Monday, 24 March 2008

ABC interviews Climate Blasphemer - reasonable discussion ensues!

I listened to Jennifer Marohasy on ABC Radio National's Counterpoint program last week. In an interesting and, for the ABC, surprisingly balanced interview by Michael Duffy she summed up the state of climate science, the new data that completely destroys the CO2-as-world-destroyer myth and revealed the head scratching that even the most senior ranks of the Climate Faithful are doing.

Duffy should be congratulated on his performance. For someone who is clearly of the left he managed to keep his own views out of the discussion. Tony Jones could learn a lot from Duffy on how to conduct a balanced interview, especially after his appalling performance in the post-Great Global Warming Swindle ABC discussion last year.

Naturally, to those Climate Faithful who have no understanding of basic science and, especially, statistics - prerequisites for being part of that group - Marohasy is a Big Oil funded, Big Pharma, Big Business, pro cigarette, Climate Denier who struts around in private in a Hitler uniform throwing babies into a fire.

To everyone else she comes across as a voice of calm and reason. Check out her blog here.

At The Australian, Christopher Pearson sums things up nicely:
Last Monday - on ABC Radio National, of all places - there was a tipping point of a different kind in the debate on climate change. It was a remarkable interview involving the co-host of Counterpoint, Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. Anyone in public life who takes a position on the greenhouse gas hypothesis will ignore it at their peril.

Duffy asked Marohasy: "Is the Earth still warming?"

She replied: "No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."

Duffy: "Is this a matter of any controversy?"

Marohasy: "Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."

Duffy: "It's not only that it's not discussed. We never hear it, do we? Whenever there's any sort of weather event that can be linked into the global warming orthodoxy, it's put on the front page. But a fact like that, which is that global warming stopped a decade ago, is virtually never reported, which is extraordinary."
It's only extraordinary if you don't understand that the mainstream media is an instrument of the left of which climate change is currently its primary vehicle to inflict big government, socialist policies on the world.
Duffy then turned to the question of how the proponents of the greenhouse gas hypothesis deal with data that doesn't support their case. "People like Kevin Rudd and Ross Garnaut are speaking as though the Earth is still warming at an alarming rate, but what is the argument from the other side? What would people associated with the IPCC say to explain the (temperature) dip?"

Marohasy: "Well, the head of the IPCC has suggested natural factors are compensating for the increasing carbon dioxide levels and I guess, to some extent, that's what sceptics have been saying for some time: that, yes, carbon dioxide will give you some warming but there are a whole lot of other factors that may compensate or that may augment the warming from elevated levels of carbon dioxide.

"There's been a lot of talk about the impact of the sun and that maybe we're going to go through or are entering a period of less intense solar activity and this could be contributing to the current cooling."

Duffy: "Can you tell us about NASA's Aqua satellite, because I understand some of the data we're now getting is quite important in our understanding of how climate works?"

Marohasy: "That's right. The satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you've got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you're going to get a positive feedback. That's what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite ... (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they're actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you're getting a negative rather than a positive feedback."

Duffy: "The climate is actually, in one way anyway, more robust than was assumed in the climate models?"

Marohasy: "That's right ... These findings actually aren't being disputed by the meteorological community. They're having trouble digesting the findings, they're acknowledging the findings, they're acknowledging that the data from NASA's Aqua satellite is not how the models predict, and I think they're about to recognise that the models really do need to be overhauled and that when they are overhauled they will probably show greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide."
How long have I been saying that climate models don't work? To anyone who has even the most basic understanding of how they're programmed the fact that their predictions for precipitation are massively wrong should be enough to write off their credibility altogether. The primary greenhouse gas is water vapour. It is referred to as a 'feedback' in climate science. CO2 (and other GHGs such as NH4, O3 etc) have a 'forcing' effect that starts a warming process which is then amplified by the feedback mechanism of water vapour. Climate models not only do not model water vapour (to be fair, it's too complicated) but the fact that they get precipitation so wildly wrong means that there's much less real world amplification than models predict.
Duffy: "From what you're saying, it sounds like the implications of this could be considerable ..."

Marohasy: "That's right, very much so. The policy implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms with the output from this NASA Aqua satellite and (climate scientist) Roy Spencer's interpretation of them. His work is published, his work is accepted, but I think people are still in shock at this point."
I'm in shock that anybody could be in shock. What am I feeling now? Cold when I should be still enjoying the last vestiges of summer's warmth.
If Marohasy is anywhere near right about the impending collapse of the global warming paradigm, life will suddenly become a whole lot more interesting.

A great many founts of authority, from the Royal Society to the UN, most heads of government along with countless captains of industry, learned professors, commentators and journalists will be profoundly embarrassed. Let us hope it is a prolonged and chastening experience.
When Deniers are referred to as Flat Earthers by the Climate Faithful they at least understand the irony that it's actually the Faithful themselves who take the unscientific, Flat Earth equivalent position.
With catastrophe off the agenda, for most people the fog of millennial gloom will lift, at least until attention turns to the prospect of the next ice age. Among the better educated, the sceptical cast of mind that is the basis of empiricism will once again be back in fashion. The delusion that by recycling and catching public transport we can help save the planet will quickly come to be seen for the childish nonsense it was all along.
It is no surprise that it's childish nonsense - it's promoted by people who have never grown up intellectually - the Left. And I'm not too sure that Pearson is correct when he says that empiricism will come back into fashion. There are powerful forces at work - the UN, EU, environmental lobbies, higher education institutions and mainstream media - that are not going to go down without a fight.
The poorest Indians and Chinese will be left in peace to work their way towards prosperity, without being badgered about the size of their carbon footprint, a concept that for most of us will soon be one with Nineveh and Tyre, clean forgotten in six months.

The scores of town planners in Australia building empires out of regulating what can and can't be built on low-lying shorelines will have to come to terms with the fact inundation no longer impends and find something more plausible to do. The same is true of the bureaucrats planning to accommodate "climate refugees".
Anyone who is involved in the planning for the accommodation of 'climate refugees' needs to be sacked. Kevin Rudd can get his razor gang to make some quick savings right there.
Penny Wong's climate mega-portfolio will suddenly be as ephemeral as the ministries for the year 2000 that state governments used to entrust to junior ministers. Malcolm Turnbull will have to reinvent himself at vast speed as a climate change sceptic and the Prime Minister will have to kiss goodbye what he likes to call the great moral issue and policy challenge of our times.
It is the great moral issue of our time. The truth of empirical, scientific endeavour versus the hysteria of socially and, paradoxically, environmentally destructive policies brought about by appalling, agenda-driven science that will harm us for decades to come.
It will all be vastly entertaining to watch.
...but it won't be too entertaining to live...
THE Age published an essay with an environmental theme by Ian McEwan on March 8 and its stablemate, The Sydney Morning Herald, also carried a slightly longer version of the same piece.

The Australian's Cut & Paste column two days later reproduced a telling paragraph from the Herald's version, which suggested that McEwan was a climate change sceptic and which The Age had excised. He was expanding on the proposition that "we need not only reliable data but their expression in the rigorous use of statistics".

What The Age decided to spare its readers was the following: "Well-meaning intellectual movements, from communism to post-structuralism, have a poor history of absorbing inconvenient fact or challenges to fundamental precepts. We should not ignore or suppress good indicators on the environment, though they have become extremely rare now. It is tempting to the layman to embrace with enthusiasm the latest bleak scenario because it fits the darkness of our soul, the prevailing cultural pessimism. The imagination, as Wallace Stevens once said, is always at the end of an era. But we should be asking, or expecting others to ask, for the provenance of the data, the assumptions fed into the computer model, the response of the peer review community, and so on. Pessimism is intellectually delicious, even thrilling, but the matter before us is too serious for mere self-pleasuring. It would be self-defeating if the environmental movement degenerated into a religion of gloomy faith. (Faith, ungrounded certainty, is no virtue.)"

The missing sentences do not appear anywhere else in The Age's version of the essay. The attribution reads: "Copyright Ian McEwan 2008" and there is no acknowledgment of editing by The Age.

Why did the paper decide to offer its readers McEwan lite? Was he, I wonder, consulted on the matter? And isn't there a nice irony that The Age chose to delete the line about ideologues not being very good at "absorbing inconvenient fact"?
Why? It's not for nothing that The Age is referred to as the Spencer Street Soviet. Like all good socialists they take the Three Monkeys approach to any facts that don't support their orthodoxy.

A saying I heard that I like goes along the lines: being on the right means I don't have to wake up each day and live a lie.

To the non-nuanced left that does not mean people on the right don't lie to achieve their goals; it means that people on the right have a clear-eyed view of the world, understand human nature and know how to progress society effectively in a way that those on the left don't.

(Nothing Follows)


Luke said...

So Jack - one arch skeptic interviews another skeptic - are we surprised at the result?

Mind you the paper is OK - the wild extrapolation is not.

As for "Climate models not only do not model water vapour " - are you sure. Done any checking? Seems to be lots of literature for an area that doesn't have any modelling.

Try some cross-checking and a bit of checking at source.

Jack Lacton said...


Models definitely do not model water vapour. What they have is a parameterisation that is meant to represent the effects of clouds etc.

Luke said...

Definitely not eh?

Jack Lacton said...

Definitely not.

Water vapour is too small to compute the interaction between modules therefore parameterisation is all they can do and surprise, surprise - they get it wrong.


The latest news about climate change is so alarming (the right wing would say alarmist) as to make many people want to plant their aching heads in the sand. Some scientists using advanced computer models now argue that if we want to stop the Earth from warming, the amount of carbon we should be emitting is ... none. None? As in, zero? As in, shutting down the global industrial economy? After all, global energy demand is expected to accelerate until at least 2020. Yet attempts even to slow the rate of increase of carbon emissions have paralyzed world politics for more than a decade.

Anonymous said...

Ah, what a dope the man Lacton is. Really. Of course water vapour is included in the models, in exactly the same way as CO2 is included in the models, and liquid state water, and methane, and NOx, and all sort of other things.

What bothers me about you is not just that you're ignorant - it's that you clearly go to some effort to ignore things that you don't like. And people tell you, repeatedly, and you are just too bloody-mindedly stupid to take any of it it.

Jack Lacton said...


Are you saying that the interaction between water molecules that make up water vapour are explicitly modeled in climate models?

Of course they're not.

The effect of each of CO2, NH4, O3, H2O are not at all understood in the climate or modeled in the software at a low level. Heck, even the resolution of clouds is in the 10s of kilometres.

What is being modeled is the quantity of each element and their supposed impact on climate. As more and more empirical research is being carried out, observation is contradicting conventional 'consensus' theory.

Anonymous said...

Fucky, you're a fool. No, the models do not work at the molecular level, because what happens at that scale is not what's being studied. In the same way, you don't look at individual molecules in a rubber ball to predict how it will bounce.

hoppers said...

What with these undersea robots and satellite data and the Russian scientists etc it looks like there's a chance global warming might have stopped.

If it has, and the human race will survive I'll be ever so pleased.

It makes me sad to see anonymous and his mates are made so unhappy by our potential reprieve.

neoporcupine said...

The claims by Marohasy about global temperature leveling off or dropping are unfounded. A simple email to her source, Roy Spencer at NASA, can clear it up. Which is what I did. Roy says that Marohasy is confused. He states that the data is not from the much vaunted Aqua satellite project as Marohasy claimed, and is not global average but a much smaller sample of 20 degrees either side of the equator.

Paper published by Roy Spencer can be found here:

Now for some clearly needed Ad hominem. Marohasy, the scientist who has misrepresented the information in the interview, appears to have published only a dozen scientific papers or so in areas such as biological control. Her expertise is clearly not climate. She has had a long association with banking, industry and anti-conservation environmental groups that advocate actions like whale hunting. Not the person I would be quoting on climate change.

Check out Marohasy's web site:

Finally, the author of the article, Pearson, complains about The Age leaving out some phrases that soften the claims of one of their climate change articles. Pearson has done the exact same thing in this article. See the quoted paragraph from the readily available transcript of the interview from the unashamedly right wing Counterpoint program on the Radio National web site.

"Jennifer Marohasy: It is extraordinary, though I perhaps should pick you up on 'global warming has stopped'. It has stopped for the last ten years, but that's a very short timeframe. If you look over the last 100 years, it's mostly been warming over the last 100 years but there was some cooling from 1940 through to 1975 and now there appears to be some cooling since 1998. But if you look at the longer timeframe, say, since the last glacial maximum, well, that's going back, say, 16,000 years, then there actually has been significant warming, and sea levels of course have risen over 100 metres over this period. So the last eight to ten-year dip may just be a dip, and there may be continued warming into the future, or it could be the end of this interglacial warm period and we could go into another ice age. We don't know what the future holds."

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