March 14, 2009 | Ronda Jambe

A Card Game You Don’t Want to Play

Have you seen Casino Royale? Not being a James Bond fan, I only saw it last night, partly drawn by Daniel Craig’s resemblance to Vladimir Putin (but Craig is so much better looking.) It was certainly entertaining, especially the amazingly choreographed violence.
A crucial scene revolves around a poker game for extremely high stakes. Unacceptable risk is not something many of us have the stomach for. My lack of interest in gambling is so total that the rules of poker are vague to me. I am more concerned with real world gambling, as we are with our climate.
The other night I gave a climate change presentation in Canberra, and focussed on mitigation, adaptation and restoration. I also challenged the mantra of obsessive growth and noted the wispy nature of the ACT gov’s document on ‘Weathering the Change’, which contains almost nothing solid.
This talk was publicised on the ACT interactive website RiotACT. What stunned me was the snarky comments made about the notice, made without reference to the latest news on climate change.
The media is full of reports on the IPCC’s underestimation of climate disaster, and the ever increasing liklihood that we are not going to be able to deal with what has already been unleashed. The RiotACT comments skipped the facts.
The readers of Online Opinion are so much more polite, mature, informed and sophisticated. But perhaps similar beliefs underlie the lack of comments to my postings. I am grateful for not having to deal with testosterone fueled arrogance, which seemed apparent on the RiotACT.
But the gamble is still on, this is a card game you are in, regardless of what you bring to the table. And if you lose, we all lose, and there is no winner.
You may be interested in George Monbiot’s Royal Flush of the world’s top 10 climate change deniers. Have a look at who some of their funders are. And think hard before you bet your future on this pack of jokers:

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 6:07 am | Comments (17) |
Filed under: Environment


  1. Ronda, you’re going to have to give me some more information. I keep a pretty good eye on climate change issues and I’ve seen nothing to suggest that it is accelerating. In fact, temperature appears to have plateaued.
    And the most recent science that I have seen suggests that the positive forcings from water vapor in the IPCC models have been significantly over-stated.

    Comment by Graham Young — March 16, 2009 @ 9:28 am

  2. Graham, I am not sure what you meant by “I’ve seen nothing to suggest that it is accelerating.”
    What do you mean by “it”?
    Maybe Ronda is alluding to the fact that recent research (unable to be included in the AR4) that has been reviewed and published (since AR4) shows that the original IPCC estimates have been understated. This can be garnered from the reports (1600 +) and papers presented at the science meeting in Copenhagen last week.
    Or the fact that the overwhelming number of mainstream scientists are now more confident in the projections made in the AR4.
    I would like more information on “the most recent science that (you) have seen suggest(ing) that the positive forcings from water vapor in the IPCC models have been significantly over-stated.”
    Personally, I believe that coupled ocean/atmospheric systems play a more profound role in the Earth’s climate system but I am not about to dismiss the role of CO2 as a major driver. This is not to say CO2 is the only driver, as both alarmists and outright ‘deniers’ are wont to claim or distort.
    Fwiw, I think it sad that Roy Spencer and Dick Lindzen preferred the Heartland Institute’s gathering in New York to Copenhagen. I can’t help feel they are backing themselves into a corner that will be seen as increasingly difficult to extricate themselves from. We need genuine counter-argument in the mainstream – not pot-shots or dummy-spits from the sidelines.

    Comment by Q&A — March 16, 2009 @ 10:37 am

  3. Graham, here is a bit more info about current science on climate change, with quotes from NASA, happy to discuss:

    Comment by ronda jambe — March 16, 2009 @ 11:18 am

  4. I’ve learned recently of many ex-NASA scientists who have outed themselves as sceptics, and said that NASA had to toe the IPCC line to get funding for satellites. James Hansen seems to be one of only a few “true believers” in NASA. Here’s a link to one of the sceptics with references to counter-IPCC evidence from reputable scientists:

    Comment by Faustino — March 17, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  5. Well, Faustino, Spencer believes in intelligent design, as well as non-human sources for global warming.
    But he isn’t offering an integrated view (as I attempt to do in these blogs) about the overall impact of exponential increases in human population on the planet’s balance.
    Certainly, quite extreme and rapid climate change, and sea level change, has happened on Earth without any human activity. The difference now is we are living in all the vulnerable places.
    I read today that humanity quadrupled during the 20th century, but water use increased by a factor of 9. Those kind of stats scream out ‘unsustainable’ and ‘crisis’ coming.

    Comment by ronda jambe — March 17, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  6. Faustino
    Where have you “learned” this? What is your source? Who are the many ex-NASA scientists? This is important because it constitutes corruption at best, a conspiracy at worst.
    Please, back up your claims.
    As to Roy … have you ever wondered or questioned why he doesn’t allow comments to his blog site?
    One could be forgiven for thinking he is sermonising from the pulpit.
    Seriously, we all hope, wish and pray AGW is not real but until such time it is definitively debunked, humanity must tread with caution, don’t you think?
    Ronda, why should Graham reply?

    Comment by Q&A — March 17, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

  7. below is one of many, many news reports that have convinced me that global warming is serious, and speeding up. These report come from scientists who may well be dependent on climate related funding, but that does not automatically bring their findings into disrepute. I would think direct falsification of data from so many sources would be beyond the reach of the poorly funded environmentalist lobby, unlike the deep pockets of the fossil fuel industry:
    Scientists have long established that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming spots on Earth. Now, new research using detailed satellite data indicates that the changing climate is affecting not just the penguins at the apex of the food chain, but simultaneously the microscopic life that is the base of the
    — full story >

    Comment by ronda jambe — March 18, 2009 @ 6:41 am

  8. info:
    The combined global land and ocean surface average temperature for February 2009 was the ninth warmest since records began in 1880, according to an analysis by NOAA.
    — full story >

    Comment by ronda jambe — March 18, 2009 @ 6:44 am

  9. and one more, these guys can’t all be mugs:
    Global warming is expected to cause the sea level along the northeastern US coast to rise almost twice as fast as global sea levels during this century, putting New York City at greater risk for damage from hurricanes and winter storm surge, according to a new study.
    — full story >

    Comment by ronda jambe — March 18, 2009 @ 6:46 am

  10. Ronda, none of the links you give support the contention that climate change has accelerated. According to one February was the coldest for almost 10 years, which is not an acceleration, and is also not what the IPCC models predict.
    The one on sea level increase is a prediction based on models, so not factual at all.
    The Antarctic peninsula issues are to do with regional climate and have no demonstrated connection to global warming.
    So the only evidence you have given me supports a slow-down in global warming rather than an acceleration.

    Comment by Graham Young — March 19, 2009 @ 8:25 am

  11. Ronda,
    Global warming has not “accelerated”.
    Nevertheless, it is wrong to assume global warming has stopped … as anyone expert in climate time series analysis will attest.
    It never ceases to amaze me why some people think global warming means an increase in temperatures every year or it has stopped because some regions experience a very cold winter.
    The Earth’s climate system is complex (that is not to say we know nothing) and does of course include natural variability.
    However, no one (not even Roy Spencer) has been able to explain the gradual increase in global warming since the 1800’s without including the enhanced greenhouse effect.
    Graham says “the Antarctic peninsula issues are to do with regional climate and have no demonstrated connection to global warming.”
    I’m not sure what he is trying to say here, particularly when polar amplification is exacerbated and is demonstrably connected to global warming by air and ocean currents.
    Of course there are regions (all over the world) that are experiencing the impacts of a warmer and wetter world, some more so than others …the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (and S.E. Australia) just one case in point.
    It’s worth repeating … recent research (unable to be included in the AR4) that has been reviewed and published (since AR4) shows that the original IPCC estimates have been understated. This can be garnered from the reports and papers (1600 +) presented at the science meeting in Copenhagen last week. Not all based on models, I would add.

    Comment by Q&A — March 19, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  12. A cool February indicates weather variation, not climate.
    This week’s Economist, hardly a radical source, also notes the findings from Copenhagen that sea levels are rising twice as fast as predicted just 2 years ago.
    These are presumably based on observations, not models.
    And who is to say climate can vary so much regionally?
    Now this doesn’t mean that climate change is accelerating, but perhaps it means that our understanding of it has erred on the side of being too conservative.
    Who exactly says climate change is slowing?

    Comment by ronda jambe — March 19, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

  13. Ronda, the sea level rise issue is a difficult one to deal with because it depends on so many factors and varies from area to area. Land sinking can make sea appear to rise, for example, and there are issues with prevailing winds and gravitational fields. As far as I know no-one has satisfactorily dealt with this on a global basis, but the Jason 2 satellite might remedy this situation by measuring sea levels from space.
    However, as it has only just been launched it would be too early to infer any trends.
    Q&A your comment about the poles is nonsensical. The South Pole hasn’t been warming at all, and if a peninsular attached to it is warming it would be logical to assume a change in a local weather pattern rather than anything global.
    If you want a reference to an emininent scientist who says CO2 is not a significant factor in warming and that rather than change being in advance of IPCC forecasts it is behind, then you could have a look at
    My position is that CO2 will increase global temperatures, but that this increase will not be catastrophic and that the likely temperature increase can be worked out on the basis of a very simple mathematical model. There are also other determinants of global temperature that overwhelm CO2. Instead of worrying about emitting too much CO2 we ought to be more worried about how we are going to power our civilisation when we run out of fossil fuels.
    BTW Ronda, you introduced February. I’d agree it’s not a good measure of anything, but I was dealing with your argument on its own terms.

    Comment by Graham Young — March 21, 2009 @ 5:11 am

  14. Ronda
    I really object to the term “climate change denier”. As others have observed (including, I think, GY) it subliminally conjures up a comparison with “holocaust deniers” and the like. It is unfair to people with genuinely held views and probably why, in some fora, you provoke less than genteel conversation.
    My view is that I don’t have the expertise to tell whether its a risk or not, but I do know that enough eminent people say that it is a risk that we should take it seriously. One thing we have to do in taking it seriously is obtain a consensus for action. You don’t do that by deliberately demonising those who legitimately question the received wisdom about climate change.

    Comment by Nick Ferrett — March 21, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  15. Fair call, Nick. I’m not sure I have referred to anyone directly as a ‘denier’, although perhaps I have and I have certainly referred to sites that do.
    The comments on RiotACT were made without any engagement from me, that came afterwards.
    The point is, there are some people (not GY, and clearly not yourself) who are rather rabid about the whole issue and unreceptive to dialogue.
    My talks have tended to attract the conveted, and thus I have decided they are no longer worth doing.
    What kinds of information would persuade the neutral that the eath has exceed its limits? I personally feel population is the key problem, (not that that has easy solutions) because if poopulation were to ease all the other environmental, and probably social problems would also ease.
    A book by John Gray “Straw Dogs’ a friend loaned me offers such a scathing critique of humanism that I think I should just retreat into my garden for the duration. More about that another time.
    Civilised discussion is balm to my soul…thank you.

    Comment by ronda jambe — March 22, 2009 @ 8:01 am

  16. Graham
    You say “your (my) comment about the poles is nonsensical.”
    I did not comment on, or even mention, the “poles”.
    I did mention “polar amplification”, this is entirely different.
    That link to Dr Syun Akasofu does not work. However, I do know him and am familiar with his work. While he “retired” last year, I am sure he has still much to contribute to Arctic research.
    I have always been of the opinion that we (humanity) must live in a more sustainable way.
    There are some people that do in fact “deny” global warming is happening at all (Nick, this has nothing to do with the Holocaust).
    Unfortunately, these people make a lot of noise that detracts from adapting to a warmer and wetter world, or promulgate delay in implementing strategies to reduce the impact of excessive GHG emissions.

    Comment by Q&A — March 23, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  17. Hello Ronda
    You may find astrophysicist, Nigel Weiss’ scientific theories on solar activity, interesting.
    He, like you and I, no doubt would agree that there are no jobs on a dead planet.
    Anyone whose eyes are not glued on, can see that the anthropogenic gangrene has set in and the amputations are inevitable – warming or no warming!

    Comment by Environmental Impact Statement — March 24, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

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