Home > Media > Picking up the gauntlet

Picking up the gauntlet

February 7th, 2011

As I mentioned, my Fin article on Thursday was intended as an appeal to those on the “do-nothing” side of the climate debate to take the risk of climate change seriously and abandon silly culture wars, cheap pointscoring and so on. It didn’t take long to elicit a reply in the form of a snarky, anonymous and (of course) hopelessly wrong piece of “gotcha” journalism from the “Cut and Paste” column in the Oz. Tim Lambert does garbage pickup.

Being attacked by The Australian is not something to get upset about. But it does give me a little more incentive to disabuse of their illusions the declining of paper who still believe this worthless gutter press rag to have some value. So, I’m going to add a regular feature pointing out the lies and silly errors that fill the news and opinion pages of The Australian. I’ll try to avoid duplicating Tim’s “War on Science” posts (up to number 60 with the one mentioned above!). I’ll retrospective label the “Factor of Five” post from last week as item 1. Suggested contributions are welcome.

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  1. AndrewD
    February 7th, 2011 at 18:05 | #1

    “I’m going to add a regular feature pointing out the lies and silly errors that fill the news and opinion pages of The Australian”

    Is this wise, John?
    1) It will be a full-time job,
    2) It will always end in a he-said, she-said slanging match
    3) Including “silly opinions” in your scope of work is ten times the task of refuting scientific errors that Tim does
    4) It dignifies the Australian’s argument – I prefer to ignore it
    5) It makes it harder for the Australian to ever wriggle into support for climate change action, which inevitably it will have to, and thus precludes a win-win situation (OK, I’m a hopeless case but surely there’s still hope for the Oz?)

    I once tasked myself with refuting the scientific errors errors in The West Australian’s coverage of climate change (mostly by the letter writers). They printed my first letter but I gave up after the next five or so went unpublished. I decided that a bit of madness does little harm – we still get the advocates of caning, pumping water from the Pilbarra, literal Genesis etc from time to time.

    Perhaps you could limit it to “Howler of the Week”?

  2. Freelander
    February 7th, 2011 at 18:10 | #2

    Maybe simply a separate blog, compiling the errors? Blog title: “From the Land of Oz”?

  3. Donald Oats
    February 7th, 2011 at 18:28 | #3

    “We aren’t in Kansas anymore…”

    I mean, where do we start? However, I do believe that it is worthwhile to tackle them head-on. Better not say any more, lest the great Oz suing weapon zeroes on me :-)

  4. February 7th, 2011 at 19:12 | #4

    Donald, don’t be so shy!

    John Howard gave us a wonderful gift when he tried to make Rupert immune from much defamation law. It is legally impossible for a corporation with more than 100 employees to sue for defamation.

    So you don’t even need to rely on the “truth” defence when you write:

    News Ltd is an consistent and deliberate purveyor of lies. Every single word they publish are lies.

    I tend to agree with AndrewD’s points above, especially #4 – the mob at ‘Poison Pen’ at Crikey! spend far too much time legitimizing that totally discredited cess-pit of lies by criticising people like Bolt as if they were honest interlocutors rather than deliberate charlatans.

    Still, best of luck with it. http://www.stopmurdoch.blogspot.com tried for a year or so to encourage real action against this behemoth but the feeble-minded obviously enjoy their daily tickle of fancy too much to reject the News Ltd BS. One day Rupert will die and the empire will implode, then someone else will come along….

  5. Alice
    February 7th, 2011 at 19:35 | #5

    @AndrewD
    Sounds like Ozmedia watch online?

  6. Donald Oats
    February 7th, 2011 at 19:40 | #6

    @Megan
    Ah, that is a relief. Actually, I was thinking of stating that the Oz has bullsh*tter status, in the sense of Hardcastle et al (“On Bullsh*t”, etc, can’t remember the guy that wrote the original article in which bullsh*t as a philosophical concept is defined, but it’ll be on the W3 somewhere…ah, there it is, Frankfurt).

    In a nutshell the Oz uses bullsh*t to win arguments, or at least to push them, without regard for the truth value of the bullsh*t presented as facts, which is of course as per the technical definition of bullsh*t. Oh, why not, I’ll quote the Wikipedia article quoting Frankfurt, the author of the original essay on bullsh*t:

    While liars need to know the truth to better conceal it, bullshitters, interested solely in advancing their own agendas, have no use for the truth. Thus, Frankfurt claims, “…bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are” (Frankfurt 61).

    I think Rupert’s son (one of them) is firmly at the helm now, and has been for quite some time. Whether he will ever truly be in charge who can say.

  7. SamB
    February 7th, 2011 at 19:46 | #7

    I know this isn’t much of a defence (if it is a defence at all), but the sad reality remains that the of the commonly available Australian dailys, The Oz is still head and shoulders above its (so called) competition (SMH/Age and Telegraph).

  8. Alice
    February 7th, 2011 at 19:53 | #8

    @SamB
    But there is no choice SamB unless you want Rupertsview A, B or C version.

  9. February 7th, 2011 at 20:04 | #9

    Oh wow, are there that many hours in the day? How about an article by the National chief correspondent, no less, claiming that 80% of the Brisbane flood was due to the release of water from the Wivenhoe dam? Absolute total rubbish and very dangerous since there are people in Brisbane who have lost a huge amount; they should not be falsely encouraged to lay blame on the operator of the dam. See my blog for more detail.

  10. James Haughton
    February 7th, 2011 at 22:06 | #10

    This strikes me as a 48-hour-a-day job.

    Maybe you could crowdsource it to us, your loyal commentators and snark-artists, somehow?

    Or perhaps you, Tim Lambert and Pure Poison could establish a joint blog on which you crosspost your Australian related rebuttals?

  11. February 7th, 2011 at 22:11 | #11

    @SamB

    “head and shoulders above”

    By what criteria? Bullsh1tness? Chutzpah? Lobbying prowess? Enthusiasm for lsrael?

    What measure do you use to support that assessment?

  12. Charlie
    February 7th, 2011 at 22:43 | #12

    JQ: what does this actually mean?: “But it does give me a little more incentive to disabuse of their illusions the declining of paper who still believe this worthless gutter press rag to have some value”. Sorry, but your proof reading falls well below that even of the Oz, and unlike you, it does allow a range of views contrary to its supposed own core beliefs to appear everywhere, including those of Clive Hamilton et al.

    Its editorials regrettably have always accepted the conventional wisdom that CO2 causes temperature change, a manifest absurdity when atmospheric CO2 is the same everywhere at all times, yet temperatures are not (nor changes therein vis a vis changes in CO2). But then, you no doubt believe it’s a balmy 25oC plus in Edinburgh today, just like the IPCC’s barmy Gabi Hegerl (resident there and lead author of AR4 WG1, chap. 9). Amazing how an inert gas like CO2 can simultaneously cause big freeze in North America, and floods cyclones and fires in Australia.

  13. February 8th, 2011 at 00:06 | #13

    Hi Charlie!

    Trolly want a cracker?

  14. hc
    February 8th, 2011 at 05:20 | #14

    As I read it the BOM accept the proposition that more extreme weather events will occur as a consequence of AGW but they find no evidence of increasing frequency of cyclones. Evidence of increased frequency of severe cyclones is mixed – there are measurement issues. The reason more economic damages are occurring is that increased numbers of people are settling in cyclone-prone areas.

    The recent Queensland cyclone seems to be a response to a relatively intense La Nina event. I think research now is focusing on how the frequency and severity of such events is linked to secular movements in temperature.

  15. jquiggin
    February 8th, 2011 at 06:05 | #15

    Obviously, I don’t intend to cover all the errors in the Oz – you’d need a whole separate paper for that.

    Charlie, you appear to be a more than adequate substitute for Tony G, and a fresh troll is always amusing for a while. “Inert gas” is particularly good, and your stuff on prices and quantities in the other thread matcehd Tony at his best/worst. So enjoy yourself while you can.

  16. Gordicans
    February 8th, 2011 at 06:59 | #16

    The scary thing about the Oz is not just what it publishes, but how the rest of the media pick up their ‘junk’ and run it without examination, including the ABC (who have been reduced to terrified cowards).

    Is it possible to legislate to prevent one organisation owning more than 50% of the print press or is that too difficult?

  17. Chris Grealy
    February 8th, 2011 at 07:13 | #17

    I can’t bring myself to visit the Oz, so can’t help out, sorry. I keep thinking that they must go down the gurgler someday. Here’s to continued hope.

  18. Ikonoclast
    February 8th, 2011 at 07:15 | #18

    Attacking the mouthpiece of corporate capital is only the start. You need to critique the system of corporate capital itself.

  19. Patricia WA
    February 8th, 2011 at 08:52 | #19

    News Ltd will defend itself and its Proprietor

    What’s this talk of media bias?
    We at News are honest, pious,
    We meet our readership’s desires.
    Yes, some are climate change deniers.
    That’s why Greenies, fans of Gaia’s,
    Sneer as if we were pariahs!
    Pacifists who promote ceasefires
    Say we collude with arms suppliers.
    We can always claim ‘ultra vires’
    If a politician enquires
    Into why this or that transpires.
    Anyway they’re just leftie liars.
    We report, as Rupert requires
    ‘Cos we know he’s the man who hires
    Only journos whom he admires.
    We also know of those he fires
    On each newspaper he acquires.

    Don’t hope for this to change when he expires.
    We will survive. Just look how well he ‘sires’
    And know, this man we’ve helped build these empires
    Plans to be the first whom not even death retires.

  20. Donald Oats
    February 8th, 2011 at 09:24 | #20

    Is the Oz a profit making paper, or does it run at a loss, and if so, is that consistently at a loss? If it does run consistently at a loss, does that mean it is blocking other operators from giving a national broadsheet a go (profitably)?

    Just sayin’, is all.

    PS: Like the poem, Patricia WA.

  21. February 8th, 2011 at 11:01 | #21

    No Donald, it runs at a huge loss. I’ve seen comments where people point out that for a free market fundamentalist like Murdoch that would appear to be hypocritical, then flying monkeys pop up and shriek “It’s his paper, he can run it at a loss if he wants”.

    The point is, not everything he does is overtly for the money, usually the power is far more important to him, the money can flow in other ways (not paying enough tax, vast gov ad spends etc).

  22. frankis
    February 8th, 2011 at 11:03 | #22

    @Charlie

    Its editorials regrettably have always accepted the conventional wisdom that CO2 causes temperature change, a manifest absurdity when atmospheric CO2 is the same everywhere at all times, yet temperatures are not (nor changes therein vis a vis changes in CO2). But then, you no doubt believe it’s a balmy 25oC plus in Edinburgh today, just like the IPCC’s barmy Gabi Hegerl (resident there and lead author of AR4 WG1, chap. 9). Amazing how an inert gas like CO2 can simultaneously cause big freeze in North America, and floods cyclones and fires in Australia.

    Yikes! – is Sam Poe exemplifying for us the impressive level of erudition of your typical reader of the Oz? The trouble is that it’s entirely believable not only that Sam might not be pulling our leg but that this is the kind of ignorance and foolishnesh that the owners and editors of the Oz encourage and love to see evidenced by the punters in their media market.

    Either way, good one Sam Poe.

  23. frankis
    February 8th, 2011 at 11:05 | #23

    Pardon me, I should have been complimenting Charlie Poe not some unknown “Sam” Poe.

  24. iain
    February 8th, 2011 at 13:26 | #24

    @frankis

    I did think the “therein vis a vis” thing was a nice touch, but.

  25. iain
    February 8th, 2011 at 13:57 | #25

    @Charlie

    ok Charlie, I’ll bite.

    Are you saying that the second most common greenhouse gas in the atmosphere can’t possibly be the only variable influencing temperatures on earth? If so (and if you are sure your information is sound), then I think we definitely need to stop the presses and get your valuable information out to every scientist on the planet.

    Or are you saying that CO2 has no influence on temperature?

  26. rog
    February 8th, 2011 at 16:28 | #26

    Most of Murdochs enterprises ran near or at a loss – they were saved by the movie Avatar!

  27. Charlie
    February 8th, 2011 at 16:38 | #27

    Iain: 1) Yes 2) Yes

    My source is no less than IPCC AR4, Working Group 1, chapter 9, Understanding and Attributing Climate Change, by Hegerl, Zwiers et al (including Australia’s Neville Nicholls, S. Power, L. Rotstayn, and David Karoly). Over some 83 pages they provide no evidence for their claim of 90% certainty that anthropogenic CO2 has caused “most” of observed temperature change, let alone that it has had any influence at all. Although Zwiers is an econometrician of some note, as lead author he fails to show anywhere a single regression result with p confirming 90% certainty and R2>0.50 confirming “most” for CO2 vis a vis lots of other well known factors affecting temperatures.

    Amazingly, the Chapter’s Appendix which the authors’ main text claims shows results of regression analysis turns out on inspection only to have an introduction to the technique without showing a single result to confirm the chapter’s claims, which form the kernel of the whole of AR4.1′s SPM.

    The Appendix repeats chunks of Allen and Tett (1999) (with citation but not acknowledgment of the wholesale lifting). Allen and Tett were Contributing Authors for Chapter 9, but merely allowing their work to be regurgitated falls short of the ARs’ purported task, namely an independent review of the literature. In fact this procedure is typical of the whole of Chapter 9, which consists of endless citations of its various authors’ work (eg Hegerl cites 11 of her own papers of which she was lead author, no doubt there are cites of others where she was merely a secondary author) with zero critical assessment of any of them.

    Be that as it may, Allen and Tett 1999 like the Appendix utilising their paper report no results regressing temperature changes on CO2 and non-anthropogenic climatic factors.

  28. rog
  29. iain
    February 8th, 2011 at 17:08 | #29

    Charlie :
    Amazingly,

    Yes Charlie, it is indeed amazing that you believe IPCC AR4, Working Group 1, Chapter 9 clearly demonstrates that CO2 has no influence on temperature.

    Have you finished the experiments to actually prove this claim yourself? I am sure that Science and Nature are awaiting your paper with breathless anticipation.

  30. Donald Oats
    February 8th, 2011 at 17:20 | #30

    @Megan
    Hmmm, this is what I thought, Megan, thanks for confirming. Which brings me to a hypothetical:
    If I was a baker baking bread for retail, and an un-named supermarket chain ran a loss-leading home brand bread for retail in order to kill my sales dead, do you think that the ACCC would get involved (laughs)? If I complained to the ACCC before going broke, perhaps they would act in time, assuming that we have some appropriate law to stop this loutish behaviour by the supermarket chain, hypothetically speaking. Would the EU or the USA have such laws, I wonder out aloud?

    Is running a national broadsheet newpaper for retail analogous to my above hypothetical, given that their loss-making presence presumably makes it unprofitable for any other company to have a go at national broadsheet media? I’d have thought so; if my thinking is correct then your information (Megan) that they are a loss-making enterprise is very informative. Power trumps reason, once again it seems ;-|

  31. Charlie
    February 8th, 2011 at 17:23 | #31

    Rog: thanks but, still no regressions! Why is only stratospheric water vapour from CH4 mentioned? Wot of both natural and human water vapour in the troposphere? The only “natural” forcing mentioned is “solar irradiance”, but that is measured at top of atmosphere, and varies very little as well as being 24/365, not to mention being absurdly understated in terms of radiative forcing. Solar radiation by DAY at the surface is far more relevant for evaporation forming water vapour but omitted even though WV is recognised as a greenhouse gas. To claim that WV is merely a “feedback” from rising temperature caused by CO2 requires 1) proof that CO2 raises temperature, absent from your linked Fig. SPM.2, and 2) that changes in WV occur after not before anthro. temperature change, for which again there is no evidence. The evidence offered by SPM and indeed the whole of AR4.1 falls well short of what would be acceptable in a court of law!

  32. Donald Oats
    February 8th, 2011 at 17:36 | #32

    If Charlie was correct, and the greenhouse gas CO2 is in fact not a greenhouse gas at all, then the physics behind atmospheric temperature is wrong: there is no escaping that fact. If CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, then a 40% increase in it or a 100% decrease won’t change the living temperature for us humans, ie the global temperature as they measure it. However, if a 100% decrease in CO2 cannot have a statistically insignificant effect upon global temperature, then why is our global temperature what it is? Where does the extra warming effect (to replace the mistaken – according to Charlie – effect on temperature attributed to CO2, about 33 degrees Celsius according to the textbooks) come from?

    The warming effect attributed to CO2 must come from something else: climate scientists have been over this and over this and over this until the cows come home; there is no something else, Charlie.

    So, assuming that the scientists have it correct concerning the (Natural) contribution of atmospheric CO2 to the warming effect, then why would the physics suddenly screw up when a change at the margins occurs, whatever or whoever causes it? Nope, I need a lot more evidence before I go discarding the greenhouse effect with respect to CO2.

  33. iain
    February 8th, 2011 at 17:50 | #33

    @Charlie

    Charlie,

    A summary of scientific papers demonstrating changes in outgoing longwave radiation due to greenhouse gases are here:
    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/papers-on-changes-in-olr-due-to-ghgs/

    A summary of scientific papers demonstrating changes in downward longwave radiation due to greenhouse gases are here:
    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/papers-on-changes-in-dlr/

    A summary of lab measurements of CO2 absorption properties are here:
    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/papers-on-laboratory-measurements-of-co2-absorption-properties/

    Alternatively, please attend a high school science prac. class.

  34. Charlie
    February 8th, 2011 at 18:09 | #34

    Donald Oats: I have never said CO2 is not a greenhouse gas. The issue is how potent at its current concentration? Even Arrhenius 1896 admitted there is a logarithmic reduction (less change in T the more change in CO2) and all the evidence since then confirms that, just more strongly than A. predicted. So the rest of your post is simply wrong. Just read Arrhenius. Put up your email address here and I will send his remarkable paper to you. There’s nothing wrong with his physics so far as I can tell, just some mistaken statistics.

  35. February 8th, 2011 at 18:14 | #35

    Pure Poison is also a good blog that looks at some of the most rabid ratbags that attempt to pass themselves as journos and their .. poison

    Their podcast is most entertaining as well. They read the rot so I don’t have to :)
    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/

  36. February 8th, 2011 at 18:28 | #36

    Oh, and I’ve tried so hard to get a denier to stand in front of a CO2 laser, but just ended up getting banned on most nutter sites, and no bites elsewhere. They’re not as retarded as they they make themselves out to be.
    http://galahs.blogspot.com/2010/04/carbon-dioxide-laser.html

  37. February 8th, 2011 at 18:36 | #37

    It’s hard to work out what he’s denying.

  38. JamesH
    February 9th, 2011 at 09:19 | #38

    Charlie,
    The diagram from the Summary for Policymakers shows net changes in forcings since 1750; the sun’s radiation has only increased by a very small amount since then, hence it makes a very small contribution to changing the long-term average temperature. “Natural and human” water vapour is a feedback caused by other sources of heat – water vapour can’t increase on its own without outside heating.
    It is very well known that the temperature forcing from extra CO2, on its own, declines logarithmically. This doesn’t mean that it’s negligible – we are a long way from CO2 saturation. Furthermore, we have been accelerating CO2 production exponentially – take the logarithm of an exponential and you get a linear trend. Additional forcings stemming from the increased CO2 (water vapour, methane release) effectively double this trend.

  39. may
    February 9th, 2011 at 13:45 | #39

    if that national opinion-as-news sheet is being sold for less than it cost to produce, wouldn’t that be covered by anti dumping laws?

    fair and balanced?

    and as a personal peeve:

    the alwretchton individual on the ABC board opining (and being paid to opine) in said sheet
    gives me the pip.

    but that’s just me.

  40. Charlie
    February 9th, 2011 at 22:07 | #40

    JamesH. You are right re changes rather than absolute levels. However, small changes in a big number could outweigh big changes in small numbers! Why not do the regressions yourself?

    And I do not agree that changes in atmospheric CO2 have been exponential, they seem to me to have been declining percentage wise. Plotting the actual annual Mauna Loa data from 1959 to 2010 we find that the linear growth rate of the absolute increases in ppm p.a. has been from 0.95 ppm in 1959 (NB this is actually the second derivative as I understand it, as it is the rate of growth of the absolute annual increments; the LN annual growth rate of TOTAL atmospheric CO2 is about 0.3% p.a.):

    y = 0.0254x + 0.7656
    R² = 0.4105

    i.e. an increase of 0.0245 ppm per annum over the base level of increases in CO2 in ppm of about 0.95 ppm.

    while the exponential rate has been:

    y = 0.7736e0.0196x
    R² = 0.3879
    i.e. larger but less significant in terms of best fit (R2).

    The best fit as usual (because it reflects ENSO) is a polynomial, at ~5, and predicts a continuing decline:

    y = -2E-07×5 + 3E-05×4 – 0.0014×3 + 0.0265×2 – 0.1575x + 0.994
    R² = 0.4475

    Your comment “Additional forcings stemming from the increased CO2 (water vapour, methane release) effectively double this trend” repeats the current conventional wisdom, but as Galbraith noted back in 1959 or so, that is always wrong. There has been no significant increase in atmospheric CH4 for many years.

    Now we come to the crux, when you say: “’Natural and human’ water vapour is a feedback caused by other sources of heat – water vapour can’t increase on its own without outside heating”. True in your final phrase, untrue when you refer to feedback. That is what has to be demonstrated, namely that it is rising atmospheric CO2 which causes the “outside heating” that increases atmospheric water vapour.

    Fig. SPM2 ignores anthropogenic increases to water vapour from power stations’ cooling towers, car exhausts, and aircraft emissions, which is only to be expected when as usual we were regaled tonight by both SBS and ABC (part of the ALP’s public relations machinery), claiming that water vapour = CO2. Such is the abysmal level of scientific knowledge in both the IPCC and this exceptionally stupid country. Neither is aware that coalfired power stations emit heat, water, and CO2, like cars and planes.

    The simple word equation for the combustion of a hydrocarbon in oxygen is:
    Fuel + Oxygen = Heat + Water + CO2

    While the simple word equation for the combustion of a hydrocarbon in air is:
    Fuel + air = Heat + Water + CO2 + Nitrogen

    Get back to me when you can show you have grasped this simple fact, and that
    for example, the burning of propane with pure oxygen yields:
    3 CO2 = 132.03
    4 H2O = 72.08

    While using ordinary air we have:

    8 H2O = 144.16
    2 CO2 = 88.02

    This means that actual fossil fuel burning yields more H2O than CO2.

    Finally, you said: “Additional forcings stemming from the increased CO2 (water vapour, methane release) effectively double this trend”. That has yet to be demonstrated empirically.

    There is NO evidence that increased CO2 has raised temperature, so therefore NONE that enhanced CO2 raises water vapour. Using my equations above, it is easy to show that anthropogenic increases in water vapour leading to better rainfall cannot be ignored. Name the governments in Africa, Saudi Arabia et al, ex southern USSR, northern China and Mongolia that will rush to support reductions in anthropogenic emissions of water vapour!

    Of course this exceptionally stupid government of an equally cretinous intelligentsia and citizenry will vote for reduced atmospheric water vapour which equals reduced precipitation and thereby lower crop yields and higher food prices, all of which will actively be promoted by JQ’s new domain, the AARES.

  41. Martin
    February 9th, 2011 at 22:41 | #41

    JQ, how did a thread about the media become yet another climate thread?

    I’ve been advocating not buying the Murdoch press since 1976, a position I still hold.

  42. JamesH
    February 10th, 2011 at 09:34 | #42

    Martin: Sorry.

    Charlie, you are talking through your hat. Before running meaningless regression analyses (any polynomial is useless for prediction purposes as they all go to +/- infinity at the ends), try looking at the historical record and applying a few thought experiments.

    Carbon Dioxide emissions did not begin when Mauna Loa started measuring them. Look at this graph and rethink your claim that the increase is linear.

    That CO2 absorbs and reradiates heat is a basic fact of chemistry, known since Tyndall in 1859. If you are going to dispute this, all I can suggest is that you accept Dave McRae’s challenge above. However, since the chemical formulae you quote rely on the chemical properties of CO2, I’ll assume that you accept that CO2 is what the science says it is. Dr Roy Spencer, Dr Judith Curry and Lord Monckton have all vigourously defended the idea that increased CO2 causes increased atmospheric heating.

    Water vapour: Total human power use at the moment is 15 terawatts (1.503 e15 Watts). Let’s assume, for the purpose of this thought experiment, that all of that goes on heating water (in fact a tiny fraction of it does).
    Total solar power hitting the earth’s surface at the moment is 89 petawatts (8.9 e16 W): 2 orders of magnitude greater than human power use. As 70% of the earth’s surface is ocean, 70% of that (6.2 e16 W) goes directly on heating water and increasing water vapour (all figures from here.

    Therefore, total human power use is about 2% of the power the sun puts into heating water, constantly. Anything that increases this power (e.g. CO2 creating warming feedback loops in the atmosphere) by more than a tiny fraction outweighs all possible direct human contributions to water vapour production.

    Methane: Atmospheric methane has tripled since 1850. Levels stabilised in the late 90s/early 00s due to drought and economic slowdown. They are now increasing again.

  43. Jim Birch
    February 10th, 2011 at 09:50 | #43

    John

    You might like to have a go at this one:

    NBN to cost 24 times South Korea’s faster network, says research body UPDATED James Massola
    From: The Australian
    February 09, 2011 2:46PM
    111 comments
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nbn-to-cost-24-times-s-koreas/story-e6frg6n6-1226002952747

    THE National Broadband Network will cost taxpayers 24 times as much as South Korea’s but deliver just one tenth the speed, according to one of the world’s most respected economic research organisations.

    No mention of differing population densities, or as someone said in the Link list: “Wow, that’s cheap. Only 24 times the cost for 76 times the land area”
    A paper released by the Economist Intelligence Unit today criticises Labor’s broadband network on a range of fronts, including its cost per household covered.

    The report assesses the plans of 40 countries to enable high speed broadband development, assessing the target speeds, rollout time frame, cost and regulatory provisions to deliver a final ranking.

  44. Jim Birch
    February 10th, 2011 at 09:56 | #44

    …The Register has an article on the EIU calculation.

  45. Jim Birch
    February 10th, 2011 at 11:13 | #45

    @Charlie
    It’s no good commenting here with your theories about global warming. If you really had any useful theory or new analysis you should put up to the climate science community for analysis, not on an economics blog.

    Apart from demonstrating your totally incompetence at even high school physics, you achieve nothing.

  46. Charlie
    February 10th, 2011 at 11:21 | #46

    JamesH: Thanks. I have seen that CO2 history graph. I am more interested in the present, and the trend in CO2 at Mauna Loa from 1958 to now is linear, at 1.4607 ppm p.a. with R2=.9875, you can hardly get a better fit than that!

    I am also well aware of Tyndall and Arrhenius’ work, and there is nothing wrong with their physics, only the quantification thereof. Arrhenius predicted over 3 oC for a 50% increase in CO2, cet.par. The observed effect of their CO2 on GMT is infinitesimally small, at most only 0.8 oC for 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1900, which is statistically insignificant, especially when GMT has been adjusted for the absence of the tropics from the 1900 baseline.

    BTW, Arrhenius had quite lot to say about water vapour.

    And for more on that, check out Boucher et al 2004 (Direct human influence of irrigation on atmospheric water vapour and climate-O. Boucher,G Myhre and A Myhre Climate Dynamics (2004) 22 597-603).

  47. Ken Fabos
    February 10th, 2011 at 15:00 | #47

    JQ, a regular column on the lies and silly errors in The Australian would require that you read it regularly! That doesn’t sound like fun. Like the trolls, surely there is something to be said for not feeding them. Even if occasionally baiting trolls provides some amusement, seriously arguing climate science with someone who thinks variability in temperature by location around the globe is evidence of the non-existence of the greenhouse effect looks like an exercise in futility; the quality of arguments in The Australian don’t look to be a lot better than Charlie’s but I suppose they do reach a larger audience and thus deserve more serious treatment. Even so are you sure you have the stomach to read it both regularly and thoroughly?

  48. JamesH
    February 10th, 2011 at 15:47 | #48

    Charlie,
    I’m glad you now accept that CO2 can heat the atmosphere, as shown by Tyndall and Arrhenius. Presumably you also accept that a hotter atmosphere results in more water being evaporated, which is also basic physical chemistry. In which case I’m not sure what your argument is, or why you hold to it.

    In disputing the relationship between rates of CO2 and temperature increase you appear to be duplicating Monckton Myth No.3. A concise explanation and rebuttal is here.

    Your Boucher, Myhre and Myhre paper is not at all supportive of your argument. It concerns water vapour produced by the sun acting upon irrigated land; not water vapour produced by human industry. It estimates the total positive forcing from this as between 0.03 and 0.1 W/m2, which is a small fraction of the forcing produced by CO2; it also argues that the evaporative effect of increased irrigation produces local surface level cooling; in which case it cannot possibly be responsible for the measured increase in surface temperature which you seek to attribute to it.

  49. Charlie
    February 10th, 2011 at 16:44 | #49

    JamesH: A radiative forcing of 0.03 W/m2 is about the same as the radiative forcing due to the year by year increase in anthropogenic [CO2], 2ppm last year, namely 0.027W/m2. Stop all irrigation as the MDB haters hope to achieve here and elsewhere and you achieve the same reduction in radiative forcing as stopping all anthro. CO2 emissions.

    I don’t think you read my comments on T & A very carefully. It is one thing to deduce an effect, the next is to measure it, and observed temperature change since 1900 does not match Arrhenius’ prediction of 3+ from 50%, recalling also his insistence on the logarithmic effect usually ignored by the IPCC.

    The same point applies to your comment “Presumably you also accept that a hotter atmosphere results in more water being evaporated, which is also basic physical chemistry.”

    Of course, but how much more for the 0.8 oC since 1900?

  50. Donald Oats
    February 10th, 2011 at 18:46 | #50

    Someone somewhere here noted that the Australian printed (an AAP) article about how storms etc are steadily going up in Qld, and that the coral record demonstrates the extreme nature of more recent activity (1974 is considered recent; this is a climate record, after all). Funny how this is in today, when they use Nott’s work in the weekend Australian and the statement that the coral record showed a declining trend or no trend. After pushing the very limited quotes of Nott for the last week, they now have an article giving more information, information that corroborates AGW rather than rejects it. I would provide links but that just encourages the Oz.

  51. Chris O’Neill
    February 10th, 2011 at 19:52 | #51

    Charlie was obviously asleep during the high school lesson about the heat capacity of water.

  52. James Haughton
    February 10th, 2011 at 20:07 | #52

    Charlie,
    What you mean is, stop all irrigation everywhere in the world, forever, and you achieve the same reduction as the stopping the net anthro CO2 emissions above natural sinks, for one year. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would not drop. This is because water vapour’s residency time in the atmosphere is about a month. CO2′s residency time is about 50 years. By your own argument, total anthropogenic CO2 emissions (~110 ppm) are 55 times as powerful as total human irrigation (equivalent to 2 ppm on your figures).

    Surely you realise that atmospheric science and our understanding of all the different forcings, feedbacks, etc, and ability to calculate them, has advanced since the late nineteenth century days of Arrhenius and Tyndale. Start with Spencer Weart’s History of the discovery of global warming if you want to know how.
    The idea that the IPCC somehow fails to take into account that CO2′s effect on temperature is logarithmic is an absurd conspiracy theory, and could only be believed by someone who takes Lord Monckton at face value.

    Charlie, I’d like you to consider how much ground you have had to concede in this discussion. You’ve agreed that CO2 does warm the atmosphere; that warming the atmosphere produces water vapour, which produces further warming; that human production of water vapour is negligible compared to the impact of human production of CO2; that the combined effects of CO2 and other forcings has produced at least 0.8 oC of warming since 1900. Perhaps you should also concede that the world scientific community knows what they’re talking about.

  53. Donald Oats
    February 10th, 2011 at 21:51 | #53

    Arrhenius explained the log(concCO2) vs T relationship in 1896; have a look at the article and realise just how ridiculous the claim is that climate scientists don’t know about the logarithm term. What is it with our trolls (Tony G brought this one up once too, except it was directed at us, the readers, but same point applies – anyone who has done some reading of the real literature or faith derivative literature, is unlikely to have missed it).

  54. Charlie
    February 10th, 2011 at 21:57 | #54

    James Haughton (I had guessed you were JamesH): Where to begin? You serially misquote me and generally screw up (as usual! or is that unfair?).

    1. “Stop all irrigation everywhere in the world, forever, and you achieve the same reduction as the stopping the net anthro CO2 emissions above natural sinks, for one year.” Yes, your only correct statement.

    2. “The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would not drop”. Agreed – but it would not increase.

    3. “This is because water vapour’s residency time in the atmosphere is about a month”. Not true, it takes about 8-12 days for evaporation to precipitate, but that is a continuous process with constant overlaps.

    4. “CO2?s residency time is about 50 years”. Not true, elementary inventory analysis shows the turnover is 8-12 years, as every year about 10% of total atmospheric CO2 comes down (photosynthesis and oceanic absorption) and goes up again (eg respiration etc).

    5. Your next sentence is silly: the annual forcing from irrigation’s H2O is not the same as the annual turnover of total CO2 in para. 4.

    6. You brought in Tyndale; I mentioned Arrhenius, why don’t you check what he had to say about water vapour?

    7. IPCC & logarithms: Given that actual change in GMT has been 0.8 oC for 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1900, the next 40% should produce less than 0.8 oC, say 0.6, and the next 20% less again, say 0.3, total from now 0.9, but the IPCC has 3+++ for doubling.

    8. Your final para. is not an accurate summary of what I have said here.

    9. “Perhaps you should also concede that the world scientific community knows what they’re talking about.” Why? That is an appeal to authority. There is an obvious inconsistency between TAR (Houghton) and AR4 (Solomon) on the subject of water vapour, the former says it is a “powerful greenhouse gas”, the latter deletes it (AR4, WG1: 28) and its Forster & Ramaswamy’s Chapter 2 states “Anthropogenic use of water is less than 1% of natural sources of water vapour and about 70% of the use of water for human activity is from irrigation”, citing Doll (2002) and Boucher et al. (2004).These authors conclude “radiative forcing from anthropogenic sources of tropospheric water vapour is not considered here, since these sources affect surface temperature more significantly through non-radiative processes, and a strict use of the RF [radiative forcing] is problematic. The emission of water vapour from fossil fuel combustion is significantly lower than the emission from changes in land use”.

    10. However real scientists (unlike those in Solomon et al) know that for example combustion in air of propane and other hydrocarbon fuels generates CO2 and water vapour in the ratio 2:1, but that the radiative forcing of the latter is about double that of CO2 (Houghton), so that they have at least equal radiative forcing. Go figure!

  55. jquiggin
    February 10th, 2011 at 22:07 | #55

    Can I remind everyone that trolls like Charlie (kindly replacing Tony G, who got boring) are here for our amusement. Don’t argue with them – mock them for the fools they are or pretend to be.

  56. Charlie
    February 10th, 2011 at 22:38 | #56

    James Haughton: further to my last, Forster & Ramaswamy (in AR4 WG1) are seriously in error when they state “The emission of water vapour from fossil fuel combustion is significantly lower than the emission from changes in land use”. Actually Le Quere, Canadell, & Raupach show (in their Global Carbon Project data set), given that the chemistry indicates a ratio of 1:2 for H2O:CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels, that the extra H2O component of anthropogenic fossil fuel emissions is of the order of 4 GtC equivalent mass p.a. in 2006-07, much more than their estimate for land use change emissions of 1.47 GtC. That justifies the doubling of the RF from CO2.

  57. Chris O’Neill
    February 11th, 2011 at 08:41 | #57

    This Charlie troll is a bit similar to the Curtin troll, a bit more technical detail perhaps but a similar ability to mangle atmospheric physics and for irrelevant citation, though not quite as offensive yet.

  58. JamesH
    February 11th, 2011 at 09:28 | #58

    I tried.

  59. Freelander
    February 11th, 2011 at 11:02 | #59

    We are lucky to be graced with the wisdom of Charlie.

    He is yet another one of these self educated savants who mainstream scientists are forever trying to suppress. So feared are they that their own scribblings will be exposed for the nonsense they are, these ‘scientists’ refuse to publish findings from any of this army of savants. Lucky are we that the natural democracy of the internet is here to remedy this serious injustice.

    Is there any limit to the self acknowledged genius of these rough gems whose brilliance a mere twenty years ago would have been wasted in the limited fora of local bars?

    But then again, maybe a good supply of beer is required for full appreciation?

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