Matt Ridley’s Ten Lukewarmer Tests

The good Bishop had it up first, but here’s the link to an essay  by Matt Ridley on global warming and what it would take to motivate him to accept the global consensus.

It’s good and I’ll talk more about his various points later, but I thought I’d put this up to start the ball rolling.

Some quotes:

“…the temperature trend remains modest: not much more than 0.1 C per decade since 1979. So I would need persuading that water vapour will amplify CO2’s effect threefold in the future but has not done so yet. ”

“The one trend that has been worse than expected – Arctic sea ice – is plausibly explained by black carbon (soot), not carbon dioxide.”

“Nor is it clear that ecosystems and people will fail to adapt, for there is clear evidence that adaptation has already vastly reduced damage from the existing climate – there has been a 98% reduction in the probability of death from drought, flood or storm since the 1920s, for example, and malaria retreated rapidly even as the temperature rose during the twentieth century.”

If I have time I’ll break each of his ten tests into separate posts for more discussion. I agree with about seven or eight of his points and would quibble on the others.

45 responses to “Matt Ridley’s Ten Lukewarmer Tests

  1. His points are well written and I am in agreement with all but part of point 9. He is painting with too broad of a brush. I see no believable evidence that there is any climate advantage to fracked shale gas. Also, there are climate alarmists who think that fracking is great, Mayor Bloomberg comes to mind.

  2. Seems he’s just spewing the same old denialist propaganda. Is this supposed to be “lukewarmism”? Looks like “lukewarmers” are actually deniers, then.

    Marty, you seem to be a true denier. Anyone who accepts the science is apparently an alarmist to you. Disgusting.

    • Snerkersnerk, I’d like to ask you to lower the tone of your comments. I don’t want to see the word denier used to describe the people having a conversation here. If you are disgusted by either this blog or its commenters, I suggest you navigate to another site you find more congenial.

      Thank you for your consideration.

      • But why would one not call someone who denies the science a denier? You are eager embrace the term “alarmist”, after all. More hypocrisy, eh?

    • Snerk, I’m ignoring you.

    • Snerkersnerk, your comments are uncalled for. Please moderate your tone.

      Thank you for your consideration.

      • Why is it OK to attack people who accept the science, but as soon as someone responds in kind he’s getting all sorts of crap over it?

      • I think it’s important to bear in mind that when a poster replies on any subject from whatever angle with an insult to the person with whom they disagree, it’s a classic case of misdirected anger. They are usually angry at many things, blogs like this give them an opportunity to express that anger without having to take responsibility for the results of that behaviour. I agree with the poster who suggested that ignoring dysfunctional behaviour of that nature is probably the best course of action, but in addition I would suggest responding to such posters if they then behave in a more appropriate manner

  3. Please explain how black carbon soot is not anthropogenic.

    Perhaps if we ignore snerk he will go away and we can have a grown-up discussion.

    • Black soot is anthropogenic and it is therefore causing anthropogenic warming. But its solution is very different and cheaper than limiting co2. If that’s the problem, let’s solve it.

  4. Just read the Matt Ridley essay and it answered my soot question above.

  5. Snerker,

    My last comment to you, unless you should finally prove to be someone who “looks honest(l)y at the evidence before coming to a conclusion” (your words). So far you are acting here as the perfect internet troll, providing content-free insults and no reasoned arguments. If you want to offer evidence, analysis, and thoughtful arguments there are interesting people here who would engage, I expect.

    If your only purpose is to insult and degrade the forum, you will soon be ignored by most, whether or not you are (deservedly) banned. Tom Fuller is admirably dedicated to allowing maximal freedom but there is certainly a legitimate argument for banning (yes, censoring) commentators who (a) post no substantive content, yet (b) insult and abuse others without engaging in the evidence and reasoning. Otherwise, a discussion is reduced to “black! no, white! boo! no, hurrah! you meanie! no, you’re the meanie!”

    That is the kind of childish discourse you are engaged in here to date….

  6. The explanation for Arctic warming seems rather simplistic. The situation is complex. Possible contributors include global warming (natural and anthropogenic factors), cyclical atmospheric circulation changes, black carbon and perhaps other causes as yet not known.

  7. Hey Snerk! How can I “Accept The Science” too? Do you have Science Revival meetings, where I could come up to the front, kneel down, and be anointed with “The Science?”

    No one accepts science. One, however, can LEARN science, which I suggest you should try, and one can examine data, consider hypotheses, and form conclusions, which I also recommend you try. If you come up with some good evidence that CAGW is true, maybe you could tell us all about it. I certainly have not seen any. The huge problem climate scientists have is, no one really knows just how big natural variability could be, so there is NO PROOF that CO2 alters the climate at all.

    Unless maybe you have some? Just what was the so-called average temp of the Earth 100 years ago, and what is the plus-minus uncertainty of that number? Just how much ice was there 100 years ago? Did you know that Glacier Bay started a fast retreat in the late 18th century when there were no SUV’s or coal-fired power plants?

    Have you thought this through? Or did you let someone else do that for you?

    • What are you talking about, Michael?

      Of course you can accept the science. You do it all the time. You accept that the science behind air planes holds water every time you get on a plane. You take science for granted every single day. You know science works.

      Except when it comes to global warming, and most likely evolution as well.

      It is impossible to learn all you need to know about all scientific areas that exists. That’s why you accept the scientific consensus.

      It Just Works.

      Climate science is highly complex, and it is clear that you do not have the ability to acquire even basic knowledge on the subject.

      • A common problem I see is commenters talking past each other. ‘Science’ is a word with many meanings. An atomic bomb is ‘scientific’ and it ‘works’. (Although perhaps it is more ‘engineering’ now than science.)

        Then there is scientific research that tries to figure out things we don’t yet fully understand. This sort of ‘science’ obviously doesn’t work… or doesn’t completely work.. yet.

  8. Paul Kelly just sent this comment–he’s having trouble posting here. Has anybody else had difficulties?

    “The slap at Hansen in 1 really takes away from the point made in 4. Hansen has championed the importance of black soot from the get go. He’s just written a letter endorsing a company pushing solar lamps to replace kerosene in the underdeveloped world.”

  9. Snerk! The consensus is 79 academics who publish, more than 50% of the time in climate journals which are all peer-reviewed by each other. What they actually said was, “Yes there has been warming in the last 100 years, and yes humans had something to do with it.” That is all they said.

    What Just Works? CO2 is a trace gas, one part of 2,500 in the atmosphere. CO2 is excited, and then thermalized, by IR in the 15 micron range, which originates from the surface. Yes it heats the atmosphere, a little. So what? How can one part in 2,500 heating a little make any difference? Water vapor does much much more, are we banning taking a bath now because of Global Warming?

    Repeating, What Just Works?

    • Actually the first question was (Loosely quoted) “Has the earth warmed in the last 100 years?” The second was “Has human activity impacted climate?” They didn’t even ask if the impact was warming or do to co2. There wasn’t a number or any mention of co2 in the poll.Since about a third of the respondents have published on non co2 human impacts, this poll doesn’t say much at all. I would have answered yes to both questions, but I think that CAGW is untenable, which I think is pretty close to a consensus.

  10. OK Marty! You and I brother, a consensus of two…

  11. Snerk!! “It is impossible to learn all you need to know about all scientific areas that exists(sic). That’s why you accept the scientific consensus.”

    Speak for yourself brother. I have what is known as an Enquiring Mind, and I don’t let anyone else do my thinking for me, ever. Climate Science is not rocket science, and the physics of it are extremely simple. The simple fact is, we don’t have very good records, so we don’t know what was going on with temperatures, ice, or storms in the past, so we don’t know if what is going on now is unusual in any way. In particle physics, to claim a new discovery you need to be able to prove it to something called Five Sigma, have you heard of that? If climate scientists had to do the same thing, well there wouldn’t be very many of them, if any…

  12. Snerk!!! By the way, I did OK in Fluid Mechanics at the Big U, and thermo too, so if you want me to explain how an airplane works, wings, jet engines, hydraulics, just ask. Google “Bernoulli’s Principle,” this will be a good start. Go Blue! No. 1 in basketball again…

  13. One more thing should be included among the recent events. On WUWT on 27 January, he reviewed an article on waste heat. It’s more significant than once thought. And it can change the atmospheric circulation, moving more heat northward in the northern hemisphere.
    This is important because nuclear and gas run turbines emit more waste heat per kilowatt -hour than coal, (I am sure if technology has changed that since I studied the problem, Harry will come up with a link correcting me.)

    • Hiya Marty–waste heat can be used. In fact about 9% of the world’s primary energy is from cogenerated power/heat. It has different names in different countries. In some northern European countries it accounts for a lot of the heating that goes on. I believe Edison’s Pearl Street Station in NYC–the first American coal-fired power station, distributed excess heat to its neighbors–and other plants there still do.

      It’s a solution waiting to be implemented. I believe there are plans on a shelf somewhere for distributing excess heat from nuclear power plants.

      • I know it can be used. The Soviets went into that in a big way. Then with the collapse they backed away from it. I don’t know what they’re doing now. But how much waste heat is being wasted now? Why should we think the future would be any different. Would going to a Stirling cycle be a win-win.

      • I think a couple of Stirling companies went under last year, so I don’t know. But it’s not just the Soviets–and their district heating was about as well designed as you might expect. I think Denmark and Finland both use it a lot–maybe up to 40% of their primary energy is cogeneration(?)

    • Sorry Marty,

      Nuclear and gas turbines ‘might’ emit more waster heat then coal.

      US Average heat rates by source.
      http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/pdf/table5.4.pdf

      The spread of heat rate for conventional steam turbines in the US by heat source is approximately 3% depending on fuel. I.E. A Sub-critical steam turbine is a sub-critical steam turbine regardless of heat source..

      Open cycle gas turbines tend to bee less efficient then a conventional sub-critical steam turbine. Super critical steam turbines, ultra-super critical steam turbines and combined cycle turbines are are more efficient then conventional sub-critical steam turbines.

      • Sorry Harry, but BTUs/kilowatt-hours. Really?

      • Marty

        What is wrong with BTU/s to KWH?

        At 100% thermal efficiency 3413 BTU’s = 1 KWh.

        A sub critical steam turbine is generally requires an input of 10,400 BTU’s to product a single KWh.

        The average input heat rate for coal fired plants in the US is 10,100 BTU’s/Kwh.

        State of the art for a coal fired plant is 7261 BTU’s/Kwh.

        The US is behind the times in terms of our coal fired fleet efficiency. Of course that is because historically we have had the cheapest coal.

  14. Marty,

    Combined-cycle natural gas turbines are more efficient than even the modern coal-fired plants. You were right about nuclear though. I actually worked on the first combined-cycle design, first job right out of school…

  15. Snerk!!! Gone!!! Shamed back to where you belong, Oblivion….

  16. Thomas,

    Luke-Warm. Luke-warm, an alternative viewpoint can be a good thing. I feel compelled to pose the question, have you studied this? First Law, Second Law, Radiative Heat Transfer, typically professionals who understand these things are too busy to pay attention to this so-called controversy. Are you a bunch of dilettantes on here?

    Anyone finished an engineering degree from a good school? Buehler? Anyone? How about Physics, Physical Chemistry, any technical degree from any good school whatsoever?

    Mann has a PhD from Harvard in Geology I think, Masters in Physics from Cal Berkely. He was clearly corrupted by his thesis advisor at Harvard. He has gone over to the Dark Side, reminds me of the professor from Harvard in “Quiz Show,” the movie about the television show 21.

    I will not debate the great unwashed…..

    • “Are you a bunch of dilettantes on here?” If most of us were honest, we would have to say yes. I no longer take or mean “dilettantes” as an insult. I’ve come to take “heretic” as a compliment. And when they write my obituary, I hope they use “iconoclast.”
      My MS was in lower atmospheric physics 40 years ago and quickly branched out into other things. When approaching an area of non expertise I am more comfortable applying conservation laws and theoretical limits. Around 1987 I started becoming more skeptical about all science, not just CAGW.
      Hang around and you will notice that there is a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise. I think that’s the purpose of a blog.

  17. don’t blame Mann on Harvard, his PhD was done at Yale

    oh and just fyi, Chales Van Doren of “Quiz Show” infamy (well the show as actually called “21” but the movie was “Quiz Show”) was from Columbia not Harvard…..

    as for engineering degrees, not me, but my dad did his M.S. and doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering at MIT, so I ask him lots of questions when I can….. he’s a big-time ‘skeptic’ about CAGW for sure….

    • P.s. Point of mentioning my dad’s background was that I meant to say I’m trying to interest him in engaging some in climate blog land, because he could bring some interesting background….

  18. I find the “let’s compare resumes to see who is right about this” argument to be pretty weak. It’s nice to know qualifications, but this line of thinking is invariably always used to shut down a debate, not make it more interesting.

    Hopefully one of the things they teach at “good schools” is how to debate in a clear and concise manner, and make a compelling argument in a simple a way as possible so the most people can understand it.

    Win on argument on its merits, not your qualifications.

  19. Somebody tells me “Accept the Science,” he has raised the question…

  20. The purpose of this blog is to examine the question of climate sensitivity. This is a physics question. I find responses from people who have studied physics much more interesting! These people tend to understand that the “Science” is not settled, and frequently have a valuable contribution. Maybe, Marty, you could shed some light on the subject frequently misunderstood, concerning whether in fact the atmosphere transfers heat to the surface of the Earth. Every time I hear “downwelling radiation” the Second Law of Thermodynamics comes to mind. I think the instrument known as a pyrgeometer is vastly misunderstood by climate “Scientists.”

    • To me, talking about the interaction of the atmosphere with the Earth’s surface is like talking about the tail without noticing the dog. Why would we be discussing in detail anything except how the ocean drives changes in the atmosphere? Shouldn’t there be a Pareto principle for talking about what matters?

  21. Here s how the Oceans drive changes in the Atmosphere: When the Atmosphere is cooler than the Oceans, the Oceans warm the Atmosphere, and vice versa. When the Oceans have more CO2 than they can hold, they emit to the Atmosphere. At other times the Oceans absorb vast quantities of CO2, and lots of it falls out to the Ocean floor, never to return to the Atmosphere, courtesy of plankton. The Oceans are huge and the Atmosphere small in all parameters. Arctic Ice typically melts from below, not above, but freezes from above, not below.
    I agree, this is far more interesting, but “down-welling radiation,” call it a pet peeve, sorry…..

  22. WordPress idiot filter for Greasemonkey

    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/126331

    Script Summary: Filters useless comments out, by looking at the names.

    Does exactly what it says.

    To edit the names, edit the script, and look at the first line.

    I am not OK with using this for ignorance (e.g. facts you just don’t like to hear). This is only intended for when the likeliness of them not being utterly useless and a waste of time, is basically zero.

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