Rising scepticism and falling alarmism

seesaw

Swings and roundabouts

Three articles of note today. First, UK chair of climate committee says warming may be natural, second, Met Office admits that warming of last century isn’t statistically significant, and finally, Aussie scientists downgrade alarmist predictions.

To the UK first, where Tim Yeo, chairman of the parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee, has embraced free-thinking, rational scepticism and has abandoned dogmatic and quasi-religious alarmism, in a shift which will send shock waves through the climate community.

As the Telegraph reports, in 2009 Yeo said this:

“The dying gasps of the deniers will be put to bed. In five years time, no one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change.”

We didn’t need to wait five years for that, since Yeo has now finally acknowledged the uncertainties himself:

Humans may not be responsible for global warming, according to Tim Yeo, the MP who oversees government policy on climate change.

The chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee said he accepts the earth’s temperature is increasing but said “natural phases” may be to blame.

Such a suggestion sits at odds with the scientific consensus. One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm [that’s John Cook’s crock on consensus, by the way. What has consensus got to do with it anyway? If more people think the Sun goes round the Earth, does that somehow make it true? “8 out of 10 cats prefer Whiskas“… – Ed].

Mr Yeo, an environment minister under John Major, is one of the Conservative Party’s strongest advocates of radical action to cut carbon emissions. His comments are significant as he was one of the first senior figures to urge the party to take the issue of environmental change seriously.

He insisted such action is “prudent” given the threat climate change poses to living standards worldwide. But, he said, human action is merely a “possible cause”.

Asked on Tuesday night whether it was better to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change than to prevent it in the first place, he said: “The first thing to say is it does not represent any threat to the survival of the planet. None at all. The planet has survived much bigger changes than any climate change that is happening now.

He went on: “Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place.” (source)

Still in the UK, the Met Office has been forced, by a climate system that simply wouldn’t comply with the wishes of the alarmist “consensus”, to admit that the past 140 years of modest temperature rises are statistically insignificant, after six questions were raised in the House of Lords:

The issue here is the claim that “the temperature rise since about 1880 is statistically significant”, which was made by the Met Office in response to the original Question (HL3050). The basis for that claim has now been effectively acknowledged to be untenable. Possibly there is some other basis for the claim, but that seems extremely implausible: the claim does not seem to have any valid basis.

Plainly, then, the Met Office should now publicly withdraw the claim. That is, the Met Office should admit that the warming shown by the global-temperature record since 1880 (or indeed 1850) might be reasonably attributed to natural random variation….

Lastly, it is not only the Met Office that has claimed that the increase in global temperatures is statistically significant: the IPCC has as well. Moreover, the IPCC used the same statistical model as the Met Office, in its most-recent Assessment Report (2007)…

To conclude, the primary basis for global-warming alarmism is unfounded. The Met Office has been making false claims about the significance of climatic changes to Parliament—as well as to the government, the media, and others — claims which have seriously affected both policies and opinions. When questioned about those claims in Parliament, the Met Office did everything feasible to avoid telling the truth. (h/t Bolta)

Finally, David Karoly, arch warmist of Melbourne University starts hedging bets as he has to admit that ludicrously scaremongering claims of 6 degrees of warming were “unlikely”, but given Karoly’s well-known ideological and activist stance on the subject, the press release makes sure that the bandwagon still rolls on:

Scientists from the University of Melbourne and Victoria University have generated what they say are more reliable projections of global warming estimates at 2100.

The paper, led by Dr Roger Bodman from Victoria University with Professors David Karoly and Peter Rayner from the University of Melbourne and published in Nature Climate Change today, found that [good news…] exceeding 6 degrees warming was now unlikely while [bad news…] exceeding 2 degrees is very likely for business-as-usual emissions…

This was achieved through a new method combining observations of carbon dioxide and global temperature variations with simple climate model simulations to project future global warming.

Dr Bodman said while continuing to narrow the range even further was possible, significant uncertainty in warming predictions would always remain due to the complexity of climate change drivers. “This study ultimately shows why waiting for certainty will fail as a strategy,” he said. “Some uncertainty will always remain, meaning that we need to manage the risks of warming with the knowledge we have.” (source – h/t WUWT)

Interesting times…

UPDATE: The headbangers over at Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science (no link) respond to these developments with balanced and open-minded scientific curiosity… Nah, only joking! With yet more alarmism, this time from Kevin Trenberth, who, like most of the headbangers, must be worried he’ll be out of a job in a few years’ time, when “climate scientists” go the way of spear-makers, rag and bone men and gas lamp lighters:

Focusing on the wiggles and ignoring the bigger picture of unabated warming is foolhardy, but an approach promoted by climate change deniers. Global sea level keeps marching up at a rate of more than 30cm per century since 1992 (when global measurements via altimetry on satellites were made possible), and that is perhaps a better indicator that global warming continues unabated. Sea level rise comes from both the melting of land ice, thus adding more water to the ocean, plus the warming and thus expanding ocean itself.

Global warming is manifested in a number of ways, and there is a continuing radiative imbalance at the top of atmosphere. The current hiatus in surface warming is temporary, and global warming has not gone away.

Comments

  1. That’s all very encouraging but this information was obviously not considered by Professor Ian Lowe of the ACF who told the National Press Club yesterday that we should all be very concerned because CO2 levels are approaching the ‘tipping point’ (whatever that means) of 400 ppm. And here am I thinking that academics are supposed to peruse a wide range of the information spectrum and literature on the topics of their interest.

  2. Ian Lowe is only one step removed from that total [snip], Lewandowsky, but then again Ian does represent the ACF. The real surprise, however, is that academics of his ilk masquerade as circumspect scientists but are able to completely ignore, without debate, data which are contrary to the warmist party line.

  3. Baldrick says:

    Meanwhile, Labor is doing its best to waste more taxpayer moneys on ‘green loans’ from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation before the election.$800 million is being rushed through before the election.

    All at a time when the ‘green ecotards’ are being caught with their snouts in the trough before the door is slammed!

  4. The UK parliament will soon vote on an amemdment to the energy bill to slash CO2 emissions due to power generation by 90% by 2030. See point 2 in Andrew Bolts blog here:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/global_warming_the_quiz/

    Will be interesting to see if it gets through – probably still enough Liberal Democrats and Labor voters to support it.

  5. intrepid_wanders says:

    I have a project. How to RE-OPEN a closed comments on THE CONVERSATION?

    http://theconversation.com/its-true-97-of-research-papers-say-climate-change-is-happening-14051

    Brandon Shollenberger is busy taking apart the 97% Cooked up paper. Obviously, SkS does not want to discuss it. While, SkS does not like Brandon’s questions, if, some way, “The Conversations” started again, I am sure that the “conversations” could start again.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2013/the-saga-continues/#comments

  6. How can one berate “Focusing on the wiggles and ignoring the bigger picture”” and then suggest we focus on the ‘wiggle’ of measurements “since 1992” to get the bigger picture?

    Hardly a logical position.

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