Archives
environmentalblogs.org

It’s Science Jim, But Not As We Know It

 Loose Cannon Fires A Broadside

That loose cannon on the Scottish political scene Jim Sillars has today published a  hysterical article in the Scotsman denying the existence of  global warming,  belittling climate science  and ridiculing Scotland’s ambitions for renewable energy.  

 He refers to the current scientific consensus on AGW as a ‘lobby’, which is like calling the SNP a ‘minority interest group in Scotland’.

 Sillars claims that climatology is ‘in its infancy’ –  a particularly stupid statement when you consider the likes of  Edmund Halley, who published a map of the trade winds in 1686 after a voyage to the southern hemisphere, or  Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who  mapped the course of the Gulf Stream. With the advent of satellite observations and powerful computers climate science experienced a step change though and is now  moving forward at a frenetic  pace, with every new set of observations and  every refinement of atmospheric  models confirming that we are engaged on a massive experiment with our atmosphere and climate. The results are uncertain, but they lie across a range from disruptive but tolerable to downright threatening.

 Sillars speaks of a ‘delusional world where they believe they  . . .  can stop the world’s climate warming beyond another 2.5 degrees’ – so apparently he DOES he believe in climate change, but believes action is futile. This is not only the politics of defeatism, but also has more than a whiff of sour grapes.

Sillars has of course instantly become the darling of the denialist blogosphere, being described on the ‘Bishop Hill’ blog as  ” an influential Scottish political commentator” within hours of this article appearing. At the same time he has given the Unionists a stick to beat the SNP with by decrying Scotland’s renewable energy targets and ambitions as folly.

So – all in all  remarkable double whammy own goal  from a man who is allegedly a lifelong supporter of independence but who just can’t miss a chance to get back at old adversaries, not matter what the cost to his country and his planet.

LINK

Scotsman article: ‘Climate con will feel a chill wind’           

 

 

23 Responses to “It’s Science Jim, But Not As We Know It”

  • Iain G Richmond:

    GOOD OLD JIM…..KEEP ON ROCKIN’ !!

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Will read the article and come back on this

  • itsyourself:

    I was particularly amused by his quote from Atte Korhola. Yes Jim they will wonder about idiots like you, that’s who the quote was aimed at. His position is clear “Global warming is already a fact of life and there is every reason to do something about it before the impacts become unstoppable.” As for the rest of the “Its a conspiracy” dribblings yes so was Diana the moon landings aliens the illuminati chemtrails etc etc Aye right

    http://www.vapoviesti.fi/vapoview/index.php?id=1379&articleId=85&type=11

  • admin:

    I see Cameron Rose, Tory councillor for Southside/Newington, Edinburgh, was sufficiently impressed by this post to give it a detailed (though toothless) ‘critique’ on his Edinburgh Climate blog.

    I suppose I should be flattered . . . but mostly I am amused at the strange bedfellows climate denial creates.

  • Thanks for acknowledging my comments.

    I look forward to your addressing the issues raised.

  • admin:

    Cameron,

    All the points you raise that claim to show the science is not settled, there is no consensus and that AGW is no more than a ‘belief system’ have been comprehensively debunked over and over again. There is no point in me discussing climate science with you because for you the science is not what it is about.

    Climate change denial among right wing ‘libertarians’ is a natural reaction to what they see as a threat to their sacred ‘free market’, bringing with it as it does a whole load of unwelcome baggage such as social and corporate responsibilty and the need for radical policy changes by governments.

    For more on this see Naomi Klein: Capitalism vs climate

    • You say those three points have been ‘comprehensively debunked over and over again’. I would be interested in your evidence for that? Because from where I sit, the evidence seems to be growing on all three points. Sure, I understand you don’t want to go over old ground again. But I do encourage you to reconsider. If your beliefs are based on faulty a priori assumptions as I suggest, we all gain by exposing them. Go on. Read Montford’s book. If only to review it and debunk it.

      It’s intriguing that you use Klein’s worldview in response to my comments. My starting point is the science and the evidence. Klein (in the article) doesn’t address the science other than with some assertions. For example she says:” The heat-trapping gases released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels are already causing temperatures to increase.” I have no difficulty with that. But she immediate makes the big leap: “If we are not on a radically different energy path by the end of this decade, we are in for a world of pain.” The extent of the anthropogenic contribution to warming is widely ackowledged to be very difficult to know – and there are first class scientists who consider the amount of warming to be trivial in the scheme of world temperature.

      • admin:

        I’m reading Mann’s ‘The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars’ at the moment and will be reviewing that at some point Cameron. I think it Mann is the person best placed to explain the scientific thinking and method behind the production of that iconic graph. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to read books about climate that are written by climate scientists.

        Have you read Alastair McIntosh’s review of Montford’s ‘Hockey Stick Illusion’? Pretty damning stuff.

        • Yes, I’ve read Alistair Mcintosh’s review. He selects a few points by way of summarising, adds a few ad hominems and arguments from authority (seasoned with a priori assumptions), then gives his readers apparent flaws in the case which Montford describes. The problem is he infers to his readers these are flaws Montford has not thought of or dealt with. In every case the so called flaws were addressed and rebutted in the book.

          Just one example of many. McIntosh claims Mann’s hockey stick ‘has been replicated by at least a dozen other studies.’ Montford points out – as have many scientists – that the replicating studies depend on the same flawed proxy series or algorithm which Mann used. All of which suggests McIntosh either had not read large parts of the book he was reviewing, or was carelessly misleading you and his other readers. Now that is pretty damning stuff.

          Tell you what. I’ll promise to read Mann if you read Montford!

  • […] misreporting for well over a decade and a half… and on the subject of anti science, Jim Sillars is taking some flak from Scots Renewables for a recent column in the Scotsman (presumably following another column in […]

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Hi Admin,

    I see you won’t have a debate with Cameron perhaps you could give me some some answers to questions that ‘ have been debunked over and over again’ .

    I have read extensively the evidence of both sides but I’ve got to say that in my opinion Jim Sillars is not wide of the mark. Before you or itself call me an hysterical, stupid dribbling idiot can you advise me on the following?

    – Atmospheric carbon is at higher levels than at any time in the past 650,000 years. But go back 500 million years, and carbon levels were not just 10-20 percent higher, they were 10 to 20 times higher. The Earth has thoroughly tested the runaway greenhouse effect of CO2, and nothing happened. Indeed the Earth slipped into an ice age while CO2 was far higher than today’s levels.

    – At the current rate we are increasing anthropogenic CO2 each year, we will hit historic record levels in just 3,300 years. don’t you think we will have found a solution to life without fossils fuel long before then? And using them now will make not a jot of difference to nature’s control of the climate.

    – Last century, temperatures rose about 0.7°C and most of that gain has been lost in the past 12 years. Around 1700, there was a 2.2°C rise in just 36 years. (As measured by the Central England Temperature record, one of the only reliable records of the era.) It was three times as large and three times as fast as the past century. Natural variation has been much larger than anything mankind may or may may not have induced recently and there was definitely no Anthropogenic CO2 in 1700. Do you agree?

    – Carbon doesn’t seem to have driven temperatures before; probably isn’t doing it now; things are not getting warmer; and computer models can’t predict the weather 7 years ahead never mind 70 years.

    – Do you still support the ‘hockey stick’ graph?

    – was Phil Jones right to manipulate his data to make it alter the observed facts?

    – Proof of global warming is not proof that CO2 caused that warming. What is your opinion ?

    – Something out there affects our climate more than CO2 and none of the computer models knows what it is.

    AND FINALLY PLEASE NOTE………

    When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser.
    – Socrates

    • admin:

      500 million years ago the sun was would have been several percent dimmer according to established nuclear models of main sequence stars. This would raise the CO2 threshold for glaciation to 3000 ppmv or so. This also explains (along with the logarithmic forcing effect of CO2) why a runaway greenhouse didn’t occur: with a dimmer sun, high CO2 is necessary to stop the Earth freezing over.

      Otherwise, not much point in ‘debating’ with you when you come out with statements like ‘using them (fossil fuels) now will make not a jot of difference to nature’s control of the climate. You have obviously made up your mind, so for you the debate is over.

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Thanks for you rapid but truncated reply.

    I’m surprised that you felt it worthwhile to answere only one of my questions. I am aware of the battle between gas pressure and gravity in main sequence stars but couldn’t find any reference to the dimming period 500million years ago Perhaps you could forward me your references. I found this information interesting.

    Log curves never get to “100%”. (So even the air on Venus, which is almost pure CO2, does not absorb 100% of the infra red light). Every CO2 molecule will increase warming by a small amount ad infinitum, but it has less effect than the CO2 that’s already up there. The Archibald. Modtran calculations show the diminishing effect of CO2 concentration. So the small changes in the sun’s activity will of course affect global temperatures but CO2 I submit is a Minor player.

    So this high CO2 effect 500m years ago was it seems timely but what caused this high CO2 level? It certainly wasn’t human activity. Does the little ice age correspond to a diminished sun period? I can’t find any references.

    I’m pleased to see you recognise the importance of the sun’s effect. Most alarmists ignore this completely! My reference to the burning of fossil fuels not making a jot of difference was intended as a straight question and not a rhetorical one. Incidentally I don’t think there is enough fossils fuel to increase CO2 levels to the levels of 500m years ago if it takes 3500 yrs at present outputs. Figures seem to suggest we have 500yrs fossil at today’s usage.

    You seem to be very touchy on statements which counter your own beliefs and you have not convinced me yet (and I’m sure others) the veracity of the alarmist case.
    The ‘debate over ploy’ simply doesn’t hold water if you pontificate on a subject which is clearly still very open to debate which slowly but surely, little by little the alarmist stance is being challenged as more researchers on the subject become apostates.

    There can NEVER be a end to scientific debate unless you are prepared to adopt the philosophy of Gallileo’s inquisitors, accept that Newtons Laws still hold and that nothing can come after Einstein.

    This would be a very arrogant position to hold and intellectually unsustainable.

    For me the debate can never be over and i will never accept that my views are 100% correct(except those on death and taxation) As long as you make public utterances whith which I have issue I will challenge them. However I am willing to agree to valid and verifiable facts. You have the not only the right to reply but the obligation since your views are made public and are certainly not sacrosanct nor can they ever be. ( except on death and taxation!)

    It would be a shame if your views came to be looked upon as not open, constructive or civilised and portray the alarmists view in a way that becomes associated with the statement quoted below by a very nasty piece o’ work indeed.

    By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell — and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.
    – Adolf Hitler

    Phil Jones, A Gore take note.

    A reasoned and balanced reply to all my submitted questions will be appreciated I’m sure, by all your readers.

  • Iain G Richmond:

    This ‘Established nuclear models of main sequence stars’ thing is bugging me. You say “WOULD HAVE BEEN” several percent dimmer and not “WAS” several percent dimmer at that time.
    Is this predictive science and can this model therefore tell us when there will be dimming in the future. No doubt you would then happily agree to CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere to avoid glaciation.

    Or is the whole thing brutal guess work on a computer? I’m intrigued.

    References or explanation would be appreciated by you or any one else out there. ( maybe it’s me that’s dimmer!!!!!)

  • itsyourself:

    Venus, models, alarmist, lies, arrogant, its the sun, CO2 not a greenhouse gas, Hitler (a Godwin) effect saturation and a “Gore”. Congratulations Iain you qualify for today climate Zombie award:-) ps the Zombies lost in WWZ too 😉

  • admin:

    Iain, Google ‘main sequence stars ‘ to find out more if you are really interested. The luminosity of the sun is increasing as it gets older. 500 million years ago the luminosity of the sun was 6% less than it is today. The lifetime of a main sequence star is something we can observe in thousands of real locations in the universe so no, it is not ‘brutal guesswork’, it is mainstream astronomy/cosmology.

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Hi Admin,

    I accept that the luminosity of the sun is inexorably increasing and it is one more addition I must make to my list of certainties that includes death and taxation.

    The 6% increase in luminosity of our sun over the past 500m years that you mention means that any increase in the next million years or so will be so insignificant as to be almost unmeasurable and therefore can have no relevance to climate change today, tomorrow or for the next hundred thousand years for that matter. I have not been aware of any people of your persuasion who thinks it is. I think you will concede however that variation of the Earth’s orbit will affect climate on Earth as does sun spot activity.

    So let’s leave it at that…..luminosty is an irrelevance, although it’s interesting that you think CO2 saved the planet 500m years ago from glaciation, and that even with increasing luminosity there was no runaway global warmiing afterwards. The fact that CO2 helps plants flourish and produce oxygen to maintain life on this beautiful planet means it can’t be all bad !!

    I repeat you have not answered any of my questions in my previous quote so I will reduce it to just one statement …….

    – Carbon doesn’t seem to have driven temperatures before; probably isn’t doing it now; things are not getting warmer; and computer models can’t predict the weather 7 years ahead never mind 70 years. What is your opinion?

    Finally I really do think you should moderate ITSYOURSELF who seems to be so intellectually challenged that all he can contribute is gratuitous abuse. His posts are not only a distraction but also irrelevant and not at all conducive to respectful and reasoned argument. Strong criticism is acceptable abuse most certainly is not.

    Visitors to your page of this ilk do nothing for your cause which I know you feel very passionately about. This I can respect and indeed have have a high regard for your debating skills and knowledge.

    I hope you agree.

    • admin:

      You are making the classic mistake of assuming that because CO2 was not a major driver of cimate in the past it can’t be now. You need to keep in mind the timescales involved. Total solar irradiance has been slowly increasing for a very long time. So it has a large effect on the overall long-term temperature trend of the planet, meaning hundreds of millions of years. That’s not really relevant to the timescale of the 21st century. Likewise, the glacial/interglacial cycle plays out on a 26000 – 100000 year timescale.

      In contrast, we’re doubling CO2 on a timescale of a century or so. We’re also pumping out CH4, N2O, halocarbons, and other greenhouse gases. Thus, if you look at the actual magnitude of the radiative forcings, over the course of the 21st century the increase in greenhouse gases has a much larger forcing than any changes in TSI, Milankovich, etc.

      I’m not even going to bother to argue with your claim that warming has stopped. That really is a ‘climate zombie’ claim.

  • admin:

    You are making the classic mistake of assuming that because CO2 was not a major driver of cimate in the past it can’t be now. You need to keep in mind the timescales involved. Total solar irradiance has been slowly increasing for a very long time. So it has a large effect on the overall long-term temperature trend of the planet, meaning hundreds of millions of years. That’s not really relevant to the timescale of the 21st century. Likewise, the glacial/interglacial cycle plays out on a 26000 – 100000 year timescale.

    In contrast, we’re doubling CO2 on a timescale of a century or so. We’re also pumping out CH4, N2O, halocarbons, and other greenhouse gases. Thus, if you look at the actual magnitude of the radiative forcings, over the course of the 21st century the increase in greenhouse gases has a much larger forcing than any changes in TSI, Milankovich, etc.

    I’m not even going to bother to argue with your claim that warming has stopped. That really is a ‘climate zombie’ claim.

  • Iain G Richmond:

    The CO2 molecule has always had defined properties, will always have and cannot change its properties. That is an undeniable fact. Its past , Present and future reaction therefore in any situation is measurable and predictable. I submit that CO2 will act in a similar fashion today climatically as it did 500m years ago, 65m years ago or 100yrs hence given what we know about it and what forces act upon it and react with it.

    The greenhouse gasses keep the Earth 30° C warmer than it would otherwise be without them in the atmosphere, so instead of the average surface temperature being -15° C, it is 15° C.

    Carbon dioxide contributes 10% of the effect so that is 3° C. The pre-industrial level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 ppm. So roughly, if the heating effect was a linear relationship, each 100 ppm contributes 1° C. With the atmospheric concentration rising by 2 ppm annually, it would go up by 100 ppm every 50 years and we would all fry as per the IPCC predictions.

    But the relationship isn’t linear, it is logarithmic. In 2006, Willis Eschenbach posted a graph [charts at WUWT] on Climate Audit showing the logarithmic heating effect of carbon dioxide relative to atmospheric concentration.

    Lo and behold, the first 20 ppm accounts for over half of the heating effect to the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, by which time carbon dioxide is no longet effective as a greenhouse gas. One thing to bear in mind is that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 got down to 180 ppm during the glacial periods of the ice age .

    Plant growth shuts down at 150 ppm, so the Earth was within 30 ppm of disaster. Terrestrial life came close to being wiped out by a lack of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    You either accept that the warming effect of CO2 is logarithmic or you don’t. If you don’t …..can you show me proof that it’s linear??

    CO2 is not a pollutant it is essential for life on Earth and even if we produce anthropogenic gas at today’s rate it would take 3650 yrs to reach previous record levels …….. This I think is unlikely.

    “The observed global warming on the Earth is not caused by human-induced greenhouse gases emission, but mostly by unusually high intensity of the solar radiation during the whole passed century. The coming decrease of global temperature will take place even if the anthropogenic CO2 emission will reach record high levels in the future.

    The interesting fact is that in 20th century global warming took place on Mars as well as on the Earth. This global warming has been caused by considerable and prolonged increase in TSI in 20th century. NASA researches were keeping a track of changes on the surface of our neighbour planet — Mars over the period from 1999 to 2005 and they have discovered a gradual melting of ice on its south pole during three Martian years and a simultaneous global warming on Mars, without, of course any participation of Martians and greenhouse effect caused by them. The same simultaneous global warming as on Mars and on the Earth have also been observed on the Jupiter, Triton (a satellite of Neptune), Pluto and several other planets of the solar system. These warmings can only be consequence of the same and only factor ― a prolonged and unusually high value of the TSI during almost whole Of the 20th century. The simultaneous global warmings on the Earth, Mars and in virtually whole solar system are the phenomena of the natural solar origin and are caused by natural ― astronomic reasons and not by industrial activity of the humans.

    I note that you have not sanctioned postings from itsyourself and indeed are introducing jibes and intemperate language to other parts of the site.

    Admin, this is not good!! The fact that you appear to support gratuitous abuse of those whom have only a scientific/political difference of opinion and your belief that war, famine and erradication of the Cathoilc church is the best way to control world population is chilling really, considering you may be someone who has some influence in our society.

    I agree with you that there is no point in arguing that warming over the last 12 yrs has stopped, the figures speak for themselves.

    It is only sensible that we limit our polluting practices but it’s going to be difficult to stop cattle farting and belching the most potent greenhouse gas unless we all go vegetarian.

    Mother nature’s activities can make our efforts look pathetic when one realises that when Mount St Helens erupted it it pumped more pollutant into the atmosphere every hour than American industry did in 100yrs!!

    The potential action of Super Volcanos , comets and meteorites worry me far more than additional CO2 for the survival of life on Earth.

    • admin:

      The best evidence suggests the climate zombie outbreak began in the fall of 2009 with a series of stolen British emails containing a virus that turned otherwise rational human-beings into zombies who spout the most inane and unintelligible things.

  • admin:

    Great news tonight about the leaked Heartland Institute documents – now the good guys can spend a couple of years constantly re-printing the juicy bits and exposing the heart of the climate denial machine for the filthy, corrupt and dangerous edifice it is.

    It is especially sweet after putting up with the ‘Climategate’ nonsense for so long.

    Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine

  • ManOfFireAndLight:

    Deniers just love to claim that carbon dioxide’s abundance in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million, is so little that it couldn’t possibly have that great an effect, but they cannot deny the harmful effects of chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) on the atmosphere, which are measured in parts per TRILLION.

Leave a Reply