The Paris Placebo Effect

November 29th, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Spoiler alertthe following contains spoilers about what the Paris COP21 climate conference this week will actually accomplish.

placebopillHuman-caused global warming and climate change is an interesting human malady. No matter whether you consider it a physical or emotional ailment, many of us simply know it to be true.

Many of us have personally experienced it in a heat wave, snow storm, hurricane, etc., which now feel different than they used to when they were mere weather events.

For example, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in 2009 declared, Global warming creates volatility and I feel it when Im flying. The storms are more volatile.

This affliction will actually be greatly alleviated this week as those who have been stricken with it take a collective placebo pill in the form of yet another Earth-saving international agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

SPOILER: We already know that the pill has no actual medicine in it. The commitments (or non-commitments) by various countries of the world have already been submitted and analyzed. And the prognosis is this: the agreements will have an unmeasurable effect on global temperatures, no matter what you believe about the human influence on climate.

But there is good news! The world will swallow that pill, and then experience a collective sigh of relief, for we will have done something to Save the Earth!

Those who most believe in human-caused climate change will hopefully receive the most relief of their symptoms. I saw some of these people at previous COP meetings in Montreal and Cancun. I described my first experience in Montreal at the 2005 COP11 as culture shock. People dressed up in all kinds of costumes meant to draw attention to whatever portion of the Earth is supposedly suffering from your SUV. Polar bear costumes are especially popular. Meanwhile, a frigid winter wind was blowing outside, which I was ill-equipped to handle despite being from northern Michigan.

The people participating in COPXX meetings are easily convinced that polar bears are disappearingeven though they havent been. They are convinced CO2 is a poison, even though it is necessary for life to exist on Earthand, given that, is in amazingly short supply.

Later, at the 2009 COP16 in Cancun, I debated Daryl Hannah on TV, who seemed very informed on alternative energy strategies until we were off-camera and she told me we just need to switch to all renewables right away. The fact is that doing such a thing is a physical impossibility, unless you want to relegate humanity to a new Stone Age.

Even though Im asked, Ive stopped attending the COPXX meetings because what little remains of my mental health is too precious to me. In addition to my climate research dealing with physics and actual numbers, I must also already deal with a steady stream of interactions with the public and the media involving feelings and beliefs. I am ill-equipped to handle the latter, but it now goes with the territory in a climate scientists life.

So, as the United Nations declares yet another a landmark agreement to Save the Earth, just remembersometimes placebos really do work. The danger, though, is that the politicians of the world will be emboldened to manufacture ever greater quantities of placebos, at ever-increasing costs to humanity.

150 Responses to “The Paris Placebo Effect”

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  1. barry says:

    I was under the impression that you agreed increased CO2 in the atmos should lead to (some) warming at the surface, Dr Spencer.

    “Those who most believe in human-caused climate change will hopefully receive the most relief of their symptoms.”

    Faulty premises befit satire?

    • yes, based upon the theory, there should be some warming. I can’t prove it, but I believe it. That’s why I’m a card-carrying member of Lukewarmers International.

      • Robert Austin says:

        We need a new category of skeptic, something between lukewarmer and the zero warmer. I like microwarmist. A microwarmist holds that the radiative physics imply a theoretical warming but the warming is trivial to unmeasurably small.

        • FTOP says:

          The microwarmist is just a train stop on the way to zero warmer. As soon as the radiative physics splashes into the ocean, the microwarmist realizes that the entire theory fails for 70% of the surface. Air can’t heat water, and radiation can’t get past the first few molecules of the water surface.

          Next stop zero warming.

          • mpainter says:

            You have put your finger on the biggest flaw in the AGW scheme: air does not heat water because water is opaque to LWIR.

            SST is due to insolation only. CO2 has nothing to do with it. SST determines air temperature, not the reverse. The AGW hypothesis stands science on its head.

          • Ric Werme says:

            Humid air, with a dew point higher than the water temperature can readily heat that water – as “dew” forms (merges?) with the water, nearly all that latent heat that’s released goes into the water.

          • mpainter says:

            Nope. That is fog.
            Advection fog: warmer, moist air passing over cooler water will create fog. This is a coast phenomenon.

          • Robert Austin says:


            Your back radiation to ocean assertion is irrelevant to my argument. We are talking about the effects of increasing CO2 concentration at in the upper troposphere where radiative gases emit to outer space. Increased concentration of CO2 theoretically raises the characteristic emissions altitude by a minuscule amount. This rise means the lapse rate operates over a longer atmospheric depth, hence the theoretical lower troposphere warming. But the characteristic emissions altitude is mostly a function of overall atmospheric density and not the partial pressure of the radiative gas. Hence, the change in CO2 concentration of a few ppm raises the characteristic emissions altitude by a corresponding minuscule to immeasurable amount. It may be fair to say that immeasurably small is functionally equivalent to zero but in the climate game, to say it is zero is to be painted as a denier.

          • mpainter says:

            Theoretical. Well, theoretically, the 15 micron band is obviated within ten meters of the surface by CO2 absorption and converted to thermal energy. That means that CO2 is inconsequential above that level. Another truck-sized hole in AGW.

        • Doug’s so called ‘heat creep’ is just bog standard conduction but he fails to then understand that conduction results in convective overturning which converts heat (KE) to potential energy (PE,not heat) in ascent and PE back to KE in descent.

          Sadly, his comments are therefore worthless.

          • Doug~Cotton says:

            Well let’s see what I really wrote three years ago Stephen and let me know how you’re getting along with explaining core and mantle temperatures (and temperatures at the base of the nominal troposphere of Uranus) with your parcels of whatever gas that really have nothing to hold them together anyway, and don’t “know” when to rise or fall or perhaps take a trip to the poles. You don’t seem to know when they rise or fall either. Nor do you understand how thermal energy is transferred from cooler to warmer regions, and how we can explain the process directly from the Second Law of Thermodynamics – a law you ignore. You even think the temperature gradient is established with forced convection, whereas I have explained why only natural convection causes it to evolve. I remind readers that Stephen has no qualifications in physics.

            So I quote excerpts from Sections 4 to 8 of “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” first edition November 2012 for readers with little time:

            Physicists have realised that kinetic energy (KE) [11] does not tell the full story. As we saw above,molecules have other energy and, in particular, in our isolated cylinder of nitrogen we need to account for gravitational potential energy (PE) [12] which can interchange with KE, just as happens when a pendulum swings back and forth, or a stone is thrown into the air. [13] But why have they not said that energy just needs to be conserved, as is the theme of the First law of Thermodynamics?

            [14] Why do we need a Second Law, and what is this strange, abstract concept of greatest entropy which they mention in there?

            Entropy [15] has been described as energy not available to do work and an increase in entropy is associated with greater disorder. In a horizontal plane, where PE is the same, then, if one region of a solid, liquid or gas is warmer than another, there will be a propensity for molecules with greater KE in the warmer region to share that KE with others that have less KE. This sharing takes place during molecular collisions [16] and there is a propensity for all to end up in thermodynamic equilibrium with the same KE. The process is called conduction in a solid (and sometimes also in liquids and gases) though we will use the alternative word diffusion [17] strictly in the context of the sharing of KE during collisions involving gas molecules.

            Now the above statement requires the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system and it is effectively saying that this state is as far as we can go within the restrictions imposed by our isolated system. For example, if an isolated system is a room on the tenth floor, then a ball will only drop as far as the floor in that room. Being on the floor is one of the states accessible to the system and, when the ball comes to rest on the floor, it has acquired the greatest entropy available to it within the restrictions of the system. Throw the ball out the window and it enters another system where it will acquire a state of somewhat greater entropy.

            So we have seen that entropy can increase when PE and/or KE decrease. If we have a perfectly insulated cylinder of nitrogen (where we will assume no external energy can be added, and no internal energy removed) then the state of greatest entropy is clearly that in which the mean sum of molecular (PE+KE) is the same in all regions within our cylinder. This conclusion is confirmed by considering what would happen if there were a region in which mean molecular (PE+KE) were greater than in another region. If this were the case, then the region with more energy could do work as it transferred energy to the other region, rather like water from a dam generating hydroelectricity as it converts its PE to KE whilst flowing down the pipes to the generator. If it can do work, then it is not a state of greatest entropy.

            Hence our final equilibrium state in the vertical cylinder of non-radiating nitrogen has the same entropy in all regions, and we call it an isentropic state. But such a state in a gravitational field must then have less KE where it has more PE at the top, and more KE where it has less PE at the bottom. But temperature [18] is a measure of thermal energy [19] and in this Wikipedia item we read:

            Microscopically, the thermal energy is the kinetic energy of a system’s constituent particles, which may be atoms, molecules, electrons, or particles in plasmas. It originates from the individually random, or disordered, motion of particles in a large ensemble.

            In fact, temperature is a measure of just the average (mean) kinetic energy (KE) of all the molecules in any small region, and it does not include gravitational PE or other forms of non-thermal energy.

            But we have just seen that gravity redistributes PE and KE in such a way that there is a KE gradient in a column of gas, with less KE at the top and more at the bottom of the column. Hence, assuming adiabatic [20] conditions with no phase change or chemical reactions, we have seen that the thermodynamic equilibrium [21] state of greatest entropy which evolves does in fact have cooler temperatures at the top and warmer temperatures below. This may be considered a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics

            We have mentioned in Section 5 that temperature is really just a measure of the average (mean) kinetic energy (KE) of all the molecules in any small region. This KE is the energy of motion in three dimensions, plus additional energy associated with molecular vibration and rotation. But a molecule also has potential energy (PE) which is stored energy relating to its height in a gravitational field, as well as energy which could be released in chemical reactions and phase changes, such as when steam condenses to water.

            Let us now imagine an experiment with a cylinder of gas. For the present considerations we will assume that no chemical reactions or phase changes take place, and that no other energy enters or leaves our well insulated, sealed cylinder, which we will fill with pure nitrogen, so as to rule out any significant amount of heat transfer by radiation inside the cylinder.

            As you probably know, molecules move about in random directions, colliding at various angles with other such molecules. But, as they move between collisions, they will be affected by the force of gravity and, just like an apple falling off a tree, when molecules move in a general downward direction some of their PE will be converted to extra KE. The opposite happens when they move upwards, and so, as we saw in Section 5, there will be a lower mean KE among molecules at the top than among those at the bottom. In other words, the temperature will be lower at the top and higher at the bottom.

            You could also imagine a cylinder which has removable insulated dividers that form three equal compartments. With the dividers in place, heat the middle compartment, turn off the heater and wait for diffusion to establish equilibrium. Then remove the dividers and some of the warmer molecules will move into each compartment. However, those that move to the top one will lose some KE, whereas those that move to the bottom compartment gain some KE. Hence, once again, we see that the warm air both rises and falls until a new thermodynamic equilibrium state is reached in which there will be a temperature gradient as before. This is an example of heat creep which we shall now discuss.

            In this section we shall see that gravity, in effect, makes a sloping thermal plot into a level playing field in which energy can spread in all directions, just like a bucket full of water poured into the middle of a swimming pool.

            For example, let us consider what happens when a supply of extra thermal energy is added somewhere in the middle of this sloping thermal profile. The effect can be visualised by turning the graph of the temperature-altitude relationship on an angle such that it is perpendicular to the gravitational force in the room where you are. That is, you make it look like a level playing field.

            In general, convection requires an additional source of energy, and the most common form is that provided by the Sun. When the surface absorbs Solar energy, that energy then transfers from the surface into the atmosphere by conduction (diffusion) and thus provides a continuous supply of extra energy which creates convection.

            A consequence of the above discussion of the level playing field is that, when a supply of latent heat is released from water vapour, there could be some downward convection apparently moving against the temperature gradient. The original extra energy shown in red in the above diagram now spreads out as shown in this diagram:

            Hence we have this rather strange concept that additional energy can in fact cause heat creep up the thermal gradient to warmer regions, provided that there was thermodynamic equilibrium initially. This process explains how energy can get to the base of the atmosphere and keep it warm (or very hot on Venus) quite independently of any energy received back from the surface.

          • Doug / DJC

            You don’t need such a concept of ‘heat creep’ because convective overturning due to density differentials in the horizontal plane can result from absorption of radiative energy at any height.

            A GHG atmosphere that prevents or limits direct absorption by the surface beneath will cause convective overturning to occur from the height at which absorption is at its maximum and in the absence of GHGs it will occur from the surface alone.

            Either way, the full vertical column becomes involved.

            That deals with your point about Venus.

          • DJC says:

            The question you never answer Stephen is just precisely when (at what time of day) and where you magical parcels (that somehow cling together) know when to rise or fall. How does the surface warm each morning, especially when there is extensive cloud cover, and why does it cool late afternoon and early evening, but often stop cooling in the early pre-dawn hours with the temperature gradient still intact above the surface? What’s happening with your parcels at each of these times?

            On Venus the input by radiation at TOA is around 2,600W/m^2, and yet it would need a mean of over 20,000W/m^2 of radiation striking the surface to raise the temperature from 732K to 737K as happens over the course of 4 months of sunlight. Why does that surface (like Earth’s) warm by day when the solar radiation reaching the surface is clearly insufficient on Venus and most places on Earth?

            How do you suppose your convective “overturning” (not a term used in physics) happens in the lower troposphere of Uranus where no solar radiation reaches and there’s no surface?

            Unless and until you can explain how new solar energy absorbed in the morning on Venus (only where the temperature < 400K) then gets into the warmer surface, you have nothing what-so-ever to support your conjecture.

            I could not explain what happens without considering entropy. You ignore the Second Law altogether and probably don't even know what it says. There is no timing in nature except that indicated by the Second Law, and so you have no difference between day and night because, in your conjecture, you ignore the Second Law. You think forced convection sets up a temperature gradient, but you are wrong: only natural convection does so. My hypothesis is all about natural convective heat transfer which, in physics, includes diffusion: it's all about energy transferred in molecular collisions and not by any wind of any form, including "overturning" of air which sounds like wind to me. And it explains the difference between night and day.

          • DJC says:


            You don’t need “density differentials in the horizontal plane” and how do you know where and when such would occur, day or night? Besides, that’s how wind is formed, and wind is irrelevant to what I am discussing: we can’t depend on wind to warm the surface every morning everywhere in the sunlit hemisphere. How are horizontal density differentials going to happen in the cold (60K) methane layer near TOA on Uranus where most of the incident solar energy is absorbed? How will it affect temperatures 350Km further down where it’s hotter than Earth? I am not discussing horizontal (or vertical) wind: I don’t need to.

            Wind does not form a -g/cp temperature gradient. Only entropy maximization does that. Do you get it yet, Stephen?

            What happens is as explained in the lengthy excerpts in my comment December 2 at 4:56am.

        • geran says:

          Stephen believes it is convection, not the Sun.
          Doug believes it is gravity, not the Sun.
          The Warmists believe it is CO2, not the Sun.
          The Lukewarmers mostly believe whatever the Warmists tell them.

          All you non-solar believers, Just a little thought experiment—turn the Sun off for 96 hours. What would happen to Earth temps?

          I now return you to your non-solar pseudoscience.

          • Jerry LaCrosse says:

            Has anyone ever postulated that perhaps the Earth’s core is getting a little restless and the mantle may be getting thinner which is leading to an underground heating of it’s surface resulting in a melting of the Greenland ice sheet from below? Just wondering.

          • DJC says:

            The mantle will only warm (or cool) by about the same number of degrees as does the surface. That’s what we can deduce from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It’s temperature is affected by the surface temperature, not the other way around.

            Nobody here has been able to write out a simple calculation showing why the mean temperature of the ocean surface is what it is, bearing in mind that incident radiation is very variable. Hence, nobody here can in any way what-so-ever place any validity upon the greenhouse radiative forcing conjecture.

          • geran,

            The sun obviously drives both convection and conduction.

        • FTOP says:

          Further to Geran’s point. At sea level near the equator, Put a bucket of water under an umbrella in the shade and measure its temperature 20cm below the surface. Put another bucket in the sun right beside it and measure its temperature.

          The difference between sun and shade proves the sun is the power source.

          Now go to 25,000 feet with the same two buckets and do the same.

          What happens to the water temperature?

          The difference between low altitude and high altitude proves the atmospheric is the regulator.

          This is why it is hard to boil noodles in the mountains, the lower atmospheric pressure reduces the boiling point of water.

          The atmosphere regulates based on its weight. The more weight the tighter the temperature ranges. Heavy atmospheres with the same insolation create planets with warmer average temperatures, but less swings from day to night. Lighter, thinner atmospheres have lower average temperatures but greater swings from day to night.

          The atmosphere is not a blanket, it is a pressure gauge determined by weight and gravity.

          This CO2 myth will go the way of the 24 chromosome science.

          • FTOP,

            That is broadly correct.

            The amount of incoming solar radiation that the oceans can hold on to is determined by the weight of the atmosphere pressing on the surface and thereby affecting the energy value of the latent heat of vapourisation.

            At 1 bar atmospheric pressure the ratio between the energy required to initiate evaporation and the energy taken up in latent form by evaporation is about 1 to 5.

            If the pressure were zero (no atmosphere) the ratio would be 1 to 1 and the oceans wopuld boil away nearly instantly.

            If the pressure were 2 bar then the oceans would need to become a lot hotter in order to support the energy demands of evaporation at a ratio of 1 to 10.

          • DJC says:

            Stephen: Go back to this comment and the following one.

          • DJC,

            If incoming radiation is absorbed at a point above the surface then the warmed gases will expand, become lighter and rise.

            Those rising gases then leave lower pressure in the vertical column beneath which draws less warm gases in from the surroundings which then show a tendency to sink.

            If the atmosphere is to remain in hydrostatic equilibrium, as it must, the decompression and cooling of rising air must exactly equal compression and warming of falling air.

            So, as soon as any upward movement begins from any height then a complete cell of convective overturning develops from surface to top of atmosphere or to an inversion layer such as the tropopause.

            Warmth at the surface is therefore maintained by compression of air in descending columns converting PE back to KE.

            There is no need to propose any sort of heat creep against the thermal gradient.

          • DJC says:


            You haven’t answered my questions, and you can’t.

            (1) When new solar energy is absorbed in the upper troposphere each Venus morning over a large portion of the sunlit hemisphere of Venus, which way does that new energy disperse – up, down or sideways?

            (2) If a large sheet (layer) of the upper troposphere of Earth or Venus is warmed in the morning, you say that air (or gas) starts to rise. So where and why is there compensating falling? It can’t be underneath that warmed sheet because it would leave a vacuum. How does that region of the surface (maybe a third of the whole globe or more) get warmed that morning if the whole sheet of warmed air (with all the new thermal energy the Sun can deliver that day) is up in the troposphere rising away from the surface? You’re crazy, Stephen: you just don’t think, and you don’t understand how, when and why entropy is maximized. If you imaginary system is not maximizing entropy then it is indeed nothing but imaginary. You never even mention the word entropy, because you don’t understand it.

            Go and read my calculations in this comment showing that the Sun’s direct radiation cannot deliver sufficient energy to explain the surface temperatures, and even the 390W/m^2 shown in Energy Budgets would only explain a mean surface temperature of about 3C even when back radiation is incorrectly counted. It seems you are depending on that solar warming to occur.

          • DJC says:

            Unless you can explain, Stephen, how the required thermal energy actually gets into the surfaces of Venus and Earth in order to make the temperature rise each morning (whether or not there is cloud cover blocking direct solar radiation) then you don’t get off Square 1.

            You are the one, Stephen, denying that thermal energy can enter the surface as it maximizes entropy, so you are the one denying that the Second Law of Thermodynamics operates and maximizes entropy, as physicists know it will tend to do.

            So, because you deny what actually has been proven to occur with physical experiments with centrifugal force, you leave yourself with no explanation as to why your descending magical parcels (with nothing to hold them together) somehow deliver more thermal energy to the surface each morning than they then take back, because the surface temperature is rising. On the one hand you talk about an adiabatic process, and then you assume your adiabatic process is, as your fictitious parcels fall, creating more KE than the PE that it originally acquired (as those parcels rose) from the smaller amount of KE that it got from the surface, because the surface had to retain some in order to rise in temperature each morning.

          • DJC says:

            See comments below and this one above.

          • DJC says:

            and Stephen

            There is absolutely nothing in physics which says that increasing pressure will always increase temperature, or that high pressure will maintain high temperatures. Temperature is an independent variable based on mean molecular kinetic energy. You don’t get higher temperatures just by making a gas more dense with more new molecules all having the same mean kinetic energy as the first lot. You only get higher temperatures by increasing mean kinetic energy. If a whole “parcel” moves up or down due to pressure differences, then that movement is a form of wind, because wind is what we get when differences in density (away from the normal) occur. Upward and downward moving winds do not form a temperature gradient based on an exchange of PE and KE. That gradient is derived …
            m.g.dH = -m.cp.dT
            dT/dH = -g/cp
            and is based on an adiabatic (molecular) exchange of PE and KE in a process that cannot have external energy involved as happens with wind. You are trying to speed up the process by drawing analogies with the well-known wind cells that have up and down motion mostly around 0, 30, 60 and 90 degrees of latitude. There’s a lot of Earth’s surface between those latitudes. Such winds are not the reason for the temperature gradient.

            What you don’t understand is that thermal energy can move much faster via molecular collisions than net physical movement of molecules (because many molecules go backwards after a collision) and even without any such observable NET movement in natural convective heat transfers which, in physics, include diffusion and are ONLY by molecular collision – by definition.

          • DJC says:

            PS: It’s all explained in this comment above, Stephen. If your cold air moves in from the side it makes the temperature gradient steeper than normal and there will then be upward convection, not your falling parcels of air. Everything would be going up (according to you) wherever the Sun warms anything all over at least a third of the globe where the Sun’s radiation is reasonably effective in the stratosphere and upper troposphere, warming the tops of clouds for example. Goodbye to our atmosphere.

        • geran says:

          Doug asks “What’s your point?”

          My point is contained in Doug’s first sentence: “…solar energy maintains all planetary and satellite moon temperatures…”

      • Chuck L says:

        Dr Roy, What is your take on the theory that further increases in CO2 will have less effect on temperature, all things being equal, due to the absorption spectra being nearly saturated. If this is so, and the so-far unobserved prediction/scenario/forecast/whatever of increased water vapor fails to materialize, then it stands to reason, that most of the increase in temperature from CO2 has probably already occurred.

        • Kevin Joncas says:

          Rise in temperature with increasing CO2 concentration is asymptotic.

          • mpainter says:

            I have something very interesting and quite unusual in climate science. It’s called data. There is a good example of that at the head of the latest post: the UAH November plot. You ought to check it out-fascinating stuff, that data.

      • DJC says:

        Roy wrote “based on the theory … “

        What “theory” Roy? The GH guesswork does not have the status of a “theory” in physics. There’s no empirical evidence supporting the implication that each 1% of water vapor raises the surface temperature by about 20 degrees. There’s no proof that the Second Law of Thermodynamics can be violated. At best, it is ignored. You really do need a better understanding of the laws of thermodynamics, Roy, and the process whereby entropy is maximized. Frankly, with all the respect I can muster up, you are very gullible to lapping up the fictitious, fiddled physics of climatology. Back radiation slows radiative cooling of the surface, but the Sun’s direct radiation reaching the surface is totally insufficient to raise the surface temperature to observed values in the first place. And you know back radiation does not warm water. That ought to make you smell a rat.

  2. mpainter says:

    COP21 is so obviously cosmetic that it is hard to imagine that the participating governments take it seriously or that the virulent greens will swallow the “placebo”. The French government seems to realize that it does not go down with those types and have issued some emergency decrees: they have banned public outdoor gatherings and have placed over twenty persons under house arrest.

    My prediction: COP21 will spur the movement instead of appeasing it.

  3. Ric Werme says:

    I suggest we go out of our way to help make the placebos work best. I.e. humor the delegates and let them enjoy the warm glow of how much they’ve helped to save our planet from wasting away. Of course, they may misinterpret that warm glow as global warming, so a few well-placed eye rolls and snickers will still be warranted.

    I, for one, am looking forward to the Paris COP being as successful as Copenhagen was, and if I had any idea of who makes up the US delegation, I’d pat them on the head and say “Maybe a little less caviar next year, hmm?”

  4. Jim E. says:

    Why don’t we just let the alarmists make their agreements – and ask them to drive smaller cars, live closer to work, move to smaller homes, to live like the people in India and China do. If they agree, I’ll move to a 400 square foot apartment and ride a bike to work – just like they want me to.

    • Ben Palmer says:

      “and ask them to drive smaller cars, live closer to work, move to smaller homes, to live like the people in India and China do.+
      The point is, they start from the premise that their life is already green compliant, so whatever they impose through UN policies will only affect gaz guzzlers, SUV drivers, house owners, coal-powered power plants, and rich capitalists. All those they hate, for various reasons but none linked to CO2.

  5. Neville says:

    Here’s the Royal Society and National Academy of Science reports’ question 20 and they tell us that if we stopped all human co2 emissions today we wouldn’t see a change in temp or co2 levels for thousands of years. This rather stuffs up the COP 21 mitigation strategy. And this was written by 5 IPCC lead authors and 2 IPCC authors. Solomons and Trenberth were among these IPCC authors. What’s a poor layman to make of this I wonder? Here’s question 20 and their answer———–
    And here’s the Royal Society link.
    20. If emissions of greenhouse gases were stopped, would the climate return to the conditions of 200 years ago?
    Climate change: evidence and causes

    No. Even if emissions of greenhouse gases were to suddenly stop, Earths surface temperature would not cool and return to the level in the pre-industrial era for thousands of years.

    fig9-smallFigure 9. If global emissions were to suddenly stop, it would take a long time for surface air temperatures and the ocean to begin to cool, because the excess CO2 in the atmosphere would remain there for a long time and would continue to exert a warming effect. Model projections show how atmospheric CO2 concentration (a), surface air temperature (b), and ocean thermal expansion (c) would respond following a scenario of business-as-usual emissions ceasing in 2300 (red), a scenario of aggressive emission reductions, falling close to zero 50 years from now (orange), and two intermediate emissions scenarios (green and blue). The small downward tick in temperature at 2300 is caused by the elimination of emissions of short-lived greenhouse gases, including methane. Source: Zickfeld et al., 2013 (larger version)

    If emissions of CO2 stopped altogether, it would take many thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to pre-industrial levels due to its very slow transfer to the deep ocean and ultimate burial in ocean sediments. Surface temperatures would stay elevated for at least a thousand years, implying extremely long-term commitment to a warmer planet due to past and current emissions, and sea level would likely continue to rise for many centuries even after temperature stopped increasing (see Figure 9). Significant cooling would be required to reverse melting of glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet, which formed during past cold climates. The current CO2-induced warming of Earth is therefore essentially irreversible on human timescales. The amount and rate of further warming will depend almost entirely on how much more CO2 humankind emits.

    • mpainter says:

      Good news because the earth has been cooling for the last six thousand years or so. Glaciers started expanding at that time and have ever since. We are currently in what (real) climatologists call the Neo-glacial, which is in fact the onset of the next ice age. If we can believe the hype, CO2 will help delay that. IF we can believe the hype. I don’t believe it, myself.

    • Sam Pyeatte says:

      Given the range of natural variation, whatever effect human activity has on climate is lost as noise and is undetectable.

  6. Mark Bofill says:

    Almost, Dr. Spencer. Your placebo pill image would have been perfect if you put a 13 trillion dollar price tag next to it.

  7. Thomas says:

    Dude can you not detect the cynicism and satire with every word that has been typed ???

    • Martin C says:

      Doug, stop your BS about your theory, and just leave.

      Co2, as well as water vapor, is a ‘radiative insulator’. It slows down the loss of heat from the earth’s surface. That means the earth will be a bit warmer THAN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WITHOUT THE additional CO2 in the atmosphere as compared to , say, 20 years ago. That is it.

      We don’t care about your spewings.

      Dr Spencer, please delete Doug’s posts.

      • I just deleted them from this thread. Doug knows he’s banned, but he persists. I can’t keep up with his myriad screen names and IP addresses. At least he stopped pretending to be someone else (I think).

        • Doug~Cotton says:


          Geran realizes I’m right in explaining how the Sun maintains all planetary temperatures – see this comment. “All” temperatures means even those down to the core. Uranus is not cooling off – there’s no convincing evidence of significant energy loss at TOA, and so it proves what I have explained about “heat creep” that transfers thermal energy up the temperature profile. So too do experiments with centrifugal force.

          You can’t fight off the truth in the long run, Roy.

          The sooner you listen and study what I have said, ask questions and come to a correct understanding, the better will be your contribution to the world.

          You are in a position where you can influence the world Roy, but you should have a guilty conscience about what you are doing when you endorse the Luke position. It’s wrong.

          Have a Happy 60th birthday this month, while I have my 70th.

  8. Vincent says:

    That’s an excellent perspective, Dr Spencer, and well-expressed with humour, wit and insight. However, I have a sneaking impression that eventually some good might arise from the exaggerated claims about the harmful effects of AGW.

    There’s no doubt that mining and burning coal is a dirty business which destroys the natural landscape and pollutes the atmosphere. China in particular is very much aware of this. The air pollution from coal in their major cities is well above the recommended safety levels for good health.

    Diesel and petrol automobiles are both noisy and polluting. A world which uses primarily solar power, with fossil-fuel back-up when necessary, and a world in which the electric car is the norm, will be a much nicer place to live.

    • Robert Austin says:

      “A world which uses primarily solar power”
      Dream on Vincent, the laws of physics preclude your fantasy, unless you include nuclear fusion being akin to solar energy. And come to think of it, fossil fuels are concentrated solar energy so let’s us what providence has given us.

      • Vincent says:


        That’s simply not true. The laws of Physics indicate that the total area of the Sahara desert alone, if covered with solar panels, could provide over 20 times the total amount of energy, of all forms (converted into kWh), that the world currently uses and is projected to use for several years into the future.

        Of course, it’s understood that covering the Sahara desert with solar panels and building thousands of kilometres of HVDC transmission lines in all direction, is not a practical thing to do and would have unacceptable security implications.

        The point is, the fact that 1/20th of the area of the Sahara desert, covered with solar panels, would be sufficient to meet all our power needs, makes solar power a realistic option.

        After the initial expense of constructing HVDC transmission lines to transmit power from where the sun shines, to where it doesn’t shine at a particular moment of time, and after the initial expenses of developing electric motors to replace the internal combustion engine, the total cost of solar power per kWh could realistically be both cheaper and cleaner than coal and oil, and that would represent real progress for mankind.

        The nuclear option is seen by too many people as having unacceptable dangers, as a result of real and terrifying accidents
        that have occurred in the past, whether due to human incompetence or natural disasters.

        • geran says:

          Nuclear power is the answer. Of course safety is important and must be diligently practiced, but, even with some accidents, nuclear plants have proved safe. Compare fatalities at nuclear plants to automobile accidents, for example. Consider the 100’s of nuclear plants in operation world wide, many are now more than 30 years old–pretty safe record.

          Nuclear fuel is abundant and clean. Go for it!

        • Robert Austin says:

          Still sounds like a wet dream fantasy. And what are the alleged dangers of controlled nuclear fusion? Not that we are anywhere near to achieving controlled fusion but there is more chance of achieving it than an all renewables fantasy.

        • Bart says:

          “The point is, the fact that 1/20th of the area of the Sahara desert, covered with solar panels, would be sufficient to meet all our power needs, makes solar power a realistic option.”

          In what world?

          The area of the Sahara desert is 9.4 trillion square meters. 1/20th of that is 470 billion square meters. If we covered that area with just 1 cm of material, it would require 4.7 billion cubic meters.

          Consider aluminum as the base material, and note that it would require a good bit more than 1 cm per square meter for a solar farm stretching over that area. But, with just that, consider that total worldwide aluminum production is 49.300 million tonnes. With a density of 2.7 gm/cm^3, that is 49.300 X 1000 tonnes X 1000 kg/tonne X 1/2.7 cm^3/gm X 1000 gm/kg X (1 m / 100 cm)^3 = 18.3 million cubic meters of material per year.

          At total worldwide production levels, that would require 4.7e9/18.3e6 = 257 years to produce.

          Total. Worldwide. Production. For a 1 cm layer across that area.

          It isn’t going to happen.

          • Mark Luhman says:

            Thanks Bart add on to it that the electronics and cell would need to be replaced about every ten years, and we have no way to store the electricity and long distance transmission is a loser Vincent fantasy is just that, at the present solar cells to power the world would work as well as running on electric gas turbines fueled with Unicorn flatulence, both pipe dreams a what fairy tails are made of.

          • Bart says:

            Typo in the above, but it’s still the right answer:

            With a density of 2.7 gm/cm^3, that is 49.300 X 1,000,000 tonnes X 1000 kg/tonne X 1/2.7 cm^3/gm X 1000 gm/kg X (1 m / 100 cm)^3 = 18.3 million cubic meters of material per year.

    • mpainter says:

      Vincent says:

      “However, I have a sneaking impression that eventually some good might arise from the exaggerated claims about the harmful effects of AGW.”


      Best let that impression sneak back, lest you find yourself in fuel poverty some day. For the good of humankind, the exaggerated claims of the AGW zealots must be resisted. Fossil fuels do not pollute if certain controls are employed. Atmospheric CO2 is entirely beneficial.

      • mpainter says:

        Presently, half of the nation has been overcast for the last three-four days. Solar panels for the power needs of over one hundred million people? Windmills? Batteries? The absurdity of “renewables” is plain to see, unless the brain is fogged by AGW zealotry.

        • Vincent says:

          That’s why you need HVDC transmission lines, Mpainter. If only half the nation is overcast, no problem. Presumably the sun is shining in the other half.

          Also, there are a number of different designs of solar cells. Some are designed to work efficiently in strong sunlight, but unfortunately work inefficiently in weak sunlight. Others are designed for maximum efficiency in ordinary daylight on overcast days.

          I can see no good reason why, for example, 2/3rds of the average house roof could not be covered with solar panels that work on overcast days, and 1/3rd that work in bright sunlight.

          We are limited only by our imagination. Digital camera sensors can generate electricity in very poor lighting, as you probably know.

        • mpainter says:

          Vincent says “We are only limited by our imagination”
          Some are limited by lack of basic math skills and try to make do with their imagination. So half the nation is to furnish power for the whole of the nation under your scheme, if only we replace our whole electric infrastructure. Good luck on pushing that.

          • Vincent says:


            Did you miss the earlier point I made that the Sahara desert alone could provide over 20 times the world consumption of power, if covered with solar panels? Do you think that is mathematically incorrect?

            It’s understood that the sun doesn’t shine everywhere at the same time, hence the need for long-distance transmission lines with low loss, and/or solar cells designed for weak sunlight or ordinary daylight. America has lots of arid regions where the sun does shine on most days.

            Even the surface of lakes can be a base for solar panels. The presence of the solar panels will also reduce evaporation, which would be beneficial during periods of drought.

            Whatever your math skills, or physics skills, without imagination you are stumped.

          • mpainter says:

            Vincent,you don’t sound very well versed in the practical aspects of this. You are tooting energy utopia: talking points that you picked up somewhere from some solar panel sales blog. Nothing is cheaper than coal fired power generation, unless it’s cheap natural gas. No Sale.

          • Bart says:

            Carpeting even 1/20th of the Sahara with solar panels is a pipe dream. See above.

          • lewis says:

            North Carolina would require 500,000 acres be covered in solar panels to supply the energy needs of the state. This does not include storage. North Carolina has some 33 million acres, so less than 2% would need to be covered in the ever so attractive solar panel farms. The land being used for this is typically farm land. Fortunately the NC legislature recently let the subsidies expire, so we won’t be giving tax money to special interests for this in the short term.

            Then there is the actual cost of building the panels. The mining, manufacture, transportation and installation. All depend upon fossil fuels to occur.

            We should let the market decide. Individuals who wish to, companies who wish to, can install at their whim. Unfortunately the power companies are required to supply backup to these intermittent supplies. It’s a bad deal until a good storage method is devised. And even then, we need to stop using farm land as the place to plant them.

    • Vincent says:


      I know that CO2 is not a pollutant, and I know that a modern Ultra Supercritical coal-fired power plant emits far less noxious gases and particulate carbon than a conventional coal power plant.

      If Australia wishes to promote its coal exports, it should also be promoting the construction of these modern Ultra Supercritical power plants. As far as I know, we don’t have a single one in the whole of Australia, but China and India already have a few.

    • AndyG55 says:

      “pollutes the atmosphere”

      Coal burning DOES NOT pollute the atmosphere.

      The real pollutants are very well controlled, especially in the most modern power stations.

      The only outputs are CO2 and H2O, neither of which is a pollutant, and both of which are highly important for all life on this planet.

      • Sam Pyeatte says:

        For this country, that is true, but only because we utilize advanced combustion technology and scrubbers to eliminate the physical carbon called soot. What remains is CO2 and water. In countries like China and India to my knowledge they are not using scrubbers yet in their power generating facilities. Their added problem is widespread, they burn coal in residential houses which is especially dirty, and will take a long time to rectify on a large scale.

  9. Regarding “necessary for life to exist on Earth—and, given that, is in amazingly short supply”: Is not atmospheric CO2 now around 400 PPMV and has it not oscillated largely between 180 and 300 PPMV in the past few hundred thousand years? I think 400 PPMV is not “in amazingly short supply” in comparison to even the past peaks, let alone the dips, of the past few hundred thousand years.

    • FTOP says:

      200 ppm very dangerous
      400 ppm risk reduced
      800 ppm higher crop yields probably optimal
      1000 ppm more benefit than risk

      Dr. spencer is right. It is in short supply and low co2 could lead to mass starvation. Lowering CO2 emissions is a fool’s errand.

      • Aaron S says:

        1% CO2 has potential downside. See there is this thing called evolution and natural selection and ever since the late miocene there have been major reorganization of ecosystems to the CO2 starved world. An abrupt shift back very well might change ecosystems back to the Miocene Savannahs. A green house is a poor analogy for a natural system. The largest cenozoic extinction relates to this faunal reorg from the floral shift.

        • mpainter says:

          Let’s get our facts straight:
          1% CO2 is 10,000 ppm.

          • FTOP says:

            Climate science does not equal Math

          • Gunga Din says:

            FTOP says:
            November 30, 2015 at 12:10 PM

            Climate science does not equal Math

            Sure it does. (From a certain point of view.)

          • Mark Luhman says:

            If we were to burn all the so call fossil fuels available to us, we won’t get much above 1000 PPM let alone 10,000 PPM. With the climate sensitivity around 1.6 c per doubling, if the warming was linear, which it is not it is logarithmic. We can expect about 1.6 degrees warmer above the base temperature of the 1940 at a CO2 level 460 PPM. That would be close to the temperature of the Medieval warming period The second doubling would put at +3.3 C about where it was during the Roman warm period, the last doubling would put is at +4.9 some where were it was at at the end of the last Ice age, if you figure it will take something like 1000 + years to get there I think the human population can adapt very nicely. Personalty I think the climate sensitivity for CO2 is around .5 or less in either case AGW is a moot point only out there to scare the chicken little in this world to accept more government control!

            OH by the way if we had a decent way to store electricity electric cars would be great, electric motors are superior to internal combustion engines in many way first and foremost far more torque available far faster. the is one seldom considered cavorts with electric cars, you have to keep in mind a battery of storing 30KV of electric energy in a small package would be a small bomb if that energy is released at once, such a thing would happen in accidents.

          • paul says:

            goodbye aaron s

          • Aaron S says:

            Ahh yes .1% and i wish i could say i forgot the period but just posted on the run. But the conversion error only makes me look dumb. It does not change that at 1000 ppm or 0.1% the same statements apply. The literature shaws a distict shift from C3 metaboloc pathways to C4 metabolic pathways at about 500ppm, which was crossed between 4 to 7 Ma. Hello Paul!

          • Aaron S says:

            I give up. “Shows a distinct shift” “metabolic”

    • AndyG55 says:

      If you knew anything, you would recognise that zig-zag between 180 and 280ppm as a classic “existence” curve.

      It drops to 180, and a lot of plants die, releasing CO2 to bring it back to 280ppm

      This proves that 280ppm is the absolute base-level for plant subsistence.

      400ppm barely above that…. sort of like a diet of stale bread and water for a human.

      Plant grow much, much better in 1000ppm + atmospheric CO2.

      • Aaron S says:

        Im staying polite here. So agreed plants that use a C3 metabolic pathway like trees do much better with more CO2. Problem is since the Miocene much of the global mid latitude ecosystems equilibrated to starved or low CO2 and C4 grasslands that can only out compete C3 in a low CO2 world created the world we know today. Thus returning to high CO2 could tip the balance and force changes on ecosystems. This in theory is a bad thing. So its not as simple as CO2 good! That said the CO2 trends during the floral shift are poorly resolved and it may not be as simple as i describe.

        • lewis says:

          I always find it humorous when some change in the ecosystem is described as a ‘bad thing’. Bad for what? Bad for who? Only humans have this capacity to judge, so it must be ‘bad for humans’. Nothing else cares. Especially the earth. It cares not a whit.

          • Aaron S says:

            The shift from Miocene savanah to open grassland caused the largest cenozoic extinction, even bigger than even the ice age or the end of the ice age 10kyr ago. Also, it sorta led to your existence as naked apes emerged from the ripparian forest into the open ecosystem. So we might be talking about something with potential to change things. I do agree though… i dont see it as catastrophic doomsday. It could be a climate optimum… with some loosers but more winners

          • mpainter says:

            My understanding is that the largest extinction was at the K-T boundary and the second largest at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. The Oligocene was an ice age.
            The Miocene extinctions were of no greater significance than those. All geologic eras are (or were, before revisionism set in) based on changes in fossil assemblages: extinctions.

            But the biosphere never stops evolving and it never reverses to former conditions. The idea that it “could” or “might” because of increasing atmospheric CO2 is ludicrous. Especially so, since this era of increased atmospheric CO2 is not even a blip on the screen. Fossil fuels will be gone in a generation or two. The handwringers are basically neurotic. But neurotic is the fashion, these days.

        • mpainter says:

          All science that is intended to support cAGW is faulty, with flawed assumptions, data, reasoning, etc., without exception. Aaron s provides an example from the life science global warmers.

          By this article, we are to believe that atmospheric CO2 is pernicious for the biosphere because it makes grass grow faster than other plants. Aaron swallows this crapola uncritically.

          Here is the truth: grasslands in N America and elsewhere were cultivated, unless too arid. In N America, much of this cultivation has been abandoned west of the 98th meridion where it is too dry or east of that where soils are too poor. These former grasslands have largely reverted to forest.

          Forest, not grassland. Not because of CO2 or lack of it. But for the lack of grassfires that maintained the grassland biome. So the role that fire plays in the maintainance of grasslands is ignored by these would-be scientists and all is CO2. CAGW is the perversion of science. Aaron s types are the agents of such perversion. He wastes his time bringing such rubbish to a skeptics blog.

          • Aaron S says:

            First of all the cerling paper is before all this got so political. Secondly you are mostly right that the alternative model relates to increased seasonality and fires but 5ma before humans or cultivation. But it is difficult for me to envision a global outcome of grassland formation at mid latitudes from a regional trend like fire. Recently the debate got more interesting when the Yale group found solid evidence that CO2 did in fact drop through the miocene pliocene boundary. As far as taking this blindly: my advisors were all into paleosol isotopes and reconstructing CO2. I personally felt it was not a valid proxy. I started my PhD believing in CO2 driven warming but finished really curious about the neglected sun and a skeptic of models. I do appreciate the personal judgement/ attack based on a data driven argument. Sort of put things into perspective. Many of you want to polarize the issue into: CO2 is good! And it mostly is but humans are no different than any other species we can mess this place up just like microbes did when they changed the atmosphere, or trees when they swamped the oceans with organic debris and caused oceanic anoxia. Life is in a feedback relationship with earth. I am an agw skeptic but i follow the data not some weird belief that humans are riteous. When u do the opposite you are exactly the same as the agw followers.. faith driven. I prefer data.

          • mpainter says:

            Anybody ever offer the premise that C4 plants more efficiently utilize moisture-poor soils and hence their ascendance on their present range?

            As far as the role of fire in maintaining grasslands, talk to the folks that manage the Caddo National Grasslands; they will explain it it to you: Juniperus virginia.

            The same species has caused the State of Oklahoma to declare that species a pest and to establish a standing committee to examine means of dealing with the problem, which is now epidemic on Oklahoma grasslands.

            A different species of juniper is establishing itself in the west, in the state of Washington, for example.

            And the most notable example of all: the grasslands of central Texas have for over one hundred years been replaced by another juniper. Juniper burns like a torch, foliage and all.

            No one familiar with these facts ever questions the role of fire in maintaining grasslands.

          • mpainter says:

            To clarify, central Texas formerly was all grassland. Now it is all juniper. The settling of the land put an end to natural grassfires. That put an end to grassland.

            There is one benefit: an inexhaustible supply of excellent fence posts. These will last 50 years or more. They never decay. The oil of the wood, which makes the genus so susceptible to fire, prevents decay.

  10. Jack Stuhrman says:

    A placebo will only complicate an iatrogenic disorder when the disease is hypochondriasis.

  11. John F. Hultquist says:

    Earlier this year Doug~Cotton claimed he would only post once each year on each web site. Or so I recall.
    Looking forward to December.

    • bev says:

      Doug says:

      “I said no such thing.”

      On Aug 28, 2015, Doug wrote the following:

      “Firstly, Roy I suggested three comments per thread would be a realistic restriction/compromise and I will adhere to that”.

      No ‘if’, ‘but’, ‘maybe’,or ‘if we agree’. Simply (my emphasis)


      There are already THIRTEEN comments from him on this thread! There are THIRTY-FIVE on the previous thread!!
      There are FIFTY-FIVE on the thread before that!!!

      • Mack says:

        I agree bev. I think for Roy’s and everybody else’s sanity, this crank Cotton should be restricted to 3 comments/thread and any more comments bounced.

  12. tim says:

    Its unbelievable when people like Al Gore and Prince Charles preach to us. Why don’t they set an example and reduce their own personal Carbon footprint. Charlie Boy and his family jet all around the world on holidays, contributing very little to our UK economy.

  13. Xavier says:

    D. Cotton…..”beyond a shadow of a doubt”, is not science.

  14. Mike M says:

    No Roy, it is not a placebo, it is an affirmation of their mental disorder of having to have something to worry about and beratement of those who refuse to worry along side of them, (a typically female trait). My proof is that we never hear “good news” from any of them after these meetings; it is always a more desperate cry of despair.

  15. Vincent says:

    3 hrs, 25 mins ago
    Vincent,you don’t sound very well versed in the practical aspects of this. You are tooting energy utopia: talking points that you picked up somewhere from some solar panel sales blog. Nothing is cheaper than coal fired power generation, unless it’s cheap natural gas. No Sale.

    Not true. I’m a very practical sort of person. I’m inspired by great innovation. I understand that new technology in its initial stages of development can be prohibitively expensive, without the help of subsidies.

    However, once the new technology is perceived as being ‘cool’ and ‘desirable’ by the masses, the price can fall dramatically. We’ve seen that happening with computer technology, and in particular with digital cameras, which were ridiculously expensive about 15 to 20 years ago, but are now much cheaper than quality film cameras ever were.

    I have no doubt that solar power has enormous potential. The sun is the most essential factor for all life on this planet. Let’s utilize its power for God’s sake!
    As regards cost comparisons, the external costs of coal production and coal burning are difficult to estimate. How can one put a price on the health consequences for millions of people in smoggy Beijing, and other cities around the world? That would be even more complicated and uncertain than the science of climate change.

    • John F. Hultquist says:

      Vincent writes: “Im a very practical sort of person.

      So Vincent, do a few calculations. Estimate the number of solar panels needed to replace, say 1/3, of the electricity now flowing on grids in the USA. Next, show the source of the mateials to make those panels and all the supporting materials (steel, concrete, roads, and land, ). About the land: pick your panel size and its supports and calculate how much land is necessary for that 1/3 power. Give an answer in acres. Is that the size of Rhode Island or the size of Montana? How many acres can be built out as needed in a year? Where are the acres available? Where are the transmission lines? Do you need to transfer power from, say Arizona to Washington State, or from Florida to New Hampshire? Deal with the problem of night time versus Noon. Do you handle this by storage, thus needing lots of extra panels for when they do produce, or do you move power from the side of the Earth that is lit by the Sun into those parts that are dark. The storage issue isn’t solved and moving electricity long distances is possible {See: Path 66}, but not without issues. Then think of the operating (or spinning) reserve needed to support the system.
      Please get back to us when you have worked out these issues. I’m a practical sort of peson and am much interested in solutions. Thanks.

  16. mpainter says:

    “Solar power has enormous potential”
    Right. Let’s talk about the here and now. You’ve admitted the shortcoming of solar power regarding cost effectiveness. There is no other criteria in the US. Our power plants are clean, by law.
    For the latest solar power fiasco/boondoggle, see Ivanpah. This is one of obumas toys at public expense.
    Their excuse for not being able to repay the public loan? ..
    Listen carefully, Vincent:

    “Not enough sunshine.” Ivanpah…look it up.

    • bev says:


      One by-product – employment for biologists. They employed 100 of them and spent $22m tut-tutting over a couple of hundred desert tortoises who had to be evicted. These animals spend 95% of their time panting in burrows. Not much quality of life there, at the best of times, in my opinion. But I am not a tortoise.

      They forgot to tut-tut about wild birds. Another regular by-product, now, of the plant is “barbecue wings”.

      The investors have demanded a federal grant of $539m – to pay off a federal loan. You would think the accountants could have disguised it a bit better.

      • mpainter says:

        They have also formally requested permission to increase (by 60%) their use of NATURAL GAS to fire the boiler at the plant. Natural gas as a boiler fuel is now cheap enough to compete with coal. A natural gas power generation plant would have cost less than a tenth, at the same kWh rating.

        Also Google is #2 investor in this project and they have recently ramped up their AGW posturing/propagandizing.

        • Vincent says:

          As Winston Churchill said, “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”

          I’m sure you’ll learn from the mistakes of Ivanpah when you contstruct your next solar farm. (wink).

          However, apart from the danger to certain wildlife, and perhaps the poor decision to use natural gas to fire up the boiler each day, generation for the first quarter in 2015 was up 170% over the same quarter in 2014.

          • mpainter says:

            Your type never learns. And Churchill was wrong. We never learn, either. The government graft and boondoggles go from bad to worse, as do our presidents.

  17. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thanks, Roy. Very entertaining.

  18. Johnathon says:

    Great post Roy!

  19. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Hi Vincent,
    ” We’ve seen that happening with computer technology, and in particular with digital cameras, which were ridiculously expensive about 15 to 20 years ago, but are now much cheaper than quality film cameras ever were.”

    Many people like you seems believe that as the market demand increases the costs fall a lot. This had been true for electronics, but like for the CO2 with temperature, correlation could not be causation.
    In fact the most important thing that lowered the electronic costs wasn’t the market demand (it did indeed, but just a little). It was the improvement in electronics integration. Producing high purity silicon wafers today is not so cheaper than 30 years ago. What it lowered the prices of the silicon electronics is the integration improvements happened in last years. Just for example, when I started my professional career a microcontroller with 256 Bytes of RAM and 4 kBytes of ROM costed about $7, now a microcontroller with at least 10 times those memories and many other features embedded in it costs less than $1; the main reason of that is that the first had a 12x12mm silicon die, while the last has a 1x1mm silicon die.
    For a photovoltaic panel the silicon wafer area is a constraint because the converted power mainly depends on it. The maximum efficiency of a silicon solar panel depend on the superimposition of the Planck’s black body of the Sun with the one of the silicon, which is about 22% and the current monocrystalline technology is not so far from that limit.
    Other most efficient panels (such the one based upon the so called multi-junction solar cells) aren’t based on silicon, so their use is limited by the availability of the material, they are just almost lab experiments.
    For the above, I don’t expect so much price reduction for photovoltaic plants in future, at least if no price-breaking high performance new technologies will arise.
    But the worse thing about photovoltaic plants attached to the power grid, is that they don’t produce any useful power indeed. That because of their stochastic behaviour.
    Since the power production is not predictable, the grid owner is still obligated to produce the energy to avoid grid breakdowns in case of abrupt solar power reductions or increments, such in case of sparsely cloudy weather for example.
    Solar photovoltaic is not a “new technology” as you suppose.
    Despite it would work great for stand alone applications with backup batteries, it’s just a not convenient method for substituting the conventional power plants which supply the power grid.
    For the same reason windmills are not so much better, they are just a little better because the wind typically changes less abruptly than the Sun radiation.
    By the way, don’t believe that Sun and wind power are for free as someone want we believe they are.
    The climate impacts of solar power plants and wind farms are well known. Windmills reduce the wind speed, while solar plants heat up the surroundings because of their very low albedo. Both should finally increase the “Earth average temperature” (what the heck it is).

    Have a great day.


    • Vincent says:

      Massimo PORZIO says:
      November 30, 2015 at 8:45 AM
      Hi Vincent,
      Many people like you seems believe that as the market demand increases the costs fall a lot. This had been true for electronics, but like for the CO2 with temperature, correlation could not be causation.
      Hi Massimo,
      I don’t understand why you are so negative about this issue. I don’t have merely a belief that as market demand increases the cost falls. I’ve observed it is the case, but only where technology, innovation and the advantages of economy-of-scale are involved.

      If the demand for diamonds or antique masterpieces increases, then of course the price rises as a result of the limited supply. That’s a different situation.

      Solar technology without the initial government subsidies would have been prohibitivel expensive and would never have got off the ground, a bit like Medium Format digital cameras which are stuck at a high price due to a lack of demand.

      Whenever there is a strong demand for a manufactured product which is the result of lots of research and development, the free market economy will tend to encourage continuing research to make the product better and the manufacturing processes more efficient.

      We’ve seen this happening already with solar panels, and there is no reason to expect this will not continue into the future. For example, a quick search on the internet revealed that a solar cell efficiency of 44.7% has already been achieved in the laboratory. This is greater than the efficiency of most coal-fired power plants and the internal combustion engine.

      Here’s the relevant passage from Wikipedia.

      “The light arriving on the top plate is concentrated by a factor of 500, thanks to optic lenses made from silicon on glass (known as Fresnel lenses). After concentration, it is converted into electricity by multi-junction solar cells mounted on the bottom plate. Soitec modules achieve 31.8 percent efficiency. The company is carrying out R&D work to develop its own cells. Together with Fraunhofer ISE, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin, Soitec recently announced a world record in the laboratory, with cells achieving 44.7 percent efficiency.”

      Another interesting innovation is the concept of ‘Solar3D’, whereby a wide-angle collection is used in order to maintain efficiency when the sun’s rays are at an increasingly oblique angle towards the end of the day, or early in the morning.

      • Massimo PORZIO says:

        Hi Vincent,
        yes 44.7% is reached but for lab purpose as I anticipated you in my previous message.
        I visited the link you posted and I hope their research is a little less ingenuous than the two movies in that page.
        The problem is not in the reflection of the silicon surface, is in the superimposition of the black bodies.
        Focusing more light in less silicon is a known problem instead, because heating the junction reduces its efficiency.
        In the past, some foolish tried to cool the panels with water for removing the heat!!!
        The problem is that (if they use silicon which have the Planck’s black body centered at about 900nm) the energy conversion can’t be so much greater than the current monocrystalline planar cells. Viceversa, if they use other kind of junctions the availability of the junction material become the limit.

        To be explicit, I’m not contrary to solar panels per se (I hold an international patent which involves solar panels), but their stochastic behaviour make them useless at all for their connection to the power grid, and using batteries as energy dampers introduces another problem, that is the battery disposal.
        Anyway, remember that if technology was really mature, there were no needs of government financing for marketing it.

        There are much more other issues with solar panels that make me pessimist about its use for run an industrial economy, anyway I still hope someone one day could solve them all, but it’s just hope.

        Have a great day.


  20. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Hi Dr. Spencer,
    I don’t fully agree with the placebo analogy.
    Placebos are known for doing nothing, while this conference seems to prelude to heavy economical damages.
    In fact also M.D.s know that their double blind trials are not “blind” at all. The placebo has no side-effects, while the medicine typically has lots of side effects, so it can be easily identifiable.
    Instead, I would say that this conference is like an antidepressant drug. IMHO it’s a much better comparison because it acts like an “active placebo”. That is, it doesn’t heal the illness, but its strong side effects are felt by the patients as it works indeed, so it works.
    No matter if the patient feels unpleasant because of that, and no matter if in future he’ll diagnosed to be affected by the Alzheimer disease because of the “active placebo” abuse… It works in the mind of the patient, that’s all.

    Have a great day.


  21. The climate summit is stupidity to it’s highest degree the blind leading the blind. I wish I could address the fools and show them why they are out if it and are clueless when it comes to the climate.


    Some points I would bring out and hammer if I were there.

    The way I see it the Test is on and those who think AGW IS real are going to be very disappointed and this disappointment will be realized before this decade is out IF my low average value solar parameters are achieved and have some staying power. I think they will be achieved and then we will see which side is correct once and for all.

    In the end it will depend on the degree of magnitude change of solar parameters and the duration of that change.

    I think if certain low average value solar parameters are met they will bring a cooling to climate due to weakening solar conditions but more importantly the associated secondary effects associated with a prolonged minimum condition.

    If for example intense volcanic eruptions occur in response to prolonged solar minimum conditions which they have in the past according to the data global temperatures will decline, despite the ocean heat content which will by the way eventually decline.

    We may have more EL Nino’s when the sun is quiet? That is only when the sun is in a steady rhythmic cycle and does not apply to prolonged minimum solar conditions. Even so if El Nino’s are to occur they will be superimposed upon sea surface temperatures in general which will be on the decline.

    Another factor which I think has to be watched is what is happening with Antarctica. The S. Ocean is way below normal in temperature and that could be one of those factors which is dismissed to create a climate impact. It is always the factors that are dismissed that I focus on.

    Then the atmospheric circulation pattern as we know can change the distribution of global temperatures in way that does not necessarily bring the global world wide temperatures down as a whole but effects the distribution of where the cold global temperatures are, which could create global cooling where it counts, the mid to high latitudes while leaving lower latitudes not much changed which would result in your point of view about the oceans holding up temperatures and the global cooling point of view that prolonged minimum solar conditions create a trend toward Ice Age conditions if not by cooling the globe all that much as a whole but rather on a regional basis for phase 1. This later progresses if prolonged minimum solar conditions persist.

    I think these are some of the things that have to be watched.

    In addition the globe has been in a cooling trend since the Holocene Optimum some 8000 years ago punctuated by spikes of warmth and I think Milankovitch Cycles , the Geo Magnetic Field with solar activity superimposed upon those two factors explain it quite well. This current warm spell is just one of those spikes in temperature in an overall cooling trend in my opinion post the Holocene Optimum.

    I want to see how high the temperatures spikes are with this El Nino and as you said how low it gets post this El Nino. My feeling is the spike will not be as high and the cooling post this El Nino will be greater. I think the cooling trend will be established before this decade ends and the unknown is climatic thresholds which are and must be out there because if one looks at the historical climatic record often times the climate goes along changing gradually then all of a sudden it changes in a step like fashion into another climate regime. That aspect seems to be being overlooked everyone seems to keep assuming the climate changes in a gradual fashion when past history shows us this is not the case and I think if the proper phasing of items that control the climate are achieved and the duration of time is long enough along with the degree of magnitude change that thresholds could be reached once again. I am not saying that will happen but if prolonged minimum solar conditions are achieve and are severe enough in magnitude and duration of time that possibility has to be considered.

  22. The above post was a recent conversation I had.

  23. WizGeek says:

    DJC: Your B.Sc. in Physics is hardly a match for actual physicists with doctorate degrees. You’ve never been a physicist, so your “Other physicists…” assertion is self-aggrandizement at best. Nice try though.

    • DJC says:

      What qualifications in physics do you have? I have done extensive post-graduate study in the very specialized field of entropy and thermodynamics. I suggest you discuss actual physics rather than make calls to authority. What persons with PhD’s in physics are working with climatology groups anyway? How many advise the IPCC? How many read this website?

  24. pochas says:

    Some recent work suggests that if the Moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, you get an El Nio.

  25. Toneb says:

    mpainter (mr Dunning-Kruger)

    “You have put your finger on the biggest flaw in the AGW scheme: air does not heat water because water is opaque to LWIR.
    SST is due to insolation only. CO2 has nothing to do with it. SST determines air temperature, not the reverse. The AGW hypothesis stands science on its head.”


    Excerpts from above:

    “If the surface of a water body is emitting IR, then IR must be part of its energy budget, and therefore of its temperature. Evaporation only occurs at the skin, and we know that evaporation is the major component of heat loss by water bodies. How is it that evaporation can perform this function, and IR cannot?”

    “I sometimes see the claim (usually in comments on a blog post) that infrared radiation cannot warm a water body, because IR only affects the skin surface of the water, and any extra heating would be lost through evaporation.

    I have tried to point out that evaporation, too, only occurs at the skin of a water surface, yet it is a major source of heat loss for water bodies. It may be that sunlight is more efficient, Joule for Joule, than infrared due to the depth of penetration effect (many meters rather than microns). But I would say it pretty clear that any heat source (or heat sink) like evaporation which only affects the skin is going to affect the entire water body as well, especially one that is continually being mixed by the wind.”

    Now read them in full.

    All of course just common sense as well as science.


    “We are currently in what (real) climatologists call the Neo-glacial, which is in fact the onset of the next ice age.”

    Really? When?
    You seem to like Wiki – so

    “The amount of solar radiation (insolation) in the Northern Hemisphere at 65 N seems to be related to occurrence of an ice age. Astronomical calculations show that 65 N summer insolation should increase gradually over the next 25,000 years. A regime of eccentricity lower than the current value will last for about the next 100,000 years. Changes in northern hemisphere summer insolation will be dominated by changes in obliquity. No declines in 65 N summer insolation, sufficient to cause a glacial period, are expected in the next 50,000 years.”

    Also a Video for you delectation:

    That’ll do for now.
    Just denying ignorance my friend …
    And, as you know – I will not be dragged down the rabbit-hole by such as you. So you will waste your breath – other than to get the converted cheering in the echo-chamber of course.
    Or, in other words, I heed the quote by Mark Twain. Or was it George Carlin.

    • FTOP says:

      No Virginia, CO2 “back radiation” cannot warm the ocean

      While I appreciate Dr Spencer’s faithfulness to “back radiation” the ocean mixing math just doesn’t add up.

      A process that interacts with .0001% of the first 10 meters of the ocean would have to be significantly warmer to effect its temperature. Add into this the fact that water has 4 times the heat capacity of air (and most of that capacity is the vapor that just evaporated from the ocean below) and you realize that the air would have to be thousands of degrees warmer to impact ocean temperature.

      The physics on ocean surface temperature are well established. The CO2 warming fairy tale, not so much.

      • DJC says:


        The physics of ocean surface temperatures is NOT well established.

        (1) The back radiation does not warm the ocean surface

        (2) The solar radiation has a mean of about 168W/m^2

        (3) The ocean surface temperature is a local maximum in the vertical plane, so it must be receiving thermal energy over and above what the Sun’s direct radiation supplies.

        I have been first in the world to use the Second Law of Thermodynamics to prove how the ocean surface gets the necessary extra thermal energy. When you think you can be the first to prove me wrong, make you submission to my blog.

    • mpainter says:

      “Or, in other words, I heed the quote by Mark Twain. Or was it George Carlin.”

      Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens): “I never pay any attention to that AGW drivel”

      George Carlin: “Ditto”


  26. sod says:

    I actually hear more “i can feel that it is cooling because it was cold last monday” comments from “sceptics” than i do similar remarks from my side of this debate.

    The effect of the Paris agreements will be noticed by everyone.

    You are basing your claim on Lomborg, who got his facts wrong 8he is ignoring the China pledge, for a start).

    And he is basing his claims on EIA data, which is always horribly wrong on alternative power.

    • mpainter says:

      sod (what a blog name):Your side has “warming on the brain” and therefore cannot feel cooling. Even when the howling blizzard gives them frostbite they say “See how awful global warming is!”.

      I am a skeptic. I say “I feel that it is cooling because it is the beginning of winter”. By your lights I am a denier.

      • sod says:

        It did not feel like cooling over here. And indeed, November was 3.5 C over the month average.

        So sometimes, “feelings” and facts agree. This year, we have an el nino and ground based datasets are showing the effect and people can notice it too.

        In China, people can feel the effect of smog as well, as one could read in the news today.

        So let us wait and see, whether we get some good decisions in Paris!

        • mpainter says:

          Atmospheric CO2 has nothing to do with ENSO nor with smog in China. You comment as one who is steeped in the ignorance and misconceptions engendered by the AGW crowd.
          Let’s see if you are capable of lifting yourself out of that condition. What is your name, sod?

        • mpainter says:

          A good decision from Paris:

          “We have decided to put an end to the AGW fraud and all of our pretenses concerning that. We will instead devote the resources of our nations to the resolution of real problems.”

  27. David V says:

    Im sorry to be a bore, but could someone please take the time to explain to me (a keen to learn ayman) whether we know if theres an inherent lag in the planets climate system that locks in the effect of current co2 emissions for decades. Is this the core of the alarmist argument? Apologies for asking something that may be obvious to you all. Thank you.

    • CC Reader says:

      Dr. David Evans has a 22 post course on Climate Science. I some times wonder what Dr. Spencer thinks about this. Here is The comments that starts the series.

      Many scientists believe in the carbon dioxide theory because of basic physics, or rather its application to climate, the basic climate model. Other scientists are skeptical, because of the considerable contrary empirical evidence.

      Dating back to 1896, the basic climate model contains serious architectural errors. Keeping the physics but fixing the architecture, and using modern climate data, shows that future warming due to carbon dioxide will be a fifth to a tenth of official estimates. Less than 20% of the global warming since 1973 was due to increasing carbon dioxide.

  28. J Birchwater says:

    I think there are three reasons why the CAGW theory continues to hold sway in the general public.

    1) The media and political leaders continue to assert that it’s the greatest threat facing the world, and thus absolving themselves of any responsibility to show their work.
    2) Human memories are faulty. We remember last year’s extreme weather more than extreme weather from 40 years ago, therefore, we have a bias toward thinking extreme weather events are getting worse.
    3) GISS and others continually release news reports that “this was the hottest month [year, season, etc.] on record,” but never release any retractions when updated data later says otherwise.

    For example, August news articles reported that July 2015 was the HOTTEST MONTH ON RECORD, but the most recent GISS dataset (Oct 2015) places July 2015 in 2nd place along with July 2009, and behind July 2011. No news sites or scientific organization have mentioned this fact — and that’s before we discuss context such as margin of error or why July will be the hottest month on record despite other months with greater positive anomalies.

  29. Doug~Cotton says:

    Deleting correct physics and just leaving false physics in the thread doesn’t prove you right, Roy. It seems I will have to expose your false assumptions in a wider public arena now if you persist with your “Luke” false physics.

    The Sun’s radiation cannot heat the ocean surface to observed temperatures, and back radiation does not penetrate the surface.

    There is no “33 degrees of warming” being done by radiation from the atmosphere, and no such radiation transfers thermal energy to a warmer surface because such would violate the Second Law, and no subsequent reverse radiation “excuses” that violation.

    The GH conjecture does not have the status of a theory in physics. It is an unproven hypothesis at best, and one which does not conform with the laws of physics.

    Who else here has completed four years of university study in physics, taught it to undergraduates, marked university assignments and studied it extensively after graduation? Who else even understands how, when and why entropy tends to a maximum.

    You all could learn a lot from what I have explained as a result of thousands of hours of research and thought, using the laws of physics correctly. In summary …

    Temperatures are established in the upper regions of the troposphere and in the stratosphere on all planets with atmospheres. The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us gravity will form a stable density gradient when entropy is maximized. That state is called “thermodynamic equilibrium” in physics and it also must have a temperature gradient because there is a homogeneous sum of mean molecular (PE+KE) and we know that because there can be no remaining unbalanced energy potentials.

    New thermal energy added at the top each planetary morning will disturb the thermodynamic equilibrium, and so the Second Law tells us there will be a propensity to restore that state of maximum entropy. That requires a downward transfer of thermal energy (via molecular collision processes) and that is how the majority of the required thermal (kinetic) energy gets to the surface, the crust and even to the mantle and beyond. You can’t prove me wrong because that’s what happens and radiation cannot explain it.

    And don’t forget, rain forests are not 50 degrees hotter because there is no warming sensitivity of the order of 20 degrees for each 1% of water vapor, as is implied by the IPCC. Water vapor cools by reducing the temperature gradient with inter-molecular radiation.

  30. Doug-Cotton says:

    PS FTOP is also close to the truth. He reiterates Dr Hans Jelbring (with a PhD in Climatology) who had this paper published in Energy and Environment back in 2003. However, high pressure does not maintain high temperatures. It is gravity which maintains a stable density gradient and a stable temperature gradient, allowing thermal energy transfers towards the surface.

    I don’t know who you all think you are to “debunk” the work of the brilliant 19th century physicist Josef Loschmidt. I have proven why he was right and shown why Robert Brown was wrong here in his pathetic attempt to refute Loschmidt.

    You should also heed “BigWaveDave” …

    “Because the import of the consequence of the radial temperature gradient created by pressurizing a spherical body of gas by gravity, from the inside only, is that it obviates the need for concern over GHGs. And, because this is based on long established fundamental principles that were apparently forgotten or never learned by many PhDs, it is not something that can be left as an acceptable disagreement.”

    Finally, from a Professor of Physics who read my book …

    “The fallacies in the greenhouse conjecture are exposed rigorously and backed up by a comprehensive study (in the Appendix) which compares rainfall and temperature data for locations on three continents. The study concludes convincingly that the wetter regions do indeed have lower daily maximum and minimum temperatures than dry regions at similar latitudes and altitudes. This supports the hypothesis in the book which shows that so-called “greenhouse gases” (mostly water vapor and a little carbon dioxide) do in fact reduce the lapse rate and thus lower the “supported” temperature at the surface. In other words, water vapor cools and so does carbon dioxide, the latter by only a minuscule amount.

    “The book discusses how and why surface cooling slows down almost to a halt in the early pre-dawn hours as the supported temperature is approached. This slowing down process is well known, but the concept of the supporting temperature (due to a temperature gradient autonomously induced by gravity) was not understood, even though this “gravito-thermal” effect was originally proposed in the nineteenth century. Modern day physics can now be used to prove the Loschmidt effect is indeed a reality, as this book shows.

    “As a physicist, I can honestly say that the physics is indeed mainstream and valid in all respects. It discusses the maximum entropy conditions that evolve as the state of thermodynamic equilibrium is approached, and then goes on to develop a real break-through hypothesis of “heat creep” which, when we consider what happens on Earth and other planets with atmospheres, we see must be the process which explains how the necessary energy gets into the surface of Venus to raise its temperature during its sunlit period. Indeed all planetary temperature data, even that below any surface, can be explained by the hypothesis in this book, which is indeed a totally new paradigm that completely demolishes the old greenhouse conjecture that was based on mistaken understanding of the laws of physics.”

  31. Dr. Spencer I can imagine the group think drives you a bit nuts. I had one evening of it with a group, it’s hard to stand up and express doubts when no one else is.

    Reminds me of a joke:
    “In German Prisoner-of-War camps, escapes were a a major problem, so they would try to break the prisoners’ spirits by making them do mindless things. In particular, they would make the prisoners stand in a line and all move their heads like a clock back and forth and say, ‘tick tock tick tock.’

    One of the prisoners, unable to escape or otherwise change his situation, chose a very subtle rebellion. He would do the head motions, but not say anything instead of ‘tick tock tick tock’, but after a few weeks he heard himself start to ‘tick tick tick.’

    A few days later a German captain walked over, face-to-face with the young man, and said “A rebel? Vell, don’t vorry, ve have vays of making you tock.’ 😉

  32. Doug~Cotton says:

    PS: Jan and I are having a serious debate regarding the physics on the other thread. I regard this comment as critically important, and one which all should read. You may need to read upthread also.

  33. Dan Pangburn says:

    If I understand what you are saying “about heat creep that transfers thermal energy up the temperature profile”, cooler things can warm warmer things. Did you actually teach that?

    You got the lapse rate calculation sort of right but that was done about 50 years ago to obtain the Standard Atmosphere Table. The story on that is kind of interesting and is found at They started with 15C at the surface.

    An early (2011) look at energy balance is at Radiation is involved.

    A pragmatic assessment describing compelling evidence CO2 has no effect on climate has been added to in addition to the analyses.

    • Doug~Cotton says:

      Read the website and linked papers, Dan Pangburn, study the processes by which entropy is maximized, read my three main comments on this thread, and the discussion with Jan on the other thread and, instead of hand waving remarks, submit your attempted refutation on my blog with an appropriate study showing rain forests are 50 degrees hotter than deserts, then maybe you’ll be the first in the world to prove me wrong and get the AU $10,000 reward. The hockeyschtick conjectures have been refuted on my website. You will find that what I have explained is correct physics, probably out of your depth I would guess, but you can try to understand it. Meanwhile produce your own explanation as to how the Venus surface gets the required thermal energy to rise in temperature by 5 degrees from 732K to 737K during 4 months on the sunlit side. Does the cooler atmosphere raise the temperature of the hotter Venus surface by radiation, my friend? Also explain Earth’s ocean surface temperature, given that back radiation does not penetrate the surface because it is pseudo-scattered – a process I have explained in detail to Jan on the other thread. Who’s next to take me on?

  34. Robert says:

    Thanks Roy. Your 2005 article and this one are hilarious! Made my day!

  35. Nutbag says:

    You did forget to mention the exorbitant cost of the placebo. This feel good pill/conference will spew quite a bit of C02 into the air along with with an excess of unnecessary hot air. If they do manage to accomplish anything it will certainly cost anyone using fossil fuel more to do so.

  36. Michael C says:

    The Economist weekly publication is among the most respected publications on Earth. It has been in existence for over a century and has over one million subscribers. It is not coy over making dogmatic statements, the saving grace being that it regularly publishes opposing views from readers. It also has a record of admitting when it has been wrong in its views and predictions, when time proves so.

    The November 28th 2015 edition has a 16-page special report titled Clear Thinking on Climate Change. Some of the statements within this clear thinking are gems that may be enjoyed by readers of this blog. I intend to put this report in my archives for future reference.

    The contents/subjects include:
    The science of climate change (supermodels)
    Association of politics and opinion (on climate change)
    Energy sources
    Adaptation (to existing climate change)
    Saving species from extinction (due to climate change)
    Geoengineering (as a possible solution)
    The way forward

    The following are some extracts under each heading

    On one matter the conference delegates have already agreed: global temperatures must not be allowed to rise by more than 2 C above pre-industrial levels

    Barring a global catastrophe or the spectacular failure of almost every climate model yet devised, though, emissions of greenhouse gasses will warm the world by more than 2 C

    We dont even have the commitments to keep us below 4 C of warming (quote from Bill Gates)

    More research is required on deliberately engineering the earths atmosphere in order to cool the planet

    The science of climate change (supermodels)
    Carbon dioxide, which reaches its maximum warming effect after about 10 years after being released, is so stable that even 1000 years after a bump in emissions, atmospheric levels will still be substantially higher than normal

    Global warming sets off a cascade of effects known as feedbacks, which are hard to measure. On balance warming begets more warming

    Most important, the basic proposition of climate change the casual relationship between greenhouse gas emission and higher temperatures – has almost been unassailable. As it happens, the interesting debate about a global hiatus has a boring coda: 2013 turned out slightly hotter than 1998, and 2014 was roasting, setting a new record. That will not stand for long.

    To save endangered species, move them to more congenial places

    Carbon-absorbing minerals like olivine, which is in abundant supply, could be mined, crushed and spread out (in the sea). Lime or limestone could be tipped into the ocean to react with dissolved carbon dioxide to create bicarbonate ions allowing the water to absorb more carbon dioxide from the air. Iron and other nutrients could be added to the water to stimulate the growth of algae which feed on carbon dioxide. (The article does go on to admit that the quantities required make the idea impractical)

    Opinion and politics
    YouGov, a pollster, found in 2013 that 70% of Democrat voters saw evidence of man-made climate change in recent weather patterns, whereas only 19% of Republican voters did.

    This section essentially covers steps being taken by people in Africa and Asia to cope with the extremes in weather caused by AGW. Included is a map of flooding in Bangladesh in 2009.

    • mpainter says:

      “The Economist is one of the most respected publications on earth”
      That is also said about the NYT and the WaPo, and their brand of yellow journalism does not fool those who are well informed.

      The so-called “pause” is not over and there are no indications it will start warming again any time soon, the much longed for El Nino notwithstanding. AGW is a modern day witch hunt and there is money to be made in joining the hunt.

      • Michael C says:

        Actually, I attempted to demonstrate the irony behind The Economist writing such statements under the heading of ‘Clear Thinking’

        For example: if positive feed back dominated negative the world would have roasted millennium ago. There are other examples that defy logic. “70% of Democrat voters claim to have seen evidence of man-made climate change in recent weather patterns” Hugh?? Forget it – nothing is going to change the opinion of such people short of a sustained (several decade) drop in global temperatures. Many of us here will never see any meaningful outcome in this controversy.

        Like it or not The Economist is a flagship in the subjects it covers, my point being that if publications such as these have swallowed the propaganda and publish the same pitch how can average Joe Blogg see through it? – Most simply do not have the capacity or desire to think in a statistical, logical manner.

        The alarmists are winning the propaganda war

        • mpainter says:

          Agreed. There is no profit in saying “Relax, nothing to worry about”.There is big profit in trumpeting alarms. It sells soap and selling soap is the lifeblood of the media.

          If skeptics do not organize as a pressure group we will be steamrollered by the witch hunters. Time to ACT.

          • Jerry LaCrosse says:

            As the least educated person here (but probably the only elected official here, too) I have to agree that an organized group with strong facts to back them up are the best defense against an already well organized special interest groups (grant seekers, snake oil salesmen, political “ladies of the night”, etc., etc,) and the media. My question is where is this coalition of fact suppliers and/or can they be coagulated into a force to be heard and respected by the masses?

  37. Kevin Joncas says:

    The increase in temperature with concentration of CO2 is asymptotic

  38. An interesting perspective. A very EXPENSIVE placebo indeed. And only to satisfy the hypochondriac “climate change” alarmists. But we all will have to pay for it and suffer the consequences.

  39. DJC says:

    SW writes an absolute classic in illogical thermodynamics. Assuming no chance in gravity or atmospheric composition, the oceans would only “become a lot hotter” if the height of the troposphere increased or the intensity of solar radiation increased. High pressure does NOT maintain high temperatures, and there is nothing in physics which claims that.

    The reason for the ocean surface temperature has nothing to do with either radiation reaching the surface, or pressure, or “the energy demands of evaporation.” The oceans don’t become hotter to meet such demands, and nor does a puddle of water – you have the cart before the horse and, as usual, you NEVER explain how the required thermal energy gets into the ocean surface, let alone quantify the temperature or construct an energy balance diagram.

    • No,

      Only if the mass of the atmosphere became greater would the oceans become warmer if gravity and insolation stayed the same.Only mass matters in that situation.

      Can you read ?

      The required thermal energy gets into the oceans from short wave solar radiation getting past the evaporative layer before being absorbed.

  40. DJC says:

    “Entropy (the subject of the second law) and energy (the subject of the first law) and their relationship are fundamental to an understanding not just of physics, but to life (biology, evolutionary theory, ecology), cognition (psychology). According to the old view, the second law was viewed as a ‘law of disorder’. The major revolution in the last decade is the recognition of the “law of maximum entropy production” or “MEP” and with it an expanded view of thermodynamics showing that the spontaneous production of order from disorder is the expected consequence of basic laws. [source]

    In the case of a planetary troposphere, outer crust or mantle, “order” is the state of maximum entropy with its associated temperature gradient.

    Regarding the Second Law, the above quoted author writes:

    “The key insight was that the world is inherently active, and that whenever an energy distribution is out of equilibrium a potential or thermodynamic “force” (the gradient of a potential) exists that the world acts spontaneously to dissipate or minimize. All real-world change or dynamics is seen to follow, or be motivated, by this law. So whereas the first law expresses that which remains the same, or is time-symmetric, in all real-world processes the second law expresses that which changes and motivates the change, the fundamental time-asymmetry, in all real-world process. [source]

    Note the reference to time, Stephen. That’s how I can explain warming of the surface by day and cooling by night.

    How are you getting on with explaining the temperature of the core of our Moon, as I have from my hypothesis?

  41. DJC says:

    Stephen and others:

    I trust EVERYONE will come to agree with the understanding of the author of the above linked site who wrote regarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics:

    “All real-world change or dynamics is seen to follow, or be motivated, by this law.

    For example, the density gradient in the troposphere develops and is stable because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Did you know that?

    So too is the temperature gradient stable. The pressure gradient is just a corollary, because gravity acts on molecules, not “pressure” or temperature etc. Gravity converts molecular kinetic energy to gravitational molecular potential energy and vice versa. Only mean molecular kinetic energy determines temperature.

    You can’t work out what will happen in any autonomous natural process UNLESS you work out what will happen as entropy increases and when and why the process will stop when entropy is a maximum.

    Unless your hypothesis is in accord with such, you might as well dismiss it, because the Second Law, “The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature.”  Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

    There is no consideration of, and no regard for the Second Law in the greenhouse radiative forcing conjecture which is based on the assumption that temperatures would be homogeneous in a troposphere without IR-active gases: they wouldn’t be.

  42. DJC says:

    and read this comment also, everyone.

  43. DJC,

    If incoming radiation is absorbed at a point above the surface then the warmed gases will expand, become lighter and rise.

    Those rising gases then leave lower pressure in the vertical column beneath which draws less warm gases in from the surroundings which then show a tendency to sink.

    If the atmosphere is to remain in hydrostatic equilibrium, as it must, the decompression and cooling of rising air must exactly equal compression and warming of falling air.

    So, as soon as any upward movement begins from any height then a complete cell of convective overturning develops from surface to top of atmosphere or to an inversion layer such as the tropopause.

    Warmth at the surface is therefore maintained by compression of air in descending columns converting PE back to KE.

    There is no need to propose any sort of ‘heat creep’ against the thermal gradient.

  44. DJC says:


    I would suggest that a pretty large area of the upper troposphere (above the clouds) and in the stratosphere is being warmed all over most of the sunlit hemisphere. You talk about a small patch being warmed and rising, but why would not the same happen virtually everywhere, with a whole sheet of air being warmed all over most of the hemisphere and all rising? How is any going to fall when there is warming happening below it?

    You really don’t think things through, Stephen, and your problem is that you ignore entropy maximization, and, without considering such, you will never correctly work out what will happen in ANY natural process. Entropy maximization, for example, will restore the stable density gradient – all in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which is not just about heat transfers. Go and get a real qualification in physics, or at least discuss your ideas with a physicist.

    The troposphere is not in hydrostatic equilibrium – as preached by climatologists. It tends towards the state of maximum entropy which physicists call thermodynamic equilibrium. It must do, that’s the (Second) Law.

    There is STILL no discussion of time in your pathetic argument, Stephen. You imply it’s daytime, so does everything stop at night and the temperature gradient flatten out? If not, why not?

    No it doesn’t flatten out, because there is absolutely no need for bulk air movement of any form (or any balancing act with your imaginary parcels that have nothing to hold them together) for there to be a temperature gradient. It happens in an insulated sealed cylinder, as Graeff showed quite convincingly with over 850 experiments. And Loschmidt explained why in the 19th century, and so did I using the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and you can’t prove him or me wrong, now can you? See this page if you think you can.

    In the early pre-dawn hours after a calm night you can observe the temperature gradient associated with the state of maximum entropy, and it is still there even though there is no observable bulk air movement up or down. So what happened to your hydrostatic equilibrium, eh, Stephen?

    You talk about incident solar radiation warming a region in the upper troposphere: that’s fine and, in fact, that’s all it can do on Venus because it’s not strong enough to raise the temperature of lower layers that are already above about 400K. So answer one simple question: which way does that new thermal energy go – up, down or sideways?

  45. DJC says:

    Stephen (and others)

    On a planet like Venus each morning new thermal energy is absorbed only where the Solar radiation is strong enough. The TOA solar radiation (before reflection or absorption) could, when the Sun is directly overhead, raise the very outer atmosphere to perhaps 450K, but in general most solar radiation could only warm (and thus be absorbed in) regions below 400K. Yet the surface of Venus rises from 732K to 737K over 4 months on the sunlit side. That new energy could only come from the new solar energy absorbed in the regions that are more than 300 degrees lower in temperature. Yet you don’t think downward natural convective heat transfer happens! Meanwhile, your warmed parcels up there are going the other way, taking their newly acquired thermal energy away from the surface. By the time they radiate some of it to Space, and their molecules wander off in all directions so they are no longer “parcels” anyway, I can assure you that virtually none of those molecules will make it through 50Km back down to the surface, let alone bring with them all their mates from your original imaginary parcel. It just doesn’t work that way, Stephen, and it’s time you learnt from what I have written what does (and must) happen.

  46. D'J'C says:

    Please also refer to this comment and, if you have genuine questions or misunderstandings, I will respond on my blog which is linked from that comment.

  47. Ľƽ̨ says:


  48. ױ says:


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