The graph below was referred to. It was meant to prove something or other - though they were coy about telling me exactly what it was I was supposed to be seeing.
It's something about temperature, right? I know that, because it says Temperature in big red letters in the top left corner.
And volcanoes, yes, I can see that. There are lots of volcanic eruptions given. Volcanoes pop off every now and again, and the global temperature changes.
Presumably, from this, I am supposed to see how It Is Not All Not Our Fault, as if it hadn't been pointed out a million times at least, that past temperature misbehaviour doesn't really tell us much about current temperature misbehaviour, because Things Were Different Then. You know, just like Things Are Different on Mars.
In fact, now that my mind has almost caught up with my consumption of Milcrest Estate 2010 Pinot Noir (Bloody Hell it is good - and my wife was using it for cooking!) I recall I even made something of a Lurgee's Paradigm of this sort of nonsense.
Ah! The folly of youth! When I actually had time to blog and subscribed to the foolish belief that - if I just repeated the bleedin' obvious one more time - I might succeed in changing someone's mind.
But, anyway, back to the graph and what it is supposed to be telling us. Something, I think, about temperature variation and a correlation with volcanoes?
Only, there isn't much of a correlation, really.
There are some points where there are cold spells with no or few notable eruptions; and 'sudden' cooling taking 400-500 years, and instances where multiple eruptions don't seem to have had any discernible impact on rising temperatures - 35 recorded immediately prior to BC/AD switch over, for example, just as a warming spell kicked off.
The impact of volcanoes on global temperatures is a Known Thing We Know About, not some Ghastly Secret Concealed In The Climategate Emails. And even though the short term cooling impact of Old Vulcan's particulate emissions - and the insignificance of volcanic CO2 compared to humanity's - is generally Not Secret, why is it no medium scale act of Vulcanism can occur without a chain email sweeping the world claiming all humanity's efforts to stem climate change have just been undone?
What might be a bit more interesting is what causes the warm / cold spells recorded (the chart seems to be missing a Y axis scale, or is it just the booze blurring my vision?) and whether it might have any influence on the current trend.
On that, of course, the graph has nothing to say.
Being a thoroughly nasty piece of work and not at all ashamed of playing them man rather than the ball, I cyber-stalked the creators of the graph, Mr Cliff Harris - a climatologist, apparently - and Mr Randy Mann, who is described as a meteorologist.
(I concentrated on Mr Harris rather than Mr Mann, mostly because I'm not so foolish as to run 'Randy Mann' through a search engine. Oh, no. That can only lead to perdition.)
What I discovered was that Messrs Harris and Mann run a website (which puts them on a par with yours truly) and occasionally get mentioned in their local newspaper, a degree of fame to which I can only aspire.
Other than that, it all becomes very vague.
We are assured they have been providing media and public bodies with weather forecasts for decades, and that may well be true, but it is remarkably short on detailing any actual credentials the two may hold.
In a profile (again in what appears to be his local newspaper) of Mr Harris, we are told:
Harris estimates he has earned more than 300 college credits from seven different colleges and university.That's nice, Cliff, but do you actually have a degree of any sort in anything? Because at the moment you are looking even less credentialed than the 31000. And that ain't good!
Frighteningly, on their website, Harris doesn't even seem to know what the initials IPCC stand for, naming it the International Panel on Climate Control. Maybe it was meant to be a joke, but you know, the thing about jokes is they are meant to be funny ... I get the feeling Harris and Mann really believe this stuff; and true believers don't often joke about their faith.
They also claim (I am not making this up) their weather forecasts are based on secret information that was divulged to them by an organisation called the Weather Science Foundation, which once employed "over 60 people to gather world wide data." Sixty people, gathering world wide data? They must have been pretty busy.
Only, those 60 people were rudely dumped on the dole queue and (oddly) don't seem to have thought their stupendously important information might have been of use to the people studying the impact of human activity on climate. Instead - I kid you not - they decided to gift the information to Mr Harris but made him promise not to use the information for 30 years.
It gets worse, though.
Further probing lead me to a name I know well ... Marc Morano. A-ha, I thought, here be bullshit, for the name of Morano is always found where crap about climate change has been posted. And verily, it was so.
Seeking out the source article, I discovered Mr Harris holding forth in - inevitably - the columns of his local newspaper, to this effect:
Although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that sea levels will rise 100 cm by the year 2100, actual measurements do not bear out that conclusion.This is simply and obviously incorrect. The IPCC made no such prediction. It is simply not true.
The actual projections in AR4 can be viewed right here - about half a metre, +/- 10cm. He was writing in 2012, before you ask, and the projections in the TAR - while a bit wider - were not so spectacularly extreme as to justify the claim that the IPCC predicted sea levels will rise by a metre.
Bluntly, it is a lie. Not an exaggeration or a bit of hyperbolic rounding, but a lie. He must have known it was so, but he went ahead and published it anyway.
(But at least he got the name of the IPCC right, this time.)
Perhaps I am too good for this world but I still find it slightly shocking to actually discover someone calling themselves a climatologist simply telling lies.
Not the sort of vaguely-almost-might-be-kinda-sorta-true-if-you-look-at it-this-way-I'm-buying-the-drinks-ain't-I-so-don't-tell-me-it's-bullshit stuff that is denier stock in trade, but an outright Thing That Is Not True And Which Must Have Been Known To Be Untrue.
If if it was the IPCC putting out some similarly shonky claims, you know how it would be treated, right? Think Himalayan glaciers!
So I feel Messrs Harris and Mann can be ignored, henceforth.