Freeman Dyson v the 'Independent'

The Independent isn’t very “independent”. So says perhaps the world’s greatest living theoretical physicist Professor Freeman Dyson in a truly glorious exchange with the fervently warmist newspaper’s fervently warmist science editor Steve Connor. (H/T Mitcheltj)

Professor Dyson says:
I wish that The Independent would live up to its name and present a less one-sided view of the issues.
He’s talking, of course, about the ‘Independent’s’ stance on AGW. Of all the British media, not even the Guardian’s Environment pages have quite matched the zeal with which the Indie has promoted the great Man Made Global Warming narrative. Professor Dyson – born in Britain 87 years ago, a scholar at Winchester but a naturalised American, now…

(to read more, click here)

18 thoughts on “Freeman Dyson v the 'Independent'”

  1. James – are you really that stupid. When you have heart disease do you seek out an expert on dermatology?

    You are just os incredibly dumb about science it’s not funny.

    He’s a THEORETICAL PHYSICIST – an old one. Not a climatologist.

    Bangs head on table.

  2. Chris – if you have your heart removed after experiencing the symptoms of ingestion by a consensus of experts who have been duped into exaggerations and then lies by the smell of money (large funding grants), you’re worse off than before.

    Freeman Dyson has first hand experience of censorship at the hands of experts when presenting Feynman’s path integrals. Dyson first showed that Feynman’s path integrals provided a formal way to generalize the Schwinger-Tomonaga calculations to any problem in quantum field theory, in his famous paper “The Radiation Theories of Tomonaga, Schwinger and Feynman”. Dyson suffered greatly from abuse from the consensus of all the famous but bigoted physicists of 1948 for doing this, which caused him severe depression, as he explains in the video “Convincing Oppenheimer”: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-77014189453344068#

    Just to summarize what Feynman and Dyson did for any non-physics readers, in 1925-6 Schroedinger and Heisenberg came up with a false theory of quantum mechanics which used a classical (non-quantum!) electromagnetic field, and introduced the falsehood of intrinsic indeterminancy via the abuse of the uncertainty principle, which it applied directly to real (on-shell) particles like photons and electrons. This approach is non-relativistic due to the Hamiltonian energy operator, that results in a wave equation which puts space and time on different footings.

    Dirac in 1927 overcame this at the expense of doing away with classical fields and replacing them with quantum fields. This is 2nd quantization, since the chaotic electron orbits are produced by the mechanism of the quantum force fields (each force field interaction with an on-shell particle like an orbital electron is a physically discrete event represented by a Feynman diagram, not a smoothly operating classical field). Dirac’s 2nd quantization spinor Hamiltonian replaced E=mc^2 by E=+/-mc^2, and thereby predicted antimatter, which was discovered by Anderson in 1932 (the positron). Feynman then replaced the Hamiltonian with the action principle, and showed that all indeterminancy is produced by a sum over paths of the many different random interactions of a particle with the surrounding quantum field. An electron moves chaotically in the atom because the Coulomb force isn’t classical but is a quantum field:

    ‘Bohr … said: “… one could not talk about the trajectory of an electron in the atom, because it was something not observable.” … Bohr thought that I didn’t know the uncertainty principle … it just made me realize that … [they] … didn’t know what I was talking about, and it was hopeless to try to explain it further.’

    – Dr Jagdish Mehra, The Beat of a Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, Oxford, 1994, pp. 245-248.

    The whole of the “wavefunction collapse/quantum entanglement” religion is 1st quantization epicycles, which was debunked in 1927 by Dirac. Yet it lives on because, like epicycles, obfuscation is always preferred by professors of mathematical physics (teaching equations without mechanisms seems more exciting for students, who want to believe that physics is a replacement for metaphysical religion). Professor Alain Aspect’s alleged proof of entangled photons was just proof of the entanglement of 1st quantization by Bell’s Theorem, as criticised by the late Caroline Thompson in her 1999 arxiv paper “Subtraction of ‘accidentals” and the validity of Bell tests”: “In some key Bell experiments, including two of the well-known ones by Alain Aspect, 1981-2, it is only after the subtraction of ‘accidentals’ from the coincidence counts that we get violations of Bell tests. The data adjustment, producing increases of up to 60% in the test statistics, has never been adequately justified.” Feynman explained the why the 1st quantization uncertainty principle is junk physics very clearly:

    ‘… with electrons: when seen on a large scale, they travel like particles, on definite paths. But on a small scale, such as inside an atom, the space is so small that there is no main path, no “orbit”; there are all sorts of ways the electron could go, each with an amplitude. … we have to sum the arrows to predict where an electron is likely to be.’

    – Richard P. Feynman, QED, Penguin Books, London, 1990, Chapter 3, pp. 84-5.

    ‘I would like to put the uncertainty principle in its historical place … If you get rid of all the old-fashioned ideas and instead use the ideas that I’m explaining in these lectures – adding arrows [path amplitudes] for all the ways an event can happen – there is no need for an uncertainty principle!’

    – Richard P. Feynman, QED, Penguin Books, London, 1990, pp. 55-56.

  3. Chris P wrote:
    “When you have heart disease do you seek out an expert on dermatology?”
    and
    “He’s a THEORETICAL PHYSICIST – an old one. Not a climatologist.”

    Good points Chris, with all these different sciences, makes you wonder where all the “scientific consensus” comes from?

    Then again: “You are just os incredibly dumb about science it’s not funny.”

    Science is the method, not the subject. When baby climatologists first venture from their mothers pouch, and splash about in the font of knowledge, they must at some stage learn the ancient black arts of computer modelling, because, as the dusty old Prof would have it, there ain’t no analytical solutions in them there clouds and stuff. And guess who taught the first climatologists about computer modelling?

  4. Dear Sirs,

    To: moderators@telegraph.co.uk

    Dear Sirs,

    Whilst I note your policy of not discussing individual moderation decisions, this is not a moderation issue as you have (apparently) suspended my entire blog without warning.

    If so, surely I am entitled to an explanation for such draconian action. However, I would much prefer that you give me an opportunity to put right whatever was wrong: If you have indeed suspended or deleted the entire blog because of a complaint about the banner to my blog, surely I should be given the opportunity to modify it (which I was in fact going to do tomorrow anyway)? Otherwise, this is not moderation, it is summary execution without a fair trial

    I look forward to receiving a substantive explanation at your very earliest convenience.

    Martin Lack.

  5. “Those who warn of serious environmental consequences for planet Earth if humankind does not radically change its ways are not trying to spoil anyone’s fun or freedom; they are merely pointing to the truth of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (i.e. that energy cannot be created nor destroyed) and the reality of Entropy (i.e. that energy conversion leads to increasing disorder in the Universe).”

    – Martin Lack, http://jamesdelingpole.com/blog/if-ben-goldacre-thinks-im-a-what-does-that-make-him-1286/comment-page-1/#comment-8558

    Science isn’t about “truth” but about facts. There are no “laws” of science, just facts, which are obfuscatingly represented by “laws” and are scientifically explained by mechanisms. CO2 is causing an increase in cloud cover and fall in water vapour, which is a “greenhouse” gas 30 times more important than CO2. All you’re doing is trying to ignore the facts and assert your own opinions, which appear to be identical to the ignorant propaganda of Al Gore. It’s pretty important to keep Gaddafi off the negotiations for the future of Libya or he’ll just bog the discussion down with deliberately confused propaganda. It’s the same for global warming. I notice that you don’t want to discuss the science, just to repeatedly “attack” Delingpole’s journalistic “authority” status to report facts, which for my money is a million times higher than the status of Dr Nurse, Dr Phil “Hide the Decline” Jones, or Dr von Braun of NASA CO2 emission propaganda.

    James Delingpole makes the point very clearly at the end of the entry on “Global Warming” in his book How to be Right: “if the climate change doom mongers are really so sure all the evidence is on their side, why are they so keen to stifle any arguments which threaten to prove them wrong?”

    The answer is money and dictatorship status. Loonies want to go on stealing taxpayers funding for biased “research” papers which deceive the readers and support a hardened orthodoxy originating from the Nazis. The key problem in science is not censorship per se, but the censorship of objective and scientific (not ad hominem) criticisms. I think the only way forward is to enforce the censorship of science-abusing liars. The deference to “authority” in the case of eugenics propaganda by Nobel Laureate Alexis Carrel in 1935, where he lied that gas chambers were needed to prevent a disaster, shows clearly the dangers of permitting pseudoscience to take hold.

  6. Dear Martin Lack, Thank you for providing the funniest comment in the history of this blog. On the Telegraph website you had a blog with the strapline “Delingpilovshite” – or similar – which you claim you were just on the verge of taking down when, whoops!, you got censored by the cruel and harsh moderators. My heart bleeds.
    all the best James

  7. Hi James,

    Thank you for (at last) acknowledging my existence. I think you were confusing strapline and URL. It was the URL that was a bit cheeky (deliberately so) but is this a reasonable justification for you having got my entire blog removed? If it was not you, who else have I offended? As for the banner photo and purely factual text, yes, I was going to change it today.

    Unlike many of your posts which I believe can be proven to be misleading; and many of your contributors who are extremely abusive much of the time, I suspect that the only thing that was really offensive about my blog is that neither you nor they were unable to falsify anything I posted on it.

    So why don’t you demonstrate your committment to free speech and get my blog re-instated? Or are you going to give me more of that “silent treatment” that you gave Sir Paul Nurse?

    Thanks,

    Martin.

  8. “Unlike many of your posts which I believe can be proven to be misleading; and many of your contributors who are extremely abusive much of the time …” – Martin Lack

    Factual, Martin. Factual, not abusive. It’s significant that you can’t find or name any specific examples, but instead prefer the more slimy route of trying tarnish everything and everyone with facts that contradict you with a gigantic smear campaign.

    “So why don’t you demonstrate your committment to free speech and get my blog re-instated?” – Martin Lack

    I don’t Churchill had to offer to promote or collaborate with enemy propaganda in order to demonstrate his commitment to “freedom of speech”. You can get a soapbox anywhere. Similarly, I don’t have to invite ad hominem hecklers to abuse me during a talk, just to “prove” I believe in freedom of speech. The excuse you were just a “bit cheeky” doesn’t wash! This isn’t a game, the hundred billion a year being squandered on pseudoscience needs to be redirected to humanity as soon as possible. Your mud-slinging is not helping.

  9. Nige Cook-
    1. The URL was a joke; but the content of the blog was not offensive or abusive.
    2. Unfortunately all the evidence for my assertions is currently unavailable to me or anyone else.
    3. I was not slinging any mud and it is laughable to accuse me of being abusive, when it has been me that has been on the receiveing end of numerous very personal abusive remarks and/or ridicule.
    4. So, I repeat my question, why has my entire blog been removed because of for a stupid URL (that many might not even have noticed) when abusive comments such as the first one in this thread, “James – are you really that stupid. When you have heart disease do you seek out an expert on dermatology?… You are just so incredibly dumb about science it’s not funny…“, are allowed to go unpunished.
    5. Anyway, who are you, his media representative?

  10. “Unfortunately all the evidence for my assertions is currently unavailable to me or anyone else.” – Martin Lack

    That’s very convenient. Don’t you save anything you write? What is the website server databse is wiped out by a virus? Anyway, Martin, I quoted a comment you made earlier when you claimed falsely that the 2nd law of thermodynamics implies rising entropy and a heat death from global warming.

    Actually, the relevant “law” is not the ever rising entropic “heat death” of the universe from CO2, but instead is Le Châtelier’s principle for a reaction in physical chemistry: the disturbance of the equilibrium of greenhouse gases H2O and CO2 by CO2 injections acts to oppose the change to the equilibrium, and thus to cancel out the effect on temperature from the increase in CO2. A slight change of ocean temperature (after a delay caused by the high specific heat of water, the annual mixing of thermocline waters with deeper waters in storms) ensures that rising CO2 reduces infrared absorbing H2O vapour while slightly increasing cloud cover (thus Earth’s albedo), as evidenced by the fact that the NOAA data from 1948-2008 shows a fall in global humidity (not the positive feedback rise presumed by NASA’s models!), plus the need for Dr Phil Jones to bravely “hide the decline” in the tree ring data (due to the fact tree ring growth is slowed by increased cloud cover/global dimming). I’m nobody’s representative; just trying to understand the mentality of science deniers, e.g. why you ignore/ridicule life-saving physical facts?

  11. Nige, I promise I will re-read your posts and answer your questions but, having done a BSc(Hons) in Geology (1983-86) and an MSc in Hydrogeology (1989-90), I am now doing an MA in Environmental Politics – so I really do not have time for this right now but, suffice it to say (for now) that Climategate was a scam; whereas AGW is real: 60 million years of geological history tells us that much (if we are willing to listen).

  12. Hi Martin, thanks and good luck with your MSc in environmental politics. However your claim “Climategate was a scam; whereas AGW is real: 60 million years of geological history tells us that much” seems naive to me since humans haven’t been around for 60 million years and the A in AGW stands for Anthropogenic (man-made)!

    You do come across like Nobel laureate Carrel’s “scientific” eugenics propaganda in the 1930s, using authority as a scientific argument, and conveniently not having the time to get into the nitty gritty details of science. That’s precisely the attitude of Nurse, Jones, et al.

    If you studied the effects on climate of mountains formation and the Miin your geology modules, you shoule be aware that the variations of CO2 during Earth’s geological record were all caused by rapid temperature changes by means other than CO2 variations, such as cycles in the Earth’s orbit or geological processes that created large mountain ranges. These variations produce the climate change, which in turn caused an imbalance between CO2 absorbers and emitters. Rainforests (CO2 sinks) can be killed off by temperature fall rates which can be compensated for by the migration of CO2 emitting animals. A drop in global temperature caused an increase in the atmospheric CO2 level indirectly, due to the fact that rainforests cannot migrate as quickly as animals, and are therefore more likely to be killed. An increase in global temperatures had the opposite effect, allowing dense rainforests to proliferate faster than the rate of increase of CO2 emitting animals. Therefore, the fossil record correlation between CO2 and temperature is not due to CO2 driving temperature!

    If CO2 AGW theory is correct, the climate would be so unstable that H2O itself would have caused a runaway “greenhouse effect”, without needing CO2:

    “Since the Earth’s atmosphere is not lacking in greenhouse gases, if the system could have increased its surface temperature it would have done so long before our emissions. It need not have waited for us to add CO2: another greenhouse gas, H2O, was already to hand in practically unlimited reservoirs in the oceans.”

    – Dr Miklos Zagoni, CO2 cannot cause any more “global warming”: Dr Ferenc Miskolczi’s saturated greenhouse effect theory, SPPI Original paper, December 18, 2009, page 4.

    The mechanism which prevents H2O vapour from overheating the world is cloud cover, due to the easily provable fact that heated moist air rises, expanding, cooling and condensing into cloud cover in the rarified air at higher altitudes. Existing climate models with a positive feedback from H2O are plain wrong, since they don’t allow the heated water vapour to rise, forming clouds that contribute to global dimming, offsetting CO2 effects on temperature.

  13. Nige,

    You asked me to respond to your specific question so I will do so as briefly as possible:

    With regard to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Entropy, I accept that all knowledge in science is provisional and potentially falsifiable, buy I do think it is fair to point to the consequences of these two generally-accepted scientific facts, as indeed I did, in the context of the Limits to Growth argument:”…The earth is finite. Its ability to absorb wastes and destructive effluent is finite. Its ability to provide food and energy is finite. Its ability to provide for growing numbers of people is finite. And we are fast approaching many of the earth’s limits. Current economic practices which damage the environment, in both developed and underdeveloped nations, cannot be continued without the risk that vital global systems will be damaged beyond repair…” However, given that we are talking now about AGW, I will not say anymore; and consider this aspect of the discussion closed.

    It is ironic that a climate change denier should ask someone to be factual, when your entire thesis is based on deliberate misinformation and obfuscation and, apparently, it doesn’t matter how many times your arguments are debunked; you people are seemingly incapable of doing anything other than repeating them. However, if you want facts try these:

    The concept of the so-called “greenhouse effect has been known for over 115 years and clear evidence of a year-on-year rise of CO2 linked to the burning of fossil fuels for at least 50 years (i.e. Keeling’s data from Hawaii). Surely, no-one in their right mind would continue to argue that the planet is not warming up? If so, is this warming due to natural variation? No it is not… By 1850AD, both global average temperatures and CO2 levels were as high as they had been at anytime in the last 400,000 years. Despite the variation due to ice ages (180 to 280 ppm CO2), geologists and biologists agree that our presence on the planet today is due to the relative climatic stability of the last few million years. The last time CO2 levels exceeded 400 ppm, mass extinction of species resulted. It may take 400 years, but the fossil record tells us that it will happen unless we stop releasing 400 million years worth of fossilised carbon back into the atmosphere faster than it or the sea can possibly soak it up. James Lovelock would no doubt say, “Gaia has limits to what she can cope with.”

    One of the most often repeated objections of AGW deniers is that global temperature changes have always preceded CO2 changes. However, the fact of the matter is that the two things are mutually reinforcing – changes in one cause changes in the other. Therefore the fact that we have now caused such a massive increase in CO2 levels makes changes in temperature inevitable.

    If you accept that the temperature change (and increased frequency of extreme weather events of all kinds) is real, but you do not accept that CO2 is the cause, you must come up with a plausible alternative explanation. Sadly, this cannot be sunspot activity because variance in this is short-term and causes variation in UV radiation – which does not have a warming effect. Furthermore, if the Sun was the cause, the whole atmosphere would be warming (i.e. from the outside inwards). However, the reverse is true, indicating warming from the ground-up (i.e. reflected radiation trapped in). Furthermore, the interface between the warmer troposphere and cooler stratosphere is moving slowly upwards. All of this is consistent with AGW/CO2 being the cause.

    Also, if you accept that the climate is changing, water vapour cannot be to blame because it is not increasing at anything like the rate at which CO2 is doing so. Similarly, methane from cows (etc) is posited as a much bigger problem because methane is more than 20 times more potent as a GHG. Sorry but cows have always done what cows do and, in any case, they are just another part of the carbon cycle. In case you hadn’t noticed, the only new aspect to this carbon cycle is the anthropogenic burning of fossil fuels. However, the methane release we should be really scared of is that from the thawing permafrost. Again, this is a new phenomenon and, as with more photosynthesis from plants, has a mutually reinforcing (positive feedback) effect; accelerating the rate of climate change.

    I have already dealt with the proposition that the warming effect is not significant – both ice core data and the fossil record tell us that it is unprecedented in at least the last 55 million years (when the Himalayas began to form) and very significant. So, will the benefits of warming outweigh the advantages? Who are you kidding? Rising sea levels, desertification, forest fires, plagues of insects… Those most likely to be effected are those least able to adapt. Oh, and we will have to wait 400 million years for the next batch of fossil fuels (from all those flooded forests) to become available!

    Technology will come to the rescue(?) May be, but is it worth the risk? Freeman Dyson may criticise Sir Nicholas Stern for not discounting the cost of future expenditure on mitigation but, excuse me, which one of them is the economist? Stern knew exactly what he was doing: He did not use this economic tool because we are not talking about our grandchildren’s ability to buy a house; we are talking about action that needs to be taken now to minimise the effects of climate change. Finally, climate change contrarians claim that we shouldn’t wreck the economy in order to solve a problem that may not be that serious. This is ridiculous. The problem is very clearly very serious.

    If this was a Court of Law, the case against CO2 and fossil fuel burning has been proven beyond reasonable doubt and, if this were a simple cost-benefit analysis, the case is also very clear – the risks of not tackling the problem vastly outweigh those of taking action (or mass extinction of species will eventually result). This was the conclusion of Sir Nicholas Stern; and it is ridiculous for a non-economist to try and suggest that he was wrong.
    I have decided not to litter this post with hyperlinks to the sources upon which I rely but, much of it is based on the best summary I have yet found on the Internet, which is the American Institute of Physics website.

    It is ridiculous to suggest that non-scientists like James Delingpole could possibly be more reliable than peer-reviewed science. On the contrary, information sloshing around on the Internet is invariably unreliable. For example, “reality returns” (a regular on JD’s Telegraph blog) recently posted the following reply to me there. However, having done some digging, I have found out that both his assertions were very misleading…
    1. “In considering any claim to scientific consensus, it seems appropriate to note the following statement by Dr Benjamin Santer, author of the 2007 IPCC report chapter on the detection of greenhouse warming – who is not a sceptic (to my knowledge): ‘It’s unfortunate that many people read the media hype before they read the chapter on the detection of greenhouse warming. I think the caveats are there. We say quite clearly that few scientists would say that the attribution issue was a done deal… “ AIthough I did not think that Ben Santer had ever doubted the reality of AGW, at very least, this quote is 12 years out of date because (if he actually said it at all) he was referring to AR2 in 1995 not AR4 in 2007.
    2. “The [IPCC has] misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Dr Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and UN-IPCC insider. The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was ‘only a few dozen experts’, he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography. Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate are disingenuous’, the paper states unambiguously, adding that ‘they rendered the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism…’.” I have since found out that Mike Hulme’s views (June 2010) were misquoted/misrepresented

    Unfortunately, all this just goes to show how right George Monbiot was to say that, “…people like Lord Monckton, Ian Plimer, Christopher Booker and James Delingpole act as an echo-chamber for each other’s discredited beliefs.”

    Here endeth the lesson.

  14. Martin, you’ve ignored every fact again! You haven’t responded to anything stated. You falsely stated in your earlier comment that AGW has evidence going back 60 million years, when humans haven’t even been around for 60 million years. You ignore the fact that the earth’s climate is always varying, so the probability of a temperature rise correlating with CO2 emission is 50%. You ignore the fact that correlation doesn’t imply causation. You ignore the fact that the H2O positive feedback theory is wrong by NOAA data for 61 years from 1948, which shows a fall in water vapour, not a positive feedback (increase) due to CO2 emission. You write:

    ‘The concept of the so-called “greenhouse effect has been known for over 115 years and clear evidence of a year-on-year rise of CO2 linked to the burning of fossil fuels for at least 50 years (i.e. Keeling’s data from Hawaii). Surely, no-one in their right mind would continue to argue that the planet is not warming up? If so, is this warming due to natural variation? No it is not… By 1850AD, both global average temperatures and CO2 levels were as high as they had been at anytime in the last 400,000 years. Despite the variation due to ice ages (180 to 280 ppm CO2), geologists and biologists agree that our presence on the planet today is due to the relative climatic stability of the last few million years. The last time CO2 levels exceeded 400 ppm, mass extinction of species resulted.’

    You provide no evidence that the earth is a “greenhouse”, which it obviously isn’t, no matter how many people claim the opposite. No greenhouse contains H2O cloud cover that increases as CO2 levels rise! No greenhouse has oceans that evaporate slightly faster when CO2 levels rise, increasing cloud cover slightly and cancelling out temperature effects.

    The CO2 level in the atmosphere is currently increasing due to burning fossil fuels, that correlation is fine since Hawaii is well away from direct sources of CO2 pollution. The error is in the temperature record, not the CO2 record. You can’t scientifically assert that there is a correlation between CO2 and temperature driven by CO2 increases. You’re putting up a smokescreen of obfuscation by ignoring the proved errors in AGW theory which are (a) H2O feedback and (b) the temperature record. The alleged accuracy of tree-ring growth as proxy of temperature is disproved by the biological fact that tree growth is critically sensitive to sunshine exposure, not just temperature. This is one reason why the tree ring record after 1960 hasn’t correlated with thermometer readings: global dimming. Then there is the problem of the direct temperature measurements, affected by the heating up of expanding upwind towns and cities, and the the bias in satellite temperature assessments that can’t observe the Planck temperature of the surface through cloud cover. The fact you don’t know that the temperature data is all a gross fiddle debunks your case!

    “It is ridiculous to suggest that non-scientists like James Delingpole could possibly be more reliable than peer-reviewed science. On the contrary, information sloshing around on the Internet is invariably unreliable.”

    Why is it ridiculous that outsiders can see the groupthink lies more clearly than insiders? The claim that outside criticisms are “invariably unreliable” is just what Gaddafi would say about criticism. It’s devoid of content. You’ve proved that you don’t know the facts from the misleading statements you’ve made, and then you defer judgement to the decision of consensus, or as you put it “peer-reviewed science”. This is precisely what the Creationists did.

    “If this was a Court of Law, the case against CO2 and fossil fuel burning has been proven beyond reasonable doubt …”

    Sea levels have risen 120 metres over the past 18,000 years, a mean rate of rise of 12000/18,000 = 0.67 cm/year. This is just an average; at some times the rate of rise was a lot faster than 0.67 cm/year. Over the past century sea levels have risen 20 cm, or 20/100 = 0.20 cm/year. The maximum rate of rise has been about 0.4 cm/year.

    The climate change record is abused by lying propaganda as a core foundation for the allegation that today’s climate change rate is unprecedented, which it clearly is not. The roots of the AWG lie are the previous “coming ice age” lie of the 1960s, Ernst Hass’s “Common Opponent Sought … and Found?” article in the Nov 1968 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “Why should we not replace the present arms race among nations with a common fight against a global opponent.” It’s the old Nazi “Reichstag fire” trick of using a lie about a threat as a means to take dictatorial control, crush all dissenters, and be hailed a hero into the bargain.

    Your opening Limits to Growth quotation is purely the Nazi living space myth: we’re all going to starve if exponential growth continues, which simply ignores the fact that the extra humans can produce extra food. You assume that the increased population will behave like sitting ducks, doing nothing. The best rebuttal to this is a critical reading of Clarke’s 1971 Science of War and Peace which begins with a table showing the allegedly exponential rise in war casualties from 1820, alleging 5.4 million deaths in war from 1820-99, 43 million from 1900-49, and extrapolating to predict 360 million deaths in WWIII before 1999. Well, we know one error from extrapolation there.

    But there is another error, too. Between 1851-64, 20 million were killed in the Taiping Rebellion in China, so his claim of only 5.4 million war deaths from 1820-99 is wrong. Just like AGW today, during the Cold War falsified war history was used to fit exponential rise scaremongering.

    “I have already dealt with the proposition that the warming effect is not significant – both ice core data and the fossil record tell us that it is unprecedented in at least the last 55 million years (when the Himalayas began to form) and very significant.”

    The geological record refutes your argument about CO2 driving temperature. The original version of GEOCARB suggested that the atmospheric CO2 abundance was over 15 times higher 460 million years ago than it is now, and at that time the mean global temperature was 7 C higher than now (22 C compared to an assumed global mean temperature now of 15 C). Some 210 million years ago, the CO2 level is estimated to have been 5 times the current level, and the mean global temperature was estimated to have been 5 C warmer than now (20 C compared to 15 C assumed as today’s global mean temperature). Even just 100 million years ago, there were no continuous ice caps at the poles (just winter snow): all the ice melted in the summer at the poles, and deciduous rain forests existed within 1,000 km of the poles.

    One example of a climatic change caused by normal geological processes is the formation of the Tibetian plateau which effectively cooled the whole planet by strengthening the monsoon system in southern Asia and forming the Himalayas. Beginning about 50 million years ago (and continuing to the present day), the drift of the continental plates has caused the continents of India and Eurasia to collide, pushing up oceanic crust from the bottom of the sea to form the Himalayan mountain chain and the Tibetian plateau. Similarly, the Alps are the result of a collision beginning 120 million years ago between Africa and Eurasia, and also had an effect on global climate.

    The temperature changes caused by such natural phenomena can cause CO2 levels to vary by killing off CO2-absorbing rainforests which can’t move, while CO2-emitting animals can migrate to compensate for the climatic change. Hence, there can be a true correlation between temperature and CO2 levels, even where there is no mechanism for CO2 levels to affect temperature: the opposite mechanism has occurred, in that a changing climatic temperature has resulted in a variation of CO2 levels!

    Yet another example of a mechanism for natural climatic change is the Earth’s orbit which undergoes three cycles named after Milutin Milankovich, the Serbian astronomer who in 1941 worked out how the planets perturb one another’s orbits.

  15. Nige,
    I am amazed how much time you have to spare, I am not so lucky (and had to stay up into the early hours of this morning to respond). Did you actually bother to read anything in my last post? It was an entirely logical point-by-point refutation of all the arguments but forward to suggest that carbon dioxide is not causing the climate change we are now seeing. If you are a physicist, I will not give you a lecture on physics but, given my qualifications and experience, will you please reciprocate by not trying to impress me with your knowledge of either the rock cycle or water cycle…
    However, for the record, I did not say “AGW has been happening for 60 million years”, which would have been patently ridiculous. What I said was, “AGW is real: 60 million years of geological history tells us that much…” The two are not the same, and I have explained myself fully already on this point.
    Please, please, please, do not lecture me on the difference between causation and correlation. The only positive feedback loops I have invoked are those existing between CH4 release from permafrost and temperature change; and between CO2 and temperature change. With regard to the latter, my point was that, whereas Milankovitch cycles caused the ice ages by causing temperature changes then CO2 changes, the fact that we have now caused CO2 changes will result in temperature changes precisely because the two are mutually reinforcing and it does not matter which happens first.
    I am aware of the fact that the “greenhouse” analogy is imperfect but if you want to argue that CO2 is not the cause of global warming why don’t you go and live on Venus (where temperature and pressure are now both 90 times those here on Earth).
    I think you will find the sea level rise over the last 18,000 years was due to us coming out of the last ice age. Therefore, if the temperature rises now by a further 4 Celsius then, by your own argument, we are in serious trouble.
    Why don’t you remind me that the global population will probably stabilise at 9 billion by 2050 (everyone else does) and miss the point (everyone else does). We cannot make perpetual efficiency improvements in consumption. Therefore, perpetual growth must lead to accelerating rates of resource depletion. That was my point.
    The same people that are now trying to find fault with the AGW consensus, tried to convince us smoking was not dangerous. If anything in “Merchants of Doubt” (Oreskes and Conway, 2010) is false, they should be sued to the maximum extent possible in US Law. However, I would be willing to bet my house on the fact that they won’t be sued, because it is all true. When Rachel Carson exposed the hyper-expensive – and ultimately ineffective – folly of using extremely toxic chlorinated hydrocarbons to control weeds and pests, big business attacked her in exactly the same way that the fossil fuel lobby has tried to deny the reality of AGW (like King Canute trying to hold back the tide).
    However, just as the publication of “Silent Spring” led to sense prevailing by the imposition of strict controls being imposed on the use of dangerous chemicals, I believe denialism is doomed. I just hope the Earth is not.

  16. Martin, I don’t have any time to waste, and you ignored every point and you do the same again!

    “Did you actually bother to read anything in my last post? It was an entirely logical point-by-point refutation of all the arguments but forward to suggest that carbon dioxide is not causing the climate change we are now seeing.”

    I answered your post which ignored all the facts that debunk AGW, but you still make no mention of the flaw in the greenhouse theory, the false positive feedback from H2O proved by NOAA data: http://nige.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/new.gif

    As the CO2 and CH4 (methane) level goes up, H2O vapour in the atmosphere falls which – because H2O is 30 times more important than CO2 as a “greenhouse gas” offsets the effect of CO2 on temperature, while cloud cover and albedo increases because warmed moist air rises to form clouds, further cooling the world.

    “… please reciprocate by not trying to impress me with your knowledge of either the rock cycle or water cycle …”

    I’m not trying to impress you, I’m trying to get you to learn why the natural variations in temperature have nothing to do with CO2. “What I said was, “AGW is real: 60 million years of geological history tells us that much…” The two are not the same, and I have explained myself fully already on this point.” The geological record, as I explained, refutes AGW. The CO2 in the atmosphere responds to temperature changes that kill off rainforests. If the temperature rises and rainforests become deserts and die, then the CO2 level in the atmosphere rises because the vegetation is no longer locking up CO2 from the atmosphere. Similarly, if temperatures fall, vegetation spreads and atmospheric CO2 level fall because CO2 is locked up in vegetation. You don’t grasp this fact because you claim wrongly:

    “With regard to the latter, my point was that, whereas Milankovitch cycles caused the ice ages by causing temperature changes then CO2 changes, the fact that we have now caused CO2 changes will result in temperature changes precisely because the two are mutually reinforcing and it does not matter which happens first.”

    Not so, the atmospheric CO2 (and indeed CH4 from permafrost) responds to temperature changes! It doesn’t drive climate, but is driven by climate. It has no effect on temperature because the shift of atmospheric H2O cancels out variations on CO2 and CH4 on temperature. Then you write:

    “I am aware of the fact that the “greenhouse” analogy is imperfect but if you want to argue that CO2 is not the cause of global warming why don’t you go and live on Venus (where temperature and pressure are now both 90 times those here on Earth).”

    This is actually evidence against AGW, because Venus takes 243 days to rotate so is baked on one side facing the sun without respite for all that time, and is closer to the sun that the Earth, and its total atmospheric surface pressure of 93 atmospheres (96.5% CO2), so whereas the mass of Earth’s atmosphere is 10 tons per square metre of surface area; on Venus it’s 930 tons per square metre, mainly CO2. What counts in producing the greenhouse effect on Venus are the differences to the Earth, such as the lack of oceans on Venus (Oceans cover 71% of Earth’s surface area), and the much higher total atmospheric pressure. All that happened on Venus to turn its atmosphere to CO2 was the reduction of carbonate rock by the intense solar heating, from being closer to the sun and taking 243 days to rotate. The scorched limestone rocks, i.e. CaCO3, were decomposed by the high temperature into lime, CaO, plus CO2, thus releasing further CO2 into the air!

    You omit the opposite example of the planet Mars. Mars is similar to Venus in having a large fraction of its atmosphere composed of CO2: 96% in fact. However, this is quite different to the runaway greenhouse effect of Venus. Mars has a low total surface air pressure, only about 0.64% of Earth’s, and the nitrogen partial pressure is about 5,800 times smaller than Earth’s. In particular, Mars has a mean surface temperature much smaller than Earth’s, a chilly −46 °C. This is obviously caused in part by the extra distance from the sun and in part by the low total atmospheric pressure, despite the large percentage of CO2. Nevertheless, it is clear that if there is a runaway greenhouse effect on Mars, then Mars is very cold as a result. While Venus is ideal political propaganda for global warming from CO2, Mars is less satisfactory! Even though there is no proved instance of life on Mars, the climate there is still changing as recorded by NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor:

    “… for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars’ south pole have shrunk from the previous year’s size, suggesting a climate change in progress.”

    – NASA, September 20, 2005: Orbiter’s Long Life Helps Scientists Track Changes on Mars.

    Like Mars, climate changes on Earth are natural. So why haven’t the massive natural changes in climate on the Earth triggered a runaway greenhouse effect like Venus? Answer: the “greenhouse” gases are in stable equilibrium, with H2O falling as CO2 and CH4 increase, and vice-versa! This is an example of Le Châtelier’s principle of disturbed equilibria.

    “Since the Earth’s atmosphere is not lacking in greenhouse gases [water vapor], if the system could have increased its surface temperature it would have done so long before our emissions. It need not have waited for us to add CO2: another greenhouse gas, H2O, was already to hand in practically unlimited reservoirs in the oceans. …” – Dr. Miklos Zagoni.

    Next you claim:

    “I think you will find the sea level rise over the last 18,000 years was due to us coming out of the last ice age. Therefore, if the temperature rises now by a further 4 Celsius then, by your own argument, we are in serious trouble.”

    My whole point is that we’re been coming out of an ice age for 18,000 years, so the probability that we’re in a warming spell would seem to be over 50% at present (climate is always either warming or cooling). Therefore, the CO2 correlation with alleged temperature rises is meaningless. The second sentence is completely misleading. Nobody predicts such a temperature rise, you don’t say what time scale, or the mechanism involved. The climate will vary in the future naturally! We can’t stop all the mechanisms. Oceanic plates are still pushing up mountain ranges, the Gulf stream conveyor could vary naturally (it does start and stop occasionally, causing climatic change). The big lie is to pretend every natural change is “unnatural” and due to humanity, the use this lie to waste taxpayers money on ego-massaging BBC and Guardian journalists with green eco-fanatics pension funds. Instead, we have to live with the natural variability of nature.

    “Why don’t you remind me that the global population will probably stabilise at 9 billion by 2050 (everyone else does) and miss the point (everyone else does). We cannot make perpetual efficiency improvements in consumption. Therefore, perpetual growth must lead to accelerating rates of resource depletion. That was my point.”

    You’re simply wrong in claiming that humans are not innovative and enterprising enough to make “perpetual efficiency improvements in consumption”, and to claim that adding to the human population is a problem. Provided that the added population can contribute to food production, there is no problem. Malthus assumes that population increases exponentially, but that food production increases more slowly than exponentially! That’s his false assumption. Provided the two increase at the same rate, everyone goes on eating. Your error, time after time, is the same thing: starting with a false assumption and believing in it like a divine dogma.

  17. I am – and always have been – a fan of Monty Python but, I think I prefer to watch the Is this the right room for an argument?” sketch, rather than to take part in it. So, thanks all the same but, I must decline your kind invitation; as I really do not have the time to spare.

    You can believe in your conspiracy theory; and I will believe in mine. However, whereas yours requires a multifarious global cosnpiracy to exist; mine only requires a small number of extremely influential scientists to exist and propogate doubt and disinformation (as you and your well-meaning kind do the rest).

    I think this “discussion” (lol) is now over; as both of us clearly believes the other to be delusional. However, I do not think we have long to wait to see who is right (it will certainly be within my children’s lifetime – if not my own).

  18. ML many of your comments are just ignorant. To pick just a few:-

    -Earth’s temperature has not been “unusually stable while humans have evolved over the past few million years”. For the past 2.5m years climate has been usually unstable with a sucession of glacials and interglacials, that are otherwise uncommon in geological history.
    -CO2 has been way above 400ppm for allmost all of geologic history except the last few million years. Despite that, mass extinctions have been rare, (about every 20 to 30m years or so). I have not heard of CO2 being advanced as the reason for any mass extinction except possibly the PETM.
    -We are not releasing 400m years of sequestrated carbon – only a quite small portion of it.
    Most sequested carbon is in shale and limestone deposits which cannot be burnt.

    I could go on and on, suffice to say I think your claim that you have a geology degree is just bullshit. Anyone with a backgroung in geology could not be as ignorant as that. If you do actually have a degree, that is very sad commentary on British universities.

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