Greenpeace? Or Greendeceit?

June 12th, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I just about made it out of Heartland’s 10th International Conference on Climate Change, now winding down near Capitol Hill, without having to deal with one of the 25 media outlets registered there known to be antagonistic to the view that global warming is neither all human-caused nor dangerous.

Then, a sharply dressed, very young man introduced himself (from Greenpeace) and asked if we could talk. Hmmm…

Oh, OK, I know we won’t agree, but maybe he wants to report on what was happening at the conference. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. (Except the BBC…they burned that bridge twice).

The conversation began innocently enough, but then after 10 minutes of smiling accusations and baseless assertions, I was getting a little annoyed.

He even asked me if I considered him a “global warming Nazi“. I said, no, and explained the history of my use of that label (which I still stand by).

I said it’s obvious we are at opposite ends of the spectrum and tried to extricate myself from the conversation.

Then one of the conference staff and a security guard approached and said, basically, do you know this young man has a mic on him, and the young lady sitting across the way has a video camera recording your conversation?

Well, no I didn’t! How utterly delightful…and professional!

I said, well, my opinion of Greenpeace just went down a notch.

Did I ever have a positive view of Greenpeace, they asked me?

Well, yes, I’d say I once did.

And I said Patrick Moore (one of the Greenpeace co-founders) once did, too.

They both groaned. 🙂

It’s too bad that Greenpeace now has to resort to deception to achieve their goals.

At the next conference I think I am going to agree to an interview with anyone…and make my own recording. If what Greenpeace did was illegal (I have no idea if you can record someone in DC without their knowledge), then I will let the interviewer know I will record them if they are recording me.

Then, if they cut and paste together pieces to make me look bad, I’ll have evidence of what really transpired.

79 Responses to “Greenpeace? Or Greendeceit?”

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  1. BBould says:

    Greenpeace has demonstrated how utterly despicable they really are. Sorry you had to go through that.

    • Do always keep in mind, the Greenpeace USA branch is not quite what it seems, I dub the place “Greenpeace USA née Ozone Action”, and my February WUWT guest post only scratches the surface of how former Greenpeace / Ozone Action Exec director John Passacantando was among the small clique of enviro-activists seen at the late ’90s epicenter of efforts to smear skeptic climate scientists: “Greenpeace: The roots of Climate Smear”

      (nice to see you in person again, Dr Spencer!)

  2. Roy Spencer says:

    From what I can find, DC has a “one party consent law”. This name is hilarious. A conversation can be recorded as long as one party consents to it. So, I guess that means if you want to secretly record a conversation with someone else, you are the “one party” who consents to the recording. Gotta love the names given to laws. Like “Affordable Care Act”.

    • omeoide says:

      Actually the term “one party consent” makes sense when contrasted not only with “all party consent,” but also with “no party consent.” The latter would refer e.g., to the legality of the Greenpeace agent covertly recording a conversation between you and another conference attendee that he was not a party to. While I’m not aware of any jurisdictions that allow this for private citizens, I think it does get considered in an academic context, and of course, it does apply to various government agencies.

  3. Donb says:

    Scientists are at the disadvantage in such interviews. Scientists deal (or should) with facts and logical arguments and what appears to be true. Many organizations like Greenpeace just want to win, and using devious and inaccurate statements is just part of their operation. What does winning mean under such conditions?

    • Roy Spencer says:

      Oh, I think I adequately addressed each one of his assertions and questions. But I’ve learned that they can take just a snippet or two out of context. Standard procedure. It’s sad. The best you can do is that they don’t use anything you’ve said. That happens a lot, too. So it ends up being a waste of everyone’s time because they didn’t get what they wanted.

      • michael hart says:

        Given how Willie Soon was treated, you should expect the worst from Greenpeace editing.

        JoNova insists on having her own recordings of the entire interview when the television crews come round for tea.

      • I would let them do it in the future(pretending not to know) and take the most antagonistic stance possible against their views and AGW views.

      • Jerry Howard says:

        Greenpeace, the BBC and most of our own “friends” in the press will edit idiocy in, but be assured you are reaching more and more minds worthy of the term than ever before.

        I was unable to attend the conference, but watched every streaming video at home and the obvious respect shown you by the numerous legitimate climate scientists there, most of them noteworthy in their own right, is also true of us “civilian partisans” in the battle.

        Thank you sir.

      • Hi Roy. Connor Gibson here.

        You’ll see I posted the full video along with the edited version, for posterity. I make it clear in my post yesterday that the full version is available – it’s in italics right there in the middle of the page:

        I don’t dispute much else you said, it’s consistent with the footage. Except I remember laughing out loud at mention of Pat Moore. He is a laughable character, did you watch him suggest a reporter should drink the Monsanto Roundup herbicide ingredient Glyphosate, and then refuse a cup himself when the reporter offered it? It’s hilarious:

        By your own admission, you are an outlier in the scientific community. I do not know what ideological underpinnings or life experiences led you to become a contrarian scientist–the opposite of a true skeptic–who denies an undeniable problem that we need to spend time and energy solving. Instead, people like yourselves are still “waiting” for more evidence. This is twenty years after the rather-cautious IPCC (yes, yes I know, hiss hiss) confirmed the human fingerprint on climate change, which you deny in the full version of our chat.

        My generation will be here after yours is gone, Roy. If you wanna talk about manners, let’s start with your active role in leaving the next generations a planet that is less inhabitable.

        Thank you for engaging though, I appreciate the conversation.

        • My bad! Pasted my own link in there twice, would hate for you to miss Pat Moore’s humiliating moment:

        • Doc Stephens says:


          It is the outliers who contribute to the advancement of our knowledge, in every field of science. Dr. Spencer is not a contrarian, and I sincerely hope that all scientists remain skeptical in all their professional endeavors.

          Every scientist possesses a unique and very personal ideological underpinning. His appears to embrace having an open mind regarding the causes and consequences of climate change (natural and anthropogenic). Ironically, you seem to deny any possibility that your conclusions are wrong or even incomplete, or that any credible scientist would disagree with the position embraced by you and your employer. No scientific hypothesis is ever undeniable! Furthermore, the history of science is full of confirmed notions that turned out to be wrong.

          If your attitude, and ideological underpinning, is typical of the next generation, then I am concerned about efforts to stifle freedom of speech through intimidation. I’m also concerned about intolerance of opposing points of view and the denial of open scientific inquiry.

          Fortunately, in my personal and professional life, I’ve had the pleasure of working with countless talented and open-minded young people. I remain optimistic about the future, because we tend to learn from our past. I’m confident we will learn better ways to adapt to our dynamic climate.

        • Mollie Norris says:

          I posted the following comment on the Huffpost article a few minutes ago – instantly deleted, of course. The real enemy of global warming-alarmists is truth, of course;

          Michael Fleming
          When Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Keith Briffa’s attendance at a Paris climate conference was sponsored by a Canadian energy corporation, it wasn’t mentioned in the paper they published on the conference; they said it wasn’t relevant. Bill KcKibbens wasn’t able to recall any Rockefeller funding when asked, although:

          “More than half of the US $10-million came from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), the Rockefeller Family Fund. Since 2007, the Rockefellers have paid US $4-million towards 1Sky and, 2013 tax returns say.
          In 2010 McKibben stated that his “scruffy little grassroots organization had almost no money”. In 2011’s payroll was $2 million.

          What’s much more important, though, is that you’re projecting the lack of ethics among AGW-alarmists on non-political climate scientists. Alteration of data, replacement of non-PC climate data by models, frauds like Michael Mann’s hockeystick, exposed in the Climategate emails as required to achieve the political goal of creating the illusion of warming, skepticalscience’s fraud in referring to the 41 out of 11,944 abstracts (0.3%) in its survey as a “97% consensus of climate scientists” (the term scientist or climate scientist weren’t criteria, and internal emails described the goal of showing a consensus) are examples of conflict of interest – bias towards a predetermined goal.
          Willie Soon is an astrophysicist, not a politician or a political sycophant. His funding was his means of support. He and Roy Spencer and John Christy and Roger Pielke and William Briggs are under attack by a fascist regime; their science doesn’t support the UN’s and Obama’s Lysenkoism, and they’ve publicly opposed the routine fraud in politically correct pseudoscience. COI is a strawman; the reality that these scientists have shown that “the emperor has no clothes” is as politically incorrect as their science, which invalidates the political policy of NWO AGW-alarmism.

        • Carbon500 says:

          Connor: according to the internet, you ‘specialise in tracking those who professionally deny climate change science and obstruct policy solutions to global warming.’
          You state that ‘If you wanna talk about manners, let’s start with your active role in leaving the next generations a planet that is less inhabitable.’
          Your arrogance is breathtaking. Nowhere in a scientific meeting or discussion have I encountered this sort of attitude. Conflicting views are respected,accepted and courteously discussed among those in science and technology. Unfortunately you have decided that your views are the correct ones, and only you and like-minded people have seen the way, the truth, and the light, and nobody else can possibly have anything valid to say. Only you and the chosen ones hold the key to the future of our planet.How can it be that others are so stupid and cannot see what you can see?
          It would help your credibility if you use standard English in your comments. What exactly is ‘my bad’ supposed to mean?
          I imagine that what you mean is ‘sorry, my mistake’. Similarly, I take it that ‘wanna’ means ‘want to’.
          What is an ‘outlier’ in science? You have no concept whatsoever of the world of science and the courtesy accorded to fellow researchers.
          Please show at least some respect towards people who have spent years in science and technology, have a long track record in research and made substantial contributions to their chosen discipline. Dr. Spencer has made major contributions, and continues to do so.
          How have you tried to advance the understanding of the world around us?

    • fonzarelli says:

      “What does winning mean under such conditions?”

      EVERYTHING !!!
      Which is the reason they are employing these tactics. “Alinski” tactics WORK. (why else would they be using them?) The challenge society faces is in overcoming tactics in the pursuit of good governance. These elements are out there, therefor they shouldn’t be shied away from. (sooner or later these elements are going to show up anyway) Rather than bemoaning the situation, we should be striving to “make lemonade out of the lemons” that come our way…

  4. Curious George says:

    Welcome to the brave new world of Greenpeace. We not only give you a right to pursue happiness, we will force a happiness upon you.

  5. Bohdan Burban says:

    You might address this duplicity by getting a pic of this guy and his camera person and pin them onto a notice board, along with their names and affiliation. Exposing such underhanded tactics might discourage them.

  6. geran says:

    Video editing is a serious problem. The questions can be arranged/stated in such a way that the interviewee can be easily “set-up”, just by editing.

    Years ago, an entity I will not mention, but involved in nuclear power production, got a call from a major “news” organization. They wanted an interview about the safety of nuclear power. The entity said they would gladly do the interview, but they would also be making a video tape of the interview.

    The “news” agency backed out.

  7. JohnKl says:

    Hi Roy Spencer,

    Maybe Roy you should bring a mic and tape recorder with you and the first Greenpeace activists you confront simply shove it in their face and say “OK blab.” Then see what they do. Maybe just maybe they’ll have something interesting to say however doubtful. After you obtain the rant on tape simply replace it either on U-tube or on your blog as a demonstration of how completely incoherent these activists truly are.

    Recording eco-whackos in their native habitat could hilarious. U

    Have a great day!

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi Roy,

      It seems my last post dated me when I suggested using tape recorder. Better yet as someone else suggested use a digital video recorder and post the native eco rants on your blog.

      Have a great day!

  8. David L. Hagen says:

    Ulric Lyons posted on FB: “That was the first search result on google for covert recording in DC, this was the fourth..
    “In Washington, you can satisfy the consent requirement by “announc[ing] to all other parties engaged in the communication or conversation, in any reasonably effective manner, that such communication or conversation is about to be recorded or transmitted,” so long as this announcement is also recorded. Wash. Rev. Code § 9.73.030(3). In addition, an employee of a “regularly published newspaper, magazine, wire service, radio station, or television station acting in the course of bona fide news gathering duties on a full-time or contractual or part-time basis” can establish the consent of the party recorded even without an announcement if he or she uses a recording or transmitting device that is “readily apparent or obvious to the speakers.” Wash. Rev. Code § 9.73.030(4).”…/washington/washington-recording-law

    As I read your comments, neither the mic nor the videocamera was “readily apparent or obvious to the speakers”.

    I recommend notifying him ASAP and putting him on notice that he violated Wash. Rev. Code § 9.73.030.

    • Roy Spencer says:

      It appears that’s for the state of Washington. DC is different.

    • David L. Hagen says:

      Mae Culpa – Ulrich listed the Washington STATE code. See:
      The District of Columbia: DC Wiretapping Law

      “The District of Columbia’s wiretapping law is a “one-party consent” law. DC makes it a crime to record a phone call or conversation unless one party to the conversation consents. See D.C. Code § 23-542. Thus, if you operate in DC, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation or you get permission from one party to the conversation in advance. That said, if you intend to record conversations involving people located in more than one state, you should play it safe and get the consent of all parties.

      In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the DC wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.

      Consult The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’s Can We Tape?: District of Columbia for more information on DC wiretapping law.”

      • Steve says:

        In this case, the Greenpeace activist who was in the conversation was wearing a mic. However, his associate was sitting in a lounge chair about 20 feet away and pretending to be just another one of many people hanging out in the lobby. Thus, she was not a party to the conversation. As I read your interpretation of the law, to the extent that she was using a hidden camera to videotape the conversation (or possibly using a voice recorder to pick up a signal from her associate who was in the conversation), she was the one who was violating the law.

  9. mpainter says:

    Hagan could be right. Your failure to object could be construed as tacit consent.

  10. Vincent says:

    “At the next conference I think I am going to agree to an interview with anyone…and make my own recording. If what Greenpeace did was illegal (I have no idea if you can record someone in DC without their knowledge), then I will let the interviewer know I will record them if they are recording me.
    Then, if they cut and paste together pieces to make me look bad, I’ll have evidence of what really transpired.”

    I agree, Roy. This might be the best option. I’ve sometimes thought, when having an argument with my wife who has claimed, ‘I never said that’, it might be a good idea to record all our conversations and discussions so I could later replay what she had said, during future arguments, and claim, ‘Yes you did say that. See!’

    However, this problem of the ethical behaviour of organisations such as Greenpeace and particularly AGW alarmist organisations, is part of a deep philosophical problem. Do the ends justify the means?

    Putting oneself in the other person’s shoes and trying to imagine what it would be like to have a belief that our current, predominant methods of producing energy will inevitably lead to climatic and environmental disaster which could destroy the prosperity and well-being of future generations, then minor issues of unethical behaviour, and the scientific dishonesty of certain climatologists, might be seen in a different light.

    I have a great respect for the scientific method. It seems clear to me that the issue of climate change is far too complex and chaotic for there to be any certainty about future climate trends. However, uncertainty about the future in general seems to be a major problem for most of us. We like to fabricate certainty. It makes us feel secure.

    A greater emphasis on science, and the philosophy of science in our education systems, might be the solution, as well as a greater emphasis on fixing current, known and certain problems.

    There’s no doubt that many of our activities pollute the environment. Nobody in his right mind would condone that. However, it’s plain stupid to identify CO2 as a pollutant, a chemical which is not only essential for all life but at current levels is a great bonanza for agriculture and the greening of the planet.

  11. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Roy,

    You began your post of April 10, 2015 (Why Summer Nighttime Temperatures Don’t Fall Below Freezing): “There’s something about the greenhouse effect /sky radiation / downwelling infrared / back radiation issue that keeps drawing me back to the subject. I guess it’s the number of people who don’t believe the so-called greenhouse effect exists (I still get e-mails from them, even today), combined with the difficulty of convincing them that their everyday experience is consistent with its existence.”

    Maybe the problem is that the ‘greenhouse effect /sky radiation / downwelling infrared / back radiation’ has never been accurately defined. While I cannot not speak for the other doubters, it is very hard for me to accept something if I do not know what it is that I am accepting as existing. So, would you please give me your accurate definition of the greenhouse effect, which you believe, exists.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • Roy W. Spencer says:

      Of course it’s been defined. It’s the downwelling IR flux at the surface. More importantly, it is measured continuously at many sites around the world.

      While it has been correctly pointed out that it is not really the IR flux that is measured by such radiometers, what they DO measure is the temperature effect of that IR flux, which by definition is the greenhouse effect.

      • RW says:

        No, because downwelling IR to the surface has multiple sources, not all of which is surface emitted IR absorbed and re-radiated back to the surface. There is also post albedo solar power absorbed by the atmosphere and subsequently emitted down to the surface as IR and there is latent heat of H2O flux from the surface which forms clouds, which also subsequently radiate substantial IR to the surface.

        This is why people are confused. The GHE is driven by radiative resistance to outer space cooling by radiation from the atmosphere into space. The manifesting downwelling IR flux at the surface is simply the result of all the physics, radiant and non-radiant, mixed together needed to pass the difference of IR emitted from the surface not instantaneously transmitted into space, i.e. absorbed by the atmosphere, into space in order to achieve balance with the Sun.

        Aggregate IR opacity and transparency of the atmosphere is measured as a fraction of the power radiated from the surface, which based on the net amount of flux input to the surface — not the amount of downwelling IR at the surface. That emitted by the surface which is not instantaneously transmitted through into space is absorbed by the atmosphere (i.e. attenuated from passing to space). The difference between the required flux needed to be passed into space to achieve balance with the Sun is what the constituents of the atmosphere have to ultimately pass into space. To ultimately pass that difference, the atmosphere achieves this by re-emitting absorbed IR up towards space, but in order to re-emit up it also has to re-emit downward toward the surface at the same time, because absorbed IR is re-radiated by the atmosphere both up and down. This ultimately requires the surface and the lower atmosphere to be emitting IR at a higher rate in order to ‘push through’ the required amount of flux needed to achieve balance at the TOA.

        Downwelling IR at the surface has virtually nothing to do with it.

        • ” This ultimately requires the surface and the lower atmosphere to be emitting IR at a higher rate in order to ‘push through’ the required amount of flux needed to achieve balance at the TOA.”

          It is enough for the surface at 288K to emit at 255K and use the other 33K in a constant energy exchange with the atmosphere via conduction and convection.

          The error in the purely radiative theory of gases is a failure to recognise that for gases which are free to organise themselves along a density gradient within a gravitational field the amount of photon emission at a given temperature declines with gas density.

          The reason is that conduction via collisional activity increases with density and as conduction increases so photon emission declines.

          The same packet of kinetic energy cannot be both radiated and conducted at the same time.

          Thus a surface at 288k at equilibrium with insolation and overlain by the mass of an atmosphere at 1 bar pressure will only emit photons at a rate commensurate with a temperature of 255k.

          The other 33k is permanently trapped in a constant exchange of energy between the atmosphere and that surface by way of conduction and convection.

          The Adiabatic Lapse Rate traces the decline in photon emission as compared to conduction via collisional activity as one goes deeper into the mass of a gaseous atmosphere.

          That is why the temperatures within the atmospheres of Earth and Venus(and other planets)are similar at the same atmospheric pressure / density after adjusting only for distance from the sun despite vastly different proportions of GHGs.

      • jerry l krause says:

        Hi Roy,

        Thank you very much. “Of course it’s been defined. It’s the downwelling IR flux at the surface. More importantly, it is measured continuously at many sites around the world.” I agree fully with this definition for I too have always observed the result of this downward IR flux from a clear sky during the nighttime with my ‘modified’ Suomi, Staley, Kuhn net radiometer. By ‘modified’ I mean the top one-half of their net radiometer. And with this radiometer they, and I, directly observed the temperature of the absorbing-emitting (a-e) surface. However, I wonder if you are aware that this temperature is usually about 10 degrees F less than the ambient temperature of the atmosphere being observed about 1.5m above the earth’s surface, and sometimes I have observed it to be as much as 18F above the ambient temperature.

        From these observations, I conclude there must be some other factors, other than any greenhouse effect, which are limiting the nighttime cooling of the ambient atmosphere. What are your thoughts about these observations?

        Have a good day, Jerry

        • RW says:

          “From these observations, I conclude there must be some other factors, other than any greenhouse effect, which are limiting the nighttime cooling of the ambient atmosphere.”

          It’s because downwelling IR at the surface is not what’s limiting nighttime cooling, though of course if you took it away, the surface would cool far faster (as Roy correctly points out). If you took away any incident flux on an object, it will of course cool faster. That is trivial.

          Downelling IR at the surface is simply a byproduct of the fact that the atmosphere emits downward at all levels and is transparent in the IR to some degree at all levels. It has little to do with the underlying physics of the GHE.

    • wayne says:

      Jerry wrote to Roy:

      You began your post of April 10, 2015 (Why Summer Nighttime Temperatures Don’t Fall Below Freezing): “There’s something about the greenhouse effect /sky radiation / downwelling infrared / back radiation issue that keeps drawing me back to the subject. I guess it’s the number of people who don’t believe the so-called greenhouse effect exists (I still get e-mails from them, even today), combined with the difficulty of convincing them that their everyday experience is consistent with its existence.”

      Maybe the problem is that the ‘greenhouse effect /sky radiation / downwelling infrared / back radiation’ has never been accurately defined.

      You are getting close to my same questions about the ‘greenhouse effect /sky radiation / downwelling infrared / back radiation’ that leaves nothing but more questions in my mind.

      Dr. Robert Brown (rgb) made a statement that I wholly agree and it really doesn’t matter if the figure he gave is off by plus/minus an entire magnitude. He said near the surface, I take to mean within the bottom 100 meters that something like 90% for all lw radiation in co2’s 15μm band it absorbed within 10 meters.

      So I take that figure and try to get a real visualization of what that means when people say “ir emitted downward to the surface” and that right there makes little sense and here is why.

      A one square meter of our atmosphere has right at 10,000 kg of air within that unit square. I’ll stick to SI units. But dealing with pencil rays for radiation you have to get that area way down in size to see if co2 lw emissions have any chance to even reaching the surface from above. So lets sub-divide that view. If you look at just a one square centimeter column then there is but 1 kilogram from the surface to space.

      Stop right there and calculate the atoms within that 1 cm² column (it’s easy right here). Air has a mean molecular mass of 0.02896 kg/mol so the inverse is the moles/kilogram, beautiful, 34.5 moles of atoms/molecules all of the way upward or downward. That is 34.5 times Na or 2.07E+25 particles in the way of that upwelling/downwelling emission ray. But cm² is still way too big of an area and we need to drill that down to the atomic level. Every time you divide by 100 that area now gets 1/10th the size so divide by 100, that gives mm², divide by 100 three more times, we are now at μm², three more times, we are now at at a single square nano-meter in the way of any single radiation from the surface (or to the surface). That 2.07E+25 particles is now down to 2.07E+11, better. CO2 is at a fraction of 0.0004 so for co2 radiation there are 8 billion co2 molecules directly in the way at the atomic level between the surface and space (very roughly but you should get my point). This is why all co2 radiation is not some “global scale effect” with co2 beaming ir down to the surface from the general atmosphere, no, it doesn’t make it more than meters close to the surface and longer paths as we go up but if you look at spectrum upward from the surface you are not seeing that from “up there in the blue” but from what is happening right in front of you.

      Bottom line, any co2 absorption/emission is already wrapped within each stratified layer’s temperature itself and the thermal diffusivity of energy locally. That is until you are way above the troposphere where that radiation can escape. This same analysis applies to water vapor radiation within our atmosphere.

      Do you see my reason I no longer place much credence on this topic and what people are claiming? Does that make me a skeptic of denier, guess so but my denial is on firm science and logic and is in fact not my denial at all, it is the lukewarmer’s and advocate’s denial of reality.

      • “Bottom line, any co2 absorption/emission is already wrapped within each stratified layer’s temperature itself and the thermal diffusivity of energy locally”

        Well, yes.

        That thermal diffusivity is conduction and convection.

        Kinetic energy that is being recycled constantly between the mass of the surface and the mass of the atmosphere in order to keep the atmosphere suspended off the surface cannot be simultaneously radiated to space otherwise the atmosphere would fall to the ground.

        That blocked 15u gets converted into potential energy (which is not heat and cannot radiate)within convective uplift as a result of collisional activity (conduction) and never gets a chance to warm the surface.

        When it returns to the surface as kinetic energy once more in descending air the surface radiates it out to space at other wavelengths.

        The speed of convective overturning accelerates exactly as much as is required to negate the potential thermal effect of the 15u blockage.

        That resolves all the confusion arising from the misguided attempt to balance the energy budget from radiative fluxes alone.

        • wayne says:

          “That blocked 15u gets converted into potential energy …”

          Stephen Wilde, please, I was not addressing you but Jerry and Roy, and no it is not converted into your infatuation with PE but instead, being a random and isotropic effect, that does not apply to this topic.

  12. RW says:

    “Maybe the problem is that the ‘greenhouse effect /sky radiation / downwelling infrared / back radiation’ has never been accurately defined. While I cannot not speak for the other doubters, it is very hard for me to accept something if I do not know what it is that I am accepting as existing. So, would you please give me your accurate definition of the greenhouse effect, which you believe, exists.”

    Yes, Roy — how about it? Let’s hear your ‘accurate’ definition of the GHE. As far as I know, downwelling IR from the atmosphere to the surface has hardly anything to do with the underlying physics of the GHE, though of course downwelling IR to the surface has a huge impact on the surface energy balance. You seem to be confusing and/or intertwining the two things.

    • RW says:

      As best I know, the underlying physics of the GHE are driven by radiative resistance to outer space cooling by radiation from the atmosphere into space, or simply the absorption of upwelling surface IR that would otherwise pass into space which is subsequently re-radiated back downward towards (and not necessarily back to) the surface. That is, the atmosphere must make the push toward radiative balance with the Sun at the TOA via re-radiated IR emitted up, but in order to do that, it must also push back the other way because absorbed IR re-radiated both up and down. The initially absorbed and subsequently downward re-radiated IR resists the atmosphere’s ability to pass the difference, not directly transmitted into space, into space; thereby ultimately making the lower atmosphere and the surface warmer than it would otherwise be in order to achieve balance at the TOA.

      Downwelling IR to the surface doesn’t factor into it, at least as an underlying driving mechanism.

      • Roy W. Spencer says:

        all of these effects are part of the GHE. They necessarily occur together. In an IR absorbing/emitting atmosphere whose temperature decreases with height, the GHE involves the atmosphere absorbing upwelling IR from below, emitting IR downward from above, and emitting less to space than if the IR absorbers/emitters did not exist. It’s all part of the GHE.

        • RW says:


          You need to be more specific, but more importantly you need to differentiate between the underlying driving mechanism itself and the net combined result of all the physics together that ultimately determines the surface energy balance.

          Downwelling IR from the atmosphere to the surface has essentially nothing to do with underlying physics of the GHE, yet it of course has a huge impact in determining the surface energy balance.

          • Correct.

            The greenhouse effect is a product of atmospheric mass and not radiative fluxes.

            If there is a radiative imbalance then convection changes to counter it in order to maintain the atmosphere’s hydrostatic balance:


          • RW says:

            “The greenhouse effect is a product of atmospheric mass…”

            I seriously doubt that, as the mass of the atmosphere is an infinitesimal fraction of the planet as a whole. Moreover, the atmosphere’s heat capacity is infinitesimally thin compared to that below the surface, i.e. the land and oceans.

          • RW,

            Gases behave very differently to solids and liquids, see the Gas Laws.

            Due to their ability to rise off the surface and expand in the process they create a large reservoir of potential energy within the vertical column.

            That reservoir is then able to vary in size with the rate of convection in order to adjust for radiative imbalances:


          • RW says:

            I still highly doubt it given the mass of the gases is so small. Moreover, a basic property of the system is the surface actually has more incident radiant flux on it (from the atmosphere and Sun) than it emits in the IR. If there were more transfer or movement of energy flux by conduction and convection then maybe that might be the more dominant effect.

          • “a basic property of the system is the surface actually has more incident radiant flux on it (from the atmosphere and Sun) than it emits in the IR”

            I think that is the misconcepton.

            The surface receives from space and emits to space at 255K but has a temperature of 288K.

            The difference of 33K is taken from the surface in convective ascent and returned to the surface in convective descent and so cannot radiate to space.

            The thing is that as one descends into the mass of an atmosphere conduction progressively replaces photon emission so Earth’s surface may be at 288K but it is only emitting at 255K.

            In empty space all energy transfer is via radiation. Below the solid Earth’s surface all energy transfer is via conduction and convection.

            Logically it follows that increasing density causes energy transfer to begin favouring conduction and convection over radiation and so it is as one descends through the mass of an atmosphere.

            The lapse rate slope is a product of that process since it follows the density gradient.

    • Roy W. Spencer says:

      downwelling IR from the atmosphere is a necessary characteristic of the GHE.

      • RW says:

        It’s a necessary byproduct of the underlying mechanism, yes, but not the underlying mechanism itself. This is a critical distinction.

        As I’ve said, I think so many people are perpetually confused because you’re conflating the necessary net combined effects of all the physics with the underlying driving mechanism itself.

        You really need an entire post dealing with this.

        • The lapse rate slope determines the temperature at any given height and radiometers measure the temperature along the lapse rate slope where optical depth is sufficient to trigger the sensor.

          Under a clear sky the temperature at a high cold location is taken and under a cloudy sky the temperature at the lower warmer cloud height is taken.

          It isn’t downward radiation that reduces net upward radiation but rather the fact that as one descends through atmospheric mass the processes of conduction and convection gradually take over from photon emission.

          Thus a surface at 288K beneath the mass of our atmosphere emits photons at a rate commensurate with a temperature of 255K rather than 288K with the other 33K being used for conduction and convection which constantly recycles that 33K in order to maintain the atmosphere’s hydrostatic balance.

          It is an error to assume that a surface at 288K beneath an atmosphere that is being suspended against gravity must radiate at 288K.

          The same package of kinetic energy at a surface cannot be radiated to space and be engaged in conduction and convection at one and the same time.

          The lapse rate slope delineates the rate at which photon emission gradually takes over from conduction and convection as one moves into regions of lower density and vice versa.

  13. Morgan says:

    It is difficult to imagine any organization truly concerned with the welfare of others (the Red Cross or even the Humane society) doing something like this.

    • jimc says:

      Exactly. It is a well funded political operation showing itself completely devoid of any scientific, humanitarian content.

  14. Simon Filiatrault says:

    Hi Roy, did this happened around lunch time Friday? I was near the back door of the ballroom and felt something happening when security staff went outside… as an aside, some other group of presenters told me they did not want to talk to the press anymore… I got the feeling they where harassed.

    Great conference by the way! My conclusion is that the vast majority of people there are science based passionate humanist placing the welfare of people first, it was an honor for me to be there.

  15. Bruce Pankratz says:

    The link is an example of a spy pen one can take out and turn on and tell the interviewer they are being recorded or you could just do it and not tell them and post the results on Youtube if they misuse the interview. The good ones are more expensive than this example and of course local laws apply.

  16. Steve says:

    I happened to be standing nearby near the end of the surreptitiously recorded conversation. About 30 minutes after the Greenpeace operatives left the building, the Greenpeace questioner was back inside walking through the lobby. I asked to take his picture and this is what he looks like:

    [Moderator: Can you tell me how to post pictures in a comment?]

    Shortly thereafter both Greenpeace operatives were again being escorted from the building by security, presumably after looking to do more secret recordings.

    Interestingly, there aware lso a couple of people standing outside, just off the hotel premises, mimicking a secret police operation by using a telephoto lens to take pictures of people as they left the conference.

    • Roy W. Spencer says:

      I don’t know how to post pics in comments. But if you want to e-mail it to me, I can add it to my post.

  17. Tom says:

    Like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club is equally excretable. Where I live it went on a tirade to whip up the locals against some minor development. The National Sierra Club branch got involved and said they were backing the legal challenge. And they did. They ran up a bunch of bills but when the judge pointed to them and said “You lose. Now pay the costs”. Then the Sierra Club packed their carpetbag, left town, stiffed their local supporters, the lawyers, the defendant and violated a court order.

    Why anyone is naive enough to expect these guys to respect the law is beyond me.

  18. mpainter says:

    Underlying mechanism? Us it not the radiative gases of the atmosphere? Plus clouds? These being the consequence of evaporative cooling of the earth’s surface? Hence, the GHE is caused by cooling of the earth’s surface. Taking it one step further, the earth’s evaporative cooling is the consequence of insolation, so tbe sun is responsible for the GHE, in a chain of cause and effect.
    I am doubtful that one can gain a valid point of view of climate if one ignores or discounts any of these factors in a causal chain.

    • RW says:

      It’s that greenhouse gases are largely opaque to upwelling IR emitted from the surface trying to escape to space, and those gases subsequently re-emit that absorbed upwelling IR both up and down. More specifically, some back downward towards the surface, resisting the atmosphere’s ability to pass the required flux into space in order to achieve balance with the Sun in the process.

      • CO2 is opaque to the outgoing 15u wavelength but that causes faster convective overturning which delivers the blocked energy back to the surface beneath descending air so that the surface can radiate it to space at other wavelengths.

        The blockage is thereby eliminated by the convective adjustment.

        The surface gets no warmer because the faster convection takes kinetic energy away from the surface faster in ascending air and that is matched by the faster return of kinetic energy to the surface in descending air for a zero net effect at the surface.

        Note that the faster convective overturning is provoked by a distortion of the lapse rate slope within the vertical column rather than surface warming.

  19. mpainter says:

    In my above comment, assuming that CO2 alone (at its present level) and water vapor absent, would not cause an appreciable GHE.

  20. Dan Pangburn says:

    IMO, relentless presentation of facts will eventually prevail.

    Analysis which shows the cause of climate change:
    1. Establish a least-biased assessment of all reported measured average global temperatures (AGT).
    2. From examination of historical AGT and historical solar cycles, form the hypothesis that a relation exists between sunspot numbers and the planet warming and cooling.
    3. From examination of historical AGT and other information, determine that ocean cycles contribute to AGT and the effect of ALL ocean cycles on AGT can be approximated by a saw-tooth function with period 64 years and amplitude of approximately ±1//5 K (to be determined more precisely later).
    4. Apply the first law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy) to obtain an equation relating the historical measurements. Incorporate coefficients on each term in the equation to facilitate optimizing the equation to best match the calculated temperature anomalies to the measured temperature anomalies.
    5. Apply the mathematics of coefficient of determination, R2, to compare the calculated temperature anomalies to historical measured temperature anomalies.
    6. Adjust the coefficients in the equation alternately and repeatedly to obtain the absolute maximum R2. This results in R2 greater than 0.90 irrespective of whether the influence of CO2 is included or not and an equation which predicts a future down trend in average global temperatures.
    7. After Schwartz (2007) and other considerations, rapid (year-to-year) variations in reported average temperatures contain substantial random uncertainty as to the true energy content of the planet. This uncertainty is substantially removed by taking a running average of reported measurements. A 5-year running average increases R2 to greater than 0.97 leaving less than 3% to explain all factors not explicitly considered such as volcanos, aerosols, measurement errors, noncondensing greenhouse gases (the average sunspot number is a proxy accounting for average water vapor, the sunspot number anomaly is a proxy which accounts for cloud variations), difference from assumed wave form of ocean cycles, ice change, etc.

    Search “agwunveiled” for more on this analysis, along with independent proof that CO2 has no effect on average global temperature (and therefore no effect on climate).

    • Steve says:

      Dan Pangburn: “Search ‘agwunveiled’for more on this analysis …”

      I have spent a fair amount of time on your website, agwunveiled, but could not find the raw data and T-statistics for your regression coefficients, which I think are more important for testing the significance of various explanatory variables. Also, it is unclear whether the R-square stats that you post are Adjusted R^2 or unadjusted. There are references to previous papers and postings, but I could not find the information there. Can you point me to the data and regression stats?

      • Dan Pangburn says:

        Raw data is as reported by HadCRUT, NOAA and GISS (see Ref. 3). CO2 data, when used, is from NOAA/Mauna Loa with earlier data from an average from ice core data (Law Dome and others). Links are provided although they seem to capriciously change them so you might need to be a little creative in a search to find a current one if the listed one has been cancelled.

        As to t-statistics, although by no stretch am I a statistician, it appears to me that because a linear regression is not involved and all reported data are used, the Student’s t test might not be applicable. In any event, I did not do that and instead justify the conclusion based on the near perfect R^2 irrespective of whether the influence of CO2 is included or not.

        The unadjusted R*2 is calculated but then there are only two variables in the equation (does the peak magnitude of the effective ocean cycles even qualify as a variable?).

        Note that the proof that CO2 does not cause temperature change uses an understanding of the relation between mathematics and the physical world and does not involve statistical analysis.

  21. ossqss says:

    Did you get full names Doc or a card?

    I believe you have a right to a copy of the recording.

    I would be proactive as you can count on editing and fabrication from such.

    • W. David McGuinn says:

      According to the Digital Media Law Project, DC has a “one-party consent” law.

      So unfortunately that ambush was legal albeit, as you say, unprofessional. But that does mean you can play that game too. I think you were all too gentlemanly about the Global Warming Nazi comment. The Nazi’s believed that the prosecution of their cause justified any means. I think that applies to Greenpeace generally and probably that young man specifically.

      • David A says:

        Comparisons to Nazis is not just unoriginal and boring, it immediately shows you have no thoughtful reply — you’re just apeing others.

  22. Speaking of Greenpeace and their attention-seeking antics …

    Here in Vancouver, BC they imported Jane Fonda (whose makeup must have weighed a ton and/or taken hours to apply) for a freebie speaking engagement, yesterday.

    CBC dutifully reported (inter alia):

    Jane Fonda takes on ‘big oil’ in Vancouver: ‘Arrest me, I don’t care’

    Activist and actress in Vancouver for Greenpeace’s Toast the Coast event

    Actress and activist Jane Fonda is adding her star power to the anti-oilsands pipeline movement in B.C.

    The star of Netflix comedy series Grace and Frankie is in Vancouver for Greenpeace’s Toast the Coast event on Saturday, celebrating Canada’s coastline and raising awareness of the environmental issues surrounding oil drilling and pipelines.


    More at

    If you feel so inclined.

    • Frank K. says:

      I’m sure that no fossil fuels were used getting her to and from Vancouver. What a hypocrite…

    • David A says:

      Jane Fonda seems to scare you…. Worried that someone might listen to her?

      • boris says:


        You seem to be hanging around to keep track of what those neanderthal deniers might be up to and to antagonize them with supercilious nonsense . Otherwise there’s no reason to post the goofy posts you do. However, with our nation’s new found respect for our soldiers everywhere you might want to keep your admiration for Jane Fonda out of the discussion. Her activity during the Vietnam war went far beyond anti war activism and crossed into areas for which she should have been summarily shot as a spy. Ask the POWs who were torchered as a result of her actions during her visit to North Vietnam.

  23. mpainter says:

    No thanks, but interesting that Jane Fonda has been drug out and propped up as a scarecrow to frighten off the nasty pipe liners. Fat chance that development of Canada’s greatest natural resource will be blocked.

  24. Mark Bofill says:

    Connor Gibson was the guy’s name, apparently.
    Here’s his account of the affair. A more obvious overall hatchet job I’ve seldom seen. I’m not sure if the man is the moron he comes across as, or if it’s an act for the benefit of his low information readers, but I got a certain amount of amusement out of this:

    Nazi accusations aside, the rest of what Dr. Spencer was full of self-contradiction.

    Just after claiming his latest research shows “no warming,” he acknowledged a warming trend of global average surface temperature.

    Then he backtracked, asserting “we have no idea what’s natural and what’s man-made.” A minute later, he was even more certain on this, saying, “there is no fingerprint of human-caused warming.”

    A simpleton who can’t grasp that we don’t live in a comic book universe, and that positions on global warming and the greenhouse effect are more nuanced than ‘us against the deniers’.

    I might have to make a donation to the Heartland Institute after reading that crap.

  25. boris says:


    Just posted to say that Conner Gibson is at least the nom de guerre for your creep he published an e-article with the Huffington Post that appeared on Yahoo for a few minutes at least seems to have disappeared in the last hour.

  26. mpainter says:

    Conner Gibson aims his trash talk at none-too-bright teeny boppers, judging from the link. His type is something you don’t wish to brush up against.

  27. mpainter says:

    See what I mean?

  28. David A says:

    Patrick Moore was not a Greenpeace co-founder.

  29. mpainter says:

    Patrick Moore was a Greenpeace co-founder and first committee member.

  30. David V says:

    I watched the Greenpeace video on YouTube

    You come out of it very well, Dr. Spencer…. Polite, informed, and open to debate. The guy ‘interviewing’ you just sounds like every other knucklehead alarmist regurgitating the same tired lines we hear every day. I lost track of how many times he said 97%, but it was about 97 times.

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