This too shall pass: Rio Tinto admits climate change real and accepts the need for action

File under “well its about time”.

Where once denial was expected – if not the norm – from the fossil fuel industry, increasingly we are seeing that industry acknowledge the fact that climate change poses a fundamental risk to their operations (and thus profit).

Climate change “skepticism” is fast becoming the preserve of the ideological zealot and fringe conspiracy theorist.

I’ve spent the majority of my professional life in the private sector, and appreciate climate change from a) an ethical perspective and b) as a risk management issue.

Thus my many years of observation taught me industry acceptance was inevitable. Slower than it should be, but without doubt always coming.

The management of most corporations are conservative and risk averse – far more than the cheer leaders of the “free market” would have you believe.

Indeed, I’m incredibly amused by the shallow musings of the likes of the “Institute of Public Affairs” and “free-market think tanks”.

Quite frankly this gaggle of ideologues, apologists for the super-rich and intellectual fringe dwellers seem to know precious little about how the “market’ actually works”.

It’s not perfect, it does not  operate “rationally” and it is not an enabler of human happiness.

It is a mechanism to distribute material and non-material goods. That’s it.

Nothing more. 

Free markets don’t equal free people: just ask the Chinese how easy it is to decouple “free markets” from the ideals and practice of democracy or “free speech”.

And the market can – and does – fail with surprising regularity: form the South Sea Bubble, to “The Great Depression” and “The Global Financial Crisis” (GFC).

Climate change is a product of market failure, a selective blindness to the risk and additional cost burdens of greenhouse emissions. In the same way regulators overlooked the risky of lending practices of banks in the United States (how CDCs fueled the property bubble) lead to the GFC, so it is with carbon emissions.

Carbon emissions have been “off book” – but that does not mean the risk is not real: one merely needs to see the emergent risks in the shrinking Arctic Sea Ice and record high temperatures.

Pretty much most informed commentators and observers saw the demise of fossil fuel industry opposition to mitigation efforts such as the “carbon tax” as inevitable.

[Note to the LNP and Tony Abbott: you are looking increasingly silly aren’t you? You’ve spent a far too much time at IPA events I think, when business generally sees these people as fringe nutters.]

So when the coal miners start stating the case for “urgent action” we are passing a threshold: perhaps too late, perhaps not urgently enough, but it is happening.

One can appreciate coal miners have to steady the nerves of investors (and themselves) by stating “there will always be a place for coal”, but the truth is coal as an energy source is in its sunset years.

And yes, this was also seen as inevitable: even by those companies themselves.

Give it a few decades and it is possible to anticipate the large scale decommissioning of mines and coal powered generators across the globe.

But the “merchants of doubt” achieved what they set out to do: delay the inevitable regulatory reform and their technological obsolescence.

Their demise was both predictable and certain: “our” failure was to (once again) anticipate the ferocity of the fossil fuel lobby’s opposition in what they appreciated was a fight to the death.

And now, in their final years even the coal miners have come to accept their “death” – they are moving from denial and anger to bargaining and acceptance.

“This too shall pass”. 

This from Rio Tinto’s head of coal (via SMH) – note the tacit acceptance of the “carbon tax”;

Climate change is occurring and is largely caused by human activities, miner Rio Tinto’s head of coal in Australia, Bill Champion told a Brisbane conference this morning.

In a speech on sustainable development and mining, Mr Champion said the “scale of the necessary emissions reductions and the need for adaptation, coupled with the world’s increasing requirements for secure, affordable energy, create large challenges which require worldwide attention”. 

Rio Tinto has factored a carbon price into its investment decision-making for the past 10 years, Mr Champion said.

“We support a coordinated global approach to reduce emissions. Until that is in place, as well as after, we recognise that it will be necessary for individual jurisdictions to take actions. [Mike @ WtD: Yes they accept the “carbon tax” that was supposed to end civilization]

“We recognise the value of action on climate change.”We factor into our planning and decision-making, including our choice of investments, the costs and associated risks of emissions and business disruption, as well as the costs and benefits of mitigation and adaptation, and the opportunities created for our business by the move to a low-carbon economy.” 

Mr Champion said coal-use represented about 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but there would continue to be demand for coal even under the International Energy Agency’s most aggressive scenarios for action on climate change.

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136 thoughts on “This too shall pass: Rio Tinto admits climate change real and accepts the need for action

  1. louploup2 says:

    This is amazing news. Is there a site where the actual speech is presented?

    Is Mr. Champion an outlier in the industry? Is Rio Tinto a big enough player for this statement to have a global impact?

  2. uknowispeaksense says:

    Hmmmm being an actual sceptic, I’m not so sure about this. Actions will speak louder than words. When Rio Tinto start scaling back and/or investing in alternative energy I’ll start to believe they are serious.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Oh yes,I agree. The is a long way to go. But this is a shift in acceptance. Actions may or not be coming. It also means they are distancing themselves from the sceptic movement.

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Yes, they will green wash. I have little faith in them. We effect policy change through supporting parties that will make it happen. The market will not do it alone.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      To clarify, Rio Tinto just surrendeed the fight on the carbon tax.

      Such statements undercuts the entire LNP and sceptic claim that there’s no problem and that mitigation efforts will ruin the economy. Indeed they are both to be expected and necessary. Also, they accept a greater energy mix. Big coal has seen its future as a niche player whose extinction is inevitable.

      There goes the central claim of the sceptics made during the last 30 odd years.

      The Austrlian emissions trading scheme experiment has just seen the economic arguments against action – really there central claim – implode.

      It’s why the sceptics fought so hard in the lead up to the 2007 election and beyond: the ALP got in with a mandate to act on climate (as a sign IPA funding increased fourfold in less than 10 years). It’s why Abbott got up as leader of the LNP – on a sceptic “ticket”. It’s why they’ve flown every major and minor climate sceptic to Australia. It’s why News Corp has run a political campaign via its broad sheets for the past few years.

      Because we were the front line of this debate: should an ETS get up and prove to not destroy the economy, their entire argument and strategy is made redundant (put aside questions of effectiveness, which it not).

      They’ve lost.

      That Rio Tintoretto statement is but one of the many public surrenders to come.

      Now in regards to action: we have to push the bastards along. We vote for policies that shut down coal fired power and hasten sustainable energy. We hasten the demise of digging up of coal and sending it offshore.

      We can’t trust them to do it. Their product is harmful to our communities, so we tell them that and get them to shut up shop.

      • uknowispeaksense says:

        I don’t disagree Mike, I would just like to see them repeat these speeches to a less green audience. I know they have business models in place to deal with an ETS and the very first time it was ever mooted would have had them planning for it. I still reckon they will go business as usual but say all the right things. My initial thought was this is a PR thing to distance themselves not from deniers but from BHP,Clive Palmer and Rinehart, all who are currently undertaking new environmentally tragic ventures. Maybe a rebranding of sorts. Who knows. Either way,it is a great headlline to chuck at deniers.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          I agree – left to their own devices, it would be BAU. But like the issue with CFCs and the ozone the pattern was a) organised denial b) eventual capitulation and c) regulation/market changes. The question remains of “how much time, and how soon?” Can we halt increased emissions to prevent further disaster? Increased accumulation of GHGs in the atmosphere creates an environmental time bomb.

          And yes, what is happening with the expansion of coal mines in QLD etc is tragic.

  3. sailrick says:

    Is this a trend?

    Total Speaks Out on Arctic Drilling: ‘Oil on Greenland Would Be a Disaster’

    Total this week became the first energy company to speak out publicly against oil exploration in Arctic waters

    {Financial Times}

  4. john byatt says:

    Yes Mike,The new QLD gov is a disaster slowly unfolding
    had this in two regional papers last week

    Both the Victorian and NSW governments have recently amended their Coastal Plans; these coastal plans involve development restrictions which pertain to expected sea level rise by the year 2100.
    Victoria has reduced the threshold below which development is prohibited from one metre down to 200mm above sea level for existing seaside communities; NSW has removed all requirements for seaside councils to comply with the recommendations of the coastal plan.
    Both governments use IPCC AR4 2007 sea level projections to justify their amendments. The projections in AR4 were based on the science up to 2003 and came with a caveat that the estimate of 59cm by 2100 did not include the uncertainties in carbon cycle feedbacks nor the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow “therefore the upper values of the ranges are not to be considered the upper bounds for sea level rise”.

    As part of the Queensland government’s latest 6 month plan, July to December 2012, under the heading “Improve infrastructure” we read that one of their goals is to commence work to amend the Queensland coastal plan. Comments by our climate change minister and premier would indicate that they will go down the same path as their southern counterparts .

    Over the last nine years our understanding of the boundaries for future sea level rise up to 2100 has improved with most research now pointing to between a one and two metre rise by 2100, we will not know exactly what range is specified until the publication of IPCC AR5 next year. Hopefully the Queensland government can put off any amendments to the coastal plan until a full scientific appraisal of the document is considered.

    If development is allowed on “at risk” seaside property then the Government must state who will bear responsibility, either the QLD state government or local councils because commercially obtained insurance against SLR will be nonexistent. While politicians claim to be building for the future, it is their own future that they are most concerned with. The Queensland government has abandoned all climate change mitigation strategies to concentrate solely on adaptation. Allowing development on at risk coastal property is not adaptation, it is denial.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Let me know when the sea level actually starts to rise in an alarming way. 1.5 mm / year is hardly a global emergency.

      • john byatt says:

        So you learned nothing from the sudden crash of the Arctic minimum this year? just how sudden these events can happen even in your supposed flat temps since 1998,
        When it suddenly accelerates beyond our predictions, same as the Arctic crash, you will be standing there with your mouth gaping, Then you will simply deny the reality.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          An interesting writeup of an aspect of continental rebound I wasn’t aware of – thankyou for the link. There was no suggestion that sea level will rise suddenly in the near future, unless I missed it? Other than a mild suggestion that if sea level had been rising by 1.5mm / year for the last 4000 years, it would be higher than it is now.

          If we have to wait 4000 years for your crisis to bite, I find it difficult to feel a sense of urgency.

      • Baa Humbug says:

        So you learned nothing from the sudden crash of the Arctic minimum this year?

        What has sea ice got to do with sea levels?

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Nothing direct – floating ice displaces its own weight in water, so it does not increase the volume of the water when it melts. But the ice melt was being pushed as a sign of the impending crisis, so I thought I would inject a little reality.

      • john byatt says:

        Goodday Baa humbug. thought that you were a typing sheep for a second.

        you are wondering what the sudden Arctic crash has to do with sea levels.

        well it was a comment about just how quickly everything can change,

        Arctic was fairly stable until 2005 now it is in a death spiral, we can agree on that.

        Sea level rise has doubled since last century and the deniers seem to believe that as the global temperature increases as it has been doing, then the rate of SLR will remain at it’s current rate, well that is just ignorance, don’t you agree?

        by the way, if all sea ice melted instantly then the ocean would rise by about 5cm, now there is a bit of interesting trivia for you

      • Nick says:

        It’s about lag time ,Eric,the lag time to effect change to CO2 output,and the inertia of the ocean,which will keep rising long after we cease emitting. It’s about trying to limit the ultimate rise,and we have to start now on that….and it’s not all about you. Do you feel any connection with future generations? Some intergenerational responsibility? Sea level rise is showing some acceleration,and is expected to accelerate further. We have conservative expectations of 50-90cm by 2100…that will doom thousands of dwellings on sand,and mean major investment on dykes for agricultural land on parts of coastal flood plains,over and above the expense of maintaining infrastructure already in place.

        Sure,it’s not ‘alarming’ right now…but that was never the issue. Do you ever make plans,Eric?

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Nick, you have listed some terrifying scenarios, but they are all based on computer models of what might happen.

          Frankly I don’t believe any of it.

          As someone who worked for over a decade in merchant banking, helping traders build sophisticated models of trading finance, I’m not impressed at the predictive power of computer models.

          Even traders don’t use models for prediction – they use the models to detect the sensitivity of their portfolios to well known, previously observed instabilities.

          If it is not possible to reliably predict anything of value about the future direction of financial markets, how is it possible to reliably predict anything of value about something vastly more complex, the global climate system?

          Let climate scientists, with their fantasy models, predict their hobgoblins. I prefer actual evidence before I treat an issue as a real problem.

      • Nick says:

        “Frankly,I don’t believe any of it..” Yes,I’ve noticed!

        Back in 1990,the IPCC’s first report projected a sea level rise under BAU in the range of 8 to 29cm by 2030. We’ve seen 6cm so far,so even with a linear rate of increase we’ll see 12cm by 2030. And,as we have detected a slight acceleration in the rate,we are very well placed to hit bang in the middle of that projection.

        So much for models,eh? With all due respect to your experience in economic modelling,there are significant differences between behavioral and physical modelling. The physical reasons have been gone through a million times.One notable one is thermic expansion due to the earth/ocean system experiencing a net gain in energy. That isn’t a modelling exercise,that’s simple observed and reproducable physical behavior..

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Anyone can draw a straight line through a trend and look smart – as long as the trend holds.

          What is noticeably absent though is any of the predicted “acceleration” in sea level rise. The IPCC prediction encompassed everything from a straight line trend to some of their wilder model predictions – they put a bet on half the horses in the race, then claim victory when one of them wins, even though it is the low end (the straight line projection) which looks correct.

          As for the current rate of sea level change, where I used to live, by a tidal river, the title deeds for the property extend a significant way into the river, because when the original deeds were drawn, in the time of King John (as in Robin Hood’s King John), the sea level was a metre lower than today.

          So a few 10s of cm / century sea level change is nothing unusual.

      • Nick says:

        Stop making stuff up,Eric. Acceleration is not ‘notably absent’. It’s definitely detected: look at synthesis papers like Church and White 2011. Sea level rise has accelerated over the record since 1870.

        And to dismiss considered estimates of future rise as linear extrapolation/guessing is to show again that you do not read the methodology.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Sea level is essentially static. There is no “acceleration” in sea level relative to what would be expected from natural variation. There is no sign of disastrous sea level rise, other than in the dubious output of various climate models.

    • Nick says:

      Oh well,Eric…keep making things up then. Suit yourself.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Keep denying the truth Nick.

        Climageddon is a figment of a computer modeller’s imagination.

        I prefer reality.

      • Nick says:

        You prefer to avoid reading the scientific work.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          No, I simply find it implausible that a set of predictions which covers everything from a near vertical rise in temperature to a near steady state (but with promised big rises in the future!!!) adds any value to the state of human knowledge.

      • Nick says:

        I really don’t believe you are very familiar with what you dismiss. Global warming was derived from first principles well before computer modelling was brought to bear on projection work.

        The range of rises seen in the IPCC reports is a justified result of the spread of emission scenarios and the spread of sensitivity estimates which are all discussed in some detail. The IPCC reports give the general public a lot of detailed knowledge,and access to further, that they would not be exposed to. They give policy makers a spread of scenarios as any synthesis report using models would.

        Your contention that they have no value is very shallow thinking.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I have no problem with an effort to understand climate.

          My concern is the level of knowledge, and the predictive skill demonstrated by the models, is insufficient to make detailed future predictions with any confidence.

          Some things are widely agreed, for example, the principle that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere would increase global temperature by about 1c / doubling, is an estimate based on basic physics – a wide range of scientists, including many tagged as “deniers”, agree this point.

          What is in dispute is what happens next.

          Alarmists believe that CO2 warming is amplified by water evaporating from the ocean (water vapour is a powerful greenhouse gas, far stronger than CO2).

          Skeptics believe that CO2 warming is attenuated by some of that extra water vapour forming highly reflective clouds, and bouncing more sunlight back into space.

          The reason for the wide range of model “predictions”, is noone really has a clue what happens to water vapour, other than (and this is important) there has been no evidence of amplified warming to date.

          In addition, Svensmark’s theory, that the sun is responsible for modulating global climate, through its influence on cloud cover, has been backed by a number of peer reviewed studies, including actual measurements of realtime changes in cloudiness.

          Link to peer reviewed paper.

          Click to access astra-7-315-2011.pdf

          Since the 20th century coincided with a solar grand maximum (a peak of solar activity not seen for thousands of years), solid evidence, such as is provided in the peer reviewed paper above, that such a grand maximum would also maximise solar heating further undermines confidence in the CO2 / alarmist position.

  5. Eric Worrall says:

    You have to be joking WTD.

    As the Climategate emails show, big carbon has been flirting with the CRU and other alarmists for at least a decade – several climategate emails talk of “productive” meetings with Shell Oil, and meetings held in Shell premises.

    For big oil, CO2 emission mitigation represents an unprecedented opportunity to make money.

    1. Worthless, depleted mines can be resurrected as valuable carbon sequestration facilities.

    2. They are highly experienced at dealing with politicians of questionable ethics, and will have opportunities unavailable to others for cutting deals to help convert worthless subsistence farmland into valuable carbon sink pristine forest.

    3. As major producers and consumers of carbon credits, and with their enormous cash reserves, they can play price sophisticated price fixing games with the market. Not only will they be able to price fix the supply of fossil fuels, as they currently do, by shifting delivery dates to optimise their market positions, they will also now be able to price fix the production of carbon credits, through their purchase, sale or use of sequestration facilities.

    4. Any difficulties can be smoothed by buying the regulators. As PJ O’Rourke once said, when buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first thing to be bought and sold are the legislators.

    All up, a capitalist wet dream – if you are the kind of capitalist who dreams of unlimited ability to fleece other participants.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Ah yes its all a conspiracy. Climate scientists and big oil, and environmentalists and the military, and NASA… all shall be revealed, nothing is as it seems and everything is connected.

      You’ve gone deep into conspiracy territory haven’t you? Coming back yet?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        I provided a list of reasons why big carbon would be attracted to carbon markets.

        Clearly not all big mining companies see it this way – BHP and Rio Tinto seem attracted to playing the carbon markets, while other companies like Koch brothers seem less enthusiastic.

        I don’t see how you infer a conspiracy theory from what I said.

        If you want to see a conspiracy theory, look up some of Mann’s rants about the “well funded climate denial machine”.

        If you are referring to my comment on price fixing, I have personally worked with large businesses which operate merchant shipping fleets, to help them coordinate their market trading activities with shipment of physical goods. Perhaps “price fixing” is too strong a description of their activities, so lets call it “enhanced market strategies”.

      • john byatt says:

        “As the Climategate emails show, big carbon has been flirting with the CRU and other alarmists for at least a decade – several climategate emails talk of “productive” meetings with Shell Oil, and meetings held in Shell premises.”

        Yes Eric, productive meetings, sounds like a conspiracy?

        It is known as confirmation bias.

      • john byatt says:

        Yes the inverted commas around productive was meant as what ?

  6. john byatt says:

    Eric has to be a Poe, can anyone really be this bat shit crazy

  7. sidd says:

    Speaking of coal in sunset years …
    There is a tract of a hundred miles in pennsylvania, denuded, farmed to exhaustion, stripmined and recovered with a thin green pathetic skin of what once used to be. The owners of the defunct coal company (a local town is named after that family, they still own the land) are erecting wind turbines on the ridges they raped a hundred years ago. At least a little progress, small steps.


  8. Eric Worrall says:

    Given that Mike(?) has put forward a case that Rio Tinto is the start of a trend, I thought I would present a counter argument, that big green is mostly being rolled back in a big way, by cash strapped governments.

    This would suggest to me that the stronger trend is away from adoption of green technology.


    Greece slashing feedin tariffs, no longer approving permits for new installations, and imposing a new green tax.

    Sharp Corp ending production of solar cells.

    Scottish politicians worried about the intermittency and instability of Green energy. It turns out that green energy can experience a shortfall for an entire season – its not just intraday wind variation which causes problem.

    Biofuel subsidies in the EU to be capped, and eliminated by 2020.

    Plans for new gas plants in the UK. Despite lip service to green energy, UK coalition partners the Lib Dems are angry at the lack of commitment to green energy.

    (h/t WUWT)

    • Eric Worrall says:

      The scientist Fred Hoyle suggested a possible explanation for why ice ages might last so long, and end so abruptly.

      His suggestion was the trigger which finished ice ages was a burst of global warming, caused by a large ocean Asteroid strike vaporising vast quantities of sea water.

      I have no idea if this is the correct explanation, but I “like” the theory, in the sense I find it intriguing.

      There are substantial Asteroid strikes, at least two in the last century – the Tunguska event , and much more recently, the Mediterranean event .

      Both Asteroids caused an explosion on the scale of a large nuclear explosion, thankfully in unpopulated areas – though as the WIKI entry for the Eastern Mediterranean event shows, the event occurred at a time of tension between India and Pakistan, so it if had occurred a few hours earlier, it could have triggered a nuclear war.

      Obviously Hoyle’s Asteroid would have to be several orders of magnitude larger than either of these Asteroid strikes, which might account for their rarity.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      I have a detailed answer to this one, but it is awaiting moderation.

      I like Hoyle’s theory, because it provides an explanation for why long ice ages end so abruptly. His suggestion is a sudden burst of global warming caused by a large ocean strike.

      There have been two major Asteroid strikes I know of in the last century, look them up – The Tunguska Event and the Eastern Mediterranean Event. Thankfully both strikes occurred in uninhabited regions, or else the consequences could have been devastating – both Asteroids exploded with the force of a nuclear bomb.

      Obviously Hoyle’s Asteroid would have to be several orders of magnitude larger than either of these events.

      • Nick says:

        So orbital forcing won’t do,Eric? Prefer the less likely prospect of asteroid strikes of sufficient magnitude occurring with a regularity that coincides with Milankovitch? You probably don’t like the implications- tipping into geologically abrupt responses -and like your disaster movies. Hoyle,naturally enough,was attracted to an explanation involving something in his field.

        Why should a large asteroid lead to warming? They’re likely to throw up enough debris for global cooling.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I am aware of Milankovich cycles, and their effect on global climate. I said I “like” Hoyle’s theory, I have no idea whether it is correct – I find it intriguing.

          Hoyle was an interesting guy. He got it wrong a lot, but occasionally showed a flash of astonishing genius, such as when he predicted a nuclear transition energy based on his knowledge of stellar evolution (he is still the only person to have ever predicted a nuclear transition energy based on something other than direct measurement).

        • uknowispeaksense says:

          I wasn’t going to feed you troll but I can’t resist this one.

          You laud the fact that Hoyle made a prediction based on his previous knowledge. (a model)
          However, you don’t accept models because you claim they can’t predict anything.

          You also say “We maintain a list of often contradictory announcements from alarmists.”

          Shall we start a list of yours?

        • Eric Worrall says:

          The issue is one of complexity.

          Hoyle’s prediction was based on a single physical process, which can be modelled mathematically. Hoyle’s insight was to realise that the composition of stars was related to the nuclear “difficulty” of the reaction to create any particular element – how easy the element was to create, and how likely the newly created element was to be consumed by subsequent nuclear reactions.

          From studying the composition of stars, he produced a remarkably accurate prediction of the energy required to perform various nuclear transitions.

          Climate by contrast is an unimaginably complex set of physical processes, many of which are poorly understood. Trying to predict anything useful from such a poorly understood, chaotic system is like trying to use a sure thing formula to play the stock market – it teases you with short periods of success, then suddenly everything changes, and you lose all your cash (or in the case of climate models, credibility).

      • john byatt says:

        Are the models, in fact, untestable? Are they unable to make valid predictions? Let’s review the record. Global Climate Models have successfully predicted:

        That the globe would warm, and about how fast, and about how much.
        That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool.
        That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures.
        That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.

        Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles).
        That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic.
        The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
        They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.

        They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data.
        The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO.
        The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.
        The expansion of the Hadley cells.

        The poleward movement of storm tracks.
        The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude.
        The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics.
        The near constancy of relative humidity on global average.
        That coastal upwelling of ocean water would increase.

        Seventeen correct predictions? Looks like a pretty good track record to me.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          There is an old scam, in which you convince the marks that you have a horse racing model which works.

          You start with a large list of subscribers. Every week you pick a race, then divide your subscribers into groups. Each group receives a tip that a different horse will win.

          Of course, only one horse can win, so the next week, you drop everyone except the group which received the winning tip.

          After a few weeks, you hit them with the sting – they have to pay for next week’s tip.

          Given the vast range of model predictions, I would be surprised if there weren’t a few simulation runs which didn’t match a few features of the climate.

          But you can hardly call this science.

          IPCC AR4 can’t even make up its mind about climate sensitivity – they’re betting on a vast range of possibilities (down to 1.5, which might actually be accurate), so they can say afterwards “see, we were right”.

          But you can see through this nonsense, by for example checking what is happening now, against what they said before (no more snow, anyone?).

          For example, you could check and see that we are still bumping below Hansen’s zero emissions scenario.

      • john byatt says:

        Can someone really be this thick?


        • Eric Worrall says:

          It used to surprise me too.

          But then I realised it was more appropriate to think of you as victims of misplaced trust. You’re not stupid, you’re just listening to the wrong people.

          When confronted with a major discrepancy between what GISS says vs what NOAA says (backed by evidence from their own web sites), your last resort is insist it is inconceivable that there could be anything wrong.

          This sort of response actually gives me hope. Basing your believe on irrational faith tends to wear thin. Eventually you will snap the ropes which bind your reason.

          Dont get me wrong, I don’t think the people who are misleading you know they are lying. I think that climate scientists like Hansen, Mann and Jones actually believe what they are saying. There is no evidence in the Climategate emails that they were deliberately lying. The problem appears to be that they believe too strongly, and disregard contrary evidence, because in their heart they know they are right.

      • Nick says:

        Eric,Milankovitch cycles and all orbital issues are simple ,mathematically modellable processes based on hard observation. Hoylean asteroid intercession is a ‘what if’- guesswork,on which a model is then built… Occam is not impressed.

        The rest of your theorising on personality,trust and motivation is pure projection. With one different detail: those who mislead you KNOW they are lying. That is why their campaigns are conducted outside science,away from accountability. Watts,Macintyre,Morano,Carter,Delingpole,Brooker,etc. are in PR,not science.

  9. john byatt says:

    Have another stab at it Eric, here is your comment

    As the Climategate emails show, big carbon has been flirting with the CRU and other alarmists for at least a decade – several climategate emails talk of “productive” meetings with Shell Oil, and meetings held in Shell premises.

    you have inverted commas around productive, what is that supposed to signify ?

    • Eric Worrall says:

      My mistake sorry. The actual quote I was thinking of was “Had a very good meeting with Shell yesterday” in Climategate email 0962818260.txt. I mistakenly remembered the word “productive”, rather than the word “good”.

      • john byatt says:

        It is known as Chinese whispers Eric, same as the supposed quotes from Flannery about dams never filling again.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I apologised for my mistake John, it wasn’t intentional. I only noticed my error when I tried to look up the original quote, to provide an answer to your previous point.

      • Nick says:

        CRU’s public and private funding sources were public knowledge prior to the email theft. In fact,mixed uuniversity funding sources are a mundane matter of fact going back a century. Pfft.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I was using the email I cited as evidence that Big Oil and Climate Research have a fairly cosy relationship, not to criticise the concept of private funding.

          If you read a little more, you would see what I was criticising was the concept that Big Oil and Big Green’s interests are opposed.

  10. john byatt says:

    Just read on a blog that JXX NXXX’s internet problems are an inside job,

    she will not suspect who it is

  11. john byatt says:

    I will email Mike to take it down, was supposed to go on the members forum, clicked the wrong link

    please disregard it for now, more coming

    • Eric Worrall says:

      If you have information about a criminal attack on Nova’s website, you should be providing your information to the police.

      • john byatt says:

        Really, I suggest that you read the law regarding someone given full authority.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I must have misunderstood John, so please clear up my confusion, but are you condoning abuse of trust and lying to prevent people you disagree with from speaking?

      • john byatt says:

        Eric, it was you who referred to whatever as a criminal attack, whether I condone it or not is irrelevant, under the law there has been no criminal activity if you confer on someone a full authority, the cops will laugh at you,

        do I condone it, No but I can understand why someone might spend some time getting her trust and then doing what they have done, Mike will not get back for a while but it should be deleted later tonight, a screenshot can be altered, especially by someoner of your background.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I see – so your solution to an embarrassing mistake, and accidental revelation of knowledge of a nasty attack on free speech, is to remove the evidence, lie if I produce screenshots of the removed evidence, and abuse people’s trust in your integrity, to cover your tracks.

          Do you actually read what you type, before you hit “Post”?

      • john byatt says:

        Eric, ring 131145, that’s lifeline
        tell someone that gives a fuck

  12. john byatt says:

    Well this bloke seems to be on Eric’s side, he loves her

  13. rubbert taster says:

    So full of hate…so full of stupid…

    Posted in Scientists warn on climatic ‘tipping points’
    Posted Tuesday 5th February 2008 21:05 GMT Eric Worrall

    Carbon Cult
    The ecofreaks remind me of the bible bashers who urge that the return of Jesus is imminent, and you better join their cult now. Sadly though, the Carbon Cult is infinitely more sinister than a few over enthusiastic evangelists.
    Last time the Eugenics catastrophists, confident in their scientific consensus that genetic pollution would return us to the stone age, killed 7 million Jews to improve the race.
    Now poor people are dying because only rich people can afford the self inflicted expense of trying to appease the Carbon God.,authorised=true.html
    How many poor Africans and Asians will die because of the great global warming swindle, before their pseudo scientific bluff is finally called?

  14. louploup2 says:

    Eric Worall–I have no interest in the particulars of blogging disruptions etc being discussed. As a lawyer (albeit U.S., not Oz), I see nothing on this thread to give you cause to “take screenshots” for the internet police detectives’ visit. You have a selective memory oriented toward denial, and you don’t understand the law and ethics of free speech. WTD is much more lenient than I would be; if I was moderating, your posts would be screened.

    John Byatt–IMO (not licensed to live legal advice there), there is nothing so bad or risky in your comments that any need removal, aside from the ease of anyone saving the entire thread. The better course is to just ignore comments about it. I suggest the same for people like Eric Worall who strongly exhibits Dunning-Kruger.

    • john byatt says:

      Mate , have been taking the piss out of him, Made a bet that he would come in hook line and sinker,

      • Eric Worrall says:

        Interesting how you lying and being deceptive was plausible enough to deceive louploup.

      • john byatt says:

        I am good at what I do, Playing with your mind.

        naughty I now, but hey Sunday was a bit boring,

        • Eric Worrall says:

          You told a plausible lie. Or maybe you told an embarrassing truth, and someone smarter than you has suggested how you should cover it up. Either way, interesting behaviour.

        • uknowispeaksense says:

          Wow. You are a classic. If you think that the conversation between John and myself makes the lie plausible then you are a poster child for Lewandowsky. You want to see conspiracy and so you believe conspiracy. Even still you are entertaining the idea that there is now a coverup. Classic.

          Quick John, let’s go to the secret “Red Room” where we can talk in Japanese and Chinese with muldvarpen.

      • louploup2 says:

        Eric Worall–I find John Byatt’s “deception” not even 1% as irritating as your self-deception. Rather amusing, actually.

      • louploup2 says:

        “How do you know you are not deceiving yourself?” I never claim 100% certainty, but I do claim that it is 99% certain that AGW is real, and not likely to stop in the near future. There’s a range of scientific “truth” that as humans we choose to accept, or not. Gravity for example: would you jump off a cliff on the chance that it’s not “certain” to be a scientific truth? I doubt it; that’s one of the 100%ers for most people. How about evolution; will you refuse treatment with modern medical biotechnologies that are based on the same/overlapping knowledge that grounds evolutionary theories? I doubt it. So, why do you doubt AGW which is based on a similar foundation of centuries of work by thousands of scientists?

        I base my opinions on my extensive research and study. I’m not a scientist, but I’ll wager a couple beers that I’ve conducted far more extensive study of the relevant areas of science and policy than you. There is nothing wrong with “appealing to authority” when all I’m doing is establishing my credentials to opine on a specific subject. On the legal issue, I clearly stated the limits of my self-assigned authority (minimal knowledge of English/Australian system), but I have extensive experience and knowledge of American jurisprudence, including enough familiarity with privacy and theft principles to make the judgment I wrote above.

        I also believe I have enough expertise in dialectics and debate (they’re not the same) to say you are an ignorant sot, and I’d probably not really enjoy having those beers with you.

      • john byatt says:

        Eric does not even understand the Strawman fallacy, not likely to understand “appeal to authority.

      • louploup2 says:

        “Where does your extra 9% come from?”

        • Because I’m not talking about projections

        • Because I’m not subject to political compromise and watering down like the IPCC is. You do realize that the IPCC reports are conservative, don’t you?

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I see – rather than accepting the IPCC “compromise” (consensus?) view of >90%, you choose to accept a non consensus view of 99%.

          How does this make you different from me? I also choose not to accept the IPCC view of 90%.

      • john byatt says:

        Gavin Schmidt was one of the scientists in conference with the politicians regarding certainty,

        The scientists told them that the uncertainty was about zip, zero, zilch, the pollies demanded that it be reduced to 90%,

        we live with that

        If there was a 90% chance that the aircraft would not make it’s destination , eric would be the only passenger onboard.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I would suggest that calling a 10% minority view “deniers” is a little harsh.

          In any case, the debate is not about whether there is *any* AGW. Skeptics and alarmists are more or less agreed on the starting point – that using pure CO2 physics, with no other forcings, you would expect a climate sensitivity of around 1c / doubling of CO2.

          The questions is what happens next.

          The alarmist view is that the 1c / doubling of CO2 forcing is amplified by water vapour.

          “Deniers” like MIT professor Richard Lindzen suggest that more water vapour would tend to form more clouds – creating a strong negative feedback on further warming, by reflecting more sunlight back into space, and reducing climate sensitivity to around 0.5c / doubling. This is the basis of Richard Lindzen’s IR iris theory – the theory that Earth’s climate is stabilised by negative feedback.

          If CO2 / climate sensitivity is significantly below 2c / doubling, it is simply not worth doing anything to limit CO2. At 1c / doubling, it would take a CO2 level of around 1600ppm to produce a 2c temperature rise above current temperatures (2 x 2 x 400ppm), a level of CO2 which would take centuries of burning fossil fuel at current rates to achieve. And there is simply not enough fossil fuel to do this.

      • louploup2 says:

        Also, AR4 is now pushing 7 years old. Facts and analyses are more advanced. I stand by 99%. You are willfully ignorant.

      • john byatt says:


      • louploup2 says:

        “This is a faith based assertion, not peer reviewed science.”

        Anyone can post an assertion. Nothing posted here is “peer reviewed science,” although there have been numerous references. In fact, my assertions (and John Byatt”s) are based on peer reviewed science; it is quite clear that both of us have read to that literature to a considerable degree. Do you want me to unload my hard drive on you? Or even just the list of files and documents; it’s heavily oriented to forests and water resource impacts and adaptive management (adaptation), and I know whereof I speak. There are clearly areas of ambiguity and uncertainty; that AGW is happening is not among them.

        Your site says you’re an IT professional; what credibility do you have to evaluate the peer reviewed literature? I have yet to see much evidence that your assertions are based on peer reviewed science. However, I am glad to see you use “peer reviewed science” as a benchmark criteria for evaluating assertions. When are you going to start applying it to yourself?

    • louploup2 says:

      Yes; “his decision was based on an assumption that we only need to plan for 20 years into the future – whatever happens after that is for future generations to deal with.” Precisely the stupidity (and unethical as well) that got us into our current situation. Remember the aphoristic definition of insane–“doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Humanity as a species appears to be quite psychotic.

      • john byatt says:

        “That a technical advanced civilization would in effect choose to annihilate itself”

        thought that it was a bit over the top at the time, The Vic minister fails to realise that it will be too late for future generations to clean up after our mess.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      We think that planning decisions that affect Victoria’s coast should be based on good evidence, and long-term perspectives. To allow development today that risks falling into the sea in 60 or 90 years time is short-sighted

      Their evidence for this (which they refer to as “good evidence”) is a set of computer models which have consistently failed to predict anything of value.

      We maintain a list of often contradictory announcements from alarmists. We think it amusing to keep them all in the same place.

      • louploup2 says:

        I spent the time to go look at that site, pretty randdom click of mouse drifting across the page. First one was a dead link to a German language site. Second was

        What’s contradictory or inaccurate about that news article? First sentence of Wiki article on 2003 France heat wave event: “In France, there were 14,802 heat-related deaths (mostly among the elderly) during the heat wave, according to the French National Institute of Health.” The Russian event of 2010 similar killed many thousands (probably also weighted toward the elderly–Russian public health stats are not as easy to find).

        Are the rest of the poorly formatted and un-indexed links as poorly done as those two?

      • john byatt says:

        Checked out only three of the links, did not work,
        links to newspaper items by linking to the main page that updates every day is typical of the intelligence of these morons

  15. john byatt says:

    Eric as usual you have it arse about tit

    “We wanted to see if the amount of cirrus associated with a given unit of cumulus varied systematically with changes in sea surface temperature,” he says. “The answer we found was, yes, the amount of cirrus associated with a given unit of cumulus goes down significantly with increases in sea surface temperature in a cloudy region.”

  16. john byatt says:

    Eric ” This is the basis of Richard Lindzen’s IR iris theory – the theory that Earth’s climate is stabilised by negative feedback.”

    this is pretty much the original quasi religious Gaia hypothesis

  17. john byatt says:

    Look I know that he is beyond education

    The net energy incoming at the surface is 161 W m-2, and this is offset by radiation (63), evaporative cooling (80), and direct heating of the atmosphere through thermals (17). Consequently, evaporative cooling and the resulting water cycle play a major role in the energy balance at the surface, and for this reason, storms are directly affected by climate change. The biggest loss at the surface is from long-wave radiation but this is offset by an almost as big downward radiation from greenhouse gases and clouds in the atmosphere to give the net of 63 units.
    Updates included in this figure are revised absorption in the atmosphere by water vapor and aerosols. The direct transfer of heat has values of 17, 27 and 12 W m-2 for the globe, land and ocean, and even with uncertainties of 10%, the errors are only order 2 W m-2. There is widespread agreement that the global mean surface upward longwave (LW) radiation is about 396 W m-2, which is dependent on the skin temperature and surface emissivity.
    Global precipitation should equal global evaporation for a long-term average, and estimates are likely more reliable of the former. However, there is considerable uncertainty in precipitation over both the oceans and land. The latter is mainly due to wind effects, undercatch and spatial coverage, while the former is due to shortcomings in remote sensing. The downward and net LW radiation were computed as a residual and compared to various estimates which tend to be higher but all involve assumptions and models. The correct depiction of low clouds is a continuing challenge for models and is likely to be a source of model bias in downward LW flux. For example, there are sources of error in how clouds overlap in the vertical and there is no unique way to treat the effects of overlap on the downward flux.
    The new observations from space have enabled improved analyses of the energy flows, their variations throughout the annual cycle, for land versus ocean, as a function of location, and also over a number of years. There is an annual mean transport of energy by the atmosphere from ocean to land regions of 2.2±0.1 PW primarily in the northern winter when the transport exceeds 5 PW. It is now possible to provide an observationally based estimate of the mean and annual cycle of ocean energy, mainly in the form of ocean heat content
    Note that the sum of all the values at the TOA and at the surface in the figure leaves an imbalance of 0.9 W m-2, which is causing global warming.

    While that imbalance remains the planet warms,

    As soon as the globe reaches equilibrium, give me a call

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Let me know when you have some actual evidence of catastrophic warming, as opposed to output from observer effect biased models.

      • louploup2 says:

        For cripes sakes, Eric, where did John use or imply the word “catastrophic”? His post is a very clear elucidation of how the current warming is upsetting the climate’s equilibrium, of which there is much evidence already. Most of the “catastrophic” impacts are a few years off, although I’m sure the dead from AW caused extreme events would disagree if they could still argue with deniers like you. If they could, I suspect they’d prefer we actually did something instead.

      • Nick says:

        ‘Observer effect biased models’? You are clueless. And you want to wait for warming to pass some ‘catastrophic’ threshold before you acknowledge it? That’s a guarantee it will become catastrophic…LOL

  18. uknowispeaksense says:

    Don’t feed the trolls

    • louploup2 says:

      You mean Eric? How about just embarrassing him by pointing out the photos et al he’s got posted for all to see. Like

      • uknowispeaksense says:

        That’s feeding the troll.

      • louploup2 says:

        OK; WTD, feel free to remove the feeding post above. [ October 1, 2012 at 3:03 am]

        I’m done…

      • john byatt says:

        Was just over reading comments at WTFUWT and Eric’s comments are fairly typical of what you read there,

        The Climate Sceptics party blog is actually run by the main troll there, exposing them in the local papers is what i concentrate on, just come to forums after my daily dose of learning what i can about the science, fuck, what a lot to learn and must admit I still have a long way to go before I would even consider myself as an informed amateur, but dealing with the deniers nonsense is a breeze, we need better informed trolls


        • Eric Worrall says:

          I have yet to see a sensible response to the discrepancy I demonstrated between NOAA and GISS, other than a few blind faith assertions that there could not possibly be a problem.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        I didn’t know you were into art appreciation Louploup. As an amateur artist I must admit it is hardly my primary talent.

  19. Cugel says:

    I must say I’m surprised to see Big Carbon being subsumed into the grand conspiracy so soon. It had to happen one day, since grand conspiracies always end up including all power centres and nobody can miss how much wealth and influence Big Carbon has, but I didn’t see it happening yet. It may be a fringe opinion in denier-world so far but we can see from the US Republican Party how quickly a fringe can become the centre in a shrinking movement.

    It has the great value of explaining away BEST and its funding sources : it was a trap. The greatest betrayal of all.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      BEST is a mess – even BEST co-author Judith Curry is disgusted at their grandstanding and mistreatment of data.

      But the biggest joke is this interview with Richard Muller – you do pick your climate “heroes”, don’t you?

      • uknowispeaksense says:

        Richard Muller who managed to produce results that were already known 20 years ago and insulted numerous respected climate scientists is hardly a hero. He is as much despised by the climate community now as he was when he was slandering everyone. He’s a nowhere man. I seem to recall he was certainly hailed a hero by your hero Crybaby Watts who I seem to recall said unequivocably that he would accept Muller’s results. I’m also pretty sure you would have echoed Watts as you all do in the echo chamber assuming that Muller was going to give you the result that fit in with your very unscientific bias. But oh how they turn, blinded by ideology. The real irony being that Watts attacks his methodology and of course we all know how good Watts is in that area. Remember his blog reviewed manuscript that even his coauthors distanced themselves from.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Remember the discrepancy I demonstrated between what NOAA is saying, and what GISS is saying?

          All we had in Muller was hope that he would do a good job, and when he started misbehaving (e.g. by announcing CO2 was a major problem, before performing his attribution study), that hope was dashed.

          I do find it amusing that he supports my view that the CRU etc. engaged in scientific malpractice. But then we already knew that, didn’t we?

      • Cugel says:

        Suddenly you have me making a hero of Muller, who is a dipstick, while apparently making a hero of the very sad Judith Curry. Meanwhile my point escapes you – how do you explain the funding BEST got from Big Carbon? The answer is obvious : from a productive meeting.

  20. Eric Worrall says:

    Hard times for traditional Canadian Gas producers, as US mainland gas fracking continues to glut the market with cheap gas.

    No wonder traditional mining companies like Rio Tinto are finding their green side. All that vast investment in large scale gas mining, which companies like Rio Tinto have made, will be rendered worthless overnight, if shale gas spreads from America.

    Shale gas is easy to extract, and can often be mined conveniently close to end users, making all the long pipelines and expensive, remote mining facilities built by traditional gas giants redundant and worthless.

    If the world adopts shale on the same scale as America has, a lot of traditional mining companies will probably go bankrupt. They won’t be able to repay the multi decade bankloans they raised to build the traditional gas mining facilities. And there will be spillover into other energy projects as well, as people switch from expensive fuels to cheaper gas.

  21. john byatt says:

    Ice age looms, NH should expect colder temperatures than experienced in the past four months,

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Lets not forget, the temperature, especially in arctic regions, will likely vary in the next few months, by more than the predicted global warming of 2-3c for the next century.

      How can people possibly survive and adapt to these anticipated violent changes in temperature?

    • Cugel says:

      I’m braced for it. Fortunately I still have fuel left over from last winter, which was remarkably mild.

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