Rearranging The Deckchairs

Frank O'Dwyer's blog

Montford Mansplains

Andrew Montford (aka Bishop Hill) mansplains the climate debate to Vicky Pope (who has merely been working in the field since 1982, as opposed to Montford’s never):

Saying that it warmed in the last century is not really helping anyone get to grips with the debate, since everyone agrees that this is the case (we can quibble over UHI and stuff like that, but this is not going to make the warming trend go away).

Amusingly, in the comments up pop the usual suspects to deny the things that Montford says everyone agrees, as if summoned by Gabriel’s horn. :-) Seems like Vicky Pope knows Montford’s clientele better than he does. But onward:

How these changes are “rapid” somewhat eludes me, since even Phil Jones has agreed that warming at similar rates has been observed in the past.

The above is highly misleading, but more obviously it is an amazing non sequitur. You may as well ask how is it that a race commentator can say Michael Schumacher is moving rapidly, given that Schumacher has been observed to move at similar speeds in the past. Try that one in court: “Your honour, I can’t have been caught speeding yesterday, for I was caught speeding last year”.

Likewise, “overwhelming evidence for manmade climate change” is a point of agreement across all sides.

This comes as news to the deluded and the bewildered in the Bishop Hill comment section, apparently. I wonder where they come by that impression? Somehow, Montford hasn’t been getting this message through to them. Despite his trojan efforts to promote the overwhelming evidence for manmade climate change, apparently he has been horribly misunderstood all this time.

The question, as I say, is how much raised carbon dioxide levels will affect the climate and to what extent it is a problem.

Gee, ya think? I wonder if anyone has thought of looking into that already.

The evidence for this, I would say, is not overwhelming at all, relying on models that have no proven skill in predicting the temperature.

I would say Montford is demonstrably wrong. Here for example, is Andrew Dessler working out climate sensitivity (the expected temperature increase due to a doubling of CO2 levels) without reference to any climate model at all. There are even pictures.

It’s not the only such estimate either. Richard Alley also has lots to say about this in his latest book. So, much of the evidence does not rely on models, poor or otherwise. How can Montford be so steeped in the climate ‘debate’ and not know this?

Furthermore it is not true that models have no proven skill in prediction, and even if it were that would hardly be a comfort. If we do not know what will happen in response to raising CO2 further above levels unprecedented in hundreds of thousands to millions of years—and that is what the ‘models are useless’ cry means—then people like Montford need to explain why it is safe to do so, not the other way round.

Anyway, Montford’s blog strapline is ‘A dissentient afflicted with the malady of thought’. The good news is that he seems to be over the worst of it.