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International Energy Agency report hopeful, but is it unrealistic?

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest report repeats the message we’ve heard from many sources - we’re heading for a temperature rise of much more than 2°C. But given its international reach and…

The IEA thinks we can get a lot more mitigation mileage out of energy efficient vehicles. Shell Eco-marathon

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest report repeats the message we’ve heard from many sources - we’re heading for a temperature rise of much more than 2°C. But given its international reach and expertise, the agency is uniquely placed to recommend what we can do to fix the problem. They’ve come up with four recommendations, and they’re emphasising some surprising things.

The IEA finds that policies currently being pursued or implemented will lead to a rise of between 3.6 to 5.3°C in global temperature.

There has been a remarkable fall in emissions from the United States between 2011 and 2012 as the US has switched from coal to shale gas. However, countries outside the OECD now contribute the bulk of emissions and these continue to rise; the main contributors are China and India.

Where to cut

The necessary cut in emissions to keep temperatures tolerable is massive. The IEA is promoting four energy policies it thinks will get us there. Energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transport delivers nearly half the required emissions reduction by 2020. Curbing least-efficient power plants while increasing renewables and gas contributes more than 20% of the emission reduction. Curbing the releases of methane from oil and gas provides 18%, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies 12%.

Current policies aren’t going to keep us under 2°C IEA/Colin Hunt

Strangely, when calling for a cut in methane release the IEA makes its recommendations based on the 100-year global warming potential of the gas (which is 25 times that of CO2). The short-term warming potential - that generated around 2020 - is 72 times that of CO2. Given the emphasis on bringing down emissions in the near future, the higher warming potential would be much more appropriate.

Also surprising is the IEA’s recommendation that the major investment should be in increasing vehicle efficiency. This is a particularly interesting challenge for Australia, where transport makes up around 15% of our emissions and is still growing. The potential for reduction is definitely there but we have, until now (and probably will need to continue to do so give our reliance on coal) placed far more emphasis on reducing emissions from power generation.

Reducing the energy demand of buildings and decarbonising power plants comes in second. To this end, hydro, nuclear, wind and bioenergy are expected to be the major low carbon technologies generating electricity.

Winners and losers

While the IEA claims no impact on economic growth there are winners and losers in its policy recommendations. Revenue from new power plants will climb and that from coal-fired plants will decline.

There are serious implications for the future of the Australian resources sector if these policies are adopted. Coal and gas burning would reduce sharply. In fact most of the world’s coal reserves would need to remain in the ground.

The fall of in prices for coal that this implies would lead to the closure of marginally profitable coal mines. There would be capital losses as costly infrastructure such as rail and ports would be stranded.

International cooperation is required to curb global warming. To be effective in the short time available such cooperation would arguably need to include not only binding emissions targets for developing as well as developed counties but also robust markets for carbon.

These conditions are painfully absent. Since the heady days when everyone expected countries to cooperate, there has been a slide away in commitment.

Emissions from non-OECD countries. IEA/Colin Hunt

Commitment weak, incentives absent

The present international agreement is to reach a global treaty by 2015, but not to come into force until 2020. In other words much of the crucial action the IEA says is required by 2020 will need to be unilateral. But the economic crisis has depressed incentives rather than stimulating them.

As the IEA points out, only 8% of carbon emissions are subject to a carbon price. Furthermore the carbon markets have completely lost their bite.

The price of carbon permits in the EU’s trading scheme fell to €3.00 per tonne, from €20 in 2008. The carbon budget in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the US had to be cut by 45% because of the availability of low cost shale gas and the economic downturn. In addition the price in the Clean Development Mechanism fell to €0.3 per tonne.

At the same time there has been a continuation of the payments of incentives to pollute. Fifteen per cent of emissions receive US$110 per tonne through fossil fuel subsidies subsidies.

The IEA bravely soldiers on promoting policies that, if implemented, would do the trick and prevent catastrophic climate change.

But one could surely be forgiven for taking the view that we need to get ready for a much hotter world.

Join the conversation

82 Comments sorted by

    1. George Takacs

      Physicist

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I am sure some extremist(s) will be along soon enough to bag you out.

      Back to the IEA report, what I found interesting was the statement on page 50 that where fossil fuel subsidies exist they amount to a an average $110 per tonne of CO2 incentive to burn fossil fuels. So we have, in effect, a negative price on carbon, and it would take a price of $110 per tonne to balance it out.

      Also interesting was the statement on page 43 that the investment required out to 2020 would be more than offset by the savings on fuel bills.

      Both these make me wonder how anyone can justify inaction on emissions reductions and not be considered an extremist.

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    2. Michael Lardelli

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Takacs

      The problem with anything the IEA says is that it's reports are not peer-reviewed and have been shown to be politically influenced. See this article in The Guardian from 2009:

      www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/09/peak-oil-international-energy-agency

      Traditionally the IEA has based its projections of future oil production on estimated future demand rather than on estimates of what the Earth can yield. This changed somewhat in 2008 when they produced a "bottom-up" analysis of production…

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    3. Colin Hunt

      Honorary Fellow in Economics at University of Queensland

      In reply to Michael Lardelli

      Michael ,
      Thanks for that comment. We should never rely on one source.
      Moreover, I am a great believer that one should always try take a position based on the reading of the relevant original research - in the true academic tradition.

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  1. Felix MacNeill

    Environmental Manager

    A useful little article, but I wonder about that last sentence. It sounds eminently rational, but I wonder if it doesn't infact, represent, the least rational approach and a kind of false fallback.

    Obviously we're going to have to adapt - there's so much already 'in the pipe' that we would be truly insane if we didn't start preparing for at least another 2 degrees and significant seal level rises, etc. But the notion that we actually can 'get ready' for a much hotter world - say the 4 - 6 degrees…

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    1. Colin Hunt

      Honorary Fellow in Economics at University of Queensland

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, you make some very salient points. I guess I saw my role in the end as commenting on the gap between what should happen and what the institutional, political and economic settings suggest will happen.
      There has been far too much optimism in the past about the effectiveness of international pronouncements, protocols and markets, and that has led to a false sense of security.
      Realism engenders dismay but perhaps it's deep dismay on a global scale that will eventially lead to concerted and serious action sufficient to effectively mitigate the effects of global warming.

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  2. Mark Lawson

    senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

    I had to go to the IEA report itself to find out what they were forecasting. The summary says this "3.6 °C and 5.3 °C (compared with pre-industrial levels), with most of the increase occurring this century". That's vague but its actually less extreme than some of the forecasts I've seen for 2 degrees within two decades.

    That aside, the reason the report doesn't say much about methane may be because increases in the atmosphere leveled off some years back see Cape Grim results http://www.cmar.csiro.au/research/capegrim_graphs.html

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    1. Byron Smith
      Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

      PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark - Where have you seen a projection of 2ºC rise within two decades from a credible source?

      Make no mistake, 3.6-5.3ºC is probably sufficient to see off global industrial civilisation as we know it. It will certainly spell the end for coral reef ecosystems, the Greenland and West Atlantic ice sheets (over centuries) and a huge chunk of the current planetary biodiversity.

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    2. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Byron Smith

      You misunderstand me.. the 2 degree rise in two decades forecast is obvious nonsense but you do see such forecasts in the media.. a side issue perhaps..

      Sure, if those projections are actually realised then there would be substantial changes. Would the ecosystems be unable to cope with the changes? Well, they'd certainly change. Would it end global industrial civilisation? Afraid not. Stern aside, who managed to massage the numbers to give some dramatic loss, my guess is that such a change will…

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    3. Byron Smith
      Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

      PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "consider Europe adjusting to the little ice age"
      Which consisted of a decline in global temperature of ~0.4ºC over two or three centuries. We are talking about a change 9-13 times as large and twenty or thirty times as fast. This would be a world warmer than anything experienced by humans and a rate of change faster than anything we've seen.

      "Would the ecosystems be unable to cope with the changes? Well, they'd certainly change."
      Above four degrees, most models show the Amazon switching largely…

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    4. Colin Hunt

      Honorary Fellow in Economics at University of Queensland

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark, Perhaps you missed the fact that paragraph 2 of my article did carry the IEA's forecast of temperature rises?
      While methane emission may have levelled off, a worry must be the likely increase in fugitive emissions associated with much higher production of shale and coal seam gas, see: https://theconversation.com/coal-gas-seams-good-until-you-measure-the-methane-4490
      But it isn't just an increase in methane emissions that is of concern but the almost threefold increase in global warming potential of methane in the short run, compared with what is being calibrated, and what the recognition of this does to the ppm concentrations of CO2e in 2020. Shindell's much higher global warming potential estimates for methane were given currency in IEAs 2012 special gas report but not in this one.

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    5. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Colin Hunt

      Colin - I saw the forecast in the first par but you don't mention a time frame, so I had to check the forecast. There have been so many variations that its necessary to check. A side issue.

      Oh sure, you can point to the problem of fugitive emissions for methane but you are aware of the arguments they've been having over just why methane emissions leveled off? One suggestion is that its because they fixed the leaks in the European gas pipeline. Not sure I buy that myself but in the IPCC 2007 report scientists did admit that there was still a lot they did not know about the methane cycle.. not sure any forecast for relative concentration pathways in methane is worth much..

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    6. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Byron Smith

      Byron - I'm quite well aware of the various disaster scenarios in various papers. I might point out that most of it counts as straight speculation. So I see some academics have been screaming about the end of civilization, I stand corrected on that point but more fool them .. this must be seen in the context of the need to draw attention to greenhouse issues and that those guys know nothing about technological and economic history, and market responses.

      Back in the real world; as for the business…

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "my guess is that such a change will greatly affect some countries while other will sail through"

      And the countries that will be greatly affected can get stuffed for all he cares.

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    8. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "the 2 degree rise in two decades forecast is obvious nonsense but you do see such forecasts in the media"

      I think most of us are already aware that we shouldn't believe everything we read in the papers. Is there some reason for trying to make this point again?

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    9. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      You are complaining not so much about the media but about the various activists quoted in the media who say such things.. if we could persuade them to tone down their forecast to the IPCC agreed case that would be good..

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    10. Colin Hunt

      Honorary Fellow in Economics at University of Queensland

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark,
      The time frame, according to IEA, for the warming forecast is 'mostly this century'.

      There is certaily a lot of uncertainty about methane as you say. And when we do know more, that knowledge could have the potential to scupper the best laid plans of mice and men.

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    11. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      As can the amazon forest and the largest forest in the world, The siberian. I was there 30 years ago and the guide explained a desert we travelled through. The soviets tried broad acre farming and razed the forested wind breaks bordering small fields. Come spring metres of snow blew away and the soil retained no moisture. A disaster never to be repeated. This is the only reason the forest has largely remained intact, they can't clear it , and the planet gets a lot of oxygen and now we learn sequestration. But if we are to believe Mark Lawson, bits of the planet like the amazon and the great siberian forest will soon be productive farm land. Who is the activist?

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    12. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "You are complaining not so much about the media but about the various activists quoted in the media who say such things"

      That was you, actually.

      "if we could persuade them to tone down their forecast to the IPCC"

      So you're concern-trolling now. Fair enough.

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    13. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "I never said I didn't care about the other countries"

      You never said you did either. What was the point of your forecast? Why are you bothering to say some countries will do well and some will do badly? If some countries do badly doesn't that imply some sort of moral responsibility for those who helped cause the change?

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    14. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark Lawson:
      :
      Old
      White
      Superannuated
      Male
      Denier

      Part of the problem, not part of the solution.
      His generation had its chance. It screwed up. Play Bingo old man, your opinion no longer counts.

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    15. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark Lawson:
      Old
      White
      Superannuated
      Male
      Denier

      Part of the problem, not part of the solution.
      His generation had its chance. It screwed up. Play Bingo old man, your opinion no longer counts.

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    16. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark Lawson:
      Old
      White
      Superannuated
      Male
      Denier

      Part of the problem, not part of the solution.
      His generation had its chance. It screwed up. Play Bingo old man, your opinion no longer counts.

      report
    17. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark Lawson:
      Old
      White
      Superannuated
      Male
      Denier

      Part of the problem, not part of the solution.
      His generation had its chance. It screwed up. Play Bingo old man, your opinion no longer counts.

      report
    18. Byron Smith
      Byron Smith is a Friend of The Conversation.

      PhD candidate in Christian Ethics at University of Edinburgh

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      "I'm quite well aware of the various disaster scenarios in various papers. I might point out that most of it counts as straight speculation."

      NASA, NOAA, NAS, CSIRO, Royal Society, IEA, World Bank, Munich Re, Pentagon, CIA - all mere armchair speculators whose reports Mark Lawson quickly sees through as idle chatter and whose grasp on economic and technological issues is weak.

      "you greatly underplay the Little Ice Age"
      A drop of less than half a degree over three centuries.

      "and wildly…

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  3. Ian L. McQueen

    Retired

    How sad it is to see grown men and women accepting these forecasts without checking facts for themsleves. One fact is that the world stopped warming 16 years ago, and there are many indications that we should be more concerned about global cooling rather than global warming. Look at the recent winter conditions in much of the northern hemphere and the long and cool spring that much of the northern hemsphere is now experiencing. Ask yourself exactly where this global warming is supposedly occurring…

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      "One fact is that the world stopped warming 16 years ago"

      You're lying, Ian. A 5% chance of no warming is not the same as no warming.

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    2. Mark Lawson

      senior journalist at Australian Financial Review

      In reply to Colin Hunt

      Colin - in fact no-one is disputing your point about the warming (one degree since the beginning of the 20th is a bit much but no mater).. in fact the 0.6 degree change occurred mostly between the mid-70s and the turn of this century. It in no way contradicts Ian L McQueen's point.. there was some warming what happened? The usual answer is that the heat has gone into the ocean.. Another explanation I've seen is that industrial aerosols are suppressing the warming.. I thought I saw another attempt which invoked the hole in the ozone layer, or perhaps I've got my stories mixed.. Anyway, that's the problem...

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    3. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian,
      I don't understand why deniers continue to trot out this nonsense about the warming stopping 16 years ago. It is a complete fabrication put together by the Global Warming Policy Foundation in response to an observation that 15 year trends were too short to be relevant. In fact it was based on a 15 year trend line from Sept 1997 to Aug 2012 which showed no warming.

      So the claim that it represented 16 years was completely false. Furthermore no other 15 year trend line before or since…

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    4. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark,
      I an sure you are aware that there are numerous factors that influence the global temperatures. New Scientist in a recent article identified 14 different greenhouse gases, some of which increase warming and some of which, such as aerosols decrease warming.
      An El Nino year can increase the temperature as much as a decade of CO2 emissions while a La
      Nino year can decrease it by the same amount.
      The solar sunspot cycle can also vary the temperature significantly between its peak…

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    5. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to David Rennie

      David-

      I don't know what happened, but my reference got sent before my comment.

      Anyway, thank you for your comment. You have your beliefs, and I have mine. Mine are based on facts, like the article at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/13/no-significant-warming-for-17-years-4-months/

      You wrote: "As for your suggestion that we don't have a greenhouse because a greenhouse prevents convection, this is not the point. A greenhouse prevents the release of heat which is precisely what CO2 does. The fact that we don't have a solid roof is irrelevant."

      No, David, not at all irrelevant A greenhouse prevents the release of heat precisely because it prevents convection. You can up the concentration of CO2 within a greenhouse, say to 1200 ppm, and the greenhouse still functions fine. The rate of loss of heat does not increase.

      Best regards.

      IanM

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    6. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to David Rennie

      David-

      You wrote: "While these two players in the overall climate are counteracting the effect of the increase in CO2 this can not last and the rate of warming is likely to return to its previous rate." This is only a statement of belief in what may happen in the future. But you would not be able to show any scientific reason for your belief because the whole global-warming fable is based on nothing but computer models and clever propagandizing.

      Best regards.

      IanM

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      "no significant warming for 17 years"

      At least you're not corrupting this observation into a lie this time (as in NO warming for 17 years) but no STATISTICALLY significant warming simply means less than 97.5% chance that there was warming. This hardly means the same as NO warming.

      In any case what's the big deal about 17 years? There was no statistically significant warming for eighteen years from 1979 to 1997. Did that mean global warming stopped in 1979? Hardly.

      I expect further intellectual dishonesty from you.

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    8. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      This has been discussed in detail at Watts Up With That. You DO follow WUWT, don't you?

      Best regards.

      IanM

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    9. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian McQueen
      Old
      White
      Superannuated
      Male
      Denier

      Part of the problem, not part of the solution.
      His generation had its chance. It screwed up. Play Bingo old man, your opinion no longer counts.

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    10. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Mark Lawson

      Mark Lawson:

      Old
      White
      Superannuated
      Male
      Denier

      Part of the problem, not part of the solution.
      His generation had its chance. It screwed up. Play Bingo old man, your opinion no longer counts.

      report
    11. Ian Alexander

      Reader

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      WUWT
      Lies told by liars to the gullible old white males too afraid to face the future.

      Play Bingo old man, your opinion no longer counts.

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    12. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian,
      Monckton's article relies on a misrepresentation of Ben Santors article. Santor did not claim that 17 years was a sufficient time period for determining significance he said " tropospheric temperature records must be at least 17 years long to discriminate between internal climate noise and the signal of human-caused changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere'. Note the 'at least'. Note that he states that it takes at least that long to discriminate between background noise. Monckton…

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    13. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to David Rennie

      David Rennie wote: " You could at least notice the collapse of the Arctic ice sheets over the last 30 years which is unprecedented in recorded history. This is not a computer model it is an extremely observable event. The models are predictions based on historical observations and scientific knowledge,
      They are not cherry picked propaganda such as we see on WattsUp."

      David, I don't know where you get your "facts", but the arctic ice has thinned and thickened through the years. Have you seen the famous photo of submaries surfaced at the North Pole in winter? Have you seen the famous report from 1922 about the retreat of the ice?

      I'm sorry that I won't be able to reply to further comments for nearly two days since I am making an ovenight trip out of town. I just hope that comments will continue to be accepted when I return.

      Bst regards.

      IanM

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    14. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Scientific research shows there has been permanent Ice in the arctic for at least 700,000 years.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_sea_ice_ecology_and_history.

      This doesn't mean 100% coverage but certainly permanent coverage of a large part of the arctic sea.

      Current trends indicate the the September ice will be gone completely by the end of this decade. That is a massive and obvious indicator of climate change and is NOT a computer model.

      Check the PIOMAS data for confirmation of this. There has been a steady decline over the 33 years of satellite records which are our most accurate indicators.

      If you can not accept that the disappearance of a massive feature of the earths climate that has existed for 700,000 years is an observable indication of climate change then you are unlikely to accept any evidence.

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    15. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to Ian Alexander

      Ian Alexander-

      "If anyone wishes to check for himself, go to http://www.google.com/search?q=anthony+watts+%22pathological+liar%22, read some observations for yourself and make an objective judgment if you are being told the truth or not."

      Classic ad hominism. If you can't refute what is said, insult whoever said it. If you can't do better than that, Ian Alexander, you should not post here.
      Do you ever actually READ what is posted at WUWT, or are you like the churchmen invited by Galileo to look through his telescope but who refused to do so because they already KNEW what they would see (what the church had told them)? Read WUWT and see how those who comment are able to support or shred arguments.

      Best regards.

      IanM

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    16. Max Beran

      Retired hydrologist

      In reply to Ian Alexander

      Assuming your remarks about the aged and aging are not tongue in cheek, I would like to point out a few plus points of "antiquity" in this particular context.

      Having experienced more weather than a youngster, one is less inclined to amazed surprise or a kneejerk response that it's something new so something big must have changed. An oldie has also seen many explanations and theories come and go so less prone to groupthink (though I will admit that this trend to a party line imposed explicitly…

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    1. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to Ian Alexander

      Boy, Ian Alexander, you are really angry!!! "Lies", "shill", and "dolt" in one paragraph!

      I looked at "hotwhopper"- exactly what should we look at?

      Your problem is that you refuse to believe that you have been misled about CO2 and that you really believe that it controls climate. But what is your source of information? And do they give you details, or is their attitude "We are the experts- trust us."? At WUWT you will find detailed explanations of why someone says something. Do your sources…

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    2. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      The Tom Harris article provides no evidence relating to climate change. and makes a series of ridiculous statements.

      Nobody claims that AGW is occurring because those who oppose it are 'deniers'. Deniers are called deniers because they ignore the 'scientific' evidence and latch on to 'blogworld' claims with no scientific support such as those promoted by WattsUp. Rather than looking at the temperature records they read the fabricated interpretations published by bloggers.

      The fact that their is a high degree of denial in the religious right is just a statement of observable fact it doesn't make their position correct or incorrect.It has no baring on the science and is in no way the basis for any scientific claim about AGW.

      Harris doesn't want an unbiased panel, we have that, its called the IPCC, he wants one that agrees with him.

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Just a few small corrections and everything will be fine:

      To Ian L. McQueen,

      Your problem is that you refuse to believe that you have been misled about CO2 and that you really believe that it doesn't affect climate. But what is your source of information? And do they give you scientifically backed-up details, or is their attitude "You can believe everything we write - trust us."? At WUWT you will find detailed disinformation of why someone says something. Do sources citing and directly derived…

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    4. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian,
      WattsUp is only one source of information, Wikipedia is another, which provides a rich source of references on any topic you are interested in. However they both just provide opinions. The real bases for knowledge are the scientific, or otherwise, articles behind the opinions.

      Lord Monckton appears frequently on WattsUp. He is neither a scientist or a mathematician despite such claims being made by deniers. JoNova and her husband David Evans only have undergraduate science degrees and…

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    5. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to David Rennie

      David-

      Thank you for maintaining a civil conversation. However, I disagree with much of what you wrote.

      As for Wikipedia, you may not be aware of its shortcomings as a reliable source of information, so much so that it is not acceptable as a reference for many school essays, among other places. In case you are not aware of the name William Connolley; he is noteworthy for changing a huge number of postings on Wikipedia on the subject of "climate" (over 5000 from memory). In other words, until…

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    6. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris O'Neill-

      I took your suggestion: "If anyone wishes to check for himself, go to http://www.google.com/search?q=anthony+watts+%22pathological+liar%22, read some observations for yourself and make an objective judgment if you are being told the truth or not." Highly recommended, especially if you continue to the comments.

      Postings at WUWT prove themselves to be believable simply because any posting is open to comments; if there is an error, someone will spot and comment on it. There are many experts represented among the commenters as can be seen from the points that they make.

      Best regards.

      IanM

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    7. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian,

      I can assure you that I have absolutely no formal education in science, assuming you accept that mathematics is not a science, but a tool used by scientists. I do however have a couple of degrees sufficient to enable me to separate academic integrity from BS.
      I have also been following the scientific discussion on global warming for 25 years or so.

      Wikipedia is an excellent source of references, regardless of its accuracy. It's accuracy is generally recognised to be equivalent to most…

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    8. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      The problem with WattsUp and and JoNova is that few people bother to read them except deniers, so the comments all come from people who support their views.

      Postings at WattsUp are generally easily refuted as I have demonstrated in pointing out that Lord Monckton misrepresented the scientist he was 'mis'quoting. I once challenged deniers to find an article on WattsUp that could not be refuted in a few minutes of research, he was not able to do so but refused to accept, I was correct by refusing to accept the mainstream scientific evidence.

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    9. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      "the effect of CO2 is logarithmic,"

      This means the effect on forcing of each molecule at 400ppm is 280/400=0.7 of the effect that each molecule had when the atmosphere was 280ppm CO2.

      "meaning that it is of negligible importance at 400 ppm"

      Last time I checked, 280/400 or 0.7 was NOT negligible.

      This is as clear a demonstration as any that Ian McQueen is so blinded by denial of reality that he cannot accept even the simplest of facts, i.e. that 0.7 is not negligible.

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    10. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris-

      I suggest that you avoid snippiness in your postings- it makes matters less messy when you have to eat your words.

      I strongly recommend that you read carefully everything at:
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/08/the-effectiveness-of-co2-as-a-greenhouse-gas-becomes-ever-more-marginal-with-greater-concentration/
      It will disabuse you of the notion that adding CO2 to our air is going to lead inexorably to climate disaster. It won't. If I remember correctly, adding CO2 up to about 2000…

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    11. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian (0.7-is-negligible) McQueen:

      "when you have to eat your words"

      Of course, this is one thing you will never do. You cannot even understand the simplest concept in radiation forcing. What part of

      "This means the effect on forcing of each molecule at 400ppm is 280/400=0.7 of the effect that each molecule had when the atmosphere was 280ppm CO2"

      do you not understand?

      Spare me the red herrings. Please.

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    12. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      IanM,
      You and Chris are both demonstrating, what I would describe as your 'complete ignorance' of the subject.

      What the physics tells us is that if you double the CO2 concentrations from 280 to 560 ppm temperatures will increase by 1.2 degrees. If you double it again to 1120 ppm temperatures will again increase by 1.2 degrees and if you double it again to 2240 ppm temperatures will again rise by 1.2 degrees. This continues as long as you keep increasing CO2 levels, every doubling results…

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    13. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to David Rennie

      "You and Chris are both"

      Where did I say ANYTHING that contradicts what you say?

      It's fine for you to repeat what you've read on the subject but please don't take my understanding beyond what is commonly written as demonstrating any kind of ignorance. It doesn't do your credibility any good.

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    14. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to David Rennie

      Also, I'm simply demonstrating what the logarithmic dependence of forcing on CO2 means. To someone who has a basic understanding of mathematics, i.e. that the derivative of the logarithm is the inverse function, what I say above is trivially obvious.

      But blind denialists like McQueen can't even understand the trivially obvious, possibly because they know nothing about mathematics but who knows.

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    15. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,
      Sorry but the math is not clear.
      If as you say the effect of each (additional) molecule at 400ppm is 0.7 times the effect of each molecule at 280 ppm the the effective change variation can be calculated by multiplying then effect at 280 by (400/280)* 0.7. Essentially you left out the word 'additional' above.

      It is hard enough debating deniers without getting the math wrong.

      Lets refer to the logarithm graph on wikipedia.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logarithm
      The background…

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    16. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to David Rennie

      I didn't leave out anything.

      "the(n) the effective change variation can be calculated by "

      I don't know what you mean by "change variation" but I am simply talking about the ratio of the additional radiative forcings per additional molecule. i.e.

      (additional radiative forcing per additional molecule at 400ppm)/(additional radiative forcing per additional molecule at 280ppm)

      This ratio is 0.7. QED.

      "multiplying then effect at 280 by (400/280)* 0.7."

      (400/280)* 0.7 is 1, so what you're saying doesn't make any sense.

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    17. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,
      the 'additional' is critical, and critically it is missing from your original statements, where you said
      "This means the effect on forcing of each molecule at 400ppm is 280/400=0.7 of the effect that each molecule had when the atmosphere was 280ppm CO2."

      Hence my earlier post unfortunately deniers latch on to minor errors like this too lead you down rabbit holes.

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    18. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to David Rennie

      What else do you think McQueen was talking about?

      "-the effect of CO2 is logarithmic, meaning that it is of negligible importance at 400 ppm"

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    19. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      McQueen was talking nonsense.
      You are talking about the marginal effect at 400 ppm, however the way it was phrased meant that McQueen argued that it was the average effect for all 400parts. Hence his erroneous claim that the effect is negligible.
      I will concede that you do know what you are talking about however it wasn't clear to me at the time because of the missing reference to the impact of 'addtional molecules'.

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    20. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to David Rennie

      "McQueen was talking nonsense."

      Exactly, I was pointing out why it is nonsense. It is a standard denialist meme. I was using the meaning of the standard denialist meme when he said:

      "-the effect of CO2 is logarithmic, meaning that it is of negligible importance at 400 ppm"

      My words applied to the context provided by the standard denialist meme. I'm sorry if I didn't spell out every last detail but if you're familiar with the meme as McQueen is then spelling out every last detail is redundant.

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    21. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      David Rennie-

      I believe that your field is mathematics and you are under the impression that simply calculating a ratio is going to give you meaningful results. AMONG OTHER THINGS you are totally neglecting the great effect of evaporation-convection-condensation of water; this may well be responsible for moving half or even most of the received solar heat back upward for radiation to outer space. You have been entranced by only the radiative effect of CO2; you forget (assuming that you were ever…

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    22. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris O'Neill-

      I am loving the collection of ad hominems that you are throwing at me. Do keep it up, for they demonstrate your ignorance. Quite the contrary of a "blind denialist", I am very well informed on the subject.

      i ask you here what you mean by "denialist".I know that this term was chosen carefully by warmists to try to associate us with the despicable holocaust deniers, but it will not work because you do not state what we are denying. On this topic, first, no one who knows anything…

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    23. Ian L. McQueen

      Retired

      In reply to David Rennie

      David Rennie-

      You quote "What the physics tells us is that if you double the CO2 concentrations from 280 to 560 ppm temperatures will increase by 1.2 degrees." I have to ask which "physics" you are quoting here. Is this the Arrhenius paper of 1895? Are you familiar wth his paper of around 1905 that largely negates what he thought in 1895?
      And you are totally ignoring the effects of water, both radiatively and evapo-convectively. WATER is the main so-called (and erroneously called) "greenhouse gas". (See another posting of mine for details.) The role of CO2 is very likely very minor and able to be neglected. This means that all government legislation to"fight climate change" by "reducing emissions" is a waste of effort and money, meaning that articles like those that we are commenting on (regarding the IEA report) are without merit .

      Best regards.

      IanM

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    24. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      "collection of ad hominems"

      Ad hom:

      You are an idiot therefore you are wrong.

      Not ad hom:

      You are wrong because of X, Y, Z. By the way, you are an idiot.

      Try to learn what "ad hominem" means for heaven's sake.

      By the way, spending endless hours reading science denial blogs does not make you "very well informed".

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    25. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      "you forget (assuming that you were ever aware) that water vapor is ALSO radiatively active "

      What incredible irony. So why, pray tell, does this water not just freeze out of the atmosphere and remove its greenhouse effect to give us a snowball earth?

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    26. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      By the way, you still haven't explained why 70% is "negligible"? Perhaps you think the question is an ad hominem. Wouldn't surprise me.

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    27. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Ian L. McQueen

      Ian,
      I can't find any reference to a 1905 paper, perhaps you are referring to the 1906 paper where he refined his estimate down to near the current accepted level. He provided two estimates one with and one without the feedback based on water vapour. In his estimates water vapour increased the effect.

      For some reason the scientists studying the issue do not see the role of CO2 as "very minor and able to be neglected". I prefer to accept the position taken by the scientists who study the climate, rather than the bloggers who don't. Silly me.

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