WHAT’S UP THERE AND HOW WE KNOW

At http://digginginthedriftless.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/whats-up-there-and-how-we-know/I am having the following conversation with Denise and her husband Doug.

They are both highly educated people it seems and I genuinely hope to have a good logical conversation with them.

However if one reads closely, recently, they have avoided some of my questions and currently they have not published two of my most recent comments.

Of course the questions I ask are difficult to answer, but if we are to start damaging our economies, (read reduce ourselves to poverty and starvation), chasing anthropogenic CO2 we absolutely need answers to the questions I am asking.

If these two highly educated and experienced people in the sciences cannot answer my perfectly reasonable questions, we are indeed being taken for a ride!

  • 1. rogerthesurf  |  March 4, 2011 at 3:35 am

    “We fill our tanks with gas and motor off. All too soon, the tank is empty. Where did all that gas go? It’s now CO2 heading up into the atmosphere, where it will stay for 200 to 500 years, because there’s no quick way to get rid of it.”

    No it dosen’t, the infinitesimal amount of extra CO2 in the atmosphere which most intruments cannot even measure aids in increasing agricultural output which in turn helps feed our burgeoning population.

    Dosen’t sound like a pollutant to me.

    Cheers

    Roger

    Http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    C

    Reply

    • 2. denisedthornton  |  March 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

      Thanks for your comment, Roger.
      Here’s what atmospheric scientists tell us.

      • There is absolutely no difficulty detecting CO2 even a thousand times lower than we are currently detecting.
      • While plants can and do use and sequester a small amount of carbon from the air, 7 billion tons of carbon from burning fossil fuels is going into the atmosphere every year at this point and only 1 billion is being pulled back into the land biosphere. 2 billion more tons are being absorbed by the oceans – but it’s pretty simple math to see that we are forcing the carbon levels up every year and every day.
      • Manmade inputs are more than double natural input levels at this point, and it will take at least 200 years to flush it out.
      • Our CO2 levels have been rising steadily for at least the past 50 years (basically as long as measurements have been taken.)
      • CO2 levels have risen and fallen in conjunction with ice ages and interglacials for the past 800,000 years.
      • But now we are WAY off the charts for historic atmospheric CO2 levels.

      None of this is controversial in the world-wide scientific community, though it seems to be deliberately misinterpreted and unfortunately widely misunderstood.

      Reply

      • 3. rogerthesurf  |  March 4, 2011 at 6:52 pm

        Denise, thank you for your reply.

        Many of the things you have mentioned are true, however I still maintain that the amounts of CO2 we are concerned about are very difficult to measure. Do you know I actually tried to purchase such an instrument so I could measure CO2 concentrations myself but they were all several decimal points from the required accuracy required to measure 1 to 10 parts per million by volume. With expensive scientific instruments with constant callibration, it is no doubt possible.

        If you will allow me, I would like to mention some processes of which you needed to mention in your comment but are definitely not mentioned by the “atmospheric scientists” who are causing you such anxiety.

        If you are going to alter your life so radically, and recommend that others should follow suit with such confidence, you should ask your “scientist” friends for at least one of the following.

        1 Empirical proof that shows the causation factor of CO2 with respect of Global Warming.

        2. Statistical proof of Anthropogenic CO2. In case you dont know it, correlations are never proof.

        3. Evidence for the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis to be adopted over the null hypothesis?

        Now you may need a little reading to understand what these things are. Here is a site which describes what is needed for #3 which might help. http://www.experiment-resources.com/null-hypothesis.html

        When you can point your readers to at least one scientific, peer reviewed publication that shows at least one of the above, then you will be in a position to envangelise your beliefs.

        None of the things you have mentioned above are generally misunderstood as you claim, the fact is there is simply no scientific proof for the causation and effect that is claimed.
        I humbly suggest that this is something that you need to add to your understanding.

        (Good luck by the way with your subsistance farming effort. If you can actually feed yourselves without using diesel,petrol, gas or nitrogen fertiliser etc., you will need to become a lot tougher than you look in your photograph.)

        Cheers

        Roger

        http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

        PS. By the way the recent rises of CO2 concentrations are often credited for us not slipping into a Malthusian melt down. e.g.
        http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Schieder/Ayn_Rand_and_the_End_of_Malthus.shtml

      • 4. denisedthornton  |  March 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm

        Thanks for commenting again, Roger.
        I respectfully disagree with several of your arguments with atmospheric scientists. For starters, I see no reason to put their professional title in quotes. They are fully accredited members of the scientific community trained at premiere institutions.
        I am familiar with the null hypothesis concept that you linked to. My husband teaches this concept to his freshman biology students, and I have no doubt that all professional atmospheric scientists learned about this at the beginning of their rigorous and extensive BS, MS, PhD studies and postdoctoral studies, which preceded their peer-reviewed professional careers . Their consensus findings pointing to anthropogenic causes of rising atmospheric CO2 and resultant global warming are based on detailed models looking at decades of data. The models are straightforward, multiparameter mass balances that account for what comes out of smokestacks and tailpipes worldwide as well as the natural sources and sinks in the biosphere. Evaluation of these inputs and outputs has established the link with rapidly increasing CO2 well beyond the null hypothesis.

        On the subject of nitrogen fertilizer use on my own farm, I’d like to clarify that my only sources will be nitrogen-fixing cover crops and composted manure. Many organic farmers have established superior soil tilth and very adequate nitrogen levels by these means, certainly on small scale (my scale) and even medium scale farms.

  • 5. DennisP  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Don’t mean to be nasty, Denise, but a question: why are you moving out to the country? You will have to depend on your car and drive it many more miles than you do in town, where you can rely on your bicycle. Do you see the irony? [For the record, we do live about 6-7 miles out of town in the country. Our place in town could not support the gardens that I have. And I just don’t like living cheek-by-jowl with other people.]

    Reply

    • 6. denisedthornton  |  March 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      You aren’t being nasty, Dennis. That’s a valid question, and one that we have asked ourselves. Frankly, knowing what I have learned in the last few years, I would probably aim the rest of my life in a different arc — stay in Madison, buy into a co-housing unit and volunteer at the arboretum and community gardens.

      But owning land and taking care of it has been a lifelong dream, and when the opportunity to get the 44 acres that we both fell in love with came up, we jumped. Since then, we feel honor bound to follow this path and make it as green as we can by undertaking some sustainable agriculture there.

      This is the awkward period when we need to drive back and forth. We try to minimize the trips, drive at the speed limit and as greenly as possible. We maximize what we accomplish in each trip and work till it is too dark to see to offset that fossil fuel we burn.

      When we do make the move in 2012, we will concentrate on using as little fossil fuel as we can to produce food for our local markets and do our best to be part of the solution.

      But it’s all a gray area ultimately, isn’t it? I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I keep searching.

      Reply

  • 7. DennisP  |  March 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    It is hard to give up that kind of lifelong dream, isn’t it? We have only 7 acres and too much of it is wooded, so I don’t have quite the garden space I would like (well, I could if I were to cut back on one of my prairie plots!). But I also keep thinking that what little contribution you and I make to GCC is infinitesimal compared to the coal plant China puts on line each week, or the millions of new cars being driven in India and China, or the environmental regression we are seing in this country. I would be a lot more enthusiastic about cutting back my carbon emissions if I knew there was a mighty movement supported by governmental policies.

    The other concern is rising oil prices. Oil is slowly becoming increasingly scarce and more expensive to extract. I click on this URL most days to keep track of oil prices:
    http://www.upstreamonline.com/marketdata/markets_crude.htm;jsessionid=D4477AB521B58D2F4A7A510906D12F32.upstream.dinar
    OIl is for the most part above $110 and creeping upward. That’s going to bite a lot harder on those of us who live in the country.

    Reply

    • 8. denisedthornton  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      I hear you, Dennis.
      Here is my take on the China issue. Individual Chinese people are still burning less fossil fuel than we are. AND if we stop and look at what the Chinese are burning all that fuel for — much of it is to produce all the inexpensive toys that we in the U.S. are still sucking up like heroin. (I don’t exclude myself, although I try to be mindful about getting new things — especially if they were produced in China because they were probably made in an environmentally destructive way). I don’t think China would be such a serious CO2 contributor if we weren’t financing so much of their industry with our demand.

      And oil, yes. Interesting website you linked. We are going to have to adapt to rising oil costs, and it’s going to hit those in the country hard. It’s going to hit agribusiness hard, and then the cheap food we have grown accustomed to will be history.

      Speaking of which, I’m going to blog about the Midwest Organic Farming conference next week. That should be a little more upbeat.

      Reply

  • 9. rogerthesurf  |  March 5, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Denise,

    “I am familiar with the null hypothesis concept that you linked to. My husband teaches this concept to his freshman biology students, and I have no doubt that all professional atmospheric scientists learned about this at the beginning …”

    Are you saying that you are able to produce a scientific, peer reviewed and published paper that proves the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis using the null hypothesis concept I refered to?

    Thats great! I have been searching for such a paper for the last 18 months! Please refer me to it as soon as possible .

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    PS I hope you have a good team of horses or bullocks to pull your plow.
    Can your husband manage a blacksmiths shop as well. You might be able to produce charcol from the trees on your property as well.
    I can also refer you to some great sites which describe how iron can be found in swamps. A technique used by the vikiings.

    Reply

    • 10. denisedthornton  |  March 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      Roger,

      I think my husband can better respond to your continued interest in the null hypothesis. I have a masters degree in science writing, but Doug has had a long career in biotechnology and has a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry, and he currently teaches biology at the college level.

      Hi Roger, Doug here:
      You probably won’t find a paper that dismisses the null hypothesis when describing why anthropogenic CO2 is the cause of global warming. In fact, the null hypothesis is pretty much never mentioned in scientific papers from any scientific discipline, whether it is medicine, physics, chemistry or climate science. The reason is straightforward. Here’s why.

      The null hypothesis simply states that an absence of any relationship explains the data at least as well as the presence of a proposed relationship. In the US legal system, a defendant is innocent (the null hypothesis) until proven guilty, and guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. In science, statistical correlation is the basis for establishing “reasonable doubt” about the null hypothesis.

      For the most part, researchers don’t bother to submit scientific papers that can’t discount the null hypothesis. If they were to submit a paper that can’t dismiss the null hypothesis, it would be rejected by peer reviewers at the scientific journal, whose job it is to ensure that published papers meet the statistical-correlation-beyond-the-null-hypothesis standard. So across all branches of science, the null hypothesis is generally not mentioned in print because ruling it out is so fundamental to publication.

      On a personal note, we have a blacksmith friend who is raising a young ox as we speak. How cool is that! Denise and I are still not “evolved” enough to be following his lead, but we do hope to buy one of his broadforks for building better soils sometime soon.

      I see from your own website that you are pretty invested in dismissing the climate science consensus. We probably will have to agree to disagree on this subject.

      All the best,

      Doug

      Reply

      • 11. rogerthesurf  |  March 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm

        Doug and Denise,

        Thanks for your answer.

        As a scientist then you must be well aware of what constitutes scientific proof.

        I did mention two other methods at arriving at a definitive proof in my previous comment to your good lady.

        “1 Empirical proof that shows the causation factor of CO2 with respect of Global Warming.

        2. Statistical proof of Anthropogenic CO2. In case you dont know it, correlations are never proof.”

        I don’t know of any other methods to come to a definitive proof but as a scientist you may be able to enlighten me.

        As for the climate science consensus you mention, to be quite honest I am not aware of such a thing.

        BTW Economics is my thing and the reason why I am concerned with this “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis is that I am very aware of what following the IPCC recommendations re co2 emission reductions will do to our well being. To an economist with even modest training it is obvious that the cost of these reductions will ruin your economy and mine and therefore it is important that we know absolutely that this sacrifice will save the planet and we do not bear this terrible cost in vain.

        I trust you see where I am coming from, I am not questioning AGW theory simply out of pig headedness, I am questioning it because I understand the path where we are being led and my concern for humanity.

        Cheers

        Roger

        http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

        BTW I have a cousin who spent about 30 yrs in a community in Alaska preparing for the forthcoming nuclear holocaust. Although the Wisconsin climate is no doubt a little milder, there seem to me many similarities about what you guys are proposing to do.

      • 12. denisedthornton  |  March 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm

        Hi Roger,
        Doug here again.

        To reiterate, the statistically based correlation between anthropogenic CO2 emissions and global warming are the basis for the many many peer reviewed papers on the subject, and they constitute a climate science consensus as clearly supported by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

        You raise a very important point in noting that mitigating global warming through significant reductions in CO2 emissions could harm the global economy. I think this is the underlying reason why so many rich and fuel intensive business people lobby so hard against this field of science!

        I too worry that the economic path forward looks difficult. In a similar vein, I would add that failure to significantly reduce CO2 emissions will put us on a path to economic ruin, not to mention ecological ruin, because we’ll have to struggle to adapt to a warmer, more hostile environment. Here’s a link to an interview where both a US Navy Rear Admiral, and a Marine Corps Brigadier General in the US Southern Command recently shared the US military perspective on impending worldwide disruptions from climate change.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQaSJje87zU&feature=player_embedded
      • Ignoring climate change won’t make it go away. It will just push a worsening problem into the future. The sooner we listen to the well-credentialed experts, the better the outcome. No way this is going to be easy. In fact, I’m sure you’re right, it will be pretty disruptive and hard. But still, better than the alternative of waiting and paying an even steeper price.

        

  • 13. rogerthesurf  |  March 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    PS.

    Doug, this paper,
    Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob
    Governing Earth’s Temperature

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Lacis_etal.pdf

    presumably meets the criteria you mention about discounting the null hypothesis.

    Given the null hypothesis should be something like “Anthropogenic CO2 has no effect governing the earths temperature” or to mention another part of the paper “There is neither a positive nor negative feed back from water vapour in the atmosphere that multiplies an increase in the greenhouse effect from CO2″ I would be interested to have your learned opinion and explanation of how the null hypothesis (or all the relevant null hypothesis’) has/have been discounted in this case.

    I hasten to add that I think the paper is meaningless overall because it relies on someone else’s model, however I have had it presented to me as DEFINITIVE proof of the “anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Reply

  • 14. rogerthesurf  |  March 6, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Doug,

    Thanks again for your reply,

    The main problem that I have with it is your phrase
    ” the statistically based correlation between anthropogenic CO2 emissions and global warming are the basis for the many many peer reviewed papers on the subject, and they constitute a climate science consensus ”

    First of all I am sure that the IPCC has a consensus within itself although I know of a few contributors who are not party to that consensus. ie http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=155&Itemid=1 and there is most certainly not a general consensus that I am aware of.

    But the main problem I have, and as presumably you have not studied the economic side of the cost of emission reductions (and neither has the IPCC published anything meaningful on that subject as far as I can tell), you cannot be aware of the effect the IPCC demands will have on western economies. (although you are probably doing the right thing in preparing to be self sufficient on your land holding.) If you were aware of the effects of the IPCC emission reduction demands (should they be adopted) and their effect on yourselves and your loved ones, you will understand the need to be 100% sure that the world is on the path to burning itself up.
    To get back to your phrase quoted above; When I was a freshman at statistics, the first thing I was told was that, although a correlation is a neccesary condition for a relationship between two sets of data, it was never PROOF of a relationship.
    Are you really prepared to risk the your lives and those of your loved ones on the basis of some unsupported correlations?

    As you are no doubt a respected scientist I value your input to this conversation.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Denise and Doug,

    I’m sorry that you have not seen fit to publish and answer my last two comments on your blog nor answer my previous comments fully.

    I have to say I am distinctly disappointed as I feel my questions, although perhaps difficult to answer, contain important queries that most certainly need to  be answered before we as a western world commit ourselves to the demands of the IPCC.

    If you people, being well educated scientists, are unable to answer, one can only deduce that the values and beliefs that are boldly echoed and stated in Denise’s blog are not based on a reasonable chain of logic or fact. (nothing wrong with enjoying your little farm though)

    I think it is important that the general readership of the blog reading public have the opportunity to see my questions in full, so to that end I have published our conversation, in full, on my other site http://www.globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com where my readers are eagerly awaiting, as I am, your replies.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

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    27 Responses to “WHAT’S UP THERE AND HOW WE KNOW”

    1. Bruce Currie Says:

      Having visited your other site and seen and read some of the literature you rely on for what you seem to regard as the last word in climate-science debunking, let’s just say that your claim to provide “some sort of academic paper” to back up your assertions is accurate.

      The Beck paper offering a new CO2 reconstruction of the 19th and 20th centuries is a case in point of “some sort”. It may charitably be called an outlier, but more accurately can be called nonsense. One can label it “peer-reviewed” only because it appeared in “Energy and Environment”, but that journal’s notion of what constitutes peer review has been called into question on more than one occasion.

      The Beck piece itself has been shredded in the review process– the decadal fluctuation shown in the graph during WW2 correspond to an amount ten times higher than the entire global production of CO2 50 years later, yet leaves no isotopic trace in the atmosphere, nor any signal in tree ring data; nor do the fluctuations show any correspondence with the ice core data over 650,000 years from 3 different cores. One might hope that at least one of the cores would show similar fluctuations over a longer time span, but…no such luck. So one is left with an outlier paper whose conclusions most likely result from relying on data contaminated by local industrial sources.

      Not that this prevents the author, and presumably you, from believing that the Keeling Curve is an act of fraudulent science. You can’t attack the science directly, but can partake of the generalized “I’m just saying” seeming skeptic pose–your m.o. on both sites. Good luck with that.

      From such slender reeds is all “denier science” woven.

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/curve-manipulation-lesson-2/

      • rogerthesurf Says:

        Bruce,

        I take it that you followed the links supplied for Beck’s paper and now understand the methodology employed, and have then decided if the research is meaningful?
        One of a number of reasons for including Beck’s papers and other similar ones in my blog, are to show that not only are there published dissenting papers that disagree with the ones used by the IPCC, but also to show that the IPCC, instead of explaining why these papers are not considered and why the ones used are, cherry picks its papers. This leaves the IPCC open to some criticism, identical to that often leveled at people who disagree with it.

        Thanks for reading my blog. Keep looking at the links and come to your own conclusions.

        I hope you took time to read both the text and the links regarding the medieval warm period and the archeological findings.

        Cheers

        Roger

    2. Bruce Currie Says:

      Methinks Michael has the proverbial patience of Job in iterating the basis of the scientific claims for AGW with you.

      Over 800,000 years of ice core data show that temperature and CO2 track nicely, with CO2 both a feedback and a forcing of temperature change. This is strong support from the paleo-climate record that CO2 levels do affect temperature. Since the physics of the greenhouse effect is not (apparently) in question by you, your position would seem to be (re-phrasing the final version of your null hypothesis): “since the climate has changed in the past, it is likely to change in the future, therefore change is natural.” The fallacy here is that the change is not “natural”.

      Your position implicitly relies on the assumption that warming in the medieval was global (hence your “historic times” phrase) or at least throughout the NH), but the data suggests it was confined to Europe and N.A. at best.

      More importantly, you assume that since past climate change occurred (and by definition was “natural”) then current climate change is also driven by “natural” factors, when evidence suggests overwhelmingly that the current rate of fossil CO2 into the atmosphere is unprecedented.

      Past climate changes were driven by a variety of factors–some likely unique to the past, such as the collision of India with Asia, which subducted the Tethys Sea and resulted in the release of CO2 from CaCO3 to create the hothouse Eocene.

      What is happening now is far more dramatic than that slow-motion cataclysm. We are conducting a rapid, planet-scale experiment on the earth, with no control sample. Temperature increases show up everywhere–in the oceans down to hundreds of meters, in boreholes, in the atmosphere, at the poles. The top of the atmosphere readings of energy in and energy out have been measured to account for the warming. One would think it difficult for any fair-minded individual to overlook this preponderance of evidence. But as has been repeatedly shown, when you think your livelihood or your security depend on not seeing, you don’t see it.

      To deny the preponderance of evidence in support of AGW, and deny the consensus of opinion on same, is akin to denying that smoking causes cancer when the science says the probability is 97% or 98%. Waiting for 100% certainty will probably mean waiting for a climate tipping point. At which time it will be too late. The changes we need to make are also ones that in the long run we’d be smart to make anyway. We’re clever enough at this point to figure out ways to obtain our energy needs without reliance much longer on extractive sources like coal, uranium, and oil. The longer we wait, the more expensive mitigation becomes, and major economic and social disruptions become inevitable. I’d prefer a better future for my children than the one offered by waiting for 100% proof (which never comes, as you fully realize).

      We lack only the will, which will require a more honest discussion of the science and economics than we get in the mainstream media or in the halls of (U.S.) Congress. Both of which, alas, are currently enveloped in a financial cocoon by economic interests that have everything to gain by delaying a transition to soft energy for as long as possible.

      • rogerthesurf Says:

        Bruce,

        Thanks for your comment.
        The only trouble is that you have made a number of sweeping statements without any sort of authority to back them up.
        This is something I always try to avoid. I would not expect you to believe anything I assert without some sort of academic paper or open logical deduction, so please do not expect me and my readers to respect anything you say unless you are prepared to supply the same.
        Now if you wish me and the readers to consider your assertions, please supply authorative evidence for the following assertions.
        1. “Over 800,000 years of ice core data show that temperature and CO2 track nicely, with CO2 both a feedback and a forcing of temperature change.”
        2. “Your position implicitly relies on the assumption that warming in the medieval was global (hence your “historic times” phrase) or at least throughout the NH), but the data suggests it was confined to Europe and N.A. at best”
        3. “Past climate changes were driven by a variety of factors–some likely unique to the past, such as the collision of India with Asia, which subducted the Tethys Sea and resulted in the release of CO2 from CaCO3 to create the hothouse Eocene. “
        3.”We’re clever enough at this point to figure out ways to obtain our energy needs without reliance much longer on extractive sources like coal, uranium, and oil
        4. “The longer we wait, the more expensive mitigation becomes, and major economic and social disruptions become inevitable.” Try reading my comment to Critical Blogger and you will see where I am coming from. If you disagree with the logic please explain where.
        You could look on my other blog http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com for some facts related to your assertions.

        The rest of your comments sounds like something I would expect from an evangelical preacher- not much substance or logic. eg ” Temperature increases show up everywhere…” We are talking about causation here.
        ” But as has been repeatedly shown, when you think your livelihood or your security depend on not seeing,” eh?
        “I’d prefer a better future for my children than the one offered by waiting for 100% proof (which never comes, as you fully realize).” I dont want to starve mine over an unproven theory.
        “We lack only the will, which will require a more honest discussion of the science and economics than we get in the mainstream media or in the halls of (U.S.) Congress. Both of which, alas, are currently enveloped in a financial cocoon by economic interests that have everything to gain by delaying a transition to soft energy for as long as possible.”
        Read the comments below again

        In fact you sound as if you have been reading the Skeptical Science website. I think your congress is saving your very skin.

        Sorry to be so scathing, but on my site we try to deal in varifiable facts and criticise the lack of them. If you have something to say, please try and back up your assertions.

        Cheers

        Roger

    3. Michael Bertolacci Says:

      Hello again Roger,

      Can you tell me where the error in my null hypothesis is? I can’t see it.

      Put in mathematical notation, my proposal is this:

      H0 = “increased CO2 over the last 50 years is not changing the climate”

      Therefore, the opposite is:

      H1 = “increased CO2 over the last 50 years is changing the climate”

      And our goal is to see if we can reject H0, by showing that it is less than 5% or 1% likely to be true. In the words of the article you keep linking me to: “The null hypothesis is a hypothesis which the researcher tries to disprove, reject or nullify. […] If significance tests generate 95% or 99% likelihood that the results do not fit the null hypothesis, then it is rejected, in favor of the alternative.”

      • rogerthesurf Says:

        Michael,

        I think the null hypothesis should be something more general such as, ” The current climate change is a natural occurrence such as has occurred previously in prehistoric and historic times.”

        Cheers

        Roger

        • Michael Bertolacci Says:

          Hello Roger,

          Well, I think the difference in our null hypothesis’ is that mine allows us to decide on a specific issue – whether we ought to regulate CO2.

          If your null hypothesis turns out to be true, then so would mine, so mine is, as you say, a more specific version of your null hypothesis. But that is a very useful thing, because it allows us to make a verdict on CO2!

          Mike

        • rogerthesurf Says:

          Michael,

          For a start, you dont try and “prove” the null hypothesis. You try and prove the one you are asserting.
          Could youu please read the link again and make sure you really understand!
          Both null hypothesis allow a decision on CO2, its just that the null hypothesis generally reflects the status quo before the new hypothesis came along.

    4. rogerthesurf Says:

      Michael,
      With regards to your proposed “null hypothesis”, all I can suggest is that you read the link I gave you very carefully.
      I never said it would be easy to prove the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis and most certainly models never will.

      Therefore there appears to be no scientific proof offered.

      In fact, considering the factors that disprove “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis (some of which are outlined in my blog http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com ), it seems very unlikely that the hypothesis is valid anyway.

      http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=155&Itemid=1

      Cheers

      Roger

    5. Michael Bertolacci Says:

      In terms of the null hypothesis requirement that you ask for, Roger, I can provide some illumination.

      Consider this null hypothesis:
      ‘The effect of increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are not necessary to explain the climate trends of the last 50 years.’

      How could you test this? One way would be to ask, ‘given what we know about the climate record, what would have happened if anthropogenic CO2 did not exist?’ This can be done by running a climate model over the period of the last few decades and looking at the results.

      So, you set up a general climate model (called a GCM for short), input the initial temperature information available at the starting period, and run the GCM first without and then with the effect of CO2 concentrations. If 95% of the times you ran the model, you could not account for the temperature trend without CO2, you could reject the null hypothesis.

      Since these models are based on probability, they do not always give the same result, so it makes sense to run the models many times and look at the consensus or ‘ensemble’. That is why the models must be run several times – because a portion of the climate system is inherently based on chance.

      This is just what many, many papers have done; the vast majority – hence, forming the scientific consensus – cannot account for the changes in the temperature record without the inclusion of CO2 in the model. This is despite the increasingly sophistication of recent models including a large number of other climate factors. This forms the basis of the proof of AGW.

      • rogerthesurf Says:

        Michael,

        Thanks for your comments.

        In this case the null hypothesis would quite reasonably be; “the climate changes naturally independently of CO2 concentrations and this is just one of those natural changes”. Indeed I point to historical and archeological records which records the fact that the earth has been warmer than before when CO2 concentrations were quite low and at any rate there was most certainly no anthropogenic co2 emissions in my other blog http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com.
        Therefore in order to disprove this null hypothesis, it would be neccesary to understand the earth and its atmosphere to a sufficient extent that the causes of the previous warmings are well identified and definitely ruled out in the case of the current modest temperature rises. http://www.experiment-resources.com/null-hypothesis.html
        I am familliar with scientific modeling. In my case I have studied economic models, so I am familliar with how they work. While models are useful, they cannot possibly ever represent reality, and because in this case, they are neccesarily based on assumptions, such as the CO2 concentrations and presumably positive feedback with H2O in the atmosphere, the effects of both being still hotly debated, they cannot possibly constitute enough proof for us to go and ruin our economies and starve our children, which is what the IPCC is asking us to do. (See my answer to Critical Blogger)

        This is the reason there is NO consensus. I can furnish you with the name of many thousands of scientists who do not agree with the “Anthropogenic CO2 Causes Global Warming” hypothesis, for the very reasons I have outlined above. The numbers more than out weigh the IPCC contributors. Similarly there are peer reviewed published scientific papers which refute probably every paper used by the IPCC. Thus I respectfully submit that the claim that there is consensus on this subject is simply propaganda.

        As you correctly point out, all the current “proof” of AGW depends on models and I would add “and some doubtful correlations” and it is these facts that are fueling the lack of consensus.

        Trust this explains where I and many others are coming from.

        Cheers

        Roger

        • Michael Bertolacci Says:

          Roger,

          I understand where you’re coming from: you are not sure that the models are correct, because climate is complex.

          But – how else can we test the null hypothesis I propose, if not models? Looking at the paleoclimatic record can teach you about how the various climate forcings interact, but to answer the null hypothesis, ‘The effect of increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are not necessary to explain the climate trends of the last 50 years’, requires us to apply what we learned from the prehistoric climate record to the recent data, and we do that by integrating the knowledge into models.

          Mike

        • rogerthesurf Says:

          Michael,

          You do not “test” the null hypothesis. The Null hypothesis represents the current facts or beliefs before your new hypothesis eg “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” came along.
          http://www.experiment-resources.com/null-hypothesis.html
          I do not think that your example represents a valid null hypothesis. Sounds to me like you are trying to postulate a new hypothesis with the “anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis as the null. I suggest you read the link more closely.
          The down side of models is that it is easy to tweek the assumptions to produce the results you want. Perhaps some modeling of the Medieval Warm Period, The Roman Warming and the Little Ice age would be interesting.

          Cheers

          Roger

        • Michael Bertolacci Says:

          Hey Roger,

          Well, perhaps I was not clear enough. The null hypothesis I proposed was ‘‘The effect of increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are not necessary to explain the climate trends of the last 50 years.’

          This is a simple hypothesis corresponding to (what I think) is your position – that increasing CO2 over the past several decades is not the driving factor behind current climatic trends, that it must be something else, whether it be the sun, natural variation, or a combination of factors. My null is that increasing CO2 concentrations are not a factor.

          Testing the null hypothesis means seeing whether the data is such that it becomes completely untenable – that is, that there is less than a 5% or 3% or 1% chance that the null hypothesis is true.

          It’s true that models are easy to tweak; all I can say is that there is no other option presently available to test whether the null hypothesis is untenable. If you can provide an alternative way of conducting the hypothesis test, I’m sure you could get it published.

          Naturally, modelling historical climate would be valuable, but it is much more difficult than modelling recent trends, because temperature data is only available on a truly global scale since the 1950s; past temperatures are inferred in a way that gives us an estimate of global trends but cannot give us information about all geographic regions simultaneously. Some models have been created for paleoclimatic events but they are different to the climate models we use today because we don’t have the same information to use as a starting point to run a simulation.

    6. Pete Ridley Says:

      Hi Roger, there have been some interesting exchanges here, including some disagreement about increasing CO2 causing global warming. May I offer this for consideration. There is sound scientific theory behind the hypothesis that increasing levels of Co2 in the atmosphere could cause some degree of warming due to its ability, as for other so-called greenhouse gases, to restrict the return to space of energy supplied by the sun. The scientific theory indicates that a doubling of CO2 from 300ppm to 600ppm would cause about 0.7C increase if no other processes and drivers of global temperature existed.

      An excellent presentation of this science has been provided recently by Roger Taguchi on Professor Judith Curry’s http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/ thread. Roger goes on to use the empirical evidence of the estimated change in global temperature and the estimated increase in atmospheric CO2 during the past 150 years to show that the IPCC’s estimates for a doubling of CO2 levels are a factor of 3 too high. In a nut-shell, if present estimated rates of increase in atmospheric CO2 continue, in about 300 years we could see global temperatures about 1.5C higher than they were at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

      There is no sound scientific theory or empirical evidence to show that this small and distant increase in temperature would result in catastrophic changes to the different global climates. There is empirical evidence supporting the opinion that such an increase would be beneficial to humans, despite some possible problems arising from rising sea levels, but none of this is other than speculation because there are other climate processes and drivers about which we know very little.

      As Professor Barry Brook, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change, Adelaide University (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/barry.brook) said almost two years ago “There are a lot of uncertainties in science, and it is indeed likely that the current consensus on some points of climate science is wrong, or at least sufficiently uncertain that we don’t know anything much useful about processes or drivers”.

      Brook went on to say “But EVERYTHING? Or even most things? Take 100 lines of evidence, discard 5 of them, and you’re still left with 95 and large risk management problem”. The implication there is that only 5% remains unknown, but that 95% is a figure plucked straight out of the air in a manner similar to the figures assigned by the IPCC to levels of uncertainty.
      NB: Brook is an ecologist with demonstrated expertise in specie extinction, not climate processes and drivers. He made those comments when he was criticising the book by mining geologist and fellow Adelaide U Professor Ian Plimer (http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/).

      I have no doubt that people like Denise and Roger are sincere in their beliefs but that does not make them bearers of truth. Roger says “the statistically based correlation between anthropogenic CO2 emissions and global warming are the basis for the many many peer reviewed papers on the subject, and they constitute a climate science consensus as clearly supported by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)”. What I think he fails to realise is thart the IPCC was set up by the WHO and UNEP to specifically review scientific evidence about anthropogenic climate change and no other, hence the “consensus” within the IPCC.

      As stated by the UK’s Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act (http://repealtheact.co.uk/2011/02/15/the-ipcc-a-flawed-organisation/) QUOTE: The charter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is: “… to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy.” This makes it a high-profile single-focus organisation whose existence depends on its own reports. In other words it has a vested interest in promoting claims that would guarantee its funding and justify its continued existence. UNQUOTE

      Best regards, Pete Ridley

      • rogerthesurf Says:

        Thanks Peter,

        I do believe that Doug and Denise genuinely believe what they are proselytising, something like a good catholic or protestant believes in the second coming I suspect, however I do not admire their inability to accept facts, or answer questions at all where the answer shakes their faith in their beliefs.
        I do agree that the IPCC is a political organisation, and I hear that the US Congress is stopping US finance to them.
        Just in time really. Once they had got their World Carbon Trading scheme up and running, the one thing that is sure is they would not need finance from any other sources.

        Cheers

        Roger

    7. Miglo Says:

      This is an interesting discussion and I’m pressed with the intelligent arguments put forward.

    8. criticalblogger Says:

      Yes, I’m right with you there rogerthesurf, I guess what I meant was there’s no need to abandon arguments when the ‘science bit’ reaches an impasse (for whatever reason) – because there are so many other ways we can use to figure out that it is a scam and what kind of a scam it is.

      You’re absolutely right though, all we really have is cute slogans and cod science and NO maths! The slogans are great though. My current favourite is ‘Low Carbon Prosperity’ as used in a recent EU summit where prince Charles made a speech about how ‘climate skeptics’ were damaging ‘public opinion’ … even though they ARE PUBLIC OPINION!! (it’s on my blog).

      ‘Low Carbon Prosperity’ reminds me of something…..

      ‘Lose weight while stuffing yourself with chocolate cake and bacon sandwiches all day long with our new miracle diet!!!’

      I find the twisted logic and ingenious psychology of ‘green’/ low carbon lifestyle propaganda absolutely fascinating. I received some free leaflet the other day. It seems harmless enough … unless you actually read it and use your brain, which most people won’t.

      Apart from promoting ‘climate change’ (AKA AGW) and the need to reduce carbon as an absolute given, it also listed tips for ‘saving the planet’ which also SAVE MONEY as well, such as insulating your house properly, not filling your electric kettle too full, not filling your freezer with hot coals, not leaving all your doors and windows wide open in the winder with the heating up full … that sort of thing…

      This builds an association between being ‘green’ and ‘carbon friendly’ and being *sensible* as well as *saving money/ reducing electricity bills* etc. as well as helping to ‘save the earth’.

      But the main title and theme of the leaflet was The Shocking Cost of Heating our Homes’ with a picture of some vulnerable old people next to it.

      But as we all know the ‘Shocking Cost of Heating our Homes’ is to a large degree a result of the insanity of ‘green’ policies and all this ‘renewables’ crap like wind power which are running at a massive loss and too inefficient and unreliable to replace other power stations anyway.

      So the leaflet is basically promoting the cause of massive heating costs by depicting it as the solution. And yet it all looks so logical on the surface.

      And people wonder how Hitler was able to turn Germany into a xenophobic Nazi state! I can tell you how – he used cleverly worded leaflets!

      If only Justin Bieber would talk about these kinds of things, then the masses might start to get it …

      … still at least Jonny Ball is! Yay!

    9. theboldcorsicanflame Says:

      I meant without facing the consequences. Now if you are on the Titanic who cares how and how the iceberg came here, you are going to face the music anyway….!

    10. theboldcorsicanflame Says:

      What if the theory of the photon belt explained the Global Warming of our ENTIRE solar system…..Even if we are not totally responsible we have had a very irresponsible behavior since the Industrial Revolution. What comes around goes around. We cannot continue destroying the planet with facing consequences.

    11. thefreeorg Says:

      Congrats to Denise and Doug for your patient polite efforts
      to deal with climate deniers..
      Of course below the surface this has nothing to do with science
      or rationality, the deniers have triumphed by exploiting the reactionary
      feelings of men who see themselves deprived of their privileges, largely illusory, gained by US corporations stripping the planet.
      It’s hysteria, or maybe ‘testeria’, like McCarthyism, the red scare, used
      cynically to further exploit people
      Luckily nowhere else in the world (except somewhat in the UK) does
      anyone deny climate science… sooner deny the light comes on when you connect the wires.
      Patient firm explanation is the only advice, plus exposure of mental and
      physical intimidation.
      What a pity that our one chance to save a future for our children is being squandered by the understandable knee jerk destruction of white north american males.

      • rogerthesurf Says:

        thefreeorg,

        Thankyou for your comment.

        However would it be too forward of me to ask you to read my exchange with Doug and Denise again and this time a little more carefully.

        Some points to look for. Where did I deny “climate science”. I simply politely asked Doug’s scientific advice on how it was proven to be true. the “climate science” was denied by Doug’s inability to ask my perfectly civil questions.
        Please also read my answer to Critical Blogger (above March 12, 2011 at 12:46 am) which will give you a better idea of where I am coming from.

        Next perhaps you should read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and particularly note the function of the sheep in the story.

        Lastly, the only reason there is contraversy with the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis is because there is no actual proof, and this is what causes, possibly the majority of scientists, to question the conclusions. There is no consensus.

        Doug showed that he knows that there is no proof, and yet he is still happy to evangelise that the world is about to end and it is our fault.

        Unlike you, perhaps, my mind is always open. Show me proper scientific proof of AGW and I will join your ranks.

        Cheers

        Roger

    12. Kayelsea Says:

      Thank you Roger for this interesting exchange.
      When will the AGW alarmists get the message that a “scientific concensus” is not proof of anything. There was in the sixties a scientific concensus that the world was heading for another Little Ice Age. What happened to that?

    13. Bill Vancouver Says:

      Quite a circle jerk with Doug and Denise. To add a little more controversy into the mix, I find it interesting that the U.S. alone has spent some $83 billion attempting to prove CO2 is forcing on global warming and have been able to do so, yet they are firmly entrenched in the AGW hypothesis.
      http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/climate_money.pdf
      How do they explain the missing “Hot Spot” or how about the Second Law of Thermodynamics regarding “the greenhouse gas effect?” How much more of our money is going to be spent attempting to vilify a life-giving trace greenhouse gas? There has been no significant global warming in the past 150 years while CO2 has been increasing at 2-3 ppmv since the start of WWII and global cooling over the past 15 years.
      They should be more afraid of global cooling than a slight warming anyway, as stated in the Petition Project.
      P.S. I am immediately turned off if the words “consensus” or computer “models” are used. Consensus is not science and science is not consensus. Models are only as good as the inputs…garbage in/garbage out. If clouds are used as a postive feedback or forcing, the results will always show a warming….fini…..

    14. rogerthesurf Says:

      Critical Blogger,

      I have already visited your site, and it confirms my opinion of the viablity of current energy technology. The world is likely to stop on an overcast windless day for a start:)

      I am also aware of how easy it is to get into a spiral conversation as you mention, however I have typically asked the questions that I asked Doug and Denise, because I am simply asking them for SCIENTIFIC proof of what they believe and evangelise.

      The truth is that there is no scientific proof, but this is covered by the propaganda that reducing carbon emissions will be a little more than changing your light bulbs and using your bicycle in the weekends and therefore it would be nice to reduce our footprints anyway.

      To anyone with a grasp of economics, this is clearly not the case.
      The scenario below in my opinion is most likely. Maybe it needs to be done, but it would be kind of stupid to go through all of that and find it was unneccesary.

      In the absence of sufficient alternative solutions/technologies, the only way western countries can ever attain the IPCC demands of CO2 emissions reduced to 40% below 1990 levels, (thats about 60% below todays) is to machine restrictions on the use of fossil fuels. Emission Trading schemes are an example.

      As the use of fossil fuels is roughly linear with anthropogenic CO2 emissions, to attain a 60% reduction of emissions , means about the same proportion of reduction of fossil fuel usage, including petrol, diesel, heating oil, not to mention coal and other types including propane etc.

      No matter how a restriction on the use of these is implemented, even a 10% decrease will make the price of petrol go sky high. In otherwords, (and petrol is just one example) we can expect, if the IPCC has its way, a price rise on petrol of greater than 500%.
      First of all, for all normal people, this will make the family car impossible to use. Worse than that though, the transport industry will also have to deal with this as well and they will need to pass the cost on to the consumer. Simple things like food will get prohibitively expensive. Manufacturers who need fossil energy to produce will either pass the cost on to the consumer or go out of business. If you live further than walking distance from work, you will be in trouble.
      All this leads to an economic crash of terrible proportions as unemployment rises and poverty spreads.
      I believe that this will be the effect of bowing to the IPCC and the AGW lobby. AND as AGW is a hoax it will be all in vain. The world will continue to do what it has always done while normal people starve and others at the top (including energy/oil companies and emission traders) will enjoy the high prices. (Incidently this scenario is exactly what OPEC have been trying to manufacture over the past 30 years)

      Neither this scenario nor any analysis of the cost of CO2 emission reductions is included in IPCC literature, and the Stern report which claims economic expansion is simply not obeying economic logic as it is known in todays academic world.

      One should not forget the proposed wealth transfers also demanded by the IPCC. These will simply exacerbate the situation severely.

      The fact that the emission reduction cost issue is not discussed, leads me to believe that there is a deliberate cover up of this issue. Fairly obviously the possibility of starvation will hardly appeal to the masses.

      Trust this helps you to see where I am coming from.

      Cheers

      Roger

      http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    15. criticalblogger Says:

      I’ve just read through this blog and comments and I’ve got to say, I see this all the time in *scientific focused* debates about AGW: they spiral inwards focusing increasingly on certain details and figures and theories and then reach a kind of deadlock.

      This is because in the end, to resolve the argument we are left having to all agree on how climate as a whole works – which basically means to prove scientifically how climate works generally and how it is working right now!! …… this is a bit like a discussion about religion which in the end requires proving exactly how ((insert your chosen god)) exists, or doesn’t or whatever.

      That is why I’ve found it more useful to look at the things we CAN discuss and agree on. Things like the origins of the whole AGW/ ‘green’ / ‘sustainable development’ movement. The WHO, WHERE, WHAT and WHY….the U.N.The CLub of Rome, Agenda 21 etc……. to look at their own published documents and quotes….. to follow the ***money***! And to look at what else these people get up to when they are not telling us we need to restructure our entire civilization (with them in charge) in order to save the polar bears and stop our children from being struck down by an angry climate (which is all our fault).

      (At this point it’s worth making the HUGE distinction between the potential threat to the world’s population posed by any amount of climate change (for whatever reason) and the threat posed to the world’s population by those taking charge of the whole situation, hijacking the environmental movement and potentially using it for their own advantage and to further their own greedy and psychopathic agendas!! In fact you could say the biggest threat we face right now is the majority of the population not having the intelligence to figure out this very distinction!)

      And next we can look at basic human psychology and human *history* to see if we can see any patterns emerging.

      In other words, the science of climate is IMHO just too big and complex to focus on in ISOLATION because we will always be left in a deadlock. But if you also factor in a scientific investigation of the people involved, the documents, the money, the policies and the historical precedent then you CAN start to build a very compelling picture of what is really going on. Which is actually far more useful than agreeing on a bunch of theories.

      And then (for the cherry on top of the cake) we can compare the findings of this kind of research (which pretty much anyone can do thanks to the internet!) with what is actually being broadcast by the corporate/ state controlled mass media and the various environmental groups, think tanks and charities. This tells us what is effectively being censored from the mainstream ‘public debate’ and what kind of spin (or outright lies) are being pedaled instead- which of course, is all valuable data which also immediately begs the question “WHY is the debate being censored?”

      And finally (we’re lighting the candles on top of the cake now) you can look at what else is going on in the world today both at the level of geopolitics as well as the level of the ordinary population and the mass media/ blogosphere etc and take note of where exactly we find evidence of honesty, deception, corruption, lies, ignorance, respect for life, compassion, sanity, barbarity, scams, fraud, misinformation, disinformation, empathy, intelligence, psychopathy, hierarchy, compartmentalization, loyalties, greed, love etc. By plotting these we can start to consider, not only what kind of agendas are the most likely to be operating at any given level of society, or within any particular group, but also HOW they are likely to be operating and interconnecting.

      This is the method I have used to try and get my head around the whole subject of AGW/ CO2 demonization/ sustainability etc. I believe it is *all* scientific based – in the sense that it is evidence/ fact based and handles those facts with logic and critical analysis and…… (gasp!) ….. common sense!

      I made a step by step guide here called The Carbon Con in case anyone is interested. It’s a cheap and cheerful ‘magpie’ affair (using other peoples’ videos and articles etc) but it explains the whole thing pretty convincingly IMHO 🙂

    16. rogerthesurf Says:

      There have been at least 55 hits on this post over the last two and one half days.

      No one has commented yet, but please give me some feed back.

      Do you think I ask unneccesarily difficult questions?

      Do you think the questions are irrelevant?

      Why do you think Doug and Denise refuse to answer my final questions?

      Do you understand why I ask these questions?

      Do you think that Doug and Denise have the right to evangelise AGW when by not answering my questions, they are tacitly admitting that they cannot find any scientific proof behind it?

      If you read some of the other posts on this blog, you will notice that Doug and Denise’s situation is very common. Actually some people refuse to answer at all, others post threatening obscenities.

      I think every sensible question deserves an answer so why do you think no one ever gives me a sensible answer?

      Let me know what you think.

      Thank you for visiting my site.

      Cheers

      Roger

      PS please do not forget to visit my other site. http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

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