Age responds to skeptic

The Age’s Our Say segment has churned out another response to one of the questions it received. The questioner, Stephen Harper, points out a few problems with the AGW hypothesis, and Michael Bachelard responds in turn.

Bachelard first responds to the claim that the world hasn’t warmed for the past decade or so. He rightfully points out that the El Nino year of 1998 made it harder for other years to top. However, the UAH satellite data set shows warming since 1979, but it seems to plateau towards the turn of the century.

Bachelard then mentions the BEST results, and points out they show “significant and undeniable global warming in the second half of this century.” Yes they do, but that’s not the point. The claim by Harper is that the planet’s temperature has been stagnant for the last decade, not the last fifty years.

Bachelard then notes that:

…scientists still cannot really say where the extra energy being trapped in the atmosphere is being stored.

I hope other Fairfax journalists take note of this. It is confirmation by a warmist of the mysterious plateau in global temperatures. Professor Roger Jones of Victoria University has a theory as to why.

…temperatures in 1998 represented a ”step change” in global warming, rather than part of a smooth trend, and that we are now operating in a new, warmer paradigm.

It’s certainly interesting, but a bit of a stretch, as carbon dioxide is being emitted at a constant rate, so we shouldn’t expect temperature to make discrete jumps, as Jones suggests. Also, it ignores the fact that temperatures did rise smoothly prior to 1998, a trend which has been attributed to carbon dioxide.

Harper also makes the point that net positive feedback has not been empirically determined, and likely doesn’t exist due to the missing hot spot. here, Bachelard admits there is some “mystery”.

Real world measurements show a hot spot appearing and disappearing along with climate variability, but it does not stay over the long term. The models, in this respect, do not reflect the reality.

This is a critical point in the case for AGW, and politicians and journalists would do well to note it.

The next point which Bachelard responds to is one of scientific agreement. Harper mentions the Petition Project, to which the journalist makes a valid point.

Those who believe in the mainstream science point out that, of the 10.6 million American scientists who fit the institute’s qualifications, 32,000 is less than 0.3 per cent.

This is a fair point, but if I were a policy-maker who had to consider something as serious as carbon tax or ETS, I would be inclined to listen to all sides, not simply dismiss the minority position. Afterall, numbers (of scientists raising their hands) doesn’t matter. Numbers (derived from real-world observations) do.

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About Climate Nonconformist

Hi, I'm the climatenonconformist (not my real name), and I am a global warming skeptic, among the few in generation Y. With Australia facing the prospect of a carbon tax, we need to be asking the simple question; where is the evidence that our emissions are causing any dangerous warming?
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