Bob Carter: 95% is hocus pocus science

Thanks to Réaumur I was alerted to this. It is a transcript from the BBC World at One – 27/09/2013 (starts at 7:28)

(BBC presenter) The last time the scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, reported, they said it was very likely that man’s actions were the principle cause of the warming planet. This morning six years on, they say it’s extremely likely. It’s a simple phrase but it follows a big program of work involving authors in thirty nine countries. As an official body there was quite a bit of haggling in the hours preceding publication though, a process in which government sponsored scientists have to agree every phrase.

It’s then down to the governments to use the findings as a basis for a new treaty for tackling climate change. The energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey says it will strengthen the UK government’s demand for tougher international targets to reduce carbon emissions.

(Ed Davey) This piece of evidence that we are seeing from Stockholm is probably the most robust, rigourous, most peer reviewed piece of science in human history. I think it has put the question of whether climate change is happening beyond doubt. We have got to stop debating this issue as if we are some members of the flat earth society and get on and act.”

Even some of those who support the panel’s findings though are critical about the way it operates. Lord Stern who wrote a report for the last government on the economic effects of climate change has complained about filtering and haggling leading to bland conclusions.

That is nothing compared to the dissatisfaction felt by Bob Carter. An Australian geologist and Oceanographer he accuse the IPCC of being unscientific in its approach. He has contributed to an alternative non-governmental group calling itself the NIPCC.

(Bob Carter) The difference between between the two reports is this. That the IPCC has an idea. It is not actually their idea it was why they were set up. They were told to go away and consider the business, not of climate change in the round, but of climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions. So what it does it that it goes out and looks for evidence, for humans having a dangerous impact on climate. Now real science doesn’t work that way.

Now as you probably know science proceeds in general by setting up what is called a null hypothesis which is the simplest hypothesis. And that is: we look out the window and we see everyday change in the weather and in the longer term the climate. The distribution and patterns of nesting and flowering and so on of animals and plants. So we know the real world is variable the whole time.

The null hypothesis therefore is: that those changes we observe are due to natural variation. And the NIPCC report tries to invalidate that hypothesis. And the really interesting thing is that after looking at several thousand papers just like the IPCC, we come to the opposite conclusion. One of our conclusions is that climate has always changed and it always will. There is nothing unusual about the modern magnitudes or rates of change: of temperature; of ice-volume; of sea-level, or of extreme weather events.

The IPCC said today that having previously said that it thought it was very likely that man was responsible for global warming, the activity of man being the main reason for global warming. It now says it is extremely likely, 95% certain [delusion] that is a very different conclusion to yours.

The problem with what you just said to me about 95% probability is that it is hocus pocus science. In science the phrase 70% probable or 90% probable had definite meanings. They imply controlled trials, they imply numerical quantitative information objectively assessed. If you ask the IPCC they will tell you that when they use the term 95% probable it is based on the expert opinion of a group of people gathered around a table. It is completely wrong to use probability terminology to describe what is albeit an expert opinion.

Yet isn’t it hard for you to put your counter position when you see that this report is based, as it says, on the work of 209 authors, 50 editors from 39 countries. 9000 peer reviewed scientific papers have been used to draw up the report. The scale of the people who have contributed to this gives it a lot of credibility. (well..) I mean how many  authors have been involved in your work for example.

There are about 47 scientists scattered around the world who have contributed to the NIPCC report. They are entirely without conflicts of interest. They have no relationship with government authorities or bodies. They are giving you a genuine independent, if you like due diligence audit of what the IPCC is up to.

The IPCC is as you say funded by government it is funded by public organisaitons of various kinds who help to pay for the scientists and so on. You can’t do this off your own back, you have to get help and support, what kind of support do you get

It is largely done off our own back. The organisation who prints and edits and organises it is a think tank in Chicago, a Libertarian Think tank called the Heartland Institute and they accept donations from family foundations specifically to fund the NIPCC exercise. There is no industry money in it. Even more importantly there is no government money in it or environmental lobby group money in it.

What then does your group think should be done if anything, to adress the consequences of these changes in temperature. Because if changes in temperature are happening whoever or whatever causes them, whether they are entirely natural or man has contributed to them, they have consequences.

It is clear – I live in Australia we have catastophic bush fires, floods and cyclones – and it very clear that we do not – Western governments do not handle emergency weather and climate events like that as well as they should. So is there a need for a United Nations body to be set up to advise us on all of that? No there isn’t. Is there a need to improve the way we handle natural disasters? Yes there is a need to do that. But it is by continuing but improving what we do already which is to adapt to the change as and when it happens. No government tries to predict or stop an earthquake or a volcanic eruption. Similarly no sensible government would dream of trying to “stop climate change”. It is a ludicrous idea.
Bob Carter

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26 Responses to Bob Carter: 95% is hocus pocus science

  1. the propaganda machine is winning again; thanks to the gulable skeptics

  2. Otter says:

    Every time – EVERY. Single, Time – that I have seen the word ‘robust’ used by these people, it has always worked out to be the exact opposite.

    • I simple cannot fathom how anyone could even conceivably increase their confidence when the evidence that there are huge problems is so clear and obvious.

      I think we just need a simple declaration that this increase in confidence is … irrational signed by as many sceptics as possible.

  3. Dennis Mitchell says:

    Alarmism sells media and shifts power almost on a daily basis. Fundamental science is quiet and a bit boring until a rare breakthrough finally emerges. Mischief prospers when alarmism is allowed to lead. Skepticism is the buffer against foolishness

  4. stewgreen says:

    – here is a direct link all I did was add /?t=7m28s to the BBC link ..
    – Yes I thought Bob Carter was excellent as ever. I picked up his voice from the trailer 30 mins before the prog and thought “Wow the BBC are finally allowing a skeptic to comment” ..then in the show they gave him almost 5mins uninterrupted .. they mentioned a rebutall by a panel of 3 people , but only played a 1 min pathetic rebuttal and then cut to another story. I was staggered that the BBC for one time aired proper science instead of the “alternative reality” it usually does on climate.
    – The key point is that will all that shout of “science” the IPCC can’t give us any, instead of calculations based on evidence they say “well we guess we have a feeling of 95% certainty”

  5. “The sky is falling” garners more dollars than “everything is proceeding according to Hoyle.”

  6. Jack says:

    People like Bob Carter are bringing common sense to the argument. He has exposed the fraud and the criminal activities of the climate charlatans who are only there for the monetary gain. Global warming has been exposed for what it is, a fraud and a hoax.

    • Irrational ; Hilarious ; Corruption ; Disaster ; No basis on fact ; each one can be used to support individual opinions being forced on us by those who can see financial advantage being gained , whether true or not .
      In coming up to 9 decades , I am now firmly convinced that when scientists get together , we will see a raft of opinions put forward which will support their individual trend of employment . Bob Carter , Judith Currie , Ian Plimer , plus thousands of other dedicated scientists are being derided because they , like millions of others , realise that the UN IPCC has sunk to a level of hilarious incoherence . A level that suggests that the UN and the IPCC have both reached their used by dates . For many years , the UN has been seen as an ever increasing monster , run by unelected officers . A veritable money guzzling machine . Every member country has seen billions of its funds disappear into its voracious jaws , and every year sees a growing demand . Surely , it is time to start to dismantle this monstrous and some times useless effigy . Start now , for it will surely take many years , if not decades , to right this foolishness that those before us have forced upon us . Rid ourselves of this monster , before it bankrupts us all .

  7. gofigure560 says:

    The two sides of the global warming/climate change issue are not comparable to the two sides of a coin. Unlike the alarmists, who have dug themselves a hole too deep to escape, the credible skeptics (aka “deniers”) have no such problem. The skeptics merely claim that there is no evidence that human activity plays a significant role in global warming. (The key word is “significant”.) Most of these skeptics would likely agree that human activity may indeed have some impact on the climate. Certainly the “urban heat island” (UHI) concept is well known, and is due to land usage, but it is well established that UHI has no measurable global effect; it is local. The surrounding rural areas don’t show any impact. Also, urban areas represent a quite small area when compared to the entire surface of the earth. (70% is water, there are the basically uninhabited poles, deserts, mountainous areas, jungles, forests, farmland, as well as other large uninhabited areas.)

    Credible skeptics are flexible, willing to change their position in the face of evidence, but so far there is no evidence. Surely the proponents of AGW cannot be purposely hiding it. They would have long since provided any evidence if it existed.

    The politics add a lot of smoke, but no scientific content. Liberals believe the alarmist claims because their leaders do, and their leaders believe it because it suits their agenda. Conservatives, generally more suspicious of big government, are natural skeptics.

    It is the science which should determine the outcome. Below are some basic facts, none of which the alarmists can provide satisfactory answers.

    1. There have been several warming periods during this interglacial period (i.e., since the end of the last ice age). The most recent warming prior to our current warming period (such as it is) was the Medieval Warming Period (MWP). Scientists using various proxy temperature measurements had long established that the MWP was as warm, likely warmer than now. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change initially agreed with that assessment, but in more recent years revised its position, claiming that the MWP was just a regional phenomenon, mostly constrained to Europe (coincidently, that area was sufficiently civilized at that time to have credible historical recordings.) This IPCC claim flew in the face of the numerous earlier peer-reviewed studies, and was pure speculation. To arrive at that conclusion would have required a global investigation which had obviously not been done. In the meantime studies confirming that the MWP was a global event continue to show up regularly – from around the globe. To date there are some 1100+ studies, involving scientists representing 40+ countries and numerous organizations. Links to all these studies can be found at The earlier IPCC drafts once again recognize that the MWP was a global event. They don’t do that directly; they instead claim that our current warming is at record highs not seen in the past 800 years. (It sounds as if this admission will again disappear from their final report. If so, it will be because that admission brings with it an embarrassing question: If it was warmer during the MWP, which is long before any co2 increase, and long before any industrial activity, it must have been natural climate variation. That of course implies that our current warming is not unusual. It is within the bounds of normal climate variation. (Normal climate variation spans a much longer duration than a few decades.) The old bogus response to this question was that “there is no other explanation for this warming”.

    2. Discussions of our current warming invariably point out that it began in the mid 1800s, when co2 began rising, and at the time of the industrial revolution. But our current warming (such as it is) began – BY DEFINITION – at the bottom (the low temperature) of the Little Ice Age, (LIA) which was in the mid 1600s, some two centuries BEFORE co2 began rising and also two centuries before our industrial revolution. In fact, most of our current temperature increase happened before the industrial revolution and before co2 began increasing.

    3. Al Gore based his argument (starting around 2005) on two graphs showing the correlation between variation in co2 level and variation in global temperature.The problem, never mentioned in the major newsmedia, is that, by 2003, scientists had already recognized that this correlation actually showed, without doubt, that temperature variation occurred first, followed hundreds of years later by very similar variations in the co2 level. (Gore must have known that.) This correlation is not surprising; it’s the carbon cycle at work. As oceans warm they “outgas” and when cooling they absorb gas. Oceans, having a much larger heat capacity than our atmosphere are much slower to warm or cool.. There is NO credible correlation indicating that co2 increase brings on a global temperature increase, neither currently or over geologic periods. Co2 has continually climbed since the industrial revolution (skeptics also acknowledge that human activity is involved). Global temperature has changed direction several times. Recently, from the 1940s to the 70s was a cooling period, and from the 70s to about 1998 there was warming. There has been NO additional warming since 1998, even co2 volume has continued to increase. Evidently the final IPCC report still talks as if there has been some temperature increase since 1998.

    4. The author(s) of the numerous computer models showing anthropogenic global warming (AGW) all ASSUME that water vapor is the real greenhouse gas culprit, creating 2 to 3 times the temperature increase as the temperature increase brought on by the rising co2 level. But, nobody understands climate feedback. Not the alarmists or the skeptics. We don’t really know whether that feedback is positive or negative. Putting a number on it is pure speculation. All of these models projected much higher temperatures than the subsequent measurements. Even the rosiest scenarios of their computer models, assuming successful cuts in fossil fuel usage, projected much higher temperatures. Computer models represent the (mis?)understandings and/or agendas of the authors. Unlike data measurements, the comuter output cannot be classified as evidence. Even the authors of these models admit the output is merely projections (as opposed to predictions.)

    5. The heating capacity of co2 depends on absorbing sun energy, but there are only a few narrow sun energy bandwidths which it can absorb. At 20 ppmv (parts per million by volume) co2 had absorbed 50% of all that is available to it. Co2 is now at 400 ppmv. Co2 has basically exhausted all the ammunition it will ever have. That fact impacts the claims about supposed water vapor feedback. That feedback is based on the earlier temperature increase supposedly brought on by increasing co2 level.

    6. The data from the 5 global temperature datasets show that not only has there been no temperature increase since 1998, there has been a cooling trend for at least the past 5 years. Whats more, 4 of the 5 global temperature data sets also show a 10year cooling trend. (computation of the “trend” involves a standard mathematical technique applied to a data points across a time period and results in the generation of a line through that data. It is the slope of that line which indicates the trend. But, in any event, even further future increase in global temperature does not, itself, prove that the rise was caused by human activity. As noted earlier, the warming durations before the MWP were all warmer than the MWP. The fact that the temperature has been flat and is now decreasing contradicts the alarmist theory. (There is also no “hotspot” in the troposphere above the equator which also contradicts the theory.)

    7. It seems clear that human activity is contributing to the increase in co2 level. At its current annual rate of increase (about 2 ppmv per year), co2 will be at 600 ppmv by 2099. But, a crowded gym with poor ventilation can be at 1000 ppmv. Submarine crews live in environments of 3000 to 5000+ ppmv. In the more distant past (3 million years ago), and for hundreds of millions of years, co2 was 10 to 20 times higher than now. We know that life-forms not unlike our own survived in such an environment. We also know that co2 has been much higher than now during two ice ages and going into one ice age; there is obviously no nearby “trigger”.

    8. Neither does the economic analysis help the alarmists. Apparently tens of trillions of dollars can be thrown at this supposed problem with hardly any impact insofar as dropping the temperature. (See the “50 to 1” documentation.)

    9. By tracking the earlier draft releases of the IPCC report it is obvious that the final output is the result of pressure by politicians to whitewash (even more) the report. Apparently the AP has evidence of pressure put on the IPCC by various governments including the US.

    Anyone with an IQ greater than a potted plant, given these facts, will begin to understand that this unbelievable fiasco surely belongs in some book similar to the one that deal with “the madness of crowds”….

  8. Peter Senior says:

    Anyone who has a genuine desire to understand the full climate change issue should read Bob Carter’s latest book – Taxing Air. Of all the books and articles on the subject I’ve read (very many), Taxing Air is the best.

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  10. John Diffenthal says:

    Carter is right. 95% isn’t serious science. Michael Crichton made the same point in his Caltech lecture in January 2003 “Aliens cause global warming”. Amongst other points the lecture carries a note of despair about the depressingly poor quality of scientific debate in our public lives.

    • I remember designing circuits before computers could simulate the circuit. Before we flicked the switch the most common phrase was “in theory it should work”.

      As an engineer you learn that even simple situations which are apparently very easy to understand don’t always work the way you expect. That is circuits with only perhaps a dozen well characterised parts. Eventually every engineer learns not to trust what “should work” but what is known to work and to distrust everything else unless or until it is shown to work.

      So, when I hear a group of scientists who have never once got a major prediction right say that they are even more confident … I know they haven’t a clue what they are talking about.

      The simple fact they got their last prediction wrong would rule out anything above “confident” even if they were 100% certain of their models. But when they can’t explain why their models were wrong, dropping down to anything with “some confidence” is just delusional.

  11. John Diffenthal says:

    Carter also mentioned during the interview that NIPCC had tested the null hypothesis that the view of the weather seen through the window didn’t carry a man-made signal and they weren’t able to disprove it which I thought was pretty amusing.

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  20. “So we know the real world is variable the whole time.” says Bob Carter of the null hypothesis. But isn’t he using false logic? Seasons are cyclical and they do NOT vary, Summer follows Spring follows Winter, Summer does not suddenly stop being Summery and turn Autumnal, the Seasons are predictable and follow an observable pattern.

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