Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lambert vs Monckton

OK, I have been following the debate between Dr. Lambert and Lord Monckton. A couple of notes, the debate was shown, but the slides that the presenters used were not. That turned out to be a more serious disadvantage than I thought. Also, I am trying to get this up as soon as possible, so I accept that there may be errors in how I noted things. If anyone can correct something I said, please let me know.

They have just finished their opening statements. First up was Dr. Lord Monckton and he made 4 points as far as I can tell. The first one was that the production of biofuels caused the deaths of millions of people. I would have to see some pretty convincing info before I would agree with this, but at any rate, it has nothing to do with the science. His second was about CO2 being necessary for food and increasing CO2 causes a 40% increase in crops. This is true in the lab, but in the wild there is much more ambiguous data. For example crops like corn and sugar cane are known as C4 crops which have a different carbon metabolism system and they do not benefit as much from CO2 increase. Anyway, again it has nothing to do with the science. His third point was about mitigation and talked about how much carbon we would need to reduce to get a certain amount of temperature reduction. I am not sure but his numbers seem about right, but again nothing to do with the science.

His last point did deal with the science. He said the main question was how much warming would you get if you increase CO2. He used two examples, first dolomitic rock from 750 million years formed at the equator near a glacier. The dolomitic rock indicated a high CO2 concentration but the glacier indicates a cool climate. His second example was from a paper by Pinker in 2005.

I was going to dissect these, but in fact Tim did it in the debate. First, conditions were very different 750 million years ago, including the solar output. Second, we do not really have a good idea of the extent of glaciers and dust conditions to allow us to see what really was going on.

However Tim's refutation of Pinker was classic. He played a clip from Pinker herself saying that Monckton was wrong in how he interpreted her paper.

I lost my feed for the next bit, but they are now taking questions and the first question was a doozie. I found it hard to hear but it seems he thought that CO2 was causing clouds. The second was about CO2 on mars. Anyway, I am going to stop blogging about it now. More tomorrow if I can find a recording somewhere.

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