Climate sensitivity and Climategate 2.0

Climate sensitivity distribution. 3 C is the upper limit (click to enlarge)

Some break this is turning out to be! Climate stories are breaking every day, and they deserve some coverage here. Two articles in The Australian today are of particular interest.

Firstly, the publication of a paper in Science that questions the high-end climate sensitivity probabilities put forward by the IPCC. Remember, climate sensitivity is the KEY question. If the climate isn’t sensitive to CO2, then “man-made global warming” is a non-problem. It’s the fact that the climate models project that there is a real possibility of significant climate sensitivity, leading to substantial and dangerous warming, which is enough, the IPCC would argue, to justify drastic emissions cuts based on the precautionary principle. The problem is that it may not be true:

DRAMATIC forecasts of global warming resulting from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide have been exaggerated, according to a peer-reviewed study by a team of international researchers.

In the study, published today in the leading journal Science, the researchers found that while rising levels of CO2 would cause climate change, the most severe predictions – some of which were adopted by the UN’s peak climate body in its seminal 2007 report – had been significantly overstated.

The authors used a novel approach based on modelling the effects of reduced CO2 levels on climate, which they compared with proxy-records of conditions during the last glaciation, to infer the effects of doubling CO2 levels.

They concluded that current worst-case scenarios for global warming were exaggerated.

“Now these very large changes (predicted for the coming decades) can be ruled out, and we have some room to breathe and time to figure out solutions to the problem,” the study’s lead author, Andreas Schmittner, an associate professor at Oregon State University, said.

Professor Schmittner said taking his results literally, the IPCC’s average or “expected” value of a 3C average temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 ought to be regarded as an upper limit. (source)

Wait for the warmists to start the smear campaign on that poor guy. And at the same time, more explosive Climategate emails show the extent to which uncertainty was minimised within the climate science community in order to avoid any possible damage to “The Cause”.

In one 2009 email exchange between British government advisers and climate scientists, including Professor Phil Jones from the University of East Anglia who was a key figure in the first Climategate saga, one adviser writes: “I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish.” The exchange concerns a project called Weather Generator that forecasts heatwaves and extreme rainfall events across Britain.

In a 2003 email to colleagues, the UEA’s Irene Lorenzoni writes: “I agree with the importance of extreme events as foci for public and governmental opinion.” (source)

Details have also emerged at the close relationship between those scientists and the BBC, confirming suspicions that the UK’s national broadcaster is acting as an environmental activist mouthpiece for climate alarmism:

Yes, glad you stopped this — I was sent it too, and decided to spike it without more ado as pure stream-of-consciousness rubbish. I can well understand your unhappiness at our running the other piece. But we  are constantly being savaged by the loonies for not giving them any coverage at all, especially as you say with the COP in the offing, and being the objective impartial (ho ho) BBC that we are, there is an expectation in some quarters that we will every now and then let them say something. I hope though that the weight of our coverage makes it clear that we think they are talking through their hats. (source)

“The objective impartial (ho ho) BBC”. Nudge nudge, wink wink. Ah, pity the poor Brits paying their TV licences for this kind of disgraceful bias. Little reason to doubt that the ABC is in a similar position – you only need to look at their output on climate matters to see that.

BBC needs to be more biased

Biased Broadcasting Corporation

Yes, you read that right. Apparently, there isn’t enough scrutiny of filthy deniers, er, I mean, climate sceptics at Auntie Beeb. It’s just like the ABC, which as we all know looks far too favourably on the nonsense peddled by “deniers” [/sarc off]. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

The scientist appointed to review the BBC’s science output is a regular programme contributor to, er, the BBC. So no conflict of interest there, clearly. It really is beyond a joke:

Climate change sceptics will get less of a hearing on the BBC because they are at odds with the majority view among scientists, a report reveals.

The corporation’s governing body is set to change the way the BBC covers the issue by urging it to focus less on those who disagree with the majority ‘consensus’.

In other words, it’s science by head count. Last time I checked that wasn’t how science worked. But hey, this is only a professor of science, so what can you expect?

The BBC Trust report, out today, is in part based on an independent review of the broadcaster’s coverage by Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London.

He is understood to find no evidence of bias in the corporation’s output, but suggests that on issues where there is a ‘scientific consensus’ – also including the MMR jab and genetically modified crops – there should be no need for the BBC to find opponents of the mainstream view.

Critics of the BBC fear it may use the report as cover to ‘promote a green agenda’. In the past, the BBC has been accused of acting like a cheerleader for the theory that climate change is a man-made phenomenon.

The BBC promote a Green agenda? Surely not. And with PM Bob Brown and his lap dog Gillard planning to regulate the media in Australia (where “regulate” means censor anything which der Staat regards in its infinite wisdom as subversive), we can expect to see much the same at the ABC in the near future.

Read it all here (and bury your head in your hands as you see your hard-won Western democratic rights disappear up in smoke).

BBC: "left-wing, shallow and oh-so politically correct"

Speaking out. Sissons (L) and Buerk (R)

This should come as a surprise to no-one. Like the ABC, the BBC is stuffed full of trendy urban lefties, pushing their own agendas, pro-Labour, pro-Obama, pro-Palestine etc, and which naturally include extreme environmentalism and a love of global warming alarmism. Only when they are too old to care do employees speak out.

We previously covered newsreader Peter Sissons’ memoirs here where he described the corporation as a “propaganda machine for climate change zealots”. Now another newsreader, Michael Buerk, has similarly let the cat out of the bag:

Michael Buerk has launched a withering assault on the BBC’s ‘creed of political correctness’.

The veteran presenter accuses staff at the Corporation of an inbuilt ‘institutional bias’ and warns that they read the left-wing Guardian newspaper as if it is ‘their Bible’.

Reviewing a memoir by his former colleague Peter Sissons, Buerk endorses his view that the BBC is warped by the prejudices of its staff.

He says fellow reporters have ‘contempt’ for business and the countryside – and that a left-wing culture means the national broadcaster has been cast ‘adrift of the overriding national sentiment’ on issues such as climate change.

Buerk, who has previously voiced criticisms of fellow newsreaders for being overpaid, autocue-reading ‘lame brains’, praises Sissons for attacking ‘Autocuties, “Elf ’n’ Safety” and ‘its culture of conformity’.

Buerk also accuses BBC reporters of an ‘uncritical love affair with environmentalism’. (source)

And for the BBC you could of course substitute our own ABC, which employs climate alarmists in its top science reporter positions (think Robyn Williams and Bernie Hobbs), and Left-leaning presenters in key political roles (think Tony “Has anyone seen me and Kevin Rudd in the same room” Jones, and Kerry O’Brien, “Red Kerry” as he was called, and not because of the colour of his hair…).

Not only that, but the editorial policy of ABC news is blatantly pro-warmist, with climate scare stories reported uncritically, and sceptical papers ignored or rubbished. Its Unleashed section is nothing more than a platform for extreme environmentalists like Clive Hamilton, with the ratio of alarmists to sceptics probably in excess of 20 to 1. I could go on…

A sad record for our supposedly impartial national broadcaster, which has gone the same way as the BBC.

BBC: "propaganda machine for climate change zealots"

Blows the lid off the BBC

In another damning article in the UK’s Daily Mail, former BBC newsreader Peter Sissons blows the lid off the institutional climate change bias at the BBC. The results are truly shocking, if not entirely surprising. For “BBC” you can substitute most other news organisations, ABC, Fairfax, AFP… Bias against climate realism is endemic in the left-leaning media, it’s only a question of degree:

For me, though, the most worrying aspect of political correctness was over the story that recurred with increasing frequency during my last ten years at the BBC — global warming (or ‘climate change’, as it became known when temperatures appeared to level off or fall slightly after 1998).

From the beginning I was unhappy at how one-sided the BBC’s coverage of the issue was, and how much more complicated the climate system was than the over-simplified two-minute reports that were the stock-in-trade of the BBC’s environment correspondents.

These, without exception, accepted the UN’s assurance that ‘the science is settled’ and that human emissions of carbon dioxide threatened the world with catastrophic climate change. Environmental pressure groups could be guaranteed that their press releases, usually beginning with the words ‘scientists say . . . ’ would get on air unchallenged.

On one occasion, after the inauguration of Barack Obama as president in 2009, the science correspondent of Newsnight actually informed viewers ‘scientists calculate that he has just four years to save the world’. What she didn’t tell viewers was that only one alarmist scientist, NASA’s James Hansen, had said that.

My interest in climate change grew out of my concern for the failings of BBC journalism in reporting it. In my early and formative days at ITN, I learned that we have an obligation to report both sides of a story. It is not journalism if you don’t. It is close to propaganda.

The BBC’s editorial policy on climate change, however, was spelled out in a report by the BBC Trust — whose job is to oversee the workings of the BBC in the interests of the public — in 2007. This disclosed that the BBC had held ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’.

The error here, of course, was that the BBC never at any stage gave equal space to the opponents of the consensus.

But the Trust continued its pretence that climate change dissenters had been, and still would be, heard on its airwaves. ‘Impartiality,’ it said, ‘always requires a breadth of view, for as long as minority opinions are coherently and honestly expressed, the BBC must give them appropriate space.’

In reality, the ‘appropriate space’ given to minority views on climate change was practically zero.
Moreover, we were allowed to know practically nothing about that top-level seminar mentioned by the BBC Trust at which such momentous conclusions were reached. Despite a Freedom of Information request, they wouldn’t even make the guest list public.


Recipe for a climate scare story

Is the IPCC a corrupt political alarmist machine? Do polar bears shit in the Arctic?

OK folks, hope you’re all ready to put on your chef’s hats and venture to the kitchen to concoct a climate scare story. Firstly, we must have the right ingredients:

  • cuddly furry creature (in this case, a polar bear will do nicely)
  • a large serving of climate change hysteria
  • a tipping point or two (to taste)
  • a half-baked computer model
  • generous helping of hyperbole

Mix them all together, et voilà! Now feed to a desperate mainstream media organisation (the BBC) which will swallow anything.

Climate change will trigger a dramatic and sudden decline in the number of polar bears, a new study has concluded.

The research is the first to directly model how changing climate will affect polar bear reproduction and survival.

Based on what is known of polar bear physiology, behaviour and ecology, it predicts pregnancy rates will fall and fewer bears will survive fasting during longer ice-free seasons.

These changes will happen suddenly as bears pass a ‘tipping point’. [Do not pass Go, do not collect $200]

Dr [Peter] Molnar, Professor Andrew Derocher and colleagues from the University of Alberta and York University, Toronto focused on the physiology, behaviour and ecology of polar bears, and how these might change as temperatures increase.

“We developed a model for the mating ecology of polar bears. The model estimates how many females in a population will be able to find a mate during the mating season, and thus get impregnated.”

“In both cases, the expected changes in reproduction and survival were non-linear,” explains Dr Molnar.

“That is, as the climate warms, we may not see any substantial effect on polar bear reproduction and survival for a while, up until some threshold is passed, at which point reproduction and survival will decline dramatically and very rapidly.”

<sarc> I wonder if these computer models are as good as the IPCC’s climate models? </sarc>

Read the rest here, although to be honest, I really wouldn’t bother. (h/t WUWT)

BBC: pension fund invested in climate companies

Sunday Express

If you’ve ever wondered why the BBC has been so biased towards the global warming movement, perhaps the UK Express has provided the answer. It appears that huge swathes of the BBC’s own massive pension fund is invested in companies “whose success depends on the theory [of AGW] being widely accepted.”

The corporation is under investigation after being inundated with complaints that its editorial coverage of climate change is biased in favour of those who say it is a man-made phenomenon.

The £8billion pension fund is likely to come under close scrutiny over its commitment to promote a low-carbon economy while struggling to reverse an estimated £2billion deficit.

Concerns are growing that BBC journalists and their bosses regard disputed scientific theory that climate change is caused by mankind as “mainstream” while huge sums of employees’ money is invested in companies whose success depends on the theory being widely accepted.

The fund, which has 58,744 members, accounts for about £8 of the £142.50 licence fee and the proportion looks likely to rise while programme budgets may have to be cut to help reduce the deficit.

The BBC is the only media organisation in Britain whose pension fund is a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which has more than 50 members across Europe.

Its chairman is Peter Dunscombe, also the BBC’s Head of Pensions Investment.

Prominent among its recent campaigns was a call for a “strong and binding” global agreement on climate change – one that fell on deaf ears after the UN climate summit in Copenhagen failed to reach agreement on emissions targets and a cut in greenhouse gases.

So if you were being cynical, you may think the BBC plugs the alarmist line in order to ensure the security of its own investments, which aren’t doing so well at the moment. Sounds like a serious conflict, undermining the Corporation’s editorial impartiality (and probably breaching its own guidelines).

Read it here. (h/t Jonathan S-B)

MUST SEE: BBC Newsnight: Climate change scepticism hotting up in Australia

BBC’s flagship current affairs programme, Newsnight, has an extended section on the changing political climate in Australia:

H/t: Tom S

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