Ex Post Historical Simulation of a Statistical Model of Anthropogenic Climate Change

From Kaufmann, Kauppi, Mann, and Stock, “Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998–2008,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(29), July 2011:

…we update the [original statistical model (7)] by estimating it with data through 1998. The selected sample ends just before the recent period of slowed warming. As such, the parameter estimates do not use information about the post-1998 period. Model simulations reflect these pre-1998 parameters and post-1998 observed levels of radiative forcings, SOI, and volcanic sulphates.

For those who are not familiar with these procedures, this approach is sometimes called out-of-sample forecasting, or “historical simulation”, and is used as a form of model validation. One evaluates the model by running a regression on data spanning a sample from time t to t+k, and then uses the estimated parameter values and actually realized (ex post) values of the right hand side variables to predict the dependent variable for time periods t+k+p, where p = 1,..,j. One might consider this a test to against over-fitting of the data (although some concerns regarding the usefulness of this approach are voiced by Frank Diebold).

I’ve discussed this approach, conjoined with rolling regressions, in the context of exchange rate modeling here, here, and used in this 2005 paper, as well as this paper co-authored with Dick Meese (of Meese and Rogoff, 1983).

So, let’s recount what is being done. The authors estimate a model and assess the parameters in-sample here (cited in my previous post on climate change), and then in this paper, update the parameters using a sample up to 1998, then use ex post values of the exogenous variables over the 1998-2006 period to show how well the model does in predicting the out-of-sample data. They are not using information about the relationship between the Y and X variables to update the parameters over the 1998-2006 period. They find their model tracks temperatures pretty well using a 1960-1998 sample for estimating parameters, as shown in Figure 2:


Figure 2 from Kaufmann, Kauppi, Mann and Stock (2011).

The authors summarize their findings thus:

The finding that the recent hiatus in warming is driven largely by natural factors does not contradict the hypothesis: “most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations (14).” As indicated in Fig. 1, anthropogenic activities that warm and cool the planet largely cancel after 1998, which allows natural variables to play a more significant role. The 1998-2008 hiatus is not the first period in the instrumental temperature record when the effects of anthropogenic changes in greenhouse gases and sulfur emissions on radiative forcing largely cancel. In-sample simulations indicate that temperature does not rise between the 1940’s and 1970’s because the cooling effects of sulfur emissions rise slightly faster than the warming effect of greenhouse gases. The post 1970 period of warming, which constitutes a significant portion of the increase in global surface temperature since the mid 20th century, is driven by efforts to reduce air pollution in general and acid deposition in particular, which cause sulfur emissions to decline while the concentration of greenhouse gases continues to rise (7).

The results of this analysis indicate that observed temperature after 1998 is consistent with the current understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors that have well known warming and cooling effects. Both of these effects, along with changes in natural variables must be examined explicitly by efforts to understand climate change and devise policy that complies with the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.”

Warning: If you are to comprehend the time series analysis incorporated in the model, you should read (as referenced in the 2006 paper) J. Hamilton, Time Series Analysis (1994).

Old primer on integration/cointegration, by James Stock and Mark Watson, in AEA’s Journal of Economic Perspectives. Cookbook approach in an old paper by me, here (methods somewhat outdated, but it gets the idea across).

110 thoughts on “Ex Post Historical Simulation of a Statistical Model of Anthropogenic Climate Change

  1. CoRev

    Menzie, as you should be able to decipher the HIATUS is a big deal forcing a rethink of the ratio of natural to anthropogenic forcings. What is scary to the main stream scientists is that many of the “deniers” of orthodox explanation have been correct in their short term predictions. At the same time their models have been diverging.

    Is this paper better than Trenberth’s the heat’s hiding in the deep, deep oceans. Or better than Cowan and Way the heat was not reported in those areas not covered by the ground or sea surface temps? or…? there are several more.

    Much of the current science is focused on trying to explain why and where the heat has disappeared. Your reference is just another trying to explain using the orthodox variables. No big deal.

    1. baffling

      corev, i suppose the national academy of science shouldn’t be expected to produce quality publications. we should simply get rid of all of the academies, they are probably overly biased and shoddy on the science. right corev?

  2. Steven Kopits

    That’s “Hide-the-decline”, inverted hockey stick Michael Mann, is it? (“The e-mail with the words “trick” and “hide the decline” was sent by Phil Jones, head of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. It read, “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”” https://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/articles/3648)

    “The finding that the recent hiatus in warming is driven largely by natural factors does not contradict the hypothesis…”

    So we have a hiatus, do we? Two years ago, this was controversial. Did Mann et al predict this hiatus?

    Indeed, here’s what alarmist James Hansen of NASA said not two years ago: “The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981.”


    And of course Viner told us in 2000 that snow would be a thing of the past.

    So which one of these sources is credible, Menzie?

  3. anon and lazy

    The co-author of this outdated paper that uses an out-of-date climate computer model and cherry-picks the outcome to get their desired result is not the infamous Michael Mann of the ‘settled science’ Hockey Schtick and self proclaimed nobel prize winner. It’s still a RFLMAO paper though.

  4. GabbyD

    Hi prof chin,

    I’snt the black line just at the cusp of significance for the blue and orange lines? How should we interpret that?

  5. AS

    Professor Chinn,
    If I understand the chart correctly, if the historical data used considered only the period from 1864 to 1998 (orange), the actual temperature (black line) is at about the lower 95% confidence limit. I think we need a list of books to read before many of us could read Hamilton 1994 according to Amazon reviews.

  6. Menzie Chinn Post author

    Steve Kopits: This paper is coauthored with Michael L. Mann, not Michael E. Mann, who was persecuted by VA AG Cuccinelli (case dismissed), and was cleared by NSF OIG.
    anon and lazy: Given your reaction, based on mistaken identification, I suspect you would have the same reaction irrespective of author, should the paper in question have a conclusion at variance with your priors.
    GabbyD and AS: The authors acknowledge earlier data is measured with greater error, so place more weight on estimates obtained using more recent data.
    AS: I will add a couple of references written at a more general level to the end of the post.

  7. Bruce Hall

    Wow, anything to promote the flow of funds from the government… and away from taxpayers. “Deniers” will just have to learn that the “economics of climate change” is more important than the reality of the “science of climate change.”

    Follow the money.

  8. alex

    I’m a bit surprised that the error bars from the model fit to 1960-1984 data are fairly close in width to those from the model fit to 1864-1984 data. Do you know if the error bars include the effect of parameter uncertainty or only account for the stochastic part of the model, i.e. assume that the fitted parameter values are fixed rather than drawn from a distribution?

  9. Rick Stryker


    You might try Quantitative Methods in Finance. That book is intended for practitioners and covers the material cookbook style with intuitive explanations. Chapter 6 is on regression and chapter 7 covers the essentials of times series analysis: unit roots, cointegration, vector autoregressions, and GARCH. The book has other very practical chapters covering probability and statistics, numerical methods, stochastic calculus (ito’s lemma, etc.), and principal components analysis.

    Of course, if you want to become an expert you have to go through Hamilton’s book, which is the bible of time series econometrics. It may look forbidding, but it’s by far the clearest and best written book out there on this topic.

  10. Rick Stryker

    This paper does not resolve the 15-year temperature hiatus problem at all.

    The Kaufmann et al paper is designed to answer a different question than the one I and others raised about the atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCM). The paper answers the question: what were the causes of the 15-year temperature hiatus? The answer the paper gives is that reduced solar radiation forcing and the negative sulfur forcing explain it. That’s somewhat consistent with the answer the IPCC gives, which attributes the hiatus to heat moving into the deep ocean as well as to reduced solar radiation and sulfur forcing (although they give low confidence to the forcing explanation.)

    But that’s not the concern. The concern is, why weren’t any of the AOGCM models able to pick up the hiatus in temperature? In the philosophy of science debate in the previous post, what got lost is that the failure of the AOGCM models to reproduce the 15-year temperature hiatus is an in-sample, not an out-of-sample problem. All the models simulations produced temperatures that were too high over the last 15 years in sample, with the mean being significantly too high. In the in-sample simulations, the models include the forcings discussed in the Kaufmann et al. paper so failure to capture the reduced solar radiation and sulfur emissions is not the explanation. The IPCC’s explanation that heat has moved into the deep ocean undermines the models, since that means that the models are not simulating the exchange of heat from the upper ocean to the deep ocean, as I mentioned in a previous comment. But the IPCC also attributes some of the problem to model response error, which is another way of saying that the tuning parameter fudge factors may be wrong.

    That the tuning parameters might be wrong deserves a lot of attention, because they are at the heart of what makes these models so dubious for long horizon forecasts. The reason these tuning parameters can be critical is that they are used to model the clouds, which are incredibly important.

    The reason the clouds are important is that they can exert a very large net heating or net cooling influence. If the clouds are low to the ground (cumulus, stratocumulus), they tend to cool the earth. The reason is that they are thick and reflect sunlight back into space. But since they are close to the ground, they are close to the same temperature as the ground and thus pass on heat from the earth into the colder outer space. If clouds are high level (cirrostratus, cirrus), they heat the earth. The reason is that they are thin and thus tend to pass through sunlight. And since they are high up, they are cooler and thus tend to be a repository for heat rather than pass it up into space. Low level tall clouds (cumulonimbus, nimbostratus) tend to have a neutral cooling effect. Since they are thick, they reflect sunlight. But since they are tall, they tend to trap heat.

    How the clouds are divided into the various types and distributed around the world is much more important for the temperature than the concentration of CO2. In the current climate, clouds reflect on average about 50 w/m^2 (watts per meter squared of radiation, annually) and trap about 30w/m^2 of radiation (the cloud greenhouse effect). So the net cooling effect of the clouds is about 20w/m^2. How big is that compared to Co2 radiation retention? Since 1750, CO2 has gone from 280 ppcm to 380 ppcm in the atmosphere, and the net effect today is that the CO2 greenhouse effect reduces radiation emission by about 1.6 m/w^2. So, the CO2 greenhouse effect is to trap about 1.6/20 = 8% of the radiation the clouds remove. It’s also estimated that less than a 5% change in the clouds reflectivity or cloud greenhouse effect will change the cloud radiation transfer by as much as the entire CO2 greenhouse effect. Thus, what ultimately happens to the temperature is extremely sensitive to the clouds.

    Obviously then, clouds must be modeled very precisely. Are they in AOGCM models? No, not at all. Clouds are very crudely modeled. To understand why, I’ll have to describe the AOGCM models in even more detail than I already have.

    An AOGCM model has a number of major components: the atmosphere; the ocean; sea ice; the land surface; marine biochemistry; ice sheets; and coupling between them. Each component has a set of differential or partial differential equations governing its behavior. For example, the atmosphere would be described by a set of partial differential equations that govern such quantities as the components of wind velocity, the pressure, the temperature, humidity, and density. The ocean will have temperature plus salinity plus some others. Sea ice will be described by a heat conduction equation, ice sheets will be described by a conservation of ice volume equation, the land surface will be described by soil temperature equations, and marine biochemistry will be described by differential equations that govern the rate of change of chemicals or bio-mass such as zooplankton or phytoplanktan. And then it all has to be coupled together. As you can see, this is an enormously complicated model.

    What about the clouds? To understand how they are modeled, we first have to look at how an AOGCM is solved. The model is a set of partial differential equations. A partial differential equation tells you how some quantity such as temperature T changes with respect to other variables. The change is continuous and if you could solve the equation analytically, you’d have a function of the temperature with respect to the other variables. Unfortunately, climate models are much to complex to solve analytically. They must be solved numerically. To do that, you have to alter the equation so that it no longer describes continuous change. When you discretize the equation, the variables move in discrete jumps rather than continuously. The way you solve the model then is to divide the land surface into discrete boxes, the atmosphere and ocean into layers, and then to subdivide the layers into boxes. So, the ocean is divided up into boxes of water stacked on each other as is the atmosphere divided into boxes of air. You then solve the equations by moving all the variables across the discrete boxes, marching the variables around the world, across the atmosphere, and through the oceans in each interval of time according to how the equations tell you to do it.

    The computational effort to solve these equations is enormous and so you can’t make the boxes too small because you’ll need to do too many calculations. In the atmosphere, the best models (those with the highest resolution) have boxes that are 100 – 200 kilometers (km) across and 100 m to 1 km high. As you solve the equations, you only know the key quantities such as temperature, humidity, etc. on the edges of the boxes, so you only know them at a resolution of 100-200 km. This resolution presents a significant problem for cloud models. Cloud processes occur at much finer resolutions, on the order of 10 m – 1 km. Thus, the modeler must parameterize the cloud model using averages inside the box. There are fudge factor parameters on the other equations I described but the tuning variables on the cloud approximations are much more important and much more uncertain. Clouds must be modeled precisely and yet the cloud models can only be very crude, since the grids can’t be made finer with current computing power.

    The problem is worse than that actually. Even if we could make the boxes finer, we would still need to understand how the clouds react to higher temperatures as well as aerosols, etc. if we want to know whether they will magnify or reduce the CO2 greenhouse effect. But we have very little observational or experimental evidence on that. We do have weather satellite observations of cloud changes over the past few decades, And we also have visual reports over that period. But these two sources contradict each other and lack other critical information. Thus, we don’t really know how to model the clouds even if we could make the boxes smaller, which we can’t right now. And yet temperature is very sensitive to small changes in the clouds. Clouds introduce significant uncertainty into these models.

    So, let me summarize the concerns with the AOGCM models:
    1) The models can’t explain the 15-year temperature hiatus in-sample and the IPCC explanation implies that there may be a problem with ocean heat transfer and the tuning process in the models
    2) The temperature is very sensitive to clouds and yet clouds are modeled very crudely. How clouds react to temperature changes is unknown.
    3) The other tuning parameters may hide important omissions from the models
    4) The testable predictions of these models can only be validated at very long horizons, which makes them untestable practically. These models should generate testable predictions on data that has not been observed and which can be observed in a practical way before they have any credibility.

    That CO2 is a greenhouse gas that raises the temperature is a scientific fact that no one who understands this area really disputes. And, obviously, since CO2 is released by human activity at least some of global warming is manmade. Again, no serious skeptic is disputing that, despite the media characterization. The question is how much it matters. It’s important to distinguish the belief in anthropogenic warming from the belief in global warming alarmism, which depends completely on believing the results of the climate models.

    Until the concerns I have outlined are addressed, there is no reason to take the alarmist predictions of these models seriously. Moreover, the Kaufmann et al paper in no way rescues global warming alarmism since it has nothing to say about the real problems. So, I say it again. Relax. There is no emergency. We don’t need to do anything.

    1. baffling

      stryker, again i wonder why a 15 year time period is “valid” to disparage a theory, but the 100+ year time frame is not valid consideration for global warming trends.

      curious as to how long a hiatus must last before you accept that it shows global warming is not occurring. for instance, were you against the global warming model prior to the hiatus, or in the first couple of years? or at that time were you a supporter of the theory, and only changed your position x number of years into the hiatus?

      and if you concede co2 causes global warming, and we are continuing to increase co2 into the atmosphere, are you not curious about why a hiatus would occur under those conditions?

  11. anon and lazy

    Menzie bleats: “I suspect you would have the same reaction irrespective of author, should the paper in question have a conclusion at variance with your priors.”

    Something YOU never, ever do…….yes, if only we all were as objective and unbiased in our views as ‘clay-clay priors’ Menzie.

    1. sherparick

      I love this meme. Climate denier get hundreds of millions of dollars for the Koch brothers, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the trillion dollar fossil fuel industry funneled through Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Cato, and the whole Wingnut Welfare foundation/Fox News/lecture circuit/Regency publishing complex, from Anthony Watt to Lord Monckton to Richard Lindzen to Bjorn Lomborg and the Roger Pielkes (Sr. and Jr.) have made rather large fortunes pushing denialism. I doubt even if Michael Mann ends up owing National Review as the result of his lawsuit that he he will have even a small fortune.

      I will say this, weather events individually don’t mean to much, and the actual historical record with good weather data is really thin (about 200 years) for statistical purposes. However collectively, as they build up they will leave the denialist argument more frantic. http://www.skepticalscience.com/nazis-shoddy-science-contrarian-credibility-gap.html

      Further, the movement north of growing zones, as documented by seed catalogs, the shrinking of glaciers around the world (see pictures of the temperate zone glaciers in 1900 versus today (I can speak here from actual observation on skiing the Soelden Glacier in Austria from 1989 to 2005 how much that particular glacier shrank over that 16 year period), now the huge volume of water pouring off the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers compared to 10 years ago, and the steadily rising sea levels are brute facts that don’t really care whether you ignore them or not.

      The basic physics of the atmosphere states that if CO2 increases in the troposphere it is going to trap a greater portion of the sun’s radiation in the troposphere. When humans increase the level of sulfides in the troposphere, its going to reflect/block a portion of the sun’s radiation causing a cooling effect. On a natural level volcanoes have a similar effect. No one argues that when a large volcano ejects a large amount of sulfides and other particulates into the atmosphere there is an initial cooling effect, but that the CO2 ejected as a longer term warming effect. We humans through our cars, trucks, and power plants emit the equivalent to 8,000 new active volcanoes a year. http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/volcanoes-emit-more-co2-than-mankind But, nah, we can’t have any effect since the Earth was only created 6,000 years ago.

      But denialists, you have won politically. You have a veto on doing anything and have exercised it. Enjoy your responsibility for the future corev, Bruce Hall, anon, and the rest..

  12. 2slugbaits

    Rick Stryker That CO2 is a greenhouse gas that raises the temperature is a scientific fact that no one who understands this area really disputes.

    I agree. Note that on numerous occasions CoRev has denied that CO2 can raise global temperatures. In fact, he believes the long run threat is global cooling. I’m not sure what plane the lives on. So I guess we agree that CoRev does not understand the issue since on numerous occasions he has explicitly denied that CO2 alone could warm the planet.

    It’s important to distinguish the belief in anthropogenic warming from the belief in global warming alarmism, which depends completely on believing the results of the climate models.

    No. You keep claiming this even though it is manifestly untrue. You do not have to believe climate models have it exactly right to believe global warming is worth being alarmed about. And since there are many climate models, it would be impossible to believe all of them are right. All you have to believe is that some of them are plausible and reasonable. And by reasonable I mean scientists can offer reasons that are consistent with physical laws. And that's a bar they have easily hurdled even if you don't agree with their conclusions. All "alarmists" have to do is present a plausible argument to win the decision/risk based debate. Telling me that a particular forecast is unlikely is not the same as saying it is implausible. Again, you don't seem to grasp the basics of decision making under extreme asymmetric risk. Or to turn it around, it is implausible for you to assume all of the climate models are wrong in all respects and that there is zero chance of any of them being right.

    I think we also agree that AOGCMs are mostly concerned with understanding the relationships between variables. If you write a partial differential equation you are implicitly saying “ceteris paribus.” But the model that Menzie posted at the top is not an AOGCM; it is a time series analysis. And if you want to predict future temperature trends, that’s the kind of model you want to use. You could also make conditional time series forecasts conditioned on shocks to the internal short run dynamics modeled by an AOGCM. But I don’t think anyone pretends that you can take a current state-of-the-art AOGCM and use it as a standalone model to predict future temperatures. No one models things that way…except in CoRev’s mind. And time series models have done pretty well at predicting long run trends. At a minimum they get the sign of the slope right.

    So let’s sum up. You agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and physics tells us that it warms the atmosphere. So other things being equal, sooner or later we will cook the planet unless you are able to identify long run factors that will cancel the warming effects of CO2. That just follows from your agreement that, other things being equal, CO2 will eventually warm the globe. Reasonable people can disagree about the rate of warming, but they can’t disagree about the long run trend. Of course, other things may not be equal. So your argument depends on being rescued either by endogenous factors or exogenous factors. There could be endogenous factors that cancel the CO2 effects, except that so far you haven’t really been able to model those endogenous forces. Indeed, your strong criticism of AOGCMs pretty much rules out any endogenous explanation. It’s just too hard. There could also be exogenous forces that cancel the CO2 effects. But those are exogenous, which in earlier days would have been described as divine intervention. So the only way of denying the “alarmist” view that the earth will eventually warm to intolerable temperatures is by appealing to a miracle through divine intervention (i.e., some unknown exogenous force). And that’s really where you’re at. You need some deus ex machina event to save your argument because that’s the only way to avoid the conclusion that sooner or later CO2 will warm the planet to an unacceptable level. At the end of the day we’re just arguing about how long that will take. Given that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for over 100 years and concentrations will inevitably increase, the alarmist side already starts out with a 100 year advantage. Alarmists are not alarmed about temperature increases over the next 10 years, or the next 50 years. Alarmists are worried about temperature increases over the next 100-200 years because that’s when the consequences of what we do today will be felt most acutely. So why don’t you just admit that you don’t give a damn about what happens to generations 100-200 years out?

    1. Hans

      “Rick Stryker That CO2 is a greenhouse gas that raises the temperature is a scientific fact that no one who understands this area really disputes.”

      Both you and Stryker are wrong…Just look at the last decade with mainly rising CO2
      and no corresponding rise in tempts.

      1. baffling

        “Just look at the last decade with mainly rising CO2 and no corresponding rise in tempts.”
        people on this blog have argued there is a solar minimum cycle occurring which should cool the earth. if this is the case, but the temperature is not dropping, is it possible for that cycle to be superimposed and canceling a heating trend over the past few years? what happens when the solar cycle passes?

        your statement shows a complete lack of understanding and respect for science.

  13. CoRev

    Rick Stryker, another well done explanation. I think the most significant portion was you explanation: “… a 5% change in the clouds reflectivity or cloud greenhouse effect will change the cloud radiation transfer by as much as the entire CO2 greenhouse effect.” A reminder to the readers that the total atmospheric CO2 and not just the ~3% of that total that is anthropogenic CO2. If ACO2 can be overwhelmed by the negative forcing of clouds, how many other negative forcings can also do the same? CAGW alarmists would tell us none, but that is just believing in emotion and not logic and science.

    Since “follow the money” is a common claim against those who are skeptical, the money is in the agencies, businesses, NGOs, academia and political organizations associated with this CAGW thesis. No wonder they fight so hard, but can it continue?

    1. sherparick

      Also the atmospheric CO2 going from 250 parts per million to 380 parts for million from 1750 to 400 parts per million in 2013 is not 3%, but more like 38%. http://ens-newswire.com/2013/05/11/atmospheric-co2-hits-400-parts-per-million-mark/

      There is this thing called the internet so making outright bogus statements like this are sort of mind boggling.

      Also, CoRev, here is the money funding denial: http://drexel.edu/now/news-media/releases/archive/2013/December/Climate-Change/

      .”..The final sample for analysis consisted of 140 foundations making 5,299 grants totaling $558 million to 91 organizations from 2003 to 2010. The data shows that these 91 organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities, Brulle notes.

      Key findings include:

      Conservative foundations have bank-rolled denial. The largest and most consistent funders of organizations orchestrating climate change denial are a number of well-known conservative foundations, such as the Searle Freedom Trust, the John William Pope Foundation, the Howard Charitable Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation. These foundations promote ultra-free-market ideas in many realms.

      Koch and ExxonMobil have recently pulled back from publicly visible funding. From 2003 to 2007, the Koch Affiliated Foundations and the ExxonMobil Foundation were heavily involved in funding climate-change denial organizations. But since 2008, they are no longer making publicly traceable contributions.

      Funding has shifted to pass through untraceable sources. Coinciding with the decline in traceable funding, the amount of funding given to denial organizations by the Donors Trust has risen dramatically. Donors Trust is a donor-directed foundation whose funders cannot be traced. This one foundation now provides about 25% of all traceable foundation funding used by organizations engaged in promoting systematic denial of climate change.

      Most funding for denial efforts is untraceable. Despite extensive data compilation and analyses, only a fraction of the hundreds of millions in contributions to climate change denying organizations can be specifically accounted for from public records. Approximately 75% of the income of these organizations comes from unidentifiable sources….”

      – See more at: http://drexel.edu/now/news-media/releases/archive/2013/December/Climate-Change/#sthash.LChycodk.dpuf

      I guess you count all the salaries and grants paid to professors of geology, geophyscis, climatology, and meteorology as “global warming funding.” I understand the preference for ignorance in your case. It allows you sleep at night.

      1. CoRev

        Sherparik, why did you cite me in your “money” comment? I made no such claim, I didn’t even comment on your first comment. Since you have directly commented to me then here goes.

        Your first reference re: CO2 is a statement of measurement fact and not controversial. What was your point in citing it? My interpretation is that it confirms this divergence of CO2 to the satellite temp data: http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/rss/from:1997/plot/rss/from:1997.9/trend/plot/uah/from:1997/plot/uah/from:1997.9/trend/plot/rss/from:1997.9/trend/detrend:-0.0735/offset:-0.080/plot/esrl-co2/from:1997.9/normalise/offset:0.68/plot/esrl-co2/from:1997.9/normalise/offset:0.68/trend This divergence is what is driving much of the current science in trying to find the lost heat.

        You 2nd reference was a laughable report. One in which the author changed his overall conclusion when pushed. (Addressed later) Those who need to believe that skeptics are receiving outside funding to accept that alternative opinions actually exist are showing a sign of religious fervor and not logic. It is another form of failed name calling and attempts to stifle the debate. Here’s a couple of analyses of your reference from the most successful skeptic site: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/06/being-bullish-on-robert-brulles-dark-money-smear-of-skeptics/
        and this reference which list a couple of other skeptic reactions and also compare funding for both sides of the argument
        Finally, this is what said publicly on his own report when pushed: ” “Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.” It is fair to say these organizations had a billion dollars at their disposal. But they do a lot of other things besides climate change activities, and so saying that they spent $1 Billion on climate change issues is just not true. I did not attempt to analyze the internal spending of these organizations, and so I can say nothing about the total amount spent on climate change activities. I hope that this clarifies the findings of my research. Best Bob Brulle” Say noting about the internal spending?????

        My position had been that much of the dialog from alarmists is both exaggeration and error filled. You have just confirmed that and showed the desperation inherent in countering the skeptics’ understanding of the science.

      2. Hans

        That shift that you identified as untraceable sources, Sherparick, has been used by the left for years.
        The outfit is called the, Tides Foundation, which is a leftwing conduit to whitewash donors’ money.

        Oh, and let’s not forget all of those non-profit Enviro fronts, whom profit from grants from various
        governmental units, as well.

        And the academia climatic alarmist, whom are funded with direct taxpayer monies but then you, Sherparick,
        just think of that as public service to the American people and your goddess mother earth..

  14. Menzie Chinn Post author

    Rick Stryker: Hmm… I only mentioned one study in my original post, a paper authored by Robert Kaufmann, Heikki Kauppi and James H. Stock. You respond with one of several long discussions of …other models! After critiquing those studies, arguing that science proceeds by predicting the unobserved, I then provide an example of a paper that does exactly what you say you want, you ignore that study, and proceed to return to…critiquing the studies you originally critiqued.
    Forgive me if I think you are just an eeensy teensy obsessed with one aspect of the literature to try to validate your prior that there is nothing to worry about in terms of anthropogenic global climate change.

    To make the point explicit, suppose you are in a room in a house, and the thermostat in your room registers 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but you know it’s been registering a couple degrees higher than what you “feel” it’s been — but you also see flames down the hall. Rick Stryker’s response is to dismiss the readings from the thermostat, and dismiss the flames down the hall (the former because you know there are “problems”, and the flames because… well just because you’d much prefer to spend your time dismissing the thermostat readings.

    1. aaron

      Their method for calculating aerosol concentrations looks seriously flawed, which also makes their estimation of climate response and dismissal of stratospheric water-vapor effects very suspect.

  15. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

    This is a bit of topic drift from Prof Chinn’s post, but directly related to the Kaufmann et al paper: here are papers describing 9 different theories about the causes of the pause (or “hiatus”) in warming of the surface atmosphere, one of the most important areas of current scientific research (abstracts, with links to the originals):


    Going one step farther, here are climate scientists’ speculations about the duration of the pause (a “pause”, not a “stop”), running from “ending now” to “ending several decades from now”:

    1. CoRev

      Thank you editor, you reinforce my point that Menzie’s reference paper is just one of a growing number trying to explain why there is a “PAUSE”, “HIATUS”, or even “A REDUCTION IN THE RATE OF WARMING”.

      Menzie, I’ve found in my many discussions of climate when someone falls back upon argument by analogy, they have exhausted their available knowledge, and are lost. I’ve also found that those relying on finding papers supporting their point will be disappointed to find counter point papers are out there. So then it becomes an exercise in judging value of the papers. That’s why so few are actually commenting on your reference, and they discount its value over others of the same ilk, those trying to explain the hiatus and salvage the C/AGW theory.

      2slugs, stop!!! You’ve already won the prize.

  16. Rick Stryker


    I’m not sure I understand your point. My comment specifically mentioned the paper by kaufmann et al that you discussed in this post, in which they estimated their earlier model up to 1998 and then forecasted out of sample. The conclusion they came to was that the 15 year temperature pause was produced by reduced solar radiation and sulfur emissions, which I explicitly discussed in my comment. One big point of my comment was that the out of sample forecasting paper does not address what the skeptics are worried about. I didn’t mention the earlier paper at all in my comment.

  17. Menzie Chinn Post author

    Rick Stryker: Your admission that you didn’t reference the original Kaufmann, Kauppi and Stock paper in responding to the original post on economic implications is my point. I mention a paper, and you jump to other models.
    Sorry, you may wish to address a question of the AGW skeptics, but I’m asking a question based on the KKS and the subsequent KKMS papers — doesn’t this approach (1) show correlates of temperature increase which include the effect of human activity, and (2) accurately predict out-of-sample — which I thought was your criterion for successful advance of science — well?
    So you can continue to answer the question you wish to ask, but I’m going with the econometrics I understand.

  18. Rick Stryker


    I don’t know what statement of CoRev’s you are referring to but CoRev knows the facts and understands these environmental issues much, much better than any other commenters I’ve seen. I suspect you are misunderstanding what he is saying.

    I think you missed the whole point of my explanation if you think it inevitably leads in the long run to damaging warming. The point is that when you look at the current state of the models you just can’t draw any serious conclusions. It’s possible that if increasing temperature just changes the cloud composition a little bit to more lower clouds and fewer higher clouds then the temperature increase could be limited or even reversed. We don’t know.

    Of course there is some probability that one of the current models is right. But the problems with the models are severe enough that if one of them did happen to be right pure chance would have played a significant role. Put another way, I could propose an alternative climate model. I have a dart board with concentric circles, with zero at the bullseye, and 1 through 7 in the circles. I throw a dart and whatever the dart hits is my forecast of the temperature increase over the next 100 years. There is some probability that the model is right. Do I base policy on that using your Pascal’s wager argument? Of course not.

    There is nothing in my argument that implies that I somehow don’t care about people 100 years from now. On the contrary, the reason that I would go to the trouble to comment on this topic is that I don’t want to see people 100 years from denied compounded economic growth on the basis of flimsy arguments made by their ancestors. I want to bequeath to the people of the future a much higher standard of living, not only in the developed world but in the developing world. I don’t want to encourage the trend to higher taxes and regulations. I want more freedom in the future, political and economic. I want people in the developing world to have cars, air conditioners, and electricity just like we do. I don’t want to tell the people of Brazil or Indonesia that they can’t cut down trees to make room for their people or to graze the cattle that feeds them. Africa should not go another 50 years with zero real economic growth. I don’t want to create a world in which nations may get into armed conflict over the use of carbon.

    If it turns out that the temperature does rise, I want the people of the future to use their greater wealth and scientific knowledge to employ entrepreneurs and scientists to figure out solutions that we can’t imagine today. And if it turns out that it is a much different problem that they will have to solve, one that we can’t imagine today, I do not want to have denied them the wealth and technological progress they would have had but for belief in nonsense global warming alarmism.

    1. baffling

      “I don’t know what statement of CoRev’s you are referring to but CoRev knows the facts and understands these environmental issues much, much better than any other commenters I’ve seen. I suspect you are misunderstanding what he is saying.”

      hogwash. corev went round and round in the last blog unable to interpret a simple figure from wikipedia on sea level rise. he clearly demonstrated an inability to understand mathematics as well as a misunderstanding of the magnitude of sea level change over time.

        1. baffling

          corev, the more you back yourself into the corner with the stupidity of your arguments, the more i will comment on them. you want to continue to defend your arguments against the data i presented? once again i will state, you showed either a complete lack of knowledge of calculus and graph reading, or you were being deliberately obnoxious and dense when shown you were wrong. take your pick, neither of them leaves you smelling like a rose.

          1. CoRev

            Baffled, your gaining on 2slugs even faster. Keep commenting! The prize might be in sight. 🙂

            I readily admit that I did not understand your calculation. Why? It was a cherry picked period, defined by your personal definition for the period, and unsupported by any of the data and text of your reference. Other than that your continued insistence that I needed to be prescient about your interpretation is just more desperation to cover what I first responded to your claim. Where’s the support for your reference to decades?????

            As I said, I can not see through your eyes, but keep up this level of commenting and I’m certain the prize could be yours.

          2. baffling

            “I readily admit that I did not understand your calculation. Why? ”

            because you have already decided you know the answer and did not feel the need to look at the data and see if somebody had a point. a high school kid could have looked at the data and said “geez is does not make any sense to average the results over the entire time period of the graph. that graph has about three different domains of behavior. but the large time period in the middle is well described by a straight line. maybe the slope in that area could provide me information over a 7,000 year time period.

            anybody with an open mind could have seen this. it takes a closed mind to overlook this feature of the graph, and then argue and complain about it!

          3. baffling

            again you demonstrate why you have no business commenting on any topic related to science. it is beyond your level of comprehension, so you make fun of others who demonstrate knowledge just like a fifth grader snickering in the back of class.

  19. Rick Stryker


    I still don’t see your point. My original comment was directed exactly at your original post. In your original post, you mentioned anthroprogenic global warming, talked about the “consensus,” implied that there are already economic costs, mentioned Nordhaus’s rebuttal of the 16 scientists, and then referred to the original Kaufmann paper as evidence of anthroprogenic global warming.

    I didn’t mention the original Kaufmann paper because I’m not disputing that some anthroprogenic warming has occurred. However, I did dispute what the “consensus” really is, whether there is really anything to worry about in terms of economic costs, and I also focused on Nordhaus, who misunderstood the points of the 16 scientists in the WSJ.

    So, my comments were right on point.

    I understand that you like to stay with the econometrics that you are comfortable with, but you can’t have serious views on this issue unless you understand the details of the climate science behind it. That’s why I brought it up.

    At the same time, I think the papers that you posted are relevant and I did appreciate the out-of-sample forecast analysis. It does seem to me that climate scientists should work with econometricians, since they can provide a different and useful perspective on the data.

    1. Hans

      Joe, why is it that only the left believes in World Wide Warming?

      K Drum and Mother Jones, both BIG government types who
      would support any and ALL issues which would bring governmental
      unit oversight.

  20. BC

    Gleissberg and Suess/de Vries cycles, Jovian orbit, interplanetary gravitational forcing, geophysical forcing and underwater volcanic activity, solar equatorial forcing and the effect on sunspots, etc.

    Google the topics.

    The lowest average sunspot maxima in 210-220 years and a minimum 20- to 30-years of mid-latitude cooling will be the likely outcomes.

    The period of cooling will coincide with Peak Oil, population overshoot, global demographic drag effects, increasingly acute shortages per capita of water, arable land, forests, fisheries, and food, and peak and declining population.

    The last time the cycle convergence occurred was in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (American and French Revolutions and the Napoleonic Wars), and before that the late 16th and early 17th centuries (defeat of the Spanish Armada and the Maunder Minimum), periods when the human population was 14% and 7% respectively of today’s level and at a negligible level of fossil fuel consumption per capita compared to today.





    The human population has exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet, and we are approaching the bottleneck of long-term human ape survival.

    The global structural effects of the “Limits to Growth” are manifesting around the world. We are taking the first steps on the way back to Olduvai (or “Elysium”, “Soylent Green”, “Logan’s Run”, “Zero Population Growth”, etc.).

    85-90% of us and our progeny aboard Spaceship Earth will be in big trouble over the next 20-30+ years.

      1. CoRev

        Menzie I went there first and searched on observation to see if it pointed to a source, nope. I then searched on temperature and most of the dataset names. Still no. I was stymied and asked you. I provided the search arguments to see if anyone else had an idea.

        1. aaron

          I didn’t see data either. Some of it, they reference other papers, so some data may be there. The one I looked at was paywalled. It wanted to look at it to see what data was there. It read like they didn’t compare their model to actual atmospheric concentration, they only tested anthropogenic emission agains another model the prior decade. And there the whole, they got the recent decade anthropogenic component wrong by about half this decade based on more recent research.

          1. aaron

            Let me see if I can be clearer (this often backfire, when I edit I often make more mistakes).

            Yesterday, when I read the appendix, I didn’t see the data either. Some of it, however, may be in the referenced paper. T

            I looked at one paper yesterday because the Kaufmann paper methodology seemed to be comparing it’s calculated emissions (based on economic activity, not observed concentrations in the atmosphere, to another model’s calculated emissions.

            SI-1.8 Validating the Methodology To validate the methodology for calculating sulfur emissions, we assemble the time series described above for 1990- 2000, and use the methodology to calculate sulfur emissions from 1991- 2000. These values are compared to values reported by Stern (2).

            Stern is paywalled, here’s the abstract:

            he ASL database provides continuous time-series of sulfur emissions for most countries in the World from 1850 to 1990, but academic and official estimates for the 1990s either do not cover all years or countries. This paper develops continuous time series of sulfur emissions by country for the period 1850–2000 with a particular focus on developments in the 1990s. Global estimates for 1996–2000 are the first that are based on actual observed data. Raw estimates are obtained in two ways. For countries and years with existing published data I compile and integrate that data. Previously published data covers the majority of emissions and almost all countries have published emissions for at least 1995. For the remaining countries and for missing years for countries with some published data, I interpolate or extrapolate estimates using either an econometric emissions frontier model, an environmental Kuznets curve model, or a simple extrapolation, depending on the availability of data. Finally, I discuss the main movements in global and regional emissions in the 1990s and earlier decades and compare the results to other studies. Global emissions peaked in 1989 and declined rapidly thereafter. The locus of emissions shifted towards East and South Asia, but even this region peaked in 1996. My estimates for the 1990s show a much more rapid decline than other global studies, reflecting the view that technological progress in reducing sulfur based pollution has been rapid and is beginning to diffuse worldwide.

            In addition, the observed volcanic emissions stratosphere call into question whether the radiative forcing formulae from Kattenburg (14) is valid, especially considering the recent trade wind attribution to cooling. It is also likely that volcanic aerosol play a role in the troposphere as well, Observations of nucleation of new particles in a volcanic plume.

            This paper is just curve fitting.

  21. Rick Stryker


    I have a scientific question for you. People wonder what the alternatives to carbon based energy is. Former Vice President Gore claimed that geothermal energy could be substituted for carbon-based energy. He said: “Two kilometers or so down, in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, because the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees …” He then want to suggest that geothermal is the way to go.

    Do you think this makes sense?

  22. baffling

    reasonable alternatives are wind, solar, hydro and wave. do they directly replace carbon? you cannot have an immediate and complete replacement-anybody who argues along those lines should not be taken very seriously. at the same time, significant advances can be made in energy efficiency, which can affect the demand side to tremendous benefit.

    your question on geothermal-yes in some locations it is a viable alternative. but make no mistake, nobody is saying we replace carbon sources immediately with a single solution. the solution will be many alternatives together, and it will take time for that to occur. the quicker the better nevertheless. and never forget, there are immense sources of noncarbon energy here on earth, and human ingenuity will continue to develop ways to harness these energy sources in unexpected ways.

    1. CoRev

      Baffled, every time you think ?reasonable? for one of your alternatives remember this is an economics blog, and every one of your sources needs an alternative standby. That standby source needs to be idling and immediately available to protect the grid from catastrophic failure. IIRC the lowest cost constantly available source is coal or gas, and their costs is IIRC ~$.07/KWH. That cost for idling the backup needs to be added to the base price of the alternatives, making the actual costs for the alternatives sources more expensive than any of back up sources.

      Until that problem is solved alternatives will only be available with Govt subsidy or Govt demanded use.

      1. baffling

        the argument against alternatives because of time dependency has been made from the beginning by anti-alternative folks. and yet these sources continue to be incorporated into the grid. why? because we continue to conduct research and build up multiply redundant systems which can handle this performance. and we will continue to do such things. current research in the area of smart grids is producing fascinating ways of incorporating alternative energy sources.

        you are living in the old world built upon a power grid developed for coal systems. modern grid technology is eliminating these problems. new energy storage systems, based on recent battery technology, is looking into developing large scale battery backup to smooth the flow of electrons when wind/water sources decline. your argument against is very thin.

        currently we get brownouts because standard grid systems cannot handle peak load demands. as we solve the alternative generation and storage problem, we also solve the brownout problem because we will have the technology to smooth out demand and supply spikes. and this imbalance will continue to be a bigger problem in the future as we become an even more electrified society.

        1. CoRev

          Let me translate. We are getting more and more reliant on intermittent, alternative energy sources, and by building a smart grid we will be able to shift on demand to more of these intermittent, alternative energy sources covering any possible need due to their intermittent natures. Until the inevitable large intermittent break in supply happens.

          At which point due to the magic built into the smartest of all grids evah we will no longer need energy. Living in the past is much better than believing in magic and destroying, nay even killing, because of it. This was in a left of center paper in Germany the epicenter of the alternative energy world: http://notrickszone.com/2014/02/24/17-of-all-german-households-now-in-energy-poverty-spiegel-writes-of-an-an-energy-cost-explosion/ 17% Of All German Households Now In Energy Poverty! Spiegel Writes Of An “Energy Cost Explosion”!

          These kinds of articles are appearing frequently, but when believing in magic they do not matter.

          Yes, I am being sarcastic because you and NickG are clueless of what pain the fullest implementation of a too early technology based upon Govt subsidies have and are causing in the real world. If they are economically feasibly they will be implemented. Otherwise taxpayers world-wide will have to bail out those hurt or about to be hurt. The wreckage is building from the failed attempts.

          1. Nick G

            Until the inevitable large intermittent break in supply happens.

            That’s not hard to plan for. I can’t imagine why you think it wouldn’t be planned for. That kind of thing would indeed happen, and it wouldn’t be hard to handle. Germany is already planning for it. There are a large range of strategies – I can detail them if you like. They include long range transmission, supply diversity, demand side management, and a variety of forms of storage. None of this is new.

            The fact is that the current grid has to handle a great deal of intermittency, both on the demand side and the supply side. Nuclear power plants can trip at a moment’s notice and be out indefinitely. Coal plants aren’t very reliable.

            Regarding Germany: Germany is not a test case for low cost Climate Change mitigation. Germany’s primary goals are the elimination of nuclear power, and energy independence. If their primary goal was CC mitigation, they’d keep nuclear power, and buy electricity from Morocco and Spain.

            Further, much of the expense related to wind & solar was an investment in ramping up the industry – the tariffs have been reduced, but early production is being paid a large premium. That investment was expensive, and a gift to the rest of the world, which is recieving the benefit of grid-parity solar.

            All in all, renewables are much cheaper than fossil fuels. It’s time we kicked the oil habit, and the fossil fuel habit in general.

        1. Nick G

          I don’t see a connection in this article between Climate Change mitigation and electricity prices. And the title is a bit feverish: a 1.8% increase is hardly “soaring”.

      2. Nick G

        every one of your sources needs an alternative standby.

        That’s true for both fossil fuels as well as for wind and solar. Every grid operator (utility, or ISO) makes plans for backup for *every* form of generation on the grid.

        This is not a new problem, and it’s straightforward to handle.

  23. sherparick

    Rick Stryker, since most economic growth since the advent of the industrial revolution has been the result of human ingenuity and creation, and that especially since the 1970s there is a greater and greater divergence between economic growth and energy usage. Further, since what we should be concerned with is per capita wealth, and not total GDP, we should, primarily through the education of women and their empowerment, bring stop population growth and began its decline to a sustainable level. Although elites might feel pinched that they are not becoming trillionaires, per capita we will grow wealthier and our leisure will hopefully increase thanks to our robot slaves. Expanding solar power through the tropics will provide localized electric power, water pumps, and cell phone, without the need of huge capital grids (which were only built in rural areas of the United States and Europe through huge Government subsidies (Rural Electrification and TVA in the U.S. under the “hated” FDR). Putting in a carbon tax and cap and trade program and sending the taxes and fees back to the citizens in a universal income benefit would not mean any creation of a greater Government then we already have, which is probably the minimum Government necessary to sustain a multiracial, continental nation of 315 million people (right now if you want to drink water in West Virginia or North Carolina from a faucet, you might not think there is enough Government regulation or rights to sue for injuries to sustain your civilization). All I want is a price signal for the tail risk of catastrophe if we allow warming to continue up, up, and away to 500 and 600 parts per million CO2.

    Regarding the apparent pause, there is this article. http://www.skepticalscience.com/surface-winds-push-global-warming-into-oceans-england-2014.html
    I note that as scientific hypothesis, AGW hypothesis has made a lot of predictions that have come true, such as warmer nights, warmer polar regions, and shrinking arctic ice cap (arguably blew the last one since the cap is shrinking much faster than most models predicted).

    I also think that absent AGW, the Earth would be in the cooling phase of the current interglacial period, so AGW is forcing against natural forces. Since an Ice Age would be a very unpleasant natural climate change, I think the best argument I would make for moderation on the AGW issue is that we should do enough warming to slow or prevent that event. However, since that appears to 25,000 years off, and spectacular warming appears to only 100 years away, it is not a really strong argument.

  24. aaron

    This comment on the paper from Judith Curry is funny: http://judithcurry.com/2011/07/04/an-explanation-for-lack-of-warming-since-1998/

    JC comments: Their argument is totally unconvincing to me. However, the link between flat/cooling global temperature and increased coal burning in China is certainly an interesting argument from a political perspective. The scientific motivation for this article seems to be that that scientists understand the evolution of global temperature forcing and that the answer is forced variability (not natural internal variability), and this explanation of the recent lack of warming supports a similar argument for the cooling between 1940 and 1970. The political consequence of this article seems to be that the simplest solution to global warming is for the Chinese to burn more coal, which they intend to do anyways.

    And finally, with the civil heretic discussion fresh in my mind, I checked the personal web pages of each of the co-authors: Robert K. Kaufmann, Heikki Kauppi, Michael L. Mann (not Michael E. Mann, of hockeystick fame), and James H. Stock. These authors (individually and collectively) apparently know a heck of a lot less about atmospheric aerosols (i.e. pretty much nothing) than Freeman Dyson knows about climate change. The authors don’t seem to know much about attribution, either.

    This article is listed as a PNAS direct submission, which means that it gets the more rigorous review treatment by the PNAS editors. I would certainly be interested in knowing who reviewed this paper. I suspect that this paper will be criticized from both sides of the AGW debate.

  25. Rick Stryker


    Well, I understand the former Vice President’s credentials. His understanding of the climate science and of the scientific facts has propelled him to a major leadership role in the climate change movement. But I must admit I can’t help being skeptical about the truth of his statement.

  26. CoRev

    Menzie, how would you grade a paper doing a comparative analysis which did not include the baseline data? If they included it in the paper but buried references , it means two papers (and probably all the references) need to be evaluated) for applicability. My evaluation of this paper is going down hill and it implies a problem with the PNAS paper review process.

    It is concerns similar to this that caused much of the deep review by outsiders of climate science papers. If the data is there can it be found? If it is not then the science can not be replicated. If it is there and buried in the references, then the paper is very badly written. Remember we are talking about the very publicly available data where a simple reference would have been sufficient.

    BTW, I have searched the pares to data and is no clear reference for the observation data in either. You might have thought this was a representative approach to how econometrics could be applied, but with this key data missing your opinion can not be confirmed.

    This is representative of many of the climate science papers, especially those of the 80s and 90s. Reviews from outsiders has caused much of the rancor from the orthodox scientist, but it opens the science and data. And, yes problems have been found. The Hockey Stick looks like it will be fought out in the Canadian and American courts.

  27. baffling

    not sure why geothermal cannot be a source in the right environment. is it the single solution? probably not. but it would be foolish not to pursue it further. iceland recently tapped into a magma chamber and will look at exploiting that heat source for power.

    but i must say, you seem to give more credence to the words of VP Gore than i or many others do. you are allowed to be skeptical of his statements. just like i am skeptical of the truth of statements you make.

  28. Rick Stryker


    You are in fact too credulous, but you have a lot of company. When the former Vice President made that statement on the Conan OBrien show in 2009, the host as well as the studio audience accepted it completely. Conan didn’t make any jokes. No one in the audience gasped. To this day, no one makes any jokes or even talks about it.

    Now when I heard that I thought back to my fifth grade science class in which Miss Sherwood told us the Earth was about 5000 degrees or so down in the center, not millions of degrees. In fact, 2 kilometers down, in most places the temperature might be around 50C hotter. Wow, I thought. No wonder these guys think there is a global warming emergency. If it really is millions of degrees just 2 kilometers down, we should be in for a scorcher.

    But then my skeptical self reasserted itself. Wait a minute. Isn’t the temperature of the interior of the sun millions of degrees? At the risk of being accused of doubting the scientific consensus and possibly believing in creationism, can I ask a skeptical question? Wouldn’t the earth be a fireball if the temperature of the earth is millions of degrees just 2 kilometers down?

  29. baffling

    stryker, is it possible VP Gore made a mistake in conversation on a nightly comedy talk show. the mistake was not in concept, just a mistaken number. remember this was not a scientific convention or a phd qualifying exam. it was a comment on a COMEDY TALK SHOW! i would bet if prompted, he would have corrected his mistake. but i do fail to understand how you can completely miss the point of the overall comment. the earth harbors a tremendous amount of geothermal energy. what if we can tap into that heat as a source of energy?

    you ask why nobody comments on that statement to this day? because most people are smart enough to put into context what VP Gore was saying regardless of his misstatement. or are you trying to tell me we do not have this thermal reservoir of heat sitting underneath us, all around the globe? taking a mistake made on a comedy talk show as an excuse to disparage a former VP and the issue of global climate change and solutions does not show skepticism, it shows somebody with an agenda trying to make a poor statement.

  30. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

    Some of these comments are, I think, a bit confused. While this is broader than Prof Chinn’s post, it’s relevant to the thread.

    (1) What is the consensus of climate scientists so often mentioned? It’s from the IPCC. As stated in AR5 – Working Group I:

    “It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.

    That this is consensus has been verified by several studies (show that the IPCC is working properly). See abstracts and excerpts here. There is a large body of research supporting this starting data of ~1950.

    (2) The IPCC also finds a consensus that surface atmosphere warming will continue, although the IPCC gives varying confidence estimates to the warming’s magnitude and effects.

    (3) There is a clear consensus that surface atmosphere warming has paused since 1998-2000, depending on the dataset used.See reports by climate agencies (e.g., IPCC, UK Met Office) and a large body of peer-reviewed research. See abstracts and excerpts here.

    (4) Research continues to estimate the cause and duration of the pause. See See abstracts and excerpts here about the cause; and here about its duration.

    1. Hans

      IPCC, has been thoroughly discredited. UK Met Office, has also suffered a
      decline in it’s reputation as well.

      People should be very skeptical about any pronouncements or data points
      from either of these two entities…They have been routinely proven wrong.

  31. Rick Stryker


    Yes, the VP made a mistake, but that mistake revealed scientific ignorance. You can’t understand the basic facts and make a mistake like that. The VP was very specific–he said 2 KM down. Anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of geothermal energy knows that you are talking about temperatures in the 100s of degrees C, since the temperature gradient per KM is about 25C. The temperature 2KM down can’t be the same as the interior of the sun. You can’t really confuse hundreds of degrees and millions of degrees. That’s not just a simple slip of the tongue.

    And that’s not the first mistake of that type. In the movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the VP made a number of similarly ridiculous assertions. For example, he claimed that Greenland could melt and break up, causing the sea level to rise 20 feet and creating millions of refugees in coastal cities. That’s completely absurd. If something like that did happen it would take centuries to occur. Even the worst scenario from the IPCC has the sea level rising 1.5 to 3 feet over a century. He also claimed that there is an exact fit between temperature increases and CO2 increases over the last 650,000 years, that the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro melted because of global warming, and that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming. There’s no basis for any of that.

    But the question you should be asking yourself is why you didn’t spot the glaringly obvious problem with his statement. I gave you two opportunities to do so. You didn’t for the same reason that Conan Obrien and his audience didn’t. You are not aware of basic scientific facts. That’s a big problem with the global warming debate in general. The debate that most people know about is conducted in the media. In that debate, scientifically illiterate claims are thrown around by global warming activists, politicians, and other charlatans before a gullible public. You’ve asked several times whether I or CoRev support creationism. But if you want to see the intellectual equivalent of creationism, just look around. It’s everywhere–in newspapers, magazines, tv shows, and documentaries. In fact, I once saw a CNN reporter ask Bill Nye the science guy whether global warming is causing asteroid collisions.

    There is also a real scientific debate going on with global warming that I’ve tried to explain. The real debate is about to what extent you can believe the results of AOGCM models. The public is unaware of that and the media don’t really cover it. However, serious people in the global warming and skeptic camp understand this. For example, if you read Nordhaus’s book The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World you’ll see that he devotes a chapter to the evidence that temperatures will rise over time. In that chapter, he discusses the AOGCM models and notes the same uncertainties that I have, mentioning uncertainties in cloud modeling specifically. Nordhaus also correctly notes that positive feedback in the models is responsible for the alarming temperature projections. Without the positive feedback, the temperature increases are significant but not alarming. But while he acknowledges the modeling uncertainties, Nordhaus falls back on the same argument that all supporters of the models do: although individual models disagree and there is a lot of uncertainty, they all point in the same direction–up. And if you average the results, you’ll get something like a realistic estimate.

    But Nordhaus and other defenders offer no argument that the models can’t all be biased upward. What I did in my comments is to try to take you into the guts of these models, showing why indeed the level of uncertainty is much greater than people admit.

  32. baffling

    “You didn’t for the same reason that Conan Obrien and his audience didn’t. You are not aware of basic scientific facts. That’s a big problem with the global warming debate in general.”

    that is a completely false statement. once again, these were misstatements in a comedy show. they are not meant to be quoted in scientific studies-VP Gore has never claimed to be a climate or earth scientist. the basic scientific fact is there is a tremendous thermal pool below our feet, which has tremendous potential as a source of geothermal energy. this was the point of that statement made by VP Gore. you can either accept it or deny it.

  33. Duracomm

    Baffling said,

    reasonable alternatives are wind, solar, hydro and wave.

    On one hand folks like baffling state carbon emissions are causing global warming and must be cut.

    On the other hand the technologies baffling proposes to cut carbon emissions are mostly vaporware that will not reduce carbon emissions on a timescale and magnitude that proponents of AGW say is required to stop global warming.

    Holding two mutually exclusive viewpoints on a topic shows a certain unfamiliarity with and unseriousness about that topic.

    1. baffling

      “On the other hand the technologies baffling proposes to cut carbon emissions are mostly vaporware that will not reduce carbon emissions on a timescale and magnitude that proponents of AGW say is required to stop global warming.”

      it is statements like that which make it impossible to take anything you say seriously.

      1. Duracomm


        Obviously you have a detailed and comprehensive list of the wave power facilities that are installed and producing power on a commercial scale.

        Obviously one of the details on this list is the amount of wave power generated and certification that the it replaces enough carbon emitting power sources to lower atmospheric carbon levels to a degree that will appreciably reduce AGW.

        You must have this because you are certain the technologies you proposes to cut carbon emissions are not mostly vaporware and they will reduce carbon emissions on a timescale and magnitude that proponents of AGW say is required to solve the problem.

        Looking forward to seeing the data.


        1. baffling

          obviously you have reading comprehension problems because you completely overlooked wind, solar and hydro. wave power has potential and is being investigated. this is like your palm oil example. you lack context in everything you say.

          “Obviously you have a detailed and comprehensive list ”
          obviously these systems are not built yet-otherwise the carbon energy sources would be shut down already. you wanted to know replacement sources, and i gave them.

          i do get a chuckle out of “vaporware” to describe alternative energy systems, however. i guess you serve a purpose after all, but perhaps you spend a little too much time behind a keyboard.

          1. CoRev

            Baffled, would you admit that Germany is one of the leaders in use of alternative sources for electrical energy? If your answer is yes, would you then admit that Germany’s experience should lead our/your/NickG and the other carbon hater contingent’s thinking? If the answer is yes to either and especially both of those questions, then very recent articles should be of interest:
            I also hope you are aware that Germany who shut down its nuclear plants is not converting to coal fired plants.

            This is the result your views on the magic of renewables/alternative sources of electrical energy. Your proposed future is right there across the Atlantic.

          2. baffling

            you just cleared the air very nicely. you get your talking points and “facts” from another blog which supports your worldview!

            for instance, the spiegel article really lays no claim to alternative energy as a price driver-that is simply the opinion of the blogger you follow. the material in the spiegel article says there is a rise in energy poverty-which they even acknowledge as an arbitrary definition of spending more than 10% of net income on energy. think that has anything to do with stagnant wages and rising inequality? the increase quoted occurred from 2008-2011. any thoughts on whether that time period provided economic difficulties, particularly for the already poor?

            the article states people pay around 43% more today for heat and hot water than in 2002. and wages have increased 17% since then. think that imbalance contributed to the energy poverty? curious what the difference in oil price is between 2002 and today. maybe kopits could help us here?

            corev you need to get better sources of information than an unemployed engineer from america blogging from europe with a chip on his shoulder! you cracked me up:)

          3. Nick G


            would you then admit that Germany’s experience should lead our/your/NickG and the other carbon hater contingent’s thinking?

            No, not if you’re going to draw the wrong conclusions from it.

            Germany is not a test case for low cost Climate Change mitigation. Germany’s primary goals are the elimination of nuclear power, and energy independence – dealing with Climate Change is a distinct 3rd in their priorities. If their primary goal was low cost CC mitigation, they would indeed keep nuclear power, and buy electricity from Morocco and Spain.

            Further, much of the expense related to wind & solar was an investment in ramping up the industry – the current tariffs have been reduced, but early production is still being paid a large premium, based on the previous long-term contracts. That investment was expensive, and a gift to the rest of the world, which is receiving the benefit of grid-parity solar.

            All in all, renewables are much cheaper than fossil fuels. It’s time we kicked the oil habit, and the fossil fuel habit in general.

          4. CoRev

            NickG, its evident you are convinced and on a crusade, but the numbers don’t agree with you: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/us-average-levelized-costs-20181.jpg?w=960&h=662
            Article from here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/16/the-levelized-cost-of-electric-generation/

            These are EIA 2013 numbers, and the artcile explaining them: “Levelized cost is the average cost of power from a new generating plant over its entire lifetime of service. The use of levelized cost allows us to compare various energy sources on an even basis. Here are the levelized costs of power by fuel source, for plants with construction started now that would enter service in 2018”

            You are wrong on the German desire to close nukes. That was a relatively new development, their ongoing goals was for Climate and whatever the “Green” party in Germany was chasing at the time.

            Regardless, the German experiment is failing and that is what you are driving us to also.

          5. baffling

            i see corev has been surfing another blog, this time by a broadcaster with an agenda against global warming. i’m sure you get plenty of unbiased information on that site as well! if its posted in a blog on the internet, it must be true!

          6. CoRev

            Baffled, still into misdirection instead of debating the points in the articles. Have any other references?

          7. Nick G


            Oddly enough, the article you provide agrees with me: it shows wind as cheaper than coal.

            Now, there are grey areas: it also shows the very best natural gas generation as slightly cheaper than wind, and shows solar, at $.14, as more expensive than most sources. On the other hand, Steven Kopits would tell you that our current cheap NG is temporary, and solar provides local power at times of peak demand (in AC dependent areas).

            In any case, coal is the centre of CO2 emissions controversy, and this chart says clearly that on-shore wind is cheaper than all forms of coal generation.

            Regarding Germany: you need to be more specific about how “experiment is failing”. Industry is certainly unhappy about rising power prices (due in part to legacy solar investments), though it’s worth noting that Germany, like most countries, charges much higher prices for residential power (hence the Der Spiegel article about households). If you argue that CO2 emissions haven’t dropped or that coal consumption hasn’t dropped dramatically, you have to address the facts that Germany has clearly prioritized the elimination of nuclear above reducing CO2, and is still subsidizing it’s local coal industry. These aren’t policies that make Germany a test case for Climate Change mitigation.

          8. baffling

            corev, you linked to a spiegel article that said nothing about alternative sources of energy as the source of increase. that view was from the blogger you sited. do you even read these articles, or is your reading comprehension that bad? once again, the source of information you are stating as “fact” was nothing but a bloggers opinion! quit wasting people’s time on this site. you have no more credibility.

          9. CoRev

            Baffled, another point lost on you. Germany = one of the leaders in renewables. They are moving back from using them, or at least from government subsidies for them. You seem to miss the simplest points, the level costs were from EIA.

            NickG, If its intermittent it requires backup, the cost of the backup must also be included with the cost. Even using the lowest cost alternative to backup doubles the cost of the lowest renewable, and its even worse for the higher cost renewables.

            You, after commenting, and I presume reading the comments on these last few articles, that question the values assigned by the science, make a statement the coal is the center of CO2 controversy. What part of the CO2 controversy is over weighted in the science did you fail to understand? CO2 is the controversy.

            I disagree with your understanding of Germany’s goals were driven by removing nukes versus climate change. Zealotry seems to blind.

          10. Nick G

            Germany…are moving back from using them, or at least from government subsidies for them.

            Germany is reducing payments for solar because their program *succeeded*: it reduced the cost of solar, thus allowing payment reductions.

            If its intermittent it requires backup, the cost of the backup must also be included with the cost.

            That’s misinformation that gets repeated a lot on certain websites. It’s just not how the grid works.

            *Every* generator on the grid requires backup by other sources-every source of supply is intermittent to some degree. But, it’s a system, where everything backs up everything else. Costs simply are not additive in the way you describe.

            Intermittency doesn’t equal unpredictable: wind can be forecasted, and sun is very predictable in many places.

            Seasonal backup might be needed during a long lull in sun and wind: after demand side management, long distance transmission and supply diversity are applied, there might be as much as 5% of kWhs that might need to come from backup. That could come very cheaply from NG peakers (and eventually from surplus synthetic gas).

            CO2 is the controversy.

            And coal is the biggest source of CO2.

            I disagree with your understanding of Germany’s goals were driven by removing nukes versus climate change.

            I don’t know how to help you understand this – it seems self-obvious to me. Nukes are low-carbon, coal is high carbon, and Germany is choosing to eliminate nukes rather than coal. Obviously, Germans hate nukes more than climate change.

  34. Kevin ONeill

    Rick Stryker says: “It’s important to distinguish the belief in anthropogenic warming from the belief in global warming alarmism, which depends completely on believing the results of the climate models.

    This statement is completely false. We don’t need a single GCM to be alarmed. We don’t need satellite data to be alarmed. We don’t even need any thermometers to be alarmed.

    Humans like to record things. We’ve been recording temperature proxies for centuries. Spring planting dates, lake ice on-off dates, the first daffodil popping up, the first frost, the first snowfall, etc., etc. For instance, the ice break-up dates for Lake Suwa, Japan

    So — without using the output of any model, satellite or instrumental observation — we would *still* hypothesize that the earth is getting warmer; and that this increase in temperature appears to be greater than at any time in recorded history. It’s also funny to see anyone claiming to be serious about studying climate disparage Mann and the ‘hockeystick’ — hockeysticks abound in phenology. Mann’s results would now be suspect if they *hadn’t* taken on a hockeystick appearance.

    Models are our best mathematical attempt to describe the physical processes, but models aren’t the evidence for global warming – the evidence is all around us. You have to *not* want to see it to believe otherwise.

    1. Nick G

      Ski resorts around the world are running out of natural snow. Ski resort operators are big believers in AGW.

    2. CoRev

      Kevin, starts off quoting Rick Stryker re: “global warming alarmism” but ends his comment with: “but models aren’t the evidence for global warming …” After the couple hundred comments on these threads, you missed the point about alarmism and not just global warming?????? How could you have ignored that we all agree it has warmed in the Global Surface Average Temperature Measurements? You then go on to list examples of where the warming has been evidenced. Yup!!!! Bit, that is not evidence of any alarming trend. You also site proxy records for past temps, but conveniently ignore my graph of the GISP ice core proxy data that actually shows since the Holocene Optimum the planet has cooled. If you want more similar long term proxies look at the Antarctic ic cores, or even the Marcott multi-proxy study, all showing similar cooling patterns.

      So, I am forced to agree that it is easy to be alarmed. Phobias abound, but how can they continue to exist when the evidence is opposite the fear? One has to either ignore the evidence, the ice core data, or willfully wish it away. Either is illogical and a sign of religious belief. It definitely is not belief in science or even the measurements.

      1. CoRev

        NickG, you finally looked at the chart critically. I commend you on your thinking. Indeed it does end around 1905. Since it is in annual units, if we can safely correlate measured temps to the ice core samples we can adjust the measurements and append them to the ice core data. We can also look at the dust in the later layers to get a more up to date graphic. All of this has been done and we get current temps at (with some significant error bars) or below the MWP, the last peak. If you notice what I have said this peak is less than the prior peaks.

        The descending line on the graph and the similarity in trends for the other ice core and multi-proxy studies stand. The long term, multi-glaciation studies show similar patterns in each interglacial. The point is concentrating on a very, very short dataset, ~135 years, and even shorter from 1979, gives a very false impression of what is actually happening and has happened in the past with temps.

        And then we have the models based upon the science explaining these false signals.

        1. Nick G

          Well, two questions:

          Has anyone charted the series you describe? and,

          What would be the best counter-argument to the argument you present? What would a Climate Change advocate say in reply to the argument you present?

          1. CoRev

            Don Easterbrook, and blah, blah, he’s wrong, because the models/science say otherwise. Then they would show us again the temperature measurements chart from the LIA claiming they are “long term”. All the time ignoring the actual “long term” ice core data because it doesn’t fit the story line. Occasionally some one knowledgeable will point to the Marcott 2013 study including the garbage 20th and 21st century end. Garbage? Because they appended the end of the low frequency highly smoothed long term proxy data with unlike unsmoothed , high frequency temp records and to them appended the same style model output data to predict to 2100. Had they continued the overall process to calculate the end point it would have been just ~2-3 points just slightly higher than the last proxy point. Garbage.

            And you can guess what data was emphasized in the press releases. The author soon after being challenged, admitted the 20th century data wasn’t robust, an understatement.

  35. Duracomm

    I’ve been showing that policy response to AGW is important because incorrect policies can at best do nothing to reduce carbon emissions and at worst increase carbon emissions while causing significant collateral environmental destruction.

    In other words on one hand you have technology that is not ready to deploy (vaporware) and on the other you can deploy technology that increases carbon emissions (worse than doing nothing).

    Baffling has helpfully provided good examples of these problem. He said

    reasonable alternatives are wind, solar, hydro and wave.

    Wave energy provided the vaporware example. Baffling did some arm waving but had to admit that wave power technology was not ready to deploy it was in a word vaporware.

    This is important because proponents of policy response to reduce AGW tend to argue that it is important to reduce emissions now. Waiting on vaporware to be deployed is not acceptable as this might allow carbon emissions to overshoot a safe level.

    Moving on to the next technology example (worse than doing nothing) , the other technology baffling mentioned was hydro. Oops

    Hydroelectric power’s dirty secret revealed

    Contrary to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate.

    The green image of hydro power as a benign alternative to fossil fuels is false, says Éric Duchemin, a consultant for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “Everyone thinks hydro is very clean, but this is not the case,” he says.

    Hydroelectric dams produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane,and in some cases produce more of these greenhouse gases than power plants running on fossil fuels.

    Fearnside estimates that in 1990 the greenhouse effect of emissions from the Curuá-Una dam in Pará, Brazil, was more than three-and-a-half times what would have been produced by generating the same amount of electricity from oil.

    Oops indeed.

    This is not to say the source of the article above is beyond reproach but it does illustrate the significant environmental damage and increased carbon emissions that occur when policies designed to reduce carbon emissions are not carefully thought out.

    1. aaron

      Right, last I heard CO2 scrubbing drops efficiency about 15%. That’s a 15% reduction in reserves and a 15% increase in real pollution.

      Hydro is a great alternative, solar will be soon. Wind, maybe at the end of the century, if ever.

      1. Nick G

        Heck, wind is cheaper than coal right now, even without proper accounting for pollution, occupational health costs, etc, etc.

        Solar has dropped below grid-parity in many places: Australia is perhaps the most interesting example. Solar has reached about 10% of peak generation in some provinces of Australia, and installations are growing fast.

    2. aaron

      And of course, the best of all, nuclear. Soon, thorium nuclear (but probably not in the US). Eventually fussion.

    3. Nick G

      Let’s bypass the question of whether this hydro article tells us much about hydro overall. Even if it did, is it important?

      Do the police stop pursuing killers because they sometimes catch the wrong guy? Does Google stop developing new stuff because some of their projects fail (as they indeed do)?

      Policy-wise, there’s a simple way to improve AGW policy: just apply a Pigovian tax to carbon. Even very conservative economists agree that would be a good idea. Why don’t we do that? Because industries that would be affected have blocked it. Thus, we’re left with with a policy of subsidies for new tech, which isn’t nearly as targeted and effective as taxing that properly account for costs and allow free markets to work.

      1. aaron

        I’m ok with taxing fuels, if taxes are cut for lower income earners. But I’m against regulating based on GHGs. We should produce as much as we can as efficiently as we can. Warming is good.

        1. aaron

          Statement of Patrick Moore, Ph.D.

          Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight February 25, 2014

          “Natural Resource Adaptation: Protecting ecosystems and economies”

          Chairman Whitehouse, Ranking Member Inhofe, and members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify at today’s hearing.

          In 1971, as a PhD student in ecology I joined an activist group in a church basement in Vancouver Canada and sailed on a small boat across the Pacific to protest US Hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We became Greenpeace…

          It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a 2oC rise in global average temperature, that humans are a tropical species. We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing. It could be said that frost and ice are the enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age. It is “extremely likely” that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.

          I realize that my comments are contrary to much of the speculation about our climate that is bandied about today. However, I am confident that history will bear me out, both in terms of the futility of relying on computer models to predict the future, and the fact that warmer temperatures are better than colder temperatures for most species.

          If we wish to preserve natural biodiversity, wildlife, and human well being, we should simultaneously plan for both warming and cooling, recognizing that cooling would be the most damaging of the two trends.

    4. baffling

      “This is important because proponents of policy response to reduce AGW tend to argue that it is important to reduce emissions now.”
      it is important to reduce emissions now and IN THE FUTURE. so i throw away development of a technology that cannot help today but will be ready in a decade? very foolish argument.

      hydro is not nearly as bad as you imply. if it is located in the proper location, you maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impacts-including methane release. your example is building a shallow dam in the middle of the amazon rain forest! very representative of hydro power options i must say! dolt.

      you have an odd view on technology and progress. if the technology does not exist today, in your world it will never exist so quit thinking about it. and since we no longer allow technology to progress to maturity, we must simply continue to operate as we have for the past 50 years-just keep burning the coal and oil. you either do not understand or you are afraid of disruptive technology. but that is how the world changes.

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