Wednesday, November 30, 2011


cc:, "Wilkins, Diana (GA)" <>
date: Thu May 29 10:24:52 2003
from: Mike Hulme <>
subject: RE: response to Hans Verolme
to: "Warrilow, David (GA)" <>, "''" <>,, "Johnson, Cathy (GA)" <>, "John Schellnhuber (E-mail)" <>, "Martin Parry (E-mail)" <>

David (and others),
My quick answer to this would include the following:
- there is clear evidence that some types of extreme weather in some regions of the world
are increasing; this is the solid conclusion reached in Chapter 2 of TAW WGI - so Jerry
Taylor from Cato Institute is wrong; (but this is not a mandate to say we are seeing
increases in all types of extreme weather everywhere);
- there is reasonably well founded basis for claiming that at least some of these extreme
weather changes are associated with planetary warming;
- whether emerging and future changes pose "catastrophic" risks for poor citizens is more
of a value statement than the result of careful scientific analysis; poor citizens are
currently exposed to what many people would regard as unacceptable climate hazards -
destabilising world climate will certainly add to these risks unless adaptive measures are
- the argument about rising damages over the last 20-30 years (cf. M-R report and others) I
think says more about the insurance industry than it does about climate change (i.e., I
would not use these data as the primary basis for judging whether extreme weather was
changing); it is very difficult to pull out the climate signal from such data and even
harder to pull out the anthropogenic climate signal (and also to extrapolate such curves
out to 2060 and claim, as some have done, that we then face climate damage of 50% of GWP is
not wise);
- this issue is pertinent to questions of what is dangerous climate change - in a sense
what is important about the exponentially rising damage curves from the insurance people is
what it reveals about our exposure to climate risk and how we try to protect (insure)
against that risk and hence our expectations about how climate (and hence climate change)
impacts on our lives and well-being; this curve suggests therefore a different way of
approaching dangerous climate change - not in a formal scientific sense of attributing
cause and effect but in the sense that experience and expectation are powerful drivers of
perception, things that are all wrapped-up in any definition of "danger".
Mike Hulme
At 11:33 28/05/2003 +0100, Warrilow, David (GA) wrote:


I don't think there is a quick answer. There is evidence that extremes are getting
larger and Hadley Centre is working on this. Their quantification on the driver side
would be useful. The damage end is undoubtedly more difficult as there are several
factors to assess 1) increased frequency of extremes, 2) changes to planning policy or
practice, leading to increased exposure and other physical changes 3) more expensive
property (although M-R report is normalised at 1990 prices or some such). There may be
other factors too.

I am sure Simon can help with factor (1)
I am also copying this to Martin Parry, co-chair of IPCC WG2 and Mike Hulme/John
Schellenhuber at the Tyndall Centre for their comments on points (2) and (3). Their
views on the M-R figures would be useful. Grateful for short replies by end of week if


-----Original Message-----
From: [[1]]
Sent: 23 May 2003 20:48
To:; Johnson, Cathy (GA)
Cc: Warrilow, David (GA);
Subject: RE: Questions to ask Soon and Balianus
While causing trouble. Can you all give an authoritative view in response to the
following quote?:
"It's false," said Jerry Taylor, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute in
Washington, D.C. "There is absolutely no evidence that extreme weather events are on
the increase. None. The argument that more and more dollar damages accrue is a
reflection of the greater amount of wealth we've created."
This in response to the latest Worldwatch Institute report Vital Signs 2003 (see
below). How does that stack up relative to Munich and Swiss Re. views? Is there
research on increased intensity and frequency of 'extreme events'? As the debate on
adaptation v mitigation in the US becomes more alive this will be another issue we
will be asked to comment on.
Poor to bear brunt of climate change -- Worldwatch
Lauren Miura, Greenwire reporter
Rising temperatures, extreme weather events and other consequences associated with
global climate change pose "catastrophic" risks to the world's poorest citizens,
according to a Worldwatch Institute report released yesterday. On the positive side,
the report notes wind power generation has expanded in recent years and is expected
increase 15-fold over the next two decades.
The report, Vital Signs 2003, is Worldwatch Institute's annual summary of dozens of
economic, environmental and social trends. Researchers at the Institute, in
cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, use the report to gauge
the health of societies around the world and the global environment. This year's
report focuses on poverty and its link to social, health and environmental problems.
As levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere climb, the report said, so have
average global temperatures -- leaving many of the world's poorest nations facing
the brunt of the consequences. "The burdens of climate change are far from evenly
distributed," said Molly O'Meara Sheehan, a senior researcher with Worldwatch.
For example, the report identifies erratic weather patterns -- what some scientists
believe to be an effect of climate change -- as the primary cause of famine for
millions of Africans. Over the past two decades, floods and other weather-related
natural disasters have prompted nearly 10 million people to migrate from Bangladesh
to India, creating immense population pressure.
In 2002, the report said economic damages from weather disasters were estimated at
$53 billion, a 93 percent jump from 2001, partially because of the return of El
Nino. Weather disasters were also blamed for nearly 8,000 deaths, according to the
report. Such trends are likely to continue, the report says, as "scientists believe
that rising global temperatures may increase the intensity and frequency of extreme
weather events even more."
Buildings and infrastructure in developing countries are also less likely to
withstand extreme weather events, Sheehan said. Moreover, public health systems in
poor countries are less able to handle emergencies, she said, meaning "those sorts
of weather disasters are likely to hit them harder."
Rising sea levels also pose serious threats to small island nations, the report
says. Some island states that have compiled "worst-case scenarios" anticipate a
1-meter rise in sea level over the next 100 years. More immediate problems
associated with rising seas include flooding, coastal erosion, coral bleaching and
economic losses. "In terms of vulnerability, [island nations] are the most at risk,"
the report says, although "they account for less than 1 percent of global greenhouse
gas emissions."
Critics condemned Worldwatch's link between climate change and severe weather
events. "It's false," said Jerry Taylor, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute in
Washington, D.C. "There is absolutely no evidence that extreme weather events are on
the increase. None. The argument that more and more dollar damages accrue is a
reflection of the greater amount of wealth we've created."
Wind power surges
Wind power is the world's fastest-growing energy source, with an average growth rate
of 33 percent between 1998 and 2002, according to the report. Natural gas, the
fastest growing energy source among fossil fuels, grew at an annual rate of 2
percent. European countries led the push for wind power, particularly Germany, Spain
and Denmark.
Among the report's other findings:
Roughly 25 percent of the world's armed conflicts in recent years have involved
fights over natural resources, and virtually all of the conflicts have occurred in
poor countries.
There are approximately 50 million "environmental refugees" around the world, people
driven from their homes by drought, floods and other envirnmental problems resulting
from human and natural activities.
World population growth has slowed, but the 49 poorest countries in the world are
growing at an average of 2.4 percent per year -- nearly 10 times the annual growth
of industrialized nations.
Worldwatch president Christopher Flavin expressed his concern that a struggling
global economy and efforts to restore peace in the Middle East will overshadow the
need to address the causes and consequences of poverty in developing countries. "The
human tragedies behind the statistics in Vital Signs 2003 are compelling reminders
that social and environmental progress are not luxuries that can be set aside when
the world is experiencing economic and political problems," he said.
See [2]
-----Original Message-----
From: Brown, Simon [[3]]
Sent: 23 May 2003 12:12
To: 'Johnson, Cathy (GA)'
Cc: ''; Jenkins, Geoff
Subject: RE: Questions to ask Soon and Balianus
Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in
closing intervened claiming the IPCC had recently refused to accept data
supporting Soon's argument and stating the raison d'etre of IPCC was to prop
up the FCCC. Does anyone have background on such recent exchanges with
sceptics and the IPCC?
I remember something along the lines that the National Academy of Science
was asked to determine how much the IPCC was swayed by politics and came out
with a fairly strong statement that it was clean. It might be on file...
Hans - regarding Ebell's comment on data - IPCC accepts all data which is
properly reviewed and published. If it wasn't accepted then there is a
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jenkins, Geoff
> Sent: 22 May 2003 09:56
> To: 'Johnson, Cathy (GA)'; 'Phil Jones'; 'Peter Stott';
> ''
> Cc: Brown, Simon; Tett, Simon
> Subject: RE: Questions to ask Soon and Balianus
> Hans
> Thanks for your comprehensive report of the meeting. I am glad that we
> were able to help - and that you were able to use the ammunition on the
> day.
> You ask a couple of questions - I have put them in red in your email so
> that others can add.
> I recall Enegry and Environment publishing un-peer-reviewed sceptcal stuff
> before. It was when David Everest (ex- Cheif Scientist of DOE, who told me
> off for being too green when I worked there!) was the editor. I wrote to
> him to complain and he wrote back saying the editorial had made that
> plain; poor sceptics didnt get a voice etc etc. All copied to DoE, but
> maybe 5 or 6 years ago now.
> I would agree that the raison detre of IPCC is to support FCCC! but
> probably not in the way that was meant, ie it provides impartial
> scientific evidence and doesnt support any particular policy eg Kyoto. I
> guess "exchanges between IPCC and sceptics" have been/will be within
> individual chapters (eg that on detection and attribution).
> Re data: as far as I am aware all our data sets (and those joint with Phil
> Jones) are available to bona fide researchers, and can be got from Simon
> Tett here of Phil at UEA. Websites give info on this.
> Phil/Simon - can you agree/disagree/expand please?
> Re funding: we took $1M from a bunch of oil companies (inc EXXON) via
> IPIECA about 10 years ago. We used it to come up with the first estimate
> of the second indirect cooling effect of aerosol on predictions. I have to
> say that at no time did we come under any even slight pressure to get us
> to say or omit anything in papers we wrote. Of course in Soon's case they
> already knew where he stood, so I guess could be confident that he would
> use their money to come up with more sceptical stuff.
> Peter, Simon (and Phil) - thank you for helping DEFRA/FCO with information
> and comments etc.
> Bestw ishes
> Geoff
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Johnson, Cathy (GA) []
> Sent: 21 May 2003 09:20
> To: 'Phil Jones'; 'Peter Stott'
> Cc: 'Geoff Jenkins'
> Subject: FW: Questions to ask Soon and Balianus
> Peter and Phil
> see message from Hans - to which I add defra's thanks!
> Cathy
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [[4]]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 10:59 PM
> To: Johnson, Cathy (GA)
> Cc: Warrilow, David (GA); Noguer, Maria (GA);
> Subject: RE: Questions to ask Soon and Balianus
> Cathy, please pass to Hadley / UEA
> All,
> Thank you, in particular to Peter Stott at the Hadley Centre and
> Phil Jones at U. East Anglia, for the excellent speaking points for the
> briefing by Dr. Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
> Astrophysics organized by the climate sceptic Marshall Insitute. The event
> went well, if maybe not the way the organizers and their sponsor, Senator
> George Allan (R-Virginia), had expected.
> The audience if not already firmly in the sceptic camp likely came
> away with little confidence in the scientific credibility of the Marshall
> Institute and the work of Dr. Soon.
> The presentation consisted of a jumble of over 40 transparencies
> showing various temperature records from around the globe, most of them
> pre-instrumental proxies. Dr. Soon presented them as evidence of the
> occurrence of a medieval warm period and a little ice age and argued that
> the present-day instrumental record compared against the historical record
> provided no evidence of 20th century warming.
> During the Q&A that followed, Soon quickly conceded the
> synchronicity point saying further research was needed.
> Greenpeace then challenged Soon on the issue of peer review and the
> Marshall Insitute on its sources of funding (which include ExxonMobil).
> Soon responded the article had been published by the "Journal of Energy
> and Environment." (Any views on the status of the Journal?). Bill O'Keefe,
> the president of the Institute, stated ExxonMobil's contribution had not
> influenced the research in any way.
> A question about present climate change impacts such as retreating
> glaciers and decreases in sea ice thickness was partly ignored, partly
> portrayed as requiring significant further research. Even so, Soon went on
> to say, paleo-records show increased CO2 levels should not be of concern,
> double the present levels had occurred. He came out of the climate-closet
> and people perked up.
> I took a gentler initial approach, drawing people's attention to the
> endorsement by the National Academy of Sciences of the IPCC TAR and
> President Bush' acceptance of that view. Soon responded by saying most if
> not all of his data were published post-TAR.
> Noting the IPCC acknowledged uncertainties and degrees of
> confidence, I explained how these were not grounds for inaction. Soon
> responded they were not uncertainties but unknowns and therefore provided
> no basis for action. (A point lost on most of the audience from my
> reading).
> Soon got nervous when I asked him about the manner in which he had
> chosen to represent other peoples data, such as Tom Crowley's. He refused
> to answer the question and asked me to discuss it outside the meeting. He
> claimed he was "merely a synthesizer." You seem to have found a weak spot
> here, keep at it. He further said I was misunderstanding his presentation
> of the data on the medieval warm period and little ice age. Some in the
> audience audibly disagreed. Your points were well taken.
> Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in closing
> intervened claiming the IPCC had recently refused to accept data
> supporting Soon's argument and stating the raison d'etre of IPCC was to
> prop up the FCCC. Does anyone have background on such recent exchanges
> with sceptics and the IPCC?
> The meeting disbanded in a somewhat disorganized manner. Mission
> accomplished.
> Follow-up
> Jeff Nesmith of the Cox Newspapers group is working on a piece
> exposing the sceptics. We agreed to speak.
> Staff in Rep. Bart Gordon's office (D-Tennessee) told me Rep. Sherry
> Boehlert (R-NY chair of the Science Cie.) had pursuaded Rep. Mark Udall
> (D-Colorado) not to add a climate amendment to recent legislation.
> Boehlert who is an ally and expert politician said it would unnecessarily
> antagonize the House leadership and stood no chance of passing. I concur.
> We agreed to stay in touch.
> Bill O'Keefe was eager to gain access to further recent instrumental
> temperature data we hold. Would you consider his request for data knowing
> they will likely be spun?
> Finally, Ian Murray, a former UK Dept. for Transport official is
> joining the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
> Thanks for enlivening up my Friday.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Johnson, Cathy (GA) [ <[5]>]
> Sent: 15 May 2003 04:36
> To: 'Hans Verolme'
> Cc: Warrilow, David (GA); Noguer, Maria (GA)
> Subject: Questions to ask Soon and Balianus
> Dear Hans
> I am in the branch of GA Division covering Climate Science, and I
> have
> received from Peter Stott at the Hadley Centre the attached comments
> on Soon
> and Balianus' "paper"; they include three questions you could ask.
> I hope all this makes sense to you, but I will be glad to discuss
> them with
> you if you wish. I will be in the office until 17.45 UK time today,
> my
> direct line is 44 (0)20 7944 5226and my colleague Maria will be here
> tomorrow on ext. 5437.
> Alternatively Peter Stott's number is 44 (0)1344 854011
> Good luck, we'll be interested to know how you get on!
> best wishes
> Cathy
> <<Stott_Soon_comment.doc>>
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