Mark Carney reckons most fossil fuels “un-burnable”?

Mark J. Carney - mine's about this big and its fully sustainable Or so energylivenews says (thanks to J). Their text is:

Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney appears to agree most fossil fuels can’t be used if the world is to avoid climate change. At a World Bank event on Friday, he is quoted as saying: “The vast majority of reserves are unburnable.” This is a reference to the idea of a so-called carbon bubble – when investors in oil, gas or coal suppliers lose out on money because the reserves can’t be used.

I’ve bolded his words, the rest is editorial interpolation. I find this particularly irritating. If I’m reading about what Carney thinks, I want to read his words, not what someone else thinks about his words. I’m prepared to read analysis of his words, but it has to be primarily based upon what he said. Searching, I can find a bit more in the Graun:

The governor of the Bank of England has reiterated his warning that fossil fuel companies cannot burn all of their reserves if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change, and called for investors to consider the long-term impacts of their decisions. According to reports, Carney told a World Bank seminar on integrated reporting on Friday that the “vast majority of reserves are unburnable” if global temperature rises are to be limited to below 2C. Carney is the latest high profile figure to lend his weight to the “carbon bubble” theory, which warns that fossil fuel assets, such as coal, oil and gas, could be significantly devalued if a global deal to tackle climate change is reached.

Here again we’ve got the same very brief quote surrounded by acres of unreliable interpolation. Did Carney actually warn about “catastrophic climate change”? In those words? We don’t know. Perhaps, as the text from the Graun above suggests, he only qualified his words with “if global temperature rises are to be limited to below 2C”, which is a very different matter. Indeed, what did he mean by “reserves” or “fossil fuel companies”? If he’s merely saying that we can’t burn all the coal without going over 2 oC then meh: that’s just the bleedin’ obvious, though the fact that he choose to say the bleedin’ obvious might be interesting. Nor is the meaning of “vast majority” obvious. If by “vast majority” he means, say, 90% then I think I’d find that surprising and non-obvious. But I’m not really up with burnable-resources proportions, please feel free to inform me. The Graun links to but that, too, has the same tantalisingly brief quote about my topic. There’s a bit more quote:

The value of integrated reporting, he argued, was to help investors think about “not just things that can be managed in the short term” but also “costs companies are likely to be exposed to as policy responds to challenges” like climate change. He referred to a “tragedy of horizons” – the market failure by which actors including some investors, companies and governments are not looking far enough ahead to coming problems like the environment, even though these are known to them.

and here’s he’s on a reasonable topic for an econ-bod, possible market failures by not looking ahead far enough. Whether he’s right about that I don’t know; what I actually wanted to know was what he’d said about GW, since that was the headline.

The forum referred to is, I believe, How Integrated Reporting Facilitates Transparency and Financial Stability; October 10, 2014; Washington DC. But they don’t seem to have published any text. Anyone know where to find what he actually said?

I’m slightly puzzled this didn’t cross my radar earlier.


* Bank [of England] prods insurers about climate plans?
* Investors warn of ‘carbon bubble’ as Shell predicts climate regulation will hit profits?

BEST is fun

When I said BEST is boring I was primarily thinking of the science. I’m not too surprised to find that many other people aren’t. For such folk, there is much fun to be had, so I suppose I’ll join in too.

I was going to take the piss out of Watts (h/t KK) for Nature pans BEST and Muller PR antics, prints letter from Dr. Singer, which he wrote in response to a Nature editorial that said

Global warming is really happening — really. There was no conspiracy or cover-up. Peer review did not fail and the scientists who have spent decades working out the best way to handle and process data turned out to know how to handle and process data after all.

but Watts is dull, so lets take the piss out of Curry instead.

The next bit is really wacky, and apparently evolving as we speak. So its a good idea to start off with some science – Tamino has an analysis of the analysis of the last 10 years of the BEST data. Since that data is essentially the same as everyone else’s (as I thought we had now agreed we all knew from the beginning 🙂 so inevitably it shows the same upward trend (once you remove the obvious broken data; and really, it is obvious, and Tamino even finds the error stats to show it).

Proceeding, again h/t to KK for his A Climate Soap Opera. Which is what it is, so don’t read on if you want edification. The Mail on Sunday, which is full of lies, and David Rose, who is full of lies [see end – W], run a story claiming the familiar GW-has-stopped meme can be seen in the BEST data – and they quote the GWPF, who are also full of lies. The GW-has-stopped meme has been around for a while, has been debunked many a time, and the Tamino link above debunks it once again. All very dull, but then Rose gets Curry to say some dumb things, or possibly he just says “wouldn’t you say X”, and Curry says “yes” (apparently this is the way journos get people to give them the quotes they want). We could do Kremlinology over who really said what, but happily Curry says on her blog “In David Rose’s article, the direct quotes attributed to me are correct”. Which is nice, so we know that ‘There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ she said. ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’ is direct from her. As is As for the graph disseminated to the media, she said: ‘This is “hide the decline” stuff. Our data show the pause, just as the other sets of data do. Muller is hiding the decline.. And as you’ve all read Taminos article, above, we know that Curry is talking drivel.

Why is Curry doing this? Because the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about. And Curry, despite being a BEST team member, was invisible. She is direct about this: “I was contacted by a few journos last week, I made my points, but they were interested in the implications for trend analysis, UHI effect, station quality. I made the point that these were complicated issues, and that I regarded the BEST papers (which were as yet unpublished) to be the first of many analyses on these topics using the new data set. This wasn’t what the journos found interesting, and I don’t think any of my quotes on this made it into print.” And I think she got bored and lonely on the sidelines, and decided she had to say something outrageous in order to get her piece of the action.

[Update: Curry has now resorted to redefining the language in a doomed attempt to rewrite her past nonsense into a favourable light. Tamino in understandably unimpressed]

[2013 update: the link I put in to “” no longer works (I hate it that ScienceBlogs broke a pile of old links, they should know better). The internet archive tells me that the state when I wrote it was: so you can see what I intended.]


* Nick Stokes noticed that the “bad” month only has Antarctic stations in it.
* Quark Soup

Holy editor resignation, Batman!

This couldn’t be more damming:


the paper by Spencer and Braswell [1] that was recently published in Remote Sensing… should therefore not have been published… I agree with the critics of the paper. Therefore, I would like to take the responsibility for this editorial decision and, as a result, step down as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remote Sensing… I would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate sceptics have much exaggerated the paper’s conclusions in public statements

Spencer and the Mystery Journal refers, as does the eerily-similar von Storch Climate Research affair.

h/t: JM and FS.

Updated to add: the more detailed reasons are interesting:

If a paper presents interesting scientific arguments, even if controversial, it should be published and responded to in the open literature. This was my initial response after having become aware of this particular case. So why, after a more careful study of the pro and contra arguments, have I changed my initial view? The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted in open discussions and to some extend also in the literature (cf. [7]), a fact which was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers. In other words, the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a minority view (which was later unfortunately much exaggerated by the public media) but that it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal.

What I read that to mean is that Yes, novel and interesting challenges to the established view should be published – perhaps even get given a slightly easier ride, if they are novel. But No: just saying the same old thing again isn’t any good.

Another update: Woy Wesponds: it appears the IPCC gatekeepers have once again put pressure on a journal for daring to publish anything that might hurt the IPCC’s politically immovable position that climate change is almost entirely human-caused. I can see no other explanation for an editor resigning in such a situation. Quite where Woy gets the evidence for IPCC involvement is a mystery; presumably, it is inconceiveable that there could possibly be anything wrong with any of his papers. Spencer’s “Update 2” is funny as well; his “immediately corrected” is a joke; his temperature series was wrong for years on end, before RSS put him straight.

Update, again: this is just too funny: Woy, in the comments section:

Well, well…is that you, Kevin Trenberth, hiding behind a screen name? [Obscurity – WMC] First of all, our results were GLOBAL, so transport between regions are irrelevant to the issue at hand. Secondly, the lag associated with the heat carrying capacity was central to the point we were making!!! If you even bothered to read our paper, you would understand that! OMG! You are wasting time and space here with your straw men and red herrings! CONGRATULATIONS, OBSCURITY, YOU ARE THE FIRST TO BE BANNED FROM THIS SITE. THE CHARGE IS EITHER (1) CHRONIC IGNORANCE, OR (2) MALICIOUS OBFUSCATION. YOUR CHOICE.

Another update: Spencer will be delighted: the creationists are on his side.


* Grauniad
* Beeb Journal editor resigns over ‘problematic’ climate paper
* Remote Sens. 2011, 3(9), 2002-2004; doi:10.3390/rs3092002 Editorial: Taking Responsibility on Publishing the Controversial Paper “On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance” by Spencer and Braswell, Remote Sens. 2011, 3(8), 1603-1613. Wolfgang Wagner; Published: 2 September 2011
* MediaMatters: Journal Editor Resigns After Publishing Flawed Climate Study Touted By Forbes, Fox
* Retraction Watch
* Deltoid
* Bart
* Peter Gleick in Forbes
* QS
* Fluffy

* SMBC (its even vaguely relevant: h/t: BA)
* BB
* arstechnica
* Nurture – but beware porkies in the comments
* Science
* Kevin Trenberth, John Abraham, and Peter Gleick say Spencer is cr*p
* RP Sr foams at the mouth

Keep your eye on the ball

[This post got extensively re-written (you can tell that, cos it has a title that doesn’t fit its URL 🙂 after I realised that I, too, had been fooled by the septic FUD. Oh dear. I’ve stopped now: you can read on without fear that the words will change under you.]

The septics are trying to pretend that there is a spat between the Swedes (SMHI) and CRU, but this is just smoke-n-mirrors. Lets quote the final letter first:

With reference to the current debate regarding, amongst other things, access to climate data we have found that our letter to you dated 21 December 2009 unfortunately have rendered bad publicity both to SMHI and to the climate research community. We understand now that our response to your request forwarded by UK MetOffice 30 November 2009 may have been misinterpreted, maybe due to the fact that the formulations may have been a bit harsh. Our response was based on your information that it was likely that the version held by you would most likely differ from our current holdings. It has never been our intention to withhold any data but we feel that it is paramount that data that has undergone, for instance, homogenisation by anyone other than SMHI is not presented as SMHI data. We see no problem with publication of the data set together with a reference stating that the data included in the dataset is based on observations made by SMHI but it has undergone processing made by your research unit. We would also prefer a link to SMHI or to our web site where the original data can be obtained.

That is from SMHI and is dated 4th March. So: Jones asks SMHI if he can release their data (via the UKMO, 30th Nov 2009; apologies for dodgy source). They say no (21st Dec 2009). He tells people that SMHI has said no. This looks bad, so SMHI changes their mind, as long as the data gets a disclaimer as to its source and processing. All is well, perhaps.

[Update: apparently some Swedish folk are watching GA, but they are doing it in Swedish :-). This one I lke, though.

There is More from Max Andersson. He makes an interesting point – that if you actually *read* the transcript, most of the quotes attributed to Jones come from Acton:

Professor Acton: Unfortunately, several of these countries impose conditions and say you are not allowed to pass it on, so there has just been an attempt to get these answers. Seven countries have said “No, you cannot”, half the countries have not yet answered, Canada and Poland are amongst those who have said, “No you cannot publish it” and also Sweden. Russia is very hesitant. We are under a commercial promise, as it were, not to; we are longing to publish it because what science needs is the most openness.

Some license agreements here.

Also ClimateWTF.

Just to make it clear: despite what misc septic blogs are saying it is *not* true that Dr. Jones asserted that the weather services of several countries, including Sweden, Canada and Poland, had refused to allow their data to be released – see the transcript. I think Max A is the first to notice this. The lesson, again, is not to actually believe anything the skeptics say without verifying it first.

Yet more update (thanks C): OK, so while the above certainly is true, and the septics clearly have mistaken Acton’s words for Jones’s, Jones does touch on the same subject: he says (Q113) Professor Jones: It is not that sensitive. Canada, for example, says they would rather we sent requests for Canadian data to their website; they do not want us to put their data on our website. and (Q146) Professor Jones: Not in that way. We did, with the help of the Met Office, approach all the countries of the world and asked them whether we could release their data. We have had 59 replies of which 52 have been positive, so that has led to the release of 80% of the data, but we have had these seven negative responses which we talked about earlier, including Canada. That all seems entirely reasonable to me; it all rather fits with the NMS’s usual paranoia.

Continue reading “Keep your eye on the ball”


I am a minor coauthor on a paper to appear in Science. Sadly thats all I can tell you, since the embargo on this paper has been set for 2:00 pm U.S. Eastern Time on Thursday, 30 March 2006. Well, until next week 🙂

OTOH, if you’re a reporter (hello John!) Reporters should contact AAAS at 202-326-6440 or to receive an official version of the paper, bearing the imprimatur of the Science embargo policy. (Most reporters are registered with us and therefore can access the official version of the paper directly from EurekAlert!’s password-protected section,