Posted by: ericgrimsrud | December 7, 2012

A Real Scandal within the scientific community?

While I have had the distinct feeling that we have lost control of global CO2 emissions, I have not had a very precise impression of where more exactly we are headed and what, if anything, can be done about it.  In searching the scien.tific literature for a better and most convincing understanding of those questions, I have found a scientific presentation which I believe most clearly explains where we are and where we are headed.  This presentation is a lecture with associated graphics recently delivered by Dr. Kevin Anderson, former  head of the Tyndall Centre, Great Britain’s leading center for climate modeling.  It can be viewed in full at     If you are offered a list from the archives, select December 2011.

The presentation is very easy to follow scientifically. It focuses on the one issue that man has  control over, the cumulative global emissions of carbon dioxide.  Dr. Anderson’s presentation is revolutionary and disquieting in the sense in that it exposes errors and misrepresentations of CO2 emissions that have been made in the recent past and are still being made by various governmental organizations – while most of the world’s climate change scientists, who should know better, sit by quietly.  While I have known that most of the politicians of our country have not had the courage to forcefully address our climate change problem, Dr. Anderson’s analysis suggests that an important segment of our scientific community has also lacked the courage required to level with the public.

This lecture is a “must see” for anyone who takes the AGW issue seriously (I realize that this excludes many of you who tend to accept the “leadership” on this scientific issue you have been provided by many of your political leaders).  Rather than explain the  conclusions of Dr. Anderson’s presentations and their implications for future actions, I’ll first ask you to watch Dr. Anderson’s presentation yourself.  After letting that set in, I will look forward to discussing its implications further with anyone on this post.


  1. I hear that you are an angry man……how do you reconcile the fact that there has been no global warming for the better part of the last 20 years?….is this that ‘settled science’ you refer to?….is the ‘debate’ still ‘over’?

    I work at a drilling rig, as a tribute to this post, myself and my carbon emitting brothers and sisters will run the following diesel engines at full throttle 24/7: 6 Caterpillar 399’s, 2 Caterpillar 379’s, 4 Caterpillar 3512’s….and for good measure idle all our diesel pickups. 24/7 also. (the better part of 20000 BHP) This will continue on for the better part of December and pretty much until spring.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

    With kind regards,


    ‘Earth First!’………we’ll drill the other planets later!

    • Harvey, Angry? Who me? Temperatures are expected to increase on a decadal basis. Look at the T record over the last 150 years and you will see it. Eric

    • Hey Heavy, you might be able to cash in on this by injecting CO2 into deleted oil and gas fields. Something to think about!

      [EPG: As Dr. Anderson says, carbon capture and sequestration does not yet exist on a commercial scale and can not be delivered sufficiently quickly to prevent a 4 degree C world. The main point of his talk is that we must do things that can be done immediately. It is too late to depend on things that were good ideas a couple of decades ago. That is what he says – listen to it agian. ]

  2. Well maybe you’re not so angry after all……you didn’t delete my post……but maybe Mother Nature was just warming things after the LIA…..does she still have a hand in things?….is she exempt from the ‘settled sciences’?…or is it simply us ‘Deniers’ running our huge diesels day after day? 🙂 ……to me i would think 150 years is too tiny a trend to judge anything on, no?
    Actually to my eyes, T’s are/have peaked and will now drop…..i suspect that’s why ‘the cause’ was prememptively rebranded from Global ‘Warming’ to the ultra-vague-encompassing “Climate-Change’….best to cover all your bases beforehand, once the T’s start theiir inevitable downward slide & people start asking questions……


    ‘Earth First!’………we’ll drill the other planets later!

    • Harvey, Please have a look at my short course at It explains my understanding of the science all in one, hopefully, easily understood format. Best to you also. Eric

      On Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 11:22 PM, ericgrimsrud

  3. I watched the Kevin Anderson presentation but did not like it quite as much as our host.

    [Response by EPG: Gallogingcamel. You will note that I did not run the rest of your commentary. The reason being that it is so void of legitimate scientific content – I don’t want to go there, again and again. I have provided a short course on my web site and have written a book that does that in spades and I don’t want to repeat the well known, peer reviewed science repeatedly to every individual who requires it. As I have said elsewhere, I prefer to discus science that is in line with at least some level of peer review legitimacy on this site. You can find all the science fiction you like at other sites, such as at WUWT.

    But just for you – you should read Ch 3 of my book, where I went over about 20 of the standard bogus arguments raised by the Deniers of AGW. Alternatively you can figure out what I am saying be taking the free short course. If you have specific questions about any specific point of science after that, let me know.}

    • EPG,
      This is your site and you make the rules. I am ready to debate with you on your terms but you will have to do better than to snip my comments on the grounds that they lack “legitimate scientific content”.

      One of the items that you snipped was a direct quote from Chapter 2 of the IPCC’s AR5 WG1 (Working Group 1) drafts taht are due for publictaion in September 2013.

      If you are saying that the IPCC’s working groups are devoid of “legitimate scientific content”, you are entitled to your opinion but I strongly disagree with you. Here is the document that I cited:

      [Response by EPG : The focus of the talk by Anderson concerning our rising CO2 emission rates. The data you provided concerned the well known concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. These are different things, you know and the topic on the table was emission rates. Please correct my if I do not recall your attempted contribution correctly. ][

  4. Turning to your “Short Course”, I took the time to appraise it and am prepared to comment in some detail but I won’t waste my time if you are going to snip everything you don’t like.

    By way of a test I will make one comment on your presentations.

    The first slide states:
    “JUST THREE THINGS have determined the temperature of the Earth: the intensity of the Sun, the Earth’s albedo and the greenhouse effect. That’s it – past, present, and future.”

    This is a profoundly unscientific statement but I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming you mean TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) when you talk about the “intensity of the Sun”.

    Furthermore, I will give you a pass when you mention Albedo although I have evidence to suggest that this factor is of little importance in detemining the surface temperatues for the observable planets and moons that have atmospheres.

    My main objection is that the term “Greenhouse Effect” means different things to different people. It is better left out of anything that purports to be a scientific discussion.

    If you can explain the surface temperature of (say) Earth or Venus by calculations based on the “Greenhouse Effect” I will stand corrected.

    However it is only fair to remind you that the high surface temperature of Venus was correctly calculated by Carl Sagan using thermodynamics long before James Hansen offered his alternative explanation based on the “Greenhouse Effect”.…149..731S

    Sagan’s paper was published in the Astrophysical Journal in 1967. It explains the surface temperature of Venus in terms of “p” (gas pressure), “g” (gravitational acceleration) and “Cp” (the specific heat @ constant pressure of the gases that make up the Venusian atmosphere). The same mathematics works for Earth, Mars, Europa, Triton, Titan, Saturn and Jupiter.

    [Response for EPG: OK, very good. Now we are talking about a single important point of the science that can be handled in a give and take format. So – if there is another basic factor, other than the intensity of the Sum, the albedo of the Earth and the greenhouse effect of GHGs and cloud, tell me what that factor is. It our atmophere contained no GHGs, that is only contained N2, O2 and Ar, it would not interact with IR radiation and the surface temperature would not be elevated by the GH effect or any other effect. For that to happen we need H2O vapor, CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, and other minor components of the atmosphere having 3 or more atoms. They are all GHG’s in the gaseous form and, of course, one of them, H2O, also exists in its two condensed from to make clouds. So Peter, tell me one other factor that affects the surface T of the Earth. And if you don’t mind let’s first stick to the Earth about which we know the most. }

  5. EPG,
    I have plenty of information about you, so it seems only fair to tell you who I am. I should have been a chemist like you. I studied organic chemistry under Bernard Saunders a dapper little man who lectured in a three piece suit. In spite of his small frame his courage was amazing. For example when volunteers were needed to test weaponized Botulinus Toxin during WWII he volunteered and was lucky to survive. He said his group produced enough BT to kill everyone on Earth. That would require about 50 US gallons in 1944.

    Somehow I got in with a bad crowd thanks to professor J.C.P. Miller at the Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory and ended up with degrees in physics and electrical engineering from Pembroke College, Cambridge. I was offered an opportunity to study for a PhD in electrical engineering as a student of professor A.H.W. Beck but turned it down to work in the telecommunications industry.

    As Bernard Shaw observed, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”, so when I had outlived my usefulness in the telecommunications industry I went into academia. I helped to build the Duke University Free Electron Lasers. I retired in 2002 I but still teach on a part time basis:

    I work hard to preserve the environment. For example I helped to clean up the river Thames in England and raised Rainbow Trout using Thames water. The Thames was a commercial salmon river until 1815 and now the salmon are back.

    When it comes to “Climate Science” I am no more qualified than you are.

    I will go with whatever the observations show. I don’t react well to “ex cathedra” arguments.

    I have been greatly encouraged by my ex-colleagues in the Duke university physics department. For example emeritus professor Edward Bilpuch who died a few weeks ago showed me how the waste from Gen I & II reactors can become the fuel for Gen IV reactors. Nicola Scafetta (ACRIM satellite) and Robert G. Brown have pointed to some flaws in the IPCC’s predictions.

    In spite of my “Pro-environment” leanings I have been greatly discouraged by the Duke university “Nicholas School of the Environment” led by William L. Chameides. The Nicholas School is growing at an alarming rate simply by telling the federal government what it wants to hear. A new Lysenkoism?

    [Response by EPG: Thanks for the introduction and glad to meet you. It does help me a lot to know who I am communicating with.]

  6. EPG said:
    ” If our atmosphere contained no GHGs, that is only contained N2, O2 and Ar, it would not interact with IR radiation and the surface temperature would not be elevated by the GH effect or any other effect.”

    I agree with the first part of the above statement. Given that the Earth is radiating IR with an intensity peak around 15 microns, simple molecules will only interact very weakly (e.g. Rayleigh scattering rather than absorption). I have spent most of my life messing around with radiation from microns to MeV!

    However, it is wrong to say that surface temperature would not be elevated by any other effect.

    For proof, take a look at slide 8 in “Part 1” of your short course. This shows a typical plot of temperature vs. altitude for Earth. The temperature gradient in the troposphere can be as high as 9.8 Kelvin/km at the poles (Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate), falling to ~7 Kelvin/km in the tropics. IR radiation has a negligible effect except during periods of “Temperature Inversion” that can occur when the normally dominant heat transfer processes in the troposphere (convection, Coriolis eddies and phase changes) are temporarily disrupted.

    The DALR can be derived using thermodynamics alone:
    L = g/Cp

    You suggested I read Chapter 3 of your book. Is there an easy way to get it or do I have to buy the whole book?

    [Response by EPG: IF the atmosphere contained no GHG’s, including water, we would have only the dry lapse rate for determining the temperature gradient above the surface. In that case, we would have a pretty dead stable troposphere with very little “weather” and turbulence in the troposphere. Also, the IR emitted from the surface would pass out into the universe and the T of the surface would be about -15 C, nearly the same as expected if the Earth had not atmosphere at all. So, as I said the GH effect is the 3rd factor that caused the surface T to be what it is. So again the T of the surface is determined by just three factors.]

  7. EPG,
    It is easy to calculate the surface temperature for planets that have 100% cloud cover (e.g. Venus) as it is a simple matter to calculate a radiation balance at the “Top of the Atmosphere” and then apply the adiabatic lapse rate down to the surface.

    Earth is more complicated given that the cloud cover is partial. However, even without GHGs the troposphere would be much as it is today because convection, phase changes and Coriolis eddies (Hadley cells) dominate over the other heat transfer processes (conduction and radiation). These processes dominate with GHGs present so why would anything change if the GHGs (other than water) were magically removed?

    [ Response by EPG: Peter, we were discussing an Earth without GHG’s. So why do you have clouds in your model. As you know clouds are the condensed form of water and clouds provide an important part of the GH Effect. So in your model you should consider what would happen without GHG’s and without clouds. The answer will be not much w.r.t a temperature effect of the remaining atmosphere on the Earth’s surface. ]

  8. EPG,
    It was a bit naughty of me to include the water clouds. Water serves the same purpose in my analysis as sulphuric acid does on Venus. I am not smart enough to do the calculations without clouds to define a layer for making a radiation balance.

    Nikolov and Zeller do their radiation balance at the surface but the result is much the same. Notice that physicists can explain observed planetary surface temperatures while ignoring GHGs and RTEs. All you need is thermodynamics and Stephan-Boltzmann. We can even explain temperaures in the atmosphere of Jupiter with decent accuracy using these limited tools. I refer you to slide 4 of Part 1 of your “Short Course”. Not forgetting “Occam’s Razor” either.

    Fortunately, there are professionals such as Rodrigo Caballero (UC, Dublin), Robert G. Brown (Duke) and several others who have greater expertise than I. Here is a discussion from “Science of Doom”:

    Please note that some of the comments at “SOD” are from Leonard Weinstein of the National Institute of Aerospace. I hope you will find time to comment on this:

    [ to gallopingcamel: tell you what, you start a new site concerning the far more complex atmosphere of Venus – which happens to have a surface temperature of about 800 degrees F and an atmosphere of about 96% CO2 (gosh, I do also wonder why its so hot !!) In additon, some of the names you indicate for “educating” us on the atmosphereic science of that planet are well known defenders of the Deniers of AGW on Earth and I have already heard some of their “insights” on this topic. So please, you go there if you wish and if you learn anything specific and defendable science concerning what’s happening on our planet, let me know what that is and please explain it to me in your own words. ]

  9. Eric,
    That photo at the head of this page has me intrigued. It looks like the west coast of Ireland, maybe the “Ring of Kerry”.

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