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An Orwellian climate

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not to his own facts” – Senator Daniel Moynihan Science is a systematic, evidence-based, testable and self-correcting way of investigating the world. This…

The climate change “debate” bears the stains of Orwellian interference. Truthout.org

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not to his own facts” – Senator Daniel Moynihan

Science is a systematic, evidence-based, testable and self-correcting way of investigating the world. This is done through empirical observation, by experimentation and mathematics.

Ideologically dominated or totalitarian societies – such as George Orwell’s famous “1984” Ingsoc – are marked by:

  • attempts to alter reality (“2 + 2 = 5 if the party says so”)
  • elimination of history (“He who controls the past, controls the future”)
  • rewriting collective memory (“Oceania is at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia”)
  • The corruption of logic through aleration and elimination of language “Newspeak”
  • mind control (“thought crime”).

But even science fiction writers such as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley or Doris Lessing did not envisage a civilisation that would knowingly, against the best scientific evidence, devastate its own atmosphere and ocean system as comprehensively as has been and continues to be done through anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change.

The bulk of the peer-reviewed science, premier research organisations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are in agreement: carbon emissions are causing a shift in the state of the atmosphere-ocean system.

But as a spate of extreme weather events around the world, related to rising temperatures, is intensifying, so has a chorus of pro-carbon advocacy. Advocates will tell you “it is the sun”, or “the Earth is cooling”, or “coal is clean”. It must be true if the conservative think tanks say so!

Other tactics aimed at “altering reality” include:

1) Questioning the role of greenhouse gases as drivers of climate, in contrast to the basic laws of physics and chemistry (such as Planck’s law, Steffan-Bolzmann’s law, Kirchhof’s law).

2) Invoking a plethora of unsupported alternative mechanisms such as solar radiation, cosmic rays, water vapour, Mars and Venus warming, volcanic emissions and geothermal heating, to name but a few.

3) Negating empirical scientific measurements by misciting the literature and propagating unreferenced plots from unknown sources. An example is the exaggeration of the Medieval Warm Period, which reached less than 25% of 21st century warming.

4) Avoiding, misrepresenting or attacking the bulk of the peer-reviewed literature (only a very small minority of papers question anthropogenic global warming).

5) Claiming scientists are working together in some imagined climate change conspiracy.

According to Vaclav Klaus, former president of the Czech Republic: “Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”

6) Employing a plethora of websites containing recycled, long-discarded arguments.

Even Orwell couldn’t predict the climate debate.

The debate would have remained academic in nature had the issue not concerned the future of the atmosphere and ocean system – the lungs of the planet – and its inhabitants, including us.

Given the daunting consequences of current climate trajectories, climate scientists wish they were wrong and that the spectre of climate change would go away.

By contrast, pro-carbon lobbyists do not appear to express too many doubts, nor appear to understand the consequences should their version of reality prove wrong.

But never mind those who deny the science, when those who have been elected on a climate change platform are giving-up or delaying critical EPS legislation.

In Australia those elected under the banner of “the greatest moral challenge of our generation" state “the coal industry is safe”. Governments fail to directly inform the population of the realities and consequences of dangerous climate change.

Here is a summary of some of these realities:

1) Global temperature has already exceeded the upper target of a +2°C relative to pre-industrial levels set by the international community at both Copenhagen and Cancun.

Thus, atmospheric greenhouse gas-forced energy rise (solar heat trapped in the atmosphere) has now reached levels equivalent of +2.3°C.

This figure is masked only by a short-lived -1.1°C cooling effect, caused mainly by industrially emitted sulphur dioxide stratospheric aerosols – particles, which partly block sunlight from reaching the surface and warming the earth.

Incredibly the +2°C target is still discussed in political and economic reports as if it hasn’t been reached.

2) The connection between the spate of extreme weather events around the globe and climate change (see figure below) is still largely ignored by governments and most of the media, which either overlook extreme weather events, or dismiss such events as once-in-a-century event.

Arguably people would only be motivated to seriously tackle climate change if and when they understand the connection between the rising spate of cyclones, floods, heat waves and fires and the rise in temperatures over continents and ocean.

3) Despite political pre-election promises, development continues on infrastructure for extracting economic carbon from coal, oil (including from the Arctic Sea), coal seam gas, oil shale and tar sands.

These developments can only lead to the further release of hundreds of gigatons of carbon into an atmosphere already at 393 parts-per-million of CO₂.

As established by multiple studies of the history of the atmosphere, a concentration of 500+/-50 parts-per-million CO₂ in the atmosphere leads to the breakup of the Antarctic ice sheet.

But paradoxically, as the evidence for dangerous climate change has been strengthening, those who do not accept the scientific evidence appear to exert increasing influence over public opinion.

Inertia prevails. The current success of pro-carbon lobby is, at least in part, attributable to the “good news”, even though false, they and their media mouthpieces appear to project, using alternate “reality”, language and terms increasingly akin to Orwellian “Newspeak”.

Join the conversation

73 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Andrew Montford

    Blogger

    Very amused by the claim that sceptics are engaged in:

    "3) Negating empirical scientific measurements by misciting the literature and propagating unreferenced plots from unknown sources."

    Followed by an entirely unreferenced claim about the Medieval Warm Period:

    "An example is the exaggeration of the Medieval Warm Period, which reached less than 25% of 21st century warming."

    Hmm. Take a look at the official IPCC position on this question:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-6-10.html

    I wonder where Dr Glikson gets his numbers from?

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  2. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist

    Andrew Glikson,
    Other than making Orwell spin faster in his grave, this piece adds nothing to the debate. The claims above have been equally applied to those engaged in promulgating climate alarm with much more success. Orwell was not fond of overbearing institutions with fascist tendencies such as the IPCC.

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  3. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    A response to Andrew Montford egarding the Medieval Global Warming

    The article states: "An example is the exaggeration of the Medieval Warm Period, which reached less than 25% of 21st century warming."

    As based on both the IPCC-2007 and Hansen et al. 2011 'Earth's Energy Imbalance and Implications'. (http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110415_EnergyImbalancePape
    r.pdf).

    A. Atmospheric GHG forcing level, reaching +3.2 Watt/m2 by the first decade of the 21st century, is equivalent to…

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    1. John Bennetts

      Engineer

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      The "show full comment" link is broken.

      Any chance of repair? After which, this comment may be deleted.

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    2. Andrew Montford

      Blogger

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Thanks for that. The link you gave is broken, but I've found the Hansen paper via Google. I can't find any discussion of the Medieval Warm Period in it. Which bit are you looking at?

      I had already mentioned the IPCC take on this question - I gave a link to the IPCC's figure in my original piece. I don't see where you get 25% from though.

      Can you explain?

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    3. Danderson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      The derivation isn't obvious i.e. what quantity is being expressed as a percentage of what other quantity? Though a simple description of the maths would settle the matter.

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  4. Damien Gildea

    Author

    With regard to the statement above:
    "... a concentration of 500+/-50 parts-per-million CO2 in the atmosphere leads to the breakup of the Antarctic ice sheet."

    This wording - 'leads to' - suggests there is evidence that the ice sheet previously broken up from its current size due to warming caused by 500ppm?

    Or is it meant that 'models predict that such levels may cause breakup of the Antarctic ice sheet'? I could not read the link provided, so searched for alternatives mentioning those authors…

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  5. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Marc

    Climate scientists focus on the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere system, not on ideology.

    However since you state "fascist tendencies such as the IPCC", I draw your attention to the definition of "fascism" as below (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascist_(epithet), which has noting to do with scientists attempting to alert people to the dangers of open-ended injection of carbon into the atmosphere (>320 Gigaton Carbon, more than half the original atmospheric C level or 590 GtC), raising CO2 levels…

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    1. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Then why have you written a piece on idealogy Andrew, seems you are confused?

      My use of the word Fascist" for the IPCC derives from attempts by IPCC representatives to shut down debate at the climate change session at the last IGC in 2008 in Norway. If you attended you would remember the disgraceful behaviour that fits elements of the following definition:
      "a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., " :

      I could have equally used the term "totalitarianist" or "tyrannical".

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  6. Davoe McNamee

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Aside from ruining the reputation of the University of Newcastle, Marc Hendrickx tries to ruin the reputation of George Orwell. Perhaps Marc should read a bit of history, Orwell is a life-long democratic socialist, fought on the side of WW2 that formed the United Nations. Perhaps Marc should head a 1946 quote from Orwell - which is true of all climate change deniers, "The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." Orwell, 1946.

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    1. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Davoe McNamee

      Your quote from Orwell certainly applies well to Andrew Glikson.

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Marc, do please continue with your bathetic postings - I find few things more likely to strengthen my resolve to support decisive action on climate change and resist denialist lies.

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    3. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      "resist denialist lies". I don't think you realise how self-defeating such asinine statements are. They contribute nothing to any scientific discourse. They may have relevance however to this article and how Eric Blair may have viewed the carbon pollution debate.

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Gliskon's point is that the current debate over climate science is not a scientific debate but a debate between scientists and right-wing idealogues.

      Perhaps Marc would like to list some prominent climate change deniers who are not members of right-wing think tanks.

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    5. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Dear Editor/Moderator,
      Is Mike's comment an example of something that is in line with The Con's "Community Standards"? If so, that's certainly some community! The following is written in the same spirit as Mike's comment.

      Mike,
      Firstly, perhaps you can take the time to spell Glikson's name correctly, it's not like it is a rare thing on this page, or on this site? Or was this just another one of your fat finger moments that spontaneously emerge from the reptilian part of your brain with some regularity…

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    6. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      @ Marc Hendrickx: “ Mike, Firstly, perhaps you can take the time to spell Glikson's name correctly…..”

      Marc – @ Marc Hendrickx: “ Mike, Firstly, perhaps you can take the time to spell Glikson's name correctly…..”

      Marc – Perhaps you can take the time to spell “ethical” correctly? Your introduction of the word "idealogy" to this forum intrigues me. Did you invent it? I’m an eager learner.

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    7. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Almost sounds like the witch scene from Macbeth. I guess some puns are lobbed too high for such eager beavers to notice.

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    8. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Marc - I gather from your calls for the umpire to intervene that you concede the point.

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  7. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Upper stability limit of the Antarctic ice sheet

    The upper stability limit of 500+/-50 ppm CO2 is indicated by numerous paleoclimate studies using a range of proxies (deep sea core evidence including isotopes, trace elements, plant stomata), as reviewed for example by Zachos et al. 2001 ' Trends, Rhythms, and Aberrations in Global Climate 65 Ma to Present' and references therein(http://pangea.stanford.edu/research/Oceans/GES206/readings/Zachos2001.pdf) (see Figure 6).

    Such conditions were established…

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    1. Damien Gildea

      Author

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Thanks Andrew,

      I'm not doubting the Greenland scenario, warming in general, nor the resultant sea-level rises.

      Nor do I doubt that the 400 ppm and resultant warming caused significant melting to a smaller Antarctic ice sheet 30 Ma.

      My query was to the effect of 500 ppm on the current ice mass - present since c.6 Ma? - so the most relevant section from your reply seems to be:
      "A rise of atmospheric CO2 levels to approximately 400 ppm CO2 in the end-Pliocene (c.3 Ma) melted the AIS by cabout one third, raising sea levels to 25+/-12 meters."

      But this seems to contradict the SCAR document, no?

      My initial query stemmed from not recalling that the AIS had ever experienced complete 'breakup', though of course at various times it experienced substantial melting, then re-formed.

      I don't doubt that 500ppm and a resultant c.25m sea-level rise would be catastrophic for most humans.

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  8. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    On "Ideology"

    The "ideology" scientists are involved in, myself included, is the ethical duty to warn people of the evidence-based consequences of scientific observations:

    For example:

    Medical doctors warning people of the dangers of, for example:
    Smoking related to lung cancer.
    Spending time in CO-rich or Oxygen-poor environments
    The risk of altitude sickness.
    Dangers of over-use of antibiotics.
    Overexposure to microwave radiation
    The relations between overconsumption of junk food and obesity ...

    etc.

    Or of biologists warning people of the effects of the overuse of pesticides, defoliants, insecticides and other toxins on the environment.

    Or climate scientists warning people regarding the relation between CFCs and ozone depletion, of sulphur emissions on acid rain and of CO2 and other GHG emissions on the thermal properties of the atmosphere.

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    1. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Andrew spends all his time on the good ship Cargo Cult, and forgets this ethhical duty includes the following:

      "But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–we never say explicitly what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific…

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      A nice Feynman quote, but Marc Hendrickx should apply it to some of the papers he uses as evidence against mainstream climate science.

      Marc Hendrickx recently championed the flawed Spencer & Braswell paper, which led to the resignation of the editor of Remote Sensing. In his resignation letter (http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/9/2002/), the editor noted several flaws that echo Feynman's concerns, and these include;

      "But trying to refute all scientific insights into the global warming phenomenon…

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    3. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,
      Based on the replies to that particular paper it appears the debate on the role of clouds and climate still has some time to run and Michael tars himself with the same brush in skipping over the full story.
      The editor in question was not qualified to comment on the content on the article, and his resignation was based on comments in an online blog. The resignation has un-necessarily further inflamed a discourse that the peer reviewed literature through competing research paradigms is still in the process of sorting out.
      The same flaws and issues that resulted in a resignation have been noted with other papers. A fact I highlighted in a recent article on ABC's The Drum, that compares Spencer's paper with that of Eric Steig's erroneous Nature article on Antarctic warming see
      http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2908330.html

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Yes, but Feynman didn't say you neeed to do it incessantly and endlessly repeat the same concerns after they hav ebeen settled.

      Last time I checked wheels don't carry warnings that it is possible that they may not go around.

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    5. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      One of the reasons that Wolfgang Wagner, Editor-in-Chief of Remote Sensing resigned was because he realised that he had been conned by climate change deniers.

      As he said in his resignation letter
      "With this step I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper's conclusions in public statements, e.g., in a press release of The University of Alabama in Huntsville from 27 July 2011 [2], the main author's personal homepage…

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Marc Hendrickx is using the common tactic of confusing the rejection of bad science with the stifling of debate and ignoring uncertainties.

      Good papers that challenge paradigms and promote debate get published, and do not receive the scorn that Spencer & Braswell deserved. A good example is the recent CLOUD experiment results by Kirkby and collaborators. Unlike some, Kirkby was very clear about the limitations of his research.

      The Conversation seems to be having trouble with the "full comment…

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    7. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      I'm not making a big deal about Spencer's paper Mike. You have and so did Wolfgang Warner when he interfered with the peer review process with his resignation. The scientific debate in which Spencer is involved in appears very much alive and it is a little early for the fat lady to be singing on it yet.

      Here's a tale of another paper with similar problems, this one did not result in a resignation...

      In January 2009, Nature splashed its front cover with the results of a new study titled 'Warming…

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    8. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      If an editor resigned every time a problem was found with a published paper, or it turned out that it was reviewed by "like minded" referees, scientific publishing would quickly grind to a halt. Warner's actions were pathetic.

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    9. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Marc - you employ the "look over there - a platypus" tactic but do not address Wagner's complaint that he was conned.

      As to whether he should have resigned, I would not have thought so. But he obviously felt sufficiently annoyed at the way he was "gamed" that he wanted to make a strong statement.

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    10. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Referees should always do their best to put their prejudices to one side, review a manuscript thoroughly and make sure the manuscript reflects the high standards exemplified by the Feynman quotes. To not do so leaves the relevant paper open to rebuttal, as has happened to Spencer & Braswell.

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    11. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Oops seems you left something off the end of your last sentence, oh here t'is...

      "and Steig et al. 2009."

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    12. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, once again you employ the ostrich tactic.

      If Warner was concerned he could have retracted the paper. He didn't. The only person Warner "gamed" was himself.

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  9. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Damien,

    I am not clear what you refer to when you state: "But this seems to contradict the SCAR document, no?"

    Please clarify where you see a contraction.

    Reading the SCAR document, the introduction states:

    "Polar ice is an important component of the modern climate system, affecting global sea level, ocean circulation and heat transport, marine productivity, air-sea gas exchange, and planetary albedo. Since mid-
    Permian (~270 Ma (million years ago)) times, parts of Antarctica became reglaciated…

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  10. Shirley Birney

    retiree

    “Do the Earth’s volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities? Research findings indicate that the answer to this frequently asked question is a clear and unequivocal, “No.”

    “Human activities, responsible for a projected 35 billion metric tons (gigatons) of CO2 emissions in 2010 (Friedlingstein et al., 2010), release an amount of CO2 that dwarfs the annual CO2 emissions of all the world’s degassing subaerial and submarine volcanoes (Gerlach, 2011).” (Source: United States Geological Survey…

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  11. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Effects of clouds

    Not uncommonly those who do not accept climate science try and portray the consequences of global and regional temperature change as if they were the "drivers" of climate change.

    A. For example Mclean et al. 2009 (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JD011637.shtml) regard the ENSO cycle as the driver of global temperatures rather than the other way around, a proposition thoroughly refuted by Foster et al. 2010 www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/2009JD012960.pdf

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    1. Michael Kottek

      Greyhound Trainer

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      The points 1 & 2 about clouds don't seem to be very instructive to me.

      All you talk about is water vapour, not clouds and albedo: do they matter or not, can they be modelled adequately? I would like to know, because from what I read the IPCC says we don't know much at all about some rather important parameters. But apparently, I should swallow a few red herrings and get on board with the program.

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  12. Roger Simpson

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Mr Hendrickx

    Please refrain from enagaing in your badgering antics that add little to the discussion except the frustration of others. It is well understood that you have a difference of opinion with reputable climate scientists and we am not interested in its ideological origins.

    In a world of info-tainment this website provides a welcome and clearminded stroll through the pastures of reason and respectful debate. Your regular derisive comments are like having the misfortune of treading in a disguised cow-patty. What an awful surprise for the rest of us seeking informed debate.

    Thank you.

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    1. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Roger Simpson

      Hey Roger,
      So ironic that you should label comments as thoughtcrime and call for censorship in a post with Orwell's name in the title. There are generally two sides to a conversation, Roger.

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    2. Tim Hansen

      Environmental Lawyer / Job Seeker at Hills Yoga School

      In reply to Roger Simpson

      Please, Mr Simpson, do not feed the troll. Do a bit of research on Hendrickx and you will find that he is most ignorable.

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  13. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist

    Seems Big Brother is alive and well and is busy tampering with history serially removing one side of the conversation from this forum.

    So to one and all, enjoy nodding heads in agreement to each other in this echo chamber of ideas. Don't be surprised that the world is still there when you all wake up.

    "Your comment on the article "The Faustian bargain – while we debate the numbers, the planet suffers" has been removed in line with our community standards.

    Your comment on the article "Beyond two degrees celsius: sulphur won't save us for long" has been removed in line with our community standards.

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      I assume that your comments were as insightful as

      "... overbearing institutions with fascist tendencies such as the IPCC."

      Here is a tip Marc - try debating the science instead of making grandiose claims that reflect your far right political leanings.

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    2. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Before I disappear down the memory hole completely, Mike, it seems somewhat odd that you should label as "far right" my contention that the world is coloured in shades of grey while others see things as black and white. Next time you look in the mirror don't be surprised to see Big Brother staring back.

      In regard to Climate Science on The Conversation, when the editors get beyond publishing Stephen Lewandowsky's conspiracy theories and Andrew Gliksons' Hansen worship, there might be something of substance to discuss. Until then, like your unsubstantiated musings, it's all a load of hot air.

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  14. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Andrew Montford,

    In response to your query:

    1. Hansen et al. 2011 (see Figure 1) indicate a GHG radiative forcing rise of +3.2 Watt/m2 since 1750 consistent with IPCC (energy forcing table).

    2. For Charney's climate sensitivity of 3C per doubling of CO2 a rise in energy of +3.2 Watt/m2 translates to temperature rise of about 2.2 - 2.4C (1 degrees C ~ 3/4Watt/m2) according to Hansen et al. 2008: ... www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf.

    3. As stated the sulfur aerosol effect mitigates the ~2.2-2.4C rise by about -1.1C and ocean lag effects by approximately -0.3C, thereby the current reading of +0.8C rise in mean global T since the early 20th century..

    The real temperature rise is thus 2.2-2.4C although transiently masked by the sulfur effect (few years atmospheric residence time).

    This is more than 4 times the Medieval Warming T rise of ~0.5C.

    For further detail see Hansen et al 2011 www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/.../20110826_EnergyImbalancePaper.pdf

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    1. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Andrew Glikson, it would be easier to follow the conversation if you used the "reply" option rather than creating a new comment.

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    2. Andrew Montford

      Blogger

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      OK, thanks, I see now. When you said

      "An example is the exaggeration of the Medieval Warm Period, which reached less than 25% of 21st century warming."

      you actually meant that the MWP reached less than the temperature rise we believe we would have had were it not for other mitigating factors. I know you refer to this larger temperature increase as the "real temperature rise", but I think you use "real" in a different sense to its common usage.

      Either way, I think you should have made this clear to your readers.

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    3. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Andrew Montford

      I guess Dr Glikson is just participating in one of the following:

      -attempts to alter reality (“2 + 2 = 5 if the party says so”)
      -elimination of history (“He who controls the past, controls the future”)
      -rewriting collective memory (“Oceania is at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia”)
      -The corruption of logic through aleration and elimination of language “Newspeak”
      -mind control (“thought crime”).

      Instructions to Smith:The Con 23.09.2011 Medieval melt malquoted doubleplusungood rectify

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    4. Andrew Glikson

      Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

      In reply to Andrew Montford

      Andrew Monford,

      If the injection of the already existing SO2 aerosols into the atmosphere was conducted in a deliberate attempt to shield the surface from solar radiation, as contemplated by geo-engineering ideas, it would be easier to understand that in fact temperatures have risen by +2.2C but are mitigated by SO2 aerosols to the extent of -1.1C.

      As it happens the injection of aerosols from industry have not been intended as a geo-engineering effect.

      But the result is the same:

      1. Carbon pollution…

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    5. Mark Gray

      Remote Sensing Physicist

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      The northern hemisphere is mostly land, the southern hemisphere is mostly water. Even with an identical constant warming forcing to both hemispheres you can expect them to warm differently. Heat redistribution is quite different for a water surface as opposed to a land surface.

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    1. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Piekle does have an update of the Willis ocean heat content data (http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/where-is-the-missing-argo-upper-ocean-heat-data/) which shows some heating, although not as much as the some model predictions.

      Also, Piekle's Physics Today article does conclude with the following

      "There is a need to minimize the human disturbance of the climate by limiting the amount of CO2 that is emitted into the atmosphere by human activities, but the diversity of human climate forcings should not be ignored. "

      Finally, it should be noted that ocean heat content is a matter of ongoing research, and some find higher estimates of increasing heat content of the ocean (e.g., http://www.skepticalscience.com/Ocean-Cooling-Corrected-Again.html and references therein).

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    2. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Replace the words "minimize" and "limiting", with "reduce" and "reducing", and I am pretty much in agreement with Roger on this point.

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    3. Ken Fabian

      Mr

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      After a look at http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ I find it very odd that this could be interpreted as cooling, especially if the dominant natural phenomena affecting the year to year heat content of the upper oceans - ENSO - is taken into consideration. Now, should it have dropped to 2002 levels that would be sign of a true plateau and should it have dropped below that it might be referred to as cooling.

      Far from being 'cooling', this failure of la Nina conditions to dump even the…

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  15. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Ocean heat budget

    A. The ocean heat content anomaly increased by about 15x10^22 joules from 1950 to 2010 http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page4.php

    B. The heat storage plot for 1998 - 2005 shows a decline, while sea levels continue to rise. This is explained in terms of an influx of cold ice melt water, as follows: "A large pulse of melt water from glaciers and ice sheets might account for a rise in sea level even as the ocean cooled and contracted." (Josh Willis, (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/page2.php

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  16. John McLean

    logged in via email @connexus.net.au

    My first reaction to this opinion piece was that it was satire. Who could ever endorse the IPCC's findings, which were merely the product of a close-knit group of self-interested climate modellers?

    The more I read of this article the more fanciful I found it.

    Let's take the supposed "realities"

    1 - We don't have any accurate idea of temperatures in pre-industrial times. The exact date is curiously absent but it hardly matters because global coverage was poor until at lest 1950, so even the claimed…

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John McLean

      On the subject of fanciful John, can I remind you about your claim that

      "It is likely that 2011 will be the coolest year since 1956"

      made in a press release here
      http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=7349

      Compare that with NOAA's state of the climate report.
      "For January–August 2011, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature of 14.51°C (58.22°F) was the 11th warmest January–August period on record. This value is 0.51°C (0.92°F) above the 20th century average."

      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

      Compared to your crank claim, the IPCC are doing rather well. Not surprising as is explained in the preface

      "The [IPCC] AR4 is a remarkable achievement involving more than 500 Lead Authors and 2000 Expert Reviewers, building on the work of a wide scientific community and submitted to the scrutiny of delegates from more than one hundred participating
      nations."

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    2. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to John McLean

      “This website features many decent article. Sadly almost all on climate seem to be more about advocacy and models than about real world observations.”

      John McLean – “Real world observations” of how humans impact on the planet include the atmospheric brown clouds and their irrefutable anthropogenic connections to emissions of sulfate, nitrate, hundreds of organics, black carbon, soil dust, fly ash and other aerosols.

      The widespread pollution of the brown cloud discovered some years ago that hovers…

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  17. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    A comment was made by Michael Kottek regarding clouds, as follows:

    "The points 1 & 2 about clouds don't seem to be very instructive to me. All you talk about is water vapour, not clouds and albedo: do they matter or not, can they be modelled adequately? I would like to know, because from what I read the IPCC says we don't know much at all about some rather important parameters. But apparently, I should swallow a few red herrings and get on board with the program."

    My response

    1. Close relations…

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    1. Michael Kottek

      Greyhound Trainer

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      Point 1 in your reply is hardly surprising.

      I am not sure that because areas have low cloud cover that changes aren't important, although I agree that changes in land/sea albedo may dominate. But it seems to me that given the polar regions interact more with the sun (not often we get the aurora australis on the mainland is it) small secular changes could accumulate. Time will of course tell.

      My greater concern is that the IPCC describes the level of scientific understanding as low or very low…

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  18. Felix MacNeill

    Environmental Manager

    It's become manifest by now that once Hendrickx, Mclean and Montford turn up (which is roughly as predictable as the sunrise) any chance of having an intelligent discussion uncluttered by abuse and endless repetition of long-ago rebutted nonsense becomes almost impossible in practice.

    And I notice they've now managed to recruit some people to click on the constructive/unconstructive buttons.

    As I, like all the reputable scientists and science academies who broadly agree that anthropogenic climate change is real, are obviously mind-controlled and controlling fascists (but obviously too incompetent to work out how to silence a tiny clique like the above-mentioned, despite our world dominating and all-powerful conspiracies) we really have nothing to lose any more. so here's the suggestion: SIMPLY IGNORE THEM, at all times and under all circumstances.

    There's no point left in doing anything else.

    Please feel free to submit the abuse now, lads...

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    1. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

      -Gandhi

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  19. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Ken Fabian comments:

    "After a look at http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ I find it very odd that this could be interpreted as cooling, especially if the dominant natural phenomena affecting the year to year heat content of the upper oceans - ENSO - is taken into consideration. Now, should it have dropped to 2002 levels that would be sign of a true plateau and should it have dropped below that it might be referred to as cooling. Far from being 'cooling', this failure of la Nina conditions…

    Read more
  20. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    Deep Oceans Can Mask Global Warming for Decade-Long Periods
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110918144941.htm

    Continued ...

    "A pattern like La Niña

    The simulations also indicated that the oceanic warming during hiatus periods has a regional signature. During a hiatus, average sea-surface temperatures decrease across the tropical Pacific, while they tend to increase at higher latitudes, especially around 30°S and 30°N in the Pacific and between 35°N and 40°N in the Atlantic, where…

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  21. P.F. Henshaw

    logged in via Twitter

    I'm not sure my comments will we well received by either side here. I collect "troubling insights" into the confusion caused by our not changing cultural assumptions as we changed from being a small to big force on the earth, a number of them on Twitter.

    I am also scientist enough to trust the answers scientists arrive at,... for the questions they ask. I just strongly object to the questions they seem to religiously avoid asking. It's a most basic principle of relationships that small…

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    1. Ken Fabian

      Mr

      In reply to P.F. Henshaw

      I think that a big part of the problem is drastic cut backs on our use of resources are simply not politically acceptable and those advocating them have no great influence. At a fundamental level the problems remain intractable, however trading high emissions technologies for lower emissions ones, even at considerable cost in resources, is not an unreasonable position to take and hardly deserves to be characterised as crazier than simply carrying on with unrestrained growth of the use of fossil fuels…

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    2. P.F. Henshaw

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ken Fabian

      Well, here's the "Orwellian" aspect of this whole discussion, plane and simple. It does *sound* very reasonable to say "trading high emissions technologies for lower emissions ones, even at considerable cost in resources, is not an unreasonable position".

      The problem is leaving out what everyone seems bent on leaving out, the phrase "ever multiplying", inserted before "high emissions technologies" and before "lower emissions technologies". Impact reduction has been part of the very steady diet…

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  22. Roger Simpson

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Mr Henshaw writes;
    "The curiosity about such grand misconceptions being interlaced with the best science on the planet is that there's evidently something wrong with science that it doesn't ask these questions."

    Does this mean we need a deeper ecological discussion rather than operating through the anthropocentric paradigm which dictates that research is driven towards human utility? It seems that we draw conclusions with a mindset of how we want things to be rather than how things are?

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    1. P.F. Henshaw

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Roger Simpson

      Roger, I would agree, that one of the traps science seems to have fallen into is describing nature in a language of what controls what in nature, using the information available to us. Breaking from that tradition is indeed helped by studying ecologies that are essentially uncontrolled systems.

      My approach is generally to include ecologies in the naturally occurring systems that are self-controlled, and take care of themselves. That pushes you to consider them as exploring their environments…

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