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Monday, May 27, 2013

Tol's gaffe

Richard Tol has claimed that five out of the ten abstracts rated by Cook et al, 2013 were incorrectly rated.  Let's run through the list of those abstracts for him.



He has stated that he has published four papers explicitly endorsing AGW, indicating that they are among three by he and de Vos, and one by him and Vellinga.

Presumably he is simply mistaken about one of the de Vos papers, for Tol, 1994 (Greenhouse Statistics - Time-series Analysis II) which supplements Tol and de Vos 1993, is however, by Tol alone. Tol 1994, which states in the abstract that "The main conclusion of part I, the hypothesis that the anthropogenically enhanced greenhouse effect is not responsible for the observed global warming during the last century is rejected with a 99% confidence, is reconfirmed for the updated sample period 1870–1991", clearly affirms anthropogenic factors as the cause of recent temperature rises. Hence we have that the following are rated as affirming AGW by Tol (Cook et al rating in brackets):

  •  Tol (1994).  Greenhouse Statistics - Time-series Analysis II (1);
  •  Tol and de Vos (1998).  A Bayesian Statistical Analysis Of The Enhanced Greenhouse (1);
  •  Tol and Vellinga (1998).  Climate Change, The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect And The Influence Of The Sun: A Statistical Analysis (2)
 Tol thinks the last should be rated 1 (Explicitly endorses and quantifies AGW as 50+%) by Tol. I think that rating by Tol is wrong, and shows he has misunderstood the categories (a point made by Willard).  Specifically, it does not quantify the attribution, only statistical significance of the attribution.

That means by a process of elimination, Tol thinks that the following papers all have neutral abstracts (Cook et al rating in brackets):

 In reverse order, this means that:

  1. Tol thinks he can state that "Global climate change will increase outdoor and indoor heat loads..." without endorsing implicitly that the climate will warm in the 21st century; and endorse the IPCC scenario A2 as a plausible projection without endorsing anthropogenic factors as the major driver of that and current warming. 
  2. Tol thinks he can endorse an increased in the warming caused by N2O and CH4 (increased Global Warming Potential) relative to Kyoto expectations , with no loss in CO2 warming potential (by definition of GWP) without implicitly endorsing anthropogenic greenhouse gases as the major cause of recent warming. 
  3. Tol thinks he can endorse the idea that limiting greenhouse gases will limit warming without endorsing anthropogenic greenhouse gases as the main driver of recent warming. 
  4.  4) That he can indicate that Methane and CO2 between them are the main controllers of the "optimal rate of climate change" without endorsing the claim that anthropogenic factors are the main cause of recent warming. 
 He may have a point about (3). He is clearly incorrect about the others. The best that can be said for Tol is that, perhaps, he was mislead by Scafetta's absurdly false claim that "Cook et al. (2013) is based on a strawman argument because it does not correctly define the IPCC AGW theory, which is NOT that human emissions have contributed 50%+ of the global warming since 1900 but that almost 90-100% of the observed global warming was induced by human emission." False, of course, because the IPCC's claim is that "Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years." Read carefully, that is consistent with <50% anthropogenic warming over the last 50 years once aerosols are taken into account.  Inflating that up to 90-100% since 1900 is bizarre, and is difficult to reconcile with the claim that Scafetta is an honest man.

Tol, however, may have fell for that line.  Certainly he has implicitly endorsed it.  Or some other equally absurd misrepresentation of Cook et al.  Certainly when he read the paper he did not understand it.

I wonder what other clear facts his new friendships require him to misunderstand?

1 comment:

  1. New friendships? Tol has been on the GWPF Academic Advisory Council at least since Oct 2011, but probably from 2010. Wayback didn't catch pages 2/3 of the list in 2010, just page 1, so Tol may have been there in 2010, but certainly was there by October 2011.

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