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Climate change is real: an open letter from the scientific community

Today, The Conversation launches a two-week series from the nation’s top minds on the science behind climate change and the efforts of “sceptics” to cloud the debate. The overwhelming scientific evidence…

It’s undeniable: our planet is changing. NASA

Today, The Conversation launches a two-week series from the nation’s top minds on the science behind climate change and the efforts of “sceptics” to cloud the debate.

The overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that human greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in climate changes that cannot be explained by natural causes.

Climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is happening right now.

Like it or not, humanity is facing a problem that is unparalleled in its scale and complexity. The magnitude of the problem was given a chilling focus in the most recent report of the International Energy Agency, which their chief economist characterised as the “worst news on emissions.”

Limiting global warming to 2°C is now beginning to look like a nearly insurmountable challenge.

Like all great challenges, climate change has brought out the best and the worst in people.

A vast number of scientists, engineers, and visionary businesspeople are boldly designing a future that is based on low-impact energy pathways and living within safe planetary boundaries; a future in which substantial health gains can be achieved by eliminating fossil-fuel pollution; and a future in which we strive to hand over a liveable planet to posterity.

At the other extreme, understandable economic insecurity and fear of radical change have been exploited by ideologues and vested interests to whip up ill-informed, populist rage, and climate scientists have become the punching bag of shock jocks and tabloid scribes.

Aided by a pervasive media culture that often considers peer-reviewed scientific evidence to be in need of “balance” by internet bloggers, this has enabled so-called “sceptics” to find a captive audience while largely escaping scrutiny.

Australians have been exposed to a phony public debate which is not remotely reflected in the scientific literature and community of experts.

Beginning today, The Conversation will bring much-needed and long-overdue accountability to the climate “sceptics.”

For the next two weeks, our series of daily analyses will show how they can side-step the scientific literature and how they subvert normal peer review. They invariably ignore clear refutations of their arguments and continue to promote demonstrably false critiques.

We will show that “sceptics” often show little regard for truth and the critical procedures of the ethical conduct of science on which real skepticism is based.

The individuals who deny the balance of scientific evidence on climate change will impose a heavy future burden on Australians if their unsupported opinions are given undue credence.

The signatories below jointly authored this article, and some may also contribute to the forthcoming series of analyses.

Signatories

Winthrop Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Australian Professorial Fellow, UWA

Dr. Matthew Hipsey, Research Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, Centre of Excellence for Ecohydrology, UWA

Dr Julie Trotter, Research Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, UWA Oceans Institute, UWA

Winthrop Professor Malcolm McCulloch, F.R.S., Premier’s Research Fellow, UWA Oceans Institute, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

Professor Kevin Judd, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA

Dr Thomas Stemler, Assistant Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA

Dr. Karl-Heinz Wyrwoll, Senior Lecturer, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

Dr. Andrew Glikson, Earth and paleoclimate scientist, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research School of Earth Science, Planetary Science Institute, ANU

Prof Michael Ashley, School of Physics, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Prof David Karoly, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

Prof John Abraham, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas

Prof Ian Enting, ARC Centre for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems, University of Melbourne

Prof John Wiseman, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Ben Newell, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Prof Matthew England, co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Dr Alex Sen Gupta Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

Prof. Mike Archer AM, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Prof Steven Sherwood, co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Dr. Katrin Meissner, ARC Future Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Dr Jason Evans, ARC Australian Research Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Institute, UQ

Dr Andy Hogg, Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

Prof John Quiggin, School of Economics, School of Political Science & Intnl Studies, UQ

Prof Chris Turney FRSA FGS FRGS, Climate Change Research Centre and School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW

Dr Gab Abramowitz, Lecturer, Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW

Prof Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Prof Barry Brook, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change, University of Adelaide

Prof Mike Sandiford, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

Dr Michael Box, Associate Professor, School of Physics, Faculty of Science, UNSW

Prof Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling, The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide

Dr Paul Dargusch, School of Agriculture & Food Science, UQ

Prof Nigel Tapper, Professor Environmental Science, School of Geography and Environmental Science Monash University

Prof Jason Beringer, Associate Professor & Deputy Dean of Research, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

Prof Neville Nicholls, Professorial Fellow, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

Prof Dave Griggs, Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University

Prof Peter Sly, Medicine Faculty, School of Paediatrics & Child Health, UQ

Dr Pauline Grierson, Senior Lecturer, School of Plant Biology, Ecosystems Research Group, Director of West Australian Biogeochemistry Centre, UWA

Prof Jurg Keller, IWA Fellow, Advanced Water Management Centre, UQ

Prof Amanda Lynch, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

A/Prof Steve Siems, School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Prof Justin Brookes, Director, Water Research Centre, The University of Adelaide

Prof Glenn Albrecht, Professor of Sustainability, Director: Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP), Murdoch University

Winthrop Professor Steven Smith, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, UWA

Dr Kerrie Unsworth, School of Business, UWA

Dr Pieter Poot, Assistant Professor in Plant Conservation Biology, School of Plant Biology, UWA

Adam McHugh, Lecturer, School of Engineering and Energy, Murdoch University

Dr Louise Bruce, Research Associate, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

Dr Ailie Gallant, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

Dr Will J Grant, Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science, ANU

Rick A. Baartman, Fellow of the American Physical Society

William GC Raper, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO (retired)

Dr Chris Riedy, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney

Ben McNeil, Senior Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW

Paul Beckwith, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa

Tim Leslie, PhD candidate, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW

Dr Peter Manins, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research (post-retirement Fellow)

Prof Philip Jennings, Professor of Energy Studies, Murdoch University

Dr John Tibby, Senior Lecturer, Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide

Prof Ray Wills, Adjunct Professor, School of Earth and Environment, UWA

Jess Robertson, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

Dr Paul Tregoning, Senior Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

Dr Doone Wyborn, Adjunct Professor, Geothermal Centre of Excellence, University of Queensland

Dr. Jonathan Whale, Director, National Small Wind Turbine Centre (NSWTC), Murdoch University

Dr Tas van Ommen, Australian Antarctic Division, Cryosphere Program Leader, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC

Dr Jim Salinger, Honorary Research Associate, School of Environment, University of Auckland

Dr P. Timon McPhearson, Assistant Professor of Urban Ecology, Tishman Environment and Design Center, The New School, New York

Prof Deo Prasad, Director Masters in Sustainable Development, UNSW

Prof Rob Harcourt, Facility Leader, Australian Animal Tagging, Monitoring System Integrated Marine Observing System and Professor of Marine Ecology, Macquarie University

Dr John Hunter, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC, University of Tasmania

Dr Michael Brown, ARC Future Fellow & Senior Lecturer, School of Physics, Monash University

Dr Karen McNamara, Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, University of the South Pacific

Dr Paul Marshall, Director - Climate Change, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Dr Ivan Haigh, Post-doctoral Research Associate, UWA Oceans Institute and School of Environmental Systems Engineering

Dr Ian Allison, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC

Dr Jennifer Coopersmith, Honorary Research Associate Department of Civil Engineering and Physical Sciences, La Trobe University

Professor Emeritus Peter Kershaw, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University

Professor Peter Gell, Director, Centre for Environmental Management, University of Ballarat

Prof David A Hood, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology

Professor Lesley Hughes, Head of Biological Sciences and Co-director of Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

Dr Melanie Bishop, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

Dr Jane Williamson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

Associate Professor Grant Wardell-Johnson, Director of the Curtin Institute of Biodiversity and Climate, Curtin University

Associate Professor Ralph Chapman, Director, Graduate Programme in Environmental Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Malcolm Walter, Director, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, University of New South Wales

Dr Darrell Kemp, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, and Co-leader of Terrestrial Adaptation Research, Climate Futures at Macquarie, Macquarie University

Dr Liz Hanna, Fellow, National Center for Epidemiology & Population Health, ANU

Dr. Patrick J. Conaghan, Honorary Associate, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Macquarie University.

Are you in the science field? Do you agree? If you’d like to add your name to the list, send an email to environment@theconversation.edu.au

This is the first part of our series Clearing up the Climate Debate. To read the other instalments, follow the links below:

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224 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Dean Moriarty

    logged in via Twitter

    Excellent news. Also, as part of the focus, can you explain why there are wildly different "predictions" as to the effects from climate scientists?

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    1. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Dean Moriarty

      A comparison of several climate models is provided at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/04/model-data-comparison-lesson-2/.

      Some of the variation in the models is due to different assumptions about how global carbon dioxide levels will increase with time. For examples of this, see Figure 3.2 of the IPCC 2007 Synthesis Report, which is freely available online.

      It should be noted that the variation in the models is not nearly as large as one would imagine given much of the reporting on climate change.

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    2. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      The real world is following scenario "Year 2000 constant concentrations" from figure 3.2 of AR4 from IPCC 2007 so far or maybe slightly cooler than that. That tells us that something may be missing from the models or assumptions may need to be calibrated better. Warming will have to drastically kick in to get us to the scenario B1 and if it does I will be willing to admit that I was wrong but to me it seems like the models are broken. Lets fix/improve them by looking for other possible explanations for the gradually larger error.

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    3. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Dean Moriarty

      FINALLY some reasonable progress on Climate Change.
      First we have the Wood/Nahle experiments that show that theClimate change Greenhouse Effect does NOT EXIST (http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=8073&linkbox=true&position=3)

      Second we have the Doug Cotton thermodynamic explanation at http://earth-climate.com that preventing convection in the real greenhouse or Nahle's box & the actual transmission of heat by convection in the atmosphere is the real reason that warming happens and the climate…

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    4. Barrie Collins

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Dodds

      CASE CLOSED Hooray!
      That means we won't have to read any more of your c**p John.

      Your last paragraph marks you as an apologist for the fossil fuel lobby, how much are they paying you John?

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    5. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Barrie Collins

      Yes Barrie. Don't I wish! (hint hint to coal gas & oil companies!).
      Barrie you obviously do not get the implication of the the fact that the Greenhouse Effect DOES NOT EXIST.
      It means the IPCC projections are not valid. My (& others) estimates of 20 more years of cooling followed by 30 years of warming in the Jupiter induced 60 year cycle (1880, 1940, 1998, 2058) etc are closer.- see paper "Gravity causes Climate change" at wwww.scribd.com or on http://earth-climate.com
      It means more CO2 doesn't…

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  2. David Thompson

    logged in via Facebook

    Why is CSIRO not included in this list? They should at least be on the signatories.

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    1. Megan Clement

      Deputy Editor, Politics + Society at The Conversation

      In reply to David Thompson

      Hi David,

      We have an article from CSIRO coming tomorrow. Hope you enjoy it!

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    2. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Megan Clement

      Megan, a nice forum.
      Having the notification emails include the URL of the appropriate section is a great improvement.
      .Could you improve it more by having the blog program time (& date) stamp the entries. This way replies can refernence a unique item & they might be easier to find.

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    3. Megan Clement

      Deputy Editor, Politics + Society at The Conversation

      In reply to John Dodds

      Thanks for your comment, John. I'll pass your suggestion on to our development team.

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  3. Ian F. Wilkinson

    Professor of Marketing at University of Sydney

    Why are there no scientists from my uni - Sydney on the list of authors? Done we do anything related to the enormous issue confronting the planet?

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  4. Peter Miller

    Digital Artist/Sound Designer/Composer at Scribbletronics

    Long overdue. Looking forward to some intelligent discussion on this issue (for a change).

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    1. Troy Barry

      Mechanical Engineer

      In reply to Peter Miller

      I'm not sure paragraphs like this:

      "At the other extreme, understandable economic insecurity and fear of radical change have been exploited by ideologues and vested interests to whip up ill-informed, populist rage, and climate scientists have become the punching bag of shock jocks and tabloid scribes."

      are a good starting point for intelligent discussion. One, it is predicated on the idea of a dichotomous argument, us versus them, which reflects the political situation but not the scientific…

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Troy Barry

      Troy, can you please explain to me how you can correct lies with truth without confronting a dichotomy?
      What WOULD you suggest should be done instead?

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    3. Troy Barry

      Mechanical Engineer

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      For a start, stop the "correct lies with truth" nonsense, as if that had any meaning in this context. Take off the gloves, put down the megaphone and reason with people, not at people. And open your mind to the possibility that there are reasonable people on the other "side". If it's a discussion, you should spend half your time listening.

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    4. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Troy Barry

      Given this is an argument about theories that can be verified via observation, this indeed is an argument that will be won or lost, not merely a matter of opinion. The question is when this will happen and what damage (i.e., environment, economic) may be done in the meantime.

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    5. Troy Barry

      Mechanical Engineer

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Read the fourth-last paragraph of the letter, and explain how we can win this argument. If the metaphor can be permitted, you won't defeat the Taliban by sending more tanks to Afghanistan.

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Troy Barry

      I agree the current political debate may go either way. The arguments of those proposing action on climate change may fail politically, despite their basis in hard evidence and basic science.

      New tactics should certainly be used to attempt to win a debate that is increasingly emotional and rhetorical rather than factual. (In other words, we shouldn't just send more metaphorical "tanks".)

      That all said, the outcome of the current political stoush won't change whether climate change is real or not. The predicted changes for the coming decades are very significant. If they come to pass, few will be able to pretend that nothing has changed (it would be like denying plate tectonics).

      I worry that the debate may follow the same path as debates on tobacco and asbestos, where the time taken and price paid were far larger than they should have been.

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    7. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Troy Barry

      What if your "scientific " arguments are wrong?
      For example- the analysis by Arrhenius (1896) and Hansen/NASA-GISS & CRU all assume that energy from the sun is the SOLE source of warming energy. Why do they not consider energy from GRAVITY? Doesn't the moon contribute energy by causing tides and tidal energy?- see the paper "Gravity causes climate change" at www.scribd.com for more details and an alternate scientific explanation.
      Example 2: Arrhenius basically said "More GHGs means more warming…

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    8. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Matthew Hipsey

      It is self published. Does that make it any less valid? Argue the science, not the source. it? No one else would publish it because it is so out of the ordinary. BUT it makes sense to me.
      If you want to talk about peer review, go ask Arrhenius if his 1896 paper was peer reviewed? How can a paper that claims that the temperature is proportinal to the GHG or CO2 concentration when every night it gets colder while the CO2 concentration goes up in direct contradiction to his finding. Daily common sense…

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    9. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Dodds

      To be blunt, the "paper" discussed in this thread is not science, for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, it does not contain a calculation of how much energy input results from the tides. It does not apply the relevant physics correctly (if at all) and is an example of the multitude of fringe theories that abound online. The fact that it is not written by a scientist is irrelevant.

      Tidal forces do cause significant heating on Jupiter's moon Io. But Io is a small moon located right next to the giant planet Jupiter, whose mass is 25,000 times that of our Moon.

      Measurements of the amount of energy radiated by the Earth are extremely close to measurements of the amount of energy received by the Earth from the Sun. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_energy_budget provides a reasonable introduction to the Earth's energy budget.

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    10. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Troy Barry

      I've been watching this 'debate' for several years now and all I've heard is the same old arguments repeated over and over and being patiently listened to and refuted, over and over. Your "side" as you put it, has been listened to politely for years and failed to produce anything of substance to challenge the fundamental evidence for anthropogenic climate change. How much more reasoning is required before everybody can fairly say that you've had your say, you've had your chance to put forward your…

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    11. Protista Amoeba

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Dodds

      John Dodds,
      If Climate change were caused by gravity, why did GRAVITY wait 4.6 billion years and only start making itself noticed, at the exact same time as CO2 was accumulating in the atmosphere during a time when the Sun was hot? [As opposed to the Ordovician, when the Sun was cool]

      Do you have any evidence for a virtual exponential increase in gravity? Or Doesn't it work like that? Because I certainly haven't noticed it and I suspect neither have the SI people.

      BTW, which ISI WoS Journal was it published in? :)

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    12. Roger Young

      Retired Geoscientist

      In reply to Matthew Hipsey

      Matthew, some of the greatest advances in science (in my field anyway) were made by enthusiastic amateurs (James Hutton, William Smith, Gideon Mantell, and we must not forget the eager fossil collector Mary Anning etc) who self published their findings, results and conclusions. No need to invoke a "Freedom of Information Act" in those past days. As we have read in the press today there does appear a real effort to curtail publication by the researchers not following the "established and conformist" mantra.

      In regards to the hypothesis that CO2 is the main driver of climate change, the geological record disproves this concept as well as the recent historical records of the climate. In the last 20 years research (empirical data, not models) has failed to isolate and define the human signature in the climate, if it exists, after spending well in excess of US $90 billion worldwide.

      Time to move on and use future research funds on more fruitful ventures for the benefit of mankind.

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    13. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      It is nice of you to even admit that tidal energy does come from the moon. IIn the www.acribd.com paper Wobble Theory there is a graph figure 4a of the relative magnitudes of the energy from each of the planets. Obviosly the sun is highest, and it cycles once a year based on our Earth eccentricity The moon is next and it also cycles yearly due to the moons orbit, Next comes Jupiter and Saturn which have a 12 year (jupiter orbit) and a 60 year and a 1000 year resonance orbit. These energy variations…

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    14. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to John Dodds

      By misquoting my statement, ignoring my conclusions and using a web forum as an original reference, you are reinforcing my original statement that your contributions to this forum are "not science".

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    15. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Protista Amoeba

      I said climate change is caused by a change in the amount of ENERGY coming into the Earth. Part is from the sun as solar insolation, part is from Gravity, where the Moon's cause of tidal energy is just one example, and part is by the storage and returnof Potential Energy. The IPCC analysis completely ignores gravity and potential energy. The computer programs are designed to use Soalr insolation as teh SOLE source of energy. They ignore teh smaller gravity etc and in doing so miss teh energy change…

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    16. Douglas Cotton

      B.Sc.(Physics), B.A.(Econ), Dip.Bus.Admin

      In reply to John Dodds

      Attention: John Dodds

      (personal),

      John, I wholeheartedly agree with your Wobble Theory. It should be called the New Theory on Climate Change, for it will eventually replace the debunked Old Theory.

      As you may have gathered I have set up a website http://earth-climate.com reviewing your theory in hopefully an easily understood form for the general public. I am also communicating with many politicians about it.

      I would appreciate your comments thereon via my email which is on the site. Let's work together on this!

      Congratulations!

      Doug

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  5. Dan Cass

    Lobbyist for the forces of good at Dan Cass & Co

    Excellent! Thank you.

    And now lets await the flood of conspiracy theorists, haters, ranters and other climate skeptics.... ;-)

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  6. Eliza Jayne Bagley

    concerned citizen

    I do hope this series of articles will address the concerns of people like me who have no trouble accepting that we occupy a living planet and our climate is changing.

    To me it seems that most of the predicted problems are socio-political in nature - too many humans living in the wrong places and not able to utilise traditional methods of escaping from flood, famine, eartquake etc.

    We need people who can help us develop solutions for living with the changes.

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  7. Ken Sekiya

    logged in via Twitter

    I've forwarded this for circulation around my past university

    If you have time, or find a good article - feel free to post it up on twitter - #auspol #climate or on Facebook - Say Yes Australia

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  8. Natsumi AKA Suki

    logged in via Twitter

    Proud to see professors from University of Adelaide on there.

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  9. Lou McGregor

    Online Communications Manager

    Great stuff - only disappointed that you elevate the naysayers to the lofty heights of 'skeptic'. They are 'deniers'.

    Genuine skeptics consider all the evidence in their search for the truth. Deniers, on the other hand, refuse to accept any evidence that conflicts with their pre-determined views. Please update your letter accordingly :)

    Oh, and you may want to update this sentence too! I'm sure you can figure out why...

    "A vast number of scientists, engineers, and visionary businessmen are boldly designing a future..."

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  10. Jack Williams

    logged in via Facebook

    Excellent news. Keep up the very good work !!

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  11. Barry Powell

    Retired physics teacher

    Well done!
    This topic has interested me since my early university days in Tasmania. We can think of the sequestering of carbon by natural processes and our burning of fossil fuels as a bank. Withdrawals are many orders of magnitude greater than deposits. Six might not be an exaggeration.
    Who would imagine that was sustainable?
    Only the deniers.

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  12. Marc Hendrickx

    Geologist

    So will there be articles by Prof. Bob Carter, Dr Stewart Franks, Prof Demetris Koutsoyiannis, Prof Roger Pielke Snr or Prof. Richard Lindzen, Bjorn Lomborg, Steve McIntyre or will this particular conversation be a one sided affair?

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    1. Megan Clement

      Deputy Editor, Politics + Society at The Conversation

      In reply to Marc Hendrickx

      Hi Marc,

      Those academics are welcome to write for us in their areas of expertise.

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    2. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Megan Clement

      If you want their contact details I'm happy to pass them on. They have expertise in various aspects of climate science.
      Pity if we only get to hear from one side.

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  13. James Szabadics

    BSc

    Climate change is real - I'd sign up to that!
    Its here now - I'd sign up to that in a flash!

    We Cause it - Well we DO contribute to it but exactly how much is very difficult to say. On balance I dont think the evidence is good enough to support signing up to the theory that humans are primarily responsible for the observed climate changes since 1880. CO2 is a known GHG but there are serious doubts about the theory of positive feedback in the climate system - you would have to suspect other forces…

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  14. Ronald Ripple

    Professor and Director, Centre for Research in Energy and Minerals Economics at Curtin University

    How have the "scientists" for this discussion been selected? I am curious to know how many of the “scientists” listed actually do direct research in what drives climate on our planet, versus those who simply have an opinion. Reading down the list, the vast majority of the positions listed will not be directly engaged in the study and research of the fundamental drivers of climate, so why are they listed as “scientists” who can enlighten us? This question sprang to mind as soon as I saw a psychologist listed as one of the scientists. I have nothing against psychology or psychologists (some of my best friends are psychologists), but what does the opinion of someone whose research focuses on how people make decisions have to do with getting at the truth of the role of humans in ongoing climate change?

    Maybe this is where The Conversation is injecting some humour in the “discussion”. Do I win a prize for being the first to spot the outlier?

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    1. Megan Clement

      Deputy Editor, Politics + Society at The Conversation

      In reply to Ronald Ripple

      Hi Ronald,

      A large part of this series will be devoted to scepticism and denial, which are psychological phenomena. Psychology has an important place in understanding our responses to climate change as well as behavioural change and other policy areas.

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    2. Ronald Ripple

      Professor and Director, Centre for Research in Energy and Minerals Economics at Curtin University

      In reply to Megan Clement

      However, this does not help us understand whether or not the "science" is over or if the "science" we read in the media is correct. Instead, this presumes that sceptics and "deniers" are obviously wrong, and we need a psychologist to explain to us why that is.

      As noted above in earlier comments, this really does not lay an inviting foundation for a open and even-handed discussion. Your lead-in says that we will hear from the "top minds on the science behind climate change", and the opinion of a psychologist or any of the others listed who do not engage in the research (no matter how learned) will not enlightened us at all about what is "behind" the science.

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    3. Peter Sawyer

      human

      In reply to Ronald Ripple

      Ronald, you are missing the point:

      "A large part of this series will be devoted to scepticism and denial, which are psychological phenomena".

      Obviously then, any contrary view, no matter how well-founded, or supported by evidence or observable fact, is a sign of "mental illness".

      Welcome to the New Dark Ages.
      Now, where are those witches that need burning?

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    4. Stephan Lewandowsky

      Chair of Cognitive Psychology at University of Bristol

      In reply to Ronald Ripple

      As Megan stated, the piece very clearly indicates that it is time for accountability of individuals who like to call themselves "skeptics" but do not in fact practice skepticism. Cognitive science plays an active and crucial role in differentiating true skepticism from other psychological states. Given the overwhelming consensus among practicing climate scientists about the basic facts that the global climate is changing due to human activities, which anyone with access to the peer-reviewed literature can ascertain for themselves, there is a very clear role for social scientists to examine why some people resist this information and instead seek to create a phony "debate." (The answers are--where else--in the peer-reviewed literature; see e.g., Heath & Gifford, Environment and Behavior, 2006, 38, 48-71; or some of my own work on skepticism available at www.cogsciwa.com).

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    5. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Stephan Lewandowsky

      The overwhelming concensus among scientists in the 70s was that the dinosaurs died out over millions of years. Then a geologist called Alvarez decided to look closely at the thin clay layer in the Cretaceous to Tertiary boundary. As luck would have it the geologists dad was a Nobel prize winning nuclear physicist who had a mate at the Berkeley Lab and they decided the best way to tell how long it took the layer to form was to measure the amount of irridum in the sample and compare it to the rate…

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to James Szabadics

      There are distinct differences between the 1970s theories of dinosaur extinction and current theories on climate change.

      Theories of dinosaur extinction attempt to describe the fragments of evidence left over from 65 million years ago. In contrast, we have wealth of data on the current climate and can make many new measurements to verify the predictions of theories and models.

      Alvarez's theory of dinosaur extinction quickly replaced previous theories, as his theory better described the observations…

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    7. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      All I am illustrating is that just because the theory is supported by concensus among a group of specialists does not mean it is infallible. When we make policy we need to have a high level of certainty. There is certainty that change is occuring, There is certainty that CO2 contributes to warming as a GHG. There is not certainty about positive feedback. If the science around climate was full of certainty our models would be infallible in their predictions.

      Sea level rise has slowed dramatically over the last 5 years and ocean heat content has stalled. Temperature trend for the decade ending 2010 was very flat. Elplanations for this are not coming from the models. In time I am sure they will but given recent changes in rates of change of these indicators I have become MORE sceptical that our models arre right.

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    8. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Stephan Lewandowsky

      I agree with Michael Brown the Alvarez finding was an piece of new science that turned the old science upside down. BUT that still does NOT prove that because the sun does NOT explain the stratospher/troposphere opposite temperature direction that more GHGs has caused it. Something has no doubt . What about the fact that the magnetic field has been reducing for 20,000 years with the Earths eccentricity and with a smaller mag field you get fewer photons impacting the ions in the stratosphere (& causing…

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    9. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to James Szabadics

      While consensus view of any group of professionals is fallible, should one be making policy decisions on the assumption that expert advice is completely wrong?

      Regarding trends over the past five years, trends of global warming are expected to be seen (and are seen) over decades rather than from year-to-year. Year-to-year variations are very much expected.

      The theoretical aspects of feedback are an area of some uncertainty, but it is very clear (from the data) that feedback does not completely mitigate the increase in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases. As a consequence, one should not delay policy decisions for years while waiting for the problems of modelling feedback to be resolved.

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    10. Peter Miller

      Digital Artist/Sound Designer/Composer at Scribbletronics

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      And (excuse me if I'm not as scientifically literate as most of you) wouldn't the commonsense approach when dealing with something so, um, important, be to err on the side of caution? Unless there is a greater detriment for not doing so, wouldn't the wisest option be to consider the worst case scenario and take that as a yardstick? It's not like we're just playing cards or something.

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    11. Ronald Ripple

      Professor and Director, Centre for Research in Energy and Minerals Economics at Curtin University

      In reply to Stephan Lewandowsky

      It must be extremely comforting for you Stephan to be in possession of The Truth—complete, total, inflexible, and CERTAIN. It clearly has led you to a very benevolent state whereby you can see the need to help the masses who have not yet seen your Light by supporting the provision of online psychoanalysis to assist them in their re-education process.

      The fact that you seem to choose to ignore the counter evidence published in peer-reviewed journals mostly leads me to wonder who the deniers are and who requires psychoanalysis.

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    12. David Karoly

      Professor of Atmospheric Science at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Ronald Ripple

      Ronald, your assessment of evidence on climate change science and impacts in the peer-reviewed literature appears to be quite different from the conclusions of the Australian Academy of Science, the US National Research Council and the UK Royal Society. While you might cherry-pick a very few peer-reviewed papers that support a different interpretation, they have almost always been shown to have clear flaws in analysis or interpretation. The vast body of peer-reviewed scientific evidence supports the conclusions in the 2nd paragraph of the Open Letter above.

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    13. Ronald Ripple

      Professor and Director, Centre for Research in Energy and Minerals Economics at Curtin University

      In reply to David Karoly

      David: Of course there have been no flaws found in any of the peer reviewed papers claiming to show definitive evidence of a link between temperature and CO2, right? Oh, wait a moment, there was that thing called the hockey stick that littered earlier IPCC documents and commentary on the causes of climate change that has now vanished from both. And it vanished due to the identification of extensive flaws in application of analytical tools to data and mishandling of data. If there is “cherry-picking” going on, it is certainly not one-sided! I would venture to guess that if it had not been for the hockey stick, which has now been discredited and discarded, we would not be where we are now in this debate.

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    14. Tim Burrows

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ronald Ripple

      Ronald: Just to clarify, I think what David is saying is: it's rare for a peer-reviewed paper disputing AGW to be proven right. You seem to be saying: it's rare for a peer-reviewed paper supporting AGW to be proven wrong. Does that sound right?

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    15. Marc Hendrickx

      Geologist

      In reply to Ronald Ripple

      David Karoly,
      Your own work is not without problems. There is Stewart Frank's criticism of your conclusions on the recent MDB drought where you have mixed cause and effect in regard to drought and temperature. There is also my own criticism of a paper you co-authored on changes in Butterfly emergence times that did not use emergence data, and then tried to characterise temperatures over a large portion of Victoria using a single weather station that has been affected by UHI. Very sloppy science…

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  15. Peter Sawyer

    human

    So climate change is real - WOW!!
    Who'd a thunk?

    What comes next from the "scientific community" - two weeks of lectures on "water is wet"?

    Has the "scientific community" found an isolated pocket of stone-age cave-dwellers who actually believe that climate DOESN'T change?

    Unless I missed something important along the way, the issue was, and is, and remains, CO2-induced Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CCAGW).

    Are we likely to see any actual real "evidence" of this? Or are we just going to play semantics?

    Again.

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  16. Keith Battye

    Mr.

    The debate, in my mind, is not about whether the climate is changing or not. I recognize that climate changes continually driven by a great number of things. My problem, and that of the majority of skeptics is the role of man made carbon dioxide in that change.

    If this debate can show that man made carbon dioxide is responsible and that it will cause the global climate to catastrophically warm then it will be worthwhile because so far that proof is absent.

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    1. Peter Evans

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Keith Battye

      Hi Keith,
      Have you thought about what you mean by "proof". In science, there is no such thing as proof, only theories to explain observations and make testable predictions. Theories can be disproved by some evidence that comes along contradicting the theory, and then the theory can be modified or rejected. There are plenty of testable theories to account for the way the earth's climate is changing, with a range of predictions going from pretty bad to really terrible. No evidence has come along to cause a wholesale rejection of these theories (be great if it did).

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    2. Peter Sawyer

      human

      In reply to Peter Evans

      Errh,

      How about - theory says CO2 goes up = temperature goes up (CCAGW "theory").

      Observable fact shows that CO2 goes up =
      temperature goes up,
      and down,
      and up,
      and down
      etc.

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    3. Keith Battye

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Evans

      Well thank you for that. Perhaps I should rephrase my point thus . . what is it about the absence of proof that makes it essential and immediate that we stop burning stuff?

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    4. Peter Sawyer

      human

      In reply to Keith Battye

      Nothing.

      You are doing Gaia a favour.
      The world is currently starving of CO2.
      If you actually care about the environment you'll be burning all the NATURAL carbon products that you can.

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    5. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      We know the earth is warming when we examine observational data but that does not satisfy the explanation of why it is warming and why it may vary from decade to decade. If you can explain the changes in decadal timescales then you will have to understand what is driving the changes and you will be able to better predict future change. If you cannot explain the decadal changes then you dont understand the causes and your explanation of the reason for the change is likely to not be founded on solid ground. Anybody can whack a trendline on a dataset and predict the future - that doesnt mean they understand why it is happening or why it varies. If they dont understand why it varies then do they really have a good model?

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to James Szabadics

      This hits upon a significant misconception in the climate change debate. Some assume that the warming trend was seen first, and then people shopped around for an explanation. Plotting one set of data against other random sets of data until one finds a trend is indeed foolish. But this is not what has happened.

      The ability of carbon dioxide to prevent the transmission of heat (infrared light) through the atmosphere has been known for many decades. The increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been measured since the 1960s (for example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth's_atmosphere). The increase in global temperatures was predicted from this basic science prior to the temperature increase being robustly observed.

      It is true that modelling the exact rise in temperatures is difficult, but this should not distract one from the fact that the underlying principles are based on simple and robust physics.

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    7. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      CO2 is a greenhouse gas. This has been known for a century and is not disputed. It will act as a warming force, this is not disputed. The physics of greenhouse gasses are not disputed.

      Theories of positive feedback are disputed, theories about forcings not yet accounted for in official models are disputed (Solar Geomagnetic/GCR), Accuracy of past climate proxies are disputed, validity of adjustment of the temperature records is disputed, influence of UHI on measurements is disputed.

      CO2 is…

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    8. Tim Burrows

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to James Szabadics

      James, why do you think that models assume all other warming forces are held constant?

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    9. Tim Burrows

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Sawyer

      Peter, what makes you say that the world is currently starving of CO2?

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    10. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to James Szabadics

      The climate change models do incorporate a large variety of heating mechanisms, various forms of feedback and propagate uncertainties (margins of error). This includes the tiny variability of the luminosity of the Sun. This is discussed in the IPCC 2007 Synthesis Report, which includes citations of the original references.

      Why is James Szabadics so keen to dismiss models that have a solid basis in physics, match a multitude of observations and incorporate uncertainties? Perhaps he disagrees with…

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    11. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael who said ANYTHING about Luminosity - TSI doesnt vary very much and is NOT responsible for the observed warming. You are obviously ignorant of the work of Dr Svensmark, Dr Uggerhøj, Dr Pedersen etc that links (in repeatable experiments) between incident high energy particles from space and cloud formation in the atmosphere. The link between high energy particles from space (Galactic Cosmic Rays) and Solar Geomagnetic activity is well known and has large variation but the link to cloud formation…

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    12. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Tim Burrows

      Hi Tim that a perfectly reasonable question but the premise is wrong - Because the medium term model projections are wide of the mark I assume that the values used in the model variables are wrong or incomplete - by deduction either the balance of the forcings is wrong, the magnitude of one or more forcings is wrong or some forcings are simply not accounted for.in the model. If the model had all the forcings in the right balance the medium term (5 to 10 year) projections of the model should correlate well with real world observation but it seems the models are overestimating warming. The IPCC AR4 2007 has a range of different projections based on different assumption scenarios and we seem to be closest to following the model projection based on an assumption of zero added anthropogenic CO2 since the year 2000 so something appears to be needing adjustment.

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    13. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to James Szabadics

      I must admit I do not keep abreast of every speculative theory. There is only so much time in the day. That all said, a quick search of the literature via NASA ADS does allow me to provide some comments.

      The claim that cosmic rays can effectively cloud seed is cute and worth exploring, but exceptionally controversial. It has not been consistently verified with real clouds, and some groups claim to see no evidence for a correlation between cosmic rays and cloud cover. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrik_Svensmark provides an introduction with links to original references.)

      Why are you so keen for this speculative theory to (largely) displace the more robust model? Increasing carbon dioxide will reduce the transmission of the atmosphere for infrared light, and result in heat being trapped in the lower atmosphere. If cosmic rays are a/the major factor driving climate change, why do models without them reproduce a plethora of observations of the Earth's climate?

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    14. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Why does a possible new forcing, be it small or large, have to dispace the existing models? Cant the existing models just be improved and ammended as new knowledge comes to hand? Models DO NOT produce observations. I'd call it model output or model projections but only the real world can produce observations. Good scientists who want to comment on something should keep abreast of new theories if they are interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding with something they may have missed previously.

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    15. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to James Szabadics

      In many fields of science, hundreds of papers appear each and every week. A good scientist cannot physically read them all, and thus cannot know each and every speculative theory.

      If someone wants to initiate a discussion on a theory that is not well known, then they should provide appropriate references from the start. That way everyone partaking in the discussion can read the relevant papers and assess their merits.

      Given the tone of the discussion on this site, I had incorrectly assumed that the GCR model was yet another website only theory. Once James finally provided author names, I looked up the papers and provided a reasonable assessment of their merits.

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  17. Peter Thomson

    logged in via Facebook

    Great to see this. Also great that the comments have not (so far) been flooded with the usual load of nonsense. For those, like Troy, who think that we need to have a debate, I would recommend 30 minutes of, say, Alan Jones or Andrew Bolt. Painful, but it will remove any lingering belief that these are honest minds weighing the evidence. Those who think the "proof is absent" may learn from the contributors. Peter above may be right that, in science there is no such thing as proof. There are, however, some conclusions which could only be overturned if pretty much everything we know about anything was wrong (ie - not likely to happen). The absorption properties of carbon dioxide, the vapour pressure of water and the thermodynamics of radiation are firmly in this class. There is plenty to argue about, but whether climate change is real is not one of them (just ask all those animals and vegetable that have shifted polewards). The real question for us lay people is what to do about it.

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    1. Troy Barry

      Mechanical Engineer

      In reply to Peter Thomson

      John Armstrong (http://theconversation.edu.au/the-art-of-conversation-1927) beautifully expresses the difference between a conversation and a debate. I wish we were holding a conversation, but this open letter is much more like the opening address of a debate.

      When scientists are debating instead of conversing there is strong reason to suspect they have sunken to politics.

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    2. Alastair Leith

      In reply to Troy Barry

      It's the primary tactic of deniers to drag scientists _out of_ a science based discussion of climate change and _into a_ debate about climate science. One aim of this tactic is to present an equivalence between denial rhetorical logic constructs and the much more reliable peer-review scientific publication system which has it's own self-correcting mechanisms (notable absent in ideological/rhetorical bluster).

      Another aim of dragging scientists into a debate rather than a discussion of the science…

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  18. Bussorah Merchant (Indian)

    Mr

    Hey guys!
    I gather that the global temperatrure has risen by less than one degree Celsius in the last 150 years

    That sounds to me like we live in an era of exceptional climate stability

    What am I missing?

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  19. Mike Ro

    engineer

    The first phrase is missing a "other".
    It should be:
    The overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that human greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in climate changes that cannot be explained by other natural causes.

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  20. Scott Collis

    Meteorologist

    Very nice,
    It is so hard to have a reasonable conversation about Climate Science given how politicized it has become. Too many people profit from science saying one thing versus another and attempt to influence the process. And as things become more politicized government agencies become more closed and fear appearing partisan. Until this changes a frank and fearless discussion of the science is difficult.

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  21. Grant Burfield

    Dr

    Deniers? Barry Powell and Lou McGregor run free with the term. As does “Watching the deniers”, which is a strange name to be christened with as login rules state that pseudonyms are not allowed. But my parents had their funny ways too.

    You’re not going to convince anyone, anywhere, other than perhaps yourselves, that calling people climate change deniers is the coup de main of your cause. Profs Lewandowsky and Hamilton are prolific users of the phrase. It doesn’t bother me, but it is puerile and stupid and says more about the person who utters it than the recipient. The climate changes, nobody other than an idiot denies it. If you cannot convince your contributors or commenters to drop the term then this will become just another boring blog for sycophants. And there are many on both sides of the debate.

    I will follow this site, but if any of your contributors in particular use the term then you will be talking to people other than I.

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    1. Jane Rawson

      Editor, Energy & Environment at The Conversation

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Hi Grant - just on the topic of Watching the Deniers' name: as well as letting people set up a profile from scratch (in which case we ask them to use their full name), we also let people log in using an existing Twitter or Facebook account. WtD has used a Twitter account of that name - by clicking the username you can find out more about the user.

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  22. Brian G Valentine

    adjunct asccociate professor

    <i>Are you a scientist? Do you agree?</i>

    Yes I am a scientist in the USA and I agree that the entire "man-made climate change" scenario is a complete farce.

    The only remarkable thing is, how easy it evidently is to consider one's self an "academic" and be deluded by second-rate "science" supported by baseless "reasoning."

    People who have deluded themselves into accepting this so-called "science" face a more difficult challenge than I do. For the Public, who might not have been inculcated in this nonsense to the degree that others have, can see what a sham the whole thing is without a detailed explanation.

    This is the worst abuse of "science" to come along in one hundred years people who promote this trash reasoning ought to be ashamed of themselves.

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    1. Scott Collis

      Meteorologist

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      I am saddened by this emotive post, devoid of structured argument sounding more like a lecture from a pulpit than a lectern. I do not promote climate change, I work for a climate monitoring agency (these views are my own and in no way represent these agencies), I am also friends and collaborators with a number of the above signatories, I would like to know why you believe these good men and women should be ashamed? For one the work in the face of great adversity, second they really do not get paid enough for the levels of education they have.. Many of them serve the public and endure the extra scrutiny this entails.. The thing that I am ashamed of is that in my home country (I now reside in the USA) death threats have been made against some of these people, why do people get so worked up about this?

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    2. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to Scott Collis

      "I am saddened by this emotive post, ..."

      You're sad, and I reached my limit with it long ago, and am angered. If you cannot comprehend why, then we have no common point of departure.

      Very good people like Bob Carter of NSW and Bill Kininmonth formerly of an Australian public agency are underpaid as well, and very likely have spent an inordinate amount of time debunking something that was debunked and should have remained debunked long ago - rather than contribute new knowledge of the physical…

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    3. Barry Powell

      Retired physics teacher

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      There are many matters in which emotion, anecdotal example, popular appeal to self interest or political leaning take precedence over serious risk assessment. I look to this site for more of the latter and from those qualified to measure it. There are plenty of other sites which champion the right to hold an opinion and express it.
      Please allow those qualified to speak on this one.

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    4. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to Barry Powell

      It's interesting that you apparently consider yourself an authority to decide who might be among "those qualified to speak on this one."

      It is also interesting that your possible distaste for "opinion" "herein" is directed to me alone.

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    5. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Brian G Valentine is welcome to present arguments in this forum on why he feels climate change science is a farce and fraud. Thus far he seems focused on personal attacks rather than dismantling key arguments in climate change science.

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    6. Bede Moses

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Dear Micheal, I understand this is a place for scientific discussion, so I'll keep this brief.
      I've taken the time to read this entire thread, and would like to thank you sincerely for all your input. As a young university student studying in the area of climate, It is heartening for me to see you taking a stand against the personal attacks and misinformation that so often plague these threads.
      Constantly reminding those who argue against Anthropogenically induced climate change, that this is a scientific debate, and thus that if they are true skeptics they should focus on constructing a logic based arguement, is in my humble opinion, our only chance of progress.
      Thank you again, for choosing not to hide in the shadows (as many do) on this issue for fear of ridicule, keep up the good work.

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    7. Scott Collis

      Meteorologist

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      This will be my last post on this forum, I have turned off notifications. I do need to clear up some facts that Brian sullied with his post: My home country is Australia, I am ashamed death threats have been made against climate scientists there, I am in no way ashamed to live in the USA. I believe these issues transgress boundaries. I think the best proof that the possibility tied together with the impact of climate change is so large is in China's response. There is a recognition there that as…

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  23. arctic io

    logged in via Twitter

    We must stop CO2 and terraforming now! If you are in doubt ask your kids.

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    1. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to arctic io

      While you're at it, ask them what time they thing they ought to go to bed, how many days per week they ought to attend school, and how many hours per week they should look at nitwit movies and TV shows and in-crowd social web sites.

      Neither I nor the majority of the public (if opinion polls are a guide) believe people should be dictated to by the incomprehensibly gullible and pitifully childish.

      The Public has, in many cases, rejected the basis behind this "climate" fraud. Common sense saves the day for society, when the patina of delusion has been washed away and the smoke cleared

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    2. Peter Miller

      Digital Artist/Sound Designer/Composer at Scribbletronics

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Yup. Anecdotal evidence: a million badly educated people can't POSSIBLY be wrong.

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    3. Michael Cejnar

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to arctic io

      Putting aside your psychological projection of your green movement’s multi-billion vested interest onto almost exclusively volunteer citizen sceptics, by conflating science with advocacy and politics, as you have done here, you venture outside your expertise and authority and miss the point in this debate.

      You see, I am not afraid of a ½ meter sea level rise or a 1.0 Deg C warming over 100 years (the rest appears to be speculative unlikley water vapour feedback to make your models work). As Bjorn…

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    4. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Michael Cejnar

      I'll happily provide some information, links etc. on their involvement as active members of the denial machine. At this point I'm familiar with most names, groups and their activities and their close association with the Institute of Public Affairs and the Liberal Party.

      One assumes this is the same Dr. Cejnar helping co-ordinate "Lord" Monckton's 2011 tour of Australia? The tour will include the usual rogues gallery of Jo Nova, David Evans and even Canada's Ross McKittrick.

      http://justgroundsonline.com/group/climatscepticsparty/forum/topics/lord-monckton-tour

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    5. Michael Cejnar

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      Michael Marriott, I can't find any substance in you conspiratorial musings above, which seem to verge on the paranoid. Please re-read my post - can you find no empathy with me, is my 25 years of scientific experience of no value, not the smallest of my concerns worthy of an answer? On the other hand, are all alarmist pronouncements correct? All green actions perfect? Is the Productivity Commission wrong about the waste of money on 230 Green schemes? Was the climate industry not wrong when they…

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    6. Tim Burrows

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Michael Cejnar

      Michael, with respect to the theory of AGW - and accepting that there will never be definitive proof of AGW - what is your view of the role of the precautionary principle?

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    7. Megan Clement

      Deputy Editor, Politics + Society at The Conversation

      In reply to arctic io

      Hi articio,

      Thank you for your comments. We have recently updated our comments policy and ask users to use their full name. As your Twitter handle does not include your name, would you mind signing up as a commenter directly with our site? You can do that here: http://theconversation.edu.au/readers/new?return_to=%2Fwhen-scientists-take-to-the-streets-its-time-to-listen-up-1912%23comments&signing=up

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  24. Michael Marriott

    logged in via Twitter

    A few things, I'm happy to say my real name which is Michael Marriott - thus, any charges of anonymity can be dealt with.

    One thing I'd caution anyone engaging with the "skeptics" is that they are immune to evidence and reason.

    They're on par with creationists and anti-vaccine campaigners. Every piece of evidence simply confirms the breadth of the "conspiracy". We could fly them to the Greenland, show them the melting ice pack and still they'd claim there's lots of ice left. Or that it's cold…

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    1. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      Ladies and Gentlemen, you are far too simple to be able to type in "Brian G Valentine" into a search engine dialog box on your own. You need people like Mr Marriott to do it for you and post links.

      That "source watch" link is actually the first link you will find with many search engines, like Google.

      Inhofe has tried to protect the public from the very serious consequences of paying heed to a delusion. The costs of living would rise astronomically if many people had their way - well-to-do people who would not suffer to the degree that the poor and fixed-income would suffer (and not with the pity of the "green esthetes," either).

      For this Inhofe gets trashed and the high-minded are cautioned not to engage with those who cannot stomach outright fraud and deceit. Go figure.

      Arlington, Virginia, USA
      bgvalentine@verizon.net

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    2. Michael J. Biercuk

      Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics at University of Sydney

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Mr Valentine,

      I appreciate from your posts that you do not agree with the majority of peer-reviewed science on climate change.

      So far on this site you have accused climate scientists who have the consensus view that human activity contributes to climate change and may have significant negative consequences, of fraud, deceit, delusion, and the like.

      Instead, the community of users here would appreciate if you posted reasoned arguments why the science or the interpretation of the evidence is incorrect.

      I, for one, don't care if you agree or disagree with the consensus, and I'm happy to entertain reasoned arguments. I do care if your argument is just shouting and lobbing of accusations of fraud. I think you'll admit that it isn't earning you any admirers thus far...

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    3. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to Michael J. Biercuk

      Thank you, I shall present one argument that a reasoned and correct response will convince me of the validity of the material that has been published on the subject.

      I calculate that a down-welling radiation of 0.1-2 W/sq.m (depending on atmospheric conditions) from the radiation of “greenhouse” gases in a night sky to an Earth’s surface of uneven and quite undefined Earth’s “average” surface temperature will have no other influence than to make the temperature still undefined. (The Stefan-Boltzmann…

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    4. Jane Fischer

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Michael J. Biercuk

      Please see judithcurry.com's section called Climate story-telling angst. Most readers who have nothing invested are leagues ahead of you. You are looking like eggheads.

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    5. Michael J. Biercuk

      Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics at University of Sydney

      In reply to Jane Fischer

      One significant difference is the issue of conflict of interest. In the biosciences/pharma research, scientists can secure *personal* financial gain from serving as consultants, reviewers, etc. helping research sponsors.

      By contrast, there is no reasonable approximation to this phenomenon in mainstream climate science (to my knowledge). It's often argued that research grants constitute this kind of incentive - but grants by and large don't provide personal benefits as salaries (exception, soft-money research) are generally covered institutionally, and grants pay for students, equipment, etc.

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    6. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Brian G. Valentine's argument only holds if the hot surface of the Earth is being heated by cool greenhouse gases and nothing else.

      The Earth's surface is being heated by the Sun, and hundreds of Watts per metre square are re-radiated into the atmosphere. Some of the heat (infrared light) is being trapped in the atmosphere and some of the heat radiates into space. In this situation there is a net transfer of heat from the hot surface of the Earth to the cooler atmosphere, not the other way around. Additional greenhouse gases increase the ability of the atmosphere to capture this heat.

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    7. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Sir, I regret to say that you have not completely responded to my missive.

      I have stated quite clearly, "Combining all other influences,..." the stratosphere cools whilst the troposphere warms as a direct result of the Greenhouse effect.

      That is the fundamental flaw in the reasoning, not the idea that the Earth's surface warms the atmosphere (which is true)

      That's enough from this one "denialist," me, who has responded emotionally although with an underlying rational basis. That is all I can offer, others who have concluded the same as I have (as Gerlich, Tscheuschner, Kramm, others) with relation to the violation to the second law don't bother getting into these arguments. No one pays attention to what is being said and argument is pretty futile, usually

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    8. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      I am paying attention and here is a counter argument.

      The troposphere and stratosphere are not sitting in isolation. There is this vast transfer of heat from the surface of the Earth to both the troposphere and the stratosphere. If the troposphere captures an increasing fraction of this heat due to increased carbon dioxide, there is less heat to be captured by the stratosphere.

      While the temperature of the stratosphere has decreased relative to the troposphere, this is not due to the transfer of heat from the cool troposphere to the hotter stratosphere. Instead a higher fraction of the heat being radiated from the hot Earth is being trapped by the cool troposphere, and less heat from the hot Earth is reaching the colder stratosphere.

      This element of climate change theory is completely consistent with thermodynamics and no "dues ex machina" is invoked.

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    9. Tim Burrows

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Brian, I think that's the point - when you add the "other influences" the expected outcome matches the actual outcome, i.e. it resolves your dilemma.

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    10. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Our discussion on why climate change models are consistent with the laws of physics ended up being a little complicated. Here's an analogy that may help explain why the cooling of the stratosphere is consistent with greenhouse gases trapping heat in the lower atmosphere and the laws of physics.

      Imagine two bottles of beer next to a campfire. One beer bottle is close to the fire and is heated to 30C while the other beer bottle is further away and is only heated to 20C.

      We now place a large sheet…

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    11. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Maybe you are paying attention but i don't know if you are correct in saying less heat is available to the stratosphere. CO2 absorbs longwave radiation and will reradiate the longwave in all directions. 50% will be reradiated with some vertical component toward space and 50% reradiatedwith a vertical component towards earth. Eventually the rate of energy lost to space will reach equilibrium for a given GHG concentration - all of the longwave energy will eventually go out to space and it DOES go through the stratosphere.

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    12. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to James Szabadics

      The analogy is merely to demonstrate basic thermodynamics. Two bottles of beer, a piece of plywood and a campfire was not intended to be a precision climate model. My apologies if you are confused by this.

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    13. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to James Szabadics

      While photons radiated from the troposphere do pass through the stratosphere, only a fraction of them are absorbed by the stratosphere, and the rest pass through unhindered. As a consequence, only a fraction of the heat that was originally in the lower atmosphere ends up heating the upper atmosphere.

      For an illustration of this, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_energy_budget and the references therein.

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    14. Douglas Cotton

      B.Sc.(Physics), B.A.(Econ), Dip.Bus.Admin

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      Let's not talk about people and their records. I am sure much ground-breaking research in the past has been stamped out (at least for a while) by arrogant peers judging personalities, past history or whatever rather than the actual content of particular research. Let each piece of research stand or fall on its merits..

      For example, we may have a problem with GH theory soon because the mean satellite temperature at sea surface was slightly lower in the 12 months ending yesterday than in the 12…

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    15. Megan Clement

      Deputy Editor, Politics + Society at The Conversation

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your comments. We have recently updated our comments policy and ask users to use their full name. As your Twitter handle does not include your name, would you mind signing up as a commenter directly with our site? You can do that here: http://theconversation.edu.au/readers/new?return_to=%2Fwhen-scientists-take-to-the-streets-its-time-to-listen-up-1912%23comments&signing=up

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    16. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael,, James Szabadics is correct. In your half up half down diagram you & the concensus scientists and Wiki ignore what happens to the half down part. In reality the half down adds to the continuous input from the sun which is absorbed & results in the energy up which means that the the amount going out accumulates asymtotically until you reach equilibrium so that the energy in from the sun equals the energy out from the top of the atmosphere. The energy OUT is NOT half the energy in.. If…

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  25. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Just in case commenters on this Thread missed it, I have a post at the Braganza thread here showing the results of my regression analysis of temperature change in Australia vis a vis changes in atmospheric water vapour and CO2. The CO2 is irrelevant, the H2O explains all as predicted by John Tyndall 150 years ago.

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  26. Jane Fischer

    logged in via Twitter

    This work by Australian scientists has been discussed in depth at judithcurry.com. Search her site for story-telling angst. Read the section and the accompanying comments carefully before you venture down this foolhardy road. You are late to this game. You are looking utterly foolish and desperate to keep the funding coming in.

    How are you going to overcome this news? http://tinyurl.com/3bedn9l
    Your funding is Gone.

    Find a new goose to lay your eggs.

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    1. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to Jane Fischer

      That sounds so negative, Ms Fischer. This bit of information will earn you nothing more than being called an "ideologue."

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    2. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      And by the way, isn't relating "climate change" to the Sun just another one of those stupid ha-ha already debunked "denier" arguments?

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    3. Brian G Valentine

      adjunct asccociate professor

      In reply to Barry Powell

      A shame to you maybe, but done on behalf of those with little voice to sing against the Climate Hallelujah Chorus that would manipulate them in the name of exceedingly ill-considered "science"

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  27. Ken Sekiya

    logged in via Twitter

    I'm glad to see that the Gentlemen and Ladies here understand the difference between sceptics and "sceptics".

    The former being a natural attitude towards science - and which shouldn't be "sensationalised" by media (however often is)

    The latter being an attitude commonly taken by people disconnected from the concept of research (commonly referred to as "Deniers", and believe that the latest sceptic report debunks every research prior to it - as if it were a trump card (ie: The effect of the sun on our climate - which is nothing new) - rather than contributing to the construction of a larger model.

    This roughly outlined differentiation needs to be made clear to the public.

    Especially the media, otherwise we're simply allowing them to write misleading articles over and over again

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    1. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ken Sekiya

      Agree.. as I said, they will simply flood forums like this with disinformation.

      Standard MO: confuse, distract and mislead. Merchants of doubt.

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  28. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Tom Curtis – thanks for your congratulations (at the Braganza thread) on me “rediscovering the well known fact that H2O is a strong greenhouse gas, and more abundant than CO2 in the lower atmosphere. The consequence, that H2O is far more important in determining short term fluctuations in temperature…” has long been forgotten by all climate scientists, above all Braganza and the dozens who signed the mean-spirited “open” letter here, as nowhere in the IPCC’s AR4, WG1 is this mentioned, least of all…

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    1. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      The troops have indeed mobilised. Again, engage at your own risk, as stated you will not win any arguments.

      Some background information.

      Tim Curtin has published pieces in Quadrant and is associated with the free market/conservative think tank the Lavoiser Group.

      He also toured with Anthony Watts last year:

      http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/component/content/article/112-blogs/681-be-sceptical-of-climate-sceptics

      "...Credentials: BA (Econ)University College of Rhodesia (external college of…

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    2. Ken Sekiya

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      The main issue that I find with detracting CO2 - the 2nd most effecting greenhouse gas (and most long-lived [100years]), with the argument of Water Vapour is the short-lived nature of Water Vapour - and our inability to control Water Vapour.

      Couple of basic facts about Water Vapour
      Water Vapour is said to have an greenhouse effect ranging from 30 ~ 70% - this huge range is due to its temporary nature - short lived nature

      Water Vapour is primarily measured in terms of humidity - (100% = Rain > loss of water vapour in the atmosphere of that local region)
      .
      The Air can only hold an x amount of water vapour depending on temperature.

      >> fact is Scientists haven't forgotten about Water Vapour in Climate Change modelling - its just that Scientists only focus on factors that can be controlled.

      Basic Science101

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    3. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ken Sekiya

      Ken, I agree. But the debate is not about the science. It's about flooding the conversation with memes and confusing general readers who lack a scientific background.

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    4. Michael J. Biercuk

      Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics at University of Sydney

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Tim,

      Can you comment on why you do not publish your research in peer-reviewed outlets? I am genuinely interested in the answer.

      But I can surmise...

      If the answer is that you have had rejections of your manuscripts, is your suggestion then that the entire climate science discipline is staging an elaborate conspiracy to prevent your research (or any other piece of research presenting a contradictory perspective) from being published?

      If the answer to that is yes, can you explain what motivation would exist to produce this global cabal?

      If the answer to that is "access to grants" or something as such, is it your suggestion that climate scientists are simultaneously capable of staging a complex cabal of this nature and incapable of doing research in any other topic should the need arise?

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  29. Richard Weller

    Structural Engineer, NPER3

    Fantastic to see this. But don't get too mired down in answering every myth. We need to focus on moving on to facing the challenge and reducing emissions.

    As the article states, we are dangerously close to failing the 2 degree test. Reference the latest reports on melting of permafrost.

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  30. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    TC Replies:
    Re Watching the deniers: If you were worth suing for defamation I would, along with The Conversation for publishing your anonymous defamation (they have deeper pockets). But I like The Conversation and I won’t. For the record, my first degree was BA (General), including economics, my second was M.Sc (Econ.) and was duly completed in December 1963, check the University of London, or the LSE Alumni Handbook. I lectured at the University of what is now Zimbabwe until 1966, when I was deported…

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  31. Alistair McDhui

    Retired engineer

    The World is probably cooling. The rate is set by the difference between solar effects and AGW. The latter has probably been grossly exaggerated because the only known process to explain palaeo-climate was CO2-GW [neglecting the '800 year delay'], so it was believed to be high, and there have been two basic errors in the models.

    ‘Back radiation’, the origin of the ‘high feedback’ hypothesis, is a mathematical mistake from 1922, identified by NASA physicist Miskolczi. ‘Cloud albedo effect’ cooling…

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    1. Protista Amoeba

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      Alistair McDui
      "The World is probably cooling."
      Looking at the actual global temperature trends, it doesn't look like it!
      Full instrumental temp record with 5 year smoothing plus CO2. All temp trends from1979, plus HadCrut and GISS from 1880 to 1979 incl. trends
      Note the temperature trend for global temperatures since 1979 (when the satellite temperatures from RSS and UAH became available) are virtually identical. Whereas earlier temperature trends before satellites were shallower, but extremely similar between 1880 to 1979.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:60/plot/gistemp/mean:60/plot/uah/mean:60/plot/rss/mean:60/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1979/trend/plot/uah/trend/plot/rss/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/normalise/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1880/to:1979/trend/plot/gistemp/to:1979/trend/

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    2. Alistair McDhui

      Retired engineer

      In reply to Protista Amoeba

      Those are historical data. The consensus amongst solar astrophysicists is that solar cooling started last year but will probably only accelerate to its full level in 2015.

      The key to analysis is of course to apportion the balance between net CO2-AGW, if any, and solar influence. Here are the Earthshine data: http://lasp.colorado.edu/sdo/meetings/session_1_2_3/presentations/session3/3_06_Palle.pdf

      The effect of the fall in albedo from the '80s to the mid '90s was equivalent to an increase in forcing three times that from AGW since the beginning of the industrial revolution! Albedo then jumped back again.

      The high feedback CO2-AGW hypothesis is dead, probably a fraud. There may still be some but it's dwarfed by solar effects.

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    3. Alistair McDhui

      Retired engineer

      In reply to Protista Amoeba

      Those are historical data. The consensus amongst solar astrophysicists is that solar cooling [probably a Svensmark mechanism] started just after 2000 but will probably only accelerate to its full level in 2015.

      The key to the analysis is of course to apportion the balance between net CO2-AGW, if any, and solar. Here are the Earthshine data: http://lasp.colorado.edu/sdo/meetings/session_1_2_3/presentations/session3/3_06_Palle.pdf

      The effect of the fall in albedo from the '80s to the mid '90s was…

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    4. Tim Burrows

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      Alistair, how do you apportion the balance between net CO2-AGW and solar?

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    5. Alistair McDhui

      Retired engineer

      In reply to Tim Burrows

      Because instead of cooling, you also get heating from reduction of cloud albedo by pollution**, a parallel AGW, the signal is the same. So, you cannot distinguish the effects. However, 'cloud albedo effect' heating is self limiting because thick cloud hemispherical albedo must, in the absence of absorption, asymptote a bit higher than 0.5.

      The trouble is, recently we've had increased cloud cover due to the low solar magnetic field, hence cold winter in the southern hemisphere, so you can't deconvolve…

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    6. Tim Burrows

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alistair McDhui

      The effect of cloud albedo was recognised in the AR4 as being uncertain. My reading of the situation is that the magnitude of the uncertainty is such that the probability is still pointing clearly towards an overall imbalance of energy that will lead to warming rather than cooling.
      Do you have new information on cloud albedo that hasn't yet been factored into the models? The IPCC has been quite clear in its assessment that cloud albedo is a priority area for further research.

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  32. Stevem Schuman

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    "The overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that human greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in climate changes that cannot be explained by natural causes."
    Just when were "all" the natural forcings and their interactions and dynamics known so that we could discount them as the cause of warming? This certainly would be a great leap forward for climate science. I like many other sceptics started out believing in climate change. I thought I'd better check the science out. Three years later, I'm in the sceptical camp. I'm still waiting for my big oil check. Maybe that comes in the fourth year.

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  33. Tony Burns

    logged in via Facebook

    Science is based on what is known as “the Scientific Method”. A hypothesis or theory is formulated, then evidence is sought to support it. Man caused global warming is one such theory. Billions of dollars have been spent attempting to find evidence to support it. There is no question that the Earth has warmed over the past 300 years since “the Little Ice Age”. How much of this warming, if any, has been caused by man’s carbon dioxide ?

    If man’s carbon dioxide has added to this natural warming…

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    1. Michael Marriott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Tony Burns

      As we can see the local denial movement is doing it's very best to create a Potemkin village of science, flooding legitimate arenas of debate and discussion with misinformation and talking points endlessly recycled from the denial blogosphere ("hide the decline" etc.)

      Again, I would plead caution engaging in fruitless debates with a small but very vocal group whose opinions will not shift in response to evidence. They have been given far more attention and legitimacy than deserved.

      Interestingly…

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    2. Protista Amoeba

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tony Burns

      Tony Burns,
      I wondered if you'd authored any peer-reviewed papers on climate change and looked at Google Scholar. There was only one potential candidate which wasn't even relevant. However, I didn't attempt to download it, since I was warned that the connection was untrusted.
      I sincerely believe that were you to submit an article to a relevant ISI WoS Journal, based upon these claims, that it would be rejected, with uproarious laughter.
      I really must question your claim about possessing a PhD. Because you have repeated a list of climate myths, many can be found on the internet.
      So many ill-thought-out claims, not one reference or citation.
      Please tell me you were joking. If not, it's very sad, you've been duped.
      They have been debunked - sorry!

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    3. Peter Sawyer

      human

      In reply to Protista Amoeba

      Protista Amoeba

      You want a peer-reviewed, published scientific paper that establishes that when it comes to computer models "garbage in = garbage out"?

      Or that "climate scientists" predicted a tropical tropospheric "hot spot" that didn't happen?

      Or that the IPCC predicted "catastrophic global warming" by now, that hasn't happened?

      Or that historically, atmospheric CO2 concentrations FOLLOW global warming rather than precede (and thus cause) it?

      The list could go on, but I think that's enough.
      Sorry Fred Blogs,

      Simply saying something has been debunked
      doesn't make it so.

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    4. Protista Amoeba

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Sawyer

      Peter Sawyer,
      “Simply saying something has been debunked doesn't make it so.” - I'll agree with you there, but and it's a big 'but', anyone with access to a computer and a modicum of intelligence can check that Tony Burns' claims are all debunked and or untrue.

      The first start would be here:
      http://www.skepticalscience.com

      Of course the important question is why a person with a PhD couldn't do this for themselves. There can be only two possible logical reasons. I'll let you work out the reasons…

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  34. Richard Weller

    Structural Engineer, NPER3

    Very concern ing news recently regarding the expected rate of carbon release from permafrost...

    Amount and timing of permafrost carbon release in
    response to climate warming; KEVIN SCHAEFER et al on Tellus.

    Even more worrying is that the paper does not take into account the additional worming from the releases or that the releases will be mostly a methane which is around 100 times stronger as a GHG on the 10 - 20 year time scale than CO2.

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  35. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Comments on the first 3 claims by the Open letter from the "Scientific (sic) community" (more will follow):

    1.“The overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that human greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in climate changes that cannot be explained by natural causes”. Rubbish – all my regressions of the relative roles of atmospheric CO2 (hereafter [CO2]) and atmospheric water vapour (hereafter [H2O]) in explaining changes in annual average temperature in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans…

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    1. Tim Burrows

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Timothy, have you published any papers about your analysis of temperature change since 1960, showing that it is completely flat?

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    2. Protista Amoeba

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Mr Curtin, your Lavoisier Group agenda is showing.

      You stated
      [2. “Climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is happening right now” Rubbish, there is no evidence for that, the trend in temperature CHANGE in Australia since 1960 is completely flat and has been since 1960, there is absolutely ZERO statistically significant upward trend.]

      The Bureau of Meteorology disagree. I believe them. I do not trust you, and I firmly believe that all Australians would be best advised to do likewise…

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    3. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Protista Amoeba

      Protista - you really shouldn't give a link to a graph and triumphantly say the BOM disagree. You have to ask what they agree or disagree with. You can do the calculations yourself in Excel if you're not familiar with R.

      For summer 1960 to 2010 at a 95% confidence level, the regression slope and confidence intervals are 0.011 +/- 0.009. Since the lower bound 0.002 is >0 the trend is significant (just). At a 99% level the value is 0.011 +/- 0.012. Since the lower bound -0.001 is <0 the trend is…

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    4. Tristan Croll

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      Oh my. I had to sign up just to respond to this. I'm pretty sure from Tim Curtin's post here and below that what he's done is tried to calculate the rate of *acceleration* of temperature increase (ie. degrees celsius per annum per annum). Why, I'm not sure. All that shows is that the data is only good enough to pull out a linear trend, and any higher-order effects are lost in the noise. The linear trend in temperature (particularly the trend for Winter or overall annual averages) is very real and statistically significant.

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    5. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Sorry got some pasting messed up above.

      Protista - you really shouldn't give a link to a graph and triumphantly say the BOM disagree. You have to ask what they agree or disagree with. You can do the calculations yourself in Excel if you're not familiar with R.

      For summer 1960 to 2010 at a 95% confidence level, the regression slope and confidence intervals are 0.011 +/- 0.009. Since the lower bound 0.002 is >0 the trend is significant (just). At a 99% level the value is 0.011 +/- 0.012. Since the…

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    6. Tristan Croll

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Using the handy-dandy Excel worksheet from your link above, the 1960-2010 trend of annual average temperature is 0.018 +/- 0.006 degrees per annum at 95% confidence (lower bound: 0.011, upper: 0.024).

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  36. Brian G Valentine

    adjunct asccociate professor

    Thank you, Michael and Tim, for your responses and I'm sorry to continue to belabour this point.

    "While the temperature of the stratosphere has decreased relative to the troposphere, this is not due to the transfer of heat from the cool troposphere to the hotter stratosphere. Instead a higher fraction of the heat being radiated from the hot Earth is being trapped by the cool troposphere, and less heat from the hot Earth is reaching the colder stratosphere."

    Certainly, Michael, I am aware of…

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    1. Andre Lamb

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Wow, I've just read every piece of information here on this thread, a lot of which comes across in balanced well articulated way. I've learned of opinions, some ideas and of some what appear to be agreed upon facts. It really is a difficult issue to establish solid ground within - especially as a person without the sufficient scientific studies behind them to really add any "factual" fuel to the fire. But... as a modestly traveled New Zealander whose lived in Aussie and now residing in Spain, I have…

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    2. Michael J. Biercuk

      Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics at University of Sydney

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Mr. Valentine,

      As a non climate scientist I do not and will not engage on debate about specific technical arguments. That, to my mind, is what the peer-review system is for.

      You may well have reasonable arguments, and I'd encourage you to submit them for publication in peer-reviewed technical journals.

      I'd also kindly ask, for the sake of a robust discussion, that statements like "Al Gore was a total failure at everything he attempted" be omitted from this discussion. They are juvenile and don't advance the public discourse at all.

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      The stratosphere cools because heat can be radiated into space, not because there is a net transfer of heat into the hotter troposphere.

      If the cooling of the stratosphere is inconsistent with thermodynamics, why isn't this also the case with my example of the beer bottles next to a campfire? If you wish, the plywood sheet can be replaced with a fine mesh, so air can move through the mesh.

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  37. Brian G Valentine

    logged in via LinkedIn

    "The essential requirement for being a climate scientist is indeed to be like Hegerl, devoid of all common sense"

    Not to worry, Timothy, the public has begun to step in and fill the void of "common sense" on behalf of people who have lost theirs.

    I was worried five, eight years ago when the "Climate Change/Hoola Hoop" rage .was in full swing, but ordinary people have seen through the sham and unfortunately, have had to wrest control of their own lives from the deluded and intoxicated with their sudden "relevance."

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  38. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Protista Amoeba quotes me rubbishing the claim in the Open letter that “Climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is happening right now”, when I said “there is no evidence for that, the trend in temperature CHANGE in Australia since 1960 is completely flat and has been since 1960, there is absolutely ZERO statistically significant upward trend” Your rebuttal “The Bureau of Meteorology disagree. I believe them. I do not trust you, and I firmly believe that all Australians would be best advised…

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  39. Brian G Valentine

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Thank you, Mr Biercuk, the second law leaves little wiggle room for debate.

    I'm "pretty sure" that your admonition about juvenile assaults on personalities like Mr Gore would be repeated to any who made similar remarks about Jim Inhofe, Bob Carter, Viv Forbes, Jo Nova, Lubos Motl, and a litany of others.

    [Scientific digression: I was thinking the other day, that the second law of thermodynamics is in a sense more fundamental than the first, because entropy is a quantity measured independently of the motion of the observer, whereas energy (or mass) are not. I can think of but for physical quantities only that are independent of a coordinate frame of reference, and they are action, entropy, pure number, and the Jacobian of a coordinate transformation. I'd be interested if anybody knew of any others]

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  40. Michael Marriott

    logged in via Twitter

    As it can be well and truly demonstrated, a key strategy of the denial movement is to flood public spaces such as this forum with nonsense.

    Very quickly the conversation comes to a grinding halt as the cranks and professional deniers try to overwhelm sensible debate with misinformation and pet scientific theories crafted in their lounge rooms.

    I note a few heroic attempts to reason with the deniers here, or challenging to produce evidence. Of course, without fail all it does is spur them on…

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    1. Brian G Valentine

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Michael Marriott

      For Heaven's sakes, Michael, if we haven't sen CAGW in a couple of billion years of Earth history with an oxidising atmosphere we probably never will.

      [Tes ye have! Yes we have!!! The ice core data are all wrong/misinterpreted to suit Denialist interests! Everybody knows that the Earth only gets warmer because of CO2 in the air blah blah blah]

      This is what I call Revisionist History of the Earth syndrome. There's no physical evidence of any kind to support global warmer's beliefs, so the geologic history of the Earth gets revised to make it look like we're headed towards some prophesy of doom.

      The Communists revised everything to make it seem that Dialectical Materialism explained the course of human history, but sooner or later the whole house of cards had to collapse.

      The AGW movement won't last as long as the Soviet empire did, trust me.

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    2. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Lets bring this back to the science.

      In his own way, Brian G Valetine is claiming that scientists (and me in particular) are ignorant of the relevant science and are ideologically driven.

      I am not a climate scientist, nor do I claim to be. However, I am well aware that a myriad of factors have contributed to the Earth's changing atmosphere and climate over the past 4.56 billion years. These include the (very gradually) evolving luminosity of the Sun, geology, life, the orbit of the Earth and greenhouse…

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    3. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      Is Brian G Valetine ignorant of the relevant science and ideologically driven?

      Most of Brian G Valetine's comments on this forum have not presented evidence (with references) nor have they discussed relevant theory. His most scientific foray has discussed the thermodynamics of climate change, and this foray displays remarkable ignorance.

      If one has two volumes of gas in a perfectly insulated box, it is true that the hot gas will cool and the cold gas will become hotter, until the two gases are…

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  41. Ken Fabian

    Mr

    The articles on climate change so far have been excellent and are themselves the best answers to the objections, accusations and insinuations of incompetence, bias, greed and ideological conspiracy that fill the comments that follow. I for one consider it wasted effort to attempt to persuade those who noisily oppose CO2 being a greenhouse gas; they can submit to peer review, persuade the entire science community through evidence and logic to have their work be accepted as advancements in understanding (or not ). This is what all those who study climate have had to do to have their work become as widely accepted as it is.

    I especially look forward to articles on risk management - something which does not require absolute 100% 'proof' or precise prediction, yet reasonably and logically demands that we respond to the enormous potential for harm human induced climate change represents.

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  42. William McClenney

    Geologist

    Back in 1991 I was appointed the first of the original 5 environmental auditors, contaminated land. So, 20 years ago this yank was in your country investigating and cleaning up some really horrific messes. And I have been doing this for a quarter century now, actually cleaning up the planet. I found the tone of the letter rather disturbing. Nearly 7 billion of us now are bound to have effects on the environment, in fact I deal with the very worst of them every day. I have several questions that…

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  43. William McClenney

    Geologist

    By now you may have become wary of this line of questioning. I suggest being very careful how you answer the next question because it is not a stumper, it is a stinker.

    2. If it was all up to you, what would you do about CO2?

    If we take a stroll between this interglacial and the last one back, the Eemian, we find in the Greenland ice cores that there were 24 Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations. Sole et al, 2007), or abrupt warmings that occurred from just a few years to mere decades that average between…

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  44. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Michael Brown said “Carbon dioxide has rapidly increased in the Earth's atmosphere, decreasing the ability of infrared light to travel through the atmosphere, and the temperature of the atmosphere has increased as a consequence.”
    Yes, but by how much per ppm of atmospheric CO2 (i.e. [CO2]) per annum? That has increased by 74 ppm since 1959, and global mean temperature (Gistemp) by 0.78 oC, so temperature has risen by 0.01 oC per 1 ppm. Terrifying? Projecting [CO2] at the observed rate of increase…

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    1. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      A key component of the atmosphere has changed in concentration by tens of percent in a century. I am comfortable describing that as a rapid change. The concentration may be in ppm, but carbon dioxide has significant impact on the transmission to infrared radiation through the atmosphere so its rapid percentage increase is important.

      I am well aware that water vapour is a key greenhouse gas (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission.png) and it is incorporated in all climate…

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    2. Timothy Curtin

      Economic adviser

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      You say you are “well aware that water vapour is a key greenhouse …and it is incorporated in all climate models”. But is it? Not in the IPCC’s models. Have you checked them? And they do not, except when stating as you quote them "Water vapour changes represent the largest feedback [sic] affecting equilibrium climate sensitivity". Take for example the BCCR-BCM2.0 (Bergen) model which was widely used by the IPCC AR4 and its outputs are included in Lim and Roderick (2009, see below). It specifically…

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    3. Ken Sekiya

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      I still don't understand the "Logic" (or lack of) that makes Water Vapour a serious factor in AGW.
      Its not.
      It may be a serious factor in the Greenhouse effect (30~70%)
      But it is temporary, especially compared to the 100-year lifespan of Carbon dioxide.
      And is not something we can control.

      I hypothesise that Water vapour is only treated and considered as "Feedback" in its potential manner that it is able to react with other molecules in the air, and bring it back to ground (ie: Acid Rain)

      AGW - Anthropogenic Global Warming, aka Global Warming caused by Human impact.
      Is only concerned with factors that WE can actually cause. Aren't scientists only concerned with factors they can control (correct me if I'm wrong)

      In regards to AGW however, Water Vapour is a major concern in the manner that Air capacity to hold water increases with temperature... and potential cause higher temperature increases compared to CO2-only models.

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    4. Ken Sekiya

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ken Sekiya

      Also, a suggestion - can posters make clear-cut of their position in this debate as "Against the possibility of AGW" (or not),
      rather than being a "sceptic" or not...

      p.s. please pardon the lazy grammar of my previous posting

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    5. Michael J. I. Brown

      ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Monash University

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      With regards to water vapour and climate models, one can find a wealth of scientific literature from the past two decades just by typing "water vapour in climate models" into google.

      For example, a few links from the top of the search is http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v349/n6309/abs/349500a0.html, which has been referenced over 100 times by other scientists. There is also a discussion of the role of water vapour at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing

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    6. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Michael J. I. Brown

      Michael, You have a very weird sense of what is science. You claim that real science papers have to have references to published papers and yet you also claim that basic chemistry equations that every one knows, (relating to H2O and absorption of IR energy etc) do not need to be referenced. Then you quote the basic Newton equations of gravity.
      Might I ask what papers & published equations Isaac Newton quoted & referenced when he published his equation of gravity?
      Science can be done by anyone…

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  45. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Michael Brown: further to your and my last posts, and I really appreciated your post despite the untrue claim that my paper cherry picks its data, I only ever use raw data and never homogenise it or in any other way cook it, my data sources are in the public domain so very easily checked for consistency with my reported regressions, CDIAC for CO2 and NOAA-ESRL for the climate variables at various US locations, over 200 from 1960 to 2006, over 1000 from 1990 to 2006, not my fault that these sets all…

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  46. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Ken Sekiya: you are misinformed. While it is true that for example evaporation on 1st January gets precipitated as rain within 7 or 8 days or so, there is also evaporation on 2nd January, and the 3rd….to the nth. It all comes down as rain eventually, but there is always more evaporation going on. So what we have to do if we are not climate scientists is work out the average precipitable water (PW, i.e. water vapour that has not yet condensed into clouds or led to precipitation) as it is known over…

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  47. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Ken Sekiya: you are misinformed. While it is true that for example evaporation on 1st January gets precipitated as rain within 7 or 8 days or so, there is also evaporation on 2nd January, and the 3rd….to the nth. It all comes down as rain eventually, but there is always more evaporation going on. So what we have to do if we are not climate scientists is work out the average precipitable water (PW, i.e. water vapour that has not yet condensed into clouds or led to precipitation) as it is known over…

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    1. Ken Sekiya

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Timothy Curtin

      The CO2 lifespan that I quoted is correct - not considering absorption by oceans and biota. Each study on CO2 lifespan quote differently, depending on the factors taken into calculation.

      Okay, so looking into Ocean and biota absorption rate, from the last recorded state as 12%.

      However, taking into consideration Ocean acidification - then we cant rely on CO2 absorption of oceans.
      Furthermore, the current state of Earths biota is unstable due to loose land management practices leading to desertification, erosion, land degradation and deforestation.
      And to add, the late study on vegetation has concluded that Plants have a maximum capacity in CO2 absorption, and in fact high concentrations actually shrink the pores of plants, and reduce its ability to remain moist (thus more sensitive to climate)
      So taking those aspects into consideration, the 12% figure that you quoted is most likely overestimated (depending on how long ago, you pulled out that figure)

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    2. Ken Sekiya

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Ken Sekiya

      Oh, to also add - the annual temperature change that you quoted is a Global average.
      But the logic that you also hinted - Actual rate of evaporation is not determined by global averages, but regional temperatures.
      And like the figures that I quoted - there will always definitely be a Greenhouse effect caused by water vapour (30~70%) (I never denied that point)

      Which brings the whole argument back to the consensus, do we want to add to the TOTAL greenhouse effect through emissions of CO2, NO2, etc etc.

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  48. Brian G Valentine

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Well, so you have it, "Heartland" is right-wing and it follows that Valentine is a right-wing ideologue spouting off nonsense.

    Yes I am associated with Heartland and am employed by the Fed and Dr Schmidt is employed by the Fed and is associated with Real Climate, not a "right wing" org by any means. Meaning organisation association has nothing to do with politics.

    I am trying to remove fear. There is no human activity that could influence anything globally that could be detrimental to the…

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    1. Ken Sekiya

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Brian G Valentine

      It really appears to be that the whole scientific debate on Climate change is a matter of Information access and availability. Which in turn makes it difficult to be 100% certain of the science.
      Though, isn't that why there was a Consensus statement published on the matter?

      My concern with Heartland is on the grounds that it doesn't appear to take into consideration all available information, whilst the same can be said for other institutions as well.

      At least there is one statement I can partially agree on.

      Attention is required on waste management, but further attention also needs to be placed on Land management.

      and, considering post-GFC, the ideology of a "Healthy" economy critically revised.

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    2. Brian G Valentine

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Ken Sekiya

      "why there was a Consensus statement published on the matter?"

      - To remove fear from the possibly doubtful. People need black and white, and if they are provided with "gray,: then they assume the negative. \

      Scientists understand "gray" in science but the Public does not want to hear about shades of gray.

      They want answers. The global warming community understands human nature a lot better than the "denialists" I will give them that

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  49. Douglas Cotton

    B.Sc.(Physics), B.A.(Econ), Dip.Bus.Admin

    You write "Climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is happening right now."

    Can I take "right now" to mean perhaps the last decade?

    If so, please examine the accurate satellite measurements at http://climate4you.com/GlobalTemperatures.htm#Recent global satellite temperature
    and compare the full years 2003 and 2010 at "Near Surface Layer" where you will certainly not see any rise.

    Why is it so? (Yes I did attend lectures by Julius Sumner-Miller in 1962 ff)

    I suggest the answer lies…

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  50. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    William McClenney

    I was interested in your comments which, if I understand it corectly, suggest paleoclimate-based considerations may support a natural driver for end-Holocene climate change.

    However:

    1. The intra-glacial D-O cycles, which according to Rahmstorf and other relate to a combination of solar and ocean current events, are hardly relevant to the Holocene interglacial.

    2. Eemian and earlier interglacial temperature spikes had little relation to greenhouse gas levels, which were limited…

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    1. Brian G Valentine

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Andrew Glikson

      " ... have raised atmospheric radiative forcing by 3.1 Watt/m2 (IPCC) ... "

      Ha

      I calculate 5.0.

      The proto-insecectavora were actually responsible for the giant Platycerum which gave rise to the herbivore to feast upon it.

      [Speculation, but that is the correct order of the evolution.]

      Reverse the sign of radian forcing, and we have the paleo-climate explained!

      (I tried to publish that and my speculation rejected. There is but one thing you can get published, Ladies and Gentlemen. You will have to GUESS what that is.)

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  51. Warwick Wakefield

    Mr

    The first statement that the climate catastrophists make is that "the science is in and all the relevant scientists agree." The impression is created that the only people who disagree are ignorant, knuckle dragging, sister shagging, types believe that homeopathy is a scientifically sound system.

    What if the fact is that hundreds and hundreds of top flight scientists from the top flight universities and other scientific institutes vehemently reject the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory on the best…

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  52. Clive J Dickinson

    retired mathematician and chemist

    While looking at this impressive array of academics and not wishing to appear derogatory to anyone, I wonder why there is a singular dearth of representatives from the areas of physics and chemistry. Is this a facet of the group invited to participate or is it a commentary on the views of the scientists in these disciplines?

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  53. Warwick Wakefield

    Mr

    To Clive Dickinson,

    you wondered why there are so few scientists from the fields of chemistry and physics who are promoting the man-made global warming idea.

    I wonder why you ask?

    But look at the list which I posted, of the
    names of scientists who either vehemently reject, or are sceptical of, the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming alarm. (And this is just a fraction of the names that I have gathered.) You will see that of the 86 names there are 46 from the field of physics and 5 from chemistry. And there are 2 Nobel prize winners, if you consider that to be worth noting.

    You know, I have heard it remarked, on a few occasions, that many of the people who entered the field of "climate science" were young people who were already troubled environmental activists. David Karoly was one such, as I heard him state in the course of an interview aired on the ABC.

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  54. Barrie Collins

    logged in via Facebook

    Ten years ago I watched an online video on NASA's site of the melting of the north polar ice, it showed a rapid decline in Arctic ice cover over the prior ten years, the 90's. That hasn't changed.

    Thank you for this series and the forum, although there is much denier self-promotion and general waffle going on it is well balanced by the input of the professional scientific community responsible for this project and other contributors who don't have an abundance of wool in front of their eyes.

    Returning…

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    1. Nathan Stewart

      Mr

      In reply to Barrie Collins

      Here here - articles heavy on visual evidence - photos and you tube videos would be great for education and discussion.

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  55. Timothy Curtin

    Economic adviser

    Michael Brown:
    I asked you to name MODELS that include atmospheric water vapour as a primary forcing agent, not merely a feedback. You have yet to do so. Why don’t you try Wigley’s MAGICC? It is the most frequently used model in AR4 WG1, as it is largely an amalgamation of 17 other models. MAGICC excludes [H2O] from its main menu of contributors to radiative forcing, and it also excludes the emissions of H20 that are part and parcel of the hydrocarbon combustion process (see my equation (1). See…

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  56. William McClenney

    Geologist

    Dr. Glikson,

    Pleased to make your acquaintance. I will take a bit of a broad stroke in addressing your initial comment. From the research I have done on this subject, there appear to be a great many drivers associated with observed changes in the paleoclimate record. With the little time I have available this Sunday afternoon (I should be packing for holiday), preparing an exhaustive list would be unreasonable and incomplete. As the present state of the sun suggests, there is still much to learn…

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    1. Barrie Collins

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to William McClenney

      @William McClenney

      I believe that what you are doing is called snowing the discussion.

      I think these discussions need to be succinct and to the point. Responses by the scientists taking part in this project certainly have been.

      Perhaps your best approach would be to post a summary of your points with links to the full version and other research supporting your arguments.

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    2. William McClenney

      Geologist

      In reply to Barrie Collins

      I accept your belief. I submit that I was responding to comments. Who, or what paradigm, would it be up to regarding what I consider an appropriate response to what is ostensibly a conversation?

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  57. Ken Fabian

    Mr

    Megan, please keep the articles coming. Our scientific community is the foundation we rely on to build a better future -and that definitely includes foreseeing harms in order to avoid them.

    The body of knowledge of how our climate works is essential to our future and it is a jewel in the crown of human achievement - we could be too short-sighted, self-interest and cheap to do the minimum necessary but failure to act ought not be because our scientists are poor communicators.

    The gish gallop, so beloved of the opponents of CO2 being a major player in our climate, relies on piling assertion on assertion without resort to facts; there's more than enough facts piled on facts to out-gallop them. Keep it coming.

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  58. JWWright

    logged in via Twitter

    More than 1,000 dissenting scientists from around the globe have now challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.

    http://bit.ly/gXAh7P

    And who could blame them?

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    1. Nathan Stewart

      Mr

      In reply to JWWright

      thats 1000 scientists that are wrong. Not all humans are perfect you know.

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  59. Nathan Stewart

    Mr

    I hope we see plenty more articles like this in the future. Could I suggest an article with links to you tube videos or similar of lab experiments that show the lay person the basics principles of global warming. I for one would find it very intersting. I found one decent one that shows how carbon dioxide absorbing IR radiation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot5n9m4whaw

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    1. Barrie Collins

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Nathan Stewart

      I agree Gavin, I mentioned somewhere else in one of the conversation climate etc topics that it would be worth using graphics such as graphs, photographs, maps and charts, visual evidence etc to illustrate the phenomena and effects of climate change. This could feature past and present phenomena and projections of future conditions.

      For a good reference on making things plain through the use of imagery see Edward Tufte's book 'Envisioning Information'. See http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/index

      However it may be beyond the remit of the Converstion project to produce this information. But it shouldn't be hard for the scientists involved to provide links to useful graphic evidence.

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  60. Andrew Glikson

    Earth and paleo-climate scientist at Australian National University

    SCIENCE AND CONSENSUS

    Contrary to what many think, the scientific method and consensus are not exactly the same thing, since, for example:

    1. No poll can determine whether gravity, or the electromagnetic force or the infrared absorption/emission resonance effect of greenhouse mollecules are true or otherwise. These laws are based on physics and chemistry and can only be tested by specialist scientists.

    2. No opposing lists of hundreds or thousands of scientists can determine these issues as…

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  61. Warwick Wakefield

    Mr

    Dear Megan, firstly, there is something wrong with the mechanism of this site; I receive about twenty notifications whenever Barrie or Gavin make a posting; one notification is enough.

    Secondly, the recent postings are all variations on the theme of, "We catastrophists have science on our side, we are the authority, just accept what we say."

    There are two obvious flaws to this approach. The first is that it refuses to acknowledge that there are huge numbers of scientists who examine the same data…

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  62. Warwick Wakefield

    Mr

    Dear Megan,

    this notification has come into my inbox maybe 25 times.

    Can you fix this unwanted multiple notification malfunction?

    Cheers,
    Warwick
    Andrew Glikson commented:

    "SCIENCE AND CONSENSUS Contrary to what many think, the scientific method and consensus are not exactly the same thing, since, for example: 1. No poll can determine whether gravity, or the electromagnetic force or the infrared absorption/emission resonance effect of greenhouse mollecules are true or otherwise. These laws are…

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    1. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Warwick Wakefield

      OK Mr Glikson and Mr Wakefield, REALITY, which trumps concensus, says the temperature goes up and down, nightly, seasonally, 60 years(1880, 1940, 1998 or 2002 etc), etc. It also says more energy means more warming, and less means cooling.
      Why should I accept a supposedly peer reviewed Arrhenius paper & hence IPCC based conclusion that "more GHGs means more warming", that says that increasing GHGs, not the increasing energy, causes the GHE waming? Especially when it is contradicted every night, season etc by the reality when the temperature cools but the excess CO2 (not the GHE which is controlled by the amount of available energy) is ever increasing? Myabe the peers don't believe in reality?
      Since it is the SAME sun that causes the majority of the Earth temperature and the Greenhouse effect why would you suddenly blame the CO2? Especially the innocent excess CO2 that is not involved in the greenhouse effect.

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    2. Barrie Collins

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Dodds

      Your first paragraph appears to be illogical John. 'Reality trumps Concensus' - your 'reality' isn't supported by scientific fact, if you do have peer reviewed proof please supply a link. Temperature records for the sun and environment please.

      In the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been going in opposite directions, see the graph on http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm
      You will see that the sun's temp has been falling while the climate heats up.

      I trust scientific fact over overhyped opinion.

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    3. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Barrie Collins

      I'm sorry Barrie, I do NOT understand when you say my 1st paragraph is illogical. What is illogical about the fact the it is observed reality that it gets colder every night in spite of the reality that there is more CO2 available? That it gets colder every winter in spite of the CO2 going up? That the GISS/Hadcrut temp data shows that it gets colder in many of the years after 1998 when the CO2 is larger than in 1998..Don't you believe that it gets colder every night? Do you have a Peer Reviewed…

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    4. Barrie Collins

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Dodds

      Your statements in this discussion, when unsupported by facts, peer reviewed facts, are merely rhetorical.Your 'Reality' isn't explained in a logical way whereas scientific concensus on global warming is. Your 'Reality' explained on scribd is a barely readable non-scientific load of verbiage and btw your spelling needs work and some of your graphs are unreadable.

      I intend no insult to you or your ideas but merely want to get clarity from them and you. This is extremely difficult to do with your work in its present state of confusion. A more professional approach to presenting your facts would engender more support, if the facts are true.

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    5. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Barrie Collins

      Barrie,
      I appologise for the spelling and prevalance of "teh"s etc, also for the complexity of the charts and explanations which is necessary due to the amount of data presented.. My right hand works faster than the left when I am replying to infuriating illogical "true believer" rants. IF you truly intend no insult then leave out the adjectives and disparaging descriptions/comparisons). Argue the science. That is what this site is supposed to be for.
      Your insistence on "peer review" is illogical…

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    6. Tristan Croll

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Dodds

      This is so utterly wrong-headed that it's not even funny. It's just... sad.

      Just like a real greenhouse, greenhouse gases do *not* warm up the environment by increasing the amount of energy absorbed, or by magically generating energy from nothing. They do so by decreasing the rate of heat *loss*. In other words, in your night time example above, of course it gets colder when the sun stops adding energy to the system. It's just that in the presence of greenhouse gases it gets colder *more slowly*. In the morning, when the sun comes up and starts warming things again, the baseline it starts from is slightly warmer than it would otherwise be.

      Your misunderstanding is so simple, at such a fundamental level - and yet you've used it as the foundation to build an entire edifice in the sky. This is the very definition of "crank".

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    7. Barrie Collins

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tristan Croll

      Thank you Tristan, nice and clear, take note John D.

      Quoting Dodds above 'Your insistence on "peer review" is illogical. Peer review is NOT science.' I think says it all.

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    8. John Dodds

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Tristan Croll

      To Tristan Croll:"This is so utterly wrong-headed that it's not even funny. It's just... sad." Very extremely SAD!

      The Stefan-Boltzman Law says that a body/the ground radiates energy, ie generates the photons that cause the greenhouse effect, at the speed of light proportional to the temperature raised to the 4th power. ie a hotter object radiates more. In the continuous Earth Climate, there is energy coming in continuously and energy going out continuously It takes the GHE absorbtion and release…

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    9. Tristan Croll

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Dodds

      There is no way to say this gently.

      You are a crank. You do not understand even the basics of what you're talking about, and it's hard to figure out where to even start in correcting you. Your discourse here is precisely equivalent to a young-earth creationist proclaiming that he has disproved the theory of evolution because it breaks the second law of thermodynamics.

      In other words, you're this guy:

      http://xkcd.com/675/

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    10. James Szabadics

      BSc

      In reply to Barrie Collins

      Barrie,

      you appear to be confusing TSI with sunspots.

      In the link you posted you have correctly identified that variation in TSI doesnt have much link to the trend in atmospheric temps. TSI doesn't vary much with solar cycles. Sunspots vary considerably with the cycle and there is a better link between sunspots observed in a given decade and the rate of change of atmospheric temperature.

      If you read the peer reviewed work of Dr Henrik Svensmark you will see that the link he has identified…

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  63. Barrie Collins

    logged in via Facebook

    In reading the posts in this forum its pretty easy to spot the climate change deniers or 'sceptics'.
    Their weak attempts to smother the debate only add to the confusion that a lot of people feel toward what has been and is happening to the earth's climate. Those looking for reassurance from these 'sceptics' won't find any certainty because their theories are not based on peer reviewed, hard scientific fact. Lord Monckton with his swastika logo is their God and the fossil fuel miner's friend.

    This…

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    1. alex watt
      alex watt is a Friend of The Conversation.

      In reply to Barrie Collins

      To truth of climate change is so enormous, so terrifying, that denial is a natural human response. It challenges our very way of life and the whole structure of western society which is oriented around the individual. For the first time we need to respond and think as a single organism - but none of the structures of the global community can make us act that way. Cutting back on carbon emmissions meaningfully would mean a huge lifestyle change - a drop in lifestyle, basically - for each person…

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    2. Barrie Collins

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to alex watt

      Yours is a good point Alex, the pace of change to a conservation-oriented economy in most cultures/countries is glacial at present.

      Many individuals don';t quite know where to start, others can't see the point and 'waiting for something to happen' that will motivate and expedite change isn't going to work because it may be too late to avert catastrophic change by then.

      Grass roots change can only work if a majority do it.

      I can feel and see the changes happening now, we've just had a huge wind storm, unprecedented winds for this time of the year - 130 - 170 kph, thousands of trees blown down etc. Our annual westerlies aren't due for another month! Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent.

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