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Wanna see some hot models?

As ever, Paris was the place to see really hot models, but you have missed your chance. A couple of years ago they were basking in the admiration of the world. Now, they are looking a little old. However you can still read about them in today’s Times:

We were wrong — worst effects of climate change can be avoided, say scientists

Catastrophic impacts of climate change can still be avoided, according to scientists who have admitted they were too pessimistic about the chances of limiting global warming.

The world has warmed more slowly than had been predicted by computer models, which were “on the hot side” and overstated the impact of emissions on average temperature, research has found.

New forecasts suggest that the world has a better chance than claimed of meeting the goal set by the Paris Agreement on climate change of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The study, published in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience, makes clear that rapid reductions in emissions will still be required but suggests that the world has more time to make the necessary changes.

Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London and one of the study’s authors, admitted that his previous prediction had been wrong.

He stated during the climate summit in Paris in December 2015: “All the evidence from the past 15 years leads me to conclude that actually delivering 1.5C is simply incompatible with democracy.”

Emphasis added. Professor Grubb was not alone. An article in New Scientist from December 2015 that included that quote from Professor Grubb also said,

And time has nearly run out for limiting warming to 2 °C. “If we wait until 2020, it will be too late,” climate scientist Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre in the UK told New Scientist on Friday. “It’s a very small window.”

As for 1.5 °C, it would take nothing less than “a true world revolution”, according to Piers Forster of the University of Leeds. “We need renewable energy, nuclear power, fracking, zero-carbon transport, energy efficiency, housing changes,” he said. “Even international aviation and shipping that were excluded from this report will need to be tackled within the next few years.”

I remain more of a believer in anthropogenic climate change than many here, but after three or four cycles of this, cynicism does creep in. There is the cycle of direct prediction: DOOM BY YEAR X > two years before year X doom has failed to show any sign of arrival > DOOM BY X+10 AND WE TOTALLY HAVE GOT IT RIGHT THIS TIME. As with the lifecycle of the periodical cicada, whole theses could be written about how the the swarming and dying off of predictions of climate doom is correlated with the emergence and retreat of predictions that the only way to avoid climate doom is a globally imposed command economy. There is a long, slow rising line in which something like Professor Forster’s “true world revolution” is more and more incontrovertibly the only chance, until the date it is going to be needed to be done by becomes so close that (a) it obviously ain’t gonna happen, and (b) people start saying that if “our only chance” is something that obviously ain’t gonna happen, we might as well take our tune from the besieged citizens of Jerusalem in Isiah 22:13 and have joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine, for tomorrow we die. At this point the trendline for true world revolution being the only solution falls off a scarp slope and the one for mere socialist austerity just possibly being enough (if we start now) starts to rise.

And that is where we find ourselves with this most recent paper in Nature Geoscience,

Speaking to The Times, he [Professor Grubb] said: “When the facts change, I change my mind, as Keynes said.

That line from Keynes has long bugged me. For every one occasion when the facts truly change there are ten where the facts are the same as ever and all that has changed is that the speaker finally had to stop running away from them. It is a phrase that sounds like open-mindedness, but in fact avoids the need to admit error. Having said that, it is better to make like slippery Keynes than to make your opinions completely impervious to reality, and Professor Grubb has done better than Keynes in that he has said he was wrong.

“It’s still likely to be very difficult to achieve these kind of changes quickly enough but we are in a better place than I thought.”

Professor Grubb said that the new assessment was good news for small island states in the Pacific, such as the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, which could be inundated by rising seas if the average temperature rose by more than 1.5C.

“Pacific islands are less doomed than we thought,” he said.

Tuvalu’s doom level has been fluctuating since at least 2004.

Professor Grubb added that other factors also pointed to more optimism on climate change, including China reducing its growth in emissions much faster than predicted and the cost of offshore wind farms falling steeply in the UK.

He said: “We’re in the midst of an energy revolution and it’s happening faster than we thought, which makes it much more credible for governments to tighten the offer they put on the table at Paris.”

The study found that a group of computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had predicted a more rapid temperature increase than had actually occurred.

The global average temperature has risen by about 0.9C since pre-industrial times but there was a slowdown in the rate of warming for 15 years before 2014.

Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science at the University of Oxford and another author of the paper, said: “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

He said that the group of about a dozen computer models, produced by government research institutes and universities around the world, had been assembled a decade ago “so it’s not that surprising that it’s starting to divert a little bit from observations”.

Here the cynic in me says that it is not that surprising in a different way that a dozen models were all wrong in the same direction. But, again, let us not be too down on Professor Grubb – at least he is partly acknowledging that scientific models are often uncertain, as Michael Jennings drew on his own experience as a research scientist to say on this blog in 2009.

He [Professor Grubb] said that too many of the models used “were on the hot side”, meaning they forecast too much warming.

See, I promised you hot models and here are so many hot models, you may even get tired of hot models.

30 comments to Wanna see some hot models?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I believe that what Professor Grubb is doing is known, in some circles, as “cooling the mark”.

  • rxc

    They have run out of ways to change the past, so as to show accelerating warming. The only techniques left would be too obviously fradulent to even try. But you never know – the bigger the lie…..

  • Mr Ed

    Have there been any ‘cool’ models? Any caution in the guesswork? Or would that be expecting this to be driven simply by error?

    Any models of course are no substitute for a proven mechanism. No mechanism, no science.

  • jamesg

    If you read Hayek’s Pretence of Knowledge speech and substitute ‘economics’ for climate science, the ‘economy’ for the climate, ’employment’ for temperature, ‘aggregate demand’ for co2 etc… Pretty much sums up the problem here.

  • Kevin B

    TL;DR “Keep sending the money!!”

  • CaptDMO

    “predicted by computer models”
    Can we start to accept that computers merely do what they’re instructed to do, and that
    the appeal to “authority”, or alibi, of computer means NOTHING in absolving the Dunning Kruger folks that abuse them for “cover”?

  • bob sykes

    AGW may be a thing, but the world was warmer in the Middle Ages, warmer yet during the Roman expansion, and still warmer during the Minoan era. The fact is, the world has been cooling over the last 10,000, and in a few thousand more, we will have another ice age. Orbital mechanics is all.

    However, it is clear that a warmer world is a better world for all species, especially man. And plants actually need higher carbon dioxide levels than the present value. The Rubisco enzyme, the one that fixes carbon dioxide, also oxidizes trioses, and the ratio of reduction to oxidation depends critically on the carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio in the atmosphere. During the last ice age, the ratio was close to shutting down photosynthesis, and most of the world was a barren dust bowl.

  • John B

    ‘I remain more of a believer in anthropogenic climate change than many here…’

    You can therefore explain why and how after 4 billion years atmospheric CO2 at a concentration much lower than many times before suddenly at the end of the 20th Century took control of the Earth’s climate system?

    Is this credible?

    And where is the evidence it has?

    All the propaganda is to convince us that global warming/climate change IS happening to provide a smokescreen to hide lack of any evidence to explain why or show the link with atmospheric CO2.

    Even the term AGW implies only CO2 from car tail pipes or power stations can cause it being somehow different from CO2 from natural sources.

    CO2 controlled climate is absurd.

  • Watchman

    John B,

    I’m not a fan of the anthropogenic narrative myself, but you can’t disprove it any better than its actual advocates (not Natalie, who seems only to be claiming to be better disposed to it than many of us) will be able to prove it – too many uncertainties exist. The problem is this has allowed models to be substituted for data due to the lack of understanding, but it also means you can’t just use a question like that for evidence.

    If you want to argue against it, use the data – tempratures have not really increased in the day (the rate of highest day-time records is not increasing, as it would if there was a general warming). Night-time tempratures have increased, but a dependence on urban and airfield sites might easily explain that, or there might be a genuine warming at night for some reason (greater retention of heat for longer due to the atmospheric make-up? The data allows that possibility, so we can’t ignore it…). Models and averaged temprature may have increased, but these are not real data: if I measure the temprature outside in degrees centigrade (for I am under 65 and not American), what is the appropriate unit for measuring the temprature of a grid unit created by combining the tempratures of a number of sites on the basis of a weighting depending on their location and quality – it is not to be expressed as degrees centigrade, for it is not a real measurement surely? You may have more luck with the atmospheric CO2 (sorry, can’t find how to do subscript) content now.

    One thing I would say is that over 4 billion years there is likely to be a variety of factors that have changed, so your use of that figure there is a bit wierd – high volcanic activity would dwarf any climate signal CO2 (sorry again) might have for example (a big explosion does that even now). I do agree however that I can’t see carbon dioxide as the only driver of the climate system, and that some people are using this as propoganda for their own views (probably not cynically to be fair – the Greenpeace idiot type does genuinely believe their drivel).

    Rather than being a mirror image of the green activist types with their militantly-certinous view of what very uncertain data actually means, would it not be more constructive and useful to simply stress the uncertainity and the failure of models to substitute for data. It is what you seem to be arguing anyway, but rather than have the ‘what about this fact’ approach which merely mirrors the ‘strongest hurricane ever’ type cries from the water melon tendency, simply question the validity of all the assumptions and note the huge uncertainity involved. In the long term self-interest will mean climate science will come back to this position anyway if it is open and welcoming – scientists are humans too, and few of us want to take a position that is in agreement with what appears to be angry opponents, so acting like an anti-Greenpeace will simply force scientists in a subject that clearly attracts environmentally-minded types to go with the viewpoint of those that appear favourable to their prejudices, and encourage them to ignore what the data is saying (or not saying more importantly). Scientists will not want to work in a field where the facts are ‘fixed’, it being difficult to do research if you can’t change the facts, and that situation gives unpleasant amounts of power to elder statesmen with the power to just declare you wrong for differing from the party line, an envrionment which young scientists (other than true believers) tend to try and avoid.

  • QET

    Speaking to The Times, he [Professor Grubb] said: “When the facts change, I change my mind, as Keynes said

    This is not a case of facts changing. The predictions that proved wrong were not facts. It is facts that have proved them wrong.

  • Mr Ed

    I remain more of a believer in anthropogenic climate change than many here…’

    So you believe that cities are warmer than the preceding countryside, fine.

    anthropogenic‘ means ‘giving rise to humans’ not ‘caused by humans‘, cf ‘carcinogenic‘. The word is a con, from con merchants.

  • Sigivald

    I remain more of a believer in anthropogenic climate change than many here

    Hey, I believe in anthropogenic climate change, because physics pretty much demands the inputs from massive human action on climate are non-zero.

    I’m just deeply skeptical about claims it’s of a crisis-level magnitude or that any of the climate models can predict squat with any accuracy.

    It’s important to distinguish the two, at least on scientific and rationalist grounds.

    (Denying that human beings change the climate at all is ludicrous.

    Denying that we have good reason to believe such change is well-understood and probably catastrophic is pretty well justified at this point; indeed it takes a greater leap of faith to claim it is well-understood, I think.)

  • DP

    Dear Miss Solent

    Computer aided global warming is a sham, and always has been.

    Anthropogenic warming or cooling is almost certainly true – be surprised if it isn’t – but a) it is likely to be insignificant, and b) warming would be beneficial.

    Warming is good: cooling would bring greater problems – shorter growing seasons, longer heating seasons, food shortages and the four horsemen.

    CO2 is and always has been plant food, upon which almost all life above bacteria depend.

    More CO2 is therefore a Good Thing.

    Coral islands grow upwards as sea levels rise.

    If they didn’t, they wouldn’t exist, because of past sea level rises.


  • bobby b

    September 19, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    ” . . . you can’t disprove it any better than its actual advocates . . .”

    Go back to Climategate – the whistleblower’s release of e-mails and program notes from someone inside the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia – and read what the “scientists” there were saying to each other. Read the notes that a programmer was making as he reviewed and attempted to fix the programs used to make these “models.” As you read, realize that these were the people at the center of the movement, and that the data discussed was (and remains) the foundational data “proving” CAGW.

    Just out of those e-mails and notes, we can prove dishonesty, data manipulation, character assassination of nonbelievers, peer review fraud . . . We can prove that the programs used to “modify” the raw data were a kludge of “adjustments” and fakery. We can prove that much of the actual temperature data was first altered and rewritten, and that the original data was then “lost”, and only the altered data was kept and presented to the world. We can prove that they lied about this until they were discovered, and then they said “oops.” But the original data is all gone.

    I think that, when you have shown so much dishonesty and venality on one side of the controversy – especially on the part of those very people who have supplied the bulk of the data being used to support the Chicken Little movement – at that point you can safely consider that you have met a higher burden of proof than have the advocates of CAGW.

  • I think Sigi has the right idea.

    Human activity has been impacting the Earth’s climate at least since the neolithic period when we discovered agriculture.

    Some Greenies are no claiming that this was a disaster.

    Which brings up the Beer and Cats theory of Human Civilization.

    This theory holds that at some point people living in either Egypt or Mesopotamia discovered that if you allowed grain to ferment in water it produced a substance that when ingested produced a pleasant effect.

    Unfortunately they also found that if they tried to store enough grain to make this substance in any large amount rodents would get at it.

    Therefore when they found that there were these furry creatures who liked to chase and kill rodents they made a major effort to get them to live nearby and protect their grain (beer) supplies.

    In time humans began growing lots more grain which they could use to feed other critters and civilization was off and running.

    No wonder environmentalists get angry when people are having a good time.

  • “I remain more of a believer in anthropogenic climate change than many here”

    Well (as you know), you could hardly be less of a believer than myself, who has been utterly contemptuous of the whole scam since 2007, putting me 4 years behind Steve McIntyre (IIRC) but somewhat ahead of the field generally. Happily, admitting to imperfect scepticism here doesn’t get the kind of twitter mob that admitting to imperfect credence still brings forth in some PC communities. 🙂 (With a self-discipline that I admire, SteveM makes it a rule for himself never – or almost never – to use words like fraud, lie and scam on his blog, instead presenting the relevant information in a calm manner.)

    I believe that what Professor Grubb is doing is known, in some circles, as “cooling the mark”. (PersonFromPorlock, September 18, 2017 at 10:05 pm)

    No, I think the all-too-appropriately-named Grubb is trying to keep the mark hot, despite the regrettable cooling of the models. Global warming will be disproved to its community when the mark cools completely and there is no more money for it; not before. I agree with Kevin B’s summary of the paper: “Keep sending the money!!” 🙂

    That said, arguably there are two marks: the ones who believe in the science and the ones who believe in the authoritarianism. And maybe ‘mark’ is not the right term for the second group.

  • Paul Marks

    Paul Marks makes his standard point about nuclear power being the only practical way of getting truly large scale reductions on C02 emissions – so if the Greens are serious…..

  • Mr Ed

    if the Greens are serious…..

    They are, they want us all dead, for our own good, naturally.

  • lucklucky

    There is a reason that the narrative was changed in Orwellian way from Global Warming which didn’t always occurred to Climate Change which always occurred so not possible to be falsified.
    They only want that the political scam keeps going.

  • RRS

    For every one occasion when the facts truly change there are ten where the facts are the same as ever and all that has changed is that the speaker finally had to stop running away from them.

    Going along with QET above:

    In fact, what were stated as “facts” (derived from copious, duplicative and rewarding “studies”)were no more than conjectures (probably including those of “causation”) which are now to be replaced with alternative facts; followed, no doubt by further rewarding studies.

  • staghounds

    His career is over- he said something good about Fracking.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “…a group of computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had predicted a more rapid temperature increase than had actually occurred…”

    And this is news?

    Have these people been living under a stone for the last fifteen years?

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    QET wrote,

    >Speaking to The Times, he [Professor Grubb] said: “When the facts change, I change my mind, as Keynes said

    This is not a case of facts changing. The predictions that proved wrong were not facts. It is facts that have proved them wrong

    That is what I was getting at when I said,

    For every one occasion when the facts truly change there are ten where the facts are the same as ever and all that has changed is that the speaker finally had to stop running away from them

  • Watchman

    bobby b,

    Climategate actually only proves that one set of reconstructions (the hockey sticks) were created from non-related data sets (and deliberately so – that was scientific fraud) and one global temperature series (of the sort I criticise anyway) was very badly managed, an impression compounded when it became clear they had lost the unaltered raw data and therefore the results were in effect unreplicable.

    But it does not disprove the theory – it just disproves some aspects of it (not actually relied on now by the smarter AGW-fanatics, who are probably sick of being asked to explain why the blade of a hockey stick is the temprature record whilst the handle is a proxy record…). It gives the impression many of those supporting the theory are poor scientists and advocates of a particular viewpoint they then use the science to record. It means we can’t trust those involved in these discussions. But it doesn’t disprove the theory as many advocates were not (and some even condemned the practices when the emails were released).

    What it does do is reinforce the uncertainty – to get support for the theory people have to use methods that are not acceptable, as otherwise the data does not support them. And it is far more difficult for an advocate of ‘settled science’ to deal with an accusation of uncertainity than an actual thesis, as they either have to roll out the discredited 97% figure (as if the fact 0% of scientists believe in anything until it is suggested means that these things do not exist is not a thing…) or get themselves increasingly tied up trying to justify a position using evidence that cannot bear the weight they place on it.

  • Laird

    Watchman, if the proponents of a “theory” are reduced to falsifying data (and I consider “massaging” the results, and then conveniently “losing” the raw data, to be a species of falsification), and their computer models consistently and without exception fail to produce predictions which come close to matching actual events, I don’t see how you can argue that the theory isn’t disproven for all practical purposes. What more do you require to “disprove” it? To my mind, AGW (let alone CAGW) now occupies the same category as Bertrand Russell’s interplanetary teapot. Not “disproven” in some technical, theoretical sense, but debunked in reality.

  • QET


    Yes, I registered your statement. I was trying to make what I thought was a somewhat different point (maybe it isn’t, or maybe I just wasn’t clear), which is that what made up Grubb’s mind before were not facts at all but, like RRS said, conjectures. The eventual facts are what disproved the conjectures. No fact changed, nor were any facts the basis of his prior belief, which is IMO typical of climatistas: they label their own beliefs as facts because they find others who believe like them.

  • Sonny Wayze


    “But it does not disprove the theory…”

    There is no ‘theory’ until the HYPOTHESIS is able to generate accurate, falsifiable predictions.

  • Thailover

    Three points.

    1. Among other “secret squirrel” things, including missile defense, whilst working among some of the largest radar dish systems in the world, I also maintained deployed weather recording equipment and tossed weather balloons in the Marshall Islands, thousands of those f*ckers over an 8yr period. We tossed 2 balloons a day, 12hrs apart, and I was there for 8yrs, so you do the math. I collected and processed the data, created data packages and FTPed them to NCDC (the National Climatic Data Center), NASA and the University of Washington, which was involved in tropical weather studies. What the global warming alarmists were frantically looking for was a “hot spot” just above the troposphere in the tropics, which was said to have a multiplier effect on CO2 warming. Guess what…it isn’t there…at all. The hard data, even the raw data disproves their models. Solution to this problem of physical measurements replicated thousands of times over refuting arbitrary made up hornswaggle? Well, throw away 8yrs worth of rock-hard physical measured data of course! Problem solved! Yeah, I experienced this betrayal of the entire human race first hand.

    2. Collectivism is a crypto-religion, and like (virtually) every other religion, it has it’s articles of faith, it’s blindly devout adherents, it’s potentially violent defenders (even if the religion in question advocates passivity), and each has it’s own eschatology, i.e. it’s “end of days” doomsday scenario. For the crypto-religion of globalist Leftism, the very obvious eschatology is climate change. Is the climate changing? Yes, that’s why they call it climate. Is it going to slaughter us any time soon, or even, perhaps….at all? There’s no real reason to think so. There’s been times in earth’s history when CO2 was MUCH higher than it is today, (16 times higher during the Cambrian period) and times when the earth has been much warmer than today. And? Well, it seems that biodiversity loves more co2 and more wet, warm climate. The “Cambrian Explosion” is the largest expansion of biodiversity known to occur ANYWHERE, or ANYTIME in world history. Hell, the known history of the universe.

    A. The world’s oceans regulates the earth’s CO2 cycle. This is neither in dispute nor controversial.
    B. Warming water retains LESS dissolved gasses than cooler water. This is neither in dispute nor controversial.
    C. “Global Warming” i.e. help, help, we’re all going to die from co2 warming” is in direct conflict with points A and B.

    If co2 actually controlled the warming of the climate, then warming climate would LEAD the warming of the oceans, which would then release MORE co2 into the atmosphere (or rather absorb less), …which is no regulator or governor at all!. That would be a positive feedback, not a negative feedback, and regulators must be negative feedback.

    However, as even Al Gore’s “inconvenient” graph shows, the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels LAGS increases in global temps, not the other way around. Warming temps come first, THEN a subsequent increase in atmospheric CO2 due to warming oceans.

  • Watchman


    I agree – the entire point is that no theory is provable because we don’t know enough. The mistake I keep seeing is people trying to argue about whether interpretations are factually correct or not, which is pointless as we can’t know, and gives the interpretations credence as they become factoids to be discussed in their own right.

    And incidentally, you can prove seriously dubious practices on the part of many prominent scientists working on ‘global warming’ – that doesn’t disprove the theory, but does mean you don’t have to actually address it.

    My basic point is that we don’t need to argue the nuts-and-bolts of the science, since there is not enough knowledge to do that, and clear evidence that a minority of scientists have been trying to manipulate things.