Phil Jones’ responses to the BBC were notable for the fact that the BBC actually asked some probing questions. Also, Jones actually answered them.
But of more significance was that, although Jones was willing to admit some of the obvious problems with the warmist position (such as whether the 1975-98 warming is unprecedented, and whether the Medieval Warm Period was warmer), Jones remains unwilling to take a broader and more objective view of climate science despite having had ample time to contemplate all that has transpired.
In this, his views may be representative of many of the committed warmists central to the preparation of the IPCC reports. But this certainly is not the objective viewpoint that the EPA — and others — should insist on in making multi-trillion dollar regulatory decisions.
1. Jones admits that the 1975-98 warming as measured by HadCRUT is similar to earlier warming periods.
This is obvious, but it is significant that someone so close to the IPCC is willing to admit it — given that warmists have so strongly emphasized how unprecedented warming was during this period.
Jones is anxious to point out the extremely recent increase in satellite-measured temperatures, but is unwilling to also consider the implications of the 1978-97 satellite temperature data. This strongly suggests that the global temperature changes prior to 1998 may have been due to natural oscillations related to El Nino. Jones’ approach is one-sided, rather than an objective approach that is more likely to lead to good science and balanced conclusions.
2. Jones appears to be unable or unwilling to think outside of the framework of the IPCC view of what influences climate.
His view that the warming must be man-made unless solar or volcanic forcing can be shown ignores all the research on the indirect effects of solar variability (such as the Svensmark hypothesis, as discussed in Section 2.5 of my Comments), and the effects of oceanic climate oscillations (such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, discussed in Section 2.4).
3. Jones still appears to see nothing wrong with splicing instrumental data on to tree ring data without extreme care to alert readers to this.
This is extraordinary — even if some group asked him to do it — since this does not allow readers to reach reasonable conclusions as to the usefulness of the tree ring data (and hence the claims made on the basis of it), which is so inconsistent with recent instrumental data.