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Numerical Analysis of Mark Lynas’ “Six Degrees” Claims

This is ancillary to my blog “Lynas’ “Six Degrees” of (Computed) Half Blindness“.

From Mark Lynas’ book “Six Degrees – Our Future on a Hotter Planet” I have randomly selected some pages between 3 and 241, leaving out the introduction and the “Choosing Our Future” conclusions.

These are the results in terms of number of positive, negative and catastrophic remarks (*) in each of them


Based on the above, for each page of Lynas’ book there is 1 positive statement, 4 negative statements and 2 catastrophic statements. There may be a trend with statements getting less and less positive, but it can be noted that the whole thing is skewed towards negativeness from the beginning.

Only one page (89) out of 13 is more positive (7) than negative (3), and the immediately following page (90) quickly brings the situation back with only 2 positives and as much as 8 negatives (plus 1 catastrophic).

(*) Examples

  • Positive remark: page 89 (two degrees): “the northern central part of the US…will become an increasingly important winter wheat-producing area”
  • Negative remark: page 67 (one degree): “severe bleaching will occur on most of the world’s reefs every 3-5 years by 2030”
  • Catastrophic remark: page 136 (three degrees): “drought may once again become perennial in this densely populated country” (Indonesia)
  1. 2008/11/11 at 08:50

    Boy have I read Lynas’s book, and several times at that!

    Karen: how do you see it likely that even a 1C increase can only be thought of as harbinger of catastrophes? Perhaps not worldwide catastrophes, but catastrophes nevertheless. As you can see above, at page 24 (very early on in the book, when T hasn’t increased much yet) already one finds 3 remarks of doom.

    As for the Royal Society’s award, we all know what the Royal Society stands for at the moment, including the reinterpreting of their NULLIUS VERBA motto into “follow our authority”…

  2. Karen
    2008/11/10 at 22:37

    Have to agree with Rik. It’s not about being ‘positive’ or ‘negative.’ Nor is it about ‘beliefs.’ Lynas won the science writing award for that book from the highest body of UK scientists, the Royal Society (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7457317.stm). If you read the book (which I recommend to readers of your blog), you will discover that he pretty much sets the temperature of catastrophe at 2-3 degrees of warming. (By catastrophe, I mean irreversible warming, which sets off a series of climate dominoes which continue to reinforce and accelerate warming.) This is fully in line with long-standing IPCC definitions of “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate,” of around 2 degrees C. Most ‘benefits’ from warming are both limited regionally, short-term (i.e., quickly eliminated by further warming), and dependent upon other factors not being upset, e.g., ecosystem integrity, invasive pests, etc.

  3. 2008/11/07 at 21:25

    Rik: we are not talking about history here, but scientific findings. Do you really believe that we live today in a very fragile climate optimum situation, so that change towards higher temperatures can only be bad?

  4. Rik
    2008/11/07 at 09:45

    Perhaps the there isn’t much that is positive to do with climate change? I mean, the negativity may simply be an intelligent response to the facts. For example, if you were to research and write a piece about the final solution or other forms of ethnic cleansing, do you think that you would have much that was positive to say?

  5. 2008/10/07 at 01:44

    You know einstien was a very clever person not because of his discoveries in science but because he reconized that common sense was stemmed by the left as well as free thought ,the fact that seems to escape everyone is that it is impossible for anyone ,any model or anything else to predict or control the future weather cycles and there is not one bit of evidence that says c02 can contol or change the weather not now or in 100yrs ,it wil do what it has always done ,change every year as it has done for millions of years and you lot with your doomsday scare stories will never change that,its simply impossible .

  1. 2008/08/20 at 05:13
  2. 2008/08/19 at 23:06

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