Greenies are losing The Economist

The Ecommunist Economist has an interesting story this week.

The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now.

What “not-rising temperatures” is that?

OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO? put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”

We have been covering this story for some time at the Cat. While The Economist is using a whole bunch of weasel words to cover itself the fact remains that the “non-rising temperatures” is becoming a problem that won’t go away and can’t be easily explained away.

Update: The Australian Financial Review reprinted the entire article today.

Much like The Economist printing the article in the first place, having the AFR reprint the article is a significant change in editorial policy.

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69 Responses to Greenies are losing The Economist

  1. Oh, my. Surely not. Surely they’re not losing The Economist. Is nothing sacred?

    It’s like reading that Jeanette MacDonald has stomped on Nelson Eddy’s Mountie hat.

  2. Rabz

    The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now.

    There is absolutely nothing puzzling about it, unless you’re a commie catastrophist imbecile (BIRM).

  3. Rabz

    Cue a bunch of outrageously outraged, hysterical bedwetting cretins squealing about anybody having the temerity* to question their mighty, untestable (and increasingly ridiculous) hypothesis…

    *Teh temerity, I tells ya!

  4. Gab

    “I would like to draw your attention to three facts, two of which are not in dispute at all.

    “The first is that the CO2 levels are galloping faster than the most pessimistic predictions. The second is that there has been a 17 year pause in global warming, as acknowledged by Rajendra Pachauri of the IPCC, and that the British Bureau of Meteorolgy models are predicting that this pause will continue until the year 2017—that’s a 20 year pause. And thirdly there is a leaked graph from the Fifth IPCC report due out in September showing actual temperatures tracking below the lowest predictions of the previous IPCC reports.

    “If we put those three facts together, don’t they blow this idiotic global warming scare right out of the water?”

    Quadrant via Bolt.

    Yes it’s “puzzling” as the Ecommiemist said.

  5. TerjeP

    The alarmists are in denial. Seventeen years doesn’t prove the theory of catastrophic AGW wrong but it sure as heck ought to give proponents a big dose of humility.

  6. C.L.

    Remember how Tony Abbott said the idea that the “science is settled” is “bullshit”? (Later doctored by Gillard and others to a claim that he said ‘climate change’ was bullshit).

    Well, Abbott is vindicated. Utterly, massively vindicated.

  7. Rabz

    Seventeen years doesn’t prove the theory of catastrophic AGW

    For the last time, AGW is not a ‘theory’.

  8. [Homer – you can post here under your name, or not at all. In the meantime I suggest you tone down your abuse. Sinc]

  9. Helen Armstrong

    So why on Earth are the coalition still tied to the a. renewable energy target and b. lowering of CO2 target (I forget the proper term for this).

    What purpose do either serve other than to waste scarce resources on unproductive ‘things’.

  10. Helen Armstrong

    And if sequestration is worth doing, (by promoting soil fertility) then farmers will do it anyhow, there is no need for intervention.

  11. Lysander Spooner

    Gabz, the Theory of Relativity is still a relativity?

    But you’re right, AGW is not a theory; it is A Great Wank (AGW).

  12. Lysander Spooner

    scratch that. The Theory of Relativity is still a theory.

  13. dover_beach

    Well, Abbott is vindicated. Utterly, massively vindicated.

    You cannot underestimate the psychological toll of the above for leftists.

  14. Token

    OMG, the Economist has decided to stop drinking the AGW Kool-Aid.

    You can bet the usual suspects will be hear soon to deny the science and do their Comical Ali routine.

  15. stackja

    The solar cycle affects earth more than man could ever hope to.

    Solar Influences Data Analysis Center

    (SIDC), which is the solar physics research department of the Royal Observatory of Belgium. The SIDC includes the World Data Center for the sunspot index and the ISES Regional Warning Center Brussels for space weather forecasting.

    SIDC has the Sunspot index graphics which includes the sunspot number since 1750.

  16. dover_beach

    Oops. That should overestimate. Time for another coffee.

  17. Arnost

    The Greenies may have lost the Economist, but they have gained 100% of James Hansen – who has given up on doing science as he feels “a moral obligation to step up his activism in his remaining years”.

    Climate Maverick to Quit NASA

  18. C.L.

    Isn’t Homer entitled to post under his blog name?

  19. Louis Hissink

    So why on Earth are the coalition still tied to the a. renewable energy target and b. lowering of CO2 target (I forget the proper term for this).

    Indeed – either its their polling of marginal which suggests they not frighten the horses with outright rejection of the CAGW idea, or they are as statist as their fellow parliamentarians in the ALP, and are part of the drive to wean us off fossil fuels.

    As a result of navel gazing over the weekend, a third possibility seems plausible – that decades ago governments worked out how to tap into energy that Tesla discovered, but which was put under wraps. Under wraps?

    Just imagine the economic catastrophe you could create by discovering a cheap, infinite source of energy. Overnight the price of oil and coal plummet. No one wants to pump or dig the stuff up. But what happens when industry runs out of fuel – coal and petroleum? It grinds to a halt. Cities grind to a halt. Transport grinds to a halt. Figure it out.

    Which societies won’t be affected by this possibility – unindustrialised ones.

    Add the hubris associated with the self appointed political left which, apart from having economics wrong, are also embarked on engineering this transition.

    There is a serious flaw in this analysis – it’s conspiratorial and as we learnt from Watergate, nothing is ever kept secret – someone, somewhere has to blab.

    That’s why a presentation by a Bill Nichols of the US Weather Service earlier this year is interesting when he hinted that new sources of energy might be coming sooner than later. In fact his whole presentation was unusual emphasising the goodness of people in government. His presentation is on You Tube and here.

    Mind you the inherent nastiness of the political left should not be dismissed, but I remain ambivalent, none the less.

    Fence sitting at present re the political motivations behind CAGW. It’s a cockup because it’s the political left implementing it. It’s their hatred of the market that killed any possibility of allowing the market to introduce new energy sources.

  20. Splatacrobat

    a structural break

    Is that like an RDO?
    Glowbull Worming is having a little holiday and will be back after a short message from our sponsor……

    Hi, I’m Tim Flannery. You may remember me from such Climate Science comments as Damning the dams, Don’t buy near the sea, and my all time favourite Burn Baby Burn.

    Armed with the latest science on this settled subject I am releasing a new book (Global death takes a holiday $49.95 in all good bookstores) explaining how the world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010 and yet the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.

    It’s simple really. Here is exclusive film of me crunching the data that proves I am right.

  21. JC

    Isn’t Homer entitled to post under his blog name?




    Paxton deletes everyone’s comments
    at his bogsite.

    And he’s a rude doofus too.

    Show no mercy to the imbecile.

  22. Steve X

    There is a big bit of remaining work to do, which is to couple the lower sensitivities with realistic (i.e. non-Stern report) discount rates.

    Bjorn Lomborg accepted everything, including the first hockey-stick, that was science and not economics in the IPCC reports.

    It will be very interesting to see what an assessment like his or Richard Toll is like with lower sensitivity estimates.

    Or does anyone know of such an analysis if it has already been done?

  23. mct

    Climate Maverick to Quit NASA

    That IS good news… so long as they put someone who is vaguely honest in charge of the temperature data there. It is a disgrace that he has had that role for so long.

  24. Tom

    From Arnost’s link:

    At 72, he (James Hansen) said, he feels a moral obligation to step up his activism in his remaining years.

    “If we burn even a substantial fraction of the fossil fuels, we guarantee there’s going to be unstoppable changes” in the climate of the earth, he said. “We’re going to leave a situation for young people and future generations that they may have no way to deal with.”

    He had 46 years at the world’s biggest space agency, with control over billions of dollars in research funding and access to tens of thousands of hours on super-computers and yet he couldn’t establish a simple relationship between CO2 atmospheric concentration and global temperature — except for the vibe and what else could it be?

    Instead Hansen will be remembered as a political activist consumed with visceral hatred of the human race who did more than any man who ever lived to destroy the public trust and authority of science.

    Just piss off, you irresponsible old clown. You taught us nothing except to be wary of the next zealot who tries to hijack civilisation’s technical instruments.

  25. Bruce of Newcastle

    There is a big bit of remaining work to do, which is to couple the lower sensitivities with realistic (i.e. non-Stern report) discount rates.

    They can’t do it because the economics would be so obvious that CAGW would be instantly blown away. If IRR is negative no different discount rate will ever make it positive.

    The point is that 2XCO2 is logarithmic. The satellite measured values around 0.6 or 0.7 C/doubling are so innocuous that we’d have to put over 20 times as much CO2 into the atmosphere that we’ve hitherto done, just to get 2 C of warming. It is unlikely that enough fossil fuel exists on Earth to do even that.

  26. Luke

    Yeah, I’m hearing a lot more talk in government these days about ‘climate change’ and ‘extreme weather’. i.e. avoiding the link between carbon and rising temperature and focusing more on ‘heads they win, tails you loose’. Cold weather = climate change. Heavy rain = extreme weather caused by climate change. Heat wave = climate change. Rough seas = extreme weather caused by climate change.

    The watermelons aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Especially when they have so much control of, and access to, public money. Your kids will still be learning about the ongoing threat from AGW in schools in 10yrs time.

  27. Lysander Spooner

    Hah! That downward curve on the temp graph looks a bit like the Greenies primary vote!

  28. Up The Workers!

    That is the problem with spoiling an argument with mere “facts”.

    “Facts” are a conservative conspiracy – they generally tend to cluster themselves around the arguments of conservatives and thereby prove themselves to be partisan in nature.

    It is precisely for that reason that members of the A.L.P. and Greens use rhetoric and dogma which is almost entirely unpolluted by facts of ANY sort.

    It is infuriating to have spent 30 minutes or more explaining to an audience how human breath is a dangerous, poisonous, killer gas which can ONLY be rendered safe with a great big A.L.P. tax on everything – only to have some upstart throw a fact or two into the audience like a stink-bomb, and you have to start all over again.


    There should be a law against them!

  29. handjive

    Why 17 years before Alarmist Global Warming can be questioned:

    Santer et al 2011

    – “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

    It took less than 9 years to “discover” Alarmist Global Warming by Hansen:

    ? Global Ice Age scare finished 1979

    ? No Warming From 1979 To 1988

    ? Jim Hansen’s now famous congressional testimony given in the hot summer of 1988

    Bonus video-
    Man Made Global Warming circa 1958 before the Ice Age scare of the seventies. (1.18 minutes, You tube)

  30. H B Bear


    There should be a law against them!

    Senator Conroy – is that you?

  31. Cold-Hands

    So why on Earth are the coalition still tied to the a. renewable energy target and b. lowering of CO2 target (I forget the proper term for this).

    At a recent fiftieth birthday celebration, I was discussing CAGW with some well educated “Doctor’s wives” types. They were so inculcated with the views of Fairfax media (“precautionary principle”, think of the children, safeguard the environment ad nauseam), that they felt it the height of irresponsibility to “do nothing” about “climate change”. Rather than lose the votes of these brainwashed sheep, the LNP coalition has at least capped the price it’s prepared to spend on the climate religion, and it’ll be much easier to wind up when the gerbil worming scam is finally debunked.

  32. Peter Sommerville

    The fundamental problem is that the results churned out by computer models creating hypothetical scenarios on the basis of gross simplifications became accepted as “science”. Some of us have been decrying this since the early 1990’s.

    Computer modellers all suffer from the same disease. They become so immersed in the elegance of their models and the elegance of their outputs that they become blind to their inadequacies. Fortunately, in time, their predictions get tested and their failures become manifest.

    Unfortunately, in their failure they also sow seeds for complacency, which is equally dangerous.

  33. WhaleHunt Fun

    ” It is unlikely that enough fossil fuel exists on Earth to do even that.”
    Puhlease puhlease can we not import some from gas? Jupiter is made of methane.
    Need to do something. I really really really want to leave an utterly devastated wreck of a planet for Josh Thomas. Seeing him boiling rats droppings and grass to make gruel in his old age is my great ambition.

  34. WhaleHunt Fun

    All driven by his great contributions to QandA last night.

  35. JC

    Cold H

    Lol… Yea they’re all the same. You could give 240 volts through both temples and they swear the world is ending.

    I have a theory… The older the gals get the more risk averse they become and they’re a anti-risk from their genetic disposition. Couple that with relative wealth and those gals aren’t going to turn.

    I’ve witnessed one go from staunch lib to green and wanting to be buried vertically as it leaves a smaller footprint… All influenced by one of her brainwashed kids.

    As I keep saying… Our females need to be disenfranchised again… Or failing that the husband should own the wife’s vote.

    I’m sorry for all the great gals here as they obviously don’t deserve it, but we’re talking big population propensity here.

  36. JC

    And. Daughters…. The father should have her vote if she’s unmarried. .. Or the vote should simply go to male heir.

    Female vote have ruined our political system.

  37. Jim Rose

    tens of thousands of green jobs would go if the world stopped warming.

    I worry more about global cooling. kilometre thick icesheets covering all of canada and most of europe are hard to adapt to.

  38. Helen Armstrong

    The older the gals get the more risk averse they become

    Right with you there, JC, no way will I get in the yard with a fresh Mickey now, or at least know exactly where the rails are at any time, even if my actually getting to them and over them is probably more wishful thinking these days.

    As to greenfilth, my risk aversion is they should all be exterminated or send to Tasmania.

    Re the female vote – are you a little outvoted in your family? heheh

  39. JC

    I worry more about global cooling. kilometre thick icesheets covering all of canada and most of europe are hard to adapt to.

    How would tubbie Milne explain that one.

  40. manalive

    There are a few names missing from that Economist essay for instance Lindzen, Christy, Singer, Spencer, Michaels.

    … the puzzle does need explaining …

    No it doesn’t.
    It’s not that the hypothesis/theory/fantasy/hoax needs to be tweaked in order to accommodate the recent temperature plateau; rather it’s back to taws, reverting to the null hypothesis i.e. whatever the effect of rising CO2 it is impossible to identify.

  41. manalive

    Oh … it is impossible to identify and on the empirical evidence of the past 70 years, not dangerous.

  42. Will

    Greenies are losing The Economist

    Nice delusion, but the entire article reinforces the belief in “climate change” and the “greenhouse gas” ‘theory’.

    They begin with:
    “The climate may be heating up less in response to greenhouse-gas emissions than was once thought. But that does not mean the problem is going away”

    and end with:
    “Since CO? accumulates in the atmosphere, this could increase temperatures compared with pre-industrial levels by around 2°C even with a lower sensitivity and perhaps nearer to 4°C at the top end of the estimates. Despite all the work on sensitivity, no one really knows how the climate would react if temperatures rose by as much as 4°C. Hardly reassuring.”

    This is typical alarmist propoganda, and includes such evidence free gems as

    “As a rule of thumb, global temperatures rise by about 1.5°C for each trillion tonnes of carbon put into the atmosphere.”


    “A rise of around 3°C could be extremely damaging.”

    There is nothing reassuring about an article that fails to seriously question the stupid assumptions of AGW, ignores the levels of scientific fraud and malfeasance, nor gives a genuine assessment of the science.

  43. JC

    It wouldn’t be funny, but ironic if over time the world appeared to be in a cooling phase and we try to burn more fossil fuels in an attempt to stop it.

    It would matter how advanced would be, the cold would be hugely destructive.

  44. Rabz

    How would tubbie Milne explain that one.

    TM: “It’s catastrophic yuman induced climate change, I tells ya!”

  45. James of the Glens

    Thanks, Rabz, for reminding the few that “AGW” is most certainly not a theory.

    In fact, it has never advanced to the testable hypothesis stage, let alone be tested with supporting results, repeated with similar results and as such proclaimed a theory.

    As an aside, in this neck of the woods it is common to hear spokespeople from local councils rabbiting on about “Climate Change” (but meaning AGW) as if it’s an established theory which must be dutifully acknowledged in all works and projects. To mix species, these parrots are the gullible ignoramuses targeted by UN-type bodies to force the rubbish on grass-roots communities.

    Never let a person say “Climate Change” without asking them what they mean – inevitably they’ll blurt out AGW and then is the time to question what evidence (papers) they base their claims upon. Always good fun.

  46. Karl Kessel

    Still, economists like Richard Toll, who is denounced regularly by the climate faithful, advocate a C02 emissions tax.

    He argues that you have to tax something, and a straight up tax on C02, not an ETS, is a fairly easy to administer and simple tax.

    Which is worse, taxing C02 or taxing income, that you want more of?

  47. JC


    Fair enough, tax consumption even with a carbonic tax. However the damage isn’t the tax itself per se. It’s all the shit it funds/subsidizes and the fact that despite the tax we will also have a renew-ball quota of 20% by 2020.

    By all means leave the tax while getting rid of the other stuff and make sure everyone gets the income tax cut instead of just Labor/Greenslime constituencies.

    Tol would never in his death bed advocate the poison these fuckers have cooked up. Ever. It would be a clean consumption type tax.

  48. Rabz

    Thank you, James.

    The widespread and in many cases utterly inexcusable ignorance of the Scientific Method (especially, it seems, among so many so called ‘scientists’) is a source of constant irritation.

  49. JC

    And Karl… in its own way a clean, virgin like carbon tax would also be a tax on the wealthier too as they tend to use more energy.

  50. cohenite

    No, a CO2 tax is no good full stop; it makes the cheapest, most plentiful energy sources dearer and condemns the third world to stay energy free.

  51. Bruce

    CO2 tax is disproportionate on energy intensive industries that make stuff, like aluminium. The Kurri smelter near me shut down last year, at least partly because of the carbon tax as a last straw. Tomago and Portland have cut production. Unfortunately now you also have the problem that a CO2 tax is completely tainted by the progressive green religion. Who wants to pay involuntary tithes to the Church of Gaia?

    Its a Colbertian problem for sure, which is apt since Swan is a goose. But the more popular answer is not to tax more things but to use the money better. Note how Gillard is floating thought bubbles about super taxing the rich, not razor-ganging the incompetent?

  52. JC


    I know what you mean, but out of a choices I’d much rather see a clean Carbon tax than an income tax as I think taxing consumption rather than incomes offers a much better outcome.

    I think a carbon tax is basically useless in terms of it’s objectives but overall it’s a consumption tax. And yea it does cause problems in the traded goods sector.

  53. wreckage

    Will, noisily announcing one’s zealous orthodoxy while raising the idea that the heretics might have a point is the first step.

    They’re maintaining social position while laying the groundwork for a future reversal.

    “In 2013 we raised serious questions, and now we are vindicated entirely” Just watch. In ten years or so no one will ever have believed in AGW OR will be claiming that their swift and decisive action “worked despite never being fully implemented. Now, despite resistance from short-sighted politicians, we can see that our ideas where far more effective than we ever imagined possible.”

  54. Bruce

    Maybe a wind turbine tax. Those suckers need to be taxed into smoking wreckage.

  55. Bruce

    Oops, sorry wreckage. My bad.

  56. Grant B

    cohenite – Australia’s Trofim would disagree with you and suggest that you are truly “what Lysenko spawned”.

    BTW: wasn’t the recent Conversation on extreme temperatures a hoot. I gave up after a couple of days trying to explain statistical significance. I had golf to play, beer to drink.

  57. Bruce

    A puzzle wrapped in an anagram. Bit hard on cohenite. I don’t think he’d be seen dead at UWa.

  58. cohenite

    BTW: wasn’t the recent Conversation on extreme temperatures a hoot. I gave up after a couple of days trying to explain statistical significance

    You mean the Null hypothesis stuff with O’Neill?

    I liked it when Sarah Perkins, the author of the article, said this:

    However extremes do not follow a Gaussian distribution so assuming this statistical model, and providing the respective statistical data may not be accurate. None of the work presented here has fitted a Gaussian distribution to extremes. It is actually something I would highly recommend not doing.

    I had a good time there.

  59. cohenite

    trends can change

    Let’s hope so; I’d like to be immortal.

  60. preternity

    Australia’s trending apathy towards ‘global warming’ as evidenced by google searches since 2004. If you view the ‘changes over time’ clip it looks like a virus is slowly but surely being eradicated.

  61. Grant B

    Cohenite – I’ve had a look back at the Converation post. Comments are now closed. Unless I’m getting very old and senile (admittedly a possibility) I believe they have rewitten their article (without notification) and removed their link to their comment about Marcott et al verifying the Mann hockey stick. The link went to a “we’re screwed” headline. I know I commented about it and my comment was there for at least a couple of days. It is no longer there. I can only surmise that even they now know the Marcott uptick is a total crock of shite and have removed the reference to it.

    I don’t do the wayback machine and I’m on a mobile anyway. Still on a pissy golf trip. If you’re interested check out what I believe to be the case. If it turns out to be true these pricks are really beyond the pail.

  62. Karl Kessel

    JC : Totally agree about the farcical subsidies for wind and solar.

    There is an excellent quote from the columnist Walter Lippman: “The goal of politics is not to get everyone to think alike but rather to get people who think differently to act alike”.

    The ALP and others should think about that more often.

    Of course a low, calm C02 tax would have zero effect on the climate, but so does an Australian ETS.

  63. Karl Kessel

    Will : The problem has been largely with the economics of doing something about climate change. If it would cost the average person in a developed country $10/year to fix it would be well underway.

    Lomborg and others have pointed out that with sensible discount rates nothing other than research into low C02 emissions makes any sense.

    If you model the expected changes, damage and growth reasonably it’s very sensitive to a change in any parameter. A slight increase in the discount rate, reduction in damage or expected change and it doesn’t pay anymore.

    The Economist article is significant. They have shifted their position of at least 15 years on climate change. It won’t be long before there is another article that puts lower sensitivity and sane costings together.

  64. Grant B

    Cohenite- scratch previous. The reference was in a previous CSIRO (who else) post, State of Decay. But at least we can be reassured that the CSIRO has full confidence in the Marcott uptick.

  65. Aliice


    This harping on about why women should not vote does is not helpful…its you who are the doomed species and you dont need your vote.

    Please leave yours with wifey.

  66. cohenite

    Marcott is indefensible but he gamely tries the tried and tested method of self-vindication at Real Climate.

    The comments are interesting and show Marcott is finished in terms of data and technique and is a nadir by even the standards of AGW ‘science’; you know this because even a died in the wool believer like Raypierre Humbert says:

    “As noted in the FAQ, the time resolution of reconstruction is approximately a century. Thus, it is not quite fair to compare the reconstruction to instrumental data that is not smoothed to the same time resolution. It is conceivable that there are individual centuries in the Altithermal where the temperature rose as fast as today, and to the same extent or more, but these would not show up in a record smoothed to 100 year time resolution. I think this is very unlikely, but the paper doesn’t strictly rule out the possibility. This remark applies only to the warming of the past 100 years. Where we are going in the next century is so extreme it would show up even if smoothed down to the centennial resolution, I think.”

    Humbert skates around the issue but his basic scientific training comes through; Marcott simply smoothed away all the nasty warm periods in the past. All that is left is the future, which like bad used car salemen the AGW prophets assure us will be bad unless we buy their snake oil now.

    Another reminder, as if we needed more, that smart people have their brains smoothered by their ego investment in a dumb fucking idea like AGW. But with Humbert and a few others there is a glimmer of some synapses switching on; maybe.

  67. James

    Sceptical science has a post pointing out the problems with this economist article here –

    I really wish you guys would do some googling before shouting out “bingo!”.

  68. Bruce

    Of course SkS has a post on it. That is what they are for.

    As it happens the Economist is indeed wrong since they didn’t mention the empirical measurements of cilmate sensitivity using CERES and ERBE, which were designed just for this sort of mesurement (amongst other things). A 2XCO2 of 0.7 C/doubling is still too far beyond the Economist’s comfort zone for them to put in text. But that is what fits the temperature record. High values of sensitivity do not, no matter how many non existent “small volcanoes” and Chinese SO2 emissions are invoked. Epicycles on epicycles, and just as futile as in Kepler’s time.

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