A special thread just for cO2Pirate

UPDATE: It seems CO2Pirate has decided that he doesn’t wish to demonstrate his “science” here. You know, you try and let them have a voice……… Never let it be said I didn’t try.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I was cruising YouTube, as I like to do sometimes, and I stumbled on a person going by the name of cO2Pirate. I have cordially invited him over here to show us what real science is. To give you a little bit of an idea of the quality of argument we can expect from cO2Pirate, here are a few screenshots of some of his/her work.

5 claimsmore claimshypocrisywatts sycophantAs you can see, cO2Pirate relies pretty much entirely on WTFIWWAW for his information, so his “science” will be a bit thin. I’m guessing there will be plenty of propaganda statements and misrepresentations of actual science but you never know, cO2Pirate may just have the “science” which overturns the work of tens of thousands of experts around the world. We’ll see. I’m guessing cO2Pirate, probably won’t show, in which case the screenshots here will be used in my next denier comment of the day. By the way on the Worrall Scale he is a 6.

So cO2Pirate, the first claim I would like to discuss with you, since it is top of the list here, is that of CO2 and crop yield and growth. You claim that more CO2 will increase both growth and yield. Could you please provide a peer-reviewed reference for this claim?

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40 Comments

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40 responses to “A special thread just for cO2Pirate

  1. “Insults are the first refuge of an idiot” Said, I suspect, without the slightest trace of irony. (In fact, CO2Pirate probably thought it an entirely defensible statement).

    • I know Martin. I pointed out in the YT thread that he was being hypocritical and he said something about making it even. Weird. You know I reckon he might just be silly enough to come here and try it on. I really hope he does. He is definitely a DK sufferer.

      ________________________________

    • Hello graphicconception and welcome.

      Thankyou for the link you provided. Unfortunately, throwing up an abstract for a paper to make a point is quite unhelpful without a bit of input from yourself about your interpretation of the full paper. Often, abstracts never give the full picture about the paper but are rather a brief synopsis designed to invite the reader to get into the finer details. I am currently accessing the full paper to read through so I am more than happy to discuss some of the finer details with you. I am an ecologist but I also have a background in plant physiology and agricultural science having worked in the field of plant pathology for a government department for a number of years. I’ll look forward to your input.

    • Hi again graphiconception, in case you can’t access the full paper to read the endless list of caveats, here are the conclusiuons and recommendations. The emphasis is mine.

      (1) The statistical approach taken in this study requires a large number of independent data entries to arrive at a reliable estimate of a CO2 doubling response. Table III shows that we may begin to consolidate our understanding of the overall direction of change of key physiological processes of different crop species growing under constant conditions of elevated CO 2. However, the conclusions drawn with respect to overall responses are more
      reliable than those for interactions. Indeed, these tables highlight the paucity and variability of data on interactions between CO2 and other environmental variables. This review reveals that there is just too little quantitative information available to enable us to predict precise response to CO2 concentration under well-defined environmental conditions.
      (2) Although the carbon assimilation variables for C3 broadleaf species show stronger responses to elevated CO 2 than the C3 grasses, the data are as yet too erratic and sparse to firmly delineate or characterize response groups based on growth form.
      (3) The C4 plants, corn and sorghum, showed a smaller increase in carbon assimilation and growth than C3 plants. In view of the presence of the CO2-concentrating mechanism in C4 leaves, this smaller response to an increase in CO2 concentration is not surprising. Indeed it is surprising that there was any response to high CO2. We need to examine possible roles of increased turgot or leaf temperature in determining the final extent of C4 canopy development.
      (4) Soybeans and wheat are relatively well represented in the tables. Further information on the growth response of the other species is required. Several independent studies are necessary to obtain reliable information about a crop because of the variability in experimental conditions.
      (5) Root:shoot ratios generally increased only a small amount.
      (6) For all species except soybeans, HI increased under elevated CO 2 concentrations, thus compounding the increases in biomass accumulation in 144 determining increased yield. Future breeding efforts will probably correct the situation for soybean HI, thus further increasing soybean yield.
      (7) Conductance was decreased by CO2 doubling rather uniformly across species by about 34%. Future crop water consumption, however, is difficult to predict due to uncertainty about leaf area response to high CO2 under natural field conditions. To remove this impediment, realistic estimates of leaf area responses to elevated CO2 under field conditions are necessary.
      (8) Many of the plants in controlled environment studies showed greater responses to CO 2 than plants grown in other systems. Whereas a fundamental understanding of CO2 interactions with water availability, nutrition level, light and temperature can most readily be obtained in controlled environments, only field trials of the major crops can validate model predictions with respect to all of the processes discussed above.

      The problem with drawing conclusions from this paper is that first, it is from 1986. Indeed the authors lament the fact that much data is missing for them to make truly accurate assessments. I have highlighted those lamentations above. The good news is, now we are more than 20 years into the future since this paper was written, all of those knowledge gaps have been filled and it does not bode well for agricultural production. I have a list of modern papers to that end, if you are really interested? The other thing that isn’t taken into consideration in a changing climate as it relates to plant growth, is the effect on natural ecosystems. Which plants will do well? Which plants won’t? What will the effect be on competetition and other interactions? Will the generalist plant species overrun the specialists resulting in a less dynamic diversity and species decline and subsequent ecosystem disturbance and potential collapse? Some food for thought.

    • If you are going to pick cherries, at least have the sense to pick those that are ripe to be eaten (as opposed to those that are mouldy).

  2. Michael Boice

    Perhaps the wrong species were analyzed? I didn’t read anything about a reduction in the number stomata…? What was the duration of the test?

    As a proxy, stomata have indicated that CO2 levels were once higher than previously thought…and point to swings of near 50ppm pre-AGW while also indicating that the accepted 280ppm baseline is perhaps wrong. That this experiment did not reproduce those conditions does not preclude plants as an indicator or a synthesizer, but a clear indication that the experiment was incomplete.

    I become a little antsy when we dismiss a study based upon its age…should we discount all previous scientific evaluation based upon the same criteria? Start over and ignore the past?

    • Not at all. It was an excellent paper. It’s a shame he didn’t read the whole thing and take in the caveats and then look for the information that is available now that fills in the many blanks.

      ________________________________

  3. Michael Boice

    I will investigate…some of the information may be from a side of the debate you don’t agree with and some of the information will no doubt support your sensibilities.

  4. Michael Boice

    I meant to add, that I am keenly interested in information from all perspectives, but the quality of commentary exhibited by the CO2 pirate does nothing for his cause.

    • john byatt

      Michael, i think that you may be going about this in the wrong way, a mistake that i first made,

      Blogs are not what you should be looking at yet as you have still not made your mind up.

      I would suggest that you go to aip org history, for a start

      If you already accept what even most sceptics accept in that CO2 will raise the global temperature and that is due to humans then might I ask just what parts of the science you may be doubtfull about?

      I write replies to the skeptic letters in our newspapers and sites like this are a good source to find out what the latest nonsense coming out from the sceptics is ,

      Mike puts up those claims and then debunks them. Where i am at, i find that saves me a lot of time when those stupid claims are repeated in the press
      JB

  5. Michael Boice

    I will give aip org history a look. You are quite right, I am not convinced as of yet – either way, the subject is vast and complex.

    What am I doubtful about? …my belief system may be flawed, as it is with most humans. But my foundation, and profession, is Landscape Architecture and I’ve been at it for 41 years. I’ve learned a lot about our environment in that time, and I hope that I continue to learn. I use science to ground my belief system, as you can imagine, but I allow the actions and agendas of my fellow human beings to help me to reveal the shades of truth.

    I’m not a research scientist, not a statistician, but I have fundamental understanding of most scientific processes…even some very complex processes. So to your question…a question about perspective…why has it become popular to call CO2 a pollutant, it’s nearly hyperbole? Water vapor is also a GHG and at lower elevations is a very effective GHG. Calling CO2 a pollutant is a characterization that employs fear, not science. Perhaps this sells more press…but good science is not about shock value. This type of characterization places a check mark firmly in the doubt column.

    I appreciate your recommendation John, and I look forward to a healthy, if not vigorous, exchange of ideas.

    Michael

    • john byatt

      hi yes water vapour is a ghg but is constrained by the temperature.
      in strict chemical terms CO2 is not a pollutant, but as a landscape gardener (ex nurseryman and small cropper) I understand that in the recomended quantities fertilizer has good results, you can not keep adding it though because it then gets to a point of pollution

      even water in an engine can be called a pollutant, and in that context that CO2 keeps raising the temperature as long as you keep adding it ,
      there is also the question of ocean acidification where it is a real pollutant in the recognised pollutant context as it lowers pH to a point where shellfish can no longer build their shells,

      was reading an extract about the science this morning and the level of certainty for each outcome, the only one down as absolute certain is ocean acidification

      google NW pacifci oysters Oregon acidification

      anytime that you may wish to discuss is welcome

      jb

    • With the greatest of respect, Michael, calling CO2 a pollutant has nothing whatsoever to do with trying to scare people. To say it is toxic or a carcinogen would be; but to do so would also be untrue. Words like pollutant and poisonous have distinct meanings; as do inert and innocuous. Claiming that CO2 is not a pollutant is one of the most popular memes of climate change denial (also known as “CO2 is plant food”).

      Some things are not harmful in small doses but to be exposed to too much of them can be deadly (such as UV light and cosmic radiation). However, CO2 is not inert or harmless – as Patrice Ayme made clear on my blog last year… “Although CO2 is necessary to life, it becomes lethal to canaries at low concentrations. At 3% it doubles human breathing rate; and makes blood acidic. At 5%, CO2 kills… [Not being able to remove it from air] nearly killed the Apollo XIII astronauts.”

  6. Michael Boice

    Martin,

    I don’t disagree…it is perhaps a particular context or delivery that ruffles me a bit. But I certainly understand that CO2 can do harm in the right quantity and environment…I wouldn’t want to stand next to a tail pipe for too long for sure. I will read the link you provided, thank you.

    Oceans do have a huge CO2 buffering capacity and although this too may be good, buffering mechanisms in a lay term, is a trade-off, as you point out John. Good fertilizer analogy.

    Continuing with buffering…how do either of you see CO2 in the upper atmosphere, say 5K-10K? I am intrigued by some of the papers I am reading, and honestly most of it is quite technical.

    I’m new here and feel I ought to write that I am not baiting anyone with these questions, I truly learn from reading from different points of view and perspectives.

    Thanks,

    Michael

    • Thanks for this response, Michael. If you have looked at the About page on my blog you will be aware that I am not a climate scientist. I have just decided that I am not qualified to second-guess their opinions and I trust them more than I trust the minority who dispute the science. This is why I do not get into arguments about science.

      However, if you want to understand how and why I reached the decision that it was not necessary for me to investigate the science for myself, you could do a lot worse than read the comments I have posted on a friend’s blog this week. The blog in question is Learning from Dogs and if, like me, you have no dog, that does not matter. It is still a very good blog (1500 subscribers cannot [all] be wrong), written by 68-yr old an ex-pat Brit, Paul Handover, living in Oregon [USA]). If you want to see what I mean, start here: http://learningfromdogs.com/2013/02/14/a-letter-to-dan/ If this gets you interested, you can then track back to Paul’s earlier posts and/or my earlier comments.

      If not, I hope you find fulfillment in your personal crusade to fact-check the output of the World’s best climate scientists…

  7. Michael Boice

    I thought I should add the names of the authors of the papers I referred to above..

    Kyoji Kimoto
    Ferenc Miskolczi
    Miklos Zagoni

  8. Michael Boice

    Martin,

    Thank you so much. I will certainly follow the link you provided. Your perspective is one I can respect without question; I am no scientist either and share your enthusiasm, John’s as well.

    My achilles heal, as John keenly noted, is that I do tend to get ahead of myself. It’s simply part of my immersion personality; awkward in the beginning…temporal acuity always lags, unfortunately.

    Michael

  9. Michael Boice

    Martin,

    After reading today’s opening page in the link you provided, a thought came to mind…a story actually. Allow me to amuse you and John for a few moments.

    As a young designer I struggled selling my work. I don’t mean the financial part of the selling process, I mean the emotional part…the design itself. I put my heart and soul into every project but I couldn’t understand why so many intelligent folks missed the goodness in my creations; the act of creating something beautiful for others to use for a life time is rewarding beyond words…but still, I struggled, despite performing extremely well in school. Being interested in so many things, too many things, I picked up a book written by Alexander Romanovich Luria – The Cognitive Development: Its Cultural and Social Foundations. I then read another influential book by Leonard Bernstein – The Unanswered Question…and yet another group of books written by Noam Chompski. The common thread in all of these books is understanding. A rather simply word but one with a profound meaning within the context of my story, and climate change.

    Alexander Romanovich Luria provided me with the hammer stroke with one very simple observation – and this is quite a shortened narrative, I don’t want to bore either of you with the historical backdrop. While studying a fairly primitive society being thrust into a new technocratic society in Uzbekistan at the turn of the last century, he performed an experiment that changed my life. He gave a woman, the head of the household in this particular tribe, a drawing with a circle on it and asked her to describe the meaning of the circle. Her existence wouldn’t allow her to see the circle as anything but a plate to serve food on. She did not see the circle in an abstract way…she did not describe a basket ball, the sun, the earth or any other thing we might assign to a 2D circle drawn on a sheet of paper. Her experience didn’t allow her to see anything else.

    I realized that I was selling the sun, basket balls, the earth, to clients when they saw only a plate. Our experiences in life leave room for a certain amount of ignorance – mine was not understanding the limits of my abstract thinking and presentation style.

    For some of us, understanding and embracing climate change is moving beyond the dinner plate. It can be a hard, resistant, and fearful!, road to travel…ignorance has a thick shell at times.

    Arrogance conceals the shell’s prison…knowledge sets the human inside free.

    Thanks for reading along,

    Michael

    • That is an illuminating story, Michael. However, with regret, I am bound to point out, as I have done elsewhere, that there is nothing very “abstract” about the ‘The Organisation of Denial’ (Jacques et al., 2008).

      On the contrary, climate change denial is a morally-bankrupt, selfish, self-serving and ultimately self-defeating campaign being waged by the fossil fuel industry to preserve the profitability of its business interests; and delay inevitable changes in energy policy that need to be made ASAP by both individuals and governments.

  10. Michael Boice

    The central purpose behind my story was to point out that when presenting a point of view, it is essential to understand the cognitive limits of the audience…their experience(s) directly influences how they perceive anything…no matter how much knowledge you or I may posses about a subject. In addition, there are scientists debating both sides of climate change…by your own admission, mine as well, I am no scientist…so who am I to make a judgement in either direction. My last sentence is rhetorical, its emphasis being, and I’ll refer to only me, I have no experience to disagree with any scientist on a technical point. I can make some assumptions, which I have and why I am here, but those presenting a point of view ought to understand clearly, the limited cognitive ability of their general audience. If the audience fully understood the subject, we wouldn’t be having a debate because there would only be climate change…nothing to the contrary.

    We can find folks making arguments either for or against and watch them run out of knowledge in a hurry. When I wrote “Arrogance conceals the shell’s prison…knowledge sets the human inside free.” I was referring to both those who make baseless, unscientific arguments and to those with an open mind willing to listen and learn. I place myself in the later category.

    A point of disagreement…it is at times helpful to employ abstract thinking as a way of understanding an idea…their is no way around this. If there were, as a race we wouldn’t be aware of the harm we are causing to our environment. Without science, all of the technical details, theories and laws, directly influencing your thinking, you are using abstraction at some cognitive level. It is unavoidable because without the complete grasp of the technical fore mentioned, you are taking a leap of intelligent faith…it is required to reach a point of justification. You are clearly there…I am a few steps behind.

    • Michael, if you are going to respond to being given factual evidence that climate change denial is not an abstract concept by merely re-stating that, in your opinion, it is… I do not think there is any point in my continuing this ‘conversation’.

      • Michael Boice

        Good morning Martin,

        …from the field of metaphysics, abstract thinking is mandatory if to grasp concrete ideas. I am not challenging climate change, only attempting to describe how people think and come to conclusions – wrong or right. I did not mean to infer that climate change is an abstract idea or that the notion that a denier by hers or his actions is abstract. Deniers may use abstract thinking to arrive at the wrong conclusion(s) What brings them to their conclusions may be their ignorance – the plate. Some are willing to learn (change), some are not and some cannot. The difference between task (may be environment driven) learning and conscious learning.

        We question why some folks don’t follow us…maybe we don’t care. Regarding this subject, we should care and penetrating an audience with varied backgrounds and from different cultures is they key, nothing more.

        • Hi Michael. I note you now say you are “not challenging climate change” but, it seems to me that you are, at very least, sitting on the fence. However, the information I have given you is, in effect, a justification for getting off the fence; and accepting the validity of the scientific consensus regarding climate change in the same way as you (presumably) accept the consensus that smoking cigarettes makes you much more likely to develop lung cancer?

          If, despite all this, you still insist that you want to understand the science for yourself, then I would agree with John Byatt’s recommendation that you stop reading sceptical blogs (where you will only ever find misinformation derived directly or indirectly from Conservative Think Tanks) and start reading summaries of the history of peer-reviewed science such as http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

          • Michael Boice

            Challenging and accepting are not the same. If I am on the fence, both legs are on one side…my head turned back a bit.

            I think we know where each of us stands. I kindly ask for patience.

            Michael

          • Michael Boice

            Accepting – intransitive verb…since it can be read in more than one way.

  11. Michael

    “For some of us, understanding and embracing climate change is moving beyond the dinner plate. It can be a hard, resistant, and fearful!, road to travel…ignorance has a thick shell at times.”

    Thankyou for your openness in expressing your opinions. I quite like your circle/dinner plate analogy as it applies to climate change.

    The thing about climate change denial as I see it, and I am certain that Martin and John will back me up on this is that the ignorance you talk about takes many forms and is determined by various internal and external factors like education, religious upbringing and personality to name a few of the major ones. The most frustrating one for those of us who accept the science is wilful ignorance, this is the type of ignorance displayed by the people I ridicule in my Denier comment of the Day posts. These people don’t want to know the facts, usually because they have invested so much of themselves in their denial, that to turn around and admit that they were wrong requires greater character than they have. These people always have very little if any formal scientific education and have a general distrust of authority. They are anti-establishment. A large number of them are also trolls, plain and simple. They don’t actually care about anything other than gaining satisfaction from the attention they draw to themselves. Many of these deniers are sycophants who idolise idealogues and troublemakers and true D-Kers like Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre and their ilk. You then get the gravytrainers like Monckton who jets around the world staying in luxury hotels with all expenses paid by the poor bastards at the bottom with some money also filtering down from the right-wing thinktanks. It’s not a bad lifestyle. All of these people are ignorant of science and I’m not talking about climate science or atmospheric physics or any other discipline, but scientific convention itself.

    Then there are people who are just ignorant but want to learn and to know the facts. You appear to fit into that category and are to applauded for that position. You are clearly intelligent as demonstrated by the way you write, and obviously intelligent to know your own limitations. If you truly want to understand climate science or more importantly, be able to differentiate between good information and bad, you really should consider undertaking some formal tertiary science education. I teach a module called Understanding Science and it is a diploma level subject for students wanting an alternative pathway into my university. The students I see come into my class completely ignorant of basic scientific convention but leave confident enough in their knowledge of science to go to sites like WUWT and spot the flaws in critical thinking and scientific convention. The course I teach is based on the Berkely Understanding Science website which is http://undsci.berkeley.edu/ It is well worth a look.

    • Michael Boice

      I wish that I could attend your course…I live in NY unfortunately. I will certainly follow the link.

      julesbollocks wrote below that I am a reasonable skeptic…reasonable as in degree or as in frame of mind…willing to learn? I conveniently place myself in the frame of mind category. …julesbollocks’ comment about the amateur certainly resonates with me.

      I cannot discredit all of what I read as I do posses a certain level of ignorance about some science, despite being in a science driven field. My thinking is characterized by what I know as concrete, contrasted against what has not yet cured. For example – in narrative form, I read recently that if we burned all of the fossil carbon available to us today the earth’s temperature would not change due to X, Y, Z, processes. I cannot completely challenge that information because I know nothing about the upper atmosphere, infrared pathways etc. But I still don’t accept this as okay because it neglects our ocean’s buffering capacity. The word buffer much better than store because it explicitly describes a trade-off. This comment or study also neglects time scales…how fast can CO2 be absorbed. I have a pretty good grasp of the actual buffering mechanism/equation as well and the claim also neglects long term pH changes to aquatic life.

      I guess I have to allow myself to be labelled as a skeptic under the above example…but I don’t accept the acute focus in that study. I do want to know why that study says CO2 will not raise earth’s temperature, does that make sense? I may be with you in this quest but I have to seek out some information for myself and attempt to draw some conclusions on my own.

      I am scared to death about my own future, my children’s futures and my grand children’s futures…I worry about humanity; we live practically and within moderation and yet this life style still is not sustainable. I cringe when i look at some of the life style choices made by some of my friends and clients…I couldn’t live like that if I had the resources to pay for those extravagances.

      I often challenge those who do not believe, in one iota, the affect our activities are having on our environment. Fine, I’ll bite, but I kindly redirect them to the other side of the problem; our fossil driven societies will run out of fuel some day very soon and the calamity that follows may be slightly different but no less catastrophic.

      So the reality, to my way of thinking, is we have no choice but to change our actions. I’ve long moved in that direction…you good kind folk here may question my motivation, however.

      The challenge faced, is one of ignorance and if I may, is clearly illustrated by Luria’s studies, among others…et al.

      Michael

  12. Pingback: There is nothing abstract about climate change denial « Lack of Environment

  13. Hi everyone- for what its worth I think Michael is a reasonable sceptic. semantics is important in that there are plain deniers, but there also some areas of grey.

    Science is of course full of sceptical argument, I am sometimes amazed at just hostile some differences become whether it be in genetics or quantum physics or geology. Plate tectonics is a good example of the old guard being swept away by a scientific paradigm. In Egyptology there is quite a hostile battle between mainstream and a few sceptics concerning the timing of history: was Ramasis II for instance king 3,000 years ago or 2,700? Some of the extreme underdaters would make his reign a few more centuries younger and the old guard possibly stick to conventional chronologies a little too rigidly. But effectively the world moves on and most people don’t care.

    Those in the new chronology camp are in it for a number of reasons. They get attention because they are different, but in this instance they draw a wide audience that can include scientists who are working on more objective subject matter like ceramics but are less aware of other areas of archaeology and all the way down to creationists who can’t have 7,000 years of Egyptian history. A problem for proponents is that if they change their mind they are not going to sell anymore books or do lecture tours. Mainstream Egyptologists on the other-hand tend to stick to their tradition because any new ideas can make things messy but also any attack causes conservatism in humans.

    In science there appears to be the 90% of mainstream
    a small contrarian grouping who enjoy their own identity and the attention and who are also important to challenge conventional wisdom. And then there are the pseudo- scientists- they may will be scientists in other fields or bright informal researchers. The amateur is essential in my view, in the first instance they help democratise science and chip away a ivory towers that can get dull and unimaginative. It certainly had a place in the past but perhaps science is so specialised that it is unlikely we will see any major leftfield observations.

    And then there is the public, if a person deliberately ignores one set of data in favour of another, or holds authority to one scientist over many and they constantly refuse to address issues then they are denialists. There opinion is sacrosanct and that is denial.

    A ordinary sceptic may believe we ‘will find a way’, or that humanity is lost or a philosophical approach which is we cannot know the future and doubt is a human condition. And it is true in that climate science is not the same as gravity. Personally I will take the 95% certainty on this matter, but why should we be surprised if people go for the more optimistic 5% uncertainty?

    The issue here is that ‘skeptics’ don’t accept the science but if they did we could not criticise there choice in the 5% uncertainty. The odds on winning the Euro lottery are 1:100 million but it is apparently quite popular.

    As mentioned the net is full of trolls who would argue black is white if they got the attention. For most people we like to be optimistic, we like having a caring god, an afterlife, a point to existence. I have noticed that people going through grief will focus hostility towards some prominent by stander, like a relative or hospital staff member. If you are grieving over a lost love or job then we can lash out, we focus our blame on someone or some group. Getting someone to face up to the truth of the matter is problematic, if we care we simply cannot beat them down with the ‘truth’. getting them to accept is slow and has the pitfall that they will just be an attention vampire. The thing is we are dealing with emotions: climate change is similar to cancer or lost love or telling someone their behaviour is unacceptable and they must change. The bullying boss or teenage delinquent will have plenty of reasons for why they are right and you are wrong.

    Two big issues are kicking off or are just a few yeas away: peak oil and climate change impacts. I have friends who are complacent about both yet are accepting it will happen, but still plan their future as if it were going to be a repeat of the last decade or two.

    The future? Things like sexism or racism, or even drink driving and bullying were driven out by a few people who challenged behaviour and who drew the line. Where did people want to stand? I think the first line to be drawn is to ask if ‘skeptics’ want to have a reasoned discussion or not. There is simply no point is having stupid games and the likes of Monckton or Delingpole and their fans achieve their aims through disruption. A sceptic is someone who debates a denier is simply a troll so lets discriminate and show up the climate trolls for what they really are.

  14. john byatt

    Plate tectonics is a good example of the old guard being swept away by a scientific paradigm

    climate change is a similar example as adding co2 to the atmosphere was generally thought to be harmless right up to the fifties

    It is not a 95% chance as in winning the lottery, it simply is the level of certainty

    but good read Hix

    • The 95% certainty is an issue, it is not absolute. A lottery is something else in that it is odds with a 0.00001 whatever chance of losing. What I think the public fails to understand about 95% certainty amongst science is that it A/ rare B/ reflects outcomes of the 100% certainties found within science.

      • Michael Boice

        I don’t quite understand what you wrote…

        • Sceptics pick up on the term ’95% certainty’ as being the consensus, surely, they say, it is a fact or ‘theory’ as there is no room for consensus. Prior to Bacon who started modern scientific theory the route was consensus and the consensus in Bacon’s day was that flies had four legs and bogey was brain matter because everyone agreed. Bacon introduced empirical science- if you want to know then count the number of legs on a fly. The confusion with climate science is most of the scientific theories in climate science are facts and the agreed predictions in the IPCC reports are causes are of 95% certainty. As Carl Sagan mentioned the public are generally scientific illiterates [I also trained as a landscape architect- and I take an interest but consider myself to be a pygmy scientifically]- the public tend to think scientific theory is like an idea, then you have the problem of media giving two-sides of the debate. My son was just born when we had the big MMR vaccine causes autism publicity and irritatingly I was not able to make a clear judgement. In truth 1 doctor came out with the link but was given equal weight to the vast body of scientific knowledge.

          Part of the problem is that science needs to be more vocal about what it is to the public that funds it.

  15. john byatt

    Michael “In addition, there are scientists debating both sides of climate change…by your own admission, mine as well, I am no scientist”

    this is exactly what the fossil fuel companies want you to believe,

    The debate ended in the eighties, it continues in opinion pieces and on blogs,

    • Nice one, John. As usual, you managed to go straight to the heart of the matter. I feel that my frustration with Michael apparently not taking on board what I am saying is hereby vindicated… Climate science is what it is. The truth of the matter is not somewhere in the middle… There is climate science (+/- residual uncertainty) and there is climate change denial (+/- unwarranted scepticism). End of story (I am afraid).

  16. Michael Boice

    And hence the reason to immerse myself…to be able to identify fact from fiction.

    Regarding theory…I believe airplanes still fly on theory:)…

    julesbollocks, maybe you’ll pick it up again. I cannot imaging doing much else…well, maybe a little amateur science?

    • john byatt

      Deniers “we have over a thousands papers that are sceptical of climate change”

      Google scholar
      climate change
      Scholar About 2,190,000 results (0.03 sec)