Half A Kyoto

The London Times provides an exquisite example of ignorance of the scientific process.

This piece is headed with a picture of an allegedly melting glacier, but otherwise starts well:

Climatologists at Nasa’s Goddard Institute of Space Science in New York have been forced to revise their estimations after research from Stephen MacIntyre, who published his findings on his Climate Audit site.

As a result of his calculations, which he e-mailed to Nasa, scientists at the agency now accept that 1934, not 1998, was the warmest year in the United States since records began.

They also accept that five of the ten warmest US years on record occurred before 1939, and that only one was in the 21st Century.

Then it lurches left:

The revelations are likely to be pounced on by the fringe group of researchers and pundits who deny that global warming exists.

The essence of science is skepticism – if that wasn’t the case, we’d still be using the Phlogiston Theory. Stephen MacIntyre and the “fringe” are just following the scientific method.

Anyway, The Times reassures itself that we’re still doomed:

However the Goddard Institute claimed that the differences in the recalculated temperature – at one tenth of a degree in the US and one thousandth of of a degree all over the world – were so insignificant as to have no impact on the overall global warming trend.

But that makes a bunch of questionable assumptions. We know that temperature measurement in the rich and stable US is less than perfect, especially when covering a 100 year timespan that saw rural areas turned into roads and towns.

But most of the world hasn’t had anything like that luxury over the past 100 years, in which only the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand share the US advantage of not having invaded.

Having wars fought on your territory, losing lots of your population, and being occupied have to play havoc with the accuracy of temperature measurement.

That applies to sea measurements too, since the oceans have been battlefields twice.

So in assuming the rest of the world somehow compensates for these US errors rests on an assumption that all data is equal. It is not.

And if the correction really is 0.1 degree, that’s half a Kyoto – here’s Bjorn Lomborg:

The effect of Kyoto…on the climate will be miniscule…

One model by a lead author of the 1996 (UN) IPCC report shows us how an expected temperature in crease of 2.1 degrees C will be diminished by the protocol to an increase of 1.9 degrees C.

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