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Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Thursday, 15 February 2007
Climate change revisited.
Topic: Politics

My thanks to Frode Gjesdal for bringing my attention to this piece in the Times concerning 'global warming'. It's by a former editor of the New Scientist

The key quotes:

"while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported. Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adélie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean...

 ... The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999. That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do."

Perhaps some readers are aware that there are contrary views to the orthodox story of global warming that Al Gore and others serve up. To them I can only apologise for repeating what they already know. But I get the impression that a lot of people accept the theory of man-made global warming as being proved beyond dispute and think I'm a "Flat-Earth" believer for thinking otherwise.

The Czech prime minister, Vaclav Klaus, is a firm sceptic and plans to write a book about it. He regards environmentalism as "the incarnation of leftism and a fashionable metaphysical worldview". 

Thursday, 15 February 2007 - 5:39 PM GMT

Name: "roGER"
Home Page:

"While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean..."

Perhaps that is because the ice is breaking off Antartica!

Antarctic's ice 'melting faster'

A team of UK researchers claims to have new evidence that global warming is melting the ice in Antarctica faster than had previously been thought.

Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (Bas) say the rise in sea levels around the world caused by the melting may have been under-estimated.

It is thought that over 13,000 sq km of sea ice in the Antarctic Peninsula has been lost over the last 50 years.

The findings were announced at a Climate Change Conference in Exeter.

Rising sea level

Professor Chris Rapley, director of (Bas), told the conference that Antarctica could become a "giant awakened", contributing heavily to rising sea levels.

Melting in the Antarctic Peninsula removes sea ice that once held back the movement of glaciers. As a result, glaciers flow into the ocean up to six times faster than before.

The other region in the continent affected by the changes is West Antarctica, where warmer sea water is thought to be eroding the ice from underneath.

In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted the average global sea level would rise by between 11cm (4.3in) and 77cm (30.3in) by 2100 - but forecast that Antarctic's contribution would be small.

Ice chunks

Over the past five years, studies have found that melting Antarctic ice caps contribute at least 15% to the current global sea level rise of 2mm (0.08in) a year.

It is not known whether the melting is the result of a natural event or the result of global warming.

Professor Rapley said that if this was natural variability, it might be expected to be taking place in only a handful of places. However, studies had shown that it was happening in all three major ice streams in West Antarctica, he added.

Several major sections of Antarctic ice have broken off in the past decade.

The Larsen A ice shelf, which measured 1,600 sq km, broke off in 1995. The 1,100 sq km Wilkins ice shelf fell off in 1998 and the 13,500 sq km Larsen B dropped away in 2002.


Friday, 16 February 2007 - 10:21 AM GMT

Name: "Andy Ward"

 That's Republican Presidential candidate John McCain btw.


Friday, 16 February 2007 - 11:46 AM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

Dear King Knut,

Why do you do this to yourself? As you admit, you are no scientist and yet you pick and choose any piece of text that proves your point, totally without scientific knowledge. A document signed by thousands of scientists is wrong and yet one published by an individual is correct? That is not science that is quackery.

Of course you are going to find anomalies across the world. It's the average trend that counts.

Overall, ice cover on the planet has diminished. You forgot to mention the diminishing of ice in the Arctic, the shrinking glaciers in Europe, the ice sheets falling off the Antarctic. All resulting in the loss of many islands throughout the world due to sea level rise.

Of course, King Knut can't believe in sea level rise. He lives in Fulham, which will be 6 feet deep in Thames water in good time. The Thames Barrage was built to be raised once in a blue moon but is now raised a dozen times a year. It will soon be redundant and a replacement is planned. I'd move out of Fulham, it will probably be converted into a flood plain.

There is a cycle of warming and cooling on the planet. The earth has been a lot warmer. The Romans grew grapes in northern England. There was a mini ice age in the medieval period and the earth has been a lot colder than that too. In fact the earth was 100% covered with ice at one time, as well as 0% coverage other times. But this process of warming and cooling takes thousands of years. Do it in 100 years of industrialisation and you upset a delicate balance.

What matters is that an ecosystem (look that up) is a fine balance. What is good for us might not be good for the dinosaurs. Mass extinctions come and go. One mass extinction resulted in 96% of the species disappearing. You're not going to deny that won't happen again? Man can conquer anything? You're not a scientist. I am. Man can't stand in the way of nature.

You bang on about "climate change is irrelevant, it's the demography stupid." Well, let me add this to your demographic. An equatorial region across the globe too unbearable to live in.  Even the Mediterranean too. How do you fancy 500 million refugees piling into northern Europe?

"But science conquers everything!," I hear you say. You're not a scientist.

"Nuclear power for all! (Except the Muslims!) Free air conditioning for Africa!" Then we will just use up the Uranium at a faster rate and that'll be another resource gone.

"Bio-fuels! Replace all the petro-fuels!" you say. If we converted all arable land to bio-fuel use it wouldn't provide 5% of the fuel we burn in our cars today. And what do we do for food?

Your beloved scientists, the ones you listen to, have no answers. There is only one answer and you are almost there. It's the population. Not it's make-up. Who cares who is black or white? Simply, there's too many of us, chasing too little.

It doesn't matter what gets us in the end. Too much fossil fuel use or too much fucking. Are you a dinosaur or do you have a future, David?

Friday, 16 February 2007 - 2:38 PM GMT

Name: "David Young"

To Andy,

McCain is a lightweight in my opinion. If it didn't mean tying up money for ages I would be looking to lay him on Betfair. Might do it anyway. I really don't see how he can win. He's popular with the US media as a sort of 'Republican we can live with', precisely because he's out of step with many in the Republican party and its base.

To James Buter (yes I know it's you, reveal yourself please), the reason I 'do this to myself' is that I feel that the global warming orthodoxy gets enough press, while the sceptics don't. I'm not a scientist, but the people I cite (apart from the Czech prime minister) are. Perhaps I can leave this topic now. If I've made a few people aware of the alternative view then I'm pleased. I stick by my assertion that demography is a more serious issue because it doesn't totally rely on computer projections; it's based on who is being born now.  It is relevant to the discussion here, because the countries with the low birthrates are the ones were science is studied and respected, while the countries with the high birthrates are ones where it is subordinate to religion, or not studied in depth at all.

I do not follow your argument here:

"In fact the earth was 100% covered with ice at one time, as well as 0% coverage other times. But this process of warming and cooling takes thousands of years. Do it in 100 years of industrialisation and you upset a delicate balance."

What balance? If something can be 100 per cent ice at one time and 0 per cent ice another time, then there isn't much of a balance. Human beings are capable of adapting. The claimed change of global warming theorists is that the world is on average about 0.6 per cent warmer than it was 100 years ago. That's about the same as moving from Luton to Reading..

I really don't understand this:

"Well, let me add this to your demographic. An equatorial region across the globe too unbearable to live in."

There's already a large chunk of the world that's unbearable to live in. It's called Siberia. I could add northern Canada and Alaska to that too. The reason hardly anyone lives in these areas is that they are bloody freezing. Pick up a globe one day and look at it from the North Pole downwards and you'll see that much of the world's land mass is close to the top. If the world were to warm up, as you fear, wouldn't these places benefit?

As far as energy is concerned, there's lots of it around. It's just not as cheap for the developed world as it used to be. Putting solar panels on 2.6 per cent of the Sahara desert would generate enough energy for the world's needs.

Politicians have a big incentive to play up to fears of global warming. It's the perfect excuse to raise taxes without offering any concrete measurable improvements in return. Expect more scare-mongering.

Friday, 16 February 2007 - 3:56 PM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

I see David is still playing his game of "pick and choose" by only arguing against evidence that he think he can win at.

I understand, it's part of the wit that is your sense of "humour".

You and your ilk have no future. Laugh it up whilst your little chubby cheeks can manage it. 

Friday, 16 February 2007 - 4:12 PM GMT

Name: "Andy Ward"

Ah, McCain isn't a real Republican.  I should have guessed.  Really, I should have done, because he seems to be vaguely in touch with reality.


What about the rest of the link ?  Where this international forum, including legislators from the eight richest nations, concludes that man-made climate change is beyond doubt ?


Saturday, 17 February 2007 - 10:10 AM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

The watch word is sustainability not demography.

A decreasing birth rate is a natural consequence of a population size that is too high.

You appear to believe in infinite economic growth and that you would prefer that the population grew towards infinity. It would have to if you want year on year economic growth.

The earth can only sustain 1.5 billion people at your expected standard of living. The population will have to decline. It is a natural process. Decline or die-off. Take your pick.

Saturday, 17 February 2007 - 3:28 PM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

Can David tighten his belt without it breaking under the strain?

Londoners must reduce their ecological footprint by 80% or go under.

Can David drag himself into the 21st century or will his head be permanently stuck in the sand? 

Sunday, 18 February 2007 - 2:01 AM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

Dave - I'm afraid you are firmly putting yourself among the flat-earthers. You have made up your mind, so "debating" is futile (much like a government "consultation"). Why even buy a book on climate that is both out of date and written by a non-specialist like Lomborg?

What is there to be sceptic about Dave?
a) that global warming is not happening?
b) that man does not contribute?
c) that global warming does not happen at the speed the scientists says it is?

I don't know if my "landsmann" Frode reads The Times every day, but if he did he would
a) he would have spotted a quick rebuke the day after in the Letters to Editor section the day after and there's a similar one in tomorrow's Sunday Times: are good grounds to believe that cycles of solar output have some influence on the Earth’s climate (though the scale and nature of the influence are debated).

However, with respect to predictions about the seriousness of human-caused climate change, this is a bit of a red herring. Antarctic ice cores show a strong relationship between levels of carbon dioxide and methane (both greenhouse gases) and air temperature. Due to human activity the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has now reached its highest level for at least the past 400,000 years. At today’s rate of emission, a doubling of the preindustrial concentration will be reached by mid-century." 

and b) from Friday

"The imminent demise of the Qori Kalis glacier, the main component of the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, offers the starkest evidence yet of the effects of climate change, according to Lonnie Thompson, of Ohio State University.

Although scientists have known for decades that Qori Kalis and the other Quelccaya glaciers are melting, new observations indicate that the rate of retreat is increasing, Professor Thompson said. When he visits this summer, he expects to find that the glacier has halved in size since last year, and he believes that Qori Kalis will be gone within five years.

“This widespread retreat of mountain glaciers may be our clearest evidence of global warming as they integrate many climate variables,” Professor Thompson told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Francisco. “Most importantly, they have no political agenda.”
A critical piece of evidence from almost fifty scientific expeditions to seven shrinking tropical ice-caps points to global warming as the reason for their decline. In all but one case, snowfall has increased as ice volume has fallen. More snow should mean advancing glaciers, unless rising temperatures are melting the extra precipitation and the ice tongues themselves.


Sunday, 18 February 2007 - 11:19 PM GMT

Name: "anonymous"

Shush people!

David has spoken. He's never wrong so just face facts. The vast majority of us, including the majority of scientists, people who have had a university education and people with plain common sense, are wrong!

I know it is hard to believe that someone can look at the evidence, claim to know a bit of maths and says he makes a living from poker but sees the exact opposite of what we are seeing.

Personally, I think he is independently wealthy and makes a loss at poker. His whole ill-mannered, know-all persona is some elaborate performance art or (God forbid) part of some Edinburgh comedy fringe act (fringe as in outskirts of Aberdeen).

Now, let's hear no more about this global warming nonsense because David is getting out of his depth, as he is with Iraq, GW, women etc. and let's just hear about poker. You know, those dull posts followed by no comments.

Monday, 19 February 2007 - 3:40 AM GMT

Name: "David Young"

Personally, I think he is independently wealthy and makes a loss at poker.

If only!


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