attached note, “That’s the Way The Cookie Crumbles”.

  2. Re atmosphere flows, I’m not sure they have included warm moist air rising through the troposphere to radiate more heat to space (by-passing in part the Troposphere – a la Eschenbach global temperature “governor”).

    • GP, I dug deeply into the guts of NCAR CAM3, because the entire tech manual is available on line. Processes like Willis’ convection cells occur on too small scales for the computationally constrained model resolution. (See guest post The Trouble with Models for details.) So they have to be parameterized. The parameters have to be tuned to best hindcast (for CMIP5, explicitly YE2005 back to 1975 per mandatory submission 1.2 of the ‘experimental design’). That automatically drags in the attribution problem. See recent guest post Why Models Run Hot for details.

      • Doing CFD on ship hulls (using the Navier-Stokes equations) moving through the water producing waves about 20 years ago, I soon found that if the cell grid was too coarse then the model converged to a false solution indicating much bigger waves than actual full size trials had revealed. The finer the mesh though, the much greater the number crunching time for a solution which could be a real practical problem. In the case of the climate models I reckon having a mesh fine enough to properly model the actual behaviour of equatorial and other convection cells would blow the solution time out to an inconveniently long time (now there is your actual inconvenient truth re climate).

        I speculate that the climate modellers postulate that a coarse mesh just gives a less accurate solution as distinct from one which has converged to a false solution which is what the satellite observations would actually suggest. Methinks the surface thermometer temperature record would also suggest it if the data fiddling was not so popular. The inbuilt biases in the surface data are a real problem and frankly that record is just not fit for the purpose of a ‘global temperature’ let alone the trend in same.

        Couldn’t get funding for a false solution though I suppose so the marketing department is brought in on the job ( the ‘science communicators’).

      • When you are hindcasting , you have to be very sure that the data you hindcast to is actually real.

        The climate modellers find themselves in a Catch22 situation.

        Either hindcast to GISS, HadCrut etc and introduce a deliberate warming trend…..

        or destroy the whole AGW farce by using real data..

        Using real data would take parameters for CO2 warming out of the picture.

      • GP, in the climate chapter of The Arts of Truth I dug into CMIP3 and AR4. Indeed you are correct. The positive water vapor feedback is overstated via the constant relative humidity model result, and the cloud feedback is positive when it is observationally either neutral or weakly negative. Those are the big two errors.

    • You all may already be familiar with Dr. Christopher Essex’s discussion (below) which supports you, Gary, ristvan, and M Seward. The discussion covers why climate models can NEVER be correct for several reasons, among them that if the models account for eddy currents down to the millimeter as they do in the real world, it would take super, super computers more than the age of the Universe to finish its calculation. As it is, the model’s granularity miss entire thunderstorms, if I understand Dr. Essex correctly. Of course computer limitations and parallelizations are other reasons. The discussion starts slow, but it is well worthwhile to watch the entire ~hour.

    • Sorry, but Ms. Ingham is a charlatan every. It as much as Mann. Building so it was all well and good but using herbicides and no till farming is a heck of a lot more fission way to do it then Miss Ingham’s approach.

      • If Ms. Ingham is a charlatan I’d like to know more about it, as I had not known. I’m only familiar with her advocacy through numerous of her videos. Can you support the charlatan claim, please?

  3. The Gold example of abiogenic hydrocarbons needs explication. Freeman Dyson is correct, but his wider inference about Gold’s theory Gold is not.
    Abiogenic natural gas (methane) has been known for decades, although not abundant. It does not form in the mantle, but rather from iron catalysis of carbonates and water under sufficient pressure. There are, for example, abiogenic methane seeps in Spain and Turkey. The largest known deposits are the methane clathrates on the floor of the Fram Strait off Greenland, the catalyst of the marine carbonate ‘rain’ being seafloor spreading fresh iron rich basalt.
    There is no known abiogenic petroleum. Period. Nor could such be formed naturally per basic organic chemistry. (Note that with the two step OCM-ETL catalytic process of Siluria Technologies, it is possible industrially.) The Gold inspired Swedish test trace was drilling mud contamination from leaky mud pump seals. The supposed Russian abiotic oil discovery in the Ukraine arose from their mischaracterization of the geological stratigraphy, where an igneous province had overthrust an underlying traditional source rock marine shale.

    • Indeed, Freeman Dyson is not correct when he praises Gold for the discredited idea “that the oil and natural gas in the ground come up from deep in the mantle of the earth and have nothing to do with biology.” The technique of oil finger printing has unequivocally proven the relationship between source rock and oil accumulations. Surely, abiogenic methane has been demonstrated to exist but the claim that oil could also have an abiogenic origin is absolute nonsense. Freeman Dyson does himself a disservice by quoting this example. It’s a shame for a man whose opinion I value highly.

      • Gold offered two hypotheses. Dyson only remarked on one pertaining to natural gas. The hypotheses are separable and Dyson need not deny one to accept the other. That approach is intended to taint credibility with political, not scientific motives.

      • He also errs when he asserts that the disagreement over facts and values is a disagreement between the philosophies of humanism and of naturalism.
        There are far more insidious forces at work, as well as more banal forces.
        The insidious forces are those that use issues to grab for power and money and control, and the banal are those who decide everything based on political ideology.
        There is overlap of course.
        The CAGW spider web of issues goes far beyond disagreements over facts and philosophies.

    • ristvan

      Sorry once again for being so dense, you always seem to be the victim of my daft questions. I read something somewhere, I suspect on here, that abiogenic crude oil was discovered 7 miles beneath the seabed, where fossil derived crude couldn’t possibly exist.

      Is that the Swedish test trace, and was it just a trace, that was contaminated by leaky mud pump seals?

      I think I get the Russian example where, in my limited terminology, a source of conventional fossil derived crude (shale?) had dived under an older piece of rock that would be expected to be below it.

      Am I close?

      • HotScot, I am unaware of anything discovered 7miles inder the seabed, let alone oil.The deepest seabed oil well is Chevrons GoM Tahiti field at 22000 feet under 4000 feet of water into a conventionally kilometers and the Russians just got the stratigraphy wrong. A geology 101 mistake. Regards.

      • ristvan

        I”ll try to find the post or article referring to it. Although I don’t recall it being specific to research. Perhaps just an exaggerated scientific Chinese whisper.

      • And David Middleton, who is in the production end of oil exploration, noted that the abiotic oil models were useless in actually finding oil.

      • The scientific position is to neither overestimate nor underestimate evolution (i.e. chaos). To that end, the scientific method operates within a limited frame of reference in both time and space, and so claims about processes that produced everything on earth, including oil, can neither be substantiated nor should they be ignored. It is merely that the abiogenic theory of oil production cannot be contemplated with the processes that have survived evolution, but this does not preclude that this was not the origin of the whole or majority of oil on earth. All that we can say within a scientific scope is that a portion of oil is derivative and/or integrated with biological factors.

      • Coal is biogenic. Gas can be abiogenic, and some of it definitely is. The issue is oil, which appears to be biogenic. However, an abiogenic source for some of it can’t be absolutely ruled out. There is also the middle case of deep, hot biogenic origin for some petroleum. We don’t know how far down into the crust microbes can and do exist.

      • Gabro

        much obliged.

        Is it just methane gas that’s abiogenic as discussed in this article, or are there others?

      • Hotscot,

        Methane is the only hydrocarbon for which there is evidence of abiogenic origin that I know of.

        Oil, as noted by many here, is probably biogenic, but some abiogenic production can’t be ruled out. Nor can deep biogenic sources, rather than the marine microbes which are recognized as the primary origin of petroleum deposits.

      • Distinguishing oil industry claims from CACA is sometimes hard. The deepest samples on Earth are from Kola Superdeep Borehole at about 12,200 meters (about 40,000 feet). That’s only 0.2% of the way to the center of the Earth. The rest is guesswork. Except e.g. Titan’s Kraken Mare is suspected to be mainly methane, but currently other hydrocarbons haven’t been excluded.

    • “It does not form in the mantle, but rather from iron catalysis of carbonates and water under sufficient pressure.” a perfect example of what Dyson is talking about … THAT is what the consensus says … and they aren’t trying to prove themselves wrong … your sureness gives away your blindness …

    • Again, I respect the opinions of David Middleton and Rud Istvan, but I am still keeping an open mind regarding abiogenic oil. The most important thing I’ve learned about our climate is the fact that the more we study it, the more we realize just how little we actually know about how it works. The same applies to the mantle. At this point, we know next to nothing about the processes that occur there. Suggested food for thought:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4442600/
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11541663

  4. It is perhaps true that once somebody makes a prediction, they believe it, but I suspect more people are then absolutely unwilling to admit that they made a mistake. The more public the prediction, the more importance that is attached to ti, the more money is spent because of tit, the more the predictor will fight to show he/she was right.

    Unfortunately this can easily cross-over from a dogged refusal to accept contrary evidence to manipulation of data and in some cases – not in climate science yet – to taking actions that will show you were right. I would put the recent actions of the Bank of England in the latter category, with its determination to engineer a negative economic outcome from the Brexit vote.

    As I have commented before, much of climate science seems to be devoted to showing that earlier claims are not false rather than moving the field forward in any meaningful way.

    • The “other” portion of climate science is steadily advancing into even goofier predictions of disaster for every form of life on Earth. They have deliberately and totally left the realm of reality.

      • john harmsworth

        It’s the herd mentality of pessimism.

        Since visiting this and other sceptical sites, starting some years ago, I have reached the conclusion that sceptics are universally optimists. They are also opinionated and individualistic, in the most positive manner.

        And it seems to me, many significant scientific breakthroughs have been made by optimistic, sceptical scientists.

        I suspect that’s why I enjoy this, and other sceptical sites, so much. They are occupied by positive people, and I was told in my early life never to associate with negative people, they will just drag you down to their level.

  5. Buckets ‘o heresy!!!

    The ONLY^3 reason RGHE theory even exists is to explain how the average surface (1.5 m above ground) temperature of 288 K/15 C (K-T balance 289 K/16 C) minus 255 K/-18C , the average surface (now ground) temperature w/o an atmosphere (Which is just completely BOGUS!) equals 33 C warmer w/ than w/o atmosphere.

    That Δ33 C notion is absolute rubbish and when it flies into the nearest dumpster it hauls RGHE “theory” in right behind it.

    The sooner that is realized and accepted the sooner all of us will have to find something better to do with our time and the taxpayers’ money. Maybe that’s what keeps RGHE staggering down the road.

    The genesis of RGHE theory is the incorrect notion that the atmosphere warms the surface (and that is NOT the ground). Explaining the mechanism behind this erroneous notion demands some truly contorted physics, thermo and heat transfer, i.e. energy out of nowhere, cold to hot w/o work, perpetual motion.

    Is space cold or hot? There are no molecules in space so our common definitions of hot/cold/heat/energy don’t apply.

    The temperatures of objects in space, e.g. the Earth, Moon, space station, Mars, Venus, etc. are determined by the radiation flowing past them. In the case of the Earth, the solar irradiance of 1,368 W/m^2 has a Stefan Boltzmann black body equilibrium temperature of 394 K, 121 C, 250 F. That’s hot. Sort of.

    https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast21mar_1/

    But an object’s albedo reflects away some of that energy and reduces that temperature.

    The Earth’s albedo reflects away about 30% of the Sun’s 1,368 W/m^2 energy leaving 70% or 958 W/m^2 to “warm” the surface (1.5 m above ground) and at an S-B BB equilibrium temperature of 361 K, 33 C cooler (394-361) than the earth with no atmosphere or albedo.

    https://springerplus.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/2193-1801-3-723

    The Earth’s albedo/atmosphere doesn’t keep the Earth warm, it keeps the Earth cool.

    Bring science, I did. (5,700 views and zero rebuttals.)

    http://writerbeat.com/articles/14306-Greenhouse—We-don-t-need-no-stinkin-greenhouse-Warning-science-ahead-

    http://writerbeat.com/articles/15582-To-be-33C-or-not-to-be-33C

    http://writerbeat.com/articles/16255-Atmospheric-Layers-and-Thermodynamic-Ping-Pong

    • Yes, the fact that clouds both warm and cool is widely ignored by the false consensus. But it’s like everything else in climate science where they cherry pick only the narrow pieces that can be misconstrued to support the IPCC’s agenda while ignoring everything that disputes the IPCC’s reason to exist.

      • The clouds are up there BECAUSE they have cooled the surface.

        Sometimes they do it a bit too well, and cooling below the clouds slows down.

      • While the latent heat from the evaporated water that formed the cloud cooled the surface, it warmed the water in the cloud as it condensed. Most of this latent heat is returned to the surface as liquid water and that not returned are the Joules driving the weather.

        The idea that latent heat and other non radiative transports effect the radiative balance and the sensitivity beyond the effect they are already having on the surface temperature is nothing but misdirection. Trenberth accounts for the final effect as the BB emissions of the surface at its average temperature and then attempts to double count non radiative transports by lumping their return to the surface in his bogus ‘back radiation’ term. Rain is definitely not radiation.

      • Clouds alter the albedo. Water vapor that moves out of the air into polar ice alters both albedo and atmospheric water vapor content.

        Why/how does the climate change?

        Fluctuations in:
        the albedo, i.e. more albedo = less net heat to atmos/surf and cooler, less albedo = more net heat to atmos/surf and warmer,
        a 92 W/m^2 ToA variation from perihelion to aphelion due to the elliptical orbit,
        a 700 +/- W/m^2 ToA variation from summer to winter due to the tilted axis.

        The pitiful W/m^2 contribution of GHGs RGHE “theory” amounts to little more than a rounding error.

        And mankind can neither cause nor cure it.

    • You’re right regarding the DAY side of earth, but I seem to recall a NIGHT side where we get zero radiation from the sun. You’ve got to work in Newton’s formula for bodies warming during the daytime, and cooling at night. There is SOME warming from the atmosphere and clouds, but as you point out, the actual amount is overstated in climate models.

      • Alan McIntire there’s no such thing as a cold nitrogen bath warming ANY light-warmed object it conduction scrubs and chills.

        The greenhouse gases responsible for 20% of otherwise available warming firelight from the sun

        aren’t the magical “heater core” of the fraudulent “cold nitrogen bath that warms”

        and without any reservation I defy all fakes to show me a cold nitrogen bath conduction chilling a light-warmed rock

        heating it.

        I also defy anyone to bring me a working instance of refractive insulation mixed into a bath chilling a rock

        making the rock warmer by refracting away 20% of the otherwise available warming firelight.

        Any time, any where,

        All caca talking fakes are invited to bring their cold bath that heats what it’s conduction chilling,

        and their refractive insulation they mix into that bath,
        warming the object they help conduction chill
        and which they deny 20% of previously available warming spectra to.

        Show me or the story’s as fake as I just said.

        It’s utter hogwash. Purest fraud. Every word.

      • I originally thought about this issue when I read some posting purporting to prove the Stefan-Boltzmann law “wrong” based on lunar temperatures. You might find this link, regarding Newton’s law of cooling, of interest.

        http://www.ugrad.math.ubc.ca/coursedoc/math100/notes/diffeqs/cool.html

        The law gives this equation:

        T(t) = Ta + (T0 -Ta)*1/(e^kt)

        Where T(t) gives Temperature, T, as a function of time, t,
        Ta is ambient background temperature, and T0 is the starting temperature of the body warming up or cooling off.

        mass atmosphere = 5* 10^18 kg=5*10^21gm
        temp atmosphere 255K (effective radiating temp to space- underestimates heat content)
        specific heat 1.01 joules/gm C
        5* 10^21*1.01*255= 1.288 * 10^24 joules

        radius earth = 6400km= 6.4*10^6 meters.
        area earth = 4 pi r^2 =514,718,540,364,021.76
        240 watts/sq meter = 240 joules/sec per square meter
        60 sec/min*60 min/hr*24hr/day=86,400 secs per day

        5.147* 10^14 sq meters*240 joules/sec/sq meter *8.64*10^4 secs/day= 1.067*10^22 joules per day radiated away
        1.067*10^22/1.288*10^24 = 0.83%

        So the daily loss of heat of the atmosphere is less than 1% per day. That makes sense when you realized that although
        temperatures may swing by 20 degrees K or more during the 24 hour day/night cycle, meteorologists are still able to make fairly accurate estimates of daily highs and lows for about a week- because of that temperature stability.

        The above is to show that it is reasonable to assume a constant long wave
        flux from the atmosphere over the course of a day. I don’t know how much “average” surface temperature changes over the course of a 24 hour day.
        I checked my own locality for last night, and got a high-low difference of about 20 C. I assume the difference is a lot less near an ocean, and most of the world is ocean, so I’m assuming the average diurnal flux over the whole earth is more like 12C.

        For my wattage numbers, I’m using Trenbeth’s numbers from Figure 1.1 here:

        http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/71075/excerpt/9780521871075_excerpt.pdf

        I read that CO2 is thoroughly mixed in the atmosphere, and I immediately jumped to the conclusion that the atmospheric wattage
        flux was evenly mixed- I quickly realized my stupid mistake when I saw some long wave figures.
        A second point, although the air gains or loses heat on the order of 1% per day, clouds make up about 1/6 of the total greenhouse
        effect, and cloud weather can fluctuate by plus or minus 50 watts or so over short intervals, giving us weather rather than climate.

        Although there are large fluxes due to earth’s transport of heat from warm to cool regions,making “weather”, for an “average” value, my figures work okay.

        Using Trenbeth’s figures, earth’s surface gets 168 watts from the sun, and 324 from the atmosphere. Of course that isn’t distributed evenly.
        During the “daytime” we get 2*168 = 336 watts from the sun, and 324 from the atmosphere (remember my prior calculation showing the slow change in temp from the atmosphere).

        During the “nighttime” we get 0 watts from the sun and 324 from the atmosphere.
        Another adjustment: We lose 102 watts in latent heat, 24 to conduction and 78 to convection- This doesn’t go towards sensibly heating the
        earth , so I’m not using it in the Newton Equation. I’ll assume all the latent heat is lost during the daytime, rather than half at day, half at night.

        That leaves 336 watts from the sun, 324 from the atmosphere -204 latent heat during the day, for an average flux of 456 watts, and
        324 watts-0 latent heat from the atmosphere at night.

        Converting those wattage fluxes to temperature, given that for a blackbody,
        1000 K gives of a wattage flux of 56,790
        and since temperature is proportional to the fourth root of the wattage flux, we get a
        “daytime average” ambient temperature of

        (456/56,790)^0.25*1000K =299.354K = Ta for the daytime, and
        (324/56,790)^0.25*1000K =274.83K = Ta for the nighttime.

        The median of 299.35 and 274.83 is 287.09.

        T(t) = Ta + (T0 -Ta)*1/(e^kt)

        Let’s start with a 12 hour day and 12 hour night, and a temperature of 293.09 at nightfall.
        Let t be in units of daytime or nighttime. Then 1 nighttime is the full 12 hours of darkness, 1/12
        unit is 1 hour of darkness, etc.

        Then T(t) = 274.83 + (293.09-274.83)*1/e^kt
        Let’s assume, for purposes of this example, that k=1.07053 Check the article on newton cooling and you’ll also see how
        to derive the k experimentally from 1 hour of cooling, assuming you have a local climate and not local weather.

        Then
        T(t) = 274.83 + (293.09-274.83)* 1/e^1.07053t At nightfall, when t= 0, you get
        T(0) = 274.83 + (293.09-274.83)*1/1 = 293.09
        T(1) = 274.83 + (18.26)*1/e^1.07053 = 274.03 +(18.26/2.91693) = 281.09

        Halfway through the night, at midnight, assuming climate and not that cloud changing weather, you’ll get
        T(1/2) = 274.83 + (18.26)/e^(1/2*1.0753) = 274.83 + 10.67 = 285.5
        Since we started at 293.09, the first half the night cooled 7.59 degrees, 63.25% of the total cooling for the night.

        You’ll get similar figures for the daytime based on the above model, remembering to plug in daytime figures.
        Of course the sun isn’t equally high abov the horizon all day, a better result might be obtained by plugging in
        plugging in averages for 10 degree angles, etc.

        For daytime
        T(t) = 299.35 + (281.09 -299.35)*e-kt
        T(0) = 299.35 + 281.09 -299.35 = 281.09
        T(1) = 299.35 + (-18.26)/2.91693 = 293.09

        Now let’s instantaneously add that 3.7 watts due to a doubled CO2 right at sunset

        Daytime wattage will increase to 456 + 3.7 = 459.7
        The ambient daytime temperature will increase to (459.7/56,790)^.25 * 1000 = 299.95

        Nightime wattage will increase to 324 + 3.7 = 327.7
        The ambient nighttime temperature will increase to (327.7/56,790)^0.25 * 1000 = 275.61
        287.78Median temperatures will increase to (299.95 + 275.61)/2 = 287.78
        For nighttime cooling first evening
        T(t) = 275.61 + (293.09 – 275.61)* e^-1.07053t
        T(1) = 281.60

        daytime warming first day
        T(1) = 299.95 + (281.6 -299.95)^ e^-1.0753 = 295.05

        nighttime cooling second evening
        T(1) = 275.61 + (295.05-275.61) * 0.3412 = 282.24

        daytime warming second day
        T(1) = 299.95 + (282.24 – 299.95)* 0.3412= 293.91

        nighttime cooling third night
        T(1) = 275.61 + (293.91 -275.61) * 0.3412= 281.85

        daytime warming third day
        T(1) = 299.95 + (281.85 – 299.95)* 0.3412= 293.77

        nighttime cooling fourth night
        T(1) = 275.61 + (293.77 – 275.61)* 0.3412= 281.81

        daytime warming fourth day
        T(1) = 299.95 + (281.81 – 299.95)* 0.3412= 293.76

        nighttime cooling fifth night
        T(1) = 275.61 + (293.76 – 275.61)* 0.3412= 281.80

        daytime warming fifth day
        T(1) = 299.95 + (281.80 – 299.95)*0.3412 = 293.76

        nighttime cooling sixth night
        T(1) = 275.61 + (293.76 – 275.61)*0.3412 = 281.80

        Temperatures have stabilized with a new max
        293.76 – 293.09= 0.67 warmer, a new min
        281.80 – 281.09= 0.71 warmer, and a new range

        293.76 – 281.80= 11.96 or 0.4 degree smaller range in diurnal temperatures. My model may not be accurate for the world as a whole,
        but the general principle is correct. For any greenhouse warming, days will warm less than nights, and diurnal spreads will become less.

        I suspect that a fraction of that 3.7 watt increase during the day will go into latent heat, slightly increasing evaporation and cloud
        cover, reducing the daytine wattage increase, and making the day/night ration even smaller.

    • Is there a separate ‘Earth Energy Budget’ working for day and night ?

      How would IPCC K-T ‘Earth Energy Budget’ images for day and night look !

  6. “When I make predictions, I am not speaking as a scientist. I am speaking as a story-teller”

    I love that line. Any scientist worth their weight in salt should make this clear when making predictions. Projections are not predictions but they need to come with an explicit warning about their uncertainty, something that is obviously missing from the pimping of climate models.

  7. Two days ago I attended a meeting to discuss information about the delisting of the grizzly bear in Wyoming and the issues surrounding the proposed management changes. One of the questions from the audience asked what was to be done about the expected climate change in regard to managing the bears and it’s impact on their habitat. The presenter did a fabulous job of managing the question but what was notable was the unequivocal statement from the questioner who said, “you know the models do a very good job of predicting the change”. I muted a snicker to keep the company polite, but the event is telling. The person was from HSUS and obviously had relied on that organization’s resources for the “knowledge”, relevant to the assertion that the models do a good job. Obviously, if one is paying attention, the conclusion should be exactly the opposite, but the error has been captured in the HSUS literature and so lives on uncontested, and outrageously wrong. It’s an insidious problem.

    • It seems likely that Wyoming has already seen some changes it its climate and weather patterns from warming and that this is already reflected in bear behaviour… perhaps like other populations they are switching their diet?

      Moose are already impacted by warming…

      • Griff,

        You actually consider yourself qualified to comment upon moose in Wyoming? Remarkable.

        Basin in the Big Horn Basin holds the high temperature record for Wyoming. It occurred on August 8, 1983, at 115 °F, displacing the previous record also set there, which is still intact for July, of 114 °F in 1900. Basin also holds the state record high for April of 93 °F, recorded in 1948. The average maximum temperature in Basin during July is 92 degrees.

        What is this warming of which you speak, which has so “impacted” Wyoming’s moose population?

        Moose have greatly benefited from more CO2 in the air, since their diet is based upon C3 plants.

        What has hurt moose population in WY and MT was, for starters, the 1988 fires, which burned more than a third of Yellowstone National Park. Loss of old-growth spruce-fir forests, where moose like to winter, could also be a factor in the their decline. Increases in the number of large predators, like grizzly bears, black bears and wolves, may be contributing to the drop as well.

        “Climate change”, not so much.

      • Griff I no nothing about moose ,polar bears or the climate in Wyoming ! Seems we have something in common after all .

      • Griff you’re a fraud barking fake news vomiting fake, too stupid to tell me the name of the law of thermodynamics that governs atmospheric temperature.

        Name that Law or you’re a total fake barking political scam as a way of life. Like those who say the cold bath conduction scrubbing the planet is a magical heater.

  8. Freeman Dyson is a genius, a gifted experimental scientist, and a wise and kind person. That he can be labeled a heretic by ANYONE in the field of science, is direct evidence that such name callers are uninformed, unintelligent and lack even the smallest degree of integrity.

    May many more heretics like him come forward and speak up…the world needs your truth!!

  9. Seems that the “Thomas Gold Effect” is missing from progressive science. There is a glaring arrogance shared by the insiders of the govt-fed academic elite. They hate it that Willis Eschenbach, Bob Tisdale, and all the others here have trespassed into their private domain of wizardry to expose the dogmas and ruin the science-veiled global socialist coup.

    • Makes you wonder why professional astronomers don’t slander amateur astronomers with the audacity that Big Green does CAGW skeptics.

  10. To be truly heretical we have to let go of the idea that the atmosphere is actively INCREASING the temperature of the Earth’s surface. Just 10-15 meters below our feet the temperature is ~equal to the average surface temperature and completely caused by geothermal energy.

    The sun is perfectly capable of increasing the temperature of the upper 10-15 meters to the observed surface temperatures. It does so after every winter !
    For the oceans a slightly more complicated but comparable mechanism is active.

    With a surface temperature of ~290K and no atmosphere Earth would radiate ~400 W/m^2 directly to space. Thanks to the atmosphere we lose only ~240 W/m^2 on average and is our ENERGY budget balanced.
    So yes, without atmosphere it would be much colder, but no, the atmosphere does not INCREASE the surface temperatures => no Green House Effect => no serious role for CO2.

    • Lovely classical physics rubbish unfortunately radiative processes don’t work in the classical domain which is why you can’t understand it. Why don’t you start with another spectrum of the EM band
      http://www.mike-willis.com/Tutorial/gases.htm

      Like all the dragonslayers you fail to realize Classical physics died in 1915, and you can’t use it on that problem.

    • Ben,

      “…without atmosphere it would be much colder,…”

      WRONG!!!

      With no atmosphere the lit side of the earth would approach 390 K just like the moon.

  11. I don’t quite understand his problem with predictions. That’s how you prove/falsify a theory. The problem we have is in not recognizing and changing after repeated falsified predictions.

      • nottoobrite

        Brilliant illustration of my (layman) understanding that science is about observation, not prediction.

    • Bingo! The climate models have been falsified over and over again by decades of garbage predictions (oh, excuse me… projections). Yet the climate witch doctors and sheeple somehow have faith in them.

  12. Thank you, FREEMAN DYSON, for being a heretic! I’m doing my best to follow that path and pass the mindset on to the younger generation.

    Now, I’m going to enjoy a great breakfast, loaded with saturated fat, which some crazy heretics found isn’t actually bad for you.

    • Mary,
      You sound like my wife. She eats bacon and eggs every morning while I eat oatmeal with fruit and nuts. The rest of the day, she eats processed foods while I eat veggies and beans. I also exercise religiously while she watches tv. I joke that we’re going to break the cycle of women outliving their husbands. She’s currently taking care of me after a heart attack. I’ll never hear the end of this! Like my father-in-law told me in the hospital, “eat what you want”.

  13. Excellent and timely essay Professor Freeman Dyson. Your thoughts will hopefully influence policy makers the world over. If ever there was a voice of common sense, it is yours. If it weren’t for heretics, the world would surely still be flat.

    I would like to add that if, and a big if… if we ever really do need to lower CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, that the best way to do it would be absorbing the CO2 into the soil as you say, but use the vast stores of fresh water that the planet does have to further irrigate plants and biomass back into the terrestrial biosphere. Atmospheric CO2 is already fertilizing a lot of the planet currently, greatly expanding yields, and adding water would only speed that up. CO2 is indeed a return to the mythical ‘garden’, since the Earth the last 2.5 million years has been steadily declining in temperatures over vast time scales possibly leading to a CO2 deficit and starvation of life itself. Witness the extinction of 47 species of megafauna just 12,000 to 20,000 years ago, at the peak and end of this last ice age. Each ice age cycle has had lower CO2 concentrations at the peak of its cycle, and humans have now made a direct intervention in that regard. This is good, and future generations will owe their existence to us.

    Biomass is also currently our largest renewable energy product, and is a dispatchable and base load power supply. In the long term future, if oil is not abiotic and must be replaced with organic sources, then using water and agriculture could supply us with the carbon molecules we would need for a modern society that has built its vast human fortune via coal, oil and gas. Life is based upon carbon and CO2, and incorporating it into our energy mix and numerous industrial products will be with us forever.

    • Yes Mr Earthling, Prof Dyson surely is a scientific giant.
      However, I respectfully question his assertion that a bit of global warming would be a problem and that the miracle gas carbon dioxide should be curtailed.
      Here in cold gulag Scotland, the daytime temperatures do not exceed 10 C. Add in the wind chill and it feels like freezing. So much so that I will be golfing at Carnoustie in the morning dressed like an Arctic explorer.
      Bring on some global warming I say!

  14. When climate scientists talks with certainty, I know they are lying.

    ECS – Made up the known direct impact of CO2 doubling (1.1 deg C) + the unknown feedbacks estimated to be between 0.4 and 3.4 deg C per doubling.

    This leaves us with an estimate of 1.5 to 4.5 Deg C per doubling. That is obviously highly uncertain. Case closed right? Well to make this even more closed, ECS has remained unchanged for 50+ years. The consensus is that ECS is impenetrable at this time, but we are doing our best to penetrate it.

    That is the only argument a skeptic needs to win a debate with an alarmist.

    • To be frank, I don’t win because I would be a risk denier. I need to rebut the fat tail, which involves invoking rules of philosophy of science. Not easy, not proveable, alarmista will not follow.

  15. “We don’t know how big a fraction of our emissions is absorbed by the land, since we have not measured the increase or decrease of the biomass.”

    No, I think “we” do have a very good idea of how much is absorbed on land and in the ocean going by the general carbon cycle assessment of terrestrial and marine CO2 uptake. And no, I think “we” have made good measurements showing a tremendous increase in biomass going by the increase in CO2 uptake as described here in the context of a paper showing a decreasing human fraction of CO2 emission versus over all emission –
    https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13428

    (a) Observed (solid black line) and modelled (DGVM ensemble—mean (dashed black line) and s.d. (orange area)) changes in the atmospheric CO2 growth rate from 1960 to 2012. The vertical grey line (2002) indicates the point of structural change identified using a linear modelling analysis. The red lines indicate a significant increasing trend from 1959 to 1990 (solid red) and 1959 to 2002 (dashed red) (P<0.1), with no trend evident between 2002 and 2014 (blue). All trends are estimated using the non-parametric Mann–Kendall Tau trend test with Sen’s method. The grey area represents the underlying 5-year dynamic (mean±1 s.d.), estimated using SSA. (b) Fossil fuel emissions (black dashed line) and the fraction of CO2 emissions, which remain in the atmosphere each year (black dots, airborne fraction). Lines indicate significant long-term trends over the periods 1959–1988 (red, increasing) and 2002–2014 (blue, decreasing) at P<0.1. The red dashed line shows a slight increasing trend between 1959 and 2002 (P=0.18). The grey area represents the underlying 5-year dynamic (mean±1 s.d.), estimated using singular spectrum analysis.

  16. I have always had the deepest respect for Freeman Dyson, he is not a self-proclaimed “expert” like so many people in the Climate Business are (it is a business, because if it was a science, reality would be placed ahead of profit). It only requires a modicum of common sense to realise that a rise in CO2 atmospheric concentration of 0.005% is not going to end the world, likewise every prediction has been made by computer models which are all wrong. To me it would make sense to research Thorium Reactor power, which is clean and safe rather than wasting £/$trillions on windmills. solar panels and electric cars all of which emit massive quantities of CO2 in their manufacture, installation and maintenance. Because that is not a priority and because the advocates of AGW are getting more and more shrill as more and more predictions fail to materialise, the only logical conclusion is that there is a hidden agenda. Again common sense!

    • “I have always had the deepest respect for Freeman Dyson,”

      Me too Andre, I saw him, years ago, on Charlie Rose. The following is from my memory:
      Charlie asked him for his thoughts on the Global Warming issue and what Jim Hanson was saying about it. Freeman said they had no evidence. Charlie said “Oh come on, what about just a little bit”. Freeman conceded there may be a slight effect at night in colder regions, but nothing of significance. He also said that he and Hanson were good friends…go figure.

      I’m retired and I curl with a bunch of retired guys at the local club. After the game we have a beer, shoot the breeze etc. Well today I’m talking to Don, a retired hydro guy who still does work for them when they ask. His expertise is transformers (the big ones) and he says the young guys are lazy so he’s still in demand. He’s up in northern Ontario, on site by the dam…and they’re letting water out. This is new to Don and they tell him it’s because the wind power is running and they can’t have both running at the same time…I kid you not.

      Madness…just pure madness.

      • That has been a problem, on a far vaster scale, for the Columbia River dams, which are surrounded by the largest wind farms in the world.

        As you say, madness heaped upon insanity.

      • The belief that a miniscule amount of atmospheric CO2 is going to end life on Earth, when it is well documented that it was 20x higher in the past is madness. The £trillions wasted on research, useless wind turbines etc is crazy. The only relatively reliable renewable power source is hydro, and the madness continues when they release its potential energy to accommodate a gust of wind. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

  17. The funny thing is that I believe that Dyson does not have a degree in physics.
    As I recall from the list of those who signed up with that list of ‘climate skeptical degree holders’ his card listed only ‘BA Mathematics’.
    Wikipedia says he never completed his Ph.D.
    So much for the importance of degrees.

    • Degrees are certification of work and presumably skill, but absence of degrees doe not certify the converse. His opinions can be judged in the absence of degrees, and will either stand or fall on their own merits.

      • nn

        At Dysons age, and with his track record, the question of qualifications is redundant.

        As you say, a qualification is a measurement of one’s ability at a particular moment in time (usually when too young to understand anything else) of ones willingness, and ability, to devote oneself to a particular task.

        From a layman’s perspective, the most brilliant scientists are the ones who buck the system because they are endowed with the admirable quality, hitherto apportioned solely to artists. Imagination.

        My late Father was a 14 year old school leaver in the 1930’s. He couldn’t accept a scholarship to art college because he had to work to contribute to the household. He took an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic, then designed, built, and raced beautiful cars, in parallel with the great Colin Chapman, although different continents. But he was as talented with a piece of charcoal sketching a face or landscape.

        Lousy businessman though, so made little of his God given talents. Well, not quite, he won one of the most prestigious races in the international calendar, before Senna, Schumacher, Coulthard and several other prominent drivers did the same and used it as a springboard directly into F1.

        My point is, that the fusion of academic, artistic, and practical qualities are necessary for ideas to emerge from optimism, trial and error, and imagination.

        Qualifications make little difference, it’s what one does after gaining the qualification that matters.

    • Degrees have always been a measure of willingness to work/play the game/be a slave, not measures of innate intelligence. Look at some of the “research” discussed on WUWT. What are those degrees worth?

    • Chcrix -You have hit on a topical point of argument down under.

      In Australia a now retired former Political Science Professor named Robert Manne (one can only wonder about the coincidence ) asserted in an article that anyone who does not have a PhD in the physical sciences is not capable of speaking or writing authoritatively about climate science.( It did not seem to trouble him that he did not follow his own rule when he went on to declaim “the science is settled “)

      Well I guess “Manne’s Rule” either debars Freeman Dyson from commenting or (more likely) Robert Manne’s assertion is just a form of censorship dressed up as academic snobbish credentialism.

  18. Freeman,

    When people say, “you have no degree in meteorology, there for you have no right to speak”, isn’t it symmetric to reply, “yes, and you have no degree in statistics, no degree in mathematical modeling, no degree in physics, no degree in thermodynamics and no degree in computer science, so you have no right to speak, either. Or perhaps we both have equal rights to speak our opinions. ”

    Just saying.
    The righteous are often guilty of tarring us for our single lacking feather.

    I – as a for instance – am a computer scientist (Berkeley, 1982), a chemist (Cal, 1983), and an analytic mathematician (whole life). I rather think that I (and you) DO have a bonafide right to speak out. I do rather think that anyone who is scientific at all … has a right and duty to take the Majority Position to the mat. Analytically. Scientifically. Without resorting to chagrin and vapid argumentum.

    Just saying.
    GoatGuy

    • GoatGuy

      “The righteous are often guilty of tarring us for our single lacking feather.”

      That is almost a profound, quotable statement, worthy of Churchill. Just not quite, as the metaphor is confused.

      I hope it is one of yours as I can’t find it on Google. With a little work, I think it’s an amazing statement and one that should be recognised.

    • The famous fat tail. The worse model, the fatter tail. How do you know the tail is real and not just shadow of your imagination assisted by some unbased calculations called a model run?

      • Well generally I do agree with you. Don’t take sides, consider all evidence. But the politicized climate topic makes it impossible to look at the pure evidence as we all are part of the politics.

    • Dyson and Feynman were good friends even taking cross coutry road trips tigether as young men. Dyson describes this in one of his books.

    • Dyson knew Feynman well. Here’s an interesting article discussing some aspects of their thinking. https://nige.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/freeman-dyson-on-richard-feynmans-path-integral-quantum-field-theory/ Here’s a quote from Dyson’s book “Disturbing the Universe.”

      “Dick was also a profoundly original scientist. He refused to take anybody’s word for anything. This meant that he was forced to rediscover or reinvent for himself almost the whole of physics. It took him five years of concentrated work to reinvent quantum mechanics. He said that he couldn’t understand the official version of quantum mechanics that was taught in textbooks, and so he had to begin afresh from the beginning. That was a heroic enterprise. He worked harder during those years than anybody else I ever knew. At the end he had a version of quantum mechanics that he could understand. … The calculation that I did for Hans [Bethe], using the orthodox theory, took me several months of work and several hundred sheets of paper. Dick could get the same answer, calculating on a blackboard, in half an hour.
      “So this was the situation which I found at Cornell. Hans was using the old cookbook quantum mechanics that Dick couldn’t understand. Dick was using his own private quantum mechanics that nobody else could understand. They were getting the same answers whenever they calculated the same problems. And Dick could calculate a whole lot of things that Hans couldn’t. It was obvious to me that Dick’s theory must be fundamentally right. I decided that my main job, after I finished the calculation for Hans, must be to understand Dick and explain his ideas in a language that the rest of the world could understand.

  19. Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful article……….and I have been an operational meteorologist for 35 years.

    Like the idea of growing the quality of the top soils using the booming biosphere’s contribution to organic matter in the soil after it dies.
    Actually, that’s already happening on a massive scale with no additional intervention from humans……..other than feeding the biosphere with more CO2.

    It’s happening very slowly but as measured by the massive greening of our planet it’s happening indisputably.

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

    In the mid/high latitudes that have well defined growing seasons for plants, the increase in biomass from the previous growing season is often discarded(leaves of deciduous trees or the entire annual plant or the top part of non woody stemmed perennials) and is left behind.

    http://co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php

    Root mass below ground in many plants is increasing even more than vegetative growth above ground because of the increase in CO2. Woody stemmed plants(trees) and perennials have increasing/expanding root systems that would remain alive for decades.

    Didn’t know much about Freeman Dyson before reading this article. It’s clear that the man is brilliant.

    • Mike Maguire

      With the inherent lag between CO2 fertilisation, and man’s alleged uncontrolled CO2 emissions. We may indeed be up the creek without a paddle.

      The next Guardian/BBC headline:

      “Man’s extinction by vegetation strangulation!”

  20. Good news. Farmers already are (and have been for decades) increasing biomass plowed back into topsoil. Thirty years ago common practice was to shoot for 20,000 plants per acre of corn, and today on good ground it’s approaching 40,000. Improvements in corn yields have been tremendous over the past decades and are predicted to continue. Also, there has been a move away from planting soybeans which also improves things because beans produce so little stover when compared with corn. Soybeans wouldn’t be planted at all but for the protein they produce. Corn’s drawback is that it overproduces carbohydrate and underproduces protein. Ethanol production eases this problem to a degree since producing ethanol consumes the carbohydrates but leaves the protein in the residue – which is still fed as dried distillers’ grains DDG.

    • Soybeans have been used as a break crop between continuous corn crops as the bean is a legume and fixes nitrogen in the soil .
      Ethanol production from corn makes no economic sense and can only be viable with subsidies which distort economics .
      It is very hard to manage no till with the corn stalks on the surface after harvest and plowing buries the stover and nitrogen is applied to help bacteria in the soil break down the fibrous stalks as the soil warms up .

      • I don’t see how ethanol works economically either. Since you have to use water to ferment corn it seems any energy produced would get used up drying the mash. I’ve heard the subsidy is 51 cents per gallon. I’m guessing that’s in the form of a tax credit.
        Younger farmers are moving to strip till rather than no till, but most ground is still chisel plowed. Chisel plowing buries most of the stover – but less so than mouldboard plowing. It’s a regulated matter in the USA and it HAS improved soil runoff. I think Freeman Dyson’s understanding of agronomy could be improved but the larger point regarding topsoil as a carbon sink is a wonderful point to be made. It’s a flow of carbon that is already under management by farmers and their regulators.

      • “Somebody told me it was frightening how much topsoil we are losing each year, but I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared.”
        ―Jack Handey

      • It has been calculated by the Cornell University that it takes 131000 BTU to produce 1 gallon of ethanol and that a gallon of ethanol produces 77000 BTU a deficit of 54ooo BTU for every gallon produced

    • HankHenry

      “Corn’s drawback is that it overproduces carbohydrate and under produces protein.”

      Sorry, but I’ll take issue with that statement.

      Corn is corn, it has been so, I guess, before man inhabited the planet.

      It’s man’s inappropriate use of cheap foodstuffs (corn) that’s damaging, not the crop itself.

      • I left out a phrase or two hoping readers wouldn’t need them. I meant “corn’s drawback AS A FEEDSTUFF FOR FARM ANIMALS is that it overproduces…BECAUSE FEED RATIONS OF CORN NEED TO BE BALANCED WITH INGREDIENTS CONTAINING HIGHER PERCENTAGES OF PROTEIN”
        I also think that corn is a highly domesticated plant unrecognizable from the wild type, and I also don’t exactly get where your coming from with your objection.

      • Corn was created by Mexican Indians about 5000 years ago.

        Its wild ancestor, teosinte, could hardly be more different, yet in terms of genes, ie protein-coding sequences, they’re identical. The ancient breeders managed the control segments of the plant’s genome, rather than changing its genes.

  21. I wish I had a degree in railway engineering like Rajendra Pachauri and could chair the IPCC. But I’d keep my hands myself

  22. “Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models.”

    Never mind the models…

    Just look at the last 30 years worth of observed and recorded data. Don’t forget to include arctic sea ice.

    The recent past record clearly shows it has warmed, doesn’t it?

    So you somehow know that this won’t continue?

    • Cherry picking! The past thirty years might sorta badly fit the models, but the whole historic and plaleo records do not with the “CO2 is the major effect on climate” theme.

      • Tom,

        Alarmists can tell the future as well as sceptics………..Ahem.

        The difference is, sceptics admit they are fallible and can’t tell the future.

        Griff’s statement “So you somehow know that this won’t continue?” is ridiculous as alarmists like him can’t prove that anything will happen in the future. Nor can we sceptics.

        But we recognise our fallibility. I believe, the sign of a humble man.

    • Griffy ,
      You must be a slow learner as you are on this site regularly why have you not learn’ t any thing? .
      You are always\ around here and you should have seen the satellite and balloon records that show two tenths of a degree Celsius warming that is .2 degree Celsius increase in temperature since the satellites were launched in 1979 . The arctic sea ice has been fluctuating and the world has been recovering from the little ice age .’
      How do you explain that the two longest running temperature records in the world from 1880 till present show no warming whatsoever and that it was warmer in the 1930 s than now .

    • I am happy to accept its warmed but

      (a) I don’t accept the planet is going to drop dead because of it
      (b) Emission control is the slowest least effective way to deal with the problem and I have no faith it will work
      (c) Effective emission controls like Nuclear Power are off the table based on Ecocrazy criteria

      On (c) you just bang on about renewables but at the end of the day mate it’s not up to you, if someone wants to put a nuclear power plant in you should be cheering them because they controlling emissions.

      So given you Climate Activists want to go down path (b) and object to (c) it’s pretty obvious even you don’t believe (a).

      This garbage will bubble on for years and eventually the real hard scientists will get called in to come and fix it. You may care to take a read of some history of ye olde British history
      http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Great-Horse-Manure-Crisis-of-1894/

      Necessity is the mother of invention

    • “Just look at the last 30 years worth of observed and recorded data. Don’t forget to include arctic sea ice.”

      Satellite data shows NO WARMING apart from El Nino effects

      Arctic sea ice is above what it has been for 90-95% of the Holocene, and is following almost exactly as would be dictated by the AMO. Thankfully it dropped from the huge extremes of the late 1970s to a level where travel and commerce is at least viable for a short period each year.

      There is absolutely no sign of any real anthropocentric warming

      And the slight warming we have had in the last 30 or so years is certainly NOT global.

    • Griff: “The recent past record clearly shows it has warmed, doesn’t it?”

      It depends on where you begin. The Earth had a cooling trend from the 1940’s to the late 1970’s. This while CO2 emissions were increasing all during that time period. How does the CAGW speculation explain that? The CAGW speculation says the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the hotter it is supposed to get, yet here is a direct contradiction of that speculation.

    • “Never mind the models…Just look at the last 30 years worth of observed and recorded data. Don’t forget to include arctic sea ice. The recent past record clearly shows it has warmed, doesn’t it?”

      Taking your suggestion Griff:
      As an operational meteorologist during those entire 30 years, I agree that it has warmed…………beneficially.
      Those 30 years have also featured the best weather and climate and especially best CO2 levels for most life on this planet in at least the last 1,000 years, when the planet was last this warm during the Medieval Warm Period.

      You said to never mind the models…….but that’s the only way to create catastrophic, man made climate change from dangerous warming.

      Give me some examples of recent catastrophe’s caused by the increase in CO2? OK, how about just some bad stuff that it may have played a role in(increase in heavy rains and heat waves in some places). I can show you massive benefits that outweigh those by a huge margin.

      Since you specifically mentioned Arctic sea ice already and we know that polar bears are doing great what really bad things have happened because of this so far?

      Again, like you said “Never mind the models” just comment on the last 30 years of observations and recorded data please, like you suggested”

      After you list the bad stuff. I’ll tell you the good stuff that can be directly attributed to the increase in CO2 and the changes in the atmosphere, using the scientific principles of meteorology and my observations over the past 35 years as an operational meteorologist that predicts crop conditions and energy use from the effects of global weather.

      Thanks in advance

      • Griff must have been busy to respond by listing all the bad things that have happened to life during the past 30 years because of the warming during that period………looking at just the observations and data.

    • Griff,

      The planet has been warming for 300 years, but is still in a long-term cooling trend, as it has been for the past 3000 years or longer, since the Minoan Warm Period and prior Holocene Climatic Optimum.

      Earth warmed from c. 1918 to 1945. Then, despite rising CO2, it cooled dramatically until 1977, when the PDO flipped. Then it warmed again for about 20 years, since when it has stayed flat, despite continued CO2 increases. Warming and cooling are natural cycles. If there is an effect from CO2, it’s negligible at best.

      However, rising CO2 has helped to green the planet, so it’s a good thing. If it warms a little, that’s all the better. There is zero evidence for catastrophic effects from the CO2 increase.

    • “Just look at the last 30 years worth of observed and recorded data. Don’t forget to include arctic sea ice.”

      No Griff, look at 30,000 years of data, then you’ll get an inkling of how the system works.

      looking at 30 years is the equivalent of judging a persons health from a single heartbeat.

    • Griff,

      Arctic sea ice has been growing since 2012. I know you are aware of this fact because of your public humiliation over being wrong about its extent this year, as your betters told you would be the case.

      Arctic sea ice extent fell from a near-century high in 1979 to a record low for the satellite era in 2012. Since then, it has not made a new lower, low. No five year period in the satellite record had ever passed before without a new record low. The five year average for 2008-12 is lower than for 2013-17. By any measure, extent is growing.

      Please quit citing Arctic sea ice as an indicator of global cooling, since in fact it has been growing for five years now.

      [Rather, “Please quit citing Arctic sea ice as an indicator of global warming, since in fact it has been growing for five years now.” ? .mod]

      • Mod,

        Yes. That’s what I meant to say. Please do cite it as an example of global cooling.

        My bad. Glad you’re on the case.

    • 30 years, good god fool, the earth is 4.3 billion years olde, and 30 years is tic. Now go take a math course, and see why your comment is foolish. There is NO such thing as a stable climate, so yes, things will change, they always have, and will keep doing so.

    • garyh845

      Your NYT article is nothing but complementary of Dyson, other than the last paragraph which is a bit of journalistic whizz bang to discredit the man and leave the audience with a final negative thought.

      Miserable, partisan AGW reporting, with a veneer of gushing compliments, to disguise the treacherous stiletto of clumsy critique.

  23. Something from his linked essay that I think is very important is as follows:

    “The warming is real, but it is mostly making cold places warmer rather than making hot places hotter. To represent this local warming by a global average is misleading.”

    • Griff

      We have progressed from the rabid left wing Guardian, to the rabid left wing Wikipedia have we?

      You are aware that you could become a Wikipedia ‘star’ by writing up your own climate change theories, don’t you? For what they’re worth.

    • I, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzo Galilei of Florence, being 70 years old… swear that I have always believed, believe now and, with God’s help, will in the future believe …

      In 2005, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery that peptic ulcer disease (PUD) was primarily caused by Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium with affinity for acidic environments, such as the stomach.

    • Griff now when you say it, the CACA models seem to tap into past consensus. A firmament above the flat Earth, trapping heat in a ethereal phlogiston-like gas, would explain the hockey-stick projections.

  24. Why are my fellow skeptics so gullible when we are dealing with alternative theories? I expect the same rigour, or could the motive be political?

    • Every alternative I have ever seen involves applying defunct and dead classical physics to a problem you can’t use classical physics on. Given QM is the most tested and only theory in science that doesn’t have any alternative theory, it would be appreciated if your alternate theory didn’t violate it. Either that of please first give me an alternate theory to the whole of QM.

  25. In his essay, Freeman asks a prescient question: “if we could choose between the climate of today with a dry Sahara and the climate of six thousand years ago with a wet Sahara, should we prefer the climate of today?” His answer is “No.”

    However, more importantly, I have never seen anyone try to make a case for what the optimum climate should be for Earth. The alarmists implicitly are making the case that we are currently experiencing the optimum and it should be preserved at all costs. What are the chances that after 4.5 billion years of changing climate, we just happened to have arrived at the optimum immediately prior to the Industrial Age? I think that the chances are slim! Then, the alarmists are advocating to maintain a climate for which they have no rational argument that it is optimal, and little probability that it is optimal! Who are the science D-Nye-ers? Those who want to maintain the status quo without justification, other than change is implicitly bad?

  26. But there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate. There is plenty of scientific reasoning to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is zero. The AGW conjecture depends upon the existance of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases with LWIR absorption bands. But no such greenhouse effect has been observed anywhere in the solar system including the Earth. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction. Hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction.

    • There is no science reasoning that says that and Freeman Dyson being from a QM background will happily explain the greenhouse effect to you, he just doesn’t like the models.

      • There is every scientific reason to say what Will has said.

        It called physics. The greenhouse conjecture is NOT physics, it is unproven assumption based nonsense.

      • There is a radiative process characterized in isolation, but, in the wild, convection precludes a statistically significant “greenhouse effect”.

      • You sound like all the normal Anti-QM and Anti GR crazies Andy, Science doesn’t takes votes or care what you think :-)

      • Good thing science doesn’t take your vote, LdB.

        You have proven yourself to not know what science actually is.

        Produce a paper proving empirically that CO2 causes warming in our convectively controlled atmosphere.

        Waiting !!

      • “Science doesn’t takes votes”

        So you agree the consensus is NONSENSE.

        Now perhaps you can get to the actual science…. or not.

    • I agree willhaus, Obviously Freeman is right, the AGW conjecture can only be science fiction.

      But so what? Like any religion, belief in man made global warming offers damnation or salvation, but only in the future and without supporting evidence.
      Like any religion, the CAGW narrative also depends both on authority of those that a lay public accedes to and the peer pressure from a popular consensus.
      To me it seems rather apparent this issue is one of optics where perception trumps reality. I think the academic climate community with their decision to use evidence absent assessments in the form of peer-reviewed research have thoroughly convinced our educated and political elites….clearly they are winning.

      And these people (our educated and political elites) will die before admitting they are wrong.

    • “But no such greenhouse effect has been observed anywhere in the solar system including the Earth.”

      Do
      you
      com-
      pre-
      hend

      LdB

      Or is actual science too much for you.

      • Perhaps you don’t understand science you don’t believe the theory that covers radiative transfer you have to overturn it …. Science and I don’t have to do a thing :-)

      • LdB. You are free to upscale your beliefs to celestial proportions if you like, but freedom of religion and conscience limits the adherence expectations you seem to impose on others.

      • I impose nothing on you, you can believe whatever you like. Science on the other hand has very specific rules that accepts no authority from anyone. Perhaps you may care to review how science works.

  27. Total combined temperature rise over the last 16 hottest ever years is just 0.33 °C, an average of 0.035 °C for each hottest year (there were a number of tied years) based on NOAA data at https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201613
    This is far less than daily temperature variations or temperature variation by travelling a few miles distance.

  28. Freeman Dyson’s mention of subduction indicates that he’s yet to learn of the geologic heresy named “The Expanding Earth” by geologist Julius Maxlow. His work is readily accessible in book, kindle and YouTube formats.

    • By “work”, I assume you mean, “lunatic ravings”. The flat earth and geocentric theories have more going for them than the expanding earth fantasy.

      That subduction occurs is an observation, ie a scientific fact. There is zero evidence in favor of an expanding earth, and all the evidence in the world against it.

      The movement of continental plates has been measured. That tectonics occur is a fact.

      • The tectonic speed record was set by the Indian Plate in racing across the Indian Ocean from Australia to its collision with Asia, which is thrusting up the Himalayas. In so doing, it passed over the Reunion Island hotspot, causing the Decca Trap flood basalt eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

        But the Indian Plate has now been slowed down due to its running into the Eurasian Plate. Meanwhile, the Australian Plate continues to collide with the Eurasian Plate at about 5.6 cm (2.2 in) per year.

        Until fairly recently in geologic time, the Indian and Indo-Australian Plates were conjoined.

      • Thanks for the fix-up.

        Plate tectonics… hmmm. not something I have looked at much.

        I’ll be long gone before any major collision happens !!!,

    • Gabro, I must say that you impress me beyond measure: not only have you completely missed the gist of Freeman Dyson’s note, you have also made up your mind about something that you have not read, let alone thought about. You have honored me by branding me a heretic! Awesome.

  29. “They take away money and attention from other problems that are more urgent and more important, such as poverty and infectious disease and public education and public health..”

    Yeah, but………These are real problems that require real problem solving and require politicians and “scientists” to take a stand on solutions that may not be popular. What better way to feed at the public trough and get reelected than screaming about a problem whose solution is far into the future, or isn’t really a problem; long after the politicians and scientists are dead. I weep for my family, I weep for my country, I weep
    for my civilization when I see where these pathetic morons and power hungry people are taking us. Think of all the good that the trillions of dollars wasted on AGW and all the hours of problem solving wasted gaming this system. The situation is like the Catholic Church just before the Reformation. Hopefully we will have a Luther who will reveal all the machinations of the AGW crowd. Unfortunately, if we follow history after the Reformation, hundreds of thousands of people will be murdered, tortured, and imprisoned for their heretical thoughts and actions.

  30. If you do not have any scientific proposals, what is wrong in the warming model of the IPCC, it has about no value. IPCC’s model is based on the positive water feedback and the equation of Myhre et al. for calcualting RF value of CO2. This simple model is applicable for calculating warming by CO2 during this century. If you cannot prove that this model is wrong, you have just an opinion but no scientific facts.

    • No one knows what percentage of scientists, however defined, supports the hypothesis that humans are mostly responsible for “climate change” and that this change is dangerous. The 97% figure comes from the Doran/Zimmerman survey of ~3000 government and academic “Earth scientists”, published in Eos in Jan 2009.

      Here’s what Doran and his grad student Zimmerman actually reported:

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009EO030002/epdf

      “An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists. The database was built from Keane and Martinez [2007], which lists all geosciences faculty at reporting academic institutions, along with researchers at state geologic surveys associated with local universities, and researchers at U.S. federal research facilities (e.g., U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmo-spheric Administration) facilities; U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories; and so forth). To maximize the response rate, the survey was designed to take less than 2 minutes to complete, and it was administered by a professional online survey site ( http:// www . questionpro . com) that allowed one-time participation by those who received the invitation.

      “This brief report addresses the two primary questions of the survey, which contained up to nine questions (the full study is given by Kendall Zimmerman [2008]):

      1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

      2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

      “With 3146 individuals completing the survey, the participant response rate for the survey was 30.7%. This is a typical response rate for Web-based surveys [Cook etal., 2000; Kaplowitz etal., 2004]. Of our survey participants, 90% were from U.S. institutions and 6% were from Canadian institutions; the remaining 4% were from institutions in 21 other nations. More than 90% of participants had Ph.D.s, and 7% had master’s degrees. With survey participants asked to select a single category, the most common areas of expertise reported were geochemistry (15.5%), geo-physics (12%), and oceanography (10.5%). General geology, hydrology/ hydrogeology, and paleontology each accounted for 5–7% of the total respondents. Approximately 5% of the respondents were climate scientists, and 8.5% of the respondents indicated that more than 50% of their peer-reviewed publications in the past 5 years have been on the subject of climate change. While respondents’ names are kept private, the authors noted that the survey included participants with well-documented dissenting opinions on global warming theory.

      “Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered “risen” to question1 and 82% answered yes to question 2.In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions (Figure1). In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2. This is in contrast to results of a recent Gallup poll (see http:// www . gallup . com/ poll/ 1615/ Environment . aspx) that suggests that only 58% of the general pub-lic would answer yes to our question2. The two areas of expertise in the survey with the smallest percentage of participants answering yes to question 2 were economic geology with 47% (48 of 103) and meteorology with 64% (23 of 36).

      “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long- term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists.”

      That is, among those whose careers depend upon keeping up the scare. Of course, as the authors intended, the media picked up on the bogus “97%” story, without pointing out that the sample was 75 out of 77 out of cherry=picked 79 out of 3146 respondents to a survey sent to more than 10,000 of the millions (at least) of scientists in the world, with none at all from the private sector represented.

      Note also that “significant” isn’t defined in Question 2, and further that no Question 3 was asked, ie whether warming and more CO2 are “dangerous”.

  31. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    ~
    Comments from the smartest man alive. Take the time to listen to his speech. His definition of “green technology” is wonderful. I suspect his vision here is closer than anyone can guess, but probably not close enough. “Prediction is hard, especially about the future.”

    Still, this was a wonderful talk. Quite worth listening to.

  32. “Heretics” may be useful for coming up with unorthodox ideas that are occasionally correct, but they are certainly not reliable. Look up how Thomas Gold once decided that solar sails could not work based on a misunderstanding of physics that a smart high school student could see through. (He forgot about Doppler shift)

    • Pretty easy to say “Look up how…..” but more courteous to actually supply the reference – if you actually have one. Thanks for YOUR effort saving ALL the rest of us the trouble. You could well be right.

  33. I would question Freeman Dyson’s belief that the underlying models work well for ocean circulation as a book written by a former UN employee working on pollution spills that I read a while back said otherwise. It was an honest look at global warming by at least a lukewarmer who found the evidence unconvincing and disputed the certainty the IPCC ascribed to their predictions.

  34. “The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand.”

    Has he hacked my computer? Has he seen what a total load of incomprehensible rubbish I ended up putting together when I tried to write an article on “the Physics of mud?”

    So, I’ll take this excuse to publish asking if anyone has any useful links or insight into mud – please leave comments at my blog:
    http://scottishsceptic.co.uk/2017/11/11/the-physics-of-mud-its-a-load-of/

  35. Here is an exchange with Freeman Dyson from 2015:
    Climate and CO2- Exchange with Freeman Dyson
    E-mail 4/7/15
    Dr Norman Page
    Houston
    Professor Dyson
    Saw your Vancouver Sun interview.
    I agree that CO2 is beneficial. This will be even more so in future because it is more likely than not that the earth has already entered a long term cooling trend following the recent temperature peak in the quasi-millennial solar driven periodicity .
    The climate models on which the entire Catastrophic Global Warming delusion rests are built without regard to the natural 60 and more importantly 1000 year periodicities so obvious in the temperature record. The modelers approach is simply a scientific disaster and lacks even average commonsense .It is exactly like taking the temperature trend from say Feb – July and projecting it ahead linearly for 20 years or so. They back tune their models for less than 100 years when the relevant time scale is millennial. This is scientific malfeasance on a grand scale. The temperature projections of the IPCC – UK Met office models and all the impact studies which derive from them have no solid foundation in empirical science being derived from inherently useless and specifically structurally flawed models. They provide no basis for the discussion of future climate trends and represent an enormous waste of time and money. As a foundation for Governmental climate and energy policy their forecasts are already seen to be grossly in error and are therefore worse than useless. A new forecasting paradigm needs to be adopted. For forecasts of the timing and extent of the coming cooling based on the natural solar activity cycles – most importantly the millennial cycle – and using the neutron count and 10Be record as the most useful proxy for solar activity check my blog-post at

    The most important factor in climate forecasting is where earth is in regard to the quasi- millennial natural solar activity cycle which has a period in the 960 – 1020 year range. For evidence of this cycle see Figs 5-9. From Fig 9 it is obvious that the earth is just approaching ,just at or just past a peak in the millennial cycle. I suggest that more likely than not the general trends from 1000- 2000 seen in Fig 9 will likely generally repeat from 2000-3000 with the depths of the next LIA at about 2650. The best proxy for solar activity is the neutron monitor count and 10 Be data. My view ,based on the Oulu neutron count – Fig 14 is that the solar activity millennial maximum peaked in Cycle 22 in about 1991. There is a varying lag between the change in the in solar activity and the change in the different temperature metrics. There is a 12 year delay between the activity peak and the probable millennial cyclic temperature peak seen in the RSS data in 2003.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1980.1/plot/rss/from:1980.1/to:2003.6/trend/plot/rss/from:2003.6/trend

    There has been a cooling temperature trend since then (Usually interpreted as a “pause”) There is likely to be a steepening of the cooling trend in 2017- 2018 corresponding to the very important Ap index break below all recent base values in 2005-6. Fig 13.

    The Polar excursions of the last few winters in North America are harbingers of even more extreme winters to come more frequently in the near future.

    I would be very happy to discuss this with you by E-mail or phone .It is important that you use your position and visibility to influence United States government policy and also change the perceptions of the MSM and U.S public in this matter. If my forecast cooling actually occurs the policy of CO2 emission reduction will add to the increasing stress on global food production caused by a cooling and generally more arid climate.
    Best Regards
    Norman Page

    E-Mail 4/9/15
    Dear Norman Page,
    Thank you for your message and for the blog. That all makes sense.
    I wish I knew how to get important people to listen to you. But there is
    not much that I can do. I have zero credibility as an expert on climate.
    I am just a theoretical physicist, 91 years old and obviously out of touch
    with the real world. I do what I can, writing reviews and giving talks,
    but important people are not listening to me. They will listen when the
    glaciers start growing in Kentucky, but I will not be around then. With
    all good wishes, yours ever, Freeman Dyson.

    Email 4/9/15
    Professor Dyson Would you have any objection to my posting our email exchange on my blog?
    > Best Regards Norman Page

    E-Mail 4/9/15
    Yes, you are welcome to post this exchange any way you like. Thank you
    for asking. Yours, Freeman Dyson

  36. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers. The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, “Sorry, but we don’t know”. The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities.

    “Their predictions become dogmas which they do not question. The public is led to believe that the fashionable scientific dogmas are true, and it may sometimes happen that they are wrong. That is why heretics who question the dogmas are needed.”

    FREEMAN DYSON, one the great scientific minds of our time. Well worth reading his entire essay.

    I disagree with his statement; “I am not saying that the warming does not cause problems. Obviously it does.”

    I would argue slight warming is beneficial to humanity versus the cold which kills at a ratio of 20:1. Cold is also the enemy of food production too.

    HE somewhat clarifies by correctly pointing out, “I am saying that the problems are grossly exaggerated.” And the vast amount of public money spent on AGW theory could be better spent on “poverty and infectious disease and public education and public health, and the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans.”

  37. “I am just a theoretical physicist, 91 years old and obviously out of touch
    with the real world. I do what I can, writing reviews and giving talks,
    but important people are not listening to me.”

    I doubt that very much . . important people must have been listening to voices other than the alarmists, considering where things stand now. I don’t think the “skeptic” stand would have been possible without the likes of Mr. Dyson, older generation “heretics” who spoke up. I think he/they commanded far more respect and attention than Mr. Dyson realizes . . if smart folks are anything like me ; )

  38. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans.

    Not even that. Typical grid size in computational general circulation models is 100×100 km, while an order of magnitude estimate of the
    Kolmogorov length scale
    in the atmosphere is 1 mm. As from a computational point of view it is absolutely impossible to use sub millimeter grid size, they can’t make-do without parametrization, which would need ample validation, but that’s lacking.

    Current grid size e.g. can’t represent storms, a primary source of turbulent mixing, therefore the situation regarding computational models is next to hopeless.

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