February 04, 2015 | Graham

Only six impossible things?

I’m posting this lecture invite not because I think anyone who reads this blog is going to make the trip to London to hear it, but because it is a good and amusing summary of the quandary in which IPCC climate “science”, finds itself. A bit more attention to science rather than propaganda and things would look a lot better.

Believing in Six Impossible Things before Breakfast, and Climate Models

Professor Christopher Essex, House of Lords, 11 Feb 2015


A talk by Dr Christopher Essex – Chairman, Permanent Monitoring Panel on Climate, World Federation of Scientists, and Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Western Ontario, Canada 

Has the scientific problem of climate been solved in terms of basic physics and mathematics?

No, but you will  be forgiven if you thought otherwise. For decades, the most rigorous treatments of climate have been done through climate models.

The clever model pioneers understood many of their inherent limitations, but tried to persevere nonetheless.

Today, few academics are even aware of what the pioneers understood, let alone what has been learned since about the full depth of modelling  difficulties.

Meanwhile popular expressions of the scientific technicalities are largely superficial, defective, comically nonsensical, and virtually uncorrectable.

All of the best physics and all of the best computer models cannot put this Humpty Dumpty together, because we face some of the most fundamental problems of modern science in climate, but hardly know it.

If you think you want to have a go at those problems, there are at least a couple million dollars in prizes in it, not to mention a Fields Medal or two.

But even if you don’t have some spare afternoons to solve problems that have stymied the best minds in history, this talk will cure computer cachet even for laymen, putting climate models into their proper perspective.

Posted by Graham at 6:28 am | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Perhaps we could junk the computer models entirely, given rubbish in rubbish out!?

    And instead look at history for comparisons?

    And if that history, which includes a period around 90 million years ago, where nearly all life on planet earth was virtually annihilated, is worth examining for the probable causes/outcomes.

    We know for example, that this period was an era where there was considerable volcanic activity.
    This activity released large quantities of Co2. [We know this because that’s what volcanoes continue to do this to this day!]

    It’s postulated that this in turn caused a rise in average ambient temperature of around 2C; and that was enough to release trillions of tons of melting methane, which in turn caused the temperature to rise by a further 3C; or a total rise of 5C.

    A 5C increase enough it seems, to alter the climate enough to all but destroy all life on planet earth?

    Nobody need destroy any economy, by decarboning it; just the very opposite!

    When we can actually improve our economic performance in the changes we remain free to adopt. i.e., cheaper than coal thorium power, and for less than HALF what we are FORCED to pay now; just by using micro grids to reticulate this energy, to very adjacent industrial estates.

    And power could be provided 24/7 to the domestic sector, via homemade biogas, coupled to onsite ceramic fuel cells, for less than quarter of what we are forced to pay presently.

    And an algae oil industry done on a very broad scale, would surely save the Murray/Darling and all who depend on it.

    Various industry experts are on the public record as saying, even with a fuel excise imposed, algae sourced fuels, (diesel and jet fuel/power kero) could be retailed for around 44 cents a litre?

    And accessing these ready to use fuels, is as simple as sun drying some of the material then crushing it; with the ex-crush material being possibly suitable as fodder, or feed source material for an ethanol industry; needing no arable land or current food production.

    And if that is not enough fuel types, then we still have the choice of passing methane through a simple catalyst to produce liquid methanol.

    Currently, we can improve the octane rating (91) of unleaded petrol to that of formerly leaded fuel, (96) by adding just 4.7% methanol.

    And I see no reason why one could achieve a similar outcome, by blending ethanol and this catalytic derived methanol.

    Finally, most of the vehicles that ply our highways, byways and rail, could run on CNG, without suffering much performance loss!

    And I see no reason, why we couldn’t run and export CNG powered electric vehicles, utilizing the brains we were born with and ceramic fuel cells; and given the 80 energy coefficient, for around quarter of what we pay now for our transport options.

    Again all that prevents these adoptions or progress; is a few dozen recalcitrant persons in positions of power?
    (Who seem to believe, if foreign corporations won’t do it, nobody will)

    Who endlessly obfuscate by asking absurd questions like, if it’s so good why isn’t everyone doing it?

    Answer, because they themselves effectively prevent anyone from doing so?
    In their patent obsession with saving the coal industry, or gas export contracts?

    We would earn far more profits, if we used our gas to underpin high tech transportation, and thorium powered industry, which we have much more of than uranium.

    The tobacco industry was quite disingenuous and mendacious in tying to save the trough they feed out of, ditto the asbestos industry?

    But all those pale into insignificance when compared to the power and profits of the fossil fuel industry, which has around four trillion reason PA, I believe, to hold the line on the alternatives, which could kill their profits and power?

    All that prevents the adoption of vastly cheaper alternatives from being rolled out is, I believe, a few dozen recalcitrant politicians/decision makers?

    If there’s another credible reason, I for one would like to know it!

    It is said nobody learns the lessons of history, and that seems to ring true, given the way we seem to keep repeating the same old same old mistakes/ignoring the inconvenient evidence.

    Or trying to produce a different result by doing what you’ve always done.

    And while the computer modeling can be made to say what the programmers want?
    The graphs tell a consistent and irrefutable story.

    Worrying about computer modeling is like worrying about whose match started a wild fire, when what is needed is all hands to the pumps, preferably before our home is a charred ruin!

    I’d like to know, what the objections are to vastly cheaper energy, and the huge economic boost that would provide! Well?

    And indeed, finally at long last, complete self sufficiency in all our energy needs, regardless of what occurs elsewhere.

    And if you want to know where all the money is coming from to ring in these changes, well we may well have hydrocarbon resources to our immediate north the rival or even perhaps eclipse the entire M.E.

    And should access them in the knowledge that these alternatives, very light oil and gas, produce in common use, 75% lees carbon than that which we currently fully import, and would do so almost anywhere else we could export them to.

    And all that prevents that is, a few dozen committed ideologues? Who have anything else but the national interest in mind?

    And given the possible size of the resource, earn ourselves via a public corporation, up to a trillion a year, and in so doing, provide all the finance we could possibly need to allow us to adopt all the alluded to carbon free or neutral options?

    And for no better reason than the huge economic boost these changes would create!

    What prevents these pragmatic changes/economic improvements?

    Arguably, just a few dozen ideologues, masquerading as politicians genuinely concerned and working for the benefit of the people?

    As opposed to just turning a tin ear to their own populace; who surely have had a gutful all this patent obfuscation; designed to shore up the interests of the fossil fuel industry/shareholding pollies?

    Arguably, the only ones with skin in the game, if we adopt any of the course of action as proposed above?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — February 4, 2015 @ 11:16 am

  2. Alan,

    Agreed. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution corporations have attempted to transfer the costs of the externalities of production onto the public, heavy metal and atmospheric pollution are the most egregious examples. Tobacco companies are still fighting a rear guard action.
    Once most of the smart capital is transferred into renewables or low carbon-emitting industries, climate change denial will fade into history and will be left to a few eccentrics.

    Comment by RussellW — February 5, 2015 @ 3:24 pm

  3. Graham you wrote;

    “A bit more attention to science rather than propaganda and things would look a lot better.”

    Yet on the speaker’s website is a picture of him skating captioned with the words;

    “I skate on global warming!”


    And there is also this rather shall we say interesting quote from him;

    “There is no such thing as global temperature. And if there is no global temperature, how can there be global warming?”

    Perhaps there may be something of merit in his speech but I am not hopeful.

    Be that as it may I’m wondering if you could help me out with a question? I am struggling to find a working link to the so called “World Federation of Scientists”. supposedly it was worldfederationofscientists.org but that seems to be down. I wanted to check who else was on the “Permanent Monitoring Panel on Climate” which the Professor claims to be the chair of. There are reports he is the only member of said panel but one can’t take these things at face value without due diligence can one.

    Comment by Steeleredux — February 9, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

  4. Why don’t you contact him at the University of Ottawa where he is a full professor? If you look at his website you’ll find it is full of ironic references. His skating reference is probably to whoever is the local version of Tim Flannery who forecast they’d be running out of snow and ice some time because of global warming.

    And while you’re at it, get a copy of his award winning book “Taken by Storm”. You can read about it here http://www.takenbystorm.info/index.html

    If you want to argue from authority his is much better than yours, whoever you are.

    Comment by Graham — February 9, 2015 @ 4:37 pm

  5. Dear Graham,

    You wrote;

    “Why don’t you contact him at the University of Ottawa where he is a full professor?”

    Which would mean you had no luck tracking down the ‘World Federation of Scientists’ either so I suppose I will have to.

    You also wrote;

    “And while you’re at it, get a copy of his award winning book “Taken by Storm”.”

    I did have a look at the link you kindly provided and noted the main award the book has attracted was as the Winner of the 2002 Donner Prize and what an interesting organisation it is.

    “Right-wing causes find a rich and ready paymaster. Canada too ‘Liberal’ so Donner family is taking foundation down a more conservative path. Four years ago, a small but influential U.S. family decided that Canada had become simply too liberal. The Americans were descendants of the late William H. Donner, a wealthy steel magnate who left the United States 39 years ago in a row over income taxes and ended up starting the Donner Canadian Foundation.”


    Not to be deterred I went to the foundation’s website which can be found here;


    But to my surprise the 2002 winner was not ‘Taken by Storm’ but rather “GLOBALIZATION AND WELL-BEING
    by John F. Helliwell”. ‘Taken by Storm’ was instead a runner up.

    Perhaps I had misread the Professor’s website. This was the exact wording he used;


    But I had not read the fine print. It states;

    “$10,000 Prize-winner (1 of 3 prize winners out of 75 nominees) for the 2002 Donner Book Prize. This award is given annually for the best book on Canadian public policy.”

    I kind of imagine the book itself might sport a lot of this sort of ‘nuance’.

    Finally you wrote;

    “If you want to argue from authority his is much better than yours, whoever you are.”

    I am just a mug punter trying to separate the shysters from the rest. Just like you I am making value judgments about the authority of the many messages being sprayed around about AGW for our consumption. You have posted this character as an authority worthy of investing time and effort. My conclusion thus far is that he is problematic at best, a hollow try-hard at worse. But I will read the speech when it comes out.

    Meanwhile if he enlightens me about the ‘World Federation of Scientists’ I will let you know.

    Comment by Steeleredux — February 10, 2015 @ 12:55 am

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