Sunday, 21 February 2010

Greens vs. UKIP on BBC1 on weather vs. climate!

Go 40 minutes in for my debate live on the BBC today with UKIP MEP and Ian Gibson, on the UEA emails controversy, and after that about the prospects for smaller Parties at the General Election...  
Let me know how you think I did!
(I was fairly pleased with how it went... ...I think Mr. Agnew may not be quite as pleased... Just a shame that he pipped me by 1% at the Euro-election last June, such that we now have a scientifically-illiterate climate-denier in Brussels representing us, rather than your's truly... Better luck next time, Eastern Region!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you did pretty well with what little time you had, gave that ukip fellow a good ole sore nose

23 February 2010 at 00:37  
Anonymous Mike_H said...

I think that your response to the comments from the UKIP representative was, frankly, less than professional.

I understand the difference between weather and climate, and you cannot escape the fact that ultimately climate is defined by weather.

I would be pleased to hear you explain how you can claim that January was "the second warmest in the historical record" when it has been stated by the Met Office that it was the coldest in the last 30 years.

24 February 2010 at 08:45  
Anonymous RupertRead said...

Mike; you didn't listen to what I said. Check out these graphs. Jan2010 was the 2nd warmest Jan on record, in 131 years: not in Britain, but WORLDWIDE.

24 February 2010 at 22:41  
Blogger Rupert said... Check out these graphs. Jan2010 was the 2nd warmest Jan on record, in 131 years - across the globe, on average (not, of course, in Britain).

24 February 2010 at 22:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I picked up on one fact - there was only one politician on there who interupted another whilst they were speaking. I was always taught that was rude. Whether you agree with a person or not, they should be allowed to at least complete having their say.

26 February 2010 at 09:40  
Blogger Rupert said...

If someone is spouting trash, then sometimes I interrupt them. Our children wouldn't thank us for remaining polite while their inheritance got trashed.

27 February 2010 at 18:49  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's interesting how those who insist on a narrowly-defined notion of 'civility' in political debate are often those defending an entrenched, privileged position - sexists can argue ever so politely for the inherent inferiority of women while feminists' rebuttals are condemned as shrill and unladylike, calling someone a racist idiot is worse than them believing in, and voting for, racist policies, and, in this case, people can perpetuate dangerous, scientifically unfounded myths but you can't interrupt their lies to point out the truth. If you can't find anything wrong with what someone's saying I suppose it's easier to criticise how they say it, or how they look or act or dress (see the maintream media response throughout, oh, the entire history of the feminist movement.)

27 February 2010 at 22:26  
Anonymous Mike_H said...

Rupert, Thanks for the link. At least that allows me to understand why you made the comment, and I have to agree that NASA is a fairly credible source. I have only recently started to investigate this issue in any detail so I still need to understand some of the science before I can be convinced. At this stage I would have to say that I find it difficult to have complete faith in the results because a lot of it is based on estimates,corrections, and modelling to interpolate between real measuring points. By necessity, the scientists are comparing data obtained using different instruments and techniques over the whole dataset, and until recently there was a very limited number of measurement points. Even with the latest satellite measurements it takes several days to cover the whole globe, and I think there must be some issues with obtaining an accurate average. I'm starting to read some of Hansen's articles so I may come back with further comments after that. If you can direct me to any other sources I'd be interested to hear from you.

28 February 2010 at 21:37  
Blogger Rupert said...

Thanks for your latest thoguhtful comments, K and M.
[I agree with you 100%, K!]

1 March 2010 at 15:25  
Anonymous Mike_H said...


I suggest that you watch the video. Whether you agree with him or not, the UKIP representative was simply making a point based on his own - indisputable, and apparently painful - experience.

For the record, I am undecided about the science behind climate change, and am investigating with an open mind. It seems to me, from what I have read so far, that even those most closely involved with climate science recognise that they do not have all the answers, and that the data presented to date is by no means the final answer. Therefore it is disappointing when others who are not directly involved put forward the argument as if it is totally irrefutable fact. As with all scientific endeavour, the best results are obtained when those involved approach it with an open mind, and are willing to consider alternative views.

1 March 2010 at 19:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Buddhist once poured too much tea into an Englishman's cup, causing it to overflow. The Buddhist was likening the Englishman's mind to the already full cup of tea - there was no room to take in new ideas. First of all Rupert, you must open your mind.

Sometimes we come to hold a view so tightly, that we are so focused upon it we are unable to see anything else.

Rupert, please visit and consider first of all the content. These people have worked tirelessly to understand what affects the climate and if nothing else, their work on the Chilling Stars may stimulate you. Their work is transdisciplinary and goes much further than the climate science that proposes we are the cause of warming and their models that feature dubious assumptions (assuming the role of the sun is constant, ignoring the drivers of cloud formation etc). Not to mention dubious treatment of data - the object of greatest value in science, by the CRU for one.

Even if you are speaking with an idiotic member of UKIP, you would be wise to remember that some people's position is based on an honest belief that there is another explanation for our changing climate and avoid causing them offense by labeling their position 'irresponsible'. They may turn out to be right.

Furthermore, if the theory of human-made global warming is shown to be false (or perhaps, more fairly, exaggerated), for example when we enter into another solar Minimum creating an extremely cold period, it will be deeply embarrassing for the Green Party. People will say you do not understand the environment, the very thing proponents of green philosophy should show themselves as worthy leaders on.

There is a great temptation to go along with this theory of human-warming as it ties in with deep green goals such as contraction and convergence, limits to industry and steady state economy. It also prompts consideration of our intimate relationship with nature. But what if it is shown to be false. Then you will be labelled alarmist, as asserting the absolute truth of something shown to be faltering (human-made global warming). That will be much more damaging in the long run.

Imagine the support you would reap if you say, "we need to respect the environment and change the way we live, but the warming is not caused as a direct result of our consumption, industry and transport. We should still limit these things however as doing so would offer so many social, environmental and health benefits, for us and for future generations". When you are shown to be right when no-one else is, that's when your support will explode.

Time for a cup of tea...

2 March 2010 at 00:26  
Blogger Rupert said...

Thanks for writing, Anon and Mike. However, I must say that I find it puke-making for you, Anon, to appeal to Zen to justify inaction on climate change. The Buddha was about treasuring the world, not trashing it. It is beyond sick to invoke Buddhism to justify stiffing our children.
I am a philosopher of science, as well as a politician. You are plain wrong if you think that we need to be certain about the science before taking action. Look at

2 March 2010 at 12:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that my comments made you feel ill Rupert. That was not my intention. I hope you feel at ease again now.

I have looked at your links and they refer to the temperature charts on the NASA website, a reference to which you make in your letter (facebook link). The data comes from the GISS, and the methodology of GISS was designed by Hansen (who's scary predictions you also mention). This is the same Hansen who is alleged to have manipulated data. Smith and D'Aleo have investigated the data and they "found [Hansen & co] systematically eliminated 75 percent of the world's stations with a clear bias towards removing higher latitude, high altitude and rural locations." If this is correct, then the GISS records of global temperature are untrustworthy.

You did not get my position right if you think that I am against taking action to help those most vulnerable to changes in our climate.

I understand and value the precautionary principle, but not deception. To take precautions recommended by those who must mislead in order to persuade us (some might say, manipulate) is surely unwise.

If Svensmark and Co are right and cosmic weather drives the weather on Earth, then the reaction to our changing climate should be all together different than it is (but that is not to say that it would entail inaction). There are limited resources with which to respond to a changing climate, which will cost us all. I want to be sure it is being allocated in the most sane way.

You seem to be saying that, even though there is reason to suspect the scientists were fixing their results, they are nevertheless on the right side so we should overlook this. Any other views are irresponsible, mean that we are stiffing our children as you put it and so on. The dialogue reminds me of Chomsky's explorations in Manufacturing Consent.

I thought the Green Party was different.

2 March 2010 at 23:21  
Blogger weggis said...

"I am a philosopher of science,"

and as such you should be aware that human beings are not rational but emotional entities.

3 March 2010 at 00:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I (the second anon) am a follower of the buddhist path. To me, the spiritual path is far more important than the political one. This said, we do all have a duty to be involved in the democratic process, and (so often) be prepared to try to select "the best of a bad bunch" when it comes to our politicians. I agree wholeheartedly with your view, Rupert - of taking care of our world, and it's resources. Of course we must, it's commonsense. But Green politics - is, well ......... "Politics".
I agree with so many of the Green principles, but what I can't stomach, is how the Greens seem to offer themsleves as some all-knowing, all-caring, all-righteous, new religion. They are not, and it's a shame it has, what some view, such an arrogant view of itself - for within it's members are so many very genuine, honest and caring people.
All political parties have deep flaws - for they naturally contain career orientated, greedy, power-hungry individuals. It's easy to test this. I often reflect on the level of true honesty, and intention of those putting forward their views, and (most importantly) the degree as to how much they are willing to mislead people. In the quest for power, honesty is usually the first victim.
For example, the Greens are (quite rightly), strongly opposed to PFI's (I would agree with that 100%), BUT - this is a hypocrtical stance, because, on one hand they might be saying this, but on the other - they wholeheartedly support the very institution (the EU) which has forced UK Govt's to use this source of "funding". Not many people are aware of this, but the Greens seem to make that a glaring ommission in their argument. Why? Because they are probably using such a wicked institution as the EU to promote their own policies; not caring to fully take into acoount some of the most important issues like democracy and accountability. That's certainly not honest politics in my opinion. They are promoting a policy that know full well, will never be able to be actualised - for (unfortunately) the Green leadership seem to believe in the Power-down, undemocratic, unaccountable nature of their masters in the European Union.
I find that, the saddest thing about Green politics. Otherwise, I do acknowledge that many in the party do have well intentioned, honest motivations and concerns.

3 March 2010 at 10:33  
Blogger Rupert said...

I have addressed previously on this blog the 'contradiction' between being a Green and being in favour of remaining in the E.U. . You can look back at past posts, for these debates (Use the search facility on the blog). In very brief: (1) While it is true that the EU does lots of bad stuff, it also does lots of good stuff - e.g. most of the decent environmental legislation that we have in Britain, we WOULD NOT HAVE, had it not been for the EU; and (2) The Green Party is in favour of massively reforming the EU. We want localisation - the opposite of globalisation. We want subsidiarity to be practiced, not just preached.

3 March 2010 at 19:45  
Blogger Rupert said...

In response to Anon1 (I do find it tiresome that you people won't reveal who you are. It seems to me quite revealing. What are you afraid of?):
Your calumnies against Hansen are a true disgrace. You are libelling a great man. When (If) the history of the climate crisis is written, giants like him will be revered in the kind of way that today we revere (e.g.) MLK, who at the time was widely despised and calumnied.
Read the book CENSORING SCIENCE to understand where the campaign of vilification against Hansen is coming from. And then maybe you will stop behaving like a lackey of Glenn Beck and George W. Bush.

3 March 2010 at 19:47  
Blogger Rupert said...

Yep, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm an emotional entity too, and not shy about that fact. ;-)

3 March 2010 at 19:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reference, I shall read it.

As per Hansen comments, I do not think there is anything disgraceful about what I said, and it certainly wasn't malicious. What I put in my comment are statements made by others who claim to have reviewed his work. However, if you look at Hansen's computer predictions in 1988, Scenario A exaggerated global temperatures today by over 50%. And although you will say Scenario A was the worst case scenario and I am only picking this to try to attack Hansen, in fact my reason for picking this is that this scenario had the greatest rise in CO2. Hansen forecasted it to increase, but to be at lower levels than CO2 is today. CO2 is now higher than this worst case scenario, and temperatures are over 50% lower than predicted by Hansen. The book you recommend may address my concerns about Hansen et al so I shall read it with an open mind.

Perhaps you could consider some of my own points, with a similarly open mind. Your brief responses do not indicate any awareness of the science of cosmoclimatology, and I'd hope to receive some reasoned response from you about why you think the human-made case has greater precedence (possibly offering an explanation for the heavily overstated positive feedback in current computer models to force a hockey stick warming prediction).

Incidentally I have never supported Bush, Blair or the likes as my moral base would not allow it. I would go so far as to say such comments are hurtful. I also don't even know who Glenn Beck is!

As per my identity, I would rather my comments be judged BASED ON WHAT IS BEING SAID. I am not an industrialist and I'm not being funded by big corporations - I'm an environmentalist/ecologist who wants to understand what is really going on.


3 March 2010 at 21:53  
Blogger Rupert said...

Anon1: There are a number of reasons why temperatures haven't increased as much as predicted: the main one is probably global dimming. Look into it.
As for your claim that you are not to blame for the anti-Hansen jibes in your own message, because you were only leaning on what other people have said: That's like quoting from anti-Semites or racists and then saying you can't be blamed because you are only quoting! :-(
You seem like a decent person. So do try to make sure that you only write things that are decent.

6 March 2010 at 19:51  
Anonymous Mike_H said...


I've spent a lot of time attempting to track down detail behind the NASA charts, but it does not seem to be available. What is clear is that the early data (e.g. look at a plot for 1900)has virtually no contribution from the Southern hemisphere, so will tend to bias the numbers toward the cooler Northern hemisphere for those years, hence making later years appear to be relatively warmer. The monthly averaging means that the results will be skewed by the rate of movement of weather systems. I think this can be observed on the January 2010 chart which shows two elongated systems - one over Europe and the other over the USA. I also observe that the charts use different scales. This probably only affects the extremes of temperature, but it makes direct visual comparison difficult. I would certainly not want to be making important decisions on the basis of this data. What leads you to believe that it is credible? Even if we accept that it is credible what leads you to believe that it is primarily due to the actions of man?

10 March 2010 at 09:55  
Blogger Rupert said...

What leads me to believe that it is credible? Well, call me credulous, but as you yourself have already acknowledged, one reason why is that it is produced by NASA. Hardly a bunch of scientifically-ignorant commie-reds...

12 March 2010 at 10:13  

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25. 26. Greens vs. UKIP on BBC1 on weather vs. climate! 27. 28.

Go 40 minutes in for my debate live on the BBC today with UKIP MEP and Ian Gibson, on the UEA emails controversy, and after that about the prospects for smaller Parties at the General Election...  
Let me know how you think I did!
(I was fairly pleased with how it went... ...I think Mr. Agnew may not be quite as pleased... Just a shame that he pipped me by 1% at the Euro-election last June, such that we now have a scientifically-illiterate climate-denier in Brussels representing us, rather than your's truly... Better luck next time, Eastern Region!)
30. 31. 32.