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On climate change goals, UK’s a ‘small yapping dog’

yorkieThe UK’s climate change goals fall far short of what’s needed to avert dangerous levels of warming, according to the director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

The Guardian reported this week that Tydall director Kevin Anderson warns that the Government’s proposed carbon cuts, if enacted globally, would offer only a 50-50 chance of avoiding a temperature increase of 2 degrees C or more — regarded as the threshold for catastrophic climate change impacts.

Whilst addressing MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee, Anderson also noted that the two agencies most focussed on climate change — Decc and Defra — lacked the muscle needed to enact stronger legislation. Compared to departments such as business, he said, the climate-centred agencies were akin to small yapping dogs.

1 Comment

  • Harbinger
    Posted June 25, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Since when did Kevin Anderson become a top climate scientist? He is an engineer. This is Anderson’s bio from Manchester Tyndall, It seems he has recently become Director of the parent Tyndall Centre, although still based at Manchester:

    “Research Director of Tyndall-Manchester’s Energy and Climate Change programme and manager of the Tyndall Centre’s energy pathways to global decarbonisation programme. “Kevin is based in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester and is an honorary lecturer in Environmental Management at the Manchester Business School.”

    “Managing and understanding the linkages between the disparate projects demands a genuinely interdisciplinary approach, synthesising, for example, highly technical electrical power systems research with conceptually demanding interpretations of equity and carbon emissions scenarios for the UK’s energy system.”

    Conceptually demanding interpretations? This is climate science? This is what we are spending billions of ££’s on?

    He is certainly not researching climate, he starts from the view point that Global Warming as per IPCC is a given and then proceeds to play computer games around it. The magical “2 degrees C” is a figure plucked out of the air, it is a meaningless number as there is no viable concept for a global temperature.

    Q & A: The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT) (James Hansen NASA)

    To measure SAT we have to agree on what it is and, as far as I know, no such standard has been suggested or generally adopted.

    Q. If SATs cannot be measured, how are SAT maps created ?
    A. This can only be done with the help of computer models, the same models that are used to create the daily weather forecasts. (Remember that we are always told weather isn’t climate).

    We may start out the model with the few observed data that are available and fill in the rest with guesses (also called extrapolations) and then let the model run long enough so that the initial guesses no longer matter, but not too long in order to avoid that the inaccuracies of the model become relevant. This may be done starting from conditions from many years, so that the average (called a ‘climatology’) hopefully represents a typical map for the particular month or day of the year.

    For the global mean, the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14 Celsius, i.e. 57.2 F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58 F and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse.
    Responsible NASA Official: James E. Hansen

    This is a 1.1 degree C margin of error; applied to the “2 degrees” this is a 55% margin of error. What a farce.
    There is no science, there is just computer modelling, with inadequate data on the atmosphere producing unbelievable scenarios that exist only on a computer screen.

    IPCC says that global temperature rose by 0.7degC since 1850. Thank goodness it has, because we were in the depths of the Little Ice Age for 500 years before then, when temperatures were up to 2 degrees colder than today.

    Bearing in mind the NASA text, who decides what the correct temperature of the Earth should be? Surely it shouldn’t be what it was in 1850; we would be using massive amounts of energy for heating if it were.

    IPCC also say that it is very likely that humans have caused the temperature rise over the last fifty years.

    The strange thing is that for the UK, annual temperature fifty years ago, in 1959, was 10.48deg C. In 2008, UK annual temperature was 10.02 deg C. In that time atmospheric CO2 has risen by 22%.

    Will someone please tell me how a) a 0.46 degree fall in temperature is global warming and b) If CO2 drives temperature, why hasn’t it?

    Colleagues who disagree with the agenda are not quoted or invited to committees:

    In 2007, Len Smith, a Professor in Research Statistics at the London School of Economics, warned about the “naïve realism” of current climate modelling. “Our models are being over-interpreted and misinterpreted,” he said. “They are getting better; I don’t want to trash them per se. But as we change our predictions, how do we maintain the credibility of the science?” Over-interpretation of models is already leading to poor financial decision-making, Smith says. “We need to drop the pretence that they are nearly perfect.”
    He singled out for criticism the British government’s UK Climate Impacts Programme and Met Office. He accused both of making detailed climate projections for regions of the UK when global climate models disagree strongly about how climate change will affect the British Isles.

    Smith is co-author, with Dave Stainforth of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Oxford, of a paper published in 2007 on confidence and uncertainty in climate predictions (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2007.2074). It is one of several papers on the shortfalls of current climate models.

    Some authors say modellers should drop single predictions and instead offer probabilities of different climate futures. But Smith and Stainforth say this approach could be “misleading to the users of climate science in wider society”. Borrowing a phrase from former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Smith told his Cambridge audience that there were “too many unknown unknowns” for such probabilities to be useful.

    Policy-makers, he said, “think we know much more than we actually know. We need to be more open about our uncertainties.”

    From issue 2617 of New Scientist magazine, 16 August 2007

    On such uncertainty and unknowns are our future energy policy decided and our living costs and manufacturing costs heavily inflated. China and India must be delighted.

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