Tim Groser on Climate Change

March 23rd, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald has an interesting Q&A with Tim Groser on . Some extracts:

With the Protocol due to expire in 2012, what are the biggest obstacles to developing a new treaty?

The number one issue is participation. Countries that have obligations under Kyoto account for less than 30 per cent of global emissions and that number is falling. It does not include developing countries or the United States.

It seems likely the United States will join the next agreement when negotiations begin in Copenhagen in December. Does that leave developing countries as the biggest challenge?

I don’t think you can separate the issue of the United States joining from developing countries joining. Everyone expects developing countries will do less than developed countries, but they must do something or we are wasting our time.

Kyoto is very flawed. By 2050 it would reduce average global temperatures by only 0.07 of one degree. The sucessor must include all major emitters.

Couldn’t other countries argue it is just as difficult for them to reduce emissions as it is for us to cut agriculture emissions, for example countries that rely on electricity from coal?

Agriculture is in a special category. There are solutions to the generation of electricity from coal but there are no ways to reduce enteric methane. There are a series of interesting ideas in a lab, but nothing that is commercially available.

Which is why we should be careful not to start taxing farmers for the emissions, when there is little they can do about them except shoot every tenth cow.

Should agriculture emissions be completely exempt?

No. New Zealanders want to do their fair share. We argue that all countries must look at what practical potential they have to reduce greenhouse gases.

Any other big issues for New Zealand?

Forestry. The rules negotiated at Kyoto assume all carbon from trees is released as soon as you cut the trees down and that is not necessarily true. Kyoto also penalises people who want to cut down forests and plant them in a different place.

New Zealand wants to transfer more of its forestry to marginal hill country and under the current rules that will cost a lot of money.

Yes the rules should allow you to offset forests without penalty. This allows land to be used for the purpose it is most fit for.

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46 Responses to “Tim Groser on Climate Change”

  1. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Kyoto is very flawed. By 2050 it would reduce average global temperatures by only 0.07 of one degree. The sucessor must include all major emitters.

    Fairly sure Kyoto was never meant to go through to 2050.

    [DPF: Holding emissions at 1990 levels is what that means. If by 2012 everyone (in Kyoto) was back to 1990 levels and stayed there, that would be the impact on temperature by 2050]

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  2. Ryan Sproull (7,101 comments) says:

    You could technically use fast-growing forests as big carbon sinks, if you do something with the wood that won’t allow the carbon to escape back into the atmosphere. I don’t know the maths on that, though (ie., how much a tree absorbs as it’s growing its first 20 years.)

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  3. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    Oh, this is just absurd. We are having these pretentious, po-faced discussions this late in the piece while the monstrous political fraud that is “catastrophic anthropgenic global warming”, has nearly finished its decade or so long process of unravelling?

    Rodney should have been in that interview.

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  4. Brian Smaller (4,013 comments) says:

    Kyoto is very flawed. By 2050 it would reduce average global temperatures by only 0.07 of one degree. The sucessor must include all major emitters.

    Does that include all volcanos and naturally occuring forest fires? Fucking Gaia – I hate her. Crapping in her own atmosphere.

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  5. petal (705 comments) says:

    Not feeling very hot this morning.

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  6. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Oh, this is just absurd. We are having these pretentious, po-faced discussions this late in the piece while the monstrous political fraud that is “catastrophic anthropgenic global warming”, has nearly finished its decade or so long process of unravelling?

    Very well said Mr. Best.

    If only we had a politician with the good sense and courage of Czech President Vaclav Klaus. He received a standing ovation when he said at a recent conference-

    “It is evident that the climate change debate has not made any detectable progress, it reminds me of the frustration people like me felt in the communist era.”

    Still we have the simpering Nationals too cowed by the strident left wing academia and the partisan left wing media to come out and say what Mr. Klaus is saying, and what National’s supporters and the man in the street and middle class NZ wants them to say.

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  7. Ryan Sproull (7,101 comments) says:

    The six-day-creationism vs evolution debate isn’t making any progress either.

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  8. Repton (769 comments) says:

    @Brian Smaller:

    I’m not sure about forest fires, but volcanoes are a red herring. Quoting from Scientific American:

    “[C]ompared to the quantity produced by human activities, [volcanoes'] impact is virtually trivial: volcanic eruptions produce about 110 million tons of CO2 each year, whereas human activities contribute almost 10,000 times that quantity. ”

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=how-do-volcanoes-affect-w

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  9. JC (949 comments) says:

    Yeah, but from the six day creation myth we got Western civilization.

    From Kyoto all we get is the Hellfire and damnation bit.

    JC

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  10. baxter (893 comments) says:

    Should agriculture emissions be completely exempt?

    No. New Zealanders want to do their fair share. We argue that all countries must look at what practical potential they have to reduce greenhouse gases.

    ……….So New Zealand is to remain the only country in the world to kneecap it’s farmers how is that fair,It seems this ‘liability was invented by the last administration so their leader could grandstand and now the NATS are going along with it.Bad call Mr GROSER.

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  11. big bruv (13,727 comments) says:

    When you consider that Grosser has spent a life time mixing with the worlds best “double speakers” and when you read between the lines of what he has said there is hope that he and the Nat’s are leading us away from the economic suicide that is Kyoto.

    While I would obviously love Grosser and the Nat’s to come out with a statement that said something like “we are not going to saddle the NZ economy with Kyoto when the science is far from conclusive” the reality is that is never going to happen.

    If Key and the Nat’s have anything to learn from the previous corrupt Labour government it is that you need to introduce things slowly and make change by stealth, ultimately I don’t care how they go about extracting us from Kyoto as long as that is the eventual outcome.

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  12. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    As some of you may have detected by my earlier posts, I follow climate change pretty closely (i.e. I read scientific journals rather than just blogs and have a pretty good knowledge of the area).

    You may also have noticed that I believe that the vast majority of reliable scientific evidence points towards a minimal (i.e. < 0.001 DegC/Cent) human impact on global temperature and climate.

    For those of you who are equally interested, four papers have been published in the last month (that I am aware of – there may be more) by former AGW proponents who have reconsidered their scientific position in light of increasing evidence that solar activity is the major driver of climate on earth (both directly through solar flux, and indirectly through cosmic ray shielding which affects cloud coverage – two interesting papers on this second aspect were also published not long ago).

    The upshot of all this, for political purposes, is that even if you not a skeptic you should at least be aware by now that there is, to put it very mildly, serious scientific doubt over the validity of the AGW hypothesis. Consequently, NZ should not be making ANY policy response while the proverbial jury is still out.

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  13. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    Thank you, Christopher. Anyone who follows “the science” rather than the politics, is well aware of that. This is another glaring example, along with “President Obama” and “Bush lied” and “Brash lied” and a dozen others I could name off the top of my head, of how the agenda of the MSM corrupts democracy and damages civilisation.

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  14. unaha-closp (1,158 comments) says:

    The sucessor must include all major emitters.

    The Chinese and the Indians are refusing to sign up to emmission caps. Kyoto2.0 is dead.

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  15. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    With all due respect to Tim, get a grip. More lies, more bullshit, new boss same as the old boss crap. Please tell me Tim how taxing my poor old farting cows will do anything but finance socialist clap trap and entrench big government. And while you are at it I would be very happy if you could explain to me how my farting cows are heating up the atmospheres on many planets in the solar system. If you can do that then I can probably spend some time entertaining your stupid schemes.

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  16. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    …four papers have been published in the last month

    Well…where?! I have journal access…

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  17. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Yep By the time Ive paid the extra taxes and the higher consumer prices the pro climate change believers want from me Ill be back living in a cave Because ill be broke.

    Still having taken every brass farthing off me these bastards will be happy Or maybe not they will probably come after me into the back of teh cave andtake the fur Im wearing as its not PC to be wearing fur/

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  18. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,068 comments) says:

    As some of you may have detected by my earlier posts, I follow climate change pretty closely (i.e. I read scientific journals rather than just blogs and have a pretty good knowledge of the area).

    Bad news guy – The Aramco Big Boys Pop Up Book of Climate Science doesn’t really count as a scientific journal. Have fun coloring in those sun spots though.

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  19. MarkF (100 comments) says:

    @Repton

    “[C]ompared to the quantity produced by human activities, [volcanoes'] impact is virtually trivial: volcanic eruptions produce about 110 million tons of CO2 each year, whereas human activities contribute almost 10,000 times that quantity. ”

    Here is part of the problem, most people, as well meaning as they may be, accept figures written down as gospel (especially if they are in a well respected journal). But stop and think 110 Million tons x 10000 = 1.1Trillion Tons thats an awful lot. After quickly checking the Energy Information Administration website the most I could come up with from 2006 was about 58Billion Tons, a big discrepancy.

    We need to be more vigilant to the claims made by everyone, that they do stack up otherwise we make bad decisions.

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  20. andrei (2,570 comments) says:

    Like all center left parties the National Party of New Zealand is incapable of solving real world problems like the current economic meltdown or the shameful murder of infants by our citizen population – therefore lets discuss imaginary non existent problems.

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  21. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    Well…where?! I have journal access…

    Stephen, I’m not back in my office til tomorrow afternoon. I’ll post the references when I get in (you may have to remind me). I also believe that there is a forthcoming paper by Steve McIntyre on the myriad problems with the Steig et al paper on antarctic warming, but I’m not sure of the details off the top of my head either.

    Bad news guy – The Aramco Big Boys Pop Up Book of Climate Science doesn’t really count as a scientific journal. Have fun coloring in those sun spots though.

    Come on dude, are you serious? I’m a senior science student at otago university and I’ve done some (not huge amounts – I’m not a PhD student) work with climate models. I do actually read a lot of papers for both my degree and my own interest. What is it with you that you can’t stop being a cock for long enough to sound remotely reasonable?

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  22. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    read scientific journals rather than just blogs

    Sorry, I should probably clarify this – I don’t actually have direct access to the journals myself, I usually select which papers I want and my lecturer gives me hard copies. Not sure why this would make a difference, but when you lie on the internet, someone always finds out, so….

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  23. Bok (740 comments) says:

    Christopher watch out! you are debating with one of New Zealand’s leading scientists when you debate with Danyl or DIM as some call him. He is after all a lab assistant. And great pupil of the hockey stick.

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  24. Bok (740 comments) says:

    Danyl we are all very keen to hear your level of expertise and academic work on climate change. You know normally respect your writing and you have a wicked sense of humor (Dim post) but your juvenile reply to Christopher is absolutely the standard response for alarmists. i am neither an alarmist nor a denier, I just know that shit house responses such as yours is the reason I started actually reading the scientific view point in the real world rather than rely on a group of scientists (IPCC) with very limited climatology backgrounds.

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  25. Bok (740 comments) says:

    The sad thing is that because the alarmists have hi-jacked the environmental protection impetus, we now find less volunteers at oil spills, beach cleans etc, because they are doing their bit for the enviroment by switching their lights off for an hour, and using eco bulbs the rest of the time. All the gains we made against stopping massive manufacturers spilling their poisons into the waterways have been lost because there is “more important problems” even though the last decade has cooled (read the figures). Yes we need to cut emissions, but not carbon. Yes we have to cut down on the mad exploitation of forests etc, but not by installing a get rich scheme for Gore and the like.
    The concept that you can offset carbon is the funniest thing I have ever heard. It is a bit like committing rape, but going to confession on Sunday and donating money for the poor. It has the same net result. Blue sweet nothing. But hey, why listen to climatologists when rock stars and actors and failed ex-presidential nominees with no academic base can teach us so much.

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  26. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    You really think people dedicted enough to clean up a beach are somehow happy to just sit on their arses because they have efficient lightbulbs? Gimme a break!

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  27. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I don’t actually have direct access to the journals myself,

    Seems highly unorthodox for an actual, current student?!. Also a giant pain in the arse if you needed to do some research for an ‘assignment’ or some such thing.

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  28. David in Chch (516 comments) says:

    Recent issue of Physics Today (I forget if it was January, February or March 2009 – read them over the weekend) had an article that clearly indicated that there has been NO significant change in solar output and that solar variability canNOT be the cause for this recent climate change.

    Also, recent articles (late last year and early this year) in Transactions of the American Geophysical Union have looked at (1) the major loss of Arctic sea ice over the last 30 years (decades, not one year to the next – so looking at trends), and it has definitely been major and is in fact occurring faster than the WORST case scenario used in the IPCC reports; and (2) that the more people know about the _science_ of climate and climate change, the more they accept the findings of the IPCC report and conclude that the recent climate change is driven by anthropogenically derived gasses. I agree that it doesn’t mean they are correct, BUT a scientific consensus like this is unprecedented.

    That’s the science folks. (And I for one do not use the word “believe”. I prefer evidence to hyperbole.)

    Flame away those who believe (note the faith-based word I use) that recent climate change has not been caused by us. I know it won’t change your beliefs, but I thought I would make a vain attempt to inject a little objectivity in here.

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  29. Scott (1,780 comments) says:

    I am unconvinced about climate change.

    We know through history the world was warmer in the time of Henry 8 when wine was apparently made in England.There are also written records of Greenland at one time being green and sheep and cattle being able to graze there.

    So it seems that the world was warmer and that was not a catastrophe.

    Also who can believe anything that comes from the mouth of Al Gore?

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  30. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Nice for Greenland, what about other countries?

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  31. Sonny Blount (1,780 comments) says:

    David in Chch,

    There is not a scrap of science in your post that supports the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate catastrophe, please get back to us when you have some.

    A failure to find results by a group of scientists using a method in the field of sunspots does not prove anthropogenic climate catastrophe.

    A rapid loss of arctic sea ice over a brief periiod by a particular method of measurement does not prove anthropogenic climate change.

    I see you like the word ‘consensus’ but not ‘believe’. I don’t think consensus is relevant to facts.

    Please have a look back at the history of global temperature and co2 of the Earth and note that all trends of increasing co2 have turned into decreasing temperature trends. The reasons do not need to be precisley understood for this historical FACT to remain t\the only verifiable one in this debate.

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  32. Sonny Blount (1,780 comments) says:

    I am quietly confident on the direction Tim Groser will take us. When one of the organizations I work for put out a press release not too long ago opposing Kyoto and climate change he privately congratulated us, I got the feeling he appreciated institutions public voicing some rationality.

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  33. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,068 comments) says:

    Danyl we are all very keen to hear your level of expertise and academic work on climate change.

    I don’t get into debates on climage change, for the same reason I don’t bother debating people about whether evolution is ‘real’, or whether the earth is flat. In each case there isn’t any controversy, or any debate to be had – just broad scientific consensus and a bunch of contrarians and crack-pot’s who refuse to accept it.

    I think you can have an interesting conversation about why people are climate change deniers; I think in a lot of cases it has nothing to do with the science and everything to do with the fact that they simply don’t like the Green Party. In other instances people are free market liberals who are aware that there is no ‘free market’ solution to controlling carbon emmissions so they pretend there is no problem.

    (I also think you can have a real conversation about why New Zealand, a tiny, relatively poor country needs to be a ‘world leader’ in fighting climate change. I say let the rich guys do all the hard work.)

    And I’m always surprised conservatives aren’t more interested in preventing climate change – pumping thousands of gigatonnes of gas into the atmosphere of your planet with no real idea of the consequences seems like the kind of radical change they should be opposed to.

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  34. andrei (2,570 comments) says:

    And I’m always surprised conservatives aren’t more interested in preventing climate change

    Its simple DIM – you can’t prevent climate change any more than you can prevent hurricanes or earthquakes.

    You blithely use the phrase “climate change deniers for those who don’t buy into your BS whereas the true “climate change deniers are the global warminists who seem to labor under the impression that the earths “climate” is a static rather than a constantly evolving thing.

    Any one with half a brain and a basic knowledge of the past 5 million years or so realizes that at some point regardless of what we do or don’t do the climate will collapse and we will enter the next ice age. And I put it to you, that is a far bigger threat to humanity than your hypothetical global warming.

    And while you may witter on about there being no ‘free market’ solution to controlling carbon emmissions I put it to you that there is no government solution to preventing the next major glacial period.

    For goodness sake the government can’t even manage the financial systems we labor under and they are childs play compared to the atmospheric oceanic and astronomical systems which influence the weather.

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  35. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    In each case there isn’t any controversy, or any debate to be had – just broad scientific consensus and a bunch of contrarians and crack-pot’s who refuse to accept it.

    That was satire, right?

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  36. Bok (740 comments) says:

    No DIM there is broad popular culture acceptance. Most climatologists agree that there has been warming in the early part of last century. I do not disbelieve climate change, but it is just that change. We have had extremes of weather at both sides of the scale over the history of the earth. The only people who actually believe the carbon scenario without question are politicians, rock-stars and actors. But hey how could you ever doubt the Dixi Chicks. And Bono, wow, that fighter for the third world who travels the world telling others they should give while having hundreds of millions of pounds to his name. Yep. I get your argument. Have to run though, Britteny Spiers is just about to do a television show on parenting and that is followed by Amy Winehous with a chat about sobriety and moderation.

    And Stephen you obviously have no grasp of human nature.

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  37. racer (257 comments) says:

    Danyl Mclauchlan
    I think you can have an interesting conversation about why people are climate change deniers; I think in a lot of cases it has nothing to do with the science and everything to do with the fact that they simply don’t like the Green Party.

    Having not been around for the flat earth debate (thankfully!) and the evolution debate, I’m not sure if I’m the most qualified person to be putting ideas out there, and my pro blogging inclination may predispose me towards this view point but:

    I wonder if it is because of blogging and forums, the rapid pace and wide range of venues available means the debate rapidly breaks up into many different sub parts, in many different places. Different to print publications because you don’t have to wait until the next one is published, nor do you have to have your letter chosen by the editor, and different from say talk back radio, as more than one person can be talking at once.

    Also those methods of debate remain fairly centralized, where as the internet allows the debate to break off and occur in literally 1000’s of different forums and blogs. These also allow (for lack of a better phrase) alternative realities, in some blogs there’s discussion over how much the climate is changing and what can be done, others saying we still don’t know what is the best form of hedging our bets, and others focusing on how it doesn’t exist and all the reasons why not. They seem to rarely interact or consider each others view points or evidence.

    Theoretically such prolific debate should be of great advantage, but I’m not sure it has been.

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  38. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,068 comments) says:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with the blogosphere – back in the 50’s and 60’s there was a ‘controversy’ about whether or not smoking was bad for you, the scenario being that most doctors thought it was and public relations companies working for the tobacco industry insisted it wasn’t. As with climate change there was no real scientific debate, just a public relations one.

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  39. MarkF (100 comments) says:

    @Danyl

    “thousands of gigatonnes” or many Trillions of tonnes (10^12) where does that figure come from?

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  40. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    This is not about anyone’s scientific qualifications, it is about their dedication to a political agenda.

    I would go as far as to say that many “AGW scare” scientists KNOW that what they are saying is not the truth; if they are socialists, that explains everything. A socialist will use anything to advance the cause; truth does not come into it.

    Honest scientists are either sceptics on AGW from the outset, or become that once they take a deeper look at the science.

    I could, and have in the past, posted numerous pointers to background reading on this. I think it is no longer worth the bother, pretty well everyone has made their minds up by now.

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  41. tknorriss (327 comments) says:

    Danyl: “just broad scientific consensus and a bunch of contrarians and crack-pot’s who refuse to accept it.”

    I get tired of this claim of “scientific consensus” and its implication in proving global warming theory.

    As has been pointed out innumerable times before by others, science does not depend on consensus for validity. Yet, this line is constantly pushed by the global warming hysteria brigade. Centuries ago, those “flat earthers” you refer to were the scientific consensus and the “round earthers” were the “contrarians and crackpots”. Consensus doesn’t make something fact. If you want to argue the science, then thats fine. However, don’t appeal to the majority as proof. This is a logical error.

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  42. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,068 comments) says:

    As has been pointed out innumerable times before by others, science does not depend on consensus for validity.

    Science does not depend on consensus for validity. However government policy on matters of science does have to rely on scientific consensus, otherwise it has no basis on which to make decisions. Furthermore scientific consensus is changed by results obtained by other scientists publishing in peer reviewed journals, not on the basis of bizarre claims made by science fiction writers and energy company PR firms.

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  43. tknorriss (327 comments) says:

    Danyl: “Science does not depend on consensus for validity.”

    Exactly.

    Danyl “Furthermore scientific consensus is changed by results obtained by other scientists publishing in peer reviewed journals, not on the basis of bizarre claims made by science fiction writers and energy company PR firms.”

    I wouldn’t necessarilly put as much faith as you seem to in peer reviewed journals. If you do a bit of research you will find there is quite a lot of bias in the process by which articles are accepted for journals. This is a well recognised problem that affects many fields of research.

    For instance, journals often accept only articles that demonstrate a significant effect and ignore articles that show no effect. Yet research that demonstrates no effect can often be as important as research that demonstrates a significant effect. Thus, journals are often biased towards positive effects, thus over-emphasising research in favour of a hypothesis. Also, prejudices of editors etc will often have an effect on what is accepted into journals generally. Editors will often accept articles that support the “consensus” position but reject articles that oppose that position. Thus, research, no matter how good it is, that opposes a mainline hypothesis will find it harder to get published.

    If these general principles are true of climate change journals, then research in peer reviewed journals into AGW may actually be showing a distorted and incomplete picture.

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  44. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,746 comments) says:

    AGW, what a load of old rubbish!

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