Heather Roy green, as in naive

Heather Roy asks in her weekly diary:

“The real issue should have been: do we need an Emission Trading Scheme at all? Science and commonsense seem to have been placed on the back burner but they should certainly have been the basis of sensible decision-making.”

She then proceeds to give us a little lesson about climate change, and why there’s really nothing to worry about. Gareth Renowden pinpoints the loopiness in his post at Hot Topic.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, things are getting worse in the Arctic, and a new study published in the Proceedings of National Academy Of Sciences (pdf 765KB) shows that:

“… hemispheric-scale warmth of the past decade for the [northern hemisphere] is likely anomalous in the context of not just the past 1,000 years, as suggested in previous work, but longer. This conclusion appears to hold for at least the past 1,300 years…” (Hat-tip: Hot Topic.)

Yep, it finds that the last decade was the warmest for at least 1,300 years. That’s including the Medieval Warm Period.

Still, nothing to worry about, says our Heather, who states:

” I do not fully subscribe to the mainstream view, for which the science is inconclusive … “

Update: Gareth has also posted on Hide’s ignorance about climate change science.

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11 Responses to “Heather Roy green, as in naive”

  1. stephen23 Says:

    Worth mentioning:

    Only ACT opposed the ETS at its first reading and we remain opposed to this dopey legislation. If anything is needed – and we’re not convinced that’s the case – a fairer way is to introduce a carbon tax that would see the polluter pay. The incentive then, would be to keep emissions low.

    Leaves wiggle room for a carbon tax, so it’s not ‘no action, ever’.

    Thanks Stephen. The funniest bit is where Roy denounces the ETS because it, “will disadvantage those least able to afford it in our communities.” This from the people (neo-liberals) who gave us the benefit cuts and Employment Contracts Act. I’m still laughing.

  2. macdoctor01 Says:

    JP: Heather is, of course, talking about anthropogenic global warming, rather than just simply global warming. Your cited article is interesting but hardly compelling, depending heavily on assumptions about the linear relation between proxy climate indicators and actual global climate. In addition, it tells us beans about whether the warming is man made.

    And whether you find Heather’s concern for the impact of the ETS on low-income households to be amusing or not, she is completely correct. It is not luxury items that will become unaffordable, it is the basic necessities of life like heat, transport meat and dairy, that will rapidly rise in price.

    In addition, people are already starving to death in Africa because of the biofuel debacle. We really need to think before we leap into this.

    Ah well, there’s always Australia… Oh, wait… 😉

  3. Gareth Says:

    Rodney joins in:

    Act leader Rodney Hide said climate change and global warming was a hoax.

    “The data and the hypothesis do not hold together. Al Gore is a phoney and a fraud on this issue and the emissions trading scheme is a worldwide scam and a swindle.”

    I feel a post coming on…

  4. jafapete Says:

    MacDoc,

    As I understand it, it’s not possible now to measure directly surface temperatures, or any other temperatures I guess, over the past two thousand years. Hence the use of proxy data such as marine and lake sediment cores, ice cores, coral cores and tree rings. If you want to do the study with actual climate data, then we will have to wait another two thousand years or so.

    While there are problems with proxy data, the scientists are working hard to overcome these. Note that their conclusion holds without the use of tree-ring data, which are the most controversial, for 1,300 years. They seems to think that the use of various other proxies provides a “reliable long-term record.”

    And yes, Roy is talking about man-made warming, but it’s difficult to come up with an alternative hypothesis that explains the sorts of findings that are now coming out of studies like these.

  5. james w Says:

    “And yes, Roy is talking about man-made warming, but it’s difficult to come up with an alternative hypothesis that explains the sorts of findings that are now coming out of studies like these.”

    Right then jafa, can you or “the scientists” as you call them kindly explain the medieval warm period?

  6. macdoctor01 Says:

    All measurements barring the last hundred years or so are proxy measurements. My point is that proxy measurements are only as good as their assumptions. Whereas I have no problem with using this kind of data for scientific research, I have enormous problems with using it to manage our economy, which is precisely what the ETS proposes.

    I don’t actually have a problem with global warming per se, neither do I have a problem accepting that man may well be pushing up carbon dioxide levels. I remain deeply skeptical about whether the two are linked. The heat trapping effect of carbon dioxide is seen first in the trophosphere (according to the theory), yet the trophosphere steadfastly warms at the same rate as the ground (and these are direct measurements). While this tends to throw much doubt on carbon dioxide as a cause of warming, this is exactly what you would expect from warming caused by the sun.

    And I think that answers your “alternative hypothesis” objection. The most likely cause of global warming is not man and his amazing farting animals, it is our recently absent friend the sun.

  7. jafapete Says:

    James,

    Yes, the Medieval Warm Period was a globally warm period comparable to today. However, studies such as this latest consistently find that temperatures are warmer now and that they are rising faster than at any time in the last millenium or two.

    The study is authored by scientists. It’s not me calling them that, but the Department of Meteorology and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University, the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts and Department of Environmental Science, Roger Williams University, where they are employed. It also helps to be a scientist to get papers published in the Proceedings of National Academy Of Sciences.

    Update: I’ve just checked, and Proceedings of National Academy Of Sciences has an impact factor (a metric of the number of times articles in the journal get cited in the quality literature) that is right off the scale. I’m even more impressed. To get published, this paper must have been subjected to the most searching scrutiny imaginable. These people really are scientists, and well published ones at that.

  8. Sam Says:

    “Yes, the Medieval Warm Period was a globally warm period comparable to today. However, studies such as this latest consistently find that temperatures are warmer now and that they are rising faster than at any time in the last millenium or two.”

    So if it was warm then, why can’t it be warm now? Was the medieval warm period caused by automobiles too? lol

  9. macdoctor01 Says:

    Exactly, Sam. The medieval warm period demonstrates eloquently that there is more to global temperatures than carbon dioxide. And the evidence suggests that any warming effect at the moment has little to do with CO2.

    JP: FWIW, I thought the paper was well written and well-researched. I am not surprised it has been referenced a great deal. I do reiterate, however, that it does not demonstrate anthropogenic global warming in any way.

  10. Stephen Says:

    Anyone figure out how to disprove the greenhouse effect yet?

  11. Gareth Says:

    More on ACT attitudes here.

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