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IPCC report will make no difference in culture of denial

This week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will be compendious, cautious, thorough and as authoritative as a scientific report can be. But it will not make much difference. In…

Why would more science make any difference to people who don’t care about science? Larry He's So Fine/Flickr

This week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will be compendious, cautious, thorough and as authoritative as a scientific report can be. But it will not make much difference.

In the world we used to live in, the one in which the ideal of scientific knowledge held true, the report would give a further boost to an already valiant world effort to shift rapidly away from fossil fuels. It would give hope that we could head off the catastrophes of a hot planet.

But we no longer live in that world (otherwise known as the Enlightenment), the one in which we thought of ourselves as rational creatures who gather evidence, evaluate it, then act to protect our interests.

While the IPCC must continue to tell those who are listening what the science is saying, it ought to be obvious to any careful observer that the debate over climate change is not about the science.

Of course the deniers, who are out in force attempting to spike the IPCC report before it appears, must pretend that it is about the science, because to admit that they are on an ideological crusade would undermine their own position. Yet it is the weapon they hide that is most powerful.

Those who believe that more scientific facts will win the day cleave to the “information deficit” model of classical science. This says people act irrationally because their knowledge is deficient. Yet facts are no match against deeply held values, the values embedded in personal identity.

The debate has not been about the science since the early to mid-2000s. Then, climate denial moved beyond the industry funded lobbying campaign it had been in the 1990s and became entrenched in the new right-wing populist movement. This was represented by the Tea Party in the United States, and has subsequently been taken up by elements of the Liberal Party in Australia.

In the 1990s a citizen’s views on global warming were influenced mostly by attentiveness to the science. Now one can make a good guess at an American’s opinion on global warming by identifying their views on abortion, same-sex marriage and gun-control. That global warming has been made a battleground in the wider culture war is most apparent from the political and social views of those who reject climate science outright.

In the United States, among those who dismiss climate science, 76% describe themselves as “conservative” and only 3% as “liberal” (with the rest “moderate”). They overwhelmingly oppose redistributive policies, poverty reduction programs and business regulation. They prefer to watch Fox News and listen to liberal-loathing shock jock Rush Limbaugh.

Like those whose opinions they value, climate deniers are mostly white, male and conservative — those who feel their cultural identity most threatened by the implications of climate change.

A similar division has opened up in Australia, with more conservative voters deciding they must reject climate science in order to oppose the kinds of values they see environmentalism representing. Right-wing demagogues like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones have taken up the denialist cause as a means of prosecuting their war against progressive trends in Australian society.

The same is true here in Britain where the culture warriors of the conservative press have all felt it necessary to sacrifice their faith in science in pursuit a larger ideological struggle. Even the BBC repeatedly undermines public confidence in the IPCC by “balancing” the vast authority of climate science against the cranky views of a handful of unqualified “sceptics”.

Once the debate shifted from the realm of science to the realm of culture, facts were defeated. If the science challenges the values, the values will win. The braying donkeys of the Murdoch press understand this better than those of us who naively insist on the facts.

In fact it has been shown that, once people have made up their minds, providing evidence that contradicts their beliefs can actually entrench them further, a phenomenon we see at work with the upsurge of climate denial each time the IPCC publishes a report.

We are often preoccupied with visceral fears that are grossly exaggerated, and have to use our cognitive faculties to talk ourselves out of baseless anxieties. It’s the method of cognitive behavioural therapy.

In the case of climate change it is the other way around; we must persuade ourselves to be fearful using abstract information.

At present it seems easier to mobilise people by invoking fears of higher petrol and electricity prices due to carbon abatement policies than it is to persuade people to fear the vastly greater harms expected from climate disruption. We must use our cognitive faculties to take the evidence very seriously and talk ourselves into responding to something we cannot yet see. But isn’t that the essence of the Enlightenment?

So what will make a difference? When will science begin to count again? Perhaps we have evolved to respond only to immediate visible threats to our own safety, and so we are simply not programmed to react to abstract threats some way off into the future.

If so, the grim truth is that the world will give up its childish tendency to block its ears against the scientists’ unpleasant warnings only when we see large numbers of white-shrouded American bodies, the victims of climatic disasters.

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324 Comments sorted by

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    1. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      You mean astronauts like these?

      "To the long list of right-wing, knuckle-dragging know nothings who dare question so-called "global warming," environmentalists now can add six Apollo astronauts, two rocket men who flew aboard Skylab, and a pair of former directors of the Johnson Space Center (JSC).

      These veterans of America's space program are among the 49 retired NASA employees who recently asked the space agency to halt what they consider its unscientific advocacy of climate alarmism."

      "They include Gerald C. Griffin and Christopher C. Kraft, both of whom ran the JSC; former Space Shuttle Program Director Leroy Day, Skylab astronauts Ed Gibson and Joseph Kerwin, and Apollo astronauts Phillip K. Chapman, Walter Cunningham, Charles Duke, Richard Gordon (also a Gemini veteran), Harrison Schmitt, and Al Worden.

      Among these brave men, Duke and Schmitt walked on the moon, and Gordon and Worden flew there without landing. "

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Just a small question Mark. In what way does having walked on the moon qualify you to speak about climate change?

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    3. Michael Pulsford

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      I think Mark perhaps misunderstood Dianna's comment. If the astronauts he mentioned had been arguing that the earth was flat, his example would have been both relevant and interesting.

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    1. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Andy Pitman

      Five things that should occur to convince me:
      1. Temperatures 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today. 2. Sea level 75 to 120 feet higher than today. 3. No permanent arctic sea ice cap. 4. Very little ice on Antarctica. 5. Very little ice on Greenland.
      Extracted: Last Time Carbon Dioxide Levels Were This High: 15 Million Years Ago, Scientists Report
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091008152242.htm
      *carbon (sic) levels: 400ppm http://climate.nasa.gov/400ppmquotes/

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    2. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Apology. Past tense- "Should have occurred."

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    3. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Andy Pitman

      Greetings Mr Pitman. I am humbled that you respond to my comment. I hope I don't come across as rude or brash. If advice from a "denialist" on how to "convince (a denialist) before it is too late" is what you need, (though I don't deny climate change, or global warming, or global cooling, or glacial/interglacial periods), I might be able to help. It can best be explained by your analogy. Once the aeroplane has been observed crashed, then it is beyond "belief." Likewise, a plane crash will happen somewhere on our planet, like warming, or cooling, or a ever changing climate. Belief is not enough to convince, nor examples of natural, precedented climactic events, extreme or otherwise.

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      "Temperatures 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today. 2. Sea level 75 to 120 feet higher than today."

      i.e. denialists will do nothing until civilisation collapses.

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Andy Pitman

      OK Andy,
      I've written just one request elsewhere on this thread.
      Conspicuous by its absence is any scientific response, through a few deniers of proper science have chipped in with usual obfuscation that misses the point.
      You should be able to tell me without thinking, what the quantitative link is between GHG in the atmosphere and temperature change, expressed in a way that engineers could understand if they were asked to design a quantitative way to adjust GHG to change temperature.
      Andy, your…

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Andy Pitman

      Andy,
      Do answer the questions as put by Mark, or disown the researchers who promoted the said measures in the first place.

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      So Mike,
      You must know the secret formula that allows you to partition change between man-made and natural.
      Do tell us what the split is.
      The IPCC sure does not know the split, but it is (self-subjective 95%) sure it's right.
      What an astounding non-basis for making huge decisions like shutting out coal.
      And building hopelessly uneconomic windmills.

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,
      That is not what Mike McGuire conveyed. Don't invent words that others did not say, it's unbecoming.

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    9. Kevin Smith

      Business Adviser

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "I admit to global warming as I admit to global cooling as measurements, however imperfect, appear to be showing right now."

      Geoffrey, can you please supply a link to these measurements? All the data sets I have seen confirm that global warming continues to occur, but at a slower rate.

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    10. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Kevin Smith

      Kevin,
      You are welcomed to do your own research.
      I find it surprising that you are writing here without being aware of the global climate for the past decade or two.
      What else of importance do you not know, or pretend to not know?

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    11. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "That is not what Mike McGuire conveyed."

      Oh sure, civilisation will be doing just fine when temperatures are 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today and sea level is 75 to 120 feet higher than today.

      By the way, since when has a troll like you cared about being unbecoming?

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    12. Kevin Smith

      Business Adviser

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      You're not paying attention Geoffrey - I've done my research, looked at the data sets from UAH, RSS, HadCRUT, and GISS, and they all show a continuing warming trend. Where is the data to support your claim of global cooling?

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,
      For your sins in calling me a troll, would you kindly review this paper and tell me where it is wrong? It summarises sea level change from 1900 to 200 as being, on average, 1 mm a year. This is rather different to the forward guess you give, being 1/3 of a foot per century, not 75-120 feet per undescribed term.
      In geological times, there are data showing sea level change of your orders of magnitude, even temperatures like you mention. But, these had nothing to do with the Hand of Man. And, interestingly, life survived, even flourished.

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    14. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Kevin Smith

      Kevin Smith,
      Try this one
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released--chart-prove-it.html
      There are 3 Met Office reports to consider, but they give their opinions in a disjointed way, full of qualifiers. The graph here more or less goes straight to the core. Even eyeballing shows a decline in trend in recent years.
      ...........................
      There is also the matter of adjustments to temperature sets. Here is a summary of some adjustments from GISS.
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/GISS%20adjustments.jpg
      http://www.geoffstuff.com/GISS%20adjustments%20long.jpg
      If you do not trust these adjustments, the net result is a further decline of temperature with time. Nobody used to handling data should be uncritical of this GISS work, because it contains unjustified assumptions that few people have had the patience to delve into.

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    15. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I'm not calling you a troll. I stating my opinion that you are a troll.

      "This is rather different to the forward guess you give"

      What "forward guess" are you accusing me of?

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    16. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Kevin Smith

      Kevin,
      The graph is from the Met Office. It appeared in several places.

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    17. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,
      You seem to forget what you wrote. It was
      "since when has a troll like you cared"
      This is not an opinion, it is a straight attempt at a mild slander.
      The forward guess related to your quote of sea level 75 to 120 feet higher than today.
      How are you progressing with your reading of actual measurements of sea level change?

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    18. Donald Runcie

      retired

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Could we agree on what we mean by a "denier"? Is it someone who denies global warming, which began at the end of the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene ten or so thousand years ago, or someone who denies Anthropogenic Global Warming, which began at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, about three hundred years ago. Until there is general agreement on this, we are talking past each other.

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    19. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Legal ignoramus Geoffrey doesn't even know what "slander" means.

      "your quote of sea level 75 to 120 feet higher than today"

      And who, pray tell, was I quoting?

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    20. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,
      Who were you quoting?
      I'll guess Captain Marvel. Am I close?

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    21. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      If you could be bothered scrolling up you could see I was quoting Mark McGuire.

      As for Mark McGuire being close to Captain Marvel, yes, you might be right.

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  1. Mark McGuire

    climate consensus rebel

    The end of the world is nigh you say? American bodies everywhere. Evil deniers denying. "Overwhelmingly opposing redistributive policies." Who could deny that? I'm suitably alarmed. Should I send my money to Clive direct, so he can distribute it for me? Maybe I should send it to Al Gore, he is white, middle aged, but progressive. So is Clive. Who can deny the logic?

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    1. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Mark, might I suggest you Send your money to Warren Buffet's daughter who will invest it for you?
      Warren Buffet has been 'right' on investment value for money 99 per cent out of 100.

      But if you only have 15-dollars to invest, which is approximately what CROWD FUNDERS have each given to Australia's new Professor Tim Flannery's Climate Change Counsel, that 'MONEY is roughly enough to get you into Disney Florida.
      -A 'crowd funding' investment to Clive Hamilton or Tim Flannery in Australian dollars, will buy you two 2xlitre bottles of gold circle fruit juice, a bunch of bananas, a kilo of rice, a loaf of bread, some fresh butter and a bunch of parsley.
      Or jeans and a t-shirt at one of the chain stores.
      Australians can afford to back GREAT WRITERS like vice Chancellor Clive Hamilton and 'unimpressive speakers' like Tim Flannery - just for fun.
      The Conversation is also GREAT WAY to sped money.

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    2. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Mark McGuire wrote; "The end of the world is nigh you say?" Interesting comment as that goes right to Clives point on values. Your worldview of what change means, something to be feared.

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    3. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      Greetings Decortes. Thanks for the investment advice, but Clive is talking about re-distribution of wealth to fight global warming. Warren isn't thinking about the kid's kids. Flannery,? Now you're talking value for money. Is that a one-way flight to Florida, and is it first class, as Tim fights global warming better from first class. And being one-way, as I live at Tugun on the GC, and as a rate payer contribute $16M a year for a de-salination plant that is rusting & mothballed, would be one person glad to see the last of Flannery.

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    4. In reply to Mike Hansen

      Comment removed by moderator.

    5. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Axing the Climate Commission saw positive change - Tim Flannery is not the best speaker or the only Australian Academic with a story to tell on Water use or Climate Change.
      But the publicity and public debate brought on by Tony Abbott, Clive Hamilton and now 'responders' is great.

      What happened to the GC salt water desalination plant?
      Why is it out of action?

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    6. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Mark, Clive's point is that you can predict an american's attitude to science from their attitude to redistributive programs, even though the two have nothing in particular to do with each other. You are providing a perfect example of this - you oppose redistributive policies which you think Clive is advocating (even though he didn't in this piece) therefore you oppose climate science. Even though you know nothing about the latter.

      For the record: It would be perfectly possible to design climate policy which was highly regressive. I would hate it. But it would be better than not doing anything.

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    7. Mark McGuire

      climate consensus rebel

      In reply to Account Deleted

      James, thanks for sorting out what Clive meant about re-ditribution programs. For a moment i thought he was quoting Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change (say that twice), (who) told the Neue Zurcher Zeitung last week: "The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War…

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    8. In reply to Alice Kelly

      Comment removed by moderator.

    9. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Since it seems cascading moderation is deleting my posts anyway, there's not much point in continuing.

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    10. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      "The end of the world is nigh you say?"

      As if he cares.

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    11. David Maddern

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark McGuire

      Sorry mate, mothballed and rusting do not go together. Mothballing is to keep in running order but not routinely run it.
      And I think it is good to see Flannery. The point about his 180 degree turned out wrong prediction was that it supports the CSIROs conclusion that we will see more variation as the basal temperature rises.

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    12. Trevor S

      Jack of all Trades

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      "A 'crowd funding' investment to Clive Hamilton or Tim Flannery in Australian dollars"

      Anyone know how they went about it. I would love to attempt to do something to crowd fund to actually do something rather than just engage in rhetoric. Even if it fails (to gain the required amount of $) it will teach me something and if it succeeds, all the better,

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      Descortes,
      What an incoherent ramble you've contributed.
      BTW, Whose money are you talking about at the end? Taxes or donations?

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    14. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Account Deleted

      James,
      Would you think it reasonable to wait until the bad science was corrected?
      I suspect that Clive has never even looked for bad science.
      Why do the hard work when other people have crafted a bundles of slogans for you?

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    15. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to David Maddern

      David,
      I find it strange that there is no definitive paper linking a change in Earth temperatures with the frequency of any events that we call bad. That is, there is assumption, but no proof, that increased levels of man-made CO2 will lead to either more, or worse, climate-related disasters.
      Unfortunately, the historical record for a number of candidates is full of doubt. Like cyclone landfalls in East America decreasing as CO2 in the air rises.
      Show me some examples of measured variation proven to be due to the hand of Man and I might start to take you seriously.

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    16. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Account Deleted

      James,
      With respect, you should go to source material for the estimation of Ocean Heat Content.
      There is distrust of measurements before Argo about year 2000. The period since then has been too short and the sampling of the Oceans too brief and too far apart in space to provide measurements with an acceptable error term. There is no way that the deep oceans have been adequately sampled. Argo floats do not dive below 2,000 m.
      It is possible that there has been an accumulation of heat in the Oceans, but it is juvenile science to propose this as a given.
      It's just more guessing from the Dept of Climate Science Worldwide Inc.

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  2. Terry Mills

    lawyer retired

    Perhaps if we put aside the emotive language around global warming and climate change and just focus on cleaning up the toxic atmosphere hanging over major cities around the world we would start to get somewhere. Surely our children and grandchildren deserve to grow up in environments where the air is clean and fresh.

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    1. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Terry Mills

      Terry,
      DUST storms in the SOUTH with high winds and dry weather are really toxic...I've felt like I've swallowed 'sand' the past two days.
      We've seen CHINA now invest in green technology.
      But at present Australia is not only 'clear felling' habitat' and rainforest but has no 'pollution tax' on cars.
      How do we clean up the toxic pollution, over our cities,from traffic and other 'heavy emitters' without an ETS to keep forests and native vegetation as a blanking 'carbon sink'

      Contrary to the 'theory of regrowth' biodiverse forests don't actually grow back.

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Terry Mills

      Terry, that was exactly what a lot of people WERE trying to do until the whole process was actively derailed by disinformation.

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    3. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Terry Mills

      Cleaning up local pollution is certainly worthwhile. It should be pursued and it would probably help incidentally for global warming. However, I think some emotive language of some sort is needed to make sure people continue to take the global problems seriously as well. Dry facts don't seem to be enough to shake people out of complacency or even outright denial.

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    4. John Jericho

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      Really, Descortes. Do you sincerely believe that China, over the next 20 years, will -- in the aggregate -- have done anything significant to mitigate climate change? Do you really believe that?

      The Chinese are, and I am not being critical, far too focused on raising their living standards and making money to let environmental concerns get in the way of restricting CO2 emissions, and the level of corruption is such that legal obligations will where necessary be ignored.

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Terry Mills

      Terry,
      What makes you think that this is happening and has been for a long time?
      Do you notice anything about estimated human longevities in developed and developing nations?
      Are you confident that your tap water spreads very little disease now? etc.

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      Descortes says " ...biodiverse forests don't actually grow back."
      Then how did they get there in the first place?
      Turtles all the way?

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    7. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Are you crackers? An Iranian 'whack' dealer high on toxic poppy stick or just an out of work 'troll'?
      Scientists, researchers, even the Bill Gates Foundation, and millions of other foundations, and 'Universities' broadcasters and media, promote EVENTS and forums where genuine humans may discuss ACTUAL real life experience issues and changes to our inland, coastal and marine environments.
      Some of us LIVE in this world where the geophysical beauty touches us physically....
      Others concerned for 'rapacious…

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    1. Trevor Kerr

      ISTP

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      If I've just "invested" in a gigantic, urban mother-truck, then I need to fine-tune my cognitive dissonance. It's 'cult', rather than Clive's "culture".
      A key text is Festinger et al's When Prophecy Fails. But, see here, the cult of deniers will accuse warmists of preaching doomsday! Anyway, searching on WPF turns up an article by Paul Krugman, on a similar but related theme. But we already know that Krugman is a Prince in the global, internationalist conspiracy of Queen Liz & the alien lizard-beings. Oh, hang on! Prince Philip is a key figure in the Jon Frum cargo cult.
      "Remember Lot’s wife."

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Couldn't agree more, Peter.

      Can I suggest that those of us who regularly post here in debate with the deniers agree to never again engage their nonsense but, equally, agree to post "Don't feed trolls repeating nonsense that has already been refuted many times" beneath each of their posts, in order to show that people chose to ignore th enonsense rather than being unable or unwilling to reply.

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    3. Dave McRae

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      YES Peter, so true.

      Scientific American went heavy moderation route rather then PopSci's kill comments. Both have merit, but I prefer SA - it can be automated - keywords/phrases and we know what they are, are set be SA to automatically bin ratbaggery.

      Very much what you said above http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/a-blog-around-the-clock/2013/01/28/commenting-threads-good-bad-or-not-at-all/
      and PopSci's decision here http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/why-were-shutting-our-comments

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I've long thought about the community standards and intelligent debate. Sometimes I'm not very, but I'm not as dumb as some of the comment here. Maybe the editors should edit the more hardened abusers of credible science. And be able to scrub letters and posters. One of them told me they don't have enough time.

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    5. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice, there's adifference between being not-always-all-that-well-informed-[but-knowing-it] - which is often where I also find myself - and actively choosing to spout crap with a confidence that is inversely proportional (as confidence often is) to your actual understanding...

      I don't think anyone minds occasionally having to correct or inform amateurs like us - what is tiresome is trying to refute stubborn idiocies.

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    6. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "This is really hard to do ... to ignore lies and provocations"

      What's wrong with saying people are lying? Worked really well for Tony Abbott.

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix,
      Feeling really helpful today, are we?
      Why not refrain from words until you have some science. This is about bad science influencing major policy.

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice,
      This is about credible science.
      You should not assume that your limited reading of science has adequate coverage.
      I can't even get an answer to a request to show how greenhouse gases in the air are observed to influence atmospheric temperatures in a quantitative way.
      Since this is a very basic part of global warming theory, as trumpeted, you would think that people could rush forward with credible science.
      That they cannot, causes foreboding about the wisdom of major policy initiatives.

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    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Not sure how successful he was really ... not much of a margin depite Rupert and Rudd lending their support over three years.

      Slanging matches are quite effective at pulling things down - far less so when we are trying to build something up. Just puts the innocent bystanders off.

      The main thing is to challenge them whenever they raise their heads in public - like Blot, Jones, the Drum and so forth where straightforward factual corrections - polite but definitive - will convince those with…

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    10. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "Not sure how successful he was"

      Duh?

      "will convince those with open minds"

      Just a pity there aren't many of those.

      "the New Regime...a short term issue"

      Sure, if you say so.

      "There are a large number of poll watchers in the Labor Party too who think climate change is "crap""

      Is this supposed to help deal with the issue sometime? What's your point?

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    11. Peter Turner
      Peter Turner is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good on ya Peter - if you hadn't I would have been tempted to, as I have it all saved to read as a pick me up when the despair approaches..

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    12. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,

      Simply that Abbott did not score the landslide that was anticipated and predicted.... that he did not gain control of the Senate and there was a solid protest vote going to ratbags. Tony didn't win so much as Labor lost. This is potentially a one-term government - particularly on the basis of the first fortnight.

      Facts science and reason will convince open minds. Nothing will convince the padlocked heads of those who disregard anything that contradicts their foregone conclusions…

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    13. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "Abbott did not score the landslide"

      Does not alter my point in the slightest. Accusing someone else of lying worked really well for Abbott. No-one managed to lay a glove on him over that issue.

      "Facts science and reason will convince open minds."

      I didn't disagree in the first place.

      "PS I wouldn't be too worried about the New Regime...a short term issue. The AGW issue transcend the normal bipolar divide of our polity."

      I get it now. Your second sentence wasn't meant to be support for your first sentence. Your first sentence was just an unsupported assertion and your second sentence was a non-sequitur to the first. You should try to organise your sentences into paragraphs better.

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    14. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Like a bit of biff do you Chris? A bit of a street fighting man ... a bit of a bovver boy?

      OK let's dance. Ding.

      How do I know you're a boy and not Christine? Cause women don't do this. They are repelled by it. So you are already starting out by yelling at 49% of the voters and ignoring the 51%.. It's also why I'd put a small wager on your living alone.

      Our new leader fancies himself as a pugilist as well ... there are some pics of Tony's prowess in the science... never met a punch…

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    15. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      HEY HAROLD if you don't like comments, Climate Science, irrefutable evidence and reasoned discussion, why bother reading The Conversation.?

      Alternately why not go out and hold your own event and talk up 'your positions' and GROW YOUR AUDIENCE as a 'naysayer'/
      Clearly Clive Hamilton as the author has taken the time to add numerous links where you can 'go surf' and keep yourself entertained with mountains of Video, Image Galleries, up to date Science Journals and 'go hard'
      Why ever wo old you not go and volunteer for one of the Political Parties if you are so 'enamoured' of persecution by way of wieird political 'backup'. I cannot imagine which Political Party would share your views as all of the parties are'DISCUSSING' climate change and what to do about Direct Action, at the moment
      Many thanks

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    16. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      That's the problem Descortes ... they don't READ the Conversation - they look for openings... but they aren't looking for information or discussion ... it's all lies and rubbish and just all so wrong ... you can tell from the headlines ...they are searching for the chance to be 'relevant' and 'significant' and be taken seriously. Sad really.

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    17. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Love it. Mr O, when you get all stream of consciousness - a great read which reminded me that Australia does not consist solely of naysayers, headline regurgitators and suspiciously so far from the ability to reason one wonders if they are even of this world and not brewed in some kind of genetically-altering think-tank come cloning-farm.

      Your point about good boxers being gentle - OK I have never met every single professional (as opposed to the school boy pugilist that describes Abbott) however…

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    18. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna,
      But I became a boss at age 29 when I set up a private company; and was a boss ever since I was employed after that. Why do you have such a problem with expressing the truth? Even ridiculing it?

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    19. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey

      Well must've misunderstood your comments - like that has never happened to you before - eh?

      Somewhere, way back in your past someone gave you the appellation of 'boss', you kind of actually like it and have stuck with it ever since. Well good for you, Geoffrey. Thing is, here on The Conversation and similar websites - you ain't nobodies boss. Perhaps such titles should be left at the thresh-hold, like shoes, now that you are just one of the many who comment(?) here.

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    20. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "It's also why I'd put a small wager on your living alone."

      Gee you're a clown.

      "I can't recall any freshly-minted Prime Minister with a personal approval rating in the low 30s"

      You can repeat your point as many times as you like. It doesn't increase the validity of your argument.

      "It's why he'll be the shortest term PM we've ever seen."

      I hope so but this would be quite a feat for a conservative politician. People talk about small target oppositions but conservatives usually make…

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    21. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      A clown perhaps ... but am I a wrong clown?

      I'm sorry I thought I was discussing matters strategic and tactical with someone wanting to play a leadership role in shaping the public discussion.... wanting to win rather than fight... I was obviously wrong ... way over the mark.

      So keep on slugging Chris... keep speaking Truth to lies. Knock yourself out. Meanwhile I and large numbers of the rest of us clowns will simply withdraw in disinterest.

      Enjoy your stoush - but don't think for a moment that you are helping us. You're just taking your ego for a walk.

      Goodnight and goodbye Chris.

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    22. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "A clown perhaps"

      A clown for making a silly proposition.

      "but am I a wrong clown?"

      You can't help yourself.

      I'll leave to your hypocrisy demonstration with Nicol.

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Again you dodge the question Chris ... am I a wrong clown or have I hit the mark... it's a matter of scientific interest to me... to test my profiling hypothesis of these boys' games like this .

      Only began as a small wager on your living alone - but the odds are firming and I'm thinking of taking out a second mortgage on the strength of it.

      A simple answer will suffice.

      And my exercise with Emeritus John has been sitting here waiting to be fired for months. Not hyp[ocrisy at all - that is what a proper upper cut into the solar plexis looks like. Or it could have been a three by two.

      Now off you go and demonstrate your grasp of stats. We share no interests or causes in common I'm afraid.

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    24. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "the New Regime...a short term issue."

      At least you make a falsifiable claim. Good luck in three years.

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  3. Decortes Fleur

    Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

    If one views the immediate evidence of Tea Party advertisements against OBAMACARE the rational argument is not important. Tea Party have spent hundreds of millions of US Dollars on a 'visual' endorsement campaign enforcing the notion that Obamacare will cost somebody.

    If the same 'SUPERB VALIDATION were employed in 'advertising' climate change and just what is said and by whom...the high visual resonance would certainly eclipse 'Fat Al' as his audience are radio only.
    Lachlan Murdochm Andrew…

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

    sole parent

    Thanks Clive I appreciate your concise historic assessment.

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  5. Frances Kendall

    logged in via Facebook

    Thanks,Terry on behalf of my grandies. I've often wondered when we see our politicians walking around using their children as added attractions, if they ever consider those children's futures.

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  6. Christopher Seymour

    Business owner

    The problem is not really about climate science deniers. The problem is that climate change proponents have failed to convince a majority of ordinary people in either Western democracies or developing countries that action is necessary.

    I think there are several reasons for the scepticism among the public:
    - climate change appears to be the next in a long line of calamity predictions that have failed to materialise - such as resource limits (Club of Rome), energy crisis (peak oil), environmental…

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Roughly 99% bullshit and repetition of slogans and PRATTs there Christopher.

      The case has been put calmly and clearly so many times I've lost count. It has been aggressively attacked each time.

      Sensible STARTER policies, like carbon pricing, have been put forward and, where enacted, show evidence of early success. Yes, as with any conceivable policy or program, there are problems - there are risks of rorting and no policy produces immediate, perfect or sufficient results. But they were a useful start. Net result: everybody (frankly including you) complains that they fail to fix everything imediately in one easy cost-free move. Meanwhile, back in the real world...

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    2. David Osmond
      David Osmond is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Wind Engineer

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Hi Christopher, I'm not sure if the ozone layer was a good example to illustrate your point. Scientists identified that human emissions, primarily of CFCs were damaging the ozone layer, and eventually the Montreal Protocol was devised to help fix the issue.

      If only the same could happen with CO2 emissions....

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    3. Christopher Seymour

      Business owner

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Another reason that people don't believe the proponents of action on AGW is the sheer arrogance and rudeness of the responses. The basic fact is that proponents of action are not getting the message out, while the so called "deniers" are. Resort to rudeness and ad hominem attacks (like denigrating the audience of certain radio presenters) is counter productuive.
      Its not enough to right on your side, you need to argue persuasively in a manner that doesn't antagonise your audience. Basic politics and public relations 101 really.

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    4. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Yes, we all know that Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt are famed for their politeness and decorum towards those they disagree with.

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    5. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Christopher, what you forget, conveniently ignore or don't realise is the vast amounts of patient, polite reasoning that have been provided over many years, only to be drowned out by the screeching of the Andrew Bolts of the world.

      There is a huge body of calm, clear, written-for-the-layperson material (not least some of the papers produced by the former Climate Commission) available.

      There have been charismatic communicators - think people like Attenborough - who have done their best.

      What…

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    6. Geoffrey Henley

      Research Associate

      In reply to Account Deleted

      Just like Clive Hamilton!

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      "The problem is that climate change proponents have failed to convince a majority of ordinary people in either Western democracies or developing countries that action is necessary."

      Lies get half way around the world before the truth gets its boots on.

      The problem is that it doesn't matter how good the information is to try to convince ordinary people what the problem is, if there are people who are willing to lie about the issue then the efforts of the former will come to nothing. Substantial action will not occur without honest co-operation. Honest co-operation is easily sabotaged by a dishonest minority.

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    8. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      "and financial catastrophes ("Crash of 1975")"

      You give me the feeling you've been under a rock for the past 5 years.

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    9. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      "the changing policies from political leaders. Kevin Rudd said "Climate Change is the biggest Moral Challenge of our lifetime", but the Labor Party went to the next election promissing no carbon tax"

      The Labor Party promised a cap on carbon emissions at that election (which means a Carbon price). So there was no repudiation of "the biggest Moral Challenge of our lifetime".

      But obviously you weren't paying attention.

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    10. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      I don't recall Clive ever calling for the death of those he disliked.

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    11. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix,
      Ask yourself why it has been attacked.
      People do not sit idly about, waiting for something to attack. They get wary when they see poor science. There is plenty of that in the climate world.
      One aspect of poor science, seen time after time, is a form of "wishing" a result from a set of observations, usually a result that fits the cause.
      The adjustment of past temperature records is a very good example. Some of the adjusters are simply calling millions of past thermometer readings wrong…

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    12. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Christopher Seymour

      Perhaps the real problem is that the proponents of action on Global warming are plainly just appealing to totalitarian action like governing under martial law.
      It is very easy to piss on the feet of clay of this idol and it should fall.
      No, it is the totalitarian extremism of single issue environmentalism which attracts the antagonism of the so-called deniers.
      Politics not science.
      Ironically the political Greens , as opposed to the "pure" ones, put participatory democracy, economic and social justice , and peace forward as the principled means to save the environment.
      That is why the Political Greens are reviled by the "pure" conservationists; peace, justice and democracy are anathema to the totalitarian mindset.

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    13. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      The science of the "Ozone hole" is a beaut example of decision making based on too little knowledge.
      It might take a century or more to reveal the natural behaviour patterns of the ozone layer.
      Only when this is known will the effect of Man be able to be quantified. Nobody can possibly say at this stage whether Man was having an effect.
      ...........................
      Ditto 'climate change'.

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    14. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Look Harold just want to say how PROUD I was to be an Australian and see Julie Bishop Chair the UN Security Council this week in New York.
      What a great outcome she got.
      Perhaps even Princess Diana could be proud of this outcome.

      If you were to go and live in a country like China - Shanghai for example - where occasionally you just wear a smog mask and hope it will be ok there would be no troubling' science, there.

      I sense that Harold Shervington craves to speak with own kind who LOVE to hear what 'tampering' Harold Shervington is up to ....

      But its not clear.
      Who is HS wanting to convince?
      And why?
      If there is no 'drama' to be concerned with ?
      There is a mountain of a REPORT from the IPCC - a United Nations Body tasked with an Intergovernmental report on Climate Change - are they all LIKE US....flailing in our 'want'.....what a crackhead this guy 'Harold' is at times.

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  7. Chris Harries

    logged in via Facebook

    Climate change is o longer about science. On that Clive is totally correct. The science is done and dusted. Any additions of science just helps to solidify the evidence.

    I feel for the hard working science crowd who see the evidence before their eyes, and are frightened by what they see, and who think if they keep on telling everyone about what they are seeing then the people will just come around.

    I feel for all those good folk, because Clive is correct, it's not like that. No amount of solid scientific evidence can turn around a mindset that doesn't want to listen.

    But the science folk have to dutifully go on with their work regardless of being heard or not.

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    1. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris, the science is never done and dusted. If it was, the computer models used to predict climate change would have predicted the oft talked about 15 year slow-down in the atmospheric warming rate. That represents about 9% of the post industrial revolution period around which AGW centres.

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris Harries

      I think you are correct Chris.

      There are some people who will you will never convince. There still many around who think that there is a god in the sky, or that the earth is only 6 thousand years old, or that evolution does not occur.

      Scientists will continue to do there work - perhaps less so in countries with idiots in charge who don't like to fund science if the facts challenge their ideologies. And despite that, the world will keep aging totally devoid of any supernaturaly cosmic influence, evolution will still occur, and the heat content of the climate system will continue to rise.

      One day, our policy makers will be greeted with the simply fact that they have delayed action beyond the point when reasonable steps could have been taken to alleviate the problem, and nothing short of drastic measures will be required. Maybe this will come in my lifetime - but it certainly will come in my children's. It is them I feel for.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to John Phillip

      Don't feed trolls repeating nonsense that has already been refuted many times.

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "the oft talked about"

      and statistically insignificant

      "15 year slow-down in the atmospheric warming rate"

      The past 15, 16, 17 years of data do not even reject the null hypothesis of the same average rate of warming as the past 40 years.

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    5. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "The past 15, 16, 17 years of data do not even reject the null hypothesis of the same average rate of warming as the past 40 years."

      We should be in a global cooling period now. The last statistically significant one of those ended in 1951. Global cooling RIP.

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris,
      Please expand on "the science is done and dusted".
      People get called deniers because they disagree with you.
      Do you have a rational basis for your comment, one that we can share?
      Frankly, I do not know of any science that a good scientist would regards as done and dusted.
      Advances in understanding have a bad habit of proving your assertion wrong.

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Well, wise Mike,
      Perhaps you could list the top 5 criteria in your mind, that could be usefully used to trigger action.
      Tell us what Man has done to your World that calls for change in our ways.

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,
      Can you not look at a graph of the data and conclude that THERE HAS BEEN NO WARMING???
      What is means, this plateau, is still being debated.
      Some of your converted buddies say that it should be even cooler by now, according to their models.
      I say that their models are not good.
      Some of your buddies say we are still warming if you select earlier start dates. This is correct, but not usefully correct.
      Some of your buddies say that we are using wrong tests for significance.
      I say that you…

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    9. Kevin Smith

      Business Adviser

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, according to my email notifications, you have posted 11 comments here since I made what I thought was a simple request for a link to the evidence supporting your claim that global cooling is occurring, not global warming. (Too quick, make that 12). Do you think you will be able to provide that link any time soon?

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    10. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "....Well, wise Mike...."

      Why thank you Geoffrey. It's good to see you are learning to respect your betters. The answer to your questions should have been obvious I thought - but as you say, you lack the wisdom and need guidance.

      So here is what you should do. Tomorrow, when the IPCC report is issued, you should read it. Then you should take careful note of all the reference papers, and read them as well.

      I appreciate that reading and understanding are different things, and you apparently lack the education and skills necessary to translate information into knowledge. But nonetheless, if you continue down the path of enlightenment that I have laid out for you, eventually the scales will fall from your eyes, you will shed your ignorance, and begin to approach the wisdom that has been granted to us non-deniers.

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    11. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "Can you not look at a graph of the data and conclude that THERE HAS BEEN NO WARMING???"

      OF COURSE NOT!!!

      The null hypothesis "there has been no warming" has not been rejected by 15, 16, 17 years of data.

      BUT NEITHER IS IT CONFIRMED BECAUSE THE NULL HYPOTHESIS IS "NEVER ACCEPTED OR PROVED":

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_hypothesis

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    12. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoff,

      In answer, do you not accept the scientific proof that the Earth revolves around the sun?

      Do you not believe the scientific proof that we humans are a member of the primate family?

      Do you not believe scientific proof that smoking cigarettes causes cancer.

      I won't go on and on.... but there are multiple examples where science had gone as far as it can and barely needs an everlasting debate to keep proving the bleeding obvious.

      Climate science and evolutionary science are about as rock solid as each other. And, yes, I remember my school days when evolutionary science was hotly disputed. Today that hostility has withered to nothing.

      Geoff, with respect, in 10 years time let's meet up again and see where we sit?

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    13. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, How are you. Can you tell the readers exactly what difference action by Australia to reduce emissions will have on global warming?

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    14. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "the models fail to predict it?"

      Fail to predict what?

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    15. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "what difference action by Australia to reduce emissions will have"

      Out of proportion to its population.

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    16. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Failed to predict the levelling off of atmospheric warming that has been observed over the past 15 years.
      One of the reasons that's been suggested for this is that the heating has shifted to the oceans. Why did the models not predict this shift?

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    17. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris,
      It does not matter what I believe.
      I am swayed by a good demonstration of science.
      You might use the word "proof" wrongly. There are two possible meanings of interest here. One is that a proof is an absolute, conclusive demonstration of an assertion that will stand testing for all time. There are very few of these in the history of science. The other meaning is that a "proof" is an exercise to support a hypothesis, especially as used in mathematics, like a proof of Fermat's last theory…

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    18. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "...,.It does not matter what I believe....."

      A very neat summary Geoffrey. Glad you have finally come to grips with what we have been saying for some time.

      How is your reading of the IPCC report and all the reference papers going? Learnt anything yet?

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    19. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "the levelling off of atmospheric warming that has been observed over the past 15 years"

      There is no statistically significant levelling off of atmospheric warming in the past 15 years.

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    20. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      Australia's emissions are out of proportion to its population. Shouldn't be difficult for emission reductions to be the same.

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    21. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris, we produce around 1% of global CO2 emissions and, as China and India increase their emissions, that value (as a percentage) is falling. What effect will the government's 5% or the Greens 40% reduction targets have on global warming - specifically the 2degree target? Your concept of proportionality needs to be quantified. Proportional with relevance to whose emissions output? What figures have to be reached to achieve your stated goal that "emission reductions to be the same"?

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    22. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      You're wrong on that score, Chris. The levelling off is one of the problems confronting the IPCC and there have a few theories proposed to explain it. The period is 9% of the time period from 1850 which is not statistically insignificant. The concern is the models upon which the projections are being made failed to predict this slowdown in the rate of warming.

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    23. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,
      While the inability of models to predict the plateau is a concern, the greater concern is whether the original assumptions about GHG are correct.
      That is, is the greenhouse gas effect on climate either insignificant or zero?
      (Of course, we have developed such a large industry around assuming GHG are a strong influence that the inertia is large; but that does not make GHG theory correct.)
      Indeed, if you stop back a pace and look at the data and various interpretations, you should, as a scientist…

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    24. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Yep ... wrong data, wrong observations, wrong facts, wrong models, wrong statistics, wrong chemistry, wrong physics, wrong wrong wrong ... one wonders how they ever got past year 12 these climate scientists.... I'd be all for taking my bearing on the future of the climate from a retired quarry operator out in the shed with a calculator... wouldn't you?

      So with that wisdom in mind, we've put our feelers out to see if we can lure a real heavyweight in climate science to join up with our Men's Shed Collaborative Research Centre here in Woolibuddha ... Frank Finlay used to run an earthmoving business just out of town and he's had a lot to do with rocks and gravel in his time. I'll put him in touch.

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    25. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Phillip

      John,
      Thank you for the reference.
      I'm really not interested in doctored graph comparisons.
      A good scientist would put the Y-axis lower point at zero, or note the truncations; more, a good scientist would not doctor graphs to invite an eyeball conclusion, but would do a proper mathematical analysis of the variables.
      Given that CO2 is a dense gas that tends to reside in topographic pockets over land, where it can be in far higher concentrations than at Mauna Loa, where it can do real work to heat the surface (if you believe in that theory), I wonder why the Mauna Loa values were selected for this graph?
      Selected in another way also. Frequently, there is rejection of values that do not fit the expectation of the response at Mauna Loa.
      I prefer to deal in hard science, not a PR interpretation of it.

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    26. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Part of Australia per capital tally is because we are a large country with long travel distances.
      Do you assign a blame and call for a penalty for that?

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    27. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to John Phillip

      John Philip

      John, I did indeed find that paper interesting, if for no other reason than for the graphs. As you observed, there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature in the sense of a scientific association - deviations in the temperature are absolutely NOT related to the constantly increasing CO2 density and at either end the graphs diverge remarkably. All one can say is that the for a time in the middle both are increasing, so what!

      In the case of the ocean heat uptake, there appears…

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    28. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Why aren't we seeing such insightful brilliance appearing in the lions' den of the perr-reviewed literature - where your professional climatology wallahs can have an informed opinion to consider?

      Oh that's right ... not your audience the scientists are they John.... not wanting to improve the science or correct it - you want it debunked, trashed, thrown out, abandoned.

      There you have it folks ... the Scientific Method a la John Nichol... and remember - your opinions don't matter. So don't react ... let them just have a cuddle in privacy.

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    29. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      No, you're wrong.

      The average rate of global warming for the past 40 years is 0.17 deg C/decade (GISSTemp).

      In the last 15 years, the rate of warming was 0.084±0.136 deg C/decade.

      To reject the null hypothesis of 0.17 deg C/decade (and thus show a statistically significant slow down) the upper confidence limit from the last 15 years has to be LESS THAN 0.17 deg C/decade.

      In actual fact it is 0.084+0.136=0.220 deg C/decade.

      So the null hypothesis of 0.17 deg C/decade is not rejected and as such there is no statistically significant slowdown in the rate of global warming.

      QED.

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    30. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "we produce around 1% of global CO2 emissions"

      Closer to 1.2%.

      Our population is around 0.33% of the world's.

      Therefore our emissions are out of proportion to our population.

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    31. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      By the way, people may have some interest in trying to explain statistically insignificant changes but that does not in any shape or form change the fact that the changes are statistically insignificant.

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    32. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Good grief Mr O'Neill, your statistical incompetence is gold standard and will surely be hallmarked in the near future. It would be sad if it wasn't so hilarious. The null hypothesis is that nothing has changed, that is there has been no warming or cooling. The word null is German for zero, and the Latin nullus means none. Geddit, zero, 0, zip, niente and not any other number you might like to pluck out of your ..er.. thin air.

      You tell us that, "In actual fact it is 0.084+0.136=0.220 deg C/decade…

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    33. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to John Phillip

      You weren't the only one struggling Grumpy Old Man. Mr O'Neill has been clueless on this topic for a year or more and is clearly struggling himself. But altruistic as ever, I have recommended a good starting text for him to read. He'll get there.

      Eventually.

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    34. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Thank you Grant,
      You beat me to it.
      There are examples from IPCC where errors are shown only as precision scatter, with no mention of any bias that should be considered.
      For example, over the years and in different versions, the graphs showing how well CMIP models track actual temperatures, displace one parameter in relation to the other seemingly in a desire to make the graphs suggest a correlation that is not there. This in effect means that they are playing fast and loose with the concept of bias, in both senses, the PR and the scientific.
      It is just sooo amateurish.

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    35. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Look out Grant you've managed to convert old Geoff to your cause. It's not only the 'warmistas' with a limited grasp of things statistic... move away quietly ... no sudden moves.

      My only comment - a sad waste of a good brain. Yours not his... I hope you find something satisfying to point it at.

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    36. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "The null hypothesis is that nothing has changed"

      No you clown. ANYTHING can be chosen for a null hypothesis. It is simply the hypothesis that is tested by the data.

      "The word null is German for zero"

      Whoopee doo. Only a simpleton thinks this means the null hypothesis must have a term in it that means "zero".

      "Now include the lower confidence level."

      Whoopee doo again. 0.17 degrees C/decade is still within the confidence interval.

      And it's Dr. O'Neill to you, Burfield.

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    37. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "Thanks for the info"

      That should be "Thanks for the disinfo".

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    38. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      My humble apologies Dr O'Neill. I didn't realise we both had PostholeDiggers. It doesn't appear on your profile but maybe that was an oversight or more likely, you are too humble. Anyway Dr O'Neill if you can waive your modesty, I'm sure the commenters here would be falling over themselves to learn what research your doctoral dissertation addressed.

      You say - "Whoopee doo again. 0.17 degrees C/decade is still within the confidence interval." Well that is truly astonishing! Fancy a trend line falling within its confidence intervals. Normally confidence intervals, by definition, do not contain the trend line associated with them. You really must write this research up, Dr O'Neill. This could turn statistics in its head, even though the lower confidence level is less than zero.

      Again Dr O'Neill, my apologies for calling you Mr O'Neill. I do try so hard to get these sort of academic formalities correct.

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    39. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Wow Grant, Geoffrey,John & John

      You guys...

      So sciencey and all.

      Name the science and, like, you're across it.

      Geniuses all. Why haven't the IPCC signed you up? - you're clearly capable of writing words and numbers, even copy down the occasional equation, gosh.

      I bet when you go to your GP, you argue the results of your MRI, Lab tests, X-ray until you hear the result you want and if you don't hear it, you keep going till find someone you agree with.

      How do you do it?

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    40. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      They all wear little special suits under their academic robes ... like marvel comic superheroes ... leaping disciplines at a single bound, faster than a speeding fraudband...fearlessly going where no expertise has led before, bravely venturing into the lions' den of peer reviewed literature and tearing down anything and anyone in their path... heroes in their own lounge rooms Ms A.

      Comes from leading unfulfilled and disappointing lives... so they invent a new one ... bringing an adolsecent form of militancy into their dotage. Born again superheroes.

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    41. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dr Arthur (now c'mon you've got one haven't you, everyone else here has (-:)), my only issue in posting was that IMHO Dr O'Neill's statistical "analysis" is a crock of shite.

      If you agree with his AR(1) trend and confidence interval analysis and his unique and hitherto unheard of theory of hypothesis testing then that's fine. But sadly I'll have to mark you down accordingly. If you disagree with my points on this then please tell me why. I'm sure you're more than capable of pointing out the flaws in my analysis without too much effort.

      So it's over to you blue leader, I'm all ears.

      BTW, I played golf with my GP today (and he beat me).

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    42. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Maybe even simpletons can realise the null hypothesis doesn't have to have a term in it that means "zero".

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    43. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      There is no problem in the analysis to test his null hypothesis. It just had nothing to do with testing the null hypothesis I was talking about.

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    44. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Your posts are getting shorter and shorter and more obtuse Dr O'Neill. The hypothesis testing game is over. Toss the sponge in and have an early shower.

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    45. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Jeez, Dianna. I thought that asking questions was crucial to science. The ridiculing of those who ask questions is best left to the religious zealots, no? Dianna, if you don't get a second opinion for a major medical condition, you need to have a good hard look at yourself.

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    46. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Well, well Dr O'Neill. Two hypotheses to test whether there has been any statistically significant warming over the last 15 years. Yours and the rest of the scientific world.

      Are you a gambling man? What odds is Tom Waterhouse giving? You could make a killing on your long shot if it got up.

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    47. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "Maybe even simpletons can realise the null hypothesis doesn't have to have a term in it that means "zero"."

      "Toss the sponge in"

      Of course, some simpletons don't.

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    48. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      "Two hypotheses to test whether there has been any statistically significant warming over the last 15 years."

      You're not very bright if you think they're both testing the same thing.

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    49. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      No I wouldn't actually include you in that spray Grant ...(I know too many to put much truck in 'em... a lot of PhD theses are much harder to read than they are to write) ...

      So no no doctorate or letters required. I'll stand on my own two pins - no pomp or props required - thanks for the appelation.

      I have worked with some maths wallahs and I do realise that they have a wide range of applications - a swiss army knife sort of discipline... unlike geologists , quarry operators, mining engineers…

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    50. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Depends who they're asking really John and indeed whether they are 'asking' at all ... that's one of the interesting aspects of this trench warfare style of chatteryu ... not much asking at all really - just mortar fire and the lobbing of poorly grasped or invented data in all directions ...

      But just going off to the site of comfort - depending on one's predilections - and girding up one's resolved with suitably reassuring answers ain't really asking either is it... it's gathering rocks to defend a predetermined outcome.

      But the best of all are the DIYers who - alone in their sheds can turn our physics on its ear, re-write the rules and overturn all this whitecoated professional theorising. They question nothing - particularly their own capacities and omniscience.

      So yeah some questions of those who know would be really nice, please that way we all might actually learn something about the issue. Me I'm more interested in studying the argument than the data.

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    51. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I think the data is the argument. The inability or unwillingness of so many to provide or explain the numbers has to raise questions about their understanding of the data or the veracity of the argument.

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    52. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      That would be nice if it was true John... but watch what happens here today ... there will be no attacks from these 'sciencey puritans' on the data presented above... rather they will spew out the allegations, distortions and fabrications they've found on their chosen sites of comfort and reassurance. They will not in fact comment on the charts and data presented. Would that they would or could ... we might all learn something.

      Even better, they could ask the author some questions... seek information rather than reaching for stones to pelt such heresy.

      But sadly seeking information, explanation and expansion is not the name of the game at all... far from it ... this is about orthodoxy, belief and public stoning.

      Have a crack at it - read the above and pick those bits you do not fully understand and ask a question ... admitting such is not a great loss of public face - in fact it confirms one as a seeker of truth in the public eye.. at least in mine.

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  8. R. Ambrose Raven

    none

    A very recent re-assessment of “The Limits to Growth” found that actual data from 1970 to 2000 closely matched the trends predicted in its “business-as-usual” scenario. Thus the tipping point for non-renewable resources as a group was about 1910; since then we have simply been using technology to maximise the extraction rate of a diminishing resource. For that pathway, the model forecast complete social and economic collapse by mid-21st century, with the tipping point at 2020.

    There are those who think the fact that "97% of scientists support the science of climate change is hardly scientific proof". By such a standard, then, 97% of people not wanting to stand in front of a fast-moving train would not qualify as proof that doing so might be dangerous.

    Denialists do sometimes make exposure easy for honest people.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to R. Ambrose Raven

      You'd think that the new assessment by the IPCC which has moved on from "very likely" and "extremely likely", 90% and 95% probability, to "virtually certain" (99% probability), will not make any difference to some people. I wonder if 100% would make any difference, it's not on the scale, but you'd have to think there'd be screams of falsity and demands for disbanding the IPCC as a failed body. I think Peter is right, ignoring them is the only option. I nearly responded to a comment based on lies and poor research about a TF quote. It's like smoking, one "ignore" at a time.

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    2. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Good point Alice.

      Problem is that the science folk say are 95% certain that the problem is real. By contrast, the sceptics crowd are absolutely 100 percent certain that the problem is not real.

      If scientists express 100 percent certitide they are accused of as being dogmatic.

      If they express any level of doubt (even on finer points of analysis) they are accused of being in total disarray.

      Nobody ever asks the sceptics crowd to put a figure on their certitude. That's partly because the sceptics crowd is rather anarchic and has no representative body, but also because the minute they admit any level of uncertainty they expose their argument to academic rigour, and that's not their strong point.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris, another way of putting it, is that the last 1% scientific opinion hanging in there is considered to be "exceptionably unlikely", so why waste time on their representatives here. The fight is probably with the media. And I do think some fighting is worthy.

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    4. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice,
      Those % figures are not derived by any recognised statistical process. So far as can be ascertained by outsiders looking in, they are nothing more that opinionated guesswork by people other than the scientists who gather the original IPCC data.
      Some of these re-writers have a history of activism that ought exclude them from participating.
      Here is an articles listing a few, by no means all:
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323981304579079030750537994.html
      ..............................
      A predictable outcome is: This is not science, it is advocacy.

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris,
      You are correct that many sceptics have no organised representation.
      I can add to that, there is no organised funding by Big Oil or anyone else, of such people. Most are volunteers. You ought to give them credit for expending effort to try to right wrongs in the science.

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  9. R. Ambrose Raven

    none

    Or, consider the increasing number of climate change victims here in Australia (and the severity of the impact on them) - versus the denial of that number and severity by business and the politicians they own, who want "business as usual.

    Consider three issues that stand out from the 2009 and 2011Queensland flood and Christchurch earthquake disasters:
    1. dishonest, mean and tricky insurers. Profit-seeking insurance company attitudes to claims was so bad that Choice made the insurance industry…

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  10. alexander j watt

    logged in via Twitter

    Great article.

    "Once the debate shifted from the realm of science to the realm of culture, facts were defeated."

    I feel there is a shift though, as you point out climate skeptics seem to be in a gradually shrinking pool and will soon be all flapping about in the mud under the glare of a hot hot body of evidence.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to alexander j watt

      Alexander,
      Don't you think it is time for this evidence to appear? There seems to have been billions spent finding it. It must be poor evidence if it does not yield to inquiry.
      Maybe the wrong hypothesis is being tested?

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  11. Dave McRae

    logged in via Twitter

    Grim reading Clive, and I so wish you are wrong, but I fear not.

    Yesterday's ABC 7:30 report case in point - if not denial (the" oh it's uncertain" sort of denial followed by "is really IPCC a good organisation to" in a sly move to undermine the organisation and thus the report and science.

    It will rarely get scientists on and if so, their input will be 1 tenth of the time given to cranks - last night it was Franks, never published a paper on this topic but willing to do the luke warmer so ABC transmits all of his opinions and bum-plucks as facts.

    There's no way that the populace will get much of the report without accompanying undermining of it.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Dave McRae

      Dave, Iv'e already made a complaint about the quality of that "debate", did so the other day to "the drum". And made suggestions to 4 corners, one on the reality of the science, and another a history of climate denial is the US, which then joined forces with Australian interest groups. I think it shouldn't be too hard to ask for a better detailed discussion about this issue from the ABC than the one we've been getting. They welcome suggestions. So I'm not limiting myself to discussion here.

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Dave McRae

      Franks was embarrassing - an academic repeating undergraduate canards about consensus on national media without being challenged was...i can't think of the word...disappointing? inadequate? incompetent?..tak eyour pick...

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    3. Dave McRae

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      I should follow your lead Alice. I do suspect ABC doesn't care, or worse, know exactly what they're doing. But just in case..

      Felix, exactly. But not unexpected. The ABC also pulled him out as "climatologist" to question Suzuki at QandA - either Franks fibbed to ABC or ABC fibbed.

      He's a known denier .. and it pays well to misrepresent himself and science according to SourceWatch
      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Stewart_Franks
      http://www.desmogblog.com/stewart-franks

      I do suspect ABC knows that he has no climate papers and only stick is to misrepresent science whilst flogging himself as a climatologist.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Dave McRae

      Dave I also think they've lost the ability to report on science in a factual manner, which they used to do as a public broadcaster, and are caught in a perverse argument style, devoid of reality, and politicised to give some sort of meat to an argument which doesn't exist between writing the credited IPCC papers. Very current affair. Colourful with flashing lights. I pointed out to them he is a reviewer only. They should stick to the authors who are many. And I also think it is reasonable to call out this nonsense as a (public duty), and urge others to do the same, because I believe it is a war against stupid science, stupid debate, and stupid vested interests.

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    5. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      I was so annoyed with ABC's 7.30 Report that I'm committed to not watching that show again. The ABC once had a social value in balancing the more extreme media. In its effort to shore up its government funding it is has lurched so much towards the style and approach of commercial media it is rapidly becoming a look-alike, aside from the lack of ads.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Tell them Chris, what started it for me, was listening to the drum while doing mundane stuff around the house. The level of debate about the importance of the CC and T.F. was no different than a polite form of Alan Jones. It's not different to sending off notes here. The point being that all the misinformation about the science, which has been coordinated as a form of attack by lobby groups, has impacted the style of news, we now get. We have nothing to lose personally, but much to lose collectively. We all feel disempowered by the politicised culture of this attack on scientific credibility. But just tell them huh?

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    7. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Sure thing, Alice. If, through it's dumbing down, the ABC gets better ratings then that may be what they will do... keep dumbing down. That's the worry. But they still need to hear from irate viewers. If the ABC can't provide balanced science programs there's almost no mass media to turn to.

      My reckoning is that the ABC's biggest risk by far is that it will lose much of its disillusioned TV audience to various other digital media forms.

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    8. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Dave McRae

      Option 2 is that Franks is a good scientist reporting misgivings, as a good scientist should.
      Can you tell between these options?

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    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dave McRae

      It is a disgrace that UTAS should see itself represented by such anti-science and posturing.

      I suspect that rather than conduct any sort debate with this character we would be better served - the maters in discussion would be better servefd - by ensuring that those organisations that provide a veneer of legitimacy are made aware of our concerns for the institution and its reputation.

      Let us see them all working as fellows of the IPA where they rightly and Rightly belong.

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    10. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Dave McRae

      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Stewart_Franks

      One of the denialist arguments not mentioned here that Franks put up on 7.30 was "there are thousands of dissenting scientists" which is the Oregon petition.

      7.30 is a sham current affairs program but at least the journalism is better on Mediawatch. Unfortunately the scope of Mediawatch is quite limited.

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    11. Dave McRae

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "Can you tell between these options?"

      Good Question. I think it's obvious if you followed the sourcewatch or desmogblog links I posted.

      But it is easy to answer.

      The simple key is the number of papers published in fair dinkum science journals (Science, Nature, PNAS etc,) on the topic of climate. Franks has none, Yet some claim he has much to share with the world, then why doesn't he.

      It'll be like a debate on car handling and they get some opinionated joker who has never driven a car but thinks he's good at it over people who drive for a living. What is that?

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  12. Steve Gleeson

    Project Manager

    Clive,

    "Once the debate shifted from the realm of science to the realm of culture, facts were defeated" - unfortunately, it was people like Professor Tim Flannery and his culture motivated extreme predictions, that have proven to be totally wrong, that have given the deniers the fuel they need.

    Whenever any scientist persuades themself "to be fearful using abstract information" and releases this information to the public, it will naturally be received with an air of cautious skepticism. Nothing wrong with that but in Flannery's case, he went too far and made predictions of dire straits and greatly influenced Government policy and economic balance. He did the cause no good at all.

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    1. Steve Gleeson

      Project Manager

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      So Sydney has run out of water and Warragamba Dam is dry is it? etc. etc?

      Scientists should present the facts and then use them to justify their theoretical conclusions of possible consequences but not present the possible consequences as facts as Flannery did.

      The facts are that Flannery made incorrect predictions that influenced Government regulations. That is not a theory, it is a fact that cannot be refuted because it is a fact of the past. What is also a fact is that some individual scientists within the IPCC also were deceitful in release of information.

      Flannery tried to inculcate a culture of fear instead of open minded rational debate. This is why he has harmed the cause of good environmental management.

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Ryan Farquharson

      Nailed it Ryan!

      I shall be accused of hysteria, but the REAL mistake that has been made by the 'environmental movement' (whatever that's supposed to mean) and the 'scientific community' (ditto) has been simply to fail to reason that we are under attack.

      It's not a debate, it's a war.

      The sooner we face up to that ugly, disturbing fact, the sooner we can work out effective defences and, eventually, counter-attacks.

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    2. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Ryan Farquharson

      Sounds pretty settled then. Anyone who holds an opinion contrary to yours is either stupid or sinfully greed. Clive must be proud of you.

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  13. Alexander Rosser

    Philosopher

    "the grim truth is that the world will give up its childish tendency to block its ears against the scientists’ unpleasant warnings only when we see large numbers of white-shrouded American bodies, the victims of climatic disasters."

    Sorry, but the huge numbers of gun deaths in America are having negligable on their gun laws. So why should climate deaths change opinion? They won't.

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    1. David Maddern

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alexander Rosser

      Alexander, that has already happened (white shrouded bodies) when New York was flooded by a Hurricane, in concert with a high tide. Memphis was the same.
      In the past weather people saw hurricanes swerve round New York, but now everything is that bit warmer they don't.

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

      sole parent

      In reply to David Maddern

      You could say the same about Queensland a few years ago David. They've coined a new term for what happened there, brown ocean cyclone, the storms feed on water from the land, intensify, and keep going.

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  14. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

    Boss

    There is only one paper needed to convince the world that climate change is not natural
    That would be an engineering standard paper where there is a quantitative and undeniable link, able to be replicated by others, between GHG concentrations in the air and temperature change in some valid part of the atmosphere or the Earth's near-surface.
    The absence of such data - inherently critical to all global warming theory - shows the hypothesis to be a sham.
    Current attempts, for example, those using…

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    1. Alastair Leith

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      We will take your submission as your offer to "volunteer to hop out of the kitchen", Boss. First time I've seen a sock-puppet call himself a Boss but there you go.

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    2. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      1) What is an "engineering standard paper"?
      2) There are a huge number of published, peer reviewed climate models, which are just a lot of mathematical calculations, produced by independent groups and checked by other groups, demonstrating the quantitative link between GHG concentrations and temperature. These include prominent former skeptics who have been convinced by their own mathematical analysis, such as Richard Muller (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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    3. Dave McRae

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      I think I'm feeding a troll, but just in case..

      Been done .. CO2 Meter

      Google that term, check out the manufacturers' specs. Some are pretty cheap, 50ppm resolution for $150.

      It has an IR source, LED, radiated over the air gap being measured, detector that measures the energy loss over the air gap and from that calc CO2 concentration.

      It does happen, and that's why deniers do look stupid to anyone who knows how a CO2 meter works and wish the media would ask them how they think the meter does work.

      Find out how a CO2 laser works too. I'd love to get a denier in front of one. It will answer a question similar to could a gravity denier fall?

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    4. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Account Deleted

      James,
      You were not to know this, but I cleaned up a large spread sheet of Australian climate data for a guy working with BEST and sent it over. Many, many hours of detailed work.
      So far as I can tell, BEST ignored it. If they used their original, they would not get the right answer.

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    5. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Account Deleted

      James,
      I'm not asking if there are papers showing the link between GHG and temperature.
      An engineering standard paper would be one that is so clear and concise that if remediation of climate by Man changing the GHG concentration in the air was considered, then engineers would know how much to change GHG to get a specified temperature change.
      I am asking for the name of a paper that does this.
      After decades of looking, I have been unable to find one.
      This is strange, because this matter is so…

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Dave McRae

      Dave,
      1. cell in the lab has enclosures that take up some of the heat produced. I'm looking for a quantitative link between GHG and temperature in the open spaces of the atmosphere. Strange that nobody can recite one.
      2. You could not know this, but I spent 2 years researching CO2 and YAG lasers in conjunction with Rofin-Sinar of Germany, about a decade ago. The CO2 laser was excited by radio frequency waves that do not happen in nature in a comparable way. It is possible that I know a great deal more about them than you do.

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    7. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Alastair Leith

      He did not call himself that. TC selected the name.

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    8. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "Where is the hot spot in the Tropical troposphere that was touted as a prime test of the GHG hypothesis?"

      The tropical troposphere hotspot has nothing directly to do with GHGs.

      Geoffrey fails.

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    9. Account Deleted

      logged in via email @drdrb.net

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      It sounds like you are looking for a paper or papers specifying tye formula for equilibrium climate sensitivity. There is a vast literature on this topic, so it seems you haven't looked very hard. The IPCc summarises this literature as stating that a doubling in CO2 equivalent levels from pre-industrial times will result in 3 +/- 1.5 degees of warming, or, to put it another way, the equilibeium surface temperature increases by 0.8 K per W/m^2 of forcing. This is really quite well-known stuff and I fnd your crowing over its supposed absence bizarre when it is in every iPCc report.

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    10. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Account Deleted

      James,
      I asked for a single paper that gives a quantitative relationship.
      Nobody seems to know one, which is rather surprising.
      A figure of "3 +/- 1.5" is not a quantitative estimate. It is an arm-waving guess. This is the best result from many millions of dollars of research and it's a fail.
      More technically, it's a fail because error estimation takes into account only the "precision" component, derived statistically (and often wrongly) from replicated data. There is no inclusion of "bias" errors…

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    11. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Account Deleted

      James,
      It is not me who is denying the existence of a quantitative link between CO2 and temperature.
      Here are the words from the IPCC just released:
      "The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multi-century time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C…

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    12. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey Sherrington

      Of course the reason that the IPCC has such wide ranging estimates for the "climate sensitivity" - 1.5 to 4.5, a factor of three for those who struggle with sums, and hardly a demonstration of accuracy which any real scientist could be proud of - is that they have been unable to meet the normal and essential requirement in testing for experimental accuracy..

      In AR4 Section 8.1.2.2, they said they were "just about to consider" carrying out such testing by using the most…

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    13. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Excellent the hecklers have started chatting amongst themselves. Glad you're back John...

      Two quick simple requests:

      (1) A link to any evidence supporting your oft-repeated claim to be an 'emeritus professor' at James Cook University
      (2) A list of your peer reviewed publications - preferably on climate science, global warming or similar.

      Many thanks,

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    14. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Nicol

      "testing for experimental accuracy"

      That won't be a problem. The experiment should be completed within the next 100 years.

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    15. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde

      Peter I have already replied to your request and

      (1) - not "oft repeated, stated once by another persons in error, but intending to be respectful, having noted my retirement

      (2) The most crucial publications for the debate ensuing everywhere on climate, will always relate to the quantum mechanically determined behaviour of an absorbing and radiating gas, the characteristics of which might give rise to an enhanced greenhouse effect while suspended in an atmosphere of other…

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    16. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Dearest John,

      With all due respect please piddle in your own pocket but keep it out of mine.

      From an hours or so following you about on line this "error by others" begins with a 2007 open letter to the UN Secretary General denouncing climate change science, scientists and any concerns regarding a response.

      Signed by 99 similar 'prominent scientists', you describe yourself as Emeritus Professor James Cook University. You signed this letter, Mr Nichol. That is not 'an error by others…

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    17. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      In the UK this year mass protest against Coal Sam Gas has been weighed against the need to keep Britain warm in the winter....we have an energy crisis - unless we come up with new ways of MAKING ENERGY.

      Dust storms and freak weather, rising sea levels, tornadoes, cyclones, heat waves and record snow fall in the past 2-3 years have caused YOUNGER AUSTRALIANS to be interested in PREPAREDNESS....Harold it would be interesting to know if you'd measured ON ONE OF YOUR GEOFF STUFF FILES how much time…

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    18. Decortes Fleur

      Writer Researcher Producer at creative industry

      In reply to John Nicol

      I for one am interest in your science and what application it has
      But I am for a cleaner atmosphere as well as for 'more science'

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    19. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Decortes Fleur

      Descortes Fleur

      Thank you for your comment Descortes.

      I agree with you on the matter of providing a cleaner atmosphere and have long been an advocate of public transport - we always take a bus or train if possible no matter what time of day or where we are going. I think much more can still be done to improve the output from most industry as well as from motor vehicles but it will take a bit of time and I think there have been very significant improvements over recent times.

      Removing…

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    20. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to John Nicol

      John,
      As a past owner and user of various types of spectrometers and as one who has been examined and passed on the theoretical basis for spectrometry, I cannot disagree with you.
      Noting, like you, the absence of a comprehensive treatment of UV-Vis-IR spectrometry in publications like those from the IPCC, I am rather in wonder of the uncritical use by them of assumptions that are not valid.
      For a simple example, I often read that radiation incoming to Earth goes through a series of processes that…

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    21. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Jings and they say there's no scientific consensus eh? Well it seems like the 'skeptics' are united like breeding flies. Good to see that you fellas can at least agree amongst yourselves ... keep it that way... just chat amongst yourselves while the rest of us get on with the business to hand. Thankyou for your co-operation.

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    22. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey Sherrington

      Those were two very interesting links Geoffrey. Your analysis of the matter is spot on, and I believe that anyone like yourself who has had to grapple obviously with the subtle nuances and calibration problems associated with even the best of spectrometers knows, by definition of those problems, far more than most about the science which required to understand the enhanced green house effect.

      I have had some interesting exchanges over just that problem when the first Harries…

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Aw heck Emeritus John ... an awful experience is it being called a fraud and a fake and a charlatan ... heck mate try being a climate scientist on the receiving end of your political posturing and venom.

      Here's a tip ... don't come on here pretending to be something you're not - arguing from a position of scientific authority you don't have.

      Now if you want to try your ideas out in the real world - stick 'em into the peer reviewed lit like the pros do ...have half the intellectual integrity of the IPCC you despise and scorn. Or you can just scuttle around in the dark with your fellow DIY Men's Shed hecklers big-noting yourself.... they'll believe anyone who tells them what they want to hear.

      Until you do, to quote an expert on the subject - your opinions don't matter.

      \

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    24. Kevin Smith

      Business Adviser

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, I can't believe you are still posting here. Didn't we establish on Friday that your prime source of information is the Daily Mail? For all your fancy words and pontificating, you have no credibility whatsoever.

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    25. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Kevin Smith

      Kevin, Was it poor eyes or a poor mind that caused you to miss my note that the data for this graph were from Hadley and that it was repeated in a number of publications, that there were 3 relevant Met Office reports that I have read, but seemingly you have not.
      Oh dear, you can do better, Kevin.
      You are shooting the messenger (the newspaper) in the way that you try to shoot me, another messenger.
      Attack the science, laddy, not the messenger.

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    26. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to John Nicol

      John N, Grant B and Geoffrey S, thanks for your detailed responses. Please continue with them as you are some of the very few who provide factual arguments. It never ceases to amaze me that anyone who asks questions of the so-called consensus position are vilified without receiving any form of quantitative response. (Chris O'Neill made an attempt at providing such a response, but he is also one of the very few.)

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    27. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "Chris O'Neill made an attempt at providing such a response, but he is also one of the very few."

      Thanks.

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    28. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Grumps - why not ask the article's author ... he seems to have a handle on the data ...but we only ask those oracles whose answers we know we will agree with.

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    29. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      No Peter, you are wrong on that last point. If you've seen my posts on this issue over that last couple of years, you'll note that most of those (about 97.1% it seems ;)) whom I ask question of refuse to give a quantified answer. Most responses fall into one of four categories: a) outright vilification b) repetition of slogans without an argument c) claiming that these questions have been answered before, whilst providing no such answer; or d) a series of links to AGW websites.
      In two years, I…

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    30. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Depends who you're asking John ... don't ask the commenters and acolytes - ask the authors... The acolytes and trench war warriors of either side are not the source... here at TC you have the chance to actually interrogate the talking end of the horse.

      Picture yourself back at university in a seminar where you've just had a presntation or lecture which you suspect is wrong or makes mistakes.

      How does one ask? What do you mean when you say ... Why does the chart have this dip or hike here…

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    31. Kevin Smith

      Business Adviser

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey, when asked to provide a reference to support your claim that there is global cooling not global warming you provided a link to an English tabloid Conservatively-biased newspaper. I had no need to read any further - patronise and condescend all you like, you have no credibility whatsoever.

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  15. Alastair Leith

    logged in via Twitter

    If a fear-stoking campaign is to be considered to get those less responsive to intellectual discussion of CC on-board then the Grim Reaper campaign should be investigated. While there were great concerns at the time about it stigmatising homosexuals and HIV positive people, it's widely regarded in Public Health circles as a very effective campaign that rapidly shifted behavioural patterns towards safer sex in the gay community. (It was coupled with anti-discrimination legislation against HIV positive…

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  16. Comment removed by moderator.

  17. Alastair Leith

    logged in via Twitter

    Avaaz has runs on the board on influencing government policy decisions and have a campaign around the coming IPCC report. When they polled members a couple of years ago majority of voters said CC was so serious it was worth spending less time fighting other issues and more time fight for effective CC action, partly because it's the mother of so many other issues like world poverty, disease epidemics, extreme weather disasters, etc etc…

    Here's their current campaign that targets mother of all CC denialism: Rupert Murdoch's media outlets
    http://www.avaaz.org/en/murdoch_tell_climate_truth_oz/?bMbUoab&v=29593

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  18. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    The IPCC and facts are indeed irrelevant. $ always has been the driver in the denier world.

    My way of dealing with folks like Monckton, etc. was suggested by a friend -- make it about $.

    So, every cliamte denier I've interacted with has been offered the same opportunity to make more $ via a simple bet. None, not even Monckton of Blenchley, has dared take the bet, because they know they're wrong on facts & reality. Never underestimate the almighty $.
    ;]

    .

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    1. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Going to share the bet with us?

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  19. Tim Dean

    Philosopher at UNSW Australia

    Thanks Clive. I hope you're wrong, but I fear you're probably right.

    One approach to dealing with the "culture of denial" is to stop fruitlessly attacking its arguments head on, but rather attempting to sideline it by emphasising its irrationality in terms of its bias and ideological motives. This effectively attempts to disqualify any voices that refuse to conform to basic standards of argument or evidence.

    Now, of course, this approach will not convince many stern climate deniers. However, it might sway some of the bystanders by encouraging meta-rationality, and showing how biased or unreasonable many deniers are.

    I don't expect this will change things overnight, but it might help shift the timbre of the debate.

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    1. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tim Dean

      Hi Tim,

      I've said this many times, but most climate change deniers are innocent folk whose only problem is their inability to cope psychologically with the hard news of climate change. They will come around in time. They will come around more rapidly if their headspace is understood. This applies to most in the denial camp.

      It does not apply to the hard core denial propagandist who profits from, or who is a direct or indirect agent of those who profit from climate change. These folk may never come around, but in time they will feel as guilty as all hell.

      Then there is the tiny 1% of scientists who look at all the evidence and rationally conclude to themselves that there is not a problem. I think these can just be lumped in with the first group.

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    2. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Tim Dean

      Tim,
      Why not get this 'culture of denial' thingo out of your mind and accept that one function of a good scientist is to call out bad science when it appears?
      That is what colleagues and I are trying to do.
      You guys who accept science uncritically are the worse for it, because it is chipping away at the foundations of the scientific method, which is a rather dangerous course to take.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Geoffrey,

      Please provide any evidence of your background, training or expertise regarding climate ... also as asked a few days back now, we'd all appreciate any one of the titles of peer-reviewed climate science you claim to have undertaken. Just one.

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    4. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris Harries

      Most AGW followers are also innocent folk whose only problem is that they are unable to follow the necessary scientific arguments required to understand the behaviour of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

      The need to understand the quantum spectroscopy, energy transfer processes, radiation, line shape and spectral broadening and so on is the responsibility of physicists and chemists who workin these most difficult fields, Results of their measurements and calculations are out…

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Professor,

      I am attempting to track down your CV or a list of your publications without much success.

      Could you kindly provide a link to such information please.

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Whoops ... where's he gone? Overcome with a sudden wave of humility and self-effacing reserve this Professor Emeritus of James Cook University? That's how John is described in the ratbag blog sites at least.

      Trouble is it's not how he's described by JCU. In fact he's not described at all.

      Neither can I find in all my searchings anything like a list of peer referred articles or anything at all beyond the anti-science blogosphere...where he is considered one of their great intellectuial workhorses…

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    7. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to John Nicol

      Peter,

      If you read carefully what I said there and elsewhere on this and many other forums, I am not making claims for my own capabilities but merely pointing out that the work of others in the field of infra red spectroscopy, Barrett and Hug being the best known, have demonstrated clearly and often to the climatologists that the basis for their arguments, which even they and you must surely accept, lies in the spectral characteristics of carbon dioxide. Q1. Can you accept that proposition…

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    8. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Thanks for the 'reply' John but plewase read the questions more carefully and have a go at answering them:

      Please provide

      (1) A link to any evidence that you are an 'emeritus professor' at James Cook University

      (2) A list of your peer-reviewed contributions on climate change, or related sciences

      Many thanks.

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    9. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde,

      (In an earlier response to your comment here I inadvertantly replied to myself - is that a "Selfie"?)

      First, No I am not an Emeritus Professor. This was incorrectly assigned to my title by others to my lasting embarassment but probably was used since I had been Dean of Science there for the usual three years - 1980 to 1982 and carried on as Deputy Dean for 1983 to assist the new Dean, a good friend of mine who took over from me on that condition. I was a physicist with not…

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    10. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Thanks for that lengthy reply Mr Nichol.

      Like a lot of folks with opinions, you need a resident subeditor. But to cut to the chase:

      (1) No - you are NOT a professor emeritis of James Cook University as appears all over the ratbag end of the blogosphere ... no sign of any demurring corrections though.

      (2) No - you have in fact NEVER published a single paper in the literature on climate, not one. Ever. Not your patch of turf really is it?

      And yet you now know all about it - enough to…

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    11. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mr Ormonde tells us that "I will then forward this list to James Cook's Vice Chanvcellor (sic) with a strong suggestion that he sool the JCU legal eagles onto your arse".

      Such language, Mr Ormonde, but you do that. I'm sure the VC will call an emergency meeting of the council, call back all academics interstate and overseas and treat your submission with the utmost seriousness. Especially when you append your academic qualifications which according to your Conversation profile are .. well…

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    12. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Jings Doc ... they might just start making a habit of cleaning up their act ...http://joannenova.com.au/2013/06/jcu-caves-in-to-badgering-and-groupthink-blackballs-politically-incorrect-bob-carter/

      Hey look while wre're chatting ... I've got a really sore back at the moment it's some sort of myopathy comes from diabetes they tell me ... oh hang on your not that sort of doctopr ... you're what they call a (non-medical) doctor in physics with a long line in the dsto and the defence industry…

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    13. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Sorry folks for mentioning legal eaglres (lawyers) in mixed company,. Didn't mean to lower the tone of this lofty chat.

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    14. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mr Ormonde UCM (UWW), what a wonderful post and I'm sure the funny lawn clippings had nothing to do with it!

      But you are ever so slightly incorrect on one point, namely" you spend your lives working in one area". I didn't get my PostholeDigger until I was 36. Before that, being raised in the bush, I worked in shearing sheds but mostly in road gangs in SA and the NT. Cat12E graders, International Load Star tippers (5 speed main and 3 speed joey box) and later Kenworths (13 speed road ranger gear box). Oh an a year in Iceland as a navvy and two years in the UK as a truck driver.

      Physics (well mostly mathematics) arrived later in life. You probably might have gained the impression that I don't take catastrophic AGW very seriously (AGW is another matter), but I do enjoy they hand wringing earnestness of commenters at TC. As you say it's a hoot. Maybe one day we could meet up and have a few chilled ones, climate permitting of course.

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    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Well Doc ... hand wringing earnestness will not be a charge youn need fear... I'm not attackign scientists, the science, the observations, the theory, the models the whole business of the IPCC... Why should your comments carry any weight - more than say John here the lily gilder, or Barney at the busstop?

      Now you're a smart fella... I like mathematicians - those I've met. But I'm not making scientific assertions and arguiong the toss with the IPCC .. not me making extraordinary claims…

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    16. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Grant Burfield

      Grant Burfield

      Thanks very much Grant. One needs a very thick skin to come here alone into the lion's den and it is good to know that some one else is here who not only recognises that this type of offensiveness and insult drags down the quality and reputation of The Conversation into the gutter, and is also prepared to identify it and speak out.

      I am never sure how to demonstrate my concern for people who have nothing to contribute to the discussion and so use their precious time in the vicious denigration of others. Whether to simply pity them and move on or try to continue to engage with them so as to help them, if possible, through what appears to be some crisis in their lives which is all that could explain this unusual behaviour

      Thanks again,
      John Nicol.

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    17. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to John Nicol

      Dear Emeritus Professor Nichol,

      "Contributing" ... is that what you're doing?

      We have a problem in these parts with packs of wild dogs similarly 'contributing' to local flocks and herds.

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  20. jameshorton

    logged in via Twitter

    as inequality grows in our society, so the dunning-kruger effect grows, and rational discourse becomes every more distant... look it up... or watch this... http://youtu.be/XyOHJa5Vj5Y

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  21. Brian Westlake

    Common Sage

    The real humour in the Climate Change debate lies in the Alarmist camp having to revert to the Precautionary Principle when all other arguments fail. The reality is that the human race is going to pump billions more tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere whether you like it not - society will progress via the least path of resistance.

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Brian Westlake

      Brian,
      You cannot invoke the Precautionary Principle unless you have solid data.
      Since nobody here can show me a proper link between GHG concentration change in the air and temperature change (if any), I have to conclude that it is not proper to use the PP.
      In any case, calls for the PP are usually a sign that a stampede is needed, to overcome incomplete research before it's found out to be lacking. It is a weasel way out.

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  22. Comment removed by moderator.

  23. Geoffrey Henley

    Research Associate

    Like many environmental activists, greenies, lefties, etc., Clive Hamilton has yet to come to terms with the fact that some people disagree with him on certain issues.

    Rather than engage in civilised debate, Hamilton instinctively resorts to ad hominem attacks, childish name-calling (e.g. deniers), and king-size dummy spitting. Hamilton puts more faith in argument by authority and meaningless consensus’s than actual verifiable empirical data. He appears to have little understanding of the scientific…

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    1. Peter Turner
      Peter Turner is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Thinker

      In reply to Geoffrey Henley

      Geoffrey the only debate that's at all relevant is the one about how we can act quickly and effectively to ameliorate the impact of the rising temperature of the planet.
      To others - I'm not worried about feeding the troll - my contribution is indigestable to one of his Ilk.

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    2. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Peter Turner

      Peter,
      You mean a rise of 0.7 deg C in a century, even then using adjusted results to help sell the story?
      Surely, you joke.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Do you really think Geoff here is interested in any facts you might throw in?
      Do you really think you can change his mind?
      Geoff has never been able to change his mind about anything ever. He's always been right. I don't think you'll be able to change it for him.
      Pointless.

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  24. John Jericho

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Dr Hamilton, a few points:

    First, you say that "one can make a good guess at an American’s opinion on global warming by identifying their views on abortion, same-sex marriage and gun-control." Presumably you mean that neanderthals who are opposed to abortion, same-sex marriage and gun control are also sceptical about, or at least about the extent of, anthropogenic global warming. The irony you miss is that it works two ways. You can tell if someone believes in AGW by whether they support abortion…

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Jericho

      "The predictions made by each of the main computer models relied on by the IPCC in their last two reports have proved wrong"

      Take a lesson in forecasting. Mathematical models do NOT forecast statistically insignificant variation.

      "I cannot now be other than sceptical."

      If you were really a sceptic, then you wouldn't be sucked in by statistically insignificant variations in the rate of global warming.

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    2. John Jericho

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris, the flat temperature for 15 years is not "statistically insignificant" at all. Not even the IPCC says so. Are you just throwing slogans around without knowing what they mean, or - dare I say it - are you making this up?

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Jericho

      "the flat temperature for 15 years is not "statistically insignificant" at all."

      Your understanding is arse-about. The warming 15 year temperature trend is not statistically significant. This does not mean that there is any "flat" temperature trend that has any statistical significance. The null hypothesis of zero trend can only be rejected by the data, it never confirms it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_hypothesis :

      "a null hypothesis is potentially rejected or disproved on the basis of data that is significantly under its assumption, but never accepted or proved"

      You're the one making something up.

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    4. John Jericho

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Your argument would be correct if your first premise was not so laughably incorrect: that a 15 year trend (flat or warming) over 100 years is "statistically insignificant".

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    5. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Jericho

      You have no idea what you're talking about.

      In the last 15 years, the rate of warming was 0.084±0.136 deg C/decade (GISSTemp).

      So the null hypothesis of zero warming is not rejected since it lies in the range 0.084±0.136 deg C/decade.

      Of course, neither does it confirm the null hypothesis of zero warming because null hypotheses are never confirmed. They can only be rejected.

      Also, the null hypothesis of warming continuing at 0.17 deg C/decade is not rejected because the upper confidence limit of the rate of global warming is 0.084+0.136=0.220 deg C/decade and 0.17 deg C/decade is within that limit.

      Thus there is no statistically significant slowdown in the rate of global warming of the past 40 years.

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    6. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris,
      The IPCC AR5 SPM just released gives -
      0.05 deg C/decade [–0.05 to +0.15] if you start at 1998 and end in 2012
      0.07 deg C/decade [–0.02 to 0.18] for a 1997 start, 2012 end, though their manner of expression is not clear.
      Both based, I think, on a LLS fit.
      I am not sure why their upper bound comes out so much higher than the lower, might be rounding. This for global mean surface temperature. Could you please enlighten us about these figures in view of your earlier analysis…

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      "0.05 deg C/decade [–0.05 to +0.15] if you start at 1998 and end in 2012"

      I'd say that confidence interval is smaller than ±2σ.

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    8. Grant Burfield

      Dr

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Dr O'Neill tells us "I'd say that confidence interval is smaller than ±2σ". So the confidence interval is less than the 2σ confidence interval then. What confidence interval are you referring to? What alpha value defines it? Is it 0.317 (σ), 0.046 (2σ) or 0.003 (3σ). Nah, can't be the last one, that's greater than 2σ. But don't hold back Dr O'Neill, enlighten us.

      I really do enjoy your contributions Dr O'Neill. I learn so much from them.

      No, seriously.

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  25. Simon McGinley

    small business owner

    We know that the denial movement is the fossil fuel industry spreading its self preserving spin through lobbyists and others cheap enough to sell the future of their children for a new Audi. I wonder though if some governments (ours included, maybe in particular) have read and understood the science, and believe there is no way that political action will avert the inevitable climate disaster that 550ppm Co2 will bring and that we may as well go out on a consumption bender. It just seems that some…

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    1. Geoffrey Harold Sherrington

      Boss

      In reply to Simon McGinley

      Simon,
      The denial movement is not funded to any significant extent by Big Oil. Full stop, end of game.
      If you assert to the contrary, please provide evidence. Hearsay is not good evidence.
      I know many people who are what you call sceptics. Only one of them has received a payment for this type of work. Essentially all are voluntary, spending their private time to correct bad science.
      You write of the "disaster that 550ppm Co2 will bring". What disaster would that be? On which basis do you make this claim?
      Do you know that this level is often exceeded in glasshouses and the like, to encourage better plant yields? Do you know that people work routinely in artificial atmospheres like this, with no apparent harm?
      Show me that you are not just repeating the dogma of others.

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    2. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Simon McGinley

      Simon,

      Anyone who does not have a single argument to support the case presented by the IPCC, which shows:

      1. a major revamp of past, confident predictions, 2. cannot explain the pause in warming even with fanciful attempts to blaim the volcanic ash and the oceans in concert, and 3. admits it cannot verify any one of its many models by testing against a real climate,

      can be expected to 1. abuse those who provide a different outlook by referring to them as deniers and/or produce the standard stupid claim that all of the opposition to the sloppy "science" pedalled by the IPCC, as being in the pay of big oil.

      Fortunately no one of significance takes any notice of such silly claims - I think we have all moved on as the changes in the numbers of the members in the congregation of the AGW Mosques and tabernacles clearly demonstrates.

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Tony Abbotts Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Nicol

      "cannot explain the pause in warming"

      Explaining a statistically insignificant variation makes the same sense as explaining the roll of a dice.

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  26. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    Since it was used to win the last World War science has been seen as very powerful and so has attracted the antagonism of many of the weaker political players.
    Scientists should recognise this "climate" of antagonism and perhaps adopt the strategy proposed by Wu Sun Tsu:

    "Know your enemies
    Know yourself
    One hundred battles
    One hundred victories"

    Who are the enemies of science?
    "By their actions shall ye know them?"
    Who are scientists?
    Those who follow this injunction?:
    "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free".
    Time to clarify the disposition of forces on this battlefield?

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  27. John Nicol

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    Clive Hamilton

    The IPCC has an opportunity at any time to make a huge difference to the views of the people who are rudely referred to as deniers - those thousands of highly qualified scientists who study the atmosphere, the physics of radiation, the mechanics of convection and circulation, the characteristics of the troposhhere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere and their many supporters. People such as Richard Lindzen, recognised as one iof the world's leading climate scientists (not a geographer…

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    1. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to John Nicol

      Thank you John,

      For your detailed elaboration on the 2 and a half % of scientists who do not believe that climate change is of anthropological sources.

      Richard Lindzen - before disputing AGW was claiming that smoking tobacco was harmless.

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/02/23/207560/the-sensitivity-of-richard-lindzen/

      Professor Jack Barrett - from the 'opinion for hire school of rhetoric'

      He claims "...that the most likely consequence of all of this is flourishing vegetation…

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    2. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dear Dianne,

      Thank you for your balanced and reasonable response to my comments here.

      While you are .perfectly entitled to your views on Richard Lindzen and Jack Barrett, I would have thought that in order to use such strong(ish) language to denigrate two quite distinguished scientists, you would need to be supported by some evidence. Perhaps you are unable to appreciate that the discussions by the IPCC do not have anything to do with "changes" in the climate per se, which, I am sure you would…

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Why are you talking to this self-important charlatan Ms A?

      Do you actually think he will listen or admit any merit to your views? He cares so much he doesn't even bother to check your name.

      This bloke's posturing and lying is so pathological it is his first line defence. His first option when sprung. A conman and a fraud.

      To illustrate: elsewhere here he pretends that the admittedly bogus title of Emeritus Professor was bestowed without his knowledge by overly enthusiastic acolytes…

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    4. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to John Nicol

      Dear Jon

      My 'views' on Lindzen & Barrett are formed from research and background checks - in other words, FACTS. Neither of these men are qualified climatologists, nor do their fields of expertise go anywhere near offering a valid counter claim to AGW.

      However, let's pretend that the above mentioned are actually credible climate experts, with no affiliation to the Heartland Institute or fossil fuel industry. You are offering 2 men against 97% of climate scientists to repudiate many decades…

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    5. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mr O

      Snakes are a protected species, besides I rather like them. However, I have a low threshold for nonsense and wish I could put an end to these interminable, pointless, rants.

      Besides, I don't tell you who to respond to on these threads - even the completely empty vessels such as Mr Nicol needs a cork.

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      No no Ms A ... I wouldn't dare to suggest whom you should address your missives ... but with this fella you have a direct line to the Heartland Institute, the Koch Brothers and Peabody Coal ... it's like sitting down to dinner with the antichrist and I hoped you had a long, long spoon.... which from your response above is more a shovel than a spoon ... most apt. Good use of a Sunday morning Ms A.

      Snakes are protected? ... well yes I suppose they are being locals. I'll have a hard time trying to convince my hounds but I'll attempt to enlighten them. It's an instinct thing. The red bellied blacks I can live with but this time of year my valley is knee deep in (protected) brown snakes ... and they are not pleasant neighbours at all. I'll try and track down their redeeming features.

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    7. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      No disrespect to your loyal hounds, but don't the snakes get the final bite so to speak?

      Knee deep in brown snakes is a worry. In the ranges, I know the snakes are out there and I don't go looking for them, although I do not expect any such reciprocal consideration from the reptiles. Unlike the interminable science deniers... can't convince them, but can reveal their nonsense. When I am sufficiently provoked that is, something I share with my scaled neighbours.

      Cheers

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    8. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      No Ms A ... you are obviously up to going the fang ... I dips me lid.

      As for the browns ... they come right up to the house here and are often seen heading up to the big delapidated barn next door after rabbits. I wish them luck actually.

      A very agressive critter - hard to make friends with ... unlike the last place I was living in the deep bush up north where one would have carpet pythons in the ceiling rafters chasing my resident antechinus... bit too close to nature all up that. It's all OK - in its place - not my place.

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    9. John Nicol

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna Arthur,

      Thank you for your most recent response in regard to your quite bizarre view of the qualifications of Professors Barrett and Lindzen.

      In regard to their well recognised international reputations in understanding the science of the basic problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - not necessarily wide climate science in Jack Barrett's case as you say, but most of Richard Lindzen's publications are on the atmosphere and in the most prestigious jornals - and as, in each case…

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    10. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Indeed. Mr O - but the self appointed expert on everything, JN, appears to have stopped reading after;

      "...nor do their (Barrett and Lindzen) fields of expertise go anywhere near offering a valid counter claim to AGW..."

      and before

      "...let's pretend that the above mentioned are actually credible climate experts, with no affiliation to the Heartland Institute or fossil fuel industry. You are offering 2 men against 97% of climate scientists to repudiate many decades…"

      Sigh.

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    11. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      No sighing Ms A! That sneaking sense of futility is exactly what these shysters seek to engender - doubt and powerlessness. They are immune to facts and as John so eloquently puts it ...
      your opinions are irrelevant.

      Emeritus John is not here to convince you, to talk to you to listen to your views ... he's here to be noticed,. to 'contest the space', to pretend there is scientific confusion... your opinions are just a platform on which to stand. He's talking to someone else altogether.

      Here watch this... far more enlightening about how to win people over (and I don't include the likes of your interlocutor in that group) ... how folks think and how to structure our messages to the whole mind not just the 2% we are conscious of ...
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UseIJAIxR-4

      A suitable antidote for snake bites.... 'empowering' and uplifting

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  28. Mark Shaw

    Health Media

    Look, Rome burns while the scientist's fiddle.

    Arguing that anthropomorphic warming may or may not ruin the planet in the far distant future is shear madness while the Earth and its inhabitants are being poisoned right here, right now.
    While you argue with each other about whose science is correct, you are missing the elephant in the room.
    The planet is dying now and you don't need to be a scientist to see it.
    Where are the computer models reporting the likely outcomes of the nuclear reactor…

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    1. Dayna Andreussi

      Past student of applied science, still interested

      In reply to Mark Shaw

      Hi Mark,

      Various campaigns to save the environment from plastics, discarded fishing line, oil spills, nuclear power stations have been happening for quite some time. Persistence, it seems, eventually does pay, as increasing numbers of local councils and industries are changing their ways; we never had recycling bins growing up, fast food came in styrofoam packaging and no one cared about fuel efficient cars.

      I'm not saying all battles are being won, however. And for every win there seems to…

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    2. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Dayna Andreussi

      Dayna

      "3) not presenting a united message to convince the doubters."

      The message is there, however MSM has a lot of explaining to do regarding its publication.

      Cheers

      D

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  29. Chris Harries

    logged in via Facebook

    The BBCs reporting of IPPC's launch last night was quite fascinating.
    Whilst equal time was given to sceptic Bjorn Lomborg, I have to admit that Lomborg's contribution was far more entertaining and credible (in the public eye) than that of the IPCC. I thought immediately of an acrobatic Spitfire encircling a slow moving, cumbersome B52 bomber.

    One gets the impression of the IPCC as an incredibly ponderous bureaucracy dutifully consolidating the work of some 9,000 contributing scientists but…

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