I came across a response, by Matt Ridley, to Tim Palmer’s talk. I’ve posted Matt Ridley’s response below. One interesting aspect of his response is that it is written as if he is someone with the expertise to actually debate the science. Of course, it’s a free world, so anyone can choose to do so, and Matt Ridley does have a science PhD (DPhil actually), but his research work was in biology (which he himself points out) and he hasn’t – as far as I’m aware – been actively involved in research for over 30 years. So, his science background is not really relevant to climate, his career has mainly been in journalism, banking and politics, and yet his response does not make any of this clear. It’s not necessarily required, but I do think most would acknowledge this type of thing.
Anyway, his response is below and I’ll make some specific comments below it.
He seems to dismiss paleo estimates in a manner that does not make much sense. I don’t think the higher end of climate sensitivity, or the dependence on temperature, somehow implies runaway. Mostly, the paleo estimates are consistent with the climate sensitivity range presented by the IPCC.
- This point is almost saying that he agrees with Tim Palmer followed by a comment that suggests he missed the point. The outcome is, of course, not certain, but depends on a number of factors, such as climate sensitivity (which we don’t know, but we can at least produce a likely range) and how much we will emit (which we also don’t know, but can at least influence). In a sense, the more we dismiss the possibility of it being dangerous, the more we are likely to emit, and the greater the possibility of it then being dangerous.
- Maybe the reason Tim Palmer presented only one dataset is because all the surface datasets are very similar? Maybe the reason he chose to present GISSTemp is because it suffers from less coverage bias than HadCRUT4? Maybe the reason he didn’t show the satellite datasets is because he was talking about surface temperatures, which they don’t measure? Maybe the pause isn’t quite as big a deal as Matt Ridley would appear to think that it is?
- Matt Ridley is, of course, free to be unconvinced; there isn’t some requirement that he be convinced. Of course models are tuned in some respects, but this doesn’t suddenly mean that climate sensitivity is not emergent. In fact, Tim Palmer explains this all quite clearly in his talk. Also, basing his concern about models in general on possible problems with economic models, suggests he doesn’t understand the concept of structural constancy.
- I think he’s wrong about biology being left out of the story. As far as I’m aware, biology is considered when studying the carbon cycle.
- What mismatch between models and observations?
- As far as I’m aware, his PDF did take Nic Lewis’s work into account; the lower bound was 1.5K which – I think – was reduced from 2K mostly because of recent energy balance estimates which we should treat with some caution (to be fair, we should treat all estimates with some caution). Also, discussing these energy balance models and why we should be cautious about accepting their results was a pretty key part of Tim Palmer’s talk, so it’s odd that Matt Ridley would ask this question.
- I’m guessing Matt Ridley doesn’t get the irony of this comment?
It’s clear that Matt Ridley does not like Bob Ward.