Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dominic Lawson on Climate Change



This is from 18 Doughty Street's END OF THE DAY SHOW on Thursday when Dominic Lawson and Professor Ivor Gaber clashed on climate change.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

He should do something about his sister she most definatly contributes to global warming - well in my house she does.

ezra said...

Why don't you do a global warming debate on 18DS with two proper scientists?

only say it anon said...

Well done Iain a voice for those of us {in parliaments) who cannot raise our heads above the parapet on this probable naked emperor.
Solar winds are a strong possibility as being the root of climate change and with Mars and Earth both warming science can say that Mars is the "control" for Earth with Man, thus any warming is not caused by Man

Al Gore's film showed Graphs where carbon increase lagged temperature and this is what all the ice cores say thus once the oceans warmed it is probable they released CO2 - thus CO2 is an effect not a cause.

All mankind releases 6 giga tonnes (carbon) a year
Volcanic activity between 2-6 giga tonnes
Animals and plant matter are more than that combined.
And the oceans dwarf all three.

Finally when you hear "scientific consensus" .. That was the same aspect of human thinking that maintained the earth was flat. Darwin beat another "consensus" etc etc

Anonymous said...

"debate on 18DS with two proper scientists? "

The trouble is, in the prevailing mood the two 'proper' scientists would both have to be paid-up members of the One True Church of Global Warming. Maybe one would be allowed a minor schism, just enough of a difference of interpretation about how cataclysmic it's all going to be to allow a meaningful discussion, but still with the essential doom-laden overtones. Any rampant "climate change deniers" [what a profoundly offensive term that is, by the way] would have to be rigorously excluded.

Daily Referendum said...

If it was warmer in the past before industrialisation what caused it? How did the planet cool down again without our intervention? A lot of the same scientist were warning of a new ice age 30 years ago, what changed? Man made climate change my arse. I wouldn't be so sceptical if climate change wasn't keeping so many of these so called scientist in work. Their new phrase for people who don't agree with them is climate change denier. I don't deny climate change is happening, I just don't believe we are causing it. Also going from the past history of this planet, the climate could change and grow colder at any time. So I'm going to call them climate change liars.

possible answer said...

Daily Referendum

Try the solar winds cause dby sun activity
There was little in the Elizabethan time and the Thames froze.
Now both the Earth and Mars are warming.

Mike H said...

Not a word of support for the 'precautionary principle' anyone?

It's undeniable that there are several factors that affect the earth's temperature. And, yes, there's lots of evidence that points towards periods of warming and cooling just being part of a natural cycle.

However, are there not plenty of atmospheric models that predict an escalation of the warming effect of CO2 when it reaches 450 parts per million? If those models are thought to be realistic, shouldn't we be taking action to try to reduce man's contribution to atmospheric CO2?

Even if the proposition that man's contribution to the warming effect is neglegible, we still need to address the issue of dwindling oil supplies. Improved extraction technology and the discovery of new reserves may delay the day when it runs out, but run out it eventually will - we're unlikely to suddenly find a couple of Saudi sized fields somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Proff Gaber, I believe in God, but your religion is as uncompelling as fire and brimstone fundamentalism.

Watching you on my pc was like having a JW on my doorstep...except JWs are a lot more objective and convincing than you.

The problem wih all of you climate change doomsters is you're basically religious nuts hiding under the cloak of science.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

mike h said:

...we still need to address the issue of dwindling oil supplies...run out it eventually will

In the 1860s, it was widely forecast by the 'experts' that there would be so many carriages on the road by the end of the century that there would not be enough people to run behind them picking up the horse mess and the effects would be catastrophic.

Or, to put it another way, as Marx said, humanity sets itself only those problems it can solve and the way to solve them is not by pricing the poor off the planet or by allowing our lazy and greedy political elite to set up a dictatorship in their own interest

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

mike h said:

are there not plenty of atmospheric models that predict an escalation of the warming effect of CO2 when it reaches 450 parts per million? If those models are thought to be realistic, shouldn't we be taking action to try to reduce man's contribution to atmospheric CO2?

Thats' the rub, isn't it? Because all of these models seem to have common underlying factors:

1. They're predicated on the assumption that a fat cat elite of lying politicians, the mega rich and priests (aka scientists) set up a dictatorship, take control of the energy supplies and, ultimately, all the other products of our hard labour, give themselves loads and the rest of us b*gger all.

Such self serving and undemocratic aims totally undermine any faith that we can have in the honesty, veracity and realism of their models.

2. Current climate change models were preceded by totally contradictory climate doomster models - which were also claimed to be scientifically compelling.

3. Scientists and their predecessors (philosphers and priests) have been setting up contradictory models with which to control humanity since the beginning of time...all of these have eventually collapsed under the weight of their own inconsistencies.

2. As one of my lecturers used to say, every theory is a bid for power and a claim to rule. If a theory aims to make the majority powerless and increase the power of a small elite, we need look no further to explain why they're telling us these lies

Auntie Flo'

forthurst said...

ezra is correct:

Anyone interested in climate change would be recommended to read articles in peer reviewed scientific journals or at least papers by scientists having performed research relevant to the field of climatology. What they should not do is listen to the opinions of those who do not understand something as basic as the difference between weather and climate.

Climate change is a complex issue which now has been taken up by journalists and politicians seekimg to revive and expand their careers, none of whom knows anything whatsoever about science of any sort and therefore is unlikely to understand the concept of 'scientific method' and instead to believe that everthing can be decided by 'argument'.

Here is an excellent article in the New Scientist for anyone who might be concerned about which oriface they may be talking through when they address this subject, or even for someone trying to detect a coherent sound amongst all the noise:-

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn11462

Politicians also need to grow up and leave windmills to Don Quixote and planting trees to Michael Heseltine.

Realpolitik said...

Yet another person saying "since records began" then it turns out that the records began in 1900 or some such year. A hundred years is not a very long time when you consider that the planet is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old, it is the blink of an eye.

And although the intellectual left liberals may be watching their carbon output (although mostly they are not) there is precious little sign that ordinary people on the ground care at all.

I overheard somebody last week boasting about their wedding in Mexico. People are still going on their stag/hen do's to Prague and 18 year olds are still spending their gap years travelling around the world.

Who decides whose trip is more deserving than others?

andanotherthing said...

I thought this was an excellent debate and so much better than the usual news channels who ask politicians on, and give them about 30 secs each to make their point. I`m fed up with the Green and Do Gooder Lobby telling me i`m killing the planet if i take a flight anywhere.
But the one thing i find confusing is that all the main political parties are more or less agreed on this and that its all Man`s fault.
Surely some one can speak out with a different voice?

mitch said...

there are way too many holes in the c02 argument for any sane person to belive it also if blair thinks its important then it can safely be ignored.its like farting in wembly and telling people that they will all die the scales are similar.

Roger Thornhill said...

It is all about power and control.

Of course, if you want to limit flying, stop building airports and limit their operating times. That is all you need to do and then the market will sort itself out. Of course, this would mean the government cannot a) control our movements b) rip us off with vast taxes.

If you do that, you will immediately get a howl of protest from the airport and airline industry at the loss of competitiveness and damage to their industry, and rightly so, but if taxes and quota are to work then the same would be true. Fact is the quota and taxes arguments are not there really to limit flying.

The only place I want to see an Exit Visa is on Casablanca.

william norton said...

Is it just me, or does Dominic Lawson now look more like his father used to than his father does?

Anonymous said...

The problem with these climate change computer models is that they have so many variables that it is possible to nudge their values to get the outcome YOU want out of a big range of outcomes.

Also the Global Warming brigade tend to downplay the prolonged and sustained changes that have happened in recorded history. It does not suit their argument/desire - which it seems is to drive us back to a Pol Pot Stone-age existence.

iCowboy said...

Oh dear oh dear oh dear, so many comments, so little science. Last time I checked Dominic Lawson still wasn't a scientist, so here I am, the rarest if things, a trained geologist whose spent far too long studying such things.

Mankind can't upset Nature? Well yes we can, simplifying it somewhat, the amount of carbon emitted by volcanoes, decay and respiration has traditionally beem more or less balanced by that dissolved into oceans, incorporated into sediments, fixed into fossil fuels or taken up by living creatures. We are dumping huge amounts of additional carbon into the atmosphere which isn't being sunk out of the system. The CO2 accumulates and warms the Earth - that much is undeniable physics - CO2 is a greenhouse gas, we can measure the amount of manmade CO2 from isotope ratios, it's our CO2.

CO2 rises after temperatures rise at the end of a glacial. Yes there's a lag and Al Gore didn't bother to explain it well enough, but it's all pretty simple. First of all, CO2 is not the only cause of global warming and it is not the reason ice ages begin and end. The best theory to explain how glacials begin and end was put forward by Serbian climatologist called Milankovich. He realised that the Earth's relationship with the Sun changes very slightly through time on a regular basis. The Earth's orbit changes its shape very slightly, becoming more or less circular, the angle of the Earth's rotational axis to the orbit also moves through a regular cycle as does a slow precession around the poles. Combining these three cycles he came to the conclusion that the amount of sunlight (and therefore heat) reaching the poles fluctuates on a slow, but predictable basis. As the poles cool, ice sheets advance, as the poles warm the ice retreats. So the end of an ice age is most likely down to the effects of a Milankovich cycle. That begins the warming, warmer water releases CO2 which enters the atmosphere, boosting the warming.

Solar winds and charged particles affecting cloud cover? Possible, but never seen in Nature. It's a scaling up of the cloud chamber experiment that used to be used to detect radiation particles. CERN are going to run experiments, but the general opinion is that it is unlikely.

Ice Ages predicted in the 1970s? Yes. The late 1940s through to the 70s saw a dip in global temperatures. The cooling seemed to fit a model of interglacial periods of relative warmth lasting about 10,000 years between major advances of the polar ice caps. The last interglacial began about 10,000 years ago, so it seemed natural to assume we were heading for a period of cooling.

But we now know the cooling was another manmade problem - huge quantities of sulphate and dirt particles given out during the rapid, highly polluting industrialisation and a series of huge volcanic eruptions during the middle part of the century. As the World cleaned up its energy and industrial emissions, moving away from coal towards oil and gas, fitted flue gas desulphurisation to power stations and reduced sulphur in petrol, the amount of sulphate particles in the atmosphere decreased, likewise the latter part of the 20th Century was unusually quiet in terms of major vulcanism; there was less dirt in the atmosphere and the climate began to warm again.

Global warming on other planets, therefore global warming here on Earth must be down to the Sun? Nope Probes orbiting Mars for the last decade have been measuring local solar intensity on a continuous basis and they've seen a very slight DECREASE in solar radiation. Precisely what you'd expect as a result of the 11 year Solar Cycle approaching a minimum.

Warming on Mars may be local and is probably down to winds uncovering the darker bedrock which absorbs warmth from the Sun, which heats the atmosphere, which creates more wind which uncovers more rock. Mars' surface changes quite regularly as dust moves across the rocks - a century ago everyone assumed the changing patterns of light and dark were vegetation. Pluto's atmosphere has also warmed very slightly even as it recedes from the Sun, scientists admit they're baffled, but since we know practically nothing about Pluto anyway that leaves plenty of room for speculation.

Warmer in the Roman Period? Yes; it was even warmer in the Eocene and the Mesozoic, but its not absolute temperatures that worry scientists, its the rate of change which is far faster than the majority of those rates measured from isotope ratios in deep ice cores (which provide temperature records going back over 400,000 years in the case of Antarctica)

So yes, we can recreate ancient temperatures, not just from ice, but also from tree rings, pollen, lake sediments, deep ocean oozes, coral - you name it.

Warmer in the Middle Ages? To some extent yes, but the effect was not global - it appears to be a Northern European condition, and was less pronounced than the current global warming. And no, Greenland was never green, it was a bitterly cold dump at the best of times.

Elizabethan cold period? Yup, the so-called Little Ice Age, again a Northern European phenomenon, NOT global. We have NO records of solar activity at the time, so we can't correlate it with the climate. There may be a confusion here with the Maunder Minimum, a period from 1645 to 1715 when the Sun's surface was unusually quiet - HOWEVER, the MM lies within the generally accepted period of the LIA (with some disagreement over the exact period - from the 16th to the 19th Centuries), so it's impossible to say if it caused a cold snap. To be fair, one of the three coldest periods of the LIA does lie within the MM.

HOWEVER, because of its localised effects, the LIA is most likely caused by changes in circulation in the North Atlantic.

And the old canard about frost fairs on the Thames, yes they happened, but the largest cause was old London Bridge whose narrow archways acted like a dam on the upstream portion of the river, it slowed and pooled for long periods of time, so it froze when the temperature dropped.

Anonymous said...

What a novelty. A geologist who thinks he's a climatologist. The facts are the sun is warming the earth and mars and mankind has not caused the resulting climate change. So all this stuff from scientists is worth what exactly? Tell me, when the earth starts to cool again due to reduced sun activity, will we all freeze and will it be because of oxygen?

danube blue said...

Oh dear. Another scientist with a collection of ifs buts and maybes masquerading as authoratitive comment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Iain. If only the Beeb provided coverage like you do.

londonerr said...

I like this argument, and agree with Ezra Iain, you should get a proper debate going on 18DSt. One scientist who I would like to see on that programme is Prof Phillip Stott.

Anonymous said...

icowboy said 12:29 PM

"The best theory to explain how glacials begin and end was put forward by Serbian climatologist called Milankovich."

Yes, this is reason always quoted by the Global-Warmers, except that the effect is questionably too small (It can be certainly seen in the ice core data, indeed it is used to date the ice cores, 'orbitally tuned' to use the exact phase from one of the Nature papers).

Would I spend umpteen thousand Million on the basis of this evidence? Nope.

Mike H said...

At the risk of sounding like a 'global-warmer' myself, what should society do, then? Ignore the whole issue? Allow mankind's contribution to atmospheric CO2 to rise without limit? Debunk by any means any evidence that might support the 'global-warmers' arguments and do nothing? Belittle any scientific argument that doesn't fit with our own rather fixed views?

I still have an open mind on the subject. I have found many of the arguments by the anti-global warming group quite compelling but I'll admit that I'm not qualified to pick holes in the detailed scientific evidence supporting either side.

So do we do nothing and wait a century or two to see what happens, or do we consider what MIGHT happen if the warmers are right and adopt the precautionary principle?

You're faced with having to get to the bottom of a deep well. One person says it's fine - he's done lots of tests and he's modelled the well and he's sure there's loads of water at the bottom so you can jump in and you'll just get wet. Another person says he's studied the well for years and he knows it is completely dry. You have no way to determine which proposition is correct. Do you jump or do you invest in a ladder so that you can climb to the bottom safely. OK, it's a crap analogy, but what would you rather do?

Aren't we faced with a similar problem? However strongly the arguments are expressed on either side we cannot yet say with any certainty who is right.

Assuming the worst and adopting the precautionary principle seems the more sensible approach to me.

Most of us pay for house insurance despite the fact that it is unlikely that we will be burgled or the house will go up in flames. We could take a judgement on the probabilities and decide to drop the insurance, but most of us don't. Why? Because the personal cost of getting that judgement call wrong is too high.