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Please scroll down for lots of useful information. There are links to industry and environmental journals, relevant dates in the environmental and renewable energy calendar, current debates, a solar PV Feed-in Tariff calculator, green products websites, campaign groups and more. Some of this might be a bit outdated given time considerations and the fact that I don't get paid for doing this, but I do try and keep it as fresh and new as I can so it's still worth checking out.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Eschenbach: A 'live debate'? A trap more like...



So, I was expecting Willis Eschenbach to write a new blog in reply to my previous piece. But it turns out he was expecting me to debate through comments on Watts Up With That. The trouble is, I've been in those sort of situations before, and really it's a trap. What you have there is a horde of pseudo-scientists, many of them very well practiced in their various, often cherrypicked, misrepresentations, lies and distortions of the real science. It's usually a complete mess, presented by people who think they are doing real science ("what if we do this", "What if we do that" etc. Most of them are too cowardly to post under their real name, making it very difficult to identify the real person behind the post.

And so on. If I had gone on there, I would have been ambushed pretty quickly, with loads of cooky theories thrown at me. The intention being to ridicule, humiliate and silence me. The usual denier dirty politics basically.

But I am not doing that. I prefer to debate from the safety of my own blog, the reason being that all this cherrypicked and distorted material takes time to examine and assess. This is why I prefer to control the debate, conducting it on my own terms, not on theirs.

For this reason, and because it's the weekend, which means I am using just my mobile to type this, I prefer to wait until Tuesday when I can use my desktop PC to link, to screenshot, load images and graphs etc. Of course they are hating this, wondering where I am, and also because I am not playing the game by their rules. The vitriol from some of them is most amusing.

There are over 400 comments on Eschenbach's blog at present. Most of it, when I really start to look at it, I am confident will be cherrypicked nonsence, distortion and downright lies, in amongst all the dreamers pretending to be scientists.

I am not a scientist of course. I am a journalist. But at least I admit that. And I have enough scientific awareness to be able to tell a real scientist from a charlatan.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Battle of the Blogs? Whitlock goes to War...



Good day folks, you're all in for a bit of a treat as it happens, so I hope you're sitting comfortably. Before I go any further, I should issue a 'long read' warning. This blog piece is going to be fairly long, quite involved in its detail, but hopefully very enjoyable if you despise and detest climate change denial, as I do. But first, an explanation of the circumstances.

The other day, on Twitter, I indulged in a bit of regular fun-poking at James Delingpole, as I often do because, quite simply, the man just invites it. For those not in the know, Delingpole is a pretty nasty character really. He writes regular blog pieces and op-eds for Breitbart and The Spectator, usually on climate change, but also on other subjects as well. He is usually, and seemingly, unashamedly vicious, as will become apparent in my coverage of him and his behaviour in this piece. Given his behaviour, I am not afraid, occasionally to indulge in a bit of 'ad-hominem' warfare myself, indeed he seems to court it. He is the type that invites conflict, so conflict I will give him. On this occasion, I called him a 'knuckledragger'. Why? Because he is one.


Let's be clear here. Delingpole isn't a 'knuckledragger' on account of his intellectual ability, far from it actually, given that he is an Oxford-educated English Literature graduate. I choose to call him a knuckledragger because he wastes the gifts he has been given, choosing not to use his educational and writing abilities for moral and ethical higher purposes but instead to attack those engaged in moral and ethical activity, particularly climate scientists.

The trouble with ad-hominem attacks though is that they invariably invite a response. Sure enough, one of Delingpole's climate change denying friends, a chap named Willis Eschenbach, rose to the bait.

Now, while I can't say, I am afraid, that I was a particularly confident chap in earlier life, I can certainly say so now, at the age of, well, nearly 51. And having spent much of my life delighting in my passion for writing, and the process of expanding my knowledge that fuels it, I am fairly pleased with my achievements so far. With this tweet, Mr Eschenbach challenged my wisdom, so the logical thing to do of course was to invite him to debate.



Eschenbach responded that he was happy to debate, although he couldn't see how he could do so on Twitter. This is a bit strange actually because Twitter is perfect for making short, sharp, points backed by links to supporting evidence. Furthermore, because it is a social media platform, it can attract a huge audience. This is why it is ideal for marketing, PR and politics.

In the same tweet, Mr Eschenbach asked me what I wanted to debate. This was an invitation, and a golden opportunity, to deliver the first broadside.

In these circumstances, the very first thing I do, as with every aspect of a debate, is dig around for evidence. I try to find out what has been written already about particular views, opinions and/or the people holding and expressing them. With regard to climate change deniers DeSmogBlog is perfect for this, which is why it is often my first port of call. This produced my opening broadside's first couple of tweets [read from the bottom to understand the conversation in its logical order].


I followed this up by citing the various pieces of evidence concerning Mr Eschenbach provided by the DeSmogBlog entry on him:


In full flow, I carried on:



I then rounded up by turning on Anthony Watts, the climate change denier whose platform (Watts Up With That) Mr Eschenbach uses for his own blogs, before returning to Delingpole:


I was expecting Mr Eschenbach to respond in like manner, using Twitter to address the various points in the usual Twitter convention, but instead he chose to write a full on blog piece about me on the Watts Up With That blog.

Okay, so this is new. I've known about Watts Up With That (WUWT) for some time of course, but largely ignored it on the basis that I have other, more important stuff to do and also that it's actually more sense, if one wants to take on an enemy, to pick one adversary at a time rather than the whole horde at once. Delingpole being the nastiest, I choose to pick on him. That said, WUWT is up there among the most popular (among deniers and the Right that is) and prominent climate change denying blogs, and so, I am guessing, it has a large following.

In these circumstances, when one sees oneself exposed on such a prominent blog, one can feel a degree of trepidation, and for a few seconds, I did. However, I quickly realised this was actually a golden opportunity to 'go to town' on Delingpole, Eschenbach, Anthony Watts and his blog and deniers in general. And it would be quite good fun to do so as well. Hence the long read warning. If you're going to do a job, might as well do it properly.

For success in any battle, as Wellington may very well have explained at this point were he alive and asked about this question, there are a number of rules. Three in particular are:
  • Don't rush to battle
  • Keep a cool head and a steady nerve
  • Deploy your forces wisely
Given that, philosophically speaking, words are 'weapons', the key thing here is to think about one writes and also to support one's claims with evidence. As a professional freelance journalist, and Psychology and English graduate, I am very good at doing just that.

Eschenback probably thinks at this point that I am going to turn on him and counter the remarks he made about me on his WUWT piece. Ha, oh no. He can wait. I will get to him presently. Let's deal with Delingpole first, in order to explain why I called him a 'knuckledragger'.

In order to do this, I am going to begin with an absolutely delicious response by a former Oxford Classics Don (1995-2001) by the name of Edith Hall.

Delingpole had written a characteristically snide and snotty piece in The Spectator concerning Classics courses at Oxford. I would link to this but it's behind a paywall, so alas a quote:



"Take, for example, the right-on enthusiasm for recruiting Greats [i.e. Classics] candidates from schools that don’t do Latin or Greek. The theory goes that by the fourth year, these eager state-school kids will have attained the same proficiency as private-school ones who have been hothoused on classics since they were eight or nine. But I gather that only the Oxbridge classics tutors who have drunk the social justice Kool-Aid actually believe this has worked in practice. The rest are worried about declining long-term standards and are also a bit frustrated: if you’re an Oxbridge classics don, you want to teach Oxbridge–level classics — not catch-up for beginners."

Edith Hall's comments on this, and on Delingpole, are pure delight:

“a splenetic piece of propaganda”

“makes his living from peddling archly controversial far-right views on climate change and immigration”

“dilates, with mind-blowing ignorance”

“the Spectator believes it is worth giving airspace to someone of Delingpole’s lousy journalism skills”

“arrogant alumni with ropey cognitive skills like Delingpole”

“Delingpole has needlessly insulted every individual who has ever studied the ancient Mediterranean world wholly or even partially in translation—the thousands who take CC/AH qualifications in state schools, the majority of classics undergraduates in other British universities, not to mention adult learners, autodidacts, and everyone who has ever read a Penguin Classic. He has done so with puerile, ill-informed, oligarchic hauteur.”

“*I did have a photograph of Delingpole in bathing shorts here but have taken it down after someone quite rightly pointed out that I was stooping to 'body shaming'.” [In response to comment on Hall's blog piece concerning a photograph of Delingpole in a swimsuit she had posted - but later withdrew - with the caption "Delingpole: Not much better Sixpack than Sense."]

This is ripe. But also tame compared to some of the comments made about Delingpole, including my own. But in order to see why such comments are made, one has to, first, see what Delingpole is capable of. I refuse to link to Breitbart (because of what it is, not because of Delingpole himself), but alas there are plenty of examples elsewhere. 

Delingpole spent his youth in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, the son of a factory owner. He attended Malvern College, an independent school for boys, before going on to Christchurch College, Oxford. This alone is interesting because there is a whole load of plausible opinion coming out now that boarding schools can produce 'angry boarders', basically because of the isolation from parents and also because of some of the abuse that happens there. This is a separate subject which should really be explored in depth elsewhere, but I can't help thinking to myself what one would find if one were to look into Delingpole's time at Malvern. 

Hmm, that's not going to happen. I am not an investigative journalist, Delingpole himself is hardly likely to say, and of course I might be wrong. However, wherever there is some anger, it is worth taking a peek to see where it comes from. But as I say, another subject for another time. 

George Monbiot, another arch enemy of Delingpole, describes his writing style as:

"the kind of ill-informed viciousness provided for free by trolls on comment threads everywhere, but raised by an order of magnitude. He puts a wrecking ball through any claims the denial lobby might have to being civilised, intelligent or serious. His followers act as an echo-chamber, magnifying his nastiness. Between them they succeed in alienating anyone who might want an informed debate"

Delingpole on this occasion had written a story about a letter sent to a Conservative MP enquiring about the MPs stance on climate change. The piece was titled: "Conservative candidates stalked by eco bullies". As if that wasn't enough, Delingpole also published the name of the letter writer and his home address. This, to me, is tantamount to incitement. Sure enough, as Monbiot explains:

"Delingpole's bootboys took the hint and immediately swung into action. Within a few minutes of the comments opening, they had published the man's telephone number and email address, a photo of his house ("Note all the recycling going on in his front garden"), his age and occupation. Then they sought to tell him just what a low opinion they had of "stalking" and "bullying"."

Did The Telegraph apologise for publishing the piece? Er no. They took it down though, so I suppose that's something. 

Now you know what Delingpole is capable of. 

Here is one of his past tweets:

This is what he thinks about disabled rights activists:


But it gets even nastier. Delingpole is on record as saying "Hanging is far too good" for climate scientists. Joe Romm (of Think Progess) responded brilliantly to this.


Romm goes on to argue that Delingpole "seems to think that hate speech isn't hate speech if you just use rhetoric - the figures of speech, like metaphor". Romm bluntly and legitimately condemns that position as 'bullshit'.

Romm then refers to another piece by Delingpole which opens thus (emphasis added by Romm):


"Should Michael Mann be given the electric chair for having concocted arguably the most risibly inept, misleading, cherry-picking, worthless and mendacious graph — the Hockey Stick — in the history of junk science?
Should George Monbiot be hanged by the neck for his decade or so’s hysterical promulgation of the great climate change scam and other idiocies too numerous to mention?
Should Tim Flannery be fed to the crocodiles for the role he has played in the fleecing of the Australian taxpayer and the diversion of scarce resources into pointless projects like all the eye-wateringly expensive desalination plants built as a result of his doomy prognostications about water shortages caused by catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?"
As Romm subsequently correctly points out, Delingpole thinks he can get away with this by first presenting these statements in the form of a question, which he then answers thus:

"It ought to go without saying that my answer to all these questions is — *regretful sigh* — no.

First, as anyone remotely familiar with the zillion words I write every year on this blog and elsewhere, extreme authoritarianism and capital penalties just aren’t my bag. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it would be counterproductive, ugly, excessive and deeply unsatisfying.

The last thing I would want is for Monbiot, Mann, Flannery, Jones, Hansen and the rest of the Climate rogues’ gallery to be granted the mercy of quick release. Publicly humiliated? Yes please. Having all their crappy books remaindered? Definitely. Dragged away from their taxpayer funded troughs and their cushy sinecures, to be replaced by people who actually know what they’re talking about? For sure. But hanging? Hell no. Hanging is far too good for such ineffable toerags."

Delingpole doesn't stop there:
"This isn’t to say that there isn’t a strong case for the myriad dodgy scientists-on-the-make, green activists, posturing and ignorant politicians, rent-seeking corporatists, UN apparatchiks, EU technocrats and hopelessly out-of-their-depth environment correspondents who talked up the global warming scare to be brought to account for the vast damage they have done to the global economy, for the people they have caused to die in fuel poverty, for the needless regulations they have inflicted on us, for the landscapes they have ravaged with wind farms, and so on.
Indeed, it would be nice to think one day that there would be a Climate Nuremberg. But please note, all you slower trolls beneath the bridge, that when I say Climate Nuremberg I use the phrase metaphorically."
In other words, Delingpole could be accused of comparing scientists, green activists, politicians, corporate executives, UN officials, EU officials and environment correspondents involved in discussing climate change TO NAZI's. Except that, by presenting it as a metaphor, Delingpole then claims he is NOT saying there should be a 'Climate Nuremberg'.

So what is he saying? Romm argues that Delingpole is using 'metaphor' as a defence while at the same wanting the word metaphor to not have any meaning at all. It's a clever way of writing some pretty nasty and inciteful, potentially criminal in my opinion, statements without having to really face the logical consequences of those statements. I have another word for such behaviour: cowardice.

As Romm says: "What more proof is needed that hate speech is the “logic” of deniers?"

And:

"If Delingpole’s piece doesn’t count as “threatening, menacing, offensive, defamatory, abusive” then it is quite safe to say that nothing does. It should be retracted, the Telegraph should issue an apology and then fire him" 

Fortunately, Delingpole's castle walls aren't as strong as he would like them to be. In 2011, Sir Paul Nurse (former President of The Royal Society) wiped the floor with him on prime time TV. Delingpole had to admit that he doesn't read peer-reviewed papers, i.e. doesn't read science. He claimed instead he was "an interpreter of interpretations".

And didn't Delingpole squirm? Oh yes he did. It was pure magic. This is just a snippet below:



 The full documentary is below. The Delingpole interview begins at 24:16 and runs to 27:38.




 On his piece about Delingpole, Romm made a very important point with regard to his behaviour:

"Lincoln, the greatest student rhetoric of all U.S. presidents understood all too well that the figures of speech are (metaphorical) weapons that have “the power to hurt.” 

So in essence, my debate with Eschenbach began, basically, because Eschenbach, appeared ready to defend a chap who though obviously intelligent, given his Oxford education, instead chooses to behave like a vicious, verminous cretin. Nice.

I am done with Delingpole. Let's have a look at Eschenbach himself, and the points he makes about me on his WUWT blog piece:

"Sadly, Mr. Whitlock declined the opportunity to actually say what was wrong with James Delingpole’s ideas"

Oh drat. It doesn't look like I get away from Delingpole that easily then. This really is going to be a long blog. 

Fine. Let's start with Delingpole's claim that there was a pause in global warming, or even, actually, that global warming didn't happen for 17 years, thus proving there is no global warming. 

The BBC reported in January this year that the pause idea had been demolished by two very important studies. The first of these was a paper published by Science in 2016 (full paper in link), the research conducted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Secondly, the Science Advances research concludes in its abstract that:

"These results suggest that reported rates of SST (Surface Sea Temperature) warming in recent years have been underestimated in these three data sets"

The full report is here.

The BBC reported that:

"As a result, the authors said that the warming experienced in the first 15 years of the 21st Century was "virtually indistinguishable" from the rate of warming between 1950-99, a time generally acknowledged to have seen significant rates of warming from human emissions of CO2."

So in other words, there was no pause. Delingpole has been proved wrong. 

It would take ages to go through each of Delingpole's claims, but another favourite of his, and other climate change deniers, is the 'climategate' scandal. Deniers still think this was a scandal, but they completely ignore that the scientists from both the US and the UK were completely cleared of any wrongdoing in their scientific conclusions by several investigations. And no matter how they try to squirm and claim that it's a vast conspiracy, that was the conclusion reached. Which means that 'climategate' is nothing more than conspiracy theory. 

You can read more generally about Delingpole's claims on DeSmogBlog here, however it is worth noting that his latest pack of lies revolves around the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, which is almost dead. Delingpole thinks it can recover and so there's nothing to worry about but I've challenged this nonsense as well.   

Back to Eschenbach. He claims he is "an amateur scientist". Really? If so, where are his scientific credentials? 

According to DeSmogBlog, he has a California Massage Certificate from the Aames School of Massage at Oakland, California from 1974. Well that might come in handy for massaging facts and statistics I suppose, but its not really scientific. 

Secondly, he has a BA in Psychology from Sonoma State University, California, from 1975. Psychology is a social science not a true science, and it's certainly nothing to do with climate. My degree is combined Psychology and English Literature, so I've been there myself, done that. 

A page from the archive of The Heartland Institute, a hotbed of climate change deniers where Delingpole also occasionally lurks, describes Eschenbach as having been "researching, studying, and writing scientific studies and popular articles about climate science for the past 15 years", but gives no further details about this. So, clearly, Eschenbach is not a real scientist.

Popular Technology goes into his background in a little more detail:

"Willis Eschenbach, B.A. Psychology, Sonoma State University (1975); California Massage Certificate, Aames School of Massage (1974); Commercial Fisherman (1968, 1969, 1971, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1994, 1995); Auto Mechanic, People's Garage (1969-1970); Cabinet Maker, A.D. Gibson Co. (1972); Office Manager, Honolulu Emergency Labor Pool (1972); Construction Manager, Autogenic Systems Inc. (1973); Assistant Driller, Mirror Mountain Enterprises (1975-1976); Tax Preparer, Beneficial Financial Company (1977); Accountant, Farallones Institute (1977-1978); Peace Corps and USAID (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1993, 1994); Cabinet Maker, Richard Vacha Cabinets (1986); County Director, Foundation for the People of the South Pacific (1986-1988); General Manager, Liapari Limited (1989-1992); Regional Health Coordinator, Foundation for the People of the South Pacific (1994-1995); Project Manager, Eschenbach Construction Company (1995-2003); Construction Manager, Koro Sun Limited (1999); Construction Manager, Taunovo Bay Resort (2003-2006); Accounts/IT Senior Manager, South Pacific Oil (2007-2010); House Carpenter (2012-Present)"

Dr Roy Spencer, who is a meteorologist rather than a climate scientist, commented in 2013 that "Willis gives the impression that his analysis of the data (or his climate regulation theory) is original, which is far from the case" and that he is a "citizen scientist" who "takes matters into his own hands".

Popular Technology continues that:

"The bigger concern is that Mr. Eschenbach either misrepresents his credentials or knowingly allows them to be misrepresented"

There is even more information on PT, as follows:

In 2010, the New York Times incorrectly described him as an "engineer", which Eschenbach failed to correct at the time but finally managed to correct in October 2013 when he admitted to not being an engineer. 

In 2011, The Daily Telegraph incorrectly described him as a "very experienced computer modeller", which again he failed to correct. Instead, he chose to reproduce the misrepresentation in 2013, stating:

"So while you are correct that I’m not an engineer, nor have I claimed to be, I am indeed a computer modeler of some small ability"



Popular Technology comments on this that:

"Mr. Eschenbach has no relevant computer programming experience. He was never trained or employed as a computer programmer, let alone a "computer modeler". He fails to list a single name of a program he actually wrote on his CV (unheard of for a real programmer) that can be verified for their quality and as confirmation of the programming languages he claims to be proficient in."

The Climate Denier List mentions that Eschenbach has "produced no peer-reviewed papers on climate science according to the criteria set by Skeptical Science"

And look at this from climate blog Hot Whopper:

 Hot Whopper has plenty more to say on Eschenbach apparently, judging from the links on this piece.

So, it's pretty clear that Eschenbach is not a scientist, never has been a scientist, and never will be a scientist. On top of that, it is plain to see from his past misrepresentations that it would be very difficult to trust him fully on anything really...

Eschenbach goes on to say that he has no idea "which “eight tenths of a degree” he’s talking about". Well, DeSmogBlog links to this blog piece by him on WUWT, in which he comments:

“There might be some adverse outcomes from that eight tenths of a degree of temperature rise threatening my Grandchildren in 2050, but neither I nor anyone else knows what those outcomes might be. We'll assuredly get an extra flood over here, and one less flood over there, it's very likely to be drier somewhere and wetter somewhere else, in other words, the climate will do what climate has done since forever — change.”

I repeat what I tweeted initially on this:

"That’s being way too optimistic. Even 2 deg C is probably too optimistic. Most climate science says we’re heading in the direction of 4 or even 6 degrees C. Furthermore, at 2 degrees C, melting permafrost releases methane into the atmosphere, which is even more dangerous than CO2."

Eschenbach is clearly trying to detach himself from having made any statement on an eight tenths of a degree warming rise, which is a lie, as the quote from DeSmogBlog shows.

Then Eschenbach claims that the investigations clearing the 'climategate' scientists were "pathetic imitations of a real investigation".

This is just utter nonsense, as the Union of Concerned Scientists makes clear:

"Six official investigations have cleared scientists of accusations of wrongdoing.
 Other agencies and media outlets have investigated the substance of the emails.
Eschenbach then refers to a blog by Steve McIntyre, who is actually a Canadian mining exploration company director, a former minerals prospector and semi-retired mining consultant. That is to say, not a climate scientist. Worse, as a minerals industry figure, he has an obvious bias towards the fossil fuels industry. Unsurprisingly then, he too has an entry on DeSmogBlog. He has a PPE from Oxford and a BSc in mathematics from Toronto. Diddly squat on climate.

Then Eschenbach goes on to say that "you’d be hard pressed to find folks other than wild alarmists who make that claim", in relation to my point about 4-6 degrees C of warming. If that's true, why does the Met Office discuss it? Why does Yale discuss it? Why did the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics say that we are on course for a 4 degree warmer world by the end of the century?


The claim I made that 2 degrees C will melt the permafrost releasing large amounts of methane is scientifically valid. Well-known climate commentator Mark Lynas discussed it in an article for The Guardian here:

"Two degrees is also enough to cause the eventual complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which would raise global sea levels by seven metres. Much of the ice-cap disappeared 125,000 years ago, when global temperatures were 1-2C higher than now. Because of the sheer size of the ice sheet, no one expects this full seven metres to come before the end of the century, but a top Nasa climate scientist, James Hansen, is warning that the mainstream projections of sea level rise (of 50cm or so by 2100) could be dangerously conservative. As if to underline Hansen's warning, the rate of ice loss from Greenland has tripled since 2004."

Top climate scientist Michael Mann discusses it in further detail here:

"When all the forms of evidence are combined, they point to a most likely value for ECS that is close to three degrees C. And as it turns out, the climate models the IPCC actually used in its Fifth Assessment Report imply an even higher value of 3.2 degrees C."

Ah, but of course, deniers don't accept climate models as being accurate, even though they have successfully reproduced global temperatures since 1900 and are vigorously tested. If anything, models actually understate the amount of warming that is on its way.


There is an interesting history of climate modelling here and a discussion of General Circulation Models here. Further commentary can be found on Only In It For The Gold .
A team of Binghamton University researchers including geology PhD student Elliot A. Jagniecki and professors Tim Lowenstein, David Jenkins and Robert Demicco examined nahcolite crystals found in Colorado's Green River Formation, formed 50 million years old during a hothouse

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2015-11-earth-climate-sensitive-co2-previously.html#jCp

Next, Eschenbach has a go at sensitivity of the Earth to CO2. If anything though, the Earth is more sensitive to CO2 than previously thought, as research conducted in 2015 has found:


"A team of Binghamton University researchers including geology PhD student Elliot A. Jagniecki and professors Tim Lowenstein, David Jenkins and Robert Demicco examined nahcolite crystals found in Colorado's Green River Formation, formed 50 million years old during a hothouse climate. They found that CO2 levels during this time may have been as low as 680 parts per million (ppm), nearly half the 1,125 ppm predicted by previous experiments. The new data suggests that past predictions significantly underestimate the impact of greenhouse warming and that Earth's climate may be more sensitive to increased carbon dioxide than was once thought, said Lowenstein."

And:


"CO2 levels in the atmosphere today have reached 400 ppm. According to current projections, doubling the CO2 will result in a rise in the global average temperature of 3 degrees Centigrade. This new research suggests that the effects of CO2 on global warming may be underestimated."


Then Eschenbach presents a series of typically untrue statements. Which I respond to thus:


"No one knows why the globe was generally warmer in Roman times"


Actually, the Medieval Warm Period (along with the Roman warm period) is fairly well understood, with known causes. It coincided with higher than average solar radiation and less volcanic activity. Furthermore, changes in ocean circulation patterns brought warmer seawater into the North Atlantic, which explains the warmth in that region. There are multiple lines of evidence that show the temperatures going back into the paleo record




"Nobody knows why the globe generally cooled after Roman times"

Incorrect. As McCormick et al shows a reduction in solar radiation reaching the earth after 260 AD, thereby producing a cooling activity after 260 AD. The science also indicates that the Medieval Warm Period was regional, not global. Furthermore, this is actually less important than the fact that the general cooling trend over the past 2,000 years has been erased by global warming over the past century (identifiable as being the product of human activity).

"Nobody knows why the globe greatly cooled after Medieval times, leading to the “Little Ice Age” in the 1600s/1700s"

Incorrect. Scientists point to a number of possible causes, including orbital cycles, decreased solar activity, altered ocean current flows, the inherent variability of global climate, and reforestation following decreases in the human population. Miller et al. link the Little Ice Age to an "unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions. There was heightened volcanic activity throughout the Little Ice Age. The resulting ash cloud blocked out some of the incoming solar radiation, leading to cooling, but sulphur dioxide gas turning into sulphuric acid particles may also have been responsible, as these reflect the sun's rays, further reducing solar radiation.

"Nobody knows why the Little Ice Age didn’t descend into a real Ice Age."

Incorrect.  From the end of the Little Ice Age to the 1950s the sun’s output increased and there was a small contribution from volcanic activity.

However, since the Second World War the sun has cooled, yet the temperature on Earth has gone up.

Skeptical Science, a blog which draws on a wealth of scientific papers, comments:

"Considered alongside the empirical evidence, model predictions and a century of scientific research into the climate, recovery from the LIA is not a plausible theory to explain the observed evidence and rate of global climate change."

"Nobody knows why the earth started generally warming at about 0.5°C per century since the Little Ice Age"

Incorrect. See above.

"Nobody knows why this warming continued through the 20th century"

Incorrect. The industrial revolution and human production of carbon dioxide emissions, i.e. man-made global warming.

"Nobody knows whether the ~ 0.5°C warming of the 21st century is 100% natural and just a continuance of the warming of previous two centuries, or whether some or all of of the warming is due to humans"

Incorrect. NASA and numerous other research organisations have shown there is plenty of evidence for man-made (anthropogenic) global warming (AGW). NASA:

"Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate."

"The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century"

"Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming"

"Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century"

The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months"

"Nobody knows why there has been a two-decade “hiatus” in the ongoing three centuries of warming."

There wasn't a pause at all. To repeat my answer to Delingpole's lie/conspiracy theory about 'the pause' above:

The BBC reported in January this year that the pause idea had been demolished by two very important studies. The first of these was a paper published by Science in 2016 (full paper in link), the research conducted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Secondly, the Science Advances research concludes in its abstract that:

"These results suggest that reported rates of SST (Surface Sea Temperature) warming in recent years have been underestimated in these three data sets"

The full report is here.

The BBC reported that:

"As a result, the authors said that the warming experienced in the first 15 years of the 21st Century was "virtually indistinguishable" from the rate of warming between 1950-99, a time generally acknowledged to have seen significant rates of warming from human emissions of CO2."

Eschenbach then comments:

Given our total inability to understand or explain the climate of the past, the idea that a Tinkertoy computer model of the climate can tell us what will happen in the next hundred years is … well … let me describe that claim as “extraordinarily optimistic” rather than say “stunningly foolish” …


I've already explained above, with video, that climate models ARE accurate and CAN be relied upon. This means that this statement is either a blatant lie or a product of incredible delusion. But hey, such is the mentality of climate change deniers.

"Let’s see if he is man enough to step up to the plate."

Well, I just have, with plenty of science. And there's more of that where all of that science came from, but of course deniers just, well, deny it. Their arguments can usually be completely demolished with time and enough evidence, of which there is plenty. However, it's a bit like those Japanese 'banzai' charges during World War 2, these idiots just keep coming back.

Fine. I'll just keep mowing their stupid arguments down, with, er, the truth, with supporting evidence. And I am not the only one doing it.

I was going to widen this piece to have a go at Watts as well, but I'll save that for another time. In the meantime, I am sure Eschenbach will be back. I've just done a quick scan before hitting the 'publish' button to check for any 'ad hominem' attacks on him. None as far as I can see with a quick look, apart from the word 'stupid' in relation to climate change deniers generally and the word 'idiots' in relation to the comment about Japanese banzai charges.

Delingpole deserves ad hominem attacks, because of his viciousness, because he chooses to ad hominem attack in a vicious manner, himself. With Eschenbach, I've merely asked a number of searching questions, exposed his misrepresentations of himself as an engineer and a computer modeller, and more importantly as a scientist (he isn't one). Even more importantly, I've demolished his arguments.

But hey, if you want to come back Willis, fine, I'll demolish them again, with a bit of time of course, because researching the facts about climate change is a lengthy process for a journalist, and I am a journalist rather than a climate scientist (but Willis isn't a scientist at all of course). It's far more preferable to the continued nonsense that deniers like Eschenbach comes out with. Even more importantly though, thousands are dying NOW from phenomenon caused by climate change, and that will increase as climate change ramps up. Anyone interested in human decency and preserving human life would do the same as me: squashing the arguments of toerag climate change deniers at every possible given opportunity. Just a shame I have to earn money from other stuff I do, which means I can't spend as much time as I would like on this unpaid climate change denier debunking stuff. But hey, I do what I can with the time I have available.

Over to you.
A team of Binghamton University researchers including geology PhD student Elliot A. Jagniecki and professors Tim Lowenstein, David Jenkins and Robert Demicco examined nahcolite crystals found in Colorado's Green River Formation, formed 50 million years old during a hothouse . They found that CO2 levels during this time may have been as low as 680 parts per million (ppm), nearly half the 1,125 ppm predicted by previous experiments. The new data suggests that past predictions significantly underestimate the impact of and that Earth's climate may be more sensitive to increased carbon dioxide than was once thought, said Lowenstein.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2015-11-earth-climate-sensitive-co2-previously.html#jCp
A team of Binghamton University researchers including geology PhD student Elliot A. Jagniecki and professors Tim Lowenstein, David Jenkins and Robert Demicco examined nahcolite crystals found in Colorado's Green River Formation, formed 50 million years old during a hothouse . They found that CO2 levels during this time may have been as low as 680 parts per million (ppm), nearly half the 1,125 ppm predicted by previous experiments. The new data suggests that past predictions significantly underestimate the impact of and that Earth's climate may be more sensitive to increased carbon dioxide than was once thought, said Lowenstein.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2015-11-earth-climate-sensitive-co2-previously.html#jCp
A team of Binghamton University researchers including geology PhD student Elliot A. Jagniecki and professors Tim Lowenstein, David Jenkins and Robert Demicco examined nahcolite crystals found in Colorado's Green River Formation, formed 50 million years old during a hothouse . They found that CO2 levels during this time may have been as low as 680 parts per million (ppm), nearly half the 1,125 ppm predicted by previous experiments. The new data suggests that past predictions significantly underestimate the impact of and that Earth's climate may be more sensitive to increased carbon dioxide than was once thought, said Lowenstein.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2015-11-earth-climate-sensitive-co2-previously.html#jCp
A team of Binghamton University researchers including geology PhD student Elliot A. Jagniecki and professors Tim Lowenstein, David Jenkins and Robert Demicco examined nahcolite crystals found in Colorado's Green River Formation, formed 50 million years old during a hothouse . They found that CO2 levels during this time may have been as low as 680 parts per million (ppm), nearly half the 1,125 ppm predicted by previous experiments. The new data suggests that past predictions significantly underestimate the impact of and that Earth's climate may be more sensitive to increased carbon dioxide than was once thought, said Lowenstein.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2015-11-earth-climate-sensitive-co2-previously.html#jCp 
In conclusion then, Eschenbach is well-practiced in spouting the pile of bullshit and lies that climate change deniers regularly spew. Understandable, because he is a denier himself.

Energy & Environment Dates 2012