Lisbon Conference Update: The Agenda

Posted: January 16, 2011 by tallbloke in climate, Philosophy

As regulars know, I’ve been invited to attend a conference sponsored by the Joint Research Council of the European Union in Lisbon at month end. I’ve now received the agenda which details some of the aspects of the climate debate which will be under discussion. I can’t be completely specific at this point, because there is flexibility in the format of discussion and topic list and we have been invited to put forward ideas.

I’d like to help represent as many views as possible from the blogosheric climate community, so please put forward your views so I can raise issues at the conference.

In my response to the document which came with the invite, I inserted a bullet point list of desirable actions as I see it. I’d appreciate your comment and criticism of those, as well as additional ideas I’ve missed. Here are the Bullet points:

  • The inputs, methodological steps and outputs of climate science have to be publicly re-appraised by all interested parties.
  • The level of uncertainty and consequent assessments of risk and urgency versus cost and benefit, have to be reappraised by experts and policy makers.
  • The issue of financial interest at the personal, institutional and political level has to be addressed by funding agencies and political representatives.
  • The possibilities for a deliberate realignment of research effort in the testing of multiple hypotheses concerning the causes and consequences of climate change must be considered.
  • The training and composition of media organisations such as the Society of Environmental Journalists must be addressed so its outputs can reflect the state of knowledge correctly.

Have at it! 🙂

  1. R. de Haan says:

    Since August last year global temperatures have taken a drop of more than 0.6 degree Celsius, now trailing below the global average.

    This fact alone has refuted the basic theory of AGW that stated that our Co2 emissions caused by our burning of fossil fuels were casing an unprecedented and unstoppable rise in global temperatures, the melting of the ice caps and devastating sea level rise.

    No MSM has reported this incredible fact.

    The entire theory is dead.

    In the mean time Europe is governed by decree, food crops are processed into bio fuels, so called clean energy programs are bankrupting governments and energy poverty is hitting the poor.

    Outside the EU the rising food prices have resulted in food riots and our economies suffer.

    And now let’s have a look at your bullet list.

    I say make the best of the opportunity and make sure it isn’t your last invitation but please make the point that stopping this madness is the best way to go.

  2. tallbloke says:

    Hi Ron and welcome.

    I empathise with your impatience. The good ship (!) E.U. Policy is a behomoth which takes time to steer onto a new course. This conference is starting from the root of the issue which is the science. We believe that this is the right place to start, because it underpins the policy and is subject (in theory) to rigorous rules of appraisal, using the scientific method. So from the sceptical side of the debate we seek to demonstrate that the science is not sufficiently certain to make climate scenarios or state that climate changes have been caused by anthropogenic activity to any significant degree.

    If we try to attack at the policy level, we will be mired in argument which rests on opinion, and this plays into the hands of bureaucrats who have vested interest in disconnecting the public from the debate. I will certainly be making the point about the downturn in temperatures worldwide, and their connection with natural processes such as the major oceanic oscillations. If these natural forces can cause rapid and deep changes in climate patterns, the question of how much of the warming they were responsible for during the late C20th needs to be addressed. This is the question all pro co2 causation proponents shy away from. At last we get an opportunity to ask the questions directly.

  3. GregO says:


    I am interested in what the GCM crowd has to say about the current La Nina we are in and the cold water showing up in the Atlantic and in Northern Europe. Did any of the models address this possibility and predict it specifically relating it to man-made CO2?

    On another blog I was informed that one possible mechanism for man-made CO2 influencing La Nina is through influencing the hydrological cycle. I’m not sure I buy that line of reasoning but would be interested to at least hear a GCM based explanation for the specifics of this current La Nina if such and explanation exists.

  4. GregO says:


    Here is a nice comparison of a couple of past La Ninas to the current one.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Greg, it’s interesting to compare that last AMSU plot to the sea surface plot

    select ‘sea surface’ at the bottom of the drop down menu on the left.

    The hydrological cycle was supposed to speed up through water vapour feedback. Not sure how they think this would relate to La Nina though. Ask for references to non-vague hypotheses. 😉

  6. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Tallbloke; When arguing with people that have their minds made up, I find that embracing their point and then flipping it, sometimes works wonders. The AGW latest argument is that global warming is causing the wide spread heavy snows and rain. That the warming oceans are evaporating greater amounts of water that is increasing the precipitation. GREAT! We definately agree that the oceans have accumulated a lot of energy that is increasing evaporation. The energy that has been lost for the last 50 years has been found. Now the sun has gone quiet and there is no longer warming and in fact there appears to be cooling of the atmosphere which causes heavy precipitation. Therefor heaver snows and expanded heavy rains. etc. etc.

  7. tallbloke says:

    P.G. Sure looks like tendency to equilibrium in operation to me. Sun goes quiet, oceans emit more energy as stored solar heat escapes. Atmosphere wettens and dumps snow, increasing albedo. Land surface cools. More heat escapes to space. Earth get’s chance to cool off before next multi-decadal solar increase. It all fits.

  8. R. de Haan says:

    Tallbloke, I like your blog and your views otherwise I wouldn’t be a visitor of your blog.

    In regard to the EU however my remarks were not made out of impatience but reality.

    The EU carefully took out all politicians that opposed their climate policy and brainwashed all the others to fit the picking order and speak the same words.

    The current climate policies have been developed in coordination with the United Nations and most of it is a done deal.

    I personally think the execution of their policies is in trouble now because all the opposition they meet on National, Regional and Local levels.

    They meet this opposition despite millions spend on massaging, promotion, information and education and they no longer know how to continue.

    That’s why I think that the climate conference is organized to get a deeper insight in order to improve the results of their policies.

    I don’t think you will be able to change anything.

    The EU is not a democratic institution and they will stick to the goals that have been set.

    The only way to change the EU is the introduction of real democracy and replace rule by decree.
    As long as there is no serious representation IMO there is no basis to discuss individual policies.

    However, I also think that on a personal level this is a great opportunity for you and you should make the best of it.

    So I wish you all the best and I’m looking forward to hear about your experiences.

    Lisbon is a beautiful city with great restaurants and nice bars and clubs.

    If you have some time I can recommend to see the city from above. You can go to a small airport where they fly ultra light aircraft. You can make an introduction flight with an instructor and they let you fly yourself for a very little money.
    The view is magnificent and the quickest (and cheapest) way to learn to know the city.

    If you want I send you their address.

    Have great time.

  9. GregO says:


    Congratulations on the invite and I look forward to hearing how it went.

  10. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Tallbloke; If you have not flown a light aircraft I greatly recommend it! A lot more fun then a motorcycle. 3 dimensions of mobility and no road. Oh! except the piece you land on. A bit white knuckle that. B-] pg

  11. tallbloke says:

    Ron, there is a way to defeat the European Council of Ministers and I’ve done it before. Many years ago the European Commission drafted a piece of legislation called ‘The Multidirective’. It was a huge raft of measures around transport, highways and vehicle manufacture. Buried in the small print were restrictions on motorcycle maximum horsepower, and restrictions on home servicing of carburettors and dictat on choice of tyres.

    At the time, I was the local area representative for the Motorcycle Action Group – a lobbying organisation which organises pressure on government concerning matters which affect motorcyclists. There are such organisations in other European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and the FFMC in France. We co-operated to organise a rally in Brussels.

    30,000 bikers arrived at an unused airfield on the Friday and we rode around and around the city on the Saturday, bringing it to a standstill. We told the European Commission that we would repeat the exercise every month until they agreed to remove the restrictions affecting motorcyclists from their legislation. They removed the clauses affecting motorcycles a week later.

    I will email you about the flight school. 🙂

  12. tallbloke says:

    Greg. You won’t just hear about it after the event. I’ll be blogging from Lisbon while it’s happening. 🙂

  13. harrywr2 says:

    I would think they need to take a hard look at what economic substitution will take place without intervention and least cost methods to encourage economic substitution.

    Most of the climate scenario’s seem to assume the price of coal remains at $50/tonne or so when in reality the price on global markets is firming up at the $120+/tonne rate.

    All the doomsday scenario’s tend to assume an increase in the rate of growth of CO2 emissions.

  14. tallbloke says:

    Good point Harry, even though it is economic and policy related rather than primarily about the science. The knock on effect on production will cause a contraction in the global economy with the consequent drop in consumption. I’m glad I have a chainsaw and plenty of woods nearby where I can get affordable fuel.

  15. R. de Haan says:

    Ok, you have experience, that’s a great advantage.

    I wish you all the best in the world to make the best of it.

    I still have this undefined feeling that they are going to try to bag you and all the other bloggers they have invited and make you an offer you can’t refuse.

    Let’s see.

    You can send me an e-mail to this address, my other server is temporary down.

  16. tallbloke says:

    Well, they say everyone has their price. What demands should I make?

    10 million Euro for planetary-solar research and a permanent invite to the IPCC safe house in Bali? 😉

  17. Tenuc says:

    Before going into battle, it is often a good idea to choose the geography of where it will take place – so perhaps questioning the foundations of the current IPCC brand of cargo cult climate science is a good place to start.

    30y is a useless period to try to measure climate change – at least 10,000y is needed to be able to even start to understand what’s happening – understanding long period quasi-cycles are key because they have a massive impact on cooling and warming.

    Temperature is a lousy proxy for climate system energy – why the focus on this poorly measured performance indicator and the total failure to get a proper quantified measure of energy flows?

    Because climate is ultimately driven by deterministic chaos, why do the CAGW believers think their models of future climate have any credibility?

    I’ll pop back with some ideas about some ammo to take along, but in the mean-time it is up to the IPCC to have tests in place to prove their conjecture correct and the ‘opposition’ have no need to find an alternative as the null hypothesis of natural change has yet to be falsified.

  18. Tenuc says:

    IPCC consensus, what consensus???

    “850 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Scepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming (CAGW) Alarm.”

  19. tallbloke says:

    Tenuc, great comment. Setting the scene is an important aspect of this conference, because to a large extent, it will be ‘talks about talks’. I think I’ll be referring to Trenberth’s planned speech to the AMS to show how desperate to overturn the null hypothesis the ‘team’ are.

    The real measures of energy on the climate system and its throughput are the ocean heat content, and the incoming/outgoing energy. We only have 7 years of useful OHC data, and about the same for outgoing radiation, with some less accurate OLR back to 1974.

    Telling us that climate science has a definite handle on causation and magnitudes of natural variation is just a joke.

  20. Joe Lalonde says:


    Here are some more cold weather reports from around the world…

  21. Joe Lalonde says:


    Something really impressive to see is almost ALL of the northern hemisphere land mass covered in cloud cover. And a few good storm systems generating.

  22. tallbloke says:

    Joe, thanks for the updates, but I’m not going to Lisbon to talk about the short term weather patterns. 😉

  23. Joe Lalonde says:

    Dr. Judith Curry specified that NOAA definition is weather is up to 14 days and climate is after that as predictions on weather then becomes very difficult.

    The evaporation machine is hot and heavy changing warm ocean water in the arctic with it’s dense cold air. Also ocean levels are dropping.

  24. Zeke the Sneak says:

    It looks good as is, except perhaps the second point needs a little rephrasing and polishing up. Instead of

    “The level of uncertainty and consequent assessments of risk and urgency versus cost and benefit, have to be reappraised by experts and policy makers,”

    why don’t you just tell them that the cost to the economies of the world of reducing carbon dioxide emissions is $46 dollars per every $1 expense averted in supposed damages from AGW? That would make me happy. (-: This is according Bjorn Lomborg, author of the book, Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming.

    From his article-

    “In other words: In our eagerness to avoid about $1 trillion worth of climate damage, we are being asked to spend at least 50 times as much — and, if we hinder free trade, we are likely to heap at least an additional $50 trillion loss on the global economy.”

    Enjoy Lisbon tallbloke. What’s up with the long engagement, when’s the date? (-:

  25. tallbloke says:

    why don’t you just tell them…

    Well, I should think higher profile people such as Ross McKittrick will be making the stronger statements. I prefer to definite about stuff I’ve looked into thoroughly myself, and listen to others who do the same. As far as I know, Bjorn was not invited, because this first conference is primarily concentrating on the scientific issues such as the surface temperature record, the medieval warm period, and the climate sensitivity value.

    Milady and I decided a wedding in the high summer would be more fun for our guests. A seaside town, with treasure hunt on the beach, and drinkies on the deck of a tall ship in pirate garb is planned. 🙂

  26. tallbloke says:

    The update on sea level from the University of Colorado is eagerly awaited. I’ll update my sea level graph as soon as we get it. The timescale for ‘climate not weather’ means different things to different people, and even the same people depending on which datasets they are looking at.

    I’m very interested in intra-seasonal changes as well as geological timescale alterations to Earth’s orbital parameters. In the context of the climate debate, the fact that we now have 30 years of satellite data is crucially important, though I will be pointing out that this only represents half of the sixty year period the big ocean basins seem to have been taking to oscillate for the last 140 years or so.

  27. P.G. Sharrow says:

    The 60 years cycle, of weather is the minimum time frame that should be examined. Anything shorter is just noise. Only a fool would think that they could make a rational argument with only 30 years of data.
    Collage students with a few years of book learning think that they have all the answers. Hell they don’t even know half the questions. I have been studying, how things work, for over 60 years. I am still ignorant of all the answers. 😦 pg

  28. P.G. Sharrow says:
    January 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm
    “The devil is in the details” 🙂

  29. Joe Lalonde says:


    Climate science did some amazingly stupid things. Just following temperatures to find a pattern, then project that pattern to a prediction.
    Meanwhile, they missed evaporation and preciptation patterns only as to recordable temperature.
    This means the ocean heat shifted to the Arctic regions generating vast evaporation with the cold dense air and climate science is still recording it by tempertures only for their predictions.
    The surprise they are getting is that the tempertures are dropping due to the ocean shift of heat which is killing climate science credibility.

  30. E O'Connor says:


    Any info yet on what mix of disciplines are attending, eg are you the only engineer?

  31. tallbloke says:

    Hi EOC.
    Yes, as far as I can tell I’m the only engineer attending. We have a good broad mix of skills attending, Peter Webster seems to be the most prominent of the AGW proponents, backed up by Bill Hartree of the UK Measurement Institute. I’ll find out if he knows as much or more about metrology than I do. 🙂

    The event is under Chatham House Rules, which means it’s bad form to directly quote people, so I have to be careful in writing reports.

  32. Joe Lalonde says:


    In case you find yourself being put up against a wall by experts in the field.
    I generated this for you to put in your pocket. An Ace in the hole for emergency. Climate science never followed evaporation or precipitation patterns.
    Climate Science Disastrous Truth
    I wish to show a system wide failure that has lead up to a crisis that has never been experienced before. This failure is putting lives in danger due to inaccurate and systematic errors brought on by a system that encourages inaccuracy.

    The United States government set up a grant system that encourages the global warming theory through these grants for climate scientists. This in turn has set up a peer-review system for publishing that generated an �old boys club� of reviewing materials for publishing. The United Nations and the IPCC gained from this through their own agenda of more funding and greater control of climate related issues.

    Temperature data and models on temperature data was gathered through many sources and formulas were created so that the gathered information could generate a pattern. This pattern then is used for generating a viable prediction based strictly on temperature data.
    This data also uses oscillations of ocean temperatures with the currents of oceans.
    Climate science and meteorology are completely different in scope as climate science is long-term prediction and meteorology is short-term predictions.
    This type of system then ignored any and all climatic physical events that were not temperature measured.

    In the 1970�s the ocean surface salinity (salt) started to change which was passed off as a global warming event through evaporation and NEVER explored any further.
    Recent changes to the ocean show that this was far from what science thought it was.

    The salinity changes were an atmospheric event of pressure rather than evaporation. A vast amount of evaporation would have to occur to produce the same results of increased salt. If anything the salt should have been diluted more due to the slight increases in ocean levels from the melting Arctic and glaciers. This event of increased surface salt inhibited the solar penetration of what would normally be absorbed in the ocean and circulated. Ocean circulation heat disappeared and thought may have gone deeper not connecting the salt changes on the ocean surface. It takes 30 years for equatorial water to circulate to the Arctic.

    The current oceans waters around the equatorial regions have been cooling and spreading (even though it is receiving full solar penetration) and the warm ocean currents are currently in the Arctic. This has generated vast amounts of evaporation due to the dense cold air that is moving across them and has put most of the northern hemisphere landmass under cloud cover. This has changed the circulation system in the northern hemisphere to become colder and has generated a great deal of precipitation. Meteorologists are noticing climate patterns never seen before and temperature dropping globally. A great deal of flooding is due to the massive amount of water vapor currently in the atmosphere and these changing weather patterns.

    Here are the reference sites that back up my research;

    The satellite map shows almost all of the northern hemisphere landmass to be covered in cloud cover when using the animation feature.
    As you can see, these concerns are warranted.

  33. E O'Connor says:

    Thanks Tallbloke

    No doubt your reports, using your new toy, will be fittingly measured. 🙂

  34. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Joe, cloud cover is the ace in the hole as always. 😉

  35. tallbloke says:

    Well I got to Lisbon via Amsterdam Schiphol ok and found my hotel, and…

    …they’ve given me the master suite because it has the only bed they have which is big enough for me. 🙂 🙂

    I’m on the 12th floor with a balcony and a huge view out over Lisbon, it’s fantastic!

    So this is a quick update before I get a bath (yes, a real bath not a shower) and get dressed up and head downtown to the old city to find somewhere to eat and have a well deserved beer.

    More later.
    balcony view

  36. tallbloke says:

    Downtown is beautiful. Some great architectiure. Look at this stunning portico:

  37. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Beautiful picture! Isn’t horse shoes upside down bad luck? Just wondering. pg

  38. Joe Lalonde says:


    Judith just put up a list of people attending…

    You lucky son of a sea biscuit! 🙂
    Have fun!!!!

  39. Ron Cram says:

    One idea I think should be considered is a request to the IPCC that they issue two Assessment Reports – A Majority Report and A Minority Report. This one step would do more to keep the Majority Report honest than anything else. AR4 took an extreme view on almost every debated point of science. The Minority Report would show the result of a more balanced assessment.

  40. tallbloke says:

    Good idea Ron,
    That is also what I was getting at with my bullet point 5. Funding research aimed at alternative explanations.

    Thanks Joe, I can do the same then. 🙂
    Here’s the list:

    Jerome Ravetz James Martin Institute, Oxford Univ., UK
    James Risbey CSIRO, AUS
    Jeroen van der Sluijs Univ. Utrecht, NL
    Alice Benessia Univ. Torino, IT
    Tom Boersen Aalborg University Copenhagen, DK
    Judith Curry
    School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia
    Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GE, USA
    Steve Goddard Science and Public Policy Inst., VA, USA
    Sofia Guedes Vaz New Univ. of Lisbon, PT
    Bill Hartree UK Measurement Institute, UK
    Werner Krauss Center for Mediterranean Studies, Bochum, DE
    Steve McIntyre Climate Audit, CAN
    Ross McKitrick
    Department of Economics – University of Guelph,
    Jean-Paul Malingreau European Commission – Joint Research Centre
    Steve Mosher Independent consultant, USA
    Ana Lopez London School of Economics, UK
    Fred Pearce The Guardian, UK
    Tiago Pedrosa New Univ. of Lisbon, PT
    Roger Tallbloke Independent Researcher, UK
    Gerald Traufetter Spiegel, DE
    Louise Romain The Center for Nonviolent Communication
    Viriato Soromenho Marques Univ. of Lisbon, PT
    Nick Stokes CSIRO, AUS
    Peter Webster
    School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia
    Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GE, USA
    Hans Von Storch Meteorological Institute, Univ. Of Hamburg
    Ângela Guimarães Pereira European Commission – Joint Research Centre
    Silvio Funtowicz European Commission – Joint Research Centre
    Inês Crespo European Commission – Joint Research Centre
    Paula Curvelo European Commission – Joint Research Centre

  41. Joe Lalonde says:


    Here is the mindset that current global warming theory has done to the politicians.

    Dear Joe Lalonde:

    On behalf of Michael Ignatieff, I would like to thank you for your email regarding your concerns about our environment. As you may be aware, Mr. Ignatieff has presented the Liberal plan for the environment, climate change and clean energy jobs
    Under this plan, a Liberal government would restore Canada�s climate change leadership with a firm commitment to keep global warming within two degrees Celsius and create the clean jobs of tomorrow through a historic investment in clean energy and energy efficiency.
    A Liberal government would create a binding and verifiable cap-and-trade system – with hard caps leading to absolute reductions – that is fair to all regions and industries, and compatible with other systems for international carbon trading.
    At the heart of everything affecting climate change is the question of energy: the energy we produce, the energy we save, and the energy we�ll need. That�s why a Liberal government would set an ambitious target of quadrupling Canada�s production of renewable energy by Canada�s 150th birthday in 2017, and promote energy efficiency through new transit systems, high-speed rail, and �smart� electrical grids.
    Mr. Ignatieff has also proposed a single Clean Energy Act that would adopt the toughest vehicle emissions standards in North America and has outlined strategies to protect our air, water, forests and Arctic.
    We need a Government that looks forward, not backwards. It�s time to set ourselves a new national project � one that brings together our economy, our environment and our best ideas to create the jobs and prosperity tomorrow.
    You may find a copy of the highlights of our plan here:

    Yours sincerely,

    ​The Office of Michael Ignatieff
    Leader of the Opposition

    Le cabinet de Michael Ignatieff
    Chef de l’Opposition

  42. E O'Connor says:

    Tallbloke –
    Interesting list! Looking forward to your dispatches.

    PG – Upsidedown means the luck can come out 😉

  43. Ron Cram says:

    Two things. Yes, I appreciate your call for more funding for alternative explanations. But truthfully, there are enough papers which do not support the IPCC scenario which could already present an alternative explanation or two. This is why we need a Minority Report. The IPCC are ignoring many of these papers because they simply do not agree with the narrative pushed by the IPCC. Did the idea of a Minority Report come up at the workshop at all?

    Second, I understand the IPCC viewpoint did not have many people at the workshop to represent their side. Without breaking any rules, can you answer some questions? What are the viewpoints of those from the Joint Research Centre? Have they published anything which describes their views? Are they climate scientists? Can you tell us anything about their backgrounds?

    It seems decidedly suboptimal to hold a conference and only have one IPCC lead author in attendance. I hope Hans von Storch did not feel too much in the minority.

  44. tallbloke says:

    Ron, no it didn’t and I wish I’d been aware of your proposal earlier, as it Dovetails neatly with my own call for ‘parallel lines of investigation which can cross-fertilse and cross validate/eliminate’

    Where can I see a full article from you on this? Can I post it here wile I’m getting plenty of traffic? It would give it more exposure.

    Believe me, Hans can create the presence of a legion and had no trouble dealing with ‘the tribes’ as he calls us. I called him ‘the Roman Imperium’ for that. 🙂

    As for the JRC people, wait for their report.