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  1. I would like to see Naomi Oreskes’ presentation (video) get some support from you. Video is much more accessible than books for many, and she does a great job of peeling back the facade. She mentions origins that others seem to sometimes miss. (I’ve not read the book mentioned.) But “The American Denial of Global Warming” should get mention any time such topics are raised, imo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  2. Thanks for the review. I think DeepClimate’s efforts also deserve a shout.

    [Response: No question about it. Thanks. - mike]

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  3. My sense is increasingly that what’s under attack is less and less the merits of the climate consensus and more and more the credibility and integrity of scientists and science itself. In the last year, my discussions with people who resent AGW talk have more and more been about science and scientists that people disresepct, and less and less about climate arguments and facts that they disbelieve. If these people were only Limbaugh-Beck-Hannity disciples, I’d be less worried. But they’re not. I think scientists under-realize how much they themselves, and their profession, have been discredited by skillful deniers. I have no solution, but FWIW, I perceive an under-realization phenomenon that seems worth mentioning.

    Comment by Steven T. Corneliussen — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:30 AM

  4. I know RC has been trying to limit itself to engaging with the scientific content, but in doing so I think there is a danger of allowing the climate change denial lobby to frame the debate on their terms – ie to give the impression that they are motivated by scepticism about the robustness of the science behind climate change. In fact, all of the main links in the chain of climate denial you have mentioned share a common thread of right-wing ‘free market’ ideology. In the UK too, the primary sources of climate change denial have been right-wing ‘free market’ lobby groups, particularly the Centre for Policy Studies, and politicians politicians, such as Nigel Lawson.

    Of course, not everybody who reject the consensus is driven by right-wing ideology. And left-wing groups have also been guilty of distorting the science for their own political ends, for instance by underplaying uncertainties (eg in attributing individual weather events to climate change).

    I think it is important to note the enormous role of ideological motivation because it means most of the denial lobby will not accept the science as long as it runs counter to their ideologies. It also means that it is ideology, rather than to make financial gains from promoting the short-term commercial interests of particular businesses, that is the driving force.

    Not to say that RC isn’t valuable. Clearly the important thing is to inform the wider public who may be exposed to the politically-motivated arguments of the denial lobby and misled into thinking their arguments are driven by science rather than ideology.

    Keep up the excellent work.

    Comment by Bob Ward — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:37 AM


  5. But “The American Denial of Global Warming” should get mention any time such topics are raised, imo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    Cheers

    I attended that lecture! It took place at the Birch Aquarium (Scripps Institution of Oceanography). Naomi spoke to a packed house there (lots of folks who didn’t have reservations were turned away).

    Unfortunately, though, she most mostly speaking to the choir. The people who *really* need to hear (and understand) her message are the folks who attend East (San Diego) County megachurches. Unfortunately, Naomi would have to wear a Glenn Beck costume to get them to pay attention.

    Comment by caerbannog — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  6. I think I may have posted this before but when I troll denialist blogs, I typically end up making the following argument:
    ———————————————–
    So we are left with three possible conclusions:

    1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenants of AGW and are honest.

    2) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner.

    3) These scientists have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.

    Common sense and a sense of probability should lead one to the likely correct choice (#1) above. The first person to show proof of what IS causing the modern day global warming and that it is not AGW is likely to be the next Nobel science winner, or Darwin, or Einstein, etc.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:59 AM

  7. I totally agree with Scott Mandia’s comment. If the ‘debate’ could be reframed in the light of his three points, it might become more manageable.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 20 Oct 2009 @ 10:33 AM

  8. re: 6

    “The first person to show proof of what IS causing the modern day global warming and that it is not AGW is likely to be the next Nobel science winner, or Darwin, or Einstein, etc.”

    The problem with that, of course, is that the physics behind AGW shows that greenhouse gases trap heat. Witness Venus. Witness Earth, for that matter. If there’s “something else” causing heating, it means that there must be 2 hidden mechanisms: another source of heat and a way to get rid of the heat trapped by CO2 and CH4 etc. The hidden way to get rid of the heat trapped by CO2 and Ch4 will be most interesting since it didn’t get rid of the heat that got us out of the last glacial period. It’s a carbon-loving, carbon-producer-loving Maxwell’s Demon.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 20 Oct 2009 @ 10:44 AM

  9. Good stuff, and v. pleased to see something like this getting published! Also good points made above, particularly by Steven (#3) and Bob (#4).

    That said, the scientific case is not helped at all when exaggerations are made by some of the ‘green’ movement, or by people who claim they understand the climate science and then make dire predictions, probably well beyond the 90% confidence limits derived from the actual climate modelling. Also, some of the less well informed punters (can’t think of a better word, sorry!) are not able to handle ostensibly contradictory observations, and this makes them look evasive, or as if they are demanding special pleading for their case in the face of ‘reasonable’ evidence that might falsify their view. There was a very good example of this on the BBC yesterday lunchtime, in the ‘Daily Politics’:

    (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00njjj9/The_Daily_Politics_19_10_2009/)

    when Andrew Neil was interviewing a Govt. minister (Hilary Benn) and later a top barrister (Michael Mansfield), both of whom purportedly supported the scientific arguments in favour of AGW. Neil confronted them with the claim that the Antarctic ice is getting thicker, and asked them to explain how this was compatible with global warming; he also talked about mean temperatures and the trend in the same since 1998 (see the programme from about 7 minutes in, and also from about 9m 15s in). Neither of his interviewees was able to give a satisfactory response – at least not in my eyes – to what is indeed a fair question. I was particularly surprised that the minister was unable to deal with it, I should have expected him to be much better briefed.

    Anyway, I assume the answers should have been something like (but please correct me if I’m wrong):
    a) some climate models have predicted thicker Antarctic ice happening as a response to warming, since there should be more snow over the ice cap, but its areal extent still gets smaller overall, as it also melts faster at the extremeties, thus an observation of a thickening ice cap could actually be quite consistent with a warming trend, although more work is needed here;
    b) an increase in sea ice extent may be something to do with the Ozone hole over the Antarctic, and a recent scientific study has sought to explain the link; however, the effect is only temporary and quite local, and will be eliminated altogether sometime during the next 50-100ys; it also does very little to offset warming trends elsewhere;
    c) global warming will not remove or cancel out altogether natural regional variations and the tendency for local temperature records or weather patterns to be broken from time to time; rather, what we will see is that over most of the globe, most of the time, any new records will tend to be those relating to higher temperatures rather than lower ones, and weather patterns more generally will track this trend. thus, it will take longer and longer for cold/cooler weather records to be broken, whereas hot/warmer records will be broken more and more frequently.

    Similarly, Michael Mansfield did not help at all with his comments about flooding (one of own my special research topics) and its global warming cause. The British Hydrological Society’s Chronology of extreme weather events shows all too clearly that we have had (in the U.K.) much more severe flooding in Britain, and long before the recent warming trend set in, for centuries past. Moreover, the flooding pattern could well be cyclical, so his claim did nothing at all to help those scientists and others who are worried about global warming, and with good reason.

    So, a good book I hope, and good things to think about, but the protagonists really have to work harder to get their ducks – consistently -in a row …

    Comment by Nick O. — 20 Oct 2009 @ 10:53 AM

  10. Unfortunately common sense, or at least the exercise of common sense, is something that can’t be legislated.

    Comment by Ron Crouch — 20 Oct 2009 @ 10:55 AM

  11. I read the book in a day, and also strongly recommend it. The information about ties to companies like Exxon was already known, but the striking thing was the conflation of science with PR on the part of the deniers. Academic degrees are a means to a career, and the relevant science is rarely practiced: Milloy, for instance, has never worked as a scientist, but is in the PR business.

    Turns out that the ability to advance “sound science” is adaptable to any industry that pays: Milloy, Singer, Heartland and the rest have also done work for the tobacco and pesticide industries. “The science is not settled!” Few members of the public are aware of these links, and this needs to be communicated. We know that the deniers have no evidence on their side, but exposing obvious and repeated prostitution should not be left to a trade paperback addressed to the choir. If MSM has any integrity remaining, they need to pick up on this story.

    Comment by mike roddy — 20 Oct 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  12. “3) These scientists have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.”

    Nearly right, Scott.

    There’s a little more needed though:

    “And despite the widespread hoax, the tiny percentage have never been able to get any proof of the conspiracy of thousands”.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 11:28 AM

  13. Nick O.,
    The problem with your example is that the BBC reporter is going to lay people to explain technical points. Now, pray, why would he do that unless 1)he’s an idiot who doesn’t understand that technical arguments require technical expertise, or, 2)he’s trying to trip up laymen to undermine public trust in the science. I’ve made a general observation that science coverage on BBC is pretty piss poor. They tend toward the sensational or the stereotypical, and the reporters generally have no expertise. It’s probably the achilles heel of he whole network.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Oct 2009 @ 11:57 AM

  14. Rush Limbaugh does not know a single thing about the science behind global warming. What he does know is proposed measures to mitigate warming in the form of laws, regulations and international treaties will result in more government and bureaucrat influence and power, and a loss of freedom and individual liberty. This component of the debate is what fuels right wing opposition to the “warmists”, not any dispute with the science.

    Comment by B Buckner — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:25 PM

  15. Re: Antarctic ice. I’m an avid reader of this blog, and try to follow the science of global warming as close as possible, despite being a non-scientist. However, the one point where I still get completely confused is the Antarctic ice.
    Is the sea ice getting thinner or thicker? Is extent growing or lessening. Same for the land ice? Do we know why this is happening despite the warming climate? Does the ozone layer really have something to do with it as I’ve heard a couple times? What kind of records do we have for the past? (these are only a few of my questions).
    I would really really appreciate either a link to a good website/ blog that answers this, or a blog entry here about all this; because it’s more than muddy to me for now.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Juliette — 20 Oct 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  16. People like the book, and say so on RC, which is good. The RC folks generatemasses of good content. Is there any chance other readers might help out, say by going to Amazon and posting a review, even a very short one, or adding a comment or two to the existing reviews? Over the next year or so, how many people might read those reviews? I’m not suggesting trying to win wars of numbers, but people might think about taking a few minutes, and put a few good words where potential buyers might see them.

    Let me observe:
    3 reviews (2×5, 1×1): James Hoggan, 2009, Climate Cover-up.
    and to pick another:
    11 reviews 8×5,1×4,1×3,1×2: David Archer, 2008, The Long Thaw.

    And then we have:
    3 reviews (3×5): Ralph Alexander, 2009, Global Warming False Alarm: The Bad Science Behind the United Nations’ Assertion that Man-made CO2 Causes Global Warming.

    11 reviews (9×5,1×4,1×1) Howard C. Hayden, 2008, A Primer on CO2 and Climate, 2nd Edition.

    Hayden and ALexander were both nuclear physicists, and for both, a key reference (and several pages of discussion) was one that might be familiar:

    Ernst-Georg Beck, “180 years of atmospheric CO2 gas analyses by chemical methods”…

    Hayden writes (p.8):
    Beck[5] points out that Keeling, who measured CO2 at Mauna Loa, merely dismissed all data inconsistent with his own. But Keeling is not alone….”

    Alexander (who thanks Hayden for answering questions: yes, this makes sense, ask a retired nuclear physicist), writes:
    “This is why the IPCC, in order to bolster its hypothesis about CO2 and global warming, saw fit to completely ignore the chemical measurements.” Bad dog, IPCC! …Callandar (bad dog) … “Good science looks at all the data. If we do that, the increase in atmospheric CO2 from 320 to 390 parts per million since 1850 is only about half as much (22%) as the cherry-picking IPCC has told us, based solely on ice-core data….natural variability can explain most, if not all, of the global warming that has occurred.”

    stuff like that. I haven’t put up reviews yet due to working on something else, but I will. For fun, others might want to do that also, and see how many errors are findable, or do a Wiki entry here, whatever.

    Just mentioning a few references:
    Hayden:
    McIntyre&McKitrick, Wall Street Journal OpEd, Singer&Avery, Gerlich&Tscheuschner, Gwynne “The Cooling World” in Newsweek 1975, Douglass+Christy+Pearons+Singer, Friis-Christensen, Scfetta+West, Benny Peiser (totally refuted Oreskes), Steve Milloy, etc. Authoritiave stuff.

    Alexander: Lawrence Solomon’s THe Deniers, Inhofe/Morano reports, Lindzen “Climate of Fear” in WSJ, OISM Petition Project, Benny Peiser (again, refuted Oreskes), Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer’s book, MicKitrick+Michaels, Singer+Avery, Singer, Seitz, John McLean “Why the IPCC must be is disbanded.”, Green+Armstrong, and many more. A cornucopia.

    However it does mention Steig+Schneider+Rutherford+Mann, but of course, citing a comment by “Economist Hu McCulloch” proved *them* wrong … at ClimateAudit.

    Best quote:
    “As a scientist, what I personally find most troubling about the global warming debate is the gross misuse of science by those on the alarmist side. The worst public offender is the IPCC,…” p.6.

    Still, it has 3 5-star reviews, which themselves bear reading. It is useful to know that one of the reviewers (Paul Drallos) write papers with Alexander back at Wayne State. RC readers will recognize one of the other reviewers.

    Comment by John Mashey — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:09 PM

  17. B. Buckner, Hmm, which situation do you think will lead to the greatest draconian measures and bureaucratic power:

    1)We address the problem early enough and with sufficient level of effort that we avoid the worst effects of climate change;

    2)We wait to address the problem until the caca is hitting the fan, resulting in public panic and clamber for immediate action?

    Oh, wait. All Rush et al. care about is their own miserable skins, so it’s a moot question.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:20 PM

  18. RC Welcome back! I was afraid you got lost. Please publish more often. I know you must be bored with saying the same thing over and over, but the world needs you.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:20 PM

  19. RE:
    “So we are left with three possible conclusions:

    1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenants of AGW and are honest.

    2) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner.

    3) These scientists have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.

    Common sense and a sense of probability should lead one to the likely correct choice (#1) above.

    —————————————————-
    So we are left with three possible conclusions:

    1) An overwhelming majority of financial experts agree about much of the safety of collatoralized debt obligations and are honest.

    2) An overwhelming majority of financial experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner.

    3) These financiers have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly not working on Wall Street) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.

    Common sense and a sense of probability should lead one to the likely correct choice (#1) above.

    ————————————————

    I submit:

    4) An overwhelming majority of (financial/climate/other) experts agree about much in their area of expertise, and behave as a self selected group to balance the tasks of contributing to their field and bettering their own lives without resorting to dishonor.

    …”but theses are _scientists_! They’re not like financial analysts at all!”

    Comment by KevinM — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  20. Thanks for the review of Climate Cover Up Mike.

    And good call by RC commentators to highlight Oreskes’lecture, I am going to do a post today on her video.

    Finally, thanks John for pointing out some of things people can do to help push this book far and wide, we need to break through the noise and get this in the hands of people not yet exposed to these misinformation efforts.

    Some things to do:

    1. Email me if you have a blog and you want a review copy (desmogblog@gmail.com).
    2. Send the link (www.desmogblog.com/climate-cover-up) to your friends via email, facebook and/or twitter.
    3. Buy a copy (of course) and when you’re done pass it on to a friend to read – please don’t let it sit on a shelf getting dusty.
    4. Send info on the book to a reporter you think might be interested in covering the book.
    5. And as John points out, do a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

    Thanks!

    Kevin Grandia
    Managing Editor
    http://www.desmogblog.com

    Comment by Kevin Grandia — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:44 PM

  21. Scott #6,
    That should be “tenets” not “tenants”. Otherwise I agree wholeheartedly.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  22. Well if you take a barrel of oil at $80 and the worlds energy mix is 40% oil and at 4.5 billion tonnes of it per annum being consumed then its not hard to see why climate scientists are seen as part of an elaborate left wing hoax. I mean thats 7 barrels per tonne and hence 30 billion x 80 = $2.4 trillion a year!!!

    You can say that money don’t talk. For miserably small amounts of that money the disinformation machine can seduce many people into saying many things. Gas and coal also make up another 40-50% of the worlds energy mix. Loads of money doing unspeakable things.

    Comment by pete best — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  23. > Best quote:
    > “As a scientist, what I personally find most troubling about the global warming debate is the gross misuse of science by those on the alarmist side. The worst public offender is the IPCC,…” p.6.

    I think it’s really weird.

    I’ve wondered why these denialists rant and rave about alarmism yet in their attacks on the IPCC and AGW science they say

    “They’re all communist marxists out to steal our freedom!”

    or

    “You’ll have us living in the Stone Ages!!!”

    or

    “They are looking for a New One World Order!”

    Are these not alarmist?

    Worse, they are alarmist with ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE ***whatsoever*** to support them. Not even the most extreme end of prediction or extrapolated evidence.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 1:55 PM

  24. James Hoggan has done Canada and the world a huge service, not to mention doing much to redeem the public relations profession.

    I first got involved with digging into Friends of Science and documenting same at SourceWatch.org because of initial revelations at DesmogBlog.

    A common (and depressing) feature of PR climate propaganda campaigns is the use of hidden, tax-deductible donations as primary source of funding. In Canada, the Fraser Institute, Frontier Centre and other contrarian organizations receive such funding. Friends of Science has largely operated through indirect support from such funding as well.

    As long as organizations like the Calgary Foundation are allowed to stonewall, there will never be proper transparency and accountability. Five years after the Calgary Foundation first started funding these activities, their level of funding appears stronger than ever. Ditto for the Fraser Institute and the others. But at least some are starting to ask the right questions.

    For more on the recent resurgence of Friends of Science see here:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/09/22/friends-of-science-behind-moncktons-magical-mystery-tour/

    Comment by Deep Climate — 20 Oct 2009 @ 2:06 PM

  25. “This component of the debate is what fuels right wing opposition to the “warmists”, not any dispute with the science.”

    Is it supposed to help your cause to pretend there is no opposing science, by scientists?

    This kind of tactic is what undermines the credibility of the AGW lobby here.

    [Response: What undermines comments like this is that science isn't split into pro and con factions. There is no such thing as 'opposition' science. - gavin]

    Comment by John H. — 20 Oct 2009 @ 2:12 PM

  26. Wow. I can’t believe the trolls haven’t attacked this yet. Usually they’re all over any mention of Climate Cover Up.

    Would it be naive for me to assume that they’ve all read the book and have now figured out they were fooled?

    Comment by Kevin Grandia — 20 Oct 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  27. re Scott A Mandia #6

    Good grief, is this the level of reasoning used in climate science? If so, it explains a lot.

    1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenants of AGW and are honest.
    Depends on how you define “climate experts” but there are a lot of high profile names out there who certainly don’t agree, and literally thousands who’ve signed up to diagree. Perhaps, for example, you’re ignoring the 131 very senior German scientists who wrote to Angela Merkel to urgently put the sceptics case?

    2) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner.
    Strawman. Again “international climate experts” is undefined. Perhaps you’re thinking of someone of the calibre of Richard Lindzen, who truly is an international expert? No, perhaps not. I suspect you mean the scientists from many disciplines who contribute their own area of physical or chemical science to the climate models. They’re all totally confident in their own expertise – it’s all the many other disciplines they’re not confident about, and in particular how their work is bolted onto the others’ in an impenetrable (to almost everyone bar the developers) climate model

    3) These scientists have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.
    More straw. No conspiracy needed. They have just agreed to accept the results on the GCMs published by the IPCC. After all, what else can they do? They can’t challenge the models unless they deconstruct the code. And, as I said, they’re proud of their little bit of science that’s imbedded in it.

    No conspuiracy needed. just a pervasive layer of ignorance that spreads across most of the scientific community.

    [Response: What nonsense. You don't need climate models to conclude there is a problem here, and I can assure you, the scientists who don't work on climate models are not the supine ignoramuses you appear to think they are. The idea that half a dozen modellers have pulled the wool over the eyes of the National Academy, the AGU, the AAAS, the IPCC and everyone else is just la-la-la fantasy land. - gavin]

    Comment by Recycler — 20 Oct 2009 @ 2:18 PM

  28. “Is it supposed to help your cause to pretend there is no opposing science, by scientists? ”

    John H, your mistake (and mistake it is) is to think that the opposing science is not held within the IPCC and AGW science arena.

    Your mistake is assuming that only WUWT and CA and Heartland et al are the opposition science since they say the IPCC is wrong.

    Try reading the IPCC reports.

    Try reading the science papers the IPCC reports draws from.

    It is THERE you will see the opposition science.

    What you’ll see on those who say the IPCC is wrong is comfort lies. Evasive half truths. Misquotes and bad science all over.

    They aren’t the opposition, they merely OPPOSE the IPCC.

    They have nothing: they have the need only to tear down the IPCC.

    That is not science. It’s politics.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 2:47 PM

  29. Oh come on, have a little empathy for the conspiracy believers.

    I was lucky enough to get a good public education in California, but public education for most Americans is horrendous. I agree with the CO2 science because I can understand it without a translator. To most people it’s all Greek.

    The average person does not see “undeniable evidence for climate change.” Because the average person sees weather, not climate. If you had to estimate purely on personal experience of weather over your lifetime, could you say that you know the world is getting hotter? The only reason I have any inclination of major climate change is because of data compiled and gathered by others. Data that I can understand without a translator. Since I agree with the results, the data gathering and translation by a relatively small group of people is a favor. But for people who disagree, it’s a conspiracy.

    Do I understand that if the earth is in for a cooling cycle to peak around 2020, that it doesn’t negate the global warming contribution of CO2? Yes I do. But the average person is just going to see years of cold weather, not “a cooler climate that is x degrees warmer than it would have been without all the extra CO2.”

    My advice is to hammer down those decadal predictions, explain a solid understanding of the natural cycles and where they would have headed without the extra CO2. Because the average person isn’t going to trust your 80-year-from-now climate prediction if your weather prediction over the next 10 years isn’t on the money.

    Comment by Steve — 20 Oct 2009 @ 3:00 PM

  30. KevinM, who has mistakenly equated climate scientists with fund managers, needs to read; a good start would be Chu-Carroll, here, who points out among much else cherrypicking numbers and ignoring risk as foolish financial moves.

    http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2008/09/economic_disasters_and_stupid.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2008/10/credit_default_swaps_gambling.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Oct 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  31. Recycler 2:18

    You posted:

    “1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenants of AGW and are honest.
    Depends on how you define “climate experts” but there are a lot of high profile names out there who certainly don’t agree, and literally thousands who’ve signed up to disagree. Perhaps, for example, you’re ignoring the 131 very senior German scientists who wrote to Angela Merkel to urgently put the sceptics case?”

    I was reading the statement by the scientists you refer to and I was fairly impressed by what they said. After all, I am a non-scientist and non-AGW expert. But then they suddenly referred to what was clearly the Heartland Institute’s conference in New York as backup. And the I knew the German scientists were bullshitters.

    Hoist by their own petard?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 20 Oct 2009 @ 3:24 PM

  32. I am copying the entire earlier post fro Juliette as I think it is important, and I agree fully with her – Gavin take note?

    “Re: Antarctic ice. I’m an avid reader of this blog, and try to follow the science of global warming as close as possible, despite being a non-scientist. However, the one point where I still get completely confused is the Antarctic ice.
    Is the sea ice getting thinner or thicker? Is extent growing or lessening. Same for the land ice? Do we know why this is happening despite the warming climate? Does the ozone layer really have something to do with it as I’ve heard a couple times? What kind of records do we have for the past? (these are only a few of my questions).
    I would really really appreciate either a link to a good website/ blog that answers this, or a blog entry here about all this; because it’s more than muddy to me for now.

    Thank you.”

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 20 Oct 2009 @ 3:30 PM

  33. A lot of people here try hard to convince themselves. To realize that climate is driven mainly by other factors than just some more parts per million of CO2 in the air is like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Comment by Svempa — 20 Oct 2009 @ 3:32 PM

  34. Recycler,
    Let’s define climate experts as those publishing regularly in climate science, shall we? Here’s a list of the most frequently cited authors in climate change.

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/climate_authors_table.html

    Have fun looking for your denialists. Hint: Look way, way down the list. Is this because they are bad scientists? No. It is because their ideologically driven insistence on a low CO2 sensitivity makes their outlook impotent when it comes to understanding climate. Denialism: it doesn’t work.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Oct 2009 @ 3:47 PM

  35. Kevin M,

    1)I am a scientist. When I get a bonus, it has 3 significant figures to the left of the decimal place. When a securities analyst gets a bonus, it has 6 or more significant figures to the left of the decimal place. Climate science is curiosity driven. Finance is profiit/greed driven.

    2)The problems with the CDOs and other derivatives are quite simple to understand–basically, the analysts were using nonrepresentative data to estimate risk. This is not the case with climate science.

    3)Climate science is peer reviewed. Financial research is proprietary.

    4)Climate science has a 30 year record of significant success. Financial research? Not so much.

    So, Kevin, do you even know any scientists?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Oct 2009 @ 4:03 PM

  36. Juliette (15) — Antarctica is doing mostly what is expected; not much. The only exception is Pine Island Glacier (and two others nearby) which appear to be in substantial retreat; enough to worry some.

    For more details here on RealCLimate, try the search feature at the top of the page.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Oct 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  37. “when Andrew Neil was interviewing a Govt. minister (Hilary Benn) and later a top barrister (Michael Mansfield), both of whom purportedly supported the scientific arguments in favour of AGW. Neil confronted them with the claim that the Antarctic ice is getting thicker, and asked them to explain how this was compatible with global warming;”

    Andrew Neil said “the latest studies in the Antarctic show that ice, the ice shield there now is 30% higher than the 30 year average, and that is where 89% of the world’s ice is.”

    That is typical of a statement that is not even wrong. There is no such thing as the Antarctic ice shield. There are Antarctic ice shelves and Antarctic ice sheets. It is the sheets which are 89% of the world’s ice; it is the ice shelves which growing. But what has thickened by 30% is the sea ice, something which reforms each year. See:
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25348657-401,00.html

    But what is needed is someone with encyclopedic knowledge to face Andrew Neil, an experienced ‘shock jock’ armed with questions supplied by a bank of researchers.

    But which scientist is capable or willing to take on such a task? Until one is found, the septics are bound to win :-(

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 20 Oct 2009 @ 4:59 PM

  38. Recycler wrote: “… just a pervasive layer of ignorance that spreads across most of the scientific community.”

    What are you recycling other than drivel?

    Here we have the classic case of the crank who actually believes that he, and he alone, knows the SIMPLE AND OBVIOUS REASON why all of climate science is WRONG — a SIMPLE AND OBVIOUS REASON that has somehow eluded the grasp of hundreds and hundreds of dedicated, diligent, highly trained scientists from all over the world who have studied the issue for decades.

    Can you say “megalomania”? Sure you can.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:08 PM

  39. With regards to the alleged fact that an overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenants of AGW and are honest:

    There is such a thing as organizational momentum. We know its true because we all say its true.

    There is a large, well known chemical company that was once under contract with the U S Department of Energy that insisted the best way to process millions of gallons of very high level radioactive waste was to add a complex organic molecule to million gallon underground waste tanks. The organic compound would precipitate the major radioactive constituent out of solution. The liquid could then be pumped through filters to filter out the vast majority of the radioactive material, leaving a greatly reduced level of radioactivity in the liquid waste. A lone government, yes “gommit” scientist, warned of the unpredictability of the chemical reactions due to the complexity of the organic molecule and high radiation fields. The lone gommit scientist proposed the development of an ion exchange column resin that would remove the major radioactive constituents. Every time a new top U S DOE top manager was rotated through the organization, the lone gommit scientist would schedule a meeting and would go over his concerns with the contractor’s plans to processing the high level waste. But what could the manager do when an entire company full of top notch chemical scientists and engineers were recommending one way, and a lone gommit scientist was recommending another? Well, even though bench scale and pilot scale demonstration plants were run, and some problems with benzene generation were evident, the full scale project went ahead. Shortly after start-up of the process, incredible amounts of benzene gas were being generated. Modifications were made to handle the benzene, but the problem became worse. In the end, it was decided that the chemists did not and could not understand what was happening in the million gallon underground tank. There were just too many variables and uncertainties. The process was finally shut down. It turned out to be a $500M embarrassment to the U S Dept of Energy. A new plant is now under construction that will use a solvent extraction process.

    CO2 absorbs infra-red radiation, so it is a greenhouse gas. Therefore, the human addition to the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere likely causes some warming. But the question is how much and could C02 perhaps interact with the atmosphere to counteract its greenhouse effect. I have read the IPCC reports and the models have yet to accurately predict decadal trends. Agreeing with the past means nothing. I could come up with a model that does that. The IPCC report does not show empirical evidence for the amounts of warming predicted by the models.

    Comment by John Phillips — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:09 PM

  40. John Phillips, Your saying it does not make it so. The models have actually been VERY successful:

    http://www.bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    CO2 sensitivity is constrained by nearly a dozen separate strains of evidence, and all the evidence points (with 90-95% confidence) to our having a really big problem on our hands. So the question is: Why are you so willing to bet the future of humanity on a 20:1 longshot?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  41. For cat’s sake, it’s tenets! Not tenants. Tenets!

    Comment by J Mac — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  42. “There is such a thing as organizational momentum. We know its true because we all say its true.”

    And you know this to be true because you all say this is true.

    Self deception is so very easy, isn’t it, John.

    And you’ll deny empirical evidence that comes your way because there’s ALWAYS a nit to pick.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:53 PM

  43. “1)I am a scientist. When I get a bonus, it has 3 significant figures to the left of the decimal place. ”

    Flipping heck, Ray.

    You can’t work for government, then, as a scientist. If I add several years bonus, I’ll get 3 figures…

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:54 PM

  44. “To realize that climate is driven mainly by other factors than just some more parts per million of CO2 in the air is like shooting fish in a barrel.”

    Problem is that you don’t even have fish.

    Or bullets.

    Or a gun.

    But you DO have a barrel.

    But no water.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:58 PM

  45. John Phillips: Agreeing with the past means nothing. I could come up with a model that does that.

    Great, please do. When you do, go ahead and publish in the refereed literature. Or just post here. I’m very interested to see what you come up with.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:58 PM

  46. #39 John Philips:

    Which IPCC reports did you read? The ones I read are quite convincing. If they were not so convincing, why haven’t much smarter folks than me figured this out and published earth-shattering papers?

    Something to also keep in mind is that the language used by scientists tends to be cautious and may read as if there is greater uncertainty than there really is. Science can never prove something to be true so the language will reflect levels of confidence (or probability) and not levels of certainty. A subtle point but one that is lost on many when they read the IPCC reports. This cautionary language, although perfectly appropriate, has actually undermined the importance of the message.

    Finally, not to nit-pick but “tenets” is the correct word. :)

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tenets

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 20 Oct 2009 @ 5:58 PM

  47. “So the question is: Why are you so willing to bet the future of humanity on a 20:1 longshot?”

    Because he will won’t be able to loot the planet and some undeserving poor people will get the benefit of not dying.

    How does THAT help his bottom line????

    Comment by Mark — 20 Oct 2009 @ 6:21 PM

  48. Ray,
    I don’t think you can dismiss the analogy with financial analysts quite so easily. There are roughly 20,000 academic economists working at universities around the world, with a large portion of them doing curiosity driven research (and they are relatively low-paid, compared with investment bankers). But only a miniscule percentage of them saw any problem at all before the financial crisis.

    [Response: Actually I don't think that was true. Robert Schiller is hardly low profile and he was talking about the problems in the housing market very early on. The Economist had been warning about asset price bubbles and dire consequences for over a year prior to the meltdown. I think you are more correct in thinking people did not forsee the magnitude of the events or anticipate the exact sequence of problems in the credit market - but there were plenty of signs of trouble and plenty of people who saw them. - gavin]

    Comment by david — 20 Oct 2009 @ 6:33 PM

  49. Like BPL, I also have a list of what climate models do reasonably well on the link below:

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/climate_models_accuracy.html

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 20 Oct 2009 @ 6:49 PM

  50. It’s good that there is an increasing library of popular nonfiction books explaining the science and potential perils of climate change. The more technical they are, though, the least likely the books will be read by most of the lay public. This is the reason Michael Crichton could get away with the biased portrayal in State of Fear. It’s odd that the so-called liberal media, and that includes New York and London publishing conglomerates, have chosen not to produce one mainstream novel that takes on Crichton.

    I’ve written such a novel over the last three years and have been in the room at some big agencies, who almost bit, but backed off at the last minute. My characters are much more fully drawn than Crichton’s and the science is solid and streamlined for a mass audience as much as it can be and still be in the book. I matched his footnotes with my own. There are murders, a love story, political intrigue and climate problems confronting the players, all constructed with writing of a quality that would allow Dan Brown to evade harsh criticism for style should he learn how to craft prose. Yet, the brokers run from the story like scalded cats. My working hypothesis is the marketers are afraid of offending the public since everyone has responsibility for the solutions. It’s much easier to concoct a less than truthful tale where at the end of the day global warming is bunk. I don’t intend to give up on the truth in fiction meme.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 20 Oct 2009 @ 7:13 PM

  51. We have several different groups of climate change deniers and it is not a good idea to lump them in all together.

    First we have those with some expertise in the area like Lindzen. Second we have those with a scientific or technical background but not in Climate Science. And third we have those without much in the way of scientific or technical knowledge. Not all the motivations are the same in all these groups.

    The first group is largely motivated by a mixture of genuine concerns about our understanding of climate and of ego. With time the second component of the mixture has been increasing and the first decreasing. I say this because of the increasing number of disingenuous arguments that they are using. Unfortunately it seems to me that ego-driven behaviour is found among other climate scientists as well but it does affect their positions less.

    The second group often wrongly apply experience gained in their areas to Climate Science. The ones that I run into most have a background in Information Technology. They are used to fragile software systems and confuse fragility of software with the fragility of physical models. Another group with a lot of deniers are archeologists and to a lesser extent geologists. They frequently argue that climate has changed in the past without human intervention, so why should we look to human activity to explain present trends. What they overlook is the fact that we have detailed information on current changes which allows attributions to specific causes. We do not have that for past changes but if we did then we would be able to attribute them to specific causes as well. And the there are those who misunderstand the significance of apparent anomalies. For example look at the warming on Mars argument. They are often getting bogged down in details and missing overall patterns.

    The third group often let politics affect their judgment on scientific matters. There is a smaller element of this in the first two groups. Many of them are confused by the denialists’ arguments. But many of them see everything through a political lens. They believe those who take their political position and disbelieve political opponents without really examining their arguments. They adopt the opinions that they believe are appropriate for their side of politics. They do not understand professional integrity. They do not understand that Science has mechanisms to reduce the effect of personal biases. They assume that those who disagree with them must also be driven by politics because they are themselves. There are people who just do not get the inexorability of physical processes. They are used to arguing with other people about social matters and trying to win arguments. It doesn’t sink in that the Universe does not listen to arguments and no matter how strong and how convincing an argument they make, if they are wrong the Universe will crush them.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 20 Oct 2009 @ 7:17 PM

  52. Some so called mainstream reporters can also be guity of showing bias through their attempts to appear neutral. The following , a quote from Eliazabeth Kolbert, author of “Field Notes from a Catastrophe” has this to say about the role of reporters regarding climate science:

    “Reporters are supposed to stand outside the conflict and treat both sides impartially. But,as many have noted, this effort to be unbiased can itself become a form of bias Just because two people or two groups disagree,it doesn’t follow that the two sides have an equal claim on our attention…………….. People with no particular knowledge, supported by vested interests, have often been accorded as much column space or airtime as scientists who have devoted their lives to studying the issue. Journalists ,it could be argued, completely missed the global warming story by treating it as a debate when, really, it never was one.”
    (From p 71 of “Climate Change- Picturing the Science” by Gavin and Joshua Wolfe)

    This neatly summarizes what a number of reporters that I’ve come across, are guilty of.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 20 Oct 2009 @ 7:21 PM

  53. 47.“So the question is: Why are you so willing to bet the future of humanity on a 20:1 longshot?”

    The future of humanity may be more dire if the mitigation actions the IPCC is recommending are taken than if global warming is allowed to happen, assuming it does.

    The modellers likely do not fully understand all climate drivers. See recent paper by Zeebe,et al http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n8/abs/ngeo578.html

    Comment by John Phillips — 20 Oct 2009 @ 7:45 PM

  54. david #48:

    A friend of mine is a risk analyst in the financial industry. He worked in the US in the lead up to the financial crisis. Prior to the collapse was talking about the seriously dodgy nature of the housing industry and financial markets in general, as if it was obvious for all to see and was inevitably going to go pear shaped.

    Seems to me that the most obvious analogy to make is that in both the financial sector and with regard to the climate, short sighted people focussed on near term profit disregard and denounce the people who study, understand and warn of the dire nature of situation.

    Comment by Craig Allen — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  55. A mistake that many of us are making is in appealing too much to the scientific consensus as an argument for why people should believe that AGW is happening.

    Now yes, it is generally reasonable to deffer to the opinions of experts if you do not have the opportunity to check out something yourself. But people will argue that sometimes the scientific consensus is wrong. And that argument from authority is wrong. In particular this appeal fails when you are arguing with someone without much climate expertise but with scientific and technical expertise in other fields.

    After all how often do scientists appeal to scientific consensus when arguing among themselves? They don’t, for obvious reasons. What scientists do appeal to is consilience, that different lines of enquiry lead to the same conclusions. Shouldn’t we be emphasizing how everything fits together? Yes, these arguments are not brief but we have to tell people that there aren’t any brief simple arguments in this field. They have to sit down for awhile and pay attention.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  56. John Phillips, the complexity of the climate system is not an argument for blithely adding hundreds of gigatons of greenhouse gasses to it. Much the reverse.

    Comment by llewelly — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:25 PM

  57. David, if you don’t believe anyone tried to warn about the economy, try, e.g.
    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2007_08_01_archive.html
    Or any other day or month and you’ll find plenty of warnings. ‘Business as usual’ keeps on, ignoring warnings, as long as it can. Watch for the pattern.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Oct 2009 @ 8:25 PM

  58. Congratulations on a short, sharp and informative review. I’ll buy the book and recommend it to others. One short technical question from the discussion following, re posts 35 and 43 – what’s a bonus ?:)

    Comment by Paul Harris — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:07 PM

  59. Unfortunately, RealClimate will always be on the losing end of the “denial wars” simply because of how the debate has been so carefully crafted by the denial industry. This is to say that the science does not actually matter at all. The “debate” doesn’t actually exist in reality, but it subsists in being a useful fiction. Contrarian nonsense is allowed to flourish in references (in the media, on the internets, etc) if it is not challenged, and if it is challenged then it creates the illusion of a massive debate, and either way…you have successfully created confusion. Anyone with an education in science or who can connect logical points together will not be fooled by all of the arguments used against modern climate change science, but the disinformation campaign tactics are not intended for that audience.

    The fact is that anyone who denies the reality of anthropogenic climate change is either trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes or does not understand the basic physics which govern the radiative balance (and hence temperature) of the planet. Just to be clear, there are several parts of what I would consider to be aspects of what people refer to as “AGW.” I do this (and use quotations) because it’s a phrase which is not often well-defined, despite being used so intensively in discussion. Strictly speaking it could mean that man has some influence on the modern temperature rise, but we probably need to be more specific.

    – Carbon Dioxide (among methane, N2O, ozone, etc) is a greenhouse gas and increasing its concentration makes the planet a less effective emitter of radiation at some given temperature. The result is a warmer planet.

    – The radiative effects of rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last century and future times will not be negligible and not swamped by other external forcings or internal variability.

    – Climate responses to a radiative perturbation act in such a manner to amplify the Planck-feedback response of the climate system. I did a post on this recently. The large influences on this include the increase in water vapor content of the atmosphere which approximately scales with Clausius-Clapeyron (i.e., with conserved Relative humidity), a vertical temperature response that has a structure like the moist adiabatic lapse rate, and decreased surface albedo, with pronounced lower-level amplification at the poles. Cloud feedback is pretty uncertain, however a range of about 3 C (+/- 50% or so) is a consistent picture from the past climate record of how much we should expect from an equilibrium response to a doubling of CO2. This prevents a very low sensitivity (as argued by Lindzen, Spencer, and others) or a very high one (e.g., greater than 5 C) from being reality.

    All of these and more are the common themes which are attacked, albeit unsuccessfully but contrarian think-tanks. There are some other things worth pointing out when discussing “AGW.”

    – The Holocene provides a unique geologic time period in which human civilization was allowed to build and flourish, and it has been marked by climatic stability. There are a few bumps in the Holocene (especially in the earlier times), including a Medieval Climatic Anomaly and LIA, but the range of temperature variations is very small compared to glacial-interglacial variations.

    – Modern society is not a tribal one, and quick adjustments are not easy when confronted with large changes. Modern infrastructure is very much dependent on a status-quo, and thus a change in climate on decadal to centennial timescales can be detrimental to the welfare of society. Such impacts include, but are not limited to, sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, drought and heat wave increases (in frequency and/or intensity), and the like. It can also be detrimental to ecosystems for these reasons.

    – There is no quick and easy way to “fix” the climate problem. Geo-engineering proposals which rely on increasing planetary albedo by solar radiation management are not convincing and carry a host of other issues (including, but not limited to, not fixing ocean acidification, pollution problems associated with aerosol increases, regional climate change, and management lifetime which is much shorter than CO2 lifetime in the atmosphere). Other logistical and economical problems exist with alternative methods. Some combination of an emerging alternative energy system and a decline of fossil fuel industry will likely be required for long-term solutions. As such, fixing climate change is not trivial, and is one reason that so much motivation exists to halt progress on doing it.

    – Regarding climate model discussions, saying “models do/do not simulate the current or past climates well” is a meaningless statement. The answer depends on the variable of interest (temp, precipitation, etc), the statistic (mean, extremes, etc), the spatial and temporal scales, and some clarification of what “good enough” means. For climate change purposes, one can also ask how relevant some deficiency is in having confidence in the broad-brush picture. A double ITCZ or inability to sufficiently reproduce MJO-like behavior is important (and one certainly cannot make broad statements like “we can simulate the current climate” because we obviously can’t), but those things aren’t going to change the fact that
    CO2 warms the planet, and the implications for sensitivity are probably small. In contrast, rather robust pictures of polar amplification, global temperature rise, stratospheric cooling, etc emerge in even simple models. No one can offer an explanation for how to systematically increase CO2 content of the atmosphere in the future, and not get significant warming…they can’t because it’s going to happen.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 20 Oct 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  60. The modellers likely do not fully understand all climate drivers. See recent paper by Zeebe,et al http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n8/abs/ngeo578.html

    John Phillips claims that since something different may’ve happened FIFTY-FIVE MILLION YEARS AGO, climate scientists today can’t figure out what might be happening today over the next few decades.

    I love denialism: “hockey-stick reconstructions over the last 2000 years must be false, because 2000 years ago is a LONG TIME! Meanwhile, how can you ignore what happened FIFTY-FIVE MILLION YEARS AGO!”

    John Phillips is a [edit - turd]

    Comment by dhogaza — 20 Oct 2009 @ 10:51 PM

  61. Per Lloyd Flack, #55: “But people will argue that sometimes the scientific consensus is wrong. And that argument from authority is wrong.”

    Your second claim is simply false; you are conflating arguing from authority with the argumentum ad vericundiam, the argument from false or misleading authority. Arguing from authority is not only perfectly reasonable it is absolutely unavoidable. It only becomes a fallacy if the authority is not relevant to the subject at hand. You would not turn to your postal carrier for medical advice, nor would you turn to your physician for recommendations for the best route to follow in your neighborhood for making deliveries.

    As to your first point, you are conflating the existence of contrarians with the reality of dispute. Having a Ph.D and a lab smock with your name monogrammed on it is not by itself sufficient to prove that you are a scientist. For there to be a genuine scientific dispute, the various disputants would have to both be producing publishable and published research which stands up to careful, critical scrutiny. Just because some individual with a monogrammed lab smock stands out in public noisily wringing his/her hands or gnashing her/his teeth does not provide evidence of an actual scientific controversy. Something more is required than one’s intractable and infantile ego; real science is also required.

    And getting published is not all that difficult, if one has genuine research and testable observations in one’s material. The filtering that occurs in the peer-review process is certainly necessary, but frankly rather minimal. Crackpot nonsense gets published all the time, in all fields of research, but then usually gets its due in the following replies and critical responses. So the fact that genuinely contrarian research cannot even make it past the basic peer-review process is extremely telling.

    Comment by Gary Herstein — 20 Oct 2009 @ 11:31 PM

  62. Ok, maybe I was a little strong in saying nobody predicted the financial crisis. Certainly many people were talking about a housing bubble, and I read several articles predicting severe problems prior to them actually occurring. But the near collapse of a large chunk of the global banking sector was not predicted by the great majority of economists, and this seems to me to be a quite serious failing. There was a good article in the NYtimes recently by the nobel laurette Paul Krugman “How did economists get it so wrong”, which includes the line “Few economists saw our current crisis coming”.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html?_r=1&em

    Part way through the article he refers to a presentation at an academic conference where someone pointed out that financial institutions were taking on dangerous levels of risk, and were treated dismissively by most of the audience.

    Personally, I would take the lesson from this to be that we should be cautious when tinkering with complex systems that affect everything we do (like the climate or the banking system), but I can see how it might also be used to cast doubt on the reliability of experts.

    Comment by david — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:51 AM

  63. One important thing to remember in comparing AGW to the financial collapse is also, that the latter was more of a chaotic event — like weather. Sure economists understand the business cycle and that there are up times and down times in the economy, just like atmospheric physicists are well aware that sometimes it shines, sometimes it rains. But when and how precisely… that’s a different question!

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 21 Oct 2009 @ 1:54 AM

  64. John Phillips #53:

    The future of humanity may be more dire if the mitigation actions the IPCC is recommending are taken than if global warming is allowed to happen, assuming it does.

    Don’t be such an alarmist.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 21 Oct 2009 @ 1:58 AM

  65. > But the near collapse of a large chunk of the global banking sector was not predicted by the great majority of economists,

    And you yourself were an economist?

    What if they’d predicted it but also predicted that the sheeple on hearing this would panic sell and this would CAUSE a collapse, probably one even worse than the one that happened anyway?

    Economists DID predict it.

    But if you tell lots of people, you lose out.

    Nortel went bust. One of the C*E executives sold EVERY SINGLE share he had two days before it tanked from its high of $92 a share to $40.

    Imagine if he’d told anyone what he saw happening in the future?

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 3:33 AM

  66. “After all how often do scientists appeal to scientific consensus when arguing among themselves? ”

    Lloyd, those scientists who do NOT use an appeal to consensus are those who are doing work in that area.

    Are YOU working on a climate science paper?

    Is Joe Shmoe?

    Rod B?

    Me?

    No.

    So I’m not actually working to find out myself. Nor is anyone here apart from the owners of this site and a very few posters.

    We HAVE to accept from authority and consensus, but we need to check that they ARE an authority too.

    We can also check their authority by using what we DO know to see what fits. AGW science fits what I do know to be true personally, denialist science arguments don’t have one.

    We can also use the consistency of argument. AGW say “CO2 is the biggest cause of change today”. They don’t chop and change that. Denilaists say “It’s not warming”. They say “It’s the sun making it warm”. They say “Such small a thing cannot change our climate”. They say “GCRs do it”.

    Those arguments taken as pairs are inconsistent. They cannot both be true, but even if you can’t find amongst the thousand caterwauling voices one holding both at different times, you NEVER hear one say to the other “you’re wrong”. The only conclusion is not that they have a better theory for what’s going on, they only want the IPCC to be wrong.

    And that kills any authority they may have dead.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 3:44 AM

  67. #61, Gary Herstein,
    You misunderstand, I was not talking about my opinions, but about how some denialists see things. Those are the arguments that they will use.

    I was primarily talking about people with scientific expertise in another field who unwittingly misapply the fruits of their experience. In Science we all develop intuitions about what we would expect to happen if we are presented with data in our field of expertise. These first impressions will be right most but not all the time. They are useful starting points for investigations. But sometimes they can lead us astray especially if we are looking at a problem which has similarities to those that we are familiar with. There is a danger that we will see the similarities and not see crucial differences which make our intuitions unreliable.

    In Science authority is based on trust in the competence and integrity of those working in a field. In some fields it is fairly easy to understand what the experts are doing and to see whether it makes sense. In others it can be difficult. Climate modeling is one of the latter. This makes it easy for those who don’t like the results to say they don’t believe them, especially when their own expertise is leading them astray. These people are likely to reject the claims of expertise of climate scientists claiming that the whole field is built on faulty foundations. They are mostly relying on the intuitions that they have formed in their own line of work when they do this. To get them to put aside their first impressions you have to see where they are coming from and get them to see the limitations of their experience and how it can lead them up the garden path.

    Rather than appeal to scientific consensus with these people you have to appeal to the consilience on which the scientific consensus is based. You have to explain how there are multiple lines of evidence supporting our current sensitivity estimates. And how those estimates lead to a consistent story which explains a lot and which wildly different estimates would not lead to.

    We cannot always take scientific authority for granted but bust sometimes spell out what it is based on.

    I was not suggesting that there was much dispute among those scientists who know what they are talking about. I was talking about how some can slip up by going outside their area of expertise and in this post I have give reasons why they might not realize that they have done so.

    And I’ve reviewed papers. I know full well that those reviews are only the first coarse filter designed to keep out the really bad stuff. You are right. The main review happens after publication.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:25 AM

  68. #15 – Juliette. See index at the top of the page. As far as discussion on the Antarctic ice:

    http://sciblogs.co.nz/degrees-of-change/2009/10/12/polar-ice-keeps-melting-%E2%80%93-at-a-faster-and-faster-rate/

    Comment by Dappled Water — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:36 AM

  69. “The modellers likely do not fully understand all climate drivers. See recent paper by Zeebe,et al http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n8/abs/ngeo578.html

    That article says that carbon dioxide caused some of the warming in the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum… but CO2 alone isn’t enough to explain the temperature rises. Specifically, other “processes and/or feedbacks”! Positive feedback, precisely a possibility that climate scientists are warning about!

    Seriously, you are only proving yourself wrong…

    Comment by Paul L — 21 Oct 2009 @ 7:04 AM

  70. Chris,

    Thank you for your wonderful summation. I will likely use this and will credit you, of course.

    For the rest of you, I need to wake up and smell the coffee! I thought I WAS writing “tenets” and you were telling me to write “tenants.” LOL.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 21 Oct 2009 @ 7:21 AM

  71. Paul Harris, re #58

    A bonus is something taken from those who can’t afford it, and given only to those who don’t need it, for not doing what they were amply compensated for doing in the first place.

    Comment by Andrew Hobbs — 21 Oct 2009 @ 7:52 AM

  72. “Personally, I would take the lesson from this to be that we should be cautious when tinkering with complex systems that affect everything we do (like the climate or the banking system)”

    Amen to that.

    Which of the following is ‘tinkering’ with the climate system?

    a) Pumping 49 billion tonnes (CO2 equivalent) of greenhouse gases into the atmopshere every year (and that 49 billion will be closer to 75 billion by 2030 on business-as-usual), and significantly reducing global forest cover

    or

    b) not doing that

    The ‘tinkering’ is already happening, and we have a pretty darn good idea of the damage it will do.

    How about we take some significant (but in the scale of bank bailouts or arms sales not unachievable) actions to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and cut down less trees?

    Ultimately, we are going to run out of fossil fuels. We /already/ have a range of technological alternatives that could replace them, and more are being developed/improved all the time.

    We have the technical capacity to seriously shrink that 49 billion tons over the next 30 years. How about we pull together and do it?

    Comment by Silk — 21 Oct 2009 @ 8:00 AM

  73. Lloyd Flack,
    I do not think that appealing to the scientific consensus is in and of itself a mistake. Rather, I think the difficulty is in defining it. Scientific consensus is not a “majority vote” by scientists or even by experts in the field (although the latter will likely reflect consensus). What is more, there may be some aspects of the “standard model” on which there is wide agreement, while others are still hotly contested. It is for this reason that I have taken to saying consensus exists on a proposition when there are virtually no papers being published that are inconsistent with that proposition. Thus, there while climate scientists may disagree on aerosol forcing, there’s virtually no disagreement that CO2 sensitivity is around 3 degrees per doubling.

    I suggest that the best metrics for scientific consensus are 1)the number of papers published that support the consensus position; and 2)the numbers of citations of those papers that support the consensus position. This automatically favors the most fertile ideas, regardless of how people might “vote”.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Oct 2009 @ 8:34 AM

  74. Ray Ladbury

    “1)I am a scientist. When I get a bonus, it has 3 significant figures to the left of the decimal place. When a securities analyst gets a bonus, it has 6 or more significant figures to the left of the decimal place. Climate science is curiosity driven. Finance is profiit/greed driven.”

    You are extending the top 1 percent of analyst compensation to represent all analysts. You are extending the most noble quality of scientific research to represent all researchers. I think we are safe assuming some degree of self selection that creates greed and aggression in financiers, and smarts and honesty in academics. While we are generalizing, I think it is also safe to ascribe a healthy portion of arrogance to each group. I believe you are very mistaken if you believe that the main parties involved in CDO underwriting foresaw the economic damage they were bound to create. I see a lot of strength in the analogy: mathematically driven model-based arts using past data to predict future results in an environment where everybody is an expert in one small part, but very few have deep understanding of the whole picture.

    “2)The problems with the CDOs and other derivatives are quite simple to understand–basically, the analysts were using nonrepresentative data to estimate risk. This is not the case with climate science.”

    If the problems with CDOs were so easy to understand, why did they crash the biggest economy in the world? Also, I understand I am probably attaching myself to an anathema, but read Steve McIntyre’s piece on the Yamal vs Polar Urals as if you did not already know he were a shill for big oil.

    “3)Climate science is peer reviewed. Financial research is proprietary.”

    No scientific activity on earth is more scrutinized by independent experts than the US financial sector. The greed and agression bias in finance draws the best and brightest. The highest paid mathematicians on earth work as actuaries in insurance companies. The pressure on an AIG actuary is not distorted by politics. They must get the correct answer. Financial analysis gets far more peer review than anything in a science magazine.

    “4)Climate science has a 30 year record of significant success. Financial research? Not so much.”

    I do not see the record of success for these fields. How do you measure it? For financial analysis you could use the S&P index’s whooping of inflation (105 in November 1979, 1095 in October 2009), or Goldman Sach’s all time record for profits during a period of 9% unemployment to say they do pretty well. I understand you could use 10 year negative S&P returns, or the collapse of Lehman to paint the opposite picture.

    “So, Kevin, do you even know any scientists?”

    Yes. For a while I called myself one, but now I build cell phones. Do you know any financial analysts?

    Comment by KevinM — 21 Oct 2009 @ 8:46 AM

  75. Nortel went bust. One of the C*E executives sold EVERY SINGLE share he had two days before it tanked from its high of $92 a share to $40.

    Imagine if he’d told anyone what he saw happening in the future?

    In the US, he’d go to jail. Trading on inside information is a crime.

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Oct 2009 @ 8:50 AM

  76. Economists DID predict it.

    Krugman – a Nobel prize-winning economist – says that for the vast majority, no, they didn’t. I’ll accept his judgement, sorry.

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Oct 2009 @ 8:51 AM

  77. David says, “I don’t think you can dismiss the analogy with financial analysts quite so easily. There are roughly 20,000 academic economists working at universities around the world, with a large portion of them doing curiosity driven research (and they are relatively low-paid, compared with investment bankers). But only a miniscule percentage of them saw any problem at all before the financial crisis.”

    Oh Bullshit! Dude, I saw trouble coming in the housing market over a decade ago. I couldn’t say when, but I knew it was inevitable given the increasing prevalance of “liar’s lo-ans.” I was pulling money out of the stock market in the months leading up to the crisis–and I am no frigging Warren Buffett. These “Who-could-have-anticipated” libertarian turds who contend everything was hunky dory are just blowing smoke…like you.

    News Flash, Sparky: Physics has a rather better predictive track record than does economics. One of the reasons for this is that physics is open and peer-reviewed, while most financial analysis is highly proprietary, and so can become insular and inbred. Climate science has an excellent track record of prediction. So we have a choice: Either base our policy on well validated science or do exactly the opposite. Science or anti-science. Choose.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Oct 2009 @ 8:57 AM

  78. Not to detract from the book under review but I think it’s going a bit far to be dismissive of other books about climate change. For those who are experts in the field and immersed in current research arriving at lightening speed over the intertubes, books may be out of date before they are published, but I think for those who are neophytes it helps to read an overview. I found “With Speed and Violence” by Fred Pearce to be very enlightening, and pertinent even today because it gives a history of the science and also puts things into perspective with a study of the paleoclimatic record. Another good basic primer is Joe Romm’s “Hell and High Water.”

    Comment by Gail — 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:00 AM

  79. dave #48
    A Krugman piece in the New York Times for 2 March 2007. Dated in the article as 27 Feb 2008 as a pretend look back to the start of the ongoing financial storm. http://select.nytimes.com/2007/03/02/opinion/02krugman.html?hp

    And only the week before his piece in the New York Times was about the costs of doing something about climate change. http://select.nytimes.com/2007/03/02/opinion/02krugman.html?hp

    Comment by Kevin — 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:40 AM

  80. “Not to detract from the book under review but I think it’s going a bit far to be dismissive of other books about climate change”

    How about dismissive of fiction purporting to be factual prose about climate change?

    Can we still dismiss them?

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  81. “Krugman – a Nobel prize-winning economist – says that for the vast majority, no, they didn’t. ”

    It was predicted by many. It was predicted by many of the unlearned (as Hank says above). It was inevitable from the processes that were taken. It wasn’t predicted WHEN it would happen in any more way than the failure of a bridge under stress can be predicted to the second, but predicted to be inevitable.

    What the majority of economists did was ignore the prediction and keep quiet on it.

    The alternative is that Hank is a better economist than the nobel prize winning Krugman.

    And how likely is that?

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 10:08 AM

  82. Let’s consider the three fossil fuel propaganda positions, and the actual state of affairs:

    1) Global warming is not happening.

    2) Global warming is happening, but it will be beneficial.

    3) Global warming is happening, but don’t worry, we have a proprietary technological fix that will be ready ‘within a decade,’ so it’s back to business-as-usual. Sorry we can’t give you the details, but it is proprietary intellectual property, chuckle.

    The actual state of affairs?

    4) Global warming is happening and the only way to eventually reach a stable situation is to stop dumping fossilized carbon into the oceans and atmosphere as CO2 – i.e., we need to eliminate fossil fuel combustion and use renewable energy sources instead.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 21 Oct 2009 @ 10:14 AM

  83. “Yes. For a while I called myself one, but now I build cell phones. Do you know any financial analysts?”

    In the US, if you’re white collar, yes, you WILL inevitably know an financial analyst.

    Even if it’s only one trying to sell you a DOW Tracker investment plan.

    “No scientific activity on earth is more scrutinized by independent experts than the US financial sector.”

    Incorrect.

    None has more interest, but it isn’t independently scrutinised. Unless to find out the “magic sauce” and copy it. Denialists aren’t trying to prove AGW, they’re trying to destroy it.

    Now, financial work is heavily REGULATED, but that again is a different thing.

    “I do not see the record of success for these fields. How do you measure it?”

    By getting the 30 year old paper predicting the climate over the next 100 years and checking how the first 30 years of predictions came out.

    Duh.

    “for financial analysis you could use the S&P index’s whooping of inflation ”

    No, that’s not showing how well predictions were made, since the value of shares depends on pyramid selling and so depends on how well you can flim-flam people into buying what you bought at a profit.

    “You are extending the top 1 percent of analyst compensation to represent all analysts. ”

    I don’t think so.

    And three figures is large for scientists working for government. Like climate scientists.

    And the basic pay is worse in government than private works, so the base pay isn’t there.

    How many financial analysts start on £12K a year? Ones that are expected to produce new ideas and formulae to make more effective use of the pyramid selling of stock exchanges, that is.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 10:15 AM

  84. re: #78 Gail
    If one wants to understand the *science* of climate, there are numerous good books around. But “Climate Cover-Up” is not about science, it is a bout anti-science (or agnotology), the erasure of knowledge, and the processes by which people try to do that.

    Those are actually quite different topics, researched in different ways. One follows the normal buildup of science over many decades, and the other is a combination of investigative journalism, study of PR tactics, politics, psychology.

    Amazon now has 5 reviews: 4×5, 1×1.

    Comment by John Mashey — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:04 AM

  85. It was predicted by many of the unlearned (as Hank says above)

    While some may be tempted to count economists as being among the “unlearned”, I don’t. :)

    After all, you did say: “Economists DID predict it.”

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:05 AM

  86. Jeffrey Davis wrote in 6:

    The problem with that, of course, is that the physics behind AGW shows that greenhouse gases trap heat. Witness Venus. Witness Earth, for that matter. If there’s “something else” causing heating, it means that there must be 2 hidden mechanisms: another source of heat and a way to get rid of the heat trapped by CO2 and CH4 etc. The hidden way to get rid of the heat trapped by CO2 and Ch4 will be most interesting since it didn’t get rid of the heat that got us out of the last glacial period. It’s a carbon-loving, carbon-producer-loving Maxwell’s Demon.

    This is right on target — as well as the “three alternatives analysis” (either the experts are honest, ignorant regarding the subject of their expertise, or engaged in a conspiracy — now which is more credible?) provided by the post (6) by Scott Mandia you were responding to. However, one point I would also make is that the “physics” doesn’t simply consist of just theory, that is “hypothetical physical mechanisms” either to explain past or current warming, but of well-understood physical effects that are quite measurable. We have images of the earth that show carbon dioxide rendering the atmosphere opaque to infrared radiation.

    For example:

    CO2 bands in Earth’s atmosphere
    http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=37190

    … which I use as my avatar at wordpress blogs. Then there is:

    Measuring Carbon Dioxide from Space with the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/story_archive/Measuring_CO2_from_Space/

    … which shows how — at an altitude of roughly 5 miles — carbon dioxide is thicker where the winds carry it from the heavily populated West and East coasts of the United States as it begins to mix throughout the atmosphere. We are able to measure the backradiation by carbon dioxide at the earth’s surface, and likewise the backradiation emitted by water vapor that heats the surface and even show that a super greenhouse effect occurs in the tropics where under clear skies such backradiation increases more rapidly than surface emissions as higher temperatures increase the absolute humidity (water vapor content) of the atmosphere:

    At sea surface temperatures (SSTs) larger than 300 Kelvin, the clear sky water vapor greenhouse effect was found to increase with SST at a rate of 13 to 15 watts per square meter per Kelvin. Satellite measurements of infrared radiances and SSTs indicate that almost 52 percent of the tropical oceans between 20 N and 20 S are affected during all seasons…

    Direct radiometric observations of the water vapor greenhouse effect over the equatorial Pacific Ocean
    F.P.J. Valero, W.D. Collins, P. Pilewskie, A. Bucholtz, and P.J. Flatau
    Science, 274(5307), 1773-1776, 21 March 1997

    And then as far as the climate system is concerned, the warming of the surface by sunlight and the warming of the surface by backradiation due to carbon dioxide are quite similar. You can’t argue that the climate system is less sensitive carbon dioxide the one without arguing that it is less sensitive to the sunlight. And if it is less sensitive to sunlight, then we can’t explain past climates.

    But there are some tell-tale differences. Since for example carbon dioxide at first reduces the amount of radiation that reaches the upper atmosphere and escapes to space, one of the signatures of an enhanced greenhouse effect is that the stratosphere will show a cooling trend while the surface shows a warming trend. Warming due to the sun, reduced reflective aerosols or reduced cloud cover would show the warming of both the surface and the stratosphere. But we have seen the stratosphere cool as the surface warms. Warming due to an enhanced greenhouse effect will warm the winters more quickly than summers whereas all other known causes of warming will be most strongly felt during the summer — and the warming trend of winters has been greater than that of the other seasons.

    If possible though, I would use the pictures showing the atmosphere being made more opaque to thermal radiation by carbon dioxide. It isn’t just theory. It is quite measurable — and thanks to the high tech made possible by our understanding of physics — they can even see it for themselves. The other details? Bring them in as needed.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:07 AM

  87. Kevin M.,
    1)My bonus DOES represent the top 1% or so of govt. scientists–so the comparison is valid. What is more, the criteria on which I was evaluated are a lot more rational to the long-term health of my agency than were the criteria applied in the financial industry. I don’t get paid when satellites go out the door. I get paid when it is validated that they’ll work.

    2)The other thing you fail to understand is that the people who used the models to say the CDOs and other derivatives were OK were not the same people who designed it. The latter had moved on to other problems as the former were continuing to apply historical data for conventional lo-ans even as riskier and riskier lo-ans were added to the portfolio. The fact of the matter is that the guys who screwed up weren’t that smart.

    Now compare that to climate science, where you have 30 years of validated model predictions, where the same people who design the models also run them and tend to do so over long periods of time–and where the models are based on validated physics, rather than statistical correlations. The analogy fails–utterly.

    I quote the following because it highlights your ignorance in detail: “No scientific activity on earth is more scrutinized by independent experts than the US financial sector. The greed and agression bias in finance draws the best and brightest.”

    Do you understand anything about the financial industry? It is woefully underfunded and understaffed. What is more, it is a patchwork of different regulationg organizations that allows companies to shop around for the most lax regulator. Contrast this to peer review, where the people doing the review are your competitors.

    And then, “The highest paid mathematicians on earth work as actuaries in insurance companies. The pressure on an AIG actuary is not distorted by politics. They must get the correct answer. Financial analysis gets far more peer review than anything in a science magazine.”

    Did it ever occur to you that the BEST mathematicians might be motivated by something OTHER THAN CASH? And as to politics…Dude, we’re talking scientists here. Some of them aren’t even cognizant of personal hygeine, let alone interpesonal skills and politics! Seriously, what a scientist cares about is understanding the thing he’s researching. Dude, YOU were never a scientist.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:36 AM

  88. Re: financial analysts vs. climate modelers

    Krugman wrote a fascinating piece a few weeks ago that described how we wound up in our current financial mess. I don’t have time to fish the link, but it essentially broke down the two schools of economic thought (efficient market theory vs. Keynesian) and talked about how efficient market theory was just louder and more convenient, which precipitated it’s rise as the leading economic theory for the last couple of decades. Efficient market theory explicitly teaches people not to worry about things like housing bubbles and obscure derivative trading, because it holds that the market will ultimately derive enough information from whatever sources necessary to make efficient and effective decisions. Further, even in the absence of such information, efficient market theorists honestly believed that the market still auto-corrected whenever something was amiss. That theory is now demonstrably false, seeing as how our entire economy ground to a halt for almost an entire year due to the crashing of multiple, wild speculation bubbles. The market never auto-corrected for any of the glaring information gaps.

    I think this comparison deserves some special attention. There are quite a few parallels between climate skeptics and efficient market theorists – namely that both groups fervently believe that some natural force will ultimately auto-correct whatever problems are manifesting themselves in climate and economies, respectively. Further, both groups rely on science and mathematics to prove up their claims, but readily dismiss other empirical evidence that should serve as a warning sign of potential dangers ahead on the basis that there are too many variables involved to predict calamity. We’ve been seduced before by clever, convenient theories that tell us the status quo is perfectly fine – the question is: have we learned our lesson?

    Comment by Joe — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  89. “While some may be tempted to count economists as being among the “unlearned”, I don’t. :)

    After all, you did say: “Economists DID predict it.””

    Yes, and economists did.

    Many decided that they disagreed.

    Many acted on that to unload quietly (see the story of the Nortel C*O).

    Hank isn’t an economist is he? I’m not and I knew that the housing market was due a crash. Twice I’ve been right.

    So am I brighter than a nobel prize winner economist? Is Hank?

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:45 AM

  90. ““for financial analysis you could use the S&P index’s whooping of inflation ”

    No, that’s not showing how well predictions were made, since the value of shares depends on pyramid selling and so depends on how well you can flim-flam people into buying what you bought at a profit.”

    Oh, and a good prediction would reduce the gains in stock market since there’s only so much money to go round and with good prediction readily available there’s far too few suckers to unload stock on to.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:47 AM

  91. Thank you, John Mashey (#84), for a useful word that maybe others already knew, but I didn’t: agnotology. (Wikipedia has a nice writeup on it, beginning “Agnotology, formerly agnatology, is a neologism for the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.”)

    Comment by Steven T. Corneliussen — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  92. So am I brighter than a nobel prize winner economist?

    We know you think you are …

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:54 AM

  93. KevinM @19 overlooks the fact that economics is the study of an aspect of human behavior, while climatology is the study of the physical world.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:16 PM

  94. Mr. KevinM writes:

    “No scientific activity on earth is more scrutinized by independent experts than the US financial sector.”

    I was quite impressed that such eagle-eyed scrutiny chanced on Mr. Madoff after only a few decades.

    “The greed and agression bias in finance draws the best and brightest.”

    These men and women wrapped worthless assets in opacity, corrupted the rating agencies to certify them falsely, sold the result, and are currently stuffing themselves with taxpayer dollars. These men and women are thieves. And you sir, are an apologist for thieves.

    “The highest paid mathematicians on earth work as actuaries in insurance companies.”

    A man’s salary does not necessarily indicate his competence. Or his honor.

    “The pressure on an AIG actuary is not distorted by politics.”

    Excellent. Now shall we discuss the gamblers at AIG Financial Products ?

    “They must get the correct answer.”

    The answer in AIG’s case is the taxpayer owning 79.9% of the company. And a 1e8US$ bailout, with the number still rising.
    My tax dollars at work.

    “Financial analysis gets far more peer review than anything in a science magazine.”

    And recent events inform us rather well, don’t they, of quality, value, or more precisely the lack thereof, of what you call “peer review” ?

    Comment by sidd — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:21 PM

  95. “Can we still dismiss them?”

    Yeah, if the science is misrepresented. See Crichton.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:29 PM

  96. Lloyd Flack wrote in 51:

    We have several different groups of climate change deniers and it is not a good idea to lump them in all together.

    First we have those with some expertise in the area like Lindzen. Second we have those with a scientific or technical background but not in Climate Science. And third we have those without much in the way of scientific or technical knowledge. Not all the motivations are the same in all these groups.

    Well, let’s take a look at your first group, starting with Lindzen…

    As Steve Bloom points out in a recent thread at Tamino’s, while it is possible to consider Lindzen a climatologist in the sense that he contributed a theory (the “iris effect”) over a decade ago to climatology literature, his theory no longer has any credibility whatsoever. Furthermore, his only claim to expertise is in the physics of short-term weather. And as Ray Ladbury pointed out in the same thread, Lindzen has proven himself dishonest in public debate.

    What of others in climatology?

    As Ray Ladbury points out:

    … while science is ultimately about what the evidence allows us to say and with what strength, there are inevitably some scientists who are better at interpreting the evidence than others. These people tend to have deep insight into their field of study, and this often is reflected in their publication record and its influence (e.g. # of citations). I’ve pointed to this website of citations of climate authors before, but it’s worth pointing out again that the denialists are way, way down the list. Lindzen has the most impressive publication record, but most of his “influential” papers are decades old! Likewise Spencer, Christy–and the other denialists barely even make the list. In fact, the only denialists who make the top 200 who have any expertise related to climate at all are Lindzen (#122), Kukla (#172–also long of tooth), Baliunas (#173–note that there does seem to be a “cabal” of solar scientists in the denialist community), Legates (#184) and Bruce West (not really a climate scientist, but has published with Scafetta). So none of the top 100, 5 out of the top 200 and maybe 22 out of the top 500 are dissenters having any relevant expertise at all–and that’s a generous count.

    That’s consensus.

    What of your second group?

    Gary Herstein addressed this in some detail in 61, but I’ll quote the following:

    You would not turn to your postal carrier for medical advice, nor would you turn to your physician for recommendations for the best route to follow in your neighborhood for making deliveries.

    Those in your third group — with no scientific expertise? Irrelevant as far as current scientific knowledge is concerned.

    Later in 55, Lloyd Flack wrote:

    A mistake that many of us are making is in appealing too much to the scientific consensus as an argument for why people should believe that AGW is happening…. What scientists do appeal to is consilience, that different lines of enquiry lead to the same conclusions.

    Albeit indirectly, different lines of enquiry supporting the same conclusions is precisely what a scientific consensus consists of.

    Lloyd Flack continued:

    Shouldn’t we be emphasizing how everything fits together? Yes, these arguments are not brief but we have to tell people that there aren’t any brief simple arguments in this field. They have to sit down for awhile and pay attention.

    We can do that, too. But we can point to the scientific consensus as well — as essentially a high level summary the state of our scientific knowledge in this area, and not simply what evidence or scientific arguments we are able to repeat given limited time and the limits of our own knowledge while they sit still.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:38 PM

  97. PS Where I quoted Ray Ladbury just above but failed to give the link, that was in a thread at Tamino’s. This is the link.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  98. SecularAnimist #38 wrote:
    Recycler wrote: “… just a pervasive layer of ignorance that spreads across most of the scientific community.”

    What are you recycling other than drivel? Here we have the classic case of the crank who actually believes that he, and he alone, knows the SIMPLE AND OBVIOUS REASON why all of climate science is WRONG — a SIMPLE AND OBVIOUS REASON that has somehow eluded the grasp of hundreds and hundreds of dedicated, diligent, highly trained scientists from all over the world who have studied the issue for decades.

    Wow! A little over-reaction, perhaps? Maybe I didn’t choose the most diplomatic of words, but let me explain, with some help from Donald Rumsfeld. “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know.”

    It’s obvious that the GCMs can only incorporate the known knowns. Do the model builders understand every aspect of each known physical process they incorporate? No,of course not, but the scientists who contribute them obviously do. But do these contributors understand all the others. That’s inconceivable, so they inevitably have unknown knowns.

    And then there are the known areas of ignorance. These are listed in the AR4 report, as in all the others, and though the wording is designed to minimize the impact of the depth of ignorance, it is in places profound. Cloud physics, for example, interaction between the sun and the earth, the hugely complex but totally unknown cyclic variation in the sun (beyond the obvious sunspot cycle) and similar for the oceanic currents.

    And then there are the unknown unknowns. Does anyone suppose for a moment the lists of unknown science in AR4 are complete?

    So, by definition, there is a “pervasive layer of ignorance that spreads across most of the scientific community.” It’s inevitable, given the sizee and complexity of the problem.

    So, Mr. Animist, I’m quite prepared for you to regard me as a crank, but I tend to regard scientists who are so convinced of the completeness of their understanding and the certainty of their belief in AGW as cranks, too. Or, at the very least, as lacking in a certain amount of intellectual honesty.

    Unless you (and the rest of the RC regulars) can show convincingly how three quadrants of Rumsfeld’s analysis can be fully removed from the discussion of GCM results, I think you should carefully consider your position!

    [Response: you need to spend more time reading past posts here. You will find frequent mention of Rumsfeld's dictum and a complete absence of evidence for the certainty you assert that we have with regards to the future. However if your point is to assert that since we don't know everything, we therefore know nothing, you are wasting your time and ours. -gavin]

    Comment by Recycler — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  99. PS PS

    Where I state above in response to LLoyd Flack:

    … we can point to the scientific consensus as well — as essentially a high level summary the state of our scientific knowledge in this area, and not simply what evidence or scientific arguments we are able to repeat given limited time and the limits of our own knowledge while they sit still.

    … this is an article that I wrote on the nature of scientific consensus which I should have included.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  100. Re:14:
    “Rush Limbaugh does not know a single thing about the science behind global warming. What he does know is proposed measures to mitigate warming in the form of laws, regulations and international treaties will result in more government and bureaucrat influence and power, and a loss of freedom and individual liberty.”

    Limbaugh needs to take the bone out of his brain and consider the government and bureaucratic influence that has favored the fossil fuel industry all along in the form of subidies, land leases and giveaways, tax incentives, and depletion allowances.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  101. So, Mr. Animist, I’m quite prepared for you to regard me as a crank, but I tend to regard scientists who are so convinced of the completeness of their understanding and the certainty of their belief in AGW as cranks, too

    You know, every time I accidently drop a weight on my big toe, while hopping around in pain I can’t help but think, “there was a lot Newton didn’t know about gravity … but what he did know is useful”.

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Oct 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  102. I misspoke. the cost of the AIG bailout is 1e10US$ and rising.

    Comment by sidd — 21 Oct 2009 @ 1:30 PM

  103. Recycler,
    You don’t have the foggiest notion of how science works, let alone climate models. Now you can either keep demolishing your straw men or you can educate yourself by going to the “START HERE” button at the top of the page (with the large friendly letters). Science is all about quantifying the unknowns as much as it is about improving knowledge of the knowns. The fact is the models have been very successful and have accumulated a lot of very strong evidence in their favor. And the denialists? Bupkis. The best they can do is wail that it’s all too complicated to understand, even as the models repeatedly prove them wrong.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Oct 2009 @ 1:38 PM

  104. 84:
    Somebody should call the Oxford Dictionary hotline- this neologism is ready for prime time –

    Transforming ‘ agnotology’ into a nominative makes Messers Morano, Milloy, Michaels and their attendant trolls ‘ Agnotognomes ‘,

    And their utterances ‘ agnotognomic .’

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 21 Oct 2009 @ 1:43 PM

  105. And then there are the known areas of ignorance…And then there are the unknown unknowns. Does anyone suppose for a moment the lists of unknown science in AR4 are complete?

    Hard to know.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 21 Oct 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  106. Re: scientists and economists

    I’ve gathered too many responses to reply to individually, but I think the point is made.

    You can not say a large group of intelligent, educated professionals are correct simply because they are a large group of intelligent, educated professionals.

    There are too many examples of such groups failing, whether their intentions were honest or not.

    Comment by KevinM — 21 Oct 2009 @ 1:49 PM

  107. I see that “Recycler” is now recycling the long-discredited denialist talking point that the entire case for the reality of anthropogenic global warming consists of global climate models, and nothing else: after all, it’s not as though we can actually observe anthropogenic emissions of GHGs, and actually observe the resulting rapid and extreme increase in atmospheric GHG concentrations, and actually observe the resulting acidification of the oceans, and actually observe the resulting rapid and extreme warming of the planet, and actually observe the effects of that warming on the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere.

    Nope, all we have to go on is the models. And since models cannot be absolutely perfect representations of every aspect of reality, then we can know nothing.

    And since we can know nothing, we should do nothing.

    And by the way, pumping ever more gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere at an accelerating rate counts as “doing nothing”. We sure don’t want to do anything “risky” like stopping that.

    By the way, when you consider Rumsfeld’s dictum in light of what the man claimed at the time — indeed in the same breath — was “known” and “unknown”, it is really a bad joke.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 21 Oct 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  108. Kevin M. says, “I’ve gathered too many responses to reply to individually, but I think the point is made.”
    Translation: “I can’t be bothered to pick up the tattered shreds of my argument, so I’ll just restate it and run along now, declaring victory back at the denialist sites.”

    Commentary: Look, asshat. You argued by analogy. Your analogy failed. Therefore, your argument failed. Got that?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Oct 2009 @ 2:02 PM

  109. KevinM says:”Re: scientists and economists

    I’ve gathered too many responses to reply to individually, but I think the point is made.

    You can not say a large group of intelligent, educated professionals are correct simply because they are a large group of intelligent, educated professionals.

    There are too many examples of such groups failing, whether their intentions were honest or not.”

    That is what someone who has no argument would have to resort to.

    Science is just a bit different than finance: motivations, reward system, validation, etc. You think it so likely that a large group of scientists
    as a whole will fail at something, do you have an example in science from the past 100 years?

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 21 Oct 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  110. “And then there are the known areas of ignorance…And then there are the unknown unknowns. Does anyone suppose for a moment the lists of unknown science in AR4 are complete?”

    Hard to know.

    Impossible to know, which is why those who argue we shouldn’t take action until we do, are simply arguing against taken action, ever.

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Oct 2009 @ 2:07 PM

  111. Gavin said (#98): you need to spend more time reading past posts here. You will find frequent mention of Rumsfeld’s dictum and a complete absence of evidence for the certainty you assert that we have with regards to the future. However if your point is to assert that since we don’t know everything, we therefore know nothing, you are wasting your time and ours. -gavin

    Darn, nothing new under the sun, I’d missed any previous references to Rumsfeld (perhaps not surprising, given the volume of traffic here.) But I think it’s fair to say that, within climate science followers, RC has a reputation for sometimes vigorous defense of the status quo – the “known knowns”. And I certainly didn’t assert that ” … we therefore know nothing”. That’s misleading. All I wanted was for more openness to the other three quadrants. An example? Richard Lindzen’s measured climate sensitivity is markedly different from IPCC estimates. In nearly two months I’ve seen no substantive refutation. It seems that might force the sensitivity parameter from the known/knowns to the known/unknowns. That doesn’t destroy the whole AGW position, obviously,but it should counsel caution, and a more open-minded attitude to the certainty of the science.

    But I’ve obviously missed a lot of discussion related to areas of uncertainty so, rather than make things worse, I’ll go and see if I can find them!

    Comment by Recycler — 21 Oct 2009 @ 2:29 PM

  112. Recycler,
    First, Lindzen’s CO2 sensitivity is a factor of 4 lower than that favored by about a dozen separate lines of evidence, all of which favor 3 degrees per doubling. Second, his result is not robust–it does not survive if you use other datasets. Third, if the climate sensitivity is anywhere in the 90% CL, we are in trouble. Fourth, why do you suppose it is that YOU focus on a single, very questionable result at the expense of a mountain of evidence that contradicts it. How is that skepticism?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 21 Oct 2009 @ 3:55 PM

  113. Looking at an earlier comment here, which isolated four different and mutually contradictory denialist themes (i.e., not happening, solar, GCR and “man is too small”) the poster noted that while all of these antis attack the IPCC they do not attack each other.

    So what about climate scientists who accept AGW – and when interviewed on TV alongside a denialist, trying to get not one, but two denialists onto the program – and then try to get the two denialists to argue against each other … thus allowing a TV shot of climate scientist sipping water from his glass and observing the conflict among the opposition with a modest smirk?

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:13 PM

  114. KevinM:

    4)Climate science has a 30 year record of significant success. Financial research? Not so much.”

    I do not see the record of success for these fields.

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:13 PM

  115. Recycler:

    And then there are the unknown unknowns. Does anyone suppose for a moment the lists of unknown science in AR4 are complete?

    Known processes account for most of the measured global warming. There is therefore a LIMIT to how much either “known unknowns” or “unknown unknowns” can contribute. To be specific, we can account for about 80% of the variance from 1880 to today on the basis of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and aerosols. Everything else in the universe, known or unknown, can only account for the remaining 20%.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:21 PM

  116. I think the first sentence of this story makes for much more factual reading if the commas are left out.

    Comment by Tattymane — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  117. Recycler:

    Richard Lindzen’s measured climate sensitivity is markedly different from IPCC estimates. In nearly two months I’ve seen no substantive refutation.

    So I take it you’ve read each issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, Geophysics Research Letters, Journal of Atmospheric Science, Monthly Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Journal of Climate, Science, and Nature over that period? And found nothing?

    I also take it you’re not familiar with the arguments that have already shown that climate sensitivity CAN’T be as low as Lindzen says it is. Start here:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ClimateSensitivity.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:26 PM

  118. An official letter today from the heads of 18 American scientific research societies and organizations, to U.S. Senators, as the Senate climate and energy bill debate approaches:
    http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2009/media/1021climate_letter.pdf

    The signatories are the following:

    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Chemical Society
    American Geophysical Union
    American Institute of Biological Sciences
    American Meteorological Society
    American Society of Agronomy
    American Society of Plant Biologists
    American Statistical Association
    Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
    Botanical Society of America
    Crop Science Society of America
    Ecological Society of America
    Natural Science Collections Alliance
    Organization of Biological Field Stations
    Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
    Society of Systematic Biologists
    Soil Science Society of America
    University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Hat tip to The Way Things Break:
    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/eighteen-of-the-uss-top-science-organizations-urge-congress-to-reduce-emissions/

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 21 Oct 2009 @ 4:36 PM

  119. I read this book not long ago. It was fantastic. Nothing has made me so angry before, and I’m not a very angry person. I’m planning to write a review of it in the next few weeks.

    Comment by Kate — 21 Oct 2009 @ 5:06 PM

  120. Recycler, give up, nobody hear is prepared to consider doubt in the theory. Two visits to this blog, two posts, both not posted. Neither were abusive, both asked civil questions. Both discussed the stupidity of suggesting the science is settled and that debate should be stifled. [edit]

    [Response: I assume you don't go to parties and loudly declare how stupid the hosts are. Why you feel that this behaviour is fine here is odd. If you have something constructive to add, please try again. -gavin]

    Comment by toby robertson — 21 Oct 2009 @ 5:14 PM

  121. Why Extremist Views Dominate:
    http://www.livescience.com/culture/091020-extremist-views.html

    [Response: Good article. Amusingly, I note that WUWT highlights the same piece without a hint of irony or self-awareness. -gavin]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Oct 2009 @ 5:30 PM

  122. > when interviewed on TV alongside a denialist, trying to get
    > not one, but two denialists onto the program

    Then you’ll have one scientist against a pair. These people aren’t arguing about science. They’re arguing _against_ science. On that they agree.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Oct 2009 @ 5:42 PM

  123. [Response: Good article. Amusingly, I note that WUWT highlights the same piece without a hint of irony or self-awareness. -gavin]

    So, Gavin – you a regular over there at WUWT? How come you never comment?

    [Response: One should keep ones friends close... -gavin]

    Comment by M. Hunt — 21 Oct 2009 @ 6:06 PM

  124. President Nixon (Republican) abolished the President’s Science Advisory Committee and the Office of Science and Technology. Why??

    Comment by Wilmot McCutchen — 21 Oct 2009 @ 6:24 PM

  125. People here could be a little more charitable when it comes to reading others posts. It can be quite difficult to discern someones motives and attitudes from a single paragraph. Not everyone is an idiot or a troll, and even if they are, mocking them doesn’t help (even if they are mocking you).
    With regard to the financial crisis, it is relevant here because the thread is about conspiracy theories, and these largely come down to a question of who you trust. In this case, large numbers of people were led astray (and lost a lot of money) because they trusted the conventional wisdom (e.g. Greenspan repeatedly stated that the financial system was in better shape than ever). It is no good saying (as one commentator here did) that lots of economists knew but didn’t say anything – people might just as well say that climate scientists know it’s all a con but don’t say anything.
    Please, no more withering explanations of the differences between climate science and economics. I have read a lot of the posts on realclimate and I agree with pretty much all of them. But for people not familiar with climate science (or science at all), the recent failure of a large group of experts, many of them prominent government advisers with excellent credentials, could easily be seen as strong evidence against the consensus on global warming.
    For people without a scientific background, discerning the truth about climate science is very, very difficult.
    Particularly when groups such as those listed in this post are running deliberate disinformation campaigns.

    Comment by david — 21 Oct 2009 @ 6:43 PM

  126. #67, Lloyd Flack says: “You misunderstand, I was not talking about my opinions, but about how some denialists see things. Those are the arguments that they will use.”

    My apologies and thanks for the clarification. You go on to say, “I was primarily talking about people with scientific expertise in another field who unwittingly misapply the fruits of their experience.”

    FWIW, this has a name in logic and critical thinking, it is the fallacy of the argumentum ad vericundiam, the argument from false or misleading authority. So the problem you are identifying is one with a significant history: medieval logicians recognized it!

    Thanks again for your clarification.

    Comment by Gary Herstein — 21 Oct 2009 @ 7:41 PM

  127. #120 toby robertson says:
    21 October 2009 at 5:14 PM
    “… Two visits to this blog, two posts, both not posted. …”

    Here and elsewhere I’ve had problems with my posts getting through the last couple of days. Obviously it is a conspiracy since there could not possibly be a technical issue at either end that caused those problems.

    Comment by Gary Herstein — 21 Oct 2009 @ 7:45 PM

  128. re: #51 Lloyd Flack

    Classification exercises are useful. There are two flavors I know of. One (like yours, and like John Quiggin’sare top-down analyses into groups.

    A complementary method starts from the bottom up, sort of an informal nonparametric analog of doing a multidimensional cluster analysis. For this, one could:

    1) Enumerate the various low-level reasons from which climate anti-science seems to come.
    This gives a list like R Attributes.

    2) Then organize a Map that Classifies Reasons by Organizations and People’s Backgrounds, as clear, often seen, plausible, a(Not really plausible). An example of that is: OBR Map.

    3) Then,go through set of real people and try putting them into that scheme, marking off each of the reasons that seems to apply, and adding new ones as they appear.
    For example, on the next iteration, I might well add “strong personal relationship, especially with someone senior.” [That was occasioned by learning new to me, that Sallie Baliunas and Robert Jastrow had a close working relationship for 10-15 years, starting in late 1980s.]

    4] Then, do a simple cluster analysis on the data, and look for attributes found together or not, and hopefully end up with ~3-8 clusters that together usefully partition the data, cover most people, and don’t have clusters consisting of individual people.

    5) In addition, in examples I’ve done so far, sometimes it seems that two people may end up with similar sets of reasons, but have acquired them indifferent orders. I don’t know if that’s meaningful or not, but starting from bottom up preserves that information.

    An analogy would be: top-down is like looking at chemical molecules, where bottom-up starts from the atoms (and allows for isomers, where the set of atoms is the same, but the molecules are structurally different).

    BUT, in any case, let me try to model your 3 groups:

    1: is B4 (scientist in field, either now or sometime).

    2: is B2 or B3, and the specific wrong experience is what I’d labeled TEC8, of which a long discussion of the ways in which specific disciplines sometimes do this is Here at RC, which occasioned TEC8.

    3: seems to focus on my B1c (public), although it includes B1b ( and B1a.). However (and this is one of the reasons for not prematurely grouping), I have plenty of examples of people with PhDs, perfectly capable of understanding the science, who mostly seem influenced by politics/ideology.

    Comment by John Mashey — 21 Oct 2009 @ 7:59 PM

  129. One comment on the analogy between economics (and other studies of human behaviour) and the physical sciences. The former are much more complex, as they involve multi-level holistic systems with very high levels of feedback in constant change. Language, for example, is at least a four (maybe five) level system, no one level of which can be interpreted without simultaneously processing all the others. By contrast, the basic chemistry of CO2 (and the therefore inexorable consequences, if others things are equal) can be grasped by me, with my decades-old high school science education. This is not to denigrate the complexity of the science – just to say that global warming denial is a much more complex phenonemon than global warming per se.

    Comment by Peter T — 21 Oct 2009 @ 8:39 PM

  130. Great. I ordered this book the other day & am waiting for it to come in.

    Another good site — as they said in ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, “follow the money” — is http://www.youtube.com/user/rechar350#p/a/u/2/kRQuF4d9DBo

    If you suspect an organization of being funded by Exxon, that’s where to look.

    I was watching EWTN’s Rome Reports 2 yrs ago, and they had a spokesman from the ACTON INSTITUTE for the Study of Religion and Liberty ( http://www.acton.org ) on using EWTN’s favorite tactic of branding (and dismissing) environmentalists as neopagan Earth goddess worshippers….I guess to be burned at the stake or something. I checked out Acton’s sight and found lots of GW denialism there. Then I checked ExxonSecrets, and sure enough, Acton gets funds from Exxon. I hardly watch EWTN anymore — so infested is it by anti-environmentalism and climate denialism — but I’ve noticed that the head of Acton, a Catholic priest, is a frequent guest on Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over (on EWTN)to trot out his climate denialism and anti-environmentalism. The folks at EWTN have obviously sold their souls to the Devoil.

    Now what we need is some org to track the contributions of all the fossil fuel industries that are into climate denial or anti-environmentalism. Like some coal companies…..

    It’s just a matter of getting their public record tax info and making a website….anyone??

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:21 PM

  131. Ray Ladbury, way back in 34 (I’m behind…) I think you said scientists not in the groove of AGW have a hard time getting anything published simply because they are not in the groove. Did I read you correctly?

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:49 PM

  132. 88) That was a very good post. I think there is a striking similarity among the the anti-AGW crowd, and the economists who got carried away by the EMH (Efficient Markets Hypothesis). Both groups took some meme that had limited utility in some domain, and elevated it to the status of a universal principle. In the case of the anti-AGW people, it is usually “man cannot effect the weather”, or sometimes “a loving God would not so pernicious as to create a world with libertarians, and a need to regulate the global commons”. In both cases giving too much credence to a simple meme led to judging practically everything based upon whether it supported or refuted their cherised principle. On course once one follow that course self-delusion follows, and counterevidence is simply dismissed. As humans we are all highly vulnerable to this trap. Unless we continuously examine and re-examine the memes we are using to see the world, and see it thet make sense, we are at risk of becoming delusional about one or more aspects of the world.

    There is also a large difference between macroeconomists, and financial analysts. The former study the economy as a complete system, while the later are concerned with exploiting some property of that system to make a profit.

    Comment by Thomas — 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  133. Mark (66), actually I am working on a paper. But it’s not on climate. And likely will never be finished. But thanks for thinking of me! ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Oct 2009 @ 10:35 PM

  134. Recycler, Barton Paul Levinson’s reply to you was dead on:

    …We can account for about 80% of the variance from 1880 to today on the basis of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and aerosols. Everything else in the universe, known or unknown, can only account for the remaining 20%.

    For an introduction to that topic in the general field of statistics (showing you that climatologists are not just making this up), see, for example, https://www.msu.edu/user/sw/statrev/strv211.htm.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:01 PM

  135. RE #130, wrong website for ExxonSecrets – it’s http://www.exxonsecrets.org

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 21 Oct 2009 @ 11:27 PM

  136. Is it not politically correct to prerequisite the words “Climate Change” with the words “Man-Made Climate Change”?

    Comment by Michael — 22 Oct 2009 @ 12:04 AM

  137. I wrote a post on my blog yesterday, in response to this thread, that what is needed is something irrefutable and incontrovertible in the public mind regarding anthropogenic global warming. My example was the paired magnetic striping discovered on either side of the mid-ocean ridges, a confirmed prediction that couldn’t have any other explanation other than that of crustal formation and spreading from the mid-ocean ridges. All the “pieces” of plate tectonics fell into place when this discovery was published and publicized. (I also remembered in parallel the confirmation of Einstein’s prediction that gravity bends light by observations of star occultations during a solar eclipse.)

    Thinking again, why that is needed requires clarification. The basic reason IS: at the core of the intellectual bankruptcy of their scientific arguments is denial that greenhouse gases do cause climatic warming; this basic level of denial allows attractive alternatives for causation (such as solar influence or galactic cosmic rays or “urban heat islands” or bad paleoclimate data interpretations or oceanic cycles or land-use changes or natural cloud variation or… point made) to be given theoretical equivalency in the minds of the climate agnotologenti with the parsimoniously, observationally, and first-principally correct anthropogenically-generated greenhouse gas causation.

    So what should be sought is an observational “magic bullet” — the arguing point that creates significant cognitive dissonance with the limited explanatory power of the attractive alternatives. An example from the ongoing struggle against Scientific Creationism is the Grand Canyon: it is very hard for anyone to witness the strata of millenia displayed there and retain a belief that it came into existence in a geologic eyeblink. Visual and cognitive confrontation with the salient fact of the Grand Canyon caused (and likely still causes) many believers in the tenets of Scientific Creationism to both abandon their belief structure and also to perceive the intellectual and theological vacuousness of its promulgators.

    So what could be that “magic bullet”? I suggest one potential candidate: that era of geologic time when atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations rose quickly, naturally, and massively, and caused a geologically abrupt, large and incontrovertible global warming. The cognoscenti will understand my meaning here; my statement is that there is no other viable causative alternative than that of greenhouse gases and their induced climate response. If the fundamentals of this example are provided any time an alternative explanatory framework for modern-era observations is suggested, then the burden of theoretical legitimacy falls upon the presenter of the alternative. They have to explain how their alternative accounts for both modern observations and also this paleoclimatological event.

    Since nothing else does work, other than the explanatory comprehensiveness of greenhouse gases, the dismantling of their fabricated framework can start right there. It could be hoped that such a tactic could cause many of those who have accepted (to some extent) one or several intellectually bankrupt arguments to begin to perceive the scientific fragility of these arguments. To put it simply, if you blow a hole through their arguments, it’s a lot easier to see through them.

    Comment by Oakden Wolf — 22 Oct 2009 @ 12:41 AM

  138. #136 Michael,
    Stop being silly! You sound like of those people whose opinions on physical facts are driven by their politics and cannot imagine any one whose politics might be modified by their evaluation of scientific facts. Sad!

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:00 AM

  139. John Mashey, there is yet another factor at play in determining a person’s overall outlook on AGW – the order in which they acquire the stylised facts.

    For example, I’ve seen several bloggers state that their conversion to the skeptical side (and then to outright denial, but that’s another story) as being when they first learnt that CO2 has a logarithm relationship rather than the linear one they had tacitly assumed. Others have switched – like a bang-bang control – from belief to hostility once they learned that substantially larger climate changes have happened in the distant geologic past; presumably they hadn’t given it any thought so when they first discover this it is so jarring to their previous assumption of a relatively invariable climate, that they feel they’ve been conned or something.

    In each case it seems to involve a premature jump to conclusion, without passing through the stage of checking whether scientists already knew these things and account for these things or not. Human decision making apparatus never ceases to amaze.

    Comment by Donald Oats — 22 Oct 2009 @ 3:06 AM

  140. #138

    However, Flack, your opinions aren’t apparently based on scientific facts only leaving one option left to choose.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 3:06 AM

  141. #131: “I think you said scientists not in the groove of AGW have a hard time getting anything published simply because they are not in the groove. Did I read you correctly?”

    I think you didn’t.

    The scientists not in the groove of AGW have a hard time getting anything published because they’re not in the groove because they’re not publishing.

    Any further inference is on your part.

    After all your paper you’re writing will not be on climate and therefore not help you understand climate. Not because you’re denying AGW but because you’re not studying it.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 3:09 AM

  142. I’ve been having an extraordiary run over at the letters page of The Australian, the latest 22 October featuring a letter by me responding to a previous attack, accompanied by a new attack.

    Read the letters and comments (and check again to see if my follow up appears). I’ve been trying to push the rather simple point that if the bunch who claim it’s all the sun are right, we should have had really low temperatures the last 2 years. I would be happy if someone could argue this is wrong. Instead, I’ve had all kinds of ad homs and diversions (including raising the Latif story).

    All of this reveals to me exactly how deep the denialist cult has taken hold – yet how little substance it has. If there was really a plausible alternative hypothesis that did not rely on changing the goalposts or changing the subject, we surely would have heard it by now. Even if the denialist claims of bias in the research process were true, a significant number of papers would have been published by now supporting a plausible aternative if there was one.

    All this got me wondering what happens to lunatic fringe conspiracy-theoretic alternative theories in other fields, so I searched on “DNA not double helix molecule” and sure enough found something. Read this, and compare it to your favourite climate change denial site. Spot the difference?

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 22 Oct 2009 @ 4:42 AM

  143. Re BPL at #117
    So I take it you’ve read each issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, Geophysics Research Letters, Journal of Atmospheric Science, Monthly Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Journal of Climate, Science, and Nature over that period? And found nothing?

    Gosh, I can’t even keep up with posts on RC, so I obviously haven’t read all those mags. And nor, I suspect have you. If you had – and had found obvious refutation – you’d be shouting it from the rooftops. The blogosphere is eerily quiet on this issue. It may well be that Richard Lindzen has it wrong. But the fact that it’s taking months to demonstrate clearly where he’s wrong shows that the science is pretty complex. And the fact that a lot of clever people are probably working hard to refute his figures can only be to the long term benefit of climate science.

    I also take it you’re not familiar with the arguments that have already shown that climate sensitivity CAN’T be as low as Lindzen says it is.

    Thank you for the reference. It’s an interesting presentation of a lot of different analyses, but of course it’s all based on “known/knowns” – with not a hint of a confidence range anywhere – so it’s hardly surprising that there’s rough agreement. Although you obviously think otherwise, it doesn’t say to me that climate sensitivity CAN’T be as low as Lindzen has measured. It just says these are the estimates we’ve calculated based on current knowledge.

    Please at least recognize that Lindzen may have something useful to offer through his use of real data – even if it’s only a more compelling demonstration of why you’re right and he’s wrong. That’s the intellectually honest approach, and we haven’t worked fully through it yet.

    Comment by Recycler — 22 Oct 2009 @ 4:43 AM

  144. Rod B. said “I think you said scientists not in the groove of AGW have a hard time getting anything published simply because they are not in the groove. Did I read you correctly?”

    That is a rather odd interpretation of my words. To try and be more clear, what I meant was that their rejection of anything that might imply anthropogenic climate change causes them to reject critical ideas and techniques, without which one simply cannot understand Earth’s climate. I think this highlights a critical misunderstanding that denialists and perhaps most laymen have. Scientists did not set out to study anthropogenic climate change. They set out to understand Earth’s climate–and they found that you can understand it quite well. Unfortunately, an inevitable consequence of that understanding is that we are changing the climate in dangerous and unpredictable ways. if you reject anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch, then you must reject most of the most powerfully explanatory ideas of our understanding of Earth’s climate. As a result, you will have a severe dearth of insight into how climate works and so no publications. I hope that is clearer.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Oct 2009 @ 6:16 AM

  145. Oakden Wolf,
    The problem is not the absence of a “smoking gun”. Simultaneous warming of the troposphere and cooling of the stratosphere certainly qualifies for that. Rather it is the refusal of a large proportion of the population to even look at the evidence. If the polar caps and glaciers melted entirely they’d blame the resulting floods on divine wrath. The problem seems to be that a large fraction of the human population is weapons-grade stupid.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Oct 2009 @ 6:27 AM

  146. David @125, The point you seem to be trying to make is that we have a case of information asymmetry here, and I agree. The climate scientists have all the information. However, that is somewhat inevitable in science, and the public shows no similar skepticism of scientists on most technical questions. I don’t think you would have skepticism on climate change either if you didn’t have a well orchestrated and well financed campaign to discredit both the science and the scientists. The vitriol is a result of this direct assault upon science.

    The cure for information asymmetry is information, but the public has to be willing to learn, and that is where things are breaking down. I’m sorry, but what would you call someone who refuses to learn other than stupid?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:04 AM

  147. “If the polar caps and glaciers melted entirely they’d blame the resulting floods on divine wrath.”

    Or say “well, the ice caps were melted before, it’s just natural! We’re coming out of an ice age, after all!”.

    Or “there’s no proof that CO2 did that!”

    Or “Cosmic rays did that!”

    Or “Titan’s ice is melting!”

    Or…

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:08 AM

  148. Recycler says “Gosh, I can’t even keep up with posts on RC, so I obviously haven’t read all those mags.”

    But you still feel as though you’ve read enough to make a judgement on what’s happening when one side is “I get to drive a big car” and the other side is “Death for billions”.

    Hmmm.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:10 AM

  149. Philip (#142), is that dude real or pulling our leg?

    Even the flippin shopping site: “Dr Beigeleisen Books and Music”!!!

    I wonder if he gets much of a call for a CD with 20MB of PPT slides (which version of Office?) at $100 a pop?

    Least his music sales are only a dollar…

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:19 AM

  150. Re Mark #148
    But you still feel as though you’ve read enough to make a judgement on what’s happening when one side is “I get to drive a big car” and the other side is “Death for billions”.

    Oh, come on, please. Let’s try and keep this at even a vaguely rational and adult level. I’ve certainly read enough to construct better “arguments” than yours!

    Comment by Recycler — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:48 AM

  151. Recycler,
    First, it is rare that you wind up with an outright refutation of a published paper in the scientific literature. Rather, what usually happens is that questions are raised about the data or methodology of the paper. Such is the case with Lindzen’s use of ERBE data. The published work is an improvement [edit] It is still not clear if he is using the most correct version of the ERBE data, particularly since things look very different from Wong et al.
    Gavin and James Annan have raised questions about why Lindzen is comparing to AMIP rather than CMIP simulations, which would be the more appropriate comparison. No response from Lindzen. See:

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2009/08/quick-comment-on-lindzen-and-choi.html

    And Chris Colose has done an excellent post that bears on why Lindzen is certainly wrong:

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/re-visiting-cff/

    Finally, you asked for confidence levels. I commend to you:

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    This details most of the independent lines of evidence–all of which favor a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling–and none of which support a sensitivity as low as 2 degrees per doubling with any confidence.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Oct 2009 @ 8:02 AM

  152. The attitude of AGW proponents—and not the least on this blog—does their credibility no good at all.
    I’ll probably be labelled and smeared as I have been here many times—or my comment sin-binned—-but I have no links at all with any climate change organisation or any person connected to the energy industry, or any other industry.
    You simply don’t allow, on this blog, for someone to question the inconsistencies or to raise anything at all that doesn’t fit like a glove with your claims—- without the smear treatment.
    The blanket assumption /assertion that anyone questioning anything about the claims made, and citing other scientific views, either has dark motives, is a creationist or is paid by an evil energy industry, is truly distasteful, and fosters suspicion that rational discussion isn’t possible and is even feared here.
    Every one of us has a stake in the world’s getting this issue right—and we will all have our lives changed by the upheaval and re-ordering of global governance, trade and just about everything, that will follow if the conclusions of AGW [ CO2] consensus scientists are taken as the final word as seems to be demanded.
    The Framework to the Climate Change Convention at Copenhagen gives a foretaste of what’s to come.
    You act here as though there’s been nothing at all in the AGW consensus science that could possible be challengeable.
    [edit of list of debunked talking points]
    It seems that to have the most tenuous link [ which I have not---not any link at all] with an energy company—eg to know someone who knows someone who worked at some time for an energy company—– is to be highly suspect by distant association—to be dismissed—pilloried—character-assassinated.
    What on earth were we supposed to do for energy, without some energy company to produce it—-just do without—back to the dark ages?

    [Response: You have it completely backwards. People get frustrated when people like you come by, insist they are just asking questions and yet never seem to pay attention to the answers. Instead they come back ask the same leading questions over again (demonstrating clearly that they are aren't actually interested in the answers), and then complain about how badly they treated. Why do you think this is a sensible mode of discourse? Do you actually anticipate learning anything? Or are you just waiting to see whether we suddenly all change our minds? Really, I'm interested - what response do you want? -gavin]

    When did certainty in your consensus become licence to demonise so irrationally?

    Comment by truth — 22 Oct 2009 @ 8:25 AM

  153. Ray Ladbury #145 says:

    “The problem seems to be that a large fraction of the human population is weapons-grade stupid.”

    Maybe they have a better bullshit meter than you do Ray.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 22 Oct 2009 @ 8:38 AM

  154. re: 139

    I don’t buy the idea that people really believe that previous warming incidents are an impediment to accepting AGW. “Cain killed Abel. So, your Honor, I couldn’t possibly have killed this man.” Who really thinks that way? Lots of people TALK that way but it’s a self-evident excuse.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 22 Oct 2009 @ 8:44 AM

  155. re: #139 Donald Oats
    re: order may matter. Yes, I agree. That’s what I was trying to get at with the isomer comment at the end of my post.

    Fast flips from one side to the other: yes, I agree with that also. That’s what PSY7 was for: authoritarian personality, all-or-none thinking. See Deltoid discussion Dec 2008, which had longer commentary, and this effect was labeled PSYCH-4 at that point.
    I have seen it a few times, where someone accepted AGW without much study, and then had their belief punctured by some wrong-meme they couldn’t easily refute, and flips over.

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:02 AM

  156. Quick question…when you’re visualizing (intuitively) the interaction of outgoing IR energy with CO2 molecules, do you lean toward particle (photon) or wave (ray) simplification?

    Comment by Ken Coffman — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:25 AM

  157. Dog, in post 92 you answer this:

    “Hank isn’t an economist is he? I’m not and I knew that the housing market was due a crash. Twice I’ve been right.

    So am I brighter than a nobel prize winner economist? Is Hank?

    I don’t think so”

    With this:

    ” “So am I brighter than a nobel prize winner economist?”
    We know you think you are …”

    1) What’s this “we” thing?

    2) When you say

    “We know you think you are”

    did you not read it this?

    “I don’t think so” in post 83?

    Which means you also think that nobody else did.

    You’re channeling denialist mentalism dog.

    a) avoiding answering questions by ad hom attacks
    b) quote mining to support an ad hom attack

    would you like to try again? This time WITHOUT being an arse.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  158. Recycler – Re 143 : Ray has done an excellent job of answering your question for you, but what I don’t understand is why you can’t answer it yourself.

    I do not, as I type this, know the arguments as to why Climate Sensitivity is constrained. It’s 15:10

    Google “observational constraints on climate sensitivity lindzen”

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=observational+constraints+on+climate+sensitivity+lindzen&meta=&aq=f&oq=

    Oh look. The 4th link is from RealClimate. Have they provided reasoning as to why Lindzen’s 0.5 K value of climate sensitivity is wrong? They have.

    OK, so it took a bit of digging to unearth the Gregory paper. But it’s here http://epic.awi.de/Publications/Gre2002a.pdf

    It’s 15:25. Not too bad.

    Your argument was

    a) Gavin and co haven’t take the time to address the Lindzen point – They have, here, on RC. You could have found that if you’d taken the time to look

    b) Science hasn’t bothered to address the issue of confidence intervals in climate sensitivity. They have, in multiple publications. If you are too busy to use read them all, to the IPCC AR4 @ http://www.ipcc.ch

    What this boils down to is “I don’t understand the science but I won’t heard fact X that undermines climate. Explain it too me in very simple words that I can understand. What? You’re busy? You’ve done it 10 times before and you are sick and tired of answering the same question? You expect me to do some RESEARCH MYSELF? Well, *I’m* sorry, but until you, personally, take the time to explain climate science to me (even though all the information I need is in the public domain) I’m going to flat out refuse to take any action, or consider that my politicans should do so.”

    There are, what, 300 million people living in North Amercia? If Gavin and Ray have to explain, to each of them, in person, every little bit of climate, we will have run out of coal long before they are finished.

    RealClimate is a fantastic resource. Virtually every skeptical question I’ve seen has been answered, in simple, easy to understand language, here, many many times.

    Sorry if I’m coming down hard on you, but the number of people who seem to think this resource exists so that experts can hold their hand and walk them through climate is ridiculous.

    And usually, at the end, the person who wants their hand held says “Well, you still haven’t convinced me” and wanders off.

    You can lead a horse to water. RealClimate is an oasis of knowledge. Everything you need to know, pretty much is here.

    Take a drink. Help yourself. Just don’t expect the experts to bring you a clean glass, tuck in the napkin and then mop you up when you spill it all over yourself.

    Comment by Silk — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:33 AM

  159. re 155: neither.

    Energy.

    That is all.

    Wave: you don’t have lensing, so why is the wave nature of photons necessary?
    Particle: you don’t have a photoelectric effect, so why is the particle nature of photons necessary? There is also no worry about the UV catastrophe.

    Just energy, Ken.

    Energy likes to DO things. Even if it’s just “make this liquid water instead of ice”.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:36 AM

  160. Richard Steckis, Is it seriously your contention that thousands of climate scientists, who have collectively published several thousand papers on Earth’s climate, are bullshitting? Do you seriously contend that they have pulled the wool over the eyes of every professional and honorific society of scientists on the planet (as none of them dissent from the consensus). And do you really think that it is only a bunch of intrepid amateurs with no training and no understanding of the subject matter are the true experts?

    Wow. Just wow. You’re beyond weapons grade.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  161. I also read the blogs of the other side. I believe there argument is more that the relatively small community of climate scientist are suffering from classic group think. The group think is compounded by threats to the funding level of climate change science.

    In my experience, one must deal arguments as the others frame the world, in order to persuade. The net result of trying to reframe will be to have two groups that make sounds, but do not communicate effectively with each other.

    Comment by BlondieBC — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:59 AM

  162. Silk says : “You can lead a horse to water. ”

    Problem is the denialists will say once you’ve lead them to water “that isn’t water. I was looking for water, all YOU’VE done is put me in front of some clear liquid thingy. All I want is WATER!!!!”.

    If you drink it to prove it safe, they’ll say “you’ve just taken the antidote. PROVE it is water!!!”.

    And so on.

    All the while claiming that you’re responsible for their thirst and if they die it’s your fault.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 10:09 AM

  163. truth, If it try to be nice to you will you at least try to understand? Pretty please?

    Any scientific theory will include several different proposeitions, all of which will have different levels of uncertainty associated with them. The thing is that the proposition that imply that we are warming the planet are so firmly established that if they are wrong, then pretty much all of climate science is wrong–and given the strong track record of climate science, that ain’t likely.

    Suggesting that CO2 sensitivity is substantially less than 3 degrees per doubling is like asserting that quarks don’t exist in particle physics. Now this is precisely what my graduate stat mech prof did, so his history is illustrative. His opinions were respected on matters of general physics (he was a bright guy), but he was pretty much ignored when it came to particle physics because his ideas simply had no explanatory power.

    I agree that everyone has a stake in this issue. It will affect every human. But please try to understand that the fact that you don’t like the solutions being proposed has absolutely zero bearing on the scientific question of whether we are warming the planet. That is a matter for scientists to decide–and they have, with 90-95% confidence. What is more, the probable consequences of climate change are also a matter of science–and we know with high confidence that there will be serious adverse consequences to more than a couple of degrees warming. Where you come in is in the question of what we do about it. Given the likely severe consequences, doing nothing really isn’t a possibility. However, if you don’t like the current proposals then propose alternatives that will be at least as effect in averting disaster.

    So, in summary:

    1)The science is real. Accept reality.

    2)The consequences are severe. Accept that we have to do something to avert them.

    3)Help find solutions.

    Is that really so much to ask?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Oct 2009 @ 10:16 AM

  164. Re Silk, #158

    Silk, I think you may be a few years behind the times. The RC “refutation” you pointed me at is dated 2006, while Lindzen’s paper is very recent, August 2009. And the Gregory paper is 2002. While that doesn’t invalidate it, it does suggest that Lindzen’s paper is at a level beyond.

    I actually have asked the question about Linzen & Choi’s paper here on RC, in September. You can look it up yourself at #507 in the Communicating Science: not just talking the talk” thread. To save you the trouble, here is Gavin’s reply:
    Response: First off, there is plenty of evidence that climate sensitivity is in the ballpark of what the models suggest. That implies straightaway that the L&C analysis is going to be flawed or incomplete in some way. Second, the comparison they have made is a little odd – it is with the real world and a set of model runs using the observed ocean temperatures as forcing (so-called ‘AMIP’ runs). These runs have some very subtle issues associated with them, and so it is more usual to look at the fully coupled versions of these models (since they are the ones that are projecting the future in any case). Now both sets of models are archived in the same place, and in the same format, and yet only the AMIP results are shown. I’m curious to see what you would get with the full models. Third, the data analysis itself relies on stringing together different satellites that might have non-negligible offsets and so trends are probably not robust. As usual, one paper does not negate the whole of the science. – gavin

    Now, while Gavin makes what sound like reasonable points, it is by no means a whole-hearted refutation of the Lindzen results, and it seems to leave a lot of room for more discussion.

    Perhaps like me, Silk, you haven’t had time to read every comment to every post in the last few years? But don’t worry, I won’t “come down too hard on you” :-)

    Comment by Recycler — 22 Oct 2009 @ 10:38 AM

  165. You’re channeling denialist mentalism dog.

    Oh, yes, I’m a denialist. I’m sure everyone here believes that, too.

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Oct 2009 @ 10:49 AM

  166. Speaking of attacks on the science of climate change, has anyone seen the film “Not Evil Just Wrong” which claims to debunk “An Inconvenient Truth”. If so I would be interested in a critical review of this film.

    Comment by Lara Avara — 22 Oct 2009 @ 10:55 AM

  167. truth wrote: “You simply don’t allow, on this blog, for someone to question the inconsistencies or to raise anything at all that doesn’t fit like a glove with your claims—- without the smear treatment.”

    That is an outright lie, Mr. Truth.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Oct 2009 @ 10:57 AM

  168. These three are what I believe are smoking guns:

    1) Climate reconstructions of the past 2,000 years showing today’s climate is quite unusual.

    2) Climate models that cannot predict the modern climate with just natural forcings but do predict today’s climate with human forcings. These same models also show that in the most recent decades climate has been primarily forced by GHGs.

    3) Tropospheric warming coupled with stratospheric cooling.

    #1 is rebutted by the “hockey stick is broken” and it is hard to convince people otherwise.

    #2 is rebutted by “climate models are not accurate” and it is hard to convince people otherwise.

    #3 is my preferred smoking gun. The rebuttal is that ozone depletion is causing the cooling. However, in the past decade or so, ozone levels have been fairly constant while stratospheric cooling has continued. The cooling is especially evident in the upper stratosphere (1.5 K/decade during 1979–2005) where there is little ozone anyway.

    Natural causes of warming cannot explain stratospheric cooling. How can “the sun” or PDO or NAO or cloud cover, etc. cause this? Only increased GHGs can as far as I know.

    Sources:

    Randel, W. J., et al. (2009). An update of observed stratospheric temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D02107, doi:10.1029/2008JD010421.

    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/43a70e8d30261d101d3075f7a055fe30,0/2__Ozone/-_Cooling_20c.html

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/assessments/2006/report.html

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 22 Oct 2009 @ 11:06 AM

  169. Re #143 Recycler:
    You’re pinning all your hopes on Lindzen’s very low estimate of climate sensitivity. Yet there are many other scientists and many more studies that rule out such a low sensitivity. Since Lindzen’s paper is quite recent, may I propose a “pre-futation” from 2007? This one is open access so anyone can see it for themselves:

    Royer, Dana, Robert A. Berner & Jeffrey Park
    Climate sensitivity constrained by CO2
    concentrations over the past 420 million years
    Nature Vol 446, 29 March 2007, doi:10.1038/nature05699

    {website}droyer.web.wesleyan dotedu
    {file}climate_sensitivity.pdf

    {see their final para. – quote omitted in quest to get past draconian spam filter?}
    If you look at their figure 2a and figure 3, the range left of 1C for sensitivity is a terrible fit to the data – the chi-square residual errors go off the chart (literally) in that range. Looking at fig. 2b, the bell curve of how likely different sensitivities are, values below 1c are getting vanishingly close to zero probability. So Lindzen’s latest figure is an outlier, to say the least.
    Even if we allow that Lindzen *might* be correct, you should give all the other people working on this number at least similar credence that their many, many results also *might* be right, and they greatly outnumber Lindzen – both in number of scholars and number of papers concluding the sensitivity is much higher than Lindzen proposes. From a policy viewpoint, we need to address the fairly plausible risk that someone other than Lindzen has the right number.

    Comment by Jim Prall — 22 Oct 2009 @ 11:42 AM

  170. Okay, my last post got through the spam filter to await moderation. Here’s a follow-up with the URL of the Royer paper, for ease of reference:

    Royer, Dana, Robert A. Berner & Jeffrey Park
    Climate sensitivity constrained by CO2 concentrations over the past 420 million years
    Nature Vol 446, 29 March 2007, doi:10.1038/nature05699

    http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/climate_sensitivity.pdf

    I’d also wanted to add that Barton Paul Levenson has posted an extensive list of prior estimates of Teq, the sensitivity to CO2 doubling:

    http:/bartonpaullevenson.com/ClimateSensitivity.html

    Comment by Jim Prall — 22 Oct 2009 @ 11:48 AM

  171. Oops, please add the second slash after http in BPLs site in my last post so it becomes clickable.

    Finally, here’s the summary paragraph from Royer, which seemed to run afoul of the spam filters before:

    “[O]ur results demonstrate that a weak, long-term radiative forcing by CO2 (dT(2x) < 1.5C) is highly unlikely. This conclusion is consistent with decadal to millennial records from the recent past and with millennial records from the ancient past, such as the Palaeocene–Eocene thermal maximum. Combined, these data suggest that a dT(2x) of at least 1.5C has been a robust feature of the Earth’s climate system over the past 420 Myr, regardless of temporal scaling."

    Comment by Jim Prall — 22 Oct 2009 @ 11:49 AM

  172. RE #152 & truth

    “Every one of us has a stake in the world’s getting this issue right—and we will all have our lives changed by the upheaval and re-ordering of global governance, trade and just about everything, that will follow if the conclusions of AGW [ CO2] consensus scientists are taken as the final word as seems to be demanded…..It seems that to have the most tenuous link [ which I have not---not any link at all] with an energy company—eg to know someone who knows someone who worked at some time for an energy company—– is to be highly suspect by distant association—to be dismissed—pilloried—character-assassinated. What on earth were we supposed to do for energy, without some energy company to produce it—-just do without—back to the dark ages?”

    I know there are skeptics out there not connected with the energy industry. I think there are valid concerns about solutions to AGW. One is the ECONOMIC CONCERN (freezing in the dark and going back to the preindustrial era fear) and the POLITICAL CONCERN of ending up in a dystopian, autocratic society where your every move is monitored and you get guillotined for driving an ICE car beyond your mileage limit or eating a KitKat (that contains palm oil from Indonesia, where they are destroying rainforests for palm plantations). Lubos Motl, (I think) from such a dystopian society E. Europe, has reasons to for his political concerns.

    However, it is very important that we address real problems (and not let them fester or slip into irreversible devastation), but do so in ways that address these other types of concerns. The longer we wait on addressing and mitigating AGW (& the world’s emissions just keep on increasing every year), the more likely more draconian measures might have to be used, or nature will impose her own draconian measures.

    So, it behooves those who have these economic and/or political fears to at the very least get on the bandwagon of doing all we can to mitigate AGW that saves us money, strengthens our economy, and gives us greater freedom and choice than we had before….even tho we have our doubts AGW is real. Just in case it is real, and to get beyond the bickering and onto this economically and politically better world of which I speak.

    I believe there are wonderful solutions to AGW that could lead us into this world. The technology is here. It’s just a matter of implementing it.

    For example, we can get greater savings AND freedom by going off the grid with solar and wind and other alt power. We can have the freedom of more choice if affordable electric cars are available (in my area, please). There is the biochar solution. With the more affordable unit ( http://www.youtube.com/user/rechar350#p/a/u/2/kRQuF4d9DBo ), nearly every farm could become more productive and save money while drawing down CO2. City garbage could be made into biochar, etc. And there are a host of other really great solutions that not only save us money, but give us greater freedom. Imagine what marvels we could come up with if more people really put their minds to it. This AGW mitigation project is not only money saving and freedom enhancing, it is spiritually uplifting, mentally and emotionally invigorating and positive.

    So, all in favor of implementing these available (or nearly available) AGW mitigation solutions say “Aye.” All opposed say “No.”

    Well, even if the majority vote against this, that’s just too bad, since individuals (at least for now) are free to implement these as they like.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 22 Oct 2009 @ 12:18 PM

  173. Lynn, et al,

    It’s not valid to substitute these caricatures of concerns for the real ones.

    “I know there are skeptics out there not connected with the energy industry. I think there are valid concerns about solutions to AGW. One is the ECONOMIC CONCERN (freezing in the dark and going back to the preindustrial era fear) and the POLITICAL CONCERN of ending up in a dystopian, autocratic society where your every move is monitored and you get guillotined for driving an ICE car beyond your mileage limit or eating a KitKat (that contains palm oil from Indonesia, where they are destroying rainforests for palm plantations). Lubos Motl, (I think) from such a dystopian society E. Europe, has reasons to for his political concerns.”

    The AGW policies resulting in soaring energy prices would make everything cost more plunging our economy off the cliff without any climate or environmental benefit at all.
    I view Lynn’s proposal and pure fantasy.

    Comment by John H. — 22 Oct 2009 @ 12:39 PM

  174. Re Lynn, reply 171:

    Motivations for being a sceptic can be more emotional than what you’re thinking (People who don’t like the political or economic consequences of taking action on emissions, so they want to knock down the science).

    It can be simply a matter of non-technical person picking a side due to irrational impulses, and wanting to see his horse win. Treating a scientific question like one of watching football for entertainment. This can go for those on the consensus “side”, as well, particularly those with a weak grasp of the science. Lots of comments at WUWT and a few of them here on RC merely amount to “I don’t entirely understand what you just said, but rah, rah, go team go, that’ll finally show the other side!”

    What could those irrational impulses be? Maybe the sceptic just doesn’t trust establishment or authority figures, and sees a large number of scientists as an authority. Maybe something one picked up from the parents. Maybe somebody’s high school chemistry teacher told him climate science was bunk. Who knows? If you ask a 16 year old why he/she supports the a given political party, that person might not say anything coherent at all, but having picked a horse, that person might stick with it later in life.

    Comment by tharanga — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  175. Ray L (144), but you said it wasn’t because they are bad scientists that they can’t get published. Yet you describe bad scientists in your follow-up explanation. O.K. I’ll accept your clarification.

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:17 PM

  176. Recycler, read the references on evidence from paleoclimate. If sensitivity were as low as Lindzen says it is, we should never have had the variations we actually had. We wouldn’t have had ice ages, which would certainly have been good news for the Neanderthals. If somebody’s theory contradicts the evidence, we generally scrap or at least modify the theory, not the evidence. It’s possible that Lindzen is right, but it’s so unlikely that I will lose not a moment’s sleep worrying about it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  177. Lara:

    has anyone seen the film “Not Evil Just Wrong” which claims to debunk “An Inconvenient Truth”. If so I would be interested in a critical review of this film.

    Haven’t seen it, but from what I hear all it does is repackage all the old refuted denialist cliches and claim to be revolutionary.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:27 PM

  178. As a layperson but a scientifically literate one (which I’m becoming ever more convinced puts me in an abnormal group of people) I’m fighting this cursed ignorance all the time.

    But the single worst thing is the sheer number of people who plonk up a temperature data graph in front of me and say “See? The temperature line slopes downwards, so the world is cooling!”. When I respond “But isn’t that y axis labelled temperature anomaly/deviation? And when something shows a positive deviation, doesn’t that mean it’s still increasing?”, the ensuing silence is deafening, and usually accompanied by “well I just don’t believe it anyway”.

    What gets me, is that they can’t even read a graph, and there they preaching this crap as gospel.

    Comment by Mike of Oz — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  179. John H:

    The AGW policies resulting in soaring energy prices would make everything cost more plunging our economy off the cliff without any climate or environmental benefit at all.

    What policies would those be? I haven’t heard any proposal that would do any such thing.

    I view Lynn’s proposal and pure fantasy.

    Which do you like better?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  180. “truth”, someone who denies factual reality is a liar. Irrespective of motive, forensically interesting as that may be. And no less if he is also lying, successfully, to himself.

    Liars don’t deserve respect. Even your handle is a lie…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:42 PM

  181. david says:
    “There are roughly 20,000 academic economists working at universities around the world, with a large portion of them doing curiosity driven research (and they are relatively low-paid, compared with investment bankers). But only a miniscule percentage of them saw any problem at all before the financial crisis.”

    gavin replies:
    “Actually I don’t think that was true. Robert Schiller is hardly low profile and he was talking about the problems in the housing market very early on. The Economist had been warning about asset price bubbles and dire consequences for over a year prior to the meltdown. I think you are more correct in thinking people did not foresee the magnitude of the events or anticipate the exact sequence of problems in the credit market – but there were plenty of signs of trouble and plenty of people who saw them.”

    I’d be inclined to side with david on this. Notwithstanding its lengthy history, economics is still an immature field of study, as are the remainder of the social sciences. That doesn’t mean that it is devoid of valid insights, such as those that led Robert Schiller, and more notably in my estimation, Paul Volcker, to sound the alarm earlier this decade about asset price/financial market risk. But there is a critical distinction here: those warnings were not outputs of a comprehensive analytical framework such as exists in climate science. They were ad hoc observations to the effect that certain basic economic relationships were defying gravity, which we know since Sir Isaac is an unsustainable exercise.

    The only living economist I have seen who’s analysis leads more directly to an understanding the broader picture and its ramifications- of which things like the prices of residential real estate and the existence of collateralized debt obligations are just manifestations- is a relative unknown by the name of Norman Gall. His series Money, Greed & Technology penned fully a decade ago was a tour de force of prescient analysis (having IMO almost as much to do with his domicile as his deep insight). If we include the dead, I would count Hyman Minsky in that category without question, and more debatably the Depression era economist Joseph Schumpeter. One can only hope the failure that david points out causes the profession to refocus on its massive shortcomings, and away from the frivolity that it has devolved into (see prior post on RC).

    In any case, the broader point is that comparisons between the grasp of the economy of economics and the grasp of the physical world of the physical sciences are invalid. This is not to say that it is inconceivable that, whatever, twenty million climate scientists are wrong. The mainstream climate science community very well could be. But, by way of colossal understatement, it is premature to believe so when there aren’t any remotely compelling alternative explanations for climate dynamics out there, manufactured doubt notwithstanding.

    Comment by Majorajam — 22 Oct 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  182. #160 Ray
    You’re saying there are thousands of Climate scientists? Publishing a study about midges over the last 2000 years or analyzing the movement of glaciers does not qualify one as a climatologist. I am however open to be proven wrong. If someone would like to send me a link to the members list of the “society of climatology” I’ll be happy to take a look. Thanks
    Ed

    Comment by Edward — 22 Oct 2009 @ 2:01 PM

  183. John H wrote: “The AGW policies resulting in soaring energy prices would make everything cost more plunging our economy off the cliff without any climate or environmental benefit at all.”

    That’s one hundred percent pure rubbish — nothing but rote regurgitation of fossil fuel industry-funded lies.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people who unhesitatingly, unthinkingly, uncritically, slavishly, obediently believe every word that Rush Limbaugh says, call themselves “skeptics” and complain about the “pervasive ignorance” of the world’s scientists.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Oct 2009 @ 2:04 PM

  184. tharanga, it can also be a groundswell against all that learning.

    A recent BBC HYS was about whether you’d take the vaccine.

    Many (many, MANY) people said “No! You should let your body learn how to fight these things!”. And were highly recommended (I.e. considered right and correct and worth reading). Forgetting or not knowing how a vaccine works.

    Many more posts said “My GP said that I had best wait until I got the flu and then take the vaccine” which is completely made up or is evidence of some REALLY SERIOUS problem in GP education. And still more people modded these up.

    More posts said “Bacteria mutate so any vaccine will be impotent, this is just a way to make money!”. Forgetting a virus isn’t a bacterium.

    Some of these require knowledge of *something* about modern medicine. But only taken far enough to make the point they are looking for. Some require out-and-out lying.

    And are absolutely and on the basic unvarnished bare truth WRONG.

    Yet still many repeat posters saying the same thing, each one garnering many votes recommending them.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 2:25 PM

  185. John H et al

    “The AGW policies resulting in soaring energy prices would make everything cost more plunging our economy off the cliff without any climate or environmental benefit at all.”

    A brave statement.

    PROVE IT.

    Show us where this has happened before, not any of your namby-pamby “models”, using REAL SCIENCE. EMPIRICAL science.

    Prove your statement.

    Or are you just trying to scare people?

    Alarmist.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 2:28 PM

  186. RE: 173 John H. says (in response to Lynn’s post):
    22 October 2009 at 12:39 PM

    The AGW policies resulting in soaring energy prices would make everything cost more plunging our economy off the cliff…

    That seems rather alarmist, don’t you think? If you’re getting into worst-case scenarios, Nature can do you one better, and the final result will still include “plunging our economy off the cliff”.

    Comment by Deech56 — 22 Oct 2009 @ 2:35 PM

  187. #165
    ” You’re channeling denialist mentalism dog.

    Oh, yes, I’m a denialist.”

    Oh another denialist metal feat.

    Reading a sentence and reading not what’s there but what you want to be there.

    That quote isn’t saying you’re a denialist, dog.

    It’s saying that you’re using the same processes of bad argument, ad hominem attack, misquoting, strawman construction, avoidance and outright lies to prove yourself right in the face of all the evidence that denialists do.

    Evolution deniers do the same. Flat Earthers. 11/9 truthers. Birthers. They aren’t AGW deniers. And saying that they’re using the same techniques isn’t saying they are AGW deniers.

    It’s merely saying that they and you are using the same piss-poor argumentitive techniques to avoid answering questions because the answer would not help them prove themselves right. It doesn’t even have to prove you (or them) wrong. It just has to not support whatever emotional raving they do not want to face is in fact emotional raving and not rational thought.

    You still haven’t answered the question, have you, dog.

    And your techniques ARE denialist.

    You aren’t an AGW denialist, you’re a Mark denialist.

    God knows why.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 2:37 PM

  188. This one should be easy to debunk. In a recent letter to the President of the Maldives, published in the National Post (a right-leaning Canadian newspaper)…
    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/10/20/maldives-president-all-wet-on-sea-level.aspx
    …Nils-Axel Morner claims that “in the 1970s, sea level fell by about 20 cm to its present level”. That’s an unbelievable huge fall (in the most literal sense of “unbelievable”). Does anyone know where this 20cm figure comes from? Is there any truth to it at all? (E.g. maybe Morner really meant that the *local* sea level around the Maldives fell 20 cm in the 1970s?) I did a bit of searching for references to this supposed fall, and all seemed to be climate change denial sites essentially saying “sea level rise is a fraud, according to expert Nils-Axel Morner”.

    Comment by Gerry Beauregard — 22 Oct 2009 @ 2:39 PM

  189. Rod B #175.

    Bad scientists have a much lower chance of getting published.

    Hence the examples of people who didn’t get published were bad scientists. There’s a lot more of them.

    What IS your problem today?

    Edward, #178, I fail likewise to see where what you read is in what was written.

    You two doing a double act with dog?

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 2:49 PM

  190. RE #173, John &

    The AGW policies resulting in soaring energy prices would make everything cost more plunging our economy off the cliff without any climate or environmental benefit at all. I view Lynn’s proposal and pure fantasy.

    You missed my entire point. I wasn’t at all refering to increasing the price of oil or coal, but of the great technology out there that would make our costs lower (including food, if agri uses biochar and becomes 20% more productive). In fact, from what I’ve heard, there won’t be much of a deal coming out of Copenhagen.

    However, if our gov or the UN or such decide to, say, put some tax on fossil fuels, then those of us not using fossil fuels (but on cheaper & more freedom enhancing alt energy) & practicing “reduce, reuse, recycle” regarding our other products won’t have to pay more on the whole.

    The only people who would have to pay more on their electric or gasoline bills and other bills are those who absolutely positively refuse to do anything to become more energy/resource efficient/conservative, ignoring any alt energy available to them. And I don’t have Hummer-load of sympathy for those folks. I just don’t.

    So, while I’m laughing all the way to the bank, I’m not going to even “howdy-do” those obstinant profligate guzzlers on the way to the poor house. Well, maybe I might a little.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 22 Oct 2009 @ 3:29 PM

  191. It’s saying that you’re using the same processes of bad argument, ad hominem attack, misquoting, strawman construction, avoidance and outright lies to prove yourself right in the face of all the evidence that denialists do.

    Evolution deniers do the same. Flat Earthers. 11/9 truthers. Birthers. They aren’t AGW deniers. And saying that they’re using the same techniques isn’t saying they are AGW deniers.

    It’s merely saying that they and you are using the same piss-poor argumentitive techniques to avoid answering questions because the answer would not help them prove themselves right. It doesn’t even have to prove you (or them) wrong. It just has to not support whatever emotional raving they do not want to face is in fact emotional raving and not rational thought.

    All this because I said I trust nobel prize-winning economist Krugman’s opinion over yours regarding the profession’s proficiency in forecasting the current recession?

    Wowza. Whatever.

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Oct 2009 @ 3:47 PM

  192. RE #174, tharanga, you are probably right, at least for some denialist. And I’ve thought of another reason — the reality of climate change is just too scary. The old ostrich-head-in-the-sand tactic. And really, it is a horrible thing we are facing.

    When I first started out in 1990, reducing my GHGs in every whichway I could, finding out I was saving money without lowering living standards, then trying to pass along the message to others I came up against a brick wall of resistance or just lack of interests. I had thought all I had to do is install/institute it (mitigation measures), pass the word on to others, who would pass it on to others, then forget it, and get back to my regularly scheduled life. Twenty years later and I’m still running into that brick wall, smaller, but just as hard, if not harder, but my conscience won’t let me give up banging my head against it.

    So please, please, please, all you denialist out there. Just start mitigating every which way you can that saves you money or doesn’t cost, and pass on the info about the great actions and savings to all your friends, family and contacts, and forget about denying AGW.

    If it works out and everyone gets into mitigating, who knows we can bring the CO2 down below 350 ppm, and destroy any evidence that AGW is happening, and you can win the debate to boot!

    And I can at last, 20 yrs later, get on with my regularly scheduled life, or what I have left of it :)

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 22 Oct 2009 @ 3:50 PM

  193. Oh, and another oddity with all this daft arguing and denialist waffle.

    Another BBC HYS thread is about the Royal Mail strike that hasn’t started yet but is agreed to.

    There are posts that are recommended saying that they have already missed a doctors appointment because the postal strike delayed it.

    Other posts also state that they are going under because of payments that HAVE BEEN delayed ALREADY.

    But that first one is a humdinger.

    1) If it’s delayed by the entire length of the strike, that’s three days. But what doctors appointment is within three days of posting?

    2) Even if a doctor were DUMB enough to do this, since the strike hasn’t started, how can it have happened?

    This one isn’t even against learning. Many posts are also saying “In a recession, at least they have jobs!!!” and this may be another reason for all the lying: too many people now DEMAND that their problems are someone else’s fault.

    And I think that AGW is another one they DEMAND is NOT, NEVER, EVER, EVER ***EVER*** their fault. Couldn’t be, cannot be, is, was and never shall be their fault and therefore all the brouhaha must be some vast conspiracy to blame THEM.

    And anything that avoids blame or makes a problem someone else’s fault is taken on like a drowning man hangs onto anything that might possibly float.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 3:56 PM

  194. re: 159

    Thanks, Mark, that’s helpful. Just energy, got it.

    Comment by Ken Coffman — 22 Oct 2009 @ 4:11 PM

  195. Mark #149: so you are saying it’s exactly like the typical climate change denial site? :)

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 22 Oct 2009 @ 4:30 PM

  196. 187 Mark says, ‘You aren’t an AGW denialist, you’re a Mark denialist.”

    Mark doesn’t exist.
    Mark happens as a part of a natural rhythm. There’s a new Mark every few decades.
    Mark exists, but he’s natural and there’s nothing we can do to prevent Mark.
    Mark exists, but he’s beneficial. The world is a better place with more Mark.

    Comment by RichardC — 22 Oct 2009 @ 4:51 PM

  197. I deny that, Phil.

    :-P

    No, but there DOES seem to be a lot of very weird working going on.

    BBC HYS is usually overloaded with a lot of people proclaiming that the new powers and laws are RIGHT and “if they save even one life…” rhetoric. But when vaccinces could save even one life, the site is overburdened with “This is just a way for Tamiflu to sell!”.

    But the examples I gave were where arguments were made with *enough* techno-babble to make someone who knew absolutely nothing think that there was something being said and those ideas being recommended and parroted.

    Worse, where any *critical* *thinking* were to occur, the argument raised on occasion makes within itself no sense whatsoever if true. Yet these too are lauded, repeated, and parroted.

    I have no idea what is going on because there’s no consistency. The only consistent thing is “If it’s a company and I’m not at risk, they’re right. If it’s a company and *I’m* at risk, they’re wrong. If it’s blaming me or even seems to, it’s wrong”. But it’s so fragmented even if that were the three-step filter, I couldn’t tell you the order it would be in.

    As to why?

    My personal suspicion is and unwarranted public insistence on

    Entitlement
    Gratification
    Intolerance

    They are ENTITLED to what they want. They MUST have it *now*. And ANYONE who intimates otherwise is *wrong*.

    It’s good for sales and marketing, not very much else, so I’d plump for 50+ years of manipulation of marketing on a TV generation.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  198. Recycler — You didn’t bother to read the links provided in comment #151 for you, did you?

    Here at Real Climate we try to do real science by, at least, reading the pertinent literature. If you have trouble with some of the papers, do ask. There are lots of capable amateurs here who will be happy to try to educate you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Oct 2009 @ 4:59 PM

  199. “All this because I said I trust nobel prize-winning economist Krugman’s opinion over yours regarding the profession’s proficiency in forecasting the current recession?”

    Nope.

    Because you don’t answer the question asked. Because you misquote to support an ad-hom attack. Because you deliberately misread something to mean what you want. And avoid answering the question.

    Just as you have YET AGAIN avoided.

    I foresaw the economic crash.

    Hank foresaw the economic crash.

    I say economists had predicted.

    You put forward one nobel prize winning economist who said he didn’t.

    I ask: do you think Hank and I smarter than this economist?

    You then rant and rave and get EVERY SINGLE THING WRONG, just like a denialist does.

    So, no even that is wrong, you didn’t just say that.

    If you’djust said that, were did post 92 et al come from?

    Was that not you writing it? Was that not you saying it?

    If all those words were not said by you, who said them?

    And answer the question: do you think Hank and myself knew more than economists?

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 5:02 PM

  200. Like I said, RichardC, I don’t know why dog has such a boner to slam me all the time, but there we go.

    PS you missed out a *perfect* Dune reference. That so could have worked into “Mark is the little death. I shall not fear the Mark…”.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Oct 2009 @ 5:15 PM

  201. > Hank foresaw …

    Nonsense.

    I described how to search with Google for people who did that.

    “Like a finger pointing the way to the moon.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Oct 2009 @ 5:34 PM

  202. Lara at #166; the trailer of the film has been critiqued here:
    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/new-junk-science-movie-not-evil-just-wrong/

    and a blogger talks about the film maker:
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/11/al-gore-sej-phelim-mcaleer-denier/

    Comment by Holly Stick — 22 Oct 2009 @ 6:46 PM

  203. You put forward one nobel prize winning economist who said he didn’t.

    Krugman wrote a column talking about why he felt his *profession*, as a whole, missed it.

    Not that *he* didn’t.

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Oct 2009 @ 6:58 PM

  204. Here’s Krugman’s 8 page essay entitled “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?”.

    Few economists saw our current crisis coming, but this predictive failure was the least of the field’s problems. More important was the profession’s blindness to the very possibility of catastrophic failures in a market economy. During the golden years, financial economists came to believe that markets were inherently stable — indeed, that stocks and other assets were always priced just right. There was nothing in the prevailing models suggesting the possibility of the kind of collapse that happened last year.

    Quit misrepresenting what I said andstop blowing up strawmen.

    I’m done.

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:01 PM

  205. Like I said, RichardC, I don’t know why dog has such a boner to slam me all the time, but there we go.

    Perhaps it’s because you constantly misrepresent what people – including me – say, and are therefore a boor?

    Really, if you’d just take time to read and comment on what people actually write instead of what you imagine they write, we’d all be better off.

    I think your heart’s in the right place, but your head’s somewhere else entirely.

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:18 PM

  206. Kids, kids, the best we amateurs can do to be helpful is help readers who come along later and read the threads here learn how to look stuff up for themselves, not argue about what we believe, which we all know how to do.

    The thread’s about the climate coverup, specifically the DeSmog book.
    Can we talk?

    For the example it gives of how to look stuff up:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=krugman+warning+financial+crisis
    From the first page of results:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/28/opinion/28krugman.html?_r=1

    —excerpt—

    By PAUL KRUGMAN Published: November 27, 2008

    A few months ago I found myself at a meeting of economists and finance officials, discussing — what else? — the crisis. There was a lot of soul-searching going on. One senior policy maker asked, “Why didn’t we see this coming?”

    There was, of course, only one thing to say in reply, so I said it: “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”

    —-end excerpt—-

    Why didn’t we know there was a climate crisis developing?
    Well, there’s this book that has some of the answers to that question.
    Let’s talk.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Oct 2009 @ 7:59 PM

  207. Lynn

    reply 192: I don’t think too many denialists think that way – that they secretly are scared of the projections, so they want to wish it away. I’d take them at their word when they don’t think anything is going to happen, or whatever is happening is natural, or will be good….. It’s fun to try to pin these guys down on exactly what they think, actually.

    reply 190: This sounds unrealistic. First, you make it sound like people have a choice in what their electricity source is. Most people live in a place where the utility company has a monopoly, so if the utility uses coal, that’s what you get. Yes, I know there are some exceptions to this. Then, I’m doubtful that many people would start finding ways to conserve so much that their energy bills would actually go down if the utility switched from coal at (market, not retail) 4 cents/kWh to some more expensive alternative, or coal with a carbon price of $20-$30/ton added on top.

    Comment by tharanga — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:07 PM

  208. Gerry Beauregard #188: a little searching found an article by Mörner and colleagues:
    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/MornerEtAl2004.pdf
    Note that this is not based on any tide gauge record. The tide gauge Gan seems to be fairly new, a record can be found here:
    https://www.bodc.ac.uk/data/information_and_inventories/gloss_handbook/stations/27/plot/454002/
    That being said, it is not a good idea to try and use local tide gauge data to say anything about what sea level is going to do in the future. Just like with temperatures really. Local data is affected by local phenomena, like tectonic motions, subsidence by water extraction, and variations in sea surface topography. The el nino/la nina switch can produce already the 20 cm Mörner refers to.
    Global studies over sufficiently long periods of time clearly show that sea level is rising — some 20 cm over the last century, and accelerating. By the time you have half a metre — and that’s where we’re heading — those local effects are drowned out. Not to mention several metres post-2100.
    http://www.pol.ac.uk/…/church_white/GRL_Church_White_2006_024826.pdf
    http://www.pol.ac.uk/psmsl/author_archive/jevrejeva_etal_1700/2008GL033611.pdf

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:12 PM

  209. Who else knew?
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/10/20/pm-frontline-the-warning/

    I’m still waiting to get my hands on a copy of Climate Cover-up.
    Soon.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:26 PM

  210. Mark (189), I read Ray’s comment as being a bad scientist is NOT why they have difficulty getting published.

    Comment by Rod B — 22 Oct 2009 @ 9:56 PM

  211. Hi, this is a post from Japan. I am not a climate scientist, but have participated in IPCC activities as a engineering field. In Japan, recently the denialists have published many paperbacks instead of scientific paper. Unfortunately, they are getting supported by the blogsphere in spite of various efforts of scientists and experts like US.I have often been irritated by the non-scientific arguments, cherry-picking, correlation without the evidence of causality mechanism, etc. I really enjoy this RealClimate finding so many good scientific answers and sources against the denialists.
    But still, I keep a question – the denialists are, or at least used to be, scientists who should have learned that all real world have never been solved but that the cummulative knowledge proposed the right way to us inspite of the remaining uncertainty. The point is, to what extent we know and whether it is enough to take action or not. I recognize the level on AGW has come to this stage slready, but the denialists insists as though that the statement “there are still unknown unknows” is equal to “nothing is known”.
    If their students or young colleagues in their fields would say so, they should have been struck out. It is still my wonder whether they apply their method to their own works.

    best

    Comment by Mr Sh — 22 Oct 2009 @ 10:03 PM

  212. Ray @ 146
    >The cure for information asymmetry is information, but the public has to be willing to learn, and that is where things are breaking down. I’m sorry, but what would you call someone who refuses to learn other than stupid?

    Don’t call them anything. Either explain politely why they are wrong or ignore them.

    Explaining something to someone that doesn’t want to learn is close to impossible whatever you do, but calling them stupid is the approach least likely to succeed. What it does do is make you look bad to onlookers who are undecided about the topic.

    Comment by david — 22 Oct 2009 @ 10:44 PM

  213. Mark (189), I read Ray’s comment as being a bad scientist is NOT why they have difficulty getting published.

    Paranoia always comforts the paranoid.

    Meanwhile, those of us in the reality-based world (which includes Ray, just in case you’ve not noticed), deal with reality, not paranoia.

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Oct 2009 @ 11:08 PM

  214. 205
    dhogaza says:
    22 October 2009 at 7:18 PM

    “Perhaps it’s because you constantly misrepresent what people – including me – say, and are therefore a boor?

    Really, if you’d just take time to read and comment on what people actually write instead of what you imagine they write, we’d all be better off.

    I think your heart’s in the right place, but your head’s somewhere else entirely.”

    Well said and accurate.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 22 Oct 2009 @ 11:26 PM

  215. Rod B #210

    I read Ray’s comment as being a bad scientist is NOT
    why they have difficulty getting published.

    But I read it that that IS precisely why… my definition of ‘bad scientist’ includes not being able to set one’s own preferred beliefs aside when the evidence clearly tells a different story.
    Much of the machinery of doing science — having to defend your dissertation, having your papers reviewed — is explicitly designed to separate a scientist from his/her preferred beliefs when those are getting in the way. Many get the message and go on to become productive workers in their fields. Some don’t.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 22 Oct 2009 @ 11:39 PM

  216. # 160 Ray Ladbury says:

    “Richard Steckis, Is it seriously your contention that thousands of climate scientists, who have collectively published several thousand papers on Earth’s climate, are bullshitting?”

    Some are Ray. Not all. But it is mainly directed at the political processes that play into the AGW farce. People are sick and tired and increasingly skeptical of the constant “It is worse than we thought” mantra that comes from the press releases of both scientists (a minority of) and eco-political groups.

    In Australia the public support for AGW as a crisis needing attention is softening rapidly. According to the latest poll in 2007 68% thought that AGW was a dire problem for the world. In 2008 this had reduced to 62% and in 2009 reduced further to 52%. Far from being weapons-grade stupid, the people of Australia are turning away from the cry wolf syndrome and are asking for hard facts not conjecture.

    Despite what you say Ray, the AGW science is not settled and probably never will be. The physics alone does not explain all of climate change. It cannot in the absence of biotic, geological, chemical and other factors. Those other factors interact with the physics, changing its dynamics from the purely theoretical to the real-life situation which is little understood at this stage.

    As for your thousands of papers defence, I recall a quote of Eintein’s where he said “Thousands of experiments supporting my theory cannot prove it to be right. But only one can prove it to be wrong”. I paraphrase somewhat.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 22 Oct 2009 @ 11:45 PM

  217. It doesn’tnt take a connection to energy industries to have a skeptics point of view. I’m such a person. My views come from reading the large mass of info available and doing my best to decipher when necessary. I don’t need reporters or television programs to help with the ability to recognize what I consider to be the truth. I don’t think that most other Americans are any different.

    Comment by Craig — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:14 AM

  218. At any rate, solar power is still the way to go because it does no harm to the environment and is low-priced.

    Comment by Richard — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:36 AM

  219. Guys,

    This is regarding Lindzen and Choi, “On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data”
    as published in Geophysical Research Letters this year.

    I am pretty sure I pinned down a colossal error in the paper, which esentially nulifies his claims about climate sensitivity.

    I have posted various versions of my analysis on various blog sites, but apart from good ‘votes’, I did not have anyone post a response that refutes or confirms the errors that I found in the paper.

    Here is a brief summary of my findings :

    —-
    I looked at the Lindzen and Choi paper in detail. I’m not a climate
    expert, so I may be wrong here, but I found what seems to be a
    fundamental error in reasoning in the paper.

    Lindzen did a correlation between changes in outbound radiation (OLW +
    SW) from ERBE, against natural changes in sea-surface temperature. He
    found a reasonable correlation that shows that total outbound
    radiation goes up at about 4 W/m^2 per K increase in sea surface
    temperature.
    In Figure 3 of the paper, Lindzen shows that the measured 4 W/m^2/K is
    almost exclusively caused by an increase in long-wave (OLW) radiation.
    The the flux for SW is virtually independent of sea-surface
    temperatures (delta-flux/delta-SST is close to 0 W/m^2/K for SW).

    Stephan Boltzmann’s law says this (increase of OLW radiation at a
    slope of 4 W/m^2/K) is exactly what you would expect from a planet
    radiating at around 255 K, as long as there is no feedback mechanism
    in place.

    Still, somehow Lindzen claims that this finding implies a strong
    negative feedback, and even claims that the ‘models’ predict a
    negative slope (a decrease in radiation if sea surface temperatures go
    up). To obtain a reduction in radiation after an increase in Sea
    Surface Temperatures is essentially physically unreal, as it implies infinite positive feedback.

    I think the cause of this error is that he misrepresents the radiative
    “forcing” (such as from CO2) with natural changes in surface
    temperatures. That confusion leads to an incorrect feedback factor
    scale in figure 3 in his paper. In that figure, the SW (short-wave)
    graph is off-set by 4 W/m^2. All models, and the right scale (feedback
    factor) should move up by 4 W/m^2, so that the 0 W/m^2/K on the left
    scale lines up with a feedback factor of 0.

    The same problem also shows up in the formula’s, and again, very subtle,
    and hard to spot the error. But here it is : Paragraph [13] :

    “When considering LW and SW fluxes separately, F is replaced by FLW + FSW.
    In the observed DOLR/DSST, the nonfeedback change of 4 W /m^2 /K is
    included. ”

    So far so good (that non-feedback factor of 4 W/m^2/K applies to OLW only
    since Stephan Boltzmann deals with OLW only). But then :

    “Also DSWR/DSST needs to be balanced with DOLR/DSST.
    From the consideration, FLW = -DOLR/DSST + 4 and
    FSW = – DSWR/DSST – 4.”

    Right there : He subtracted 4 W/m^2/K from the FSW ! No explanation for
    that, and absolutely incorrect.
    That’s how he got a feedback factor of -1 for SW while SW is not affected by
    SST changes.

    The deception was hidden, but it is exactly there in the plots and in the
    formula.

    Of course, after correcting this error, the conclusions of his paper
    would need to be adjusted as well. Not only is the ERBE data
    essentially is in line with the model predictions, but also the ERBE
    data shows that there is NO feedback (feedback factor 0) at least for
    short-term (months) sea surface temperature changes.
    —-

    Curious to any feedback on my determination of this fundamental error that Lindzen seems to have made in this paper.

    Comment by Rob — 23 Oct 2009 @ 3:43 AM

  220. Martin Vermeer #215
    “… my definition of ‘bad scientist’ includes not being able to set one’s own preferred beliefs aside when the evidence clearly tells a different story.”
    I suppose that comment can be directed at either Pro-AGW scientists or skeptical scientists. The only thing that’s evident is the facts. Facts like data and models used to incorporate more data to predict with certainty, future anomalies, consistent with previous data and predictions. Now I don’t care if your a bad scientist or not, or a bleeding heart alarmist or flaming sceptic, the evidence of the facts, supported by rigorous testing and confirmed by other sources, is ALL a REAL scientist can ever hope to achieve.
    Everyone should heed these words. When it comes to climate change, demand transparency. Demand the data to be rigorously tested by other scientists when it comes to predictions that determine public policy. If data, models and predictions of climate can’t be studied, scrutinized and replicated, its not science, its science fiction.
    If you follow these simple instructions, you will soon find who is a real scientist and one that poses as a real scientist.
    That is all.

    Comment by david alan — 23 Oct 2009 @ 3:48 AM

  221. “My views come from reading the large mass of info available and doing my best to decipher when necessary.”

    Really?

    So the multitunious conflicting points denying AGW is a problem don’t give you any pause for thought?

    Maybe there are so many conflicting points because they’re wrong.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:39 AM

  222. ““Richard Steckis, Is it seriously your contention that thousands of climate scientists, who have collectively published several thousand papers on Earth’s climate, are bullshitting?”

    Some are Ray. Not all.”

    So there are still over a thousand climate scientists NOT bullshitting.

    So how come they’re saying the same thing as those you think are BSin?

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:40 AM

  223. “Despite what you say Ray, the AGW science is not settled and probably never will be. ”

    A worthless point, Skecsis.

    The question I put to you is not “is it settled” but “is it right enough to guide us”.

    Software is never bug free and never complete. Never.

    Yet here you are, typing on a computer OS that isn’t complete, using a browser that isn’t complete over a network running software that will never be complete, putting that stuff on another computer/OS/webserver that will never be complete.

    Yet, somehow, despite this software being incomplete (and so much of it interdependent), you are able to post tripe.

    So is the AGW science complete enough to be useful.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:43 AM

  224. Richard, you missed out an even better comeback in 214 where dog says:

    “Perhaps it’s because you constantly misrepresent what people – including me – say, and are therefore a boor?”

    And point him to his post of 92 and subsequent posts where he misrepresents what I say and therefore either

    admits he is a boor

    or

    doesn’t think such actions are boorish

    Then again, dog’s thought processes are not, well, *processing*, are they.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:45 AM

  225. dog, 213, still you avoid the question.

    Just like Girma or el gordo or Ducky Dave Andrews.

    You’ve lost any credibility to decry misrepresentation or avoidance because you engage in it freely.

    ANSWER THE FREAKING QUESTION.

    It’s not rocket science.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:46 AM

  226. “Explaining something to someone that doesn’t want to learn is close to impossible whatever you do, but calling them stupid is the approach least likely to succeed.”

    David: so teaching has 0% chance of success and calling them stupid is 100% going to fail.

    The difference is others now know that the interlocuter is not being honest.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:48 AM

  227. RodB “Mark (189), I read Ray’s comment as being a bad scientist is NOT why they have difficulty getting published.”

    I know.

    Try reading it in a light where it *could* be right.

    “It’s the SUN!” was. The first few times.

    “It’s not warming!!!” was. The first few times. And each time when it *could* be true.

    They’re looked at by the scientists who are genuinely working to find out (and they DO agree AGW is a problem) to see how they *could* be right.

    But you and your denialist friends only read them in a way they are wrong.

    Try it the other way round.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:52 AM

  228. “Krugman wrote a column talking about why he felt his *profession*, as a whole, missed it.”

    And Hank gave a name of an economist who didn’t.

    And it seem that you DO think I’m smarter than him. And Hank too, of course.

    I don’t think so, but then again I don’t seem to be able to make you think otherwise.

    It’s quite flattering.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:55 AM

  229. Again and again I hear sceptics say “I don’t trust computer models. I won’t support actions that could cause a lot of economic harm on the basis of such models.”. Here I am mostly talking about people whose background is in some other scientific or technical are. I think it is important to get through to them because they provide many of the talking points that denialists without any scientific background use.

    OK, why don’t they trust the models? Some of it is their experience with models, Some of them have seen models go spectacularly wrong because of minor mistakes in the formulation. Many have seen software errors causing models to fail. They are concerned about that happening with climate models. These people are usually generalizing from their experience of models that are much more fragile and vulnerable to misspecification than are climate models. They are also not seeing that the sort of errors that they are concerned about would cause errors in all directions rather than a systematic bias in the outcomes. They are unaware that no one is relying on any single model. It is the results of the ensemble that climate scientists are interested in. Many are confusing the computer program with the physical model that it is simulating.

    Some believe that we need impossible levels of detail in the models for them to be trustworthy. Some of these claim that this sort of modeling is impossible. They forget that we are only interested in very coarse trends and that is all that any one is claiming are robust. They are over concerned about the chaotic nature of weather and don’t realize that at the level of detail we are interested in the average behaviours are sufficient for our purposes.

    There is also a frequent misunderstanding of the GCMs. Many are under the impression that they are statistical fits to the data and are concerned about overfitting. Claims are made that by tuning a large number of parameters you can get whatever result you want.

    But I think most of it is that they don’t know what is going on inside the models and are not willing to trust the output of a complicated system if they do not understand the principles behind it. You might say that they are willing to trust say the results of computer modeling when they fly in an aircraft that has been designed on computers. There are however two important differences in this case. The first is that they usually understand the general principles that the aircraft designers are using when the model something even if they don’t know all the details. They do not have this familiarity when climate models are concerned. The second is that aircraft are tested so discrepancies between modeled and actual behaviour is found and the calculations are revised to accord with reality. They do not see this happening in climate science. They are unaware of how models are tested. I would think that since quite a few different models are used for there to be a bias in the results there have to be common underlying flaws. With the number of people working on them I would expect such flaws to have been discovered long ago. For it not to be detected an underlying flaw would have to be a subtle one.

    What is missing is an accessible source for information on how climate models work. We need someone to write a book that would serve both as an introduction to climate modeling for people who want to continue their studies in that are and a source of information for scientifically educated
    individuals in other fields. To be useful it would need to assume a moderate amount of mathematics. It might be best if it was written as a collaboration between a climate scientist and a scientist in another field who has an interest in climate science. A climate scientist might miss the areas that people have difficulty with.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 23 Oct 2009 @ 5:04 AM

  230. “As for your thousands of papers defence, I recall a quote of Eintein’s where he said “Thousands of experiments supporting my theory cannot prove it to be right. But only one can prove it to be wrong”. I paraphrase somewhat.”

    Then you (not Einstein) clearly do not understand how science works or the meaning of the scientific method. Of that there is no doubt at all.

    Comment by Dan — 23 Oct 2009 @ 5:08 AM

  231. #217 Craig,

    Which large mass of information did you read? Was it from peer-reviewed science journals or from the Web? If it was the former then you are fairly unique.

    I think most Americans get their information from the Web and other forms of mass media and that is why there is such confusion or even a denialist mentality.

    “The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so.”
    – Mark Twain

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 23 Oct 2009 @ 5:19 AM

  232. “Richard Steckis, Is it seriously your contention that thousands of climate scientists, who have collectively published several thousand papers on Earth’s climate, are bullshitting?”

    Some are Ray. Not all.

    Who exactly then?

    …People are sick and tired and increasingly skeptical of the constant “It is worse than we thought” mantra that comes from the press releases of both scientists (a minority of) and eco-political groups.

    I think you confuse your own biases and preconceptions with those of the “People”. And even if this were true, so what? We’re supposed to shut up because you or your “People” are tired of hearing about it? Good luck on that.

    In Australia the public support for AGW as a crisis needing attention is softening rapidly. According to the latest poll in 2007 68% thought that AGW was a dire problem for the world. In 2008 this had reduced to 62% and in 2009 reduced further to 52%. Far from being weapons-grade stupid, the people of Australia are turning away from the cry wolf syndrome and are asking for hard facts not conjecture.

    Your conviction on climate change rests on polls of what Australians supposedly think on the matter, bolstered by your conjecture of why they think what they supposedly think?

    Despite what you say Ray, the AGW science is not settled and probably never will be. The physics alone does not explain all of climate change.
    It cannot in the absence of biotic, geological, chemical and other factors. Those other factors interact with the physics, changing its dynamics from the purely theoretical to the real-life situation which is little understood at this stage.

    Brother, if you think climate change evidence rests on “theoretical physics” you are quite blatantly ignorant on the topic, and are displaying it openly for everyone to see.

    See, as just one example:
    Rosenzweig, et al., 2008, Attributing physical and biological impacts to anthropogenic climate change. Nature, 453, 353-357.
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi?id=ro06900t

    As for your thousands of papers defence, I recall a quote of Eintein’s where he said “Thousands of experiments supporting my theory cannot prove it to be right. But only one can prove it to be wrong”. I paraphrase somewhat.

    So which one has done it then?

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 23 Oct 2009 @ 5:55 AM

  233. Craig says:
    My views come from reading the large mass of info available and doing my best to decipher when necessary. I don’t need reporters or television programs to help with the ability to recognize what I consider to be the truth. I don’t think that most other Americans are any different.

    Have you read the AR4? How many Americans would you guess have formed their conclusions from the IPCC reports instead of the popular media?

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 23 Oct 2009 @ 6:04 AM

  234. Recycler – “And the Gregory paper is 2002. While that doesn’t invalidate it, it does suggest that Lindzen’s paper is at a level beyond.”

    Don’t be absurd. Newness has ZERO LINK to validity. The only test of validity is whether or not the approach is scientifically rigourous. Which (as we shall see below) this paper is not.

    Gregory’s paper, and a MASS of other papers (all the ones, with full references, that BPL provided for you) provide evidence that CLIMATE SENSITVITIY IS CONSTRAINED BY OBSERVATION.

    Lindzen and Choi come out with a new paper that is NOT CONSISTENT with the observations.

    A new level? Or an error?

    An error.

    If I come up with a paper next year that suggests a wildly different value for, say, G, that doesn’t mean I’m at a higher level than Newton. Merely wrong.

    You want an explaination of why Lindzen came up with the WRONG number.

    Try

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/lindzen-on-climate-feedback/

    Google again.

    The Lindzen Choi paper is wrong. It is wrong because it is inconsistent with OBSERVATION and it is wrong because it has been shown to fail when the correct data set is used.

    All of this has been demonstrated in the public domain. All you have to do is look.

    The problem here is that, even if you now accept that the Lindzen paper is wrong (or at least, that the Lindzen paper is a long, long way from what the body of science suggests is the correct value of climate sensitivity, and should be treated with extreme skeptism unless SIGNIFICANTLY more evidence where unearthed to support it AND someone were to provide evidence as to why the current interpreation of observations (by a multitude of authors) was incorrect) it has taken me an hour or so of my not very precious time to convince you.

    When you could have convinced yourself.

    Like I said, I’m not a climate scientist. But I /do/ have a job. And if I spent my time constantly addressing RC queries from people who really have ALL THE TOOLS to hand that I do, then I’d get sacked.

    If you have a question, google a bit. It’s not hard to find the answers you need.

    Personally, I’m amazed that people are still banging on about climate sensitivity. It’s been so much damm studied that there’s an absolute mass of evidence that it’s 3 K, give or take 1.5 K. That simply isn’t going to change. It’s *much* more interesting (and debatable) to look at IMPACTS, their effect on humanity and mitigation efforts we may or may not take to reduce the risk of these impacts. Not only is there a scientific question about what these impacts would be, and what mitigation would deliver, but there’s a whole body of moral and economic stuff about whether we have a duty to act, how much action we should take, and what the most effective way to act would be.

    Comment by Silk — 23 Oct 2009 @ 6:21 AM

  235. Craig, the question, then is where you are getting your “large mass of info”, because it sure isn’t the peer-reviewed scientific literature. And it sure isn’t all the scientific professional and honorific societies–since not one dissents from the consensus. The real question is how people like you manage to get ahold of only misinformation and disinformation when so much good information (i.e. real science) is available.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Oct 2009 @ 7:02 AM

  236. #216 “Despite what you say Ray, the AGW science is not settled and probably never will be. The physics alone does not explain all of climate change. It cannot in the absence of biotic, geological, chemical and other factors. Those other factors interact with the physics, changing its dynamics from the purely theoretical to the real-life situation which is little understood at this stage.”

    Despite what you say, the science is well enough understood to tell us that if we burn coal and oil on a “business as usual” path to 2050, global mean temperature will go up significantly, and the impacts of this will cause severe economic hardship and millions (perhaps billions) of premature deaths that would otherwise be avoided.

    Comment by Silk — 23 Oct 2009 @ 7:47 AM

  237. Steckis, You’re as piss poor at paraphrasing as you are at science. Since you guys love this quote so much, you might as well have the actual quote:

    A group of Nazi scientists under Nobel Laureate Philipe Lenard had published a pamphlet Fifty Scientists Against Einstein. When told about it, Einstein said: ‘If I were wrong, one would have been enough.’

    But you know, Einstein was right. And indeed it would only take one scientist to prove the current model of Earth’s climate wrong. All he’d need was evidence. And yet, the consensus–the one that matters–only strengthens. Physical reality doesn’t care about polls, and physical reality, in the form of all available evidence says you are wrong. The thing is that you have NO evidence favoring your position. NONE. You merely have your contention that it’s all too complicated to understand even as climate scientists prove you wrong over and over and over again. You claim that biology and geology and chemistry will trump physics. OK, produce some evidence. Everything we know about geology says it will take hundreds of thousands of years to bring CO2 levels down to preindustrial levels. Biology doesn’t seem to be helping us out much either.

    All of the known science says we are in trouble. YOU are saying we should ignore the science because…well, why, actually. You keep asserting that we don’t understand things, but the thousands of papers on Earth’s climate and the very strong evidence favoring the models says you are wrong. I simply don’t see how you can justify your position in any evidence-based way. And if your position is ideological, then aren’t you on the side of Lenard rather than Einstein?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Oct 2009 @ 7:54 AM

  238. Edward, Climate science is a multi-disciplinary field. Here is a list of often cited authors on the subject”

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/climate_authors_table.html

    Now, when you figure that most scientific papers have multiple authors…

    You can also add to the consensus the large majority of members in professional societies–American Geophysical Union, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, etc., since not one professional society dissents from the consensus. Richard S. is alleging that the entire scientific community is defrauding the global population. I guess otherwise, he might actually have to learn the science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Oct 2009 @ 8:07 AM

  239. Rod B.,
    No, what I said was that the failure to publish is not necessarily an indication of lack of talent. As Martin says, it takes more than talent to make one a good scientist. What is often called scientific objectivity, isn’t so much objectivity as it is the ability to put aside one’s opinions and agenda and try to advance real understanding. Understanding is the common goal in science–and for most scientists, it’s the thing they value most. It is a rare case of having the common good coincide with the strongest of personal motivators for a scientist–his or her curiosity.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Oct 2009 @ 8:15 AM

  240. Dog says:

    “Perhaps it’s because you constantly misrepresent what people – including me – say, and are therefore a boor?”

    Hmm.

    Let’s look at the evidence:

    Post 165:

    ” You’re channeling denialist mentalism dog.

    Oh, yes, I’m a denialist. I’m sure everyone here believes that, too.”

    Post 92:
    “We know you think you are ”

    Now who is misrepresenting who? Who is being the boor?

    You.

    You’ve done this before. Proclaimed I know nothing and as “proof” proclaimed I was wrong before.

    And you were wrong.

    You’ve avoided answering the question.

    You’ve lost the right to demand anyone else answer the question.

    PS Moderators, if you don’t like where this is going why the feck are you letting dog’s tripe through?

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 8:20 AM

  241. Gavin —since you asked to know:
    Most of the issues I’ve raised on this blog at different times, have been in response to the subjects you’ve raised for discussion in your main comments.
    If I raise them again, it’s because they haven’t been answered, either by you, or by the past RC blogs you refer me to—as is the case with the issues I raised here and you felt the need to edit out.
    Why is that?
    You haven’t debunked them at all—the response every time has just been disdain.
    You and the other consensus scientists have managed to convince most of the world’s political leaders that you and only you have the knowledge on climate change —- that it’s all due to CO2—that other well-credentialled scientists who disagree with you are just a bunch of stupid or malevolent people.

    [Response: ok, this is where you lose me. I have never claimed climate change is all due to CO2. Why do you think I have? Instead of actually listening to what is being said, you are continually projecting statements here onto a strawman argument of your own designing. It is no wonder you can't communicate here if you aren't listening. CO2 is however very important and over the next few decades will strongly dominate the forced component of climate change. The rest of your argument is simply based on what you perceive the consequences for policy are. I don't agree with your description in the slightest, but even if I did, it still wouldn't matter a jog to the science. CO2 (and methane and aerosols and ozone and the sun and volcanoes.. ) still has an radiative impact regardless of what society decides to about it. If you aren't happy with the choices society makes then vote, demonstrate, write letters etc. Just don't try and make a problem go away just because you find it politically inconvenient. -gavin]

    And now the world is about to get down to planning the upheaval and re-ordering of governance , trade and international finance that will do permanent harm to some countries, while allowing others to leapfrog over them to economic superpower status.
    A massive global bureaucracy is to be established to police the mandates of the Climate Change Convention—and it will reach into the operations of every economy—every industry and business in all our countries—controlling our living standards according to its mandates, no matter how much an individual country tries to establish its own policy for its own conditions.
    It will levy many new taxes—and fine any country not seen to be toeing the global line—all run by the dysfunctional UN of course , as is the IPCC.
    It will require developed democracies to provide funding for developing countries and to transfer their own homegrown technologies to developing countries, including those like Communist China, whose developing status has something to do with the fact that it [ the Communist State], murdered millions of its best and brightest not too many years ago.
    The global climate enforcers [ aptly known by the acronym COP] will require every country to have an emissions trading scheme or equivalent, under which regime, prices will increase on everything we buy, and every service we pay for.
    To meet the targets required, many more nuclear power facilities will be built, many probably inevitably in politically and seismically unstable regions.
    There is no energy scientist, as far as I know, who will pretend that any renewables will be ready to provide base load power in the foreseeable future, or that anything but coal and nuclear power can fill the needs of the next half century.
    For industry and housing and other purposes, that leaves mainly coal .
    Obama said that no new coal-fired power stations would be built—or if they were, his administration would bankrupt them. Where he stands now, no one seems to know—but we do know that nothing is available take the place of the ones that were planned, presumably because they were needed.
    CCS is not at all certain to be viable, and has already met with great public resistance in small scale trials.
    We know that wind power , even in Denmark, the much-touted success story for wind, is only an adjunct—that in Denmark it must be supplemented by large quantities of energy [ coal-fired, nuclear and hydro] from neighbouring countries.
    We know that the figures don’t stack up for any of the renewables—even if deployed, they would have to have coal-fired power stations standing by to supplement them.
    Meanwhile, Germany plans more coal-fired facilities and more nuclear.
    China plans to build more than 800 new coal-fired power stations.
    India is importing ever more coal—some of it of the dirtiest kind.
    The media in just about every country ignores all of the difficult issues , shuts down debate and information—and throws all its focus on the IPCC and the science of the AGW[CO2] consensus.
    So if ever science needed to be right and scrupulous about the truth it’s now—but what do we have?
    We have scientists refusing to allow their data to be seen by those who might question their conclusions—character assassination of dissenting scientists, and for many, career damage or worse—legitimate questions on data and methods ridiculed and then ignored, even when they go right to the core of this issue, and even when those questioning have been proven right on other occasions.
    And this new attitude to science is spelt out and labelled as the new way of doing things, by a prominent member of the consensus club in his exposition of ‘post-normal science’, where he says scientists must ‘trade truth for influence’, and ‘recognise the soc ial limits of their truth-seeking’ .
    Most people want to get this right, for their own countries and the world, but how can we be anything but sceptical?
    The response the world needs is for scientists [whether they be mathematicians, solar scientists or any of the sciences related to climate science]who disagree with the consensus to be treated with respect, and their ideas to be explored and discussed with the seriousness and maturity that the enormity of this issue requires.

    Comment by truth — 23 Oct 2009 @ 8:56 AM

  242. The final retort question for the ECONOMIC denialists, is “What do you think 4C GW will cost?”

    The final retort question for the POLITICAL denialists, is “How do you think the political landscape will look at 4C GW?”

    Check out the following and give us a guesstimate (be sure to click on the + signs, the go to “more info” for sources:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2009/oct/22/climate-change-carbon-emissions

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 23 Oct 2009 @ 9:02 AM

  243. RE #207 & my 190 – you’re just wrong. Of course, first the tech & savings measures would have to be implemented to realize the savings (reminds me of a joke about praying & praying to win the lottery….then God’s deep voice booms, “First you have to enter it.”

    I’m not talking projected savings based on armchair thinking — I myself and others I know have reduced by 50 to 75% fairly easily (I’m not couunting moving closer to work in this reduction, since I’ve done that ever since the 70s oil crisis). And I haven’t even started. Not until I get my electric car to plug into my 100% wind powered electricity. When people actually put their mind to it, solutions rain down aplenty. Be creative.

    RE my 192, What’s meant by denial in the psychological sense is that people don’t consciously know there is a problem. They are in denial. We probably all have our areas of denial. It’s a common phenon. GW would be the ultimate problem in which to be in psychological denial. I think it works this way (but I’m not a psychologist or up on the lit) — the more serious the (impending) problem the more likely people would deny it.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 23 Oct 2009 @ 9:18 AM

  244. Mark, I said “I’m done”. Please stop. I don’t care what you think. You’re acting like a 14 yr old kid who’s broken into daddy’s liquor cabinet.

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Oct 2009 @ 9:40 AM

  245. You and the other consensus scientists have managed to convince most of the world’s political leaders that you and only you have the knowledge on climate change —- that it’s all due to CO2

    Truth: as long as you post lies like this you’re going to be treated with disdain, OK?

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Oct 2009 @ 9:41 AM

  246. #241 truth:

    You wrote: “The response the world needs is for scientists [whether they be mathematicians, solar scientists or any of the sciences related to climate science]who disagree with the consensus to be treated with respect, and their ideas to be explored and discussed with the seriousness and maturity that the enormity of this issue requires.”

    With some exceptions (because the process is not perfect) this is EXACTLY what is done through the peer-review process. There is a reason you are seeing very few anti-AGW papers and it is not because these papers are being black-balled.

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 23 Oct 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  247. “You haven’t debunked them at all—the response every time has just been disdain.”

    You haven’t shown that all the responses require debunking. Or that disdain is not the right answer.

    After all, isn’t the commonest denialist disdain of AGW “computer models aren’t science”? That isn’t debunking the use of computer models in modelling the weather or climate, it’s just disdain for using computers in this manner.

    Show that there’s a point to answer before you demand they all be answered.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  248. Truth, not that many people outside of you and I realize that the IPCC has a military wing to it. Pretty scary for sure.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:22 AM

  249. Lloyd, re 229:

    This was a good comment, and it sums up what I’ve seen. Due to some personal experience with other sorts of models, people project all sorts of things onto the climate models. Yet it becomes apparent that they don’t know what’s in the climate models, nor are they aware of how they have been validated. What’s strange, though, is that they don’t realise they don’t know what they’re talking about, so they don’t take the time to learn more.

    This is why efforts to demonstrate simple models are useful – technical people can then quickly see that physical first principles (conservation of energy and radiation laws) are all you need to understand the basics.

    As for people who want ever more detail: yes, it’d be nice to be able to resolve clouds, but then they’ll want you to resolve individual droplets, CCNs – it never ends. People have to consider how likely it is for the basic results of the model to leave the current stated uncertainty bounds if only some particular microphysical process were in there directly.

    To be fair, some complaints have some basis; there are indeed some fitted parameters for sub-grid scale processes, and not all those parameters are well-constrained by observation. But it seems like people think those parameters are tuned by fitting against the history of global mean temperature.

    Finally, isn’t it strange that some errors in the model results that really would be good to clean up (like the double ITCZ) are frequently mentioned by the modelers themselves, but don’t seem to be on the radar of the denial camp?

    Comment by tharanga — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  250. dhogaza, et al? Here is what Ray said: “Have fun looking for your denialists. Hint: Look way, way down the list. Is this because they are bad scientists? No.”

    You should read what was written and what I responded to before displaying your ignorance just so you can throw out a cheap-ass barb. [That Ray better explained what he meant does not mitigate your stupid comment.]

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:33 AM

  251. Didn’t quite a few people turn up here, misquote people left right and centre, slander the whole lot of the AGW scientists on the IPCC and then when brought to task for not answering questions saud “I’m done here. You lot just won’t listen”?

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:34 AM

  252. “This is why efforts to demonstrate simple models are useful ”

    This would work, tharanga, except that as soon as you talk about science models, especially simple science models (like the single column model that you can run yourself) or the model that Arrhenius et al used before computers were invented, the explanation gets drowned out by “skeptics” saying “yes, but you’ve got clouds all wrong”.

    And after explaining that, you’ve now got a complex model that you are trying to avoid.

    Scylla Charybdis

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:49 AM

  253. Lynn, 243:

    You are taking yourself, and thinking that other people would be so zealous. I don’t know where you are getting your 100% wind electricity, but that simply isn’t a choice for most people; they get whatever their utility gives them. Yes, you can walk into somebody’s house or life and see various energy savings they could make. Smart meters could make people more aware of their usage, as well. But for many people, they need a sharper financial incentive to chase down those savings. You saw that it took $137 oil for many people to change their driving behaviours or car-buying habits. Particularly when there is a long payback period – you or I might be happy to spend extra money on some gadget that uses less energy, but if it takes 15 years for the energy cost savings to justify the initial purchase cost, most people won’t bother.

    It puzzles me that some people seem to think we could decrease emissions to the desired levels without any economic cost at all. Even the Stern review, in which the conclusions are quite supportive of making emissions cuts, spells out the costs. If you go from cheap coal to more expensive anything else, then things will simply cost more. Yes, there are some cost-free conservation measures you can take that don’t reduce productivity, but it’ll take more than those to get there – there will be a cost. It’s just that the cost of mitigation is less than the cost of inaction. Of course, there could be some technological breakthrough that makes various alternative sources dirt-cheap, but that would be a hope, not something on which to base economic projections.

    Comment by tharanga — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:53 AM

  254. truth, here I went to all the trouble to actually try to be nice and you didn’t even bother reading my little missive, did you? I will repeat. It is about evidence, and there is a severe paucity of it on the denialist side. The problem is that your “well credentialed scientists” don’t publish–and most of them have no credentials at all when it comes to climate science.

    Look, truth, it is obvious that your main concern is about the possible political implications of the need for mitigation. That’s fine. We need to be careful to avoid adverse consequences. Unfortunately, physical reality doesn’t give a fig about your concerns–or mine. And science is concerned about physical reality. To date, ALL the evidence suggests we’re in deep kimchee. The science says we need to do something. We can either go with science or anti-science. The former has a much, much better track record.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Oct 2009 @ 11:02 AM

  255. note to moderators: no need to say “stop” I’ve said all I can say and the evidence is out there. printing this will just make dog desire to respond to this message and if you put “OK stop” it’ll just make me want to post one more to show that I’m not intimidated, which gets us nowhere.

    Thanks for your forbearance on letting me respond to dog’s crazed attack (IMO).

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  256. Comment 229 by Lloyd Flack describes very well a concern many moderate skeptics have. Its encouraging that at least some AGW believers acknowledge it can be difficult for some to completely buy in to the IPCC projections. Having some doubts doesn’t mean we are flat earthers and all that other nonsense put out by what are probably non-scientist rabid AGW worshipers.

    Comment by John Phillips — 23 Oct 2009 @ 11:26 AM

  257. #6 So we are left with three possible conclusions:

    1) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts agree about much of the tenants of AGW and are honest.

    2) An overwhelming majority of international climate experts are ignorant about their own expertise in a sudden and collective manner.

    3) These scientists have all agreed to conspire to delude the billions of folks on the planet and just a very tiny percentage of them (and mostly unpublished) are trying to save us all from this mass hoax.

    Shouldn’t you give credit to CS Lewis for this line of thinking?

    Comment by BlogReader — 23 Oct 2009 @ 11:33 AM

  258. A group of Nazi scientists under Nobel Laureate Philipe Lenard had published a pamphlet Fifty Scientists Against Einstein. When told about it, Einstein said: ‘If I were wrong, one would have been enough.’

    I thought I read somewhere that the Nazis had 31,000 scientists.

    Comment by JCH — 23 Oct 2009 @ 11:56 AM

  259. Yes, truth, we all know there is a big problem here…

    It’s called filling up the oceans and atmosphere and soil with all manner of industrial and agricultural effluent, while at the same time stripping off a good percentage of the pre-existing biomass, largely for agricultural space but also for industrial and residential development.

    Global warming comes about because of the increase in infrared-absorbing but visible-transparent atmospheric constituents, primarily CO2, CH4 and N2O. These gases were also present during pre-industrial and pre-historical eras, and we know that fluctuations in their levels played a major role in the determining the amplitude of glacial cycles, though it appears the timing of those glacial cycles was set by planetary orbital characteristics.

    The two fundamental physical theories that apply here are the interaction of light and matter, and fluid dynamics. CO2 & friends absorb in the infrared, thus acting as a blanket around the Earth; this blanket is gauzy but persistent and, thanks primarily to the addition of fossil fuels to the energy mix is growing thicker. Deforestation and disruption of other natural carbon cycle processes plays a secondary but important role – at least for climate. The climate can return to earlier values, the wholesale elimination of species is not reversible – also, note that while the Eastern Islanders did wipe out all their large co-species, their cousins to the west managed to do a little better (i.e. their more rugged mountainous islands acted as reservoirs of species diversity).

    The fossil carbon is the problem – no matter where you put it. In the oceans, it leads to acidification, and in the atmosphere to warming. So, the only solution is to eliminate fossil fuels from the energy mix and to halt deforestation. CCS doesn’t work.

    This, as you note, causes problems for people who need electricity for lighting, fuel for warmth, and so on. Indeed, without reliable energy sources, agriculture and industry rapidly collapse back to the subsistence village scale.

    Luckily, we have a large suite of alternative methods for generating and storing energy that don’t involve digging anything out of the ground and pumping it into the atmosphere – all based in one way or the other on converting the energy coming at us from the big thermonuclear ball of fire in the sky.

    As an added benefit, converting to such energy sources will also reduce increasing global tension over access to fossil fuel reserves, as well as free many developing economies from dependence on shipments of said fossil fuels for their agricultural and industrial sectors – a win-win for everyone.

    Except for those who will see their fossil fuel sales slip away into nothingness, that is… now, that’s quite a bunch. Everyone from Saudi monarchs to Venezuelan revolutionaries, old-school Russian Marxists and fanatical Ayn Rand / Wall Street devotees – plus your London bankers, oil future dealers, coal mine owners – all brought together by their collective shared fear of change.

    Now, now, it’s going to be okay – just put your money in renewables and have a cool drink.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:00 PM

  260. “I don’t know where you are getting your 100% wind electricity”

    I think that was illustrative hyperbole, rather than a forecast or requirement.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:08 PM

  261. Too many rambling personal attacke here.
    Please reduce diatribes to compact “You are dumb !” and optional response “No you are!” for easier reading.

    Comment by KevinM — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  262. Way off topic here, but I had a fun idea about how to solve global warming in the shower this morning. I’m actually here as a sceptic, but muddling through the mess to fight off closed mindedness.

    Anyway, the main article we’re commenting on had a bit about adding chemicals to the atmosphere to cut solar radiation incident on the earth. Sounds messy and dangerous to me, but how about a big mirror outside the atmosphere? I understand that several thousand square miles of space tinfoil is unrealistic, but if you move it farther from earth, and closer to the sun, the proportions get smaller. I call it the “sunbrella”.

    Probably impractical, but it accounts for another denialist property I represent. If AGW is really not a crock of soup, we’ll find a way to beat it.

    Comment by KevinM — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:22 PM

  263. Kevin, I just put the record out there.

    You can draw the conclusions from the information available to you and not get involved or do as you are in #261 and get involved.

    Choice.

    Scary, innit.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:28 PM

  264. tharanga wrote: “I don’t know where you are getting your 100% wind electricity, but that simply isn’t a choice for most people; they get whatever their utility gives them.”

    I get 100 percent wind-generated electricity through my local utility, which is PEPCO in the Washington, DC area. It costs a little bit more than PEPCO’s “standard mix” which is about 80 percent coal-generated, with the rest coming mostly from natural gas and nuclear (Calvert Cliffs). This is not the same as “offsets” — I am buying wind-generated electricity from wind turbine “farms” in the mid-Atlantic region that feed into PEPCO’s grid. Certainly the availability of wind-generated electricity will vary around the country, but it has been available in this area for years, to thousands of residential and commercial customers. There are a number of businesses (e.g. restaurants, natural foods markets, etc) in the area that advertise the fact that they use 100 percent wind power.

    On another note, I appreciate the moderators’ openness to all sorts of “points of view” but is it really necessary to print all the long-winded, incoherent, repetitive, demented, idiotic, offensive, malicious drivel and outright lies from the commenter who calls himself “truth”? It is utter garbage and conveys nothing but this person’s Limbaugh-fueled, obsessive hatred of the one-dimensional, cartoon comic-book stereotypes of “leftists” and “liberals” that he imagines are hiding under his bed. It has nothing whatever to do with climate science or even with climate & energy policy. It’s just buffoonishly hateful Ditto-Headism.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:34 PM

  265. >> I haven’t even started. Not until I get my electric car
    >> to plug into my 100% wind powered electricity.

    > … where you are getting your 100% …

    From the future, e.g. here:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019122954.htm

    and here:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103130924.htm
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.33.002527

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:34 PM

  266. 256, John Phillips:

    I agree that Lloyd (229) well laid out some reasons why some sceptics with technical backgrounds are the way they are. But that was no justification for them being that way. The problem is, at the root of it is sheer laziness by those sceptics in learning about the state of the field.

    We often see these sceptics lecture us on how climate must be a complex non-linear system, and post a link to a math book, or discuss some topic in their own field. Well, of course it’s complicated – what’s your point? Do you think climate scientists don’t know this? Instead of just telling us that weather is chaotic, have the sceptics stopped to consider whether there is some predictability to climate?

    Or, perhaps in their field, they use a model that isn’t based on physical principles like the conservation of energy, but are just curve-fits to empirical data. Somehow, they then assume that climate models have a few parameters which are tweaked so that the model reproduces the 20th century mean surface temperature history. Why do they assume that? Why are they assuming things when they could spend a week, read a few papers, and see how the models are formulated?

    Or, often we hear that the models aren’t validated, and we are treated to a lecture on how, in their field, they check model results against observations. Well, haven’t they ever stopped to actually look in the literature whether models are validated against observations? Of course they are.

    OK, so maybe these sceptics don’t want to get into learning about the models, as they are big and complicated. So why then make definitive statements about something you don’t know about? Or, why not look at simplified models, to get started on the basic idea? Or, why not look at the field and the observations more generally, and see how much one can learn without applying a sophisticated coupled model at all? I don’t need a big fancy model to tell me that CO2 absorbs IR, that this must warm the surface, that there are various feedbacks, and there is little observed evidence for a huge negative feedback that would make the whole thing harmless.

    Comment by tharanga — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:37 PM

  267. truth

    “A massive global bureaucracy is to be established to police the mandates of the Climate Change Convention—and it will reach into the operations of every economy—every industry and business in all our countries—controlling our living standards according to its mandates, no matter how much an individual country tries to establish its own policy for its own conditions.”

    I wish!

    I work in the negotations. This ain’t gonna happen. And even if it was going to happen, gavin is correct. It’s got nothing to do with climate sensitvity to CO2, which is well established.

    “It will levy many new taxes—and fine any country not seen to be toeing the global line—all run by the dysfunctional UN of course , as is the IPCC.”

    1 – The IPCC is run by the parties, not the UNFCCC. What lives in IPCC reports comes from scientists who are not employed by the UN. How it gets presented is largely down to scientists, but the summary for policymakers is largely driven by governments. National governments, not the UN.

    2 – There is ZERO chance of any kind of international ‘fine’ being introduced at Copenhagen. Zero. Would that there was, but it won’t be agreed.

    “It will require developed democracies to provide funding for developing countries and to transfer their own homegrown technologies to developing countries”

    And it will provide an oppotunity for the companies who own that technology to make a vast pile of money.

    You do /know/ that we already transfer vast sums AND technology to China, right? The sums suggested for climate finance are tiny in comparison to FDI.

    Do you buy /anything/ made in Communist China?

    If you don’t have a problem with cheap crap from China, then why do you have a problem with sorting out the climate problem?

    “including those like Communist China, whose developing status has something to do with the fact that it [ the Communist State], murdered millions of its best and brightest not too many years ago.”

    I’m not econmic historian, but the idea that China is /more/ developed because of the insanities of Mao is … well … insane. Deng bought growth to China by introducing capitalism. That’s an established fact (look at Chinese GDP growth under Mao, and then Deng)

    “The global climate enforcers [ aptly known by the acronym COP] will require every country to have an emissions trading scheme or equivalent”

    No they won’t.

    “under which regime, prices will increase on everything we buy, and every service we pay for.”

    It’s certainly true that energy prices will increase. It is also certainly true that energyu prices will increase WITHOUT a climate regime, since we are running out of energy and demand is going up.

    As I said before, should the world pay $25+ trillion for sticking with fossil fuels, or $30 trillion (or a bit less) for moving to renewables AND not trashing the planet?

    Economic analysis says it’s cheaper to reduce emissions and therefore reduce damage costs than stick with cheap solutions and pay vast damage costs later.

    “To meet the targets required, many more nuclear power facilities will be built, many probably inevitably in politically and seismically unstable regions.”

    Possibly.

    “There is no energy scientist, as far as I know, who will pretend that any renewables will be ready to provide base load power in the foreseeable future, or that anything but coal and nuclear power can fill the needs of the next half century.”

    Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air is freely available and sets out the arguments. I’ve not read it yet, but I think he largely agrees with you

    BUT

    Ever heard of CCS?

    “For industry and housing and other purposes, that leaves mainly coal .”

    CCS

    “Obama said that no new coal-fired power stations would be built—or if they were, his administration would bankrupt them.”

    No he didn’t. He said they’d have to fit CCS.

    “Where he stands now, no one seems to know—but we do know that nothing is available take the place of the ones that were planned, presumably because they were needed.”

    CCS. Plenty of people know it.

    “CCS is not at all certain to be viable, and has already met with great public resistance in small scale trials.”

    Indeed. But I believe public resistance to climate change is greater.

    And CCS almost certainly works, because we’ve been doing it for 30 years (at smaller scale)

    “Meanwhile, Germany plans more coal-fired facilities and more nuclear.”

    Indeed. And is working on CCS

    “China plans to build more than 800 new coal-fired power stations.”

    Indeed. A big problem that needs solving, n’cest pas? But you seem to be opposed to working with China to develop clean alternatives.

    “India is importing ever more coal—some of it of the dirtiest kind.”

    What I said for China stands for India too. Except the bit about Deng, of course.

    “The media in just about every country ignores all of the difficult issues , shuts down debate and information—and throws all its focus on the IPCC and the science of the AGW[CO2] consensus.”

    The media debate would certainly more well informed if we moved away from debating the science of climate change (the broad outlines of which are settled) and into a mature adult debate about how to deal with the consequences of this.

    I doubt you agree.

    “So if ever science needed to be right and scrupulous about the truth it’s now—but what do we have?”

    We have an excellent body of peer reviewed science that’s freely available for scrutiny in the public domain. Thankfully.

    “We have scientists refusing to allow their data to be seen by those who might question their conclusions—”

    really?

    “character assassination of dissenting scientists”

    really?

    ” and for many, career damage or worse—legitimate questions on data and methods ridiculed and then ignored, even when they go right to the core of this issue, and even when those questioning have been proven right on other occasions.”

    Lindzen, eh?

    “And this new attitude to science is spelt out and labelled as the new way of doing things, by a prominent member of the consensus club in his exposition of ‘post-normal science’, where he says scientists must ‘trade truth for influence’, and ‘recognise the soc ial limits of their truth-seeking’ .”

    So because, er, one person said this, that makes it all corrupt, right?

    “Most people want to get this right, for their own countries and the world, but how can we be anything but sceptical?”

    There’s skepticsm, and there’s outright denial. Big difference between the two.

    If this is a problem, we should do something about it, right?

    “The response the world needs is for scientists [whether they be mathematicians, solar scientists or any of the sciences related to climate science]who disagree with the consensus to be treated with respect, and their ideas to be explored and discussed with the seriousness and maturity that the enormity of this issue requires.”

    Which is EXACTLY what RealClimate does. I’m amazed you can think differently, to be honest.

    Comment by Silk — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:42 PM

  268. Ike Solem wrote:

    Except for those who will see their fossil fuel sales slip away into nothingness, that is… now, that’s quite a bunch…. fanatical Ayn Rand / Wall Street devotees…

    Actually those who are worried about their fossil fuel sales are more likely to belong to the group that financed the religious right rather than among the fanatical Ayn Rand devotees. And some Ayn Rand devotees aren’t that fanatical — particularly those who lean more towards David Kelley and his bunch rather than Leonard Peikoff and his. But I would expect most of the former to be fairly ideological when it comes to global warming — they just aren’t fanatical Ayn Rand devotees.

    In fact just about individual who might be worried about fossil fuel sales among the Ayn Rand bunch that I can think of would be Ellis Wyatt — who is/was into shale oil. But he’s a fictional character from “Atlas Shrugged.” Plenty of “Objectivists” may have trouble telling the difference beween “Atlas Shrugged” and reality, but I trust you don’t.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Oct 2009 @ 12:56 PM

  269. Mark, so I’m not to read what someone wrote, I’m to read what someone didn’t write and go from there.

    Comment by Rod B — 23 Oct 2009 @ 1:08 PM

  270. KevinM,
    Sorry to disappoint you, but this has been thought of. Basically, you place a large mirror at the L1 Lagrange point. However, if you do the math, you find that it still has to be HUGE. And it has to be able to control position and attitude and not get blown around in the solar wind (ever hear of a solar sail?), and stand up to radiation, and you have to be able to deploy it. And, perhaps most difficult of all, you have to lift it into orbit around the Sun and place it at L2. This exceeds current technology and foreseeable technology by quite a bit. Currently, the best we can do is this:

    http://www.stsci.edu/jwst/overview/design/sunshade.html

    and that just barely. Believe me. I know.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Oct 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  271. #257 Blogreader:

    “Shouldn’t you give credit to CS Lewis for this line of thinking?”

    I have never read CS Lewis. My post is original so I guess that CS Lewis said something similar? I bet he didn’t use “tenants” though. :)

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 23 Oct 2009 @ 1:36 PM

  272. KevinM and RodB are just trying to get you wound up and off topic.
    For all possible values of ‘you’

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Oct 2009 @ 1:37 PM

  273. Lloyd Flack (229) — Such a book already exists: “A Climate Modelling Primer” by Henderson-Sellers. Also there is quite a bit in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    and also some FAQs here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii/langswitch_lang/tk

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Oct 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  274. Rod B, you’re to read what they wrote, not what you think they wrote.

    Plenty examples around for that.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Oct 2009 @ 2:12 PM

  275. Mark York:

    There’s always room for one more, but what you say is just not true. Kim Stanley Robinson, famous for his Mars series, among others, has created a series about global warming called Science in the Capital:

    40 signs of Rain, 50 degrees below, 60 days and counting.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 23 Oct 2009 @ 3:25 PM

  276. I have been on 100% wind for over a decade, and that’s in a state where the alternative was 100% hydro.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 23 Oct 2009 @ 3:31 PM

  277. Rod B. and Mark–mea culpa. I could have expressed my thoughts more clearly. It is just that having expressed similar thoughts multiple times, I made the mistaken assumption that they were familiar and could be summarized in the 5 minutes between beam runs.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Oct 2009 @ 3:45 PM

  278. The topic was?
    Oh yeah, Climate Coverup: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, a book by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore.
    Which covers the funding and details of contrarian attacks on climate science.
    Sure enough, the topic is prompting contrarians to attack here, employing the usual techniques to divert the subject. How many of the contrarians here are funded by the sources identified in the book?
    There is a rise in contrarian activity as the potential of action on Capitol Hill increases.
    The denial blogosphere is simultaneous these days; a piece of nonsense is propagated within hours on one blog after another. Today Hansen’s supposed statement 20 years ago that the West Side drive will be under water by now is all the rage. And Lindzen-Choi article, of course they like that one, since it was peer-reviewed. (Who let that dog out?)
    The book is excellent, I will finish reading it soon. I hope it makes a dent on the public. The public has come to believe that much more science is disputed and can’t be relied on as a consequence of the attacks on climate science, tobacco smoke, the ozone hole, etc., by ‘experts’ or at least loudmouths. If the idea that much of the public controversy is lies generated by special interests, maybe it will restore science to its role in improving human life.

    Comment by veritas36 — 23 Oct 2009 @ 3:48 PM

  279. my name is jeremy and i currently wrote a very clever short piece that is capable of both grabbing the general pupils’s attention as well as getting the awareness of global warming out there. It’s not a breakthrough by any means however it deserves its 15 minutes of fames. I am a blogging virgin crying out for someones guidance as to where i could post this for optimal attention in the medias eye on this website for constructive criticism. if anyone can help me please email the link to jeremygogan@hotmail.com, it would be GREATLY appreciated

    Comment by Jeremy Gogan — 23 Oct 2009 @ 3:55 PM

  280. #253, I never said people WOULD reduce, only that they COULD, and that therefore, I wouldn’t have much sympathy for them as I pass them crying all the way to the poor house, while I laugh all the way to the bank.

    I fact I’m rather pessimistic. I don’t think most people will reduce, even if it saves them money, even if the gov puts mega-tax on carbon. I don’t think they’ll reduce even if it saves their descents’ lives, or their children’s lives, or their own lives, or spares them from going to that place a lot hotter than a globally warmed world, where the devoils will be pouring boiling, burning oil on them for all eternity.

    How else do you explain why people smoke and do all sorts of other self- and other-destructive things. How do you explain crime, terrorism, war. Let’s face it, people are just bad, worse, and worst.

    RE wind energy, I reduced my GHGs by 30-50% BEFORE moving to Texas and going on Green Mountain’s 100% wind energy — and I could have reduced even more, except that hubbie didn’t want to sacrifice by lowering our living standard. We actually ended up raising it; hubbie got a 15 watt CF bulb to replace the 40 watt incandescent above the stove and has been happy as a clam cooking ever since, now that he can see.

    Here’s something that Sweden is doing to help those who want to reduce — they are putting the CO2 emissions of various foods listed on packages and menus:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/23/world/europe/23degrees.html?_r=amp;scp=1&sq=to%20cut%20global%20warming&st=cse

    As the story goes, some people just ignore these labels….

    RE Stern, well, he’s British and they are already at about half of the typical American’s GHG emissions, so they don’t have as much “fat” to cut out. We in American are just going to live and die in our stupifying profligacy. End of story, end of earth.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  281. Re 265 Hank

    I might be misreading Lynn, but I think the context was today, not the future. It sounds to me like Lynn has access to the same sort of choice that Secular Animist describes in 264. (Choosing a utility or program that is based on green energy).

    264 Secular Animist:

    Right, I’m aware that’s a choice in some locales, but as you note, it depends on where you live. I don’t think it’s common. Do you have an idea of how many people take up that wind option?

    A perhaps overly pedantic point, sorry, but it’s probably better to say that you’re paying for wind-generated electricity, rather than actually getting it. It’s all on the same grid. Hopefully the utility obtains as much wind energy (or more) as the amount consumed by people signed up for wind.

    Comment by tharanga — 23 Oct 2009 @ 4:51 PM

  282. “1)I am a scientist. When I get a bonus, it has 3 significant figures to the left of the decimal place. ”

    Flipping heck, Ray.

    You can’t work for government, then, as a scientist. If I add several years bonus, I’ll get 3 figures…

    Took the words from my mouth, Mark. Maybe there’s still time to move into NGO work.

    Comment by Ken — 23 Oct 2009 @ 5:11 PM

  283. Timothy, the only point that I was trying to make is that the issue is ablout economic agendas, not about ideological stances. In fact, what is so remarkable about the diehard global warming denialists is the wide variety of ideological stances that they all share – here we have Karl Marx shaking hands with Milton Friedman and Keynesian economists over the need to deny physical reality in favor of sustained profitability, or (for Marxists), preservation of the oil-fueled worker’s paradise. People who have radically different political views (Chavez & Bush, say) end up united over the desire to keep fossil fuel sales high.

    It’s all very understandable from the short-term, mindless economic perspective – for example, if you own shares in a coal fired utility, in a coal mine, and in the railway that delivers the coal from the mine to the utility, then you have a nice little cash cow that spins and spins and spins – you can live in luxury, own a private jet, travel the world – unless people decide they don’t want any more coal, in which case all that goes away. In the case of solar power, you still have the utility, but there’s no coal mine or railroad profits – sunlight is free and not really meter-able. That means less money, which is anathema to shareholders. Thus, you see shareholders financing large-scale denialist campaigns in all the various media outlets.

    The proof is in the pudding – look at EPA projections for the House “climate bill”:

    The Environmental Protection Agency projects that if the House bill became law, electricity generation from gas would increase by less than 1 percent from 2015 to 2025, while generation from coal would remain nearly unchanged. – NY Times, Sept 7 2009

    Bills that appear to address energy issues but really just support the status quo? This has been the norm in California for about a decade now – ask any installer about the real effects of the “Million Solar Roofs” bill – it undercut net metering and led to a drop-off in solar installations, not an increase, even thought the fossil fuel-financed politicians tried to sell it as a boon for industry. Now, it appears that this strategy has gone national.

    Given the large public support for renewable energy development (75% is a typical polling number), the fossil fuel lobby and their owned politicians have no choice but to give lip service to renewables in public – but make no mistake, they’re still doing the fossil fuel lobby’s bidding in private. The “clean coal” push is a just another facet of this reality.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 23 Oct 2009 @ 5:43 PM

  284. “sunlight is free and not really meter-able”

    From an economics perspective, one could consider the solar panels (or whatever conversion device is used) to be the ‘fuel’.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Oct 2009 @ 6:01 PM

  285. Cigarettes cause cancer, and they also weaken the cardiovascular system to a point that surviving cardiac arrest is significantly less likely for smokers than non-smokers. People know this, yet people still smoke.

    That’s because the smoker is getting the benefit of the cigarette (nicotine high) and the future smoker, who won’t exist for decades, is the one getting screwed.

    Now take that system of human behavior and apply it to industrial civilization. This isn’t the all the fault of the energy companies and their lobbyists – it’s the consumers. We know the ultimate prognosis, but the person getting screwed is decades away. Industrial civilization isn’t going to slow down until it gets whacked on the head. Hard. That’s just the way we roll. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

    Comment by Steve — 23 Oct 2009 @ 6:35 PM

  286. > it’s the consumers

    That’s the PR line of such groups as the “Center for Consumer Freedom, Promoting Personal Responsibility and Protecting Consumer Choice” — who will tell you that the American Public Health Association exists take away your personal freedom to consume only what’s most profitable in the short term.

    Read up on the British East India Company and the organizations people formed to get free of that corporation’s control, sometime. Think about it. It has to be done repeatedly.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Oct 2009 @ 7:47 PM

  287. Most people reading here will know how to look this up; here’s how:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_for_Consumer_Freedom

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Oct 2009 @ 7:56 PM

  288. So, Steve@285, what about those of us who don’t smoke?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Oct 2009 @ 8:42 PM

  289. Scott Mandia @6 not tenants but tenets

    ta …

    Fran

    Comment by Fran Barlow — 23 Oct 2009 @ 9:31 PM

  290. #272 David Benson,
    Thanks. I’ll take a look at that book. I’ve already referred people to the websites you mentioned especially Spencer Weart’s ste.

    Comment by Lloyd Flack — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:09 PM

  291. The Sources of Opposition to Climate Science, Part I of IV: Ideology

    Ike Solem wrote:

    Timothy, the only point that I was trying to make is that the issue is about economic agendas, not about ideological stances. In fact, what is so remarkable about the diehard global warming denialists is the wide variety of ideological stances that they all share – here we have Karl Marx shaking hands with Milton Friedman and Keynesian economists over the need to deny physical reality in favor of sustained profitability, or (for Marxists), preservation of the oil-fueled worker’s paradise. People who have radically different political views (Chavez & Bush, say) end up united over the desire to keep fossil fuel sales high.

    But for a lot of people it is about ideology. Many are conservatives or libertarians — people who were opposed to passing laws about where you could smoke and who are now opposed to regulating fossil fuel — even though they haven’t suddenly switched from owning tobacco companies to owning oil companies or from family-owned tobacco farms to independent oil fields. Chances are the vast majority of them never owned either one — or sold either tobacco or fossil fuel — unless it was while working for only a little more than minimum wage at a convenience store. Some are opposed to environmentalism, seeing it as the new communism — and they view the recognition of anthropogenic global warming as the back door to radical environmentalism. And many of those oppose environmentalism as they see it requiring widespread birth con-trol.

    Some of these libertarians follow in the footsteps of Ayn Rand. Others take pride in certain accidents of birth involving their high albedo and are fervent believers in state rights. Still others believe that Old Testament law should become the law of the land — or at least that we are entering the End Times — and the UN Will be on the wrong side. The latter are likely supporters of state vou-chers for school removing evolution from school curricula, or at least teaching some form of crea-tionism in science classes when the subject turns to evolutionary biology.
    *
    Even some of the big name sthink tanks were ideologically-motivated, at least in the beginning — and for all appearances even now. Look at Naomi Oreskes’ video…

    The American Denial of Global Warming
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    … and the origins of the George C. Marshall Institute. Ideology. First they opposed com-munism and supported the Star Wars Defense System, then they opposed what they saw as the dangerous setting of precedent in the expansion of the role of government. Cigarettes, CFCs and ozone, fossil fuel.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:35 PM

  292. The Sources of Opposition to Climate Science, Part II of IV: Religious

    Look at:

    A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor:
    An Evangelical Response to Global Warming
    By E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., Paul K. Driessen, Esq.,
    Ross McKitrick, Ph.D., and Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.
    http://web. arc hive.org/web/20060827200338/www.interfaithstewardship.org/pdf/CalltoTruth.pdf

    Although the good majority of evangelical organizations that have taken a position on global warming have come out in support of the science, those that endorsed the above have come out against — and they see it as a religious issue. Ross McKitrick and Roy Spencer (a proponent of intelligent design) are listed among the evangelicals, Richard Lindzen simply as one of the non-evangelical allies.

    What of the Heritage Foundation?

    Their concerns certainly extend well beyond fossil fuel:

    Heritage supports faith-based initiatives, school vou-chers, ban on abor-tion, overturning affirmative action programs.

    Rightwing Watch: Heritage Foundation
    http://www.right wingwatch.org/content/heritage-foundation

    What of their funding? Some of the wealth behind it certainly comes from fossil fuel. For example, the Scaife Family Foundations and Koch Family Foundations.

    Please see:

    According to Media Transparency, the Heritage Foundation received $61,944,537 in foundation grants from organizations such as: the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Scaife Foundations, the John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., Castle Rock Foundation, JM Foundation, Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

    ibid.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:44 PM

  293. The Sources of Opposition to Climate Science, Part III of IV: The Scaife Family

    But what of those who fund the opposition to climate science? At present, let’s consider the men behind the Scaife Family Foundations and the Koch Family Foundations.

    Richard Scaife a major funder variety of right-wing and libertarian organizations:

    Among the right-wing organizations substantially funded by Scaife are the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, Judicial Watch, Cato Institute and a working group within his American Spectator publication called the “Arkansas Project,” whose specific aim was to locate and create dirt on the Clintons in order to smear them, in hopes of removing Clinton from office….

    People for the American Way estimates that the Scaife Foundations have channeled in excess of $340 million to right-wing groups over the last thirty years, more than any other individual.

    Richard Mellon Scaife
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Richard_Scaife

    I assume you are familiar with a few of those names.

    Richard Scaife is also a major funder of the religious right:

    The AAC’s influence is bolstered by its close links to another right-wing religious organisation, the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), which operates out of the same Washington office as the AAC, and on whose board Ahmanson’s wife, Roberta, sits….

    Much of the IRD’s money comes from the conservative philanthropist Richard Scaife, heir to a banking and oil fortune and owner of the Greensburgh Tribune Review, the Pittsburgh newspaper that became the bane of President Bill Clinton’s life, with a series of allegations surrounding the Whitewater affair.

    US millionaire bankrolls crusade against gay Anglican priests
    Jamie Doward
    The Guardian, Sunday 12 October 2003
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/12/religion.anglicanism

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:45 PM

  294. The Sources of Opposition to Climate Science, Part IV of IV: The Koch Family

    Looking at Koch Industries, we find that they are owned by a founding member of the anti-communist John Birch Society and a libertarian who is responsible for a significant amount of the funding of the Cato Insitute:

    Funding for the foundations comes from the conglomerate Koch Industries, the “nation’s largest privately held energy company, with annual revenues of more than $25 billion. … Koch Industries is now the second largest family-owned business in the U.S., with annual sales of over $20 billion.”

    “The company is owned by two of the richest men in America,” David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch (described as ‘reclusive billionaires’), who have a combined personal fortune estimated at more than $3 billion and who have emerged as major Republican contributors in recent years. … Both David and Charles Koch are ranked among the 50 richest people in the country by ‘Forbes’.”

    The Koch brothers control the three family foundations that have “lavished tens of millions of dollars in the past decade on ‘free market’ advocacy institutions in and around Washington.”[2] –’The Nation’, “What Wouldn’t Bob Dole Do for Koch Oil?”

    The foundations are financed via the oil and gas fortunes of Fred G. Koch, a founding member of the John Birch Society. David is a libertarian who “provides a significant amount of funding for the Cato Institute’s $4 million annual budget.”

    SourceWatch: Koch Family Foundations
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Koch_Family_Foundations

    Which is more fundamental for them? Their ideological or economic concerns? It is difficult to say. Koch and Scaife wealth is in no small part due to oil, but they have been funding libertarian, rightwing and relgious right causes for quite some time, causes that are oftentimes only distantly related to their investments in fossil fuel.

    However, regardless of what ultimately motivates the wealthy individuals who fund much of the propaganda behind attacks on climate science, the people who they influence don’t have anywhere near as much personal wealth riding on this — but they do buy into the ideologies promoted by the organizations that these wealthy men finance.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:46 PM

  295. “Mark York:

    There’s always room for one more, but what you say is just not true. Kim Stanley Robinson, famous for his Mars series, among others, has created a series about global warming called Science in the Capital:

    40 signs of Rain, 50 degrees below, 60 days and counting.”

    Yes I read them, but they don’t refute Crichton in his own style. Living in a tree house in Rock Creek Park in 50 below weather in between frisbee games isn’t exactly the kind of thing that lends credence in fiction either.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 23 Oct 2009 @ 11:29 PM

  296. Lloyd Flack, there’s also the CCSP report on climate models’ strengths and limitations. It’s not a primer on climate modeling, but it addresses many of the issues you mentioned in a quite readable and helpful way. (IMO. YMMV).

    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap3-1/final-report/sap3-1-final-all.pdf

    Comment by CM — 24 Oct 2009 @ 1:48 AM

  297. Stan Robinson is a neighbor and friend, and he is an articulate spokesperson on global warming. Last week he emceed our local Wild and Scenic River Film Festival, where he gave an impassioned talk about the need to immediately work feverishly to reduce CO2 to lower levels than we currently have. He also gently chided the Sierra Club for not taking on population growth as a key issue to increased CO2 emissions. Maybe he doesn’t refute Crichton, but Robinson truly gets it when it comes to global warming.

    Comment by Jim Eaton — 24 Oct 2009 @ 3:02 AM

  298. Let me add that I read a substantial portion of Mark A. York’s book, and it’s very good. I wish some major publisher would take it up.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Oct 2009 @ 4:48 AM

  299. Blatently off topic however The UK Science Museum is running an online poll/petition…

    “”I’ve seen the evidence. And I want the government to prove they’re serious about climate change by negotiating a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen.”

    You can choose to Count Me In or Cout Me Out, the resulting totals will be sent to the UK Government….

    Now since the US ‘sceptical’ website WattsUpWithThat featured the poll there has been a surge in the Count me Out numbers – even though the petition is for strong representation at Copenhagen by the UK Government.

    Cast your vote here … http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/proveit.aspx

    Comment by pjclarke — 24 Oct 2009 @ 5:04 AM

  300. “From an economics perspective, one could consider the solar panels (or whatever conversion device is used) to be the ‘fuel’.”

    Except the fuel doesn’t get consumed, so you can’t consider it fuel.

    More a catalyst.

    Comment by Mark — 24 Oct 2009 @ 6:06 AM

  301. #283 “People who have radically different political views (Chavez & Bush, say) end up united over the desire to keep fossil fuel sales high.”

    Ike, Hugo Chavez doesn’t deny global warming, quite the opposite in fact. He gave a speech at the UN in 2005 expressing grave concern about climate change. I think this points to the fact that while economic interests play an important role in the whole debate, ideology seems to be the main factor. (Of course, ideology and economics affect each other. But not in a crude, mechanistic way.)

    There’s another side to the story. Oil-producing nations have an interest in making the most, long-term, out of their resources. Using them all up as quickly as possible isn’t the most sensible exploitation of those reserves. Also, since OPEC more-or-less sets the amount of crude oil extracted per year, they can push prices up by reducing production. Long-term, oil-producing countries have an interest in diversifying their economies so as not to be vulnerable to the swings in world oil prices. I think the evidence shows that the main resistance to accepting the science of global warming comes from consumers, or rather from special interests which are related to consumption (not extraction) of fossil fuels.

    Comment by Paul L — 24 Oct 2009 @ 6:11 AM

  302. KevinM says:

    If AGW is really not a crock of soup, we’ll find a way to beat it.

    It’s not and we already have: reduce energy waste, fuel emissions, and forest clearing, and alter agricultural mgt. practices.

    Or avoid the root cause of the problem and dream and finagle and waste time and resources with crackpot “solutions”, like mirrors in space and sulfate injections, which do not relate to the cause of the problem, which we have no idea how will actually affect the earth’s energy balance, no idea how much they will cost, no assurance of being able to implement, and no idea how to correct if they blow up on us and make the problem worse, or cause other spin-off problems.

    Take your pick.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 24 Oct 2009 @ 8:43 AM

  303. RE #241, truth &

    A massive global bureaucracy is to be established to police the mandates of the Climate Change Convention—and it will reach into the operations of every economy—every industry and business in all our countries—controlling our living standards according to its mandates, no matter how much an individual country tries to establish its own policy for its own conditions

    You’re right, and it will all be because you personally refused to mitigate climate change in whichever way you could.

    We wouldn’t even have laws, much less autocracies, if someone way back then hadn’t kept doing wrong to others. The earliest societies didn’t have laws. Social control has evolved and increased over the millennia bec of people like you who refuse to do the right thing.

    So, what do you say. Why not voluntarily do all those money-saving, life-enhancing things that mitigate AGW, even if you don’t believe AGW is real. It could cut your emissions in half or more, save you money, improve your health, increase your quality of life, make you happy, AND most importantly make it unnecessary for a dystopic world autocracy.

    It’s all up to you now. The balls in your court.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 24 Oct 2009 @ 9:45 AM

  304. > Now since the US ’sceptical’ website WattsUpWithThat featured the poll there > has been a surge in the Count me Out numbers – even though the petition is
    > for strong representation at Copenhagen by the UK Government.

    Let’s hope they tally up the number of “votes” they get from people who aren’t UK residents.

    They can report votes as “yes, no, and votes from people who don’t have a clue” — fake votes from the wannabe-Tory people who, though physically resident in the US, act like the Lord Himself is their personal MP.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2009 @ 10:24 AM

  305. Are these moisture levels right or wrong?
    http://junkscience.com/Greenhouse/moisture.html

    [Response: Yes and no. The are 'right' in that they represent what a single reanalysis shows, but very wrong if you think that fairly represents what has actually happened. The other reanalyses don't show this and good quality in situ and remote sensed data contradict it as well. - gavin]

    Comment by parallel — 24 Oct 2009 @ 10:48 AM

  306. An illustration of how “robust trend” is used, from a recent abstract:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL040104.shtml

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2009 @ 11:04 AM

  307. New paper about a lake on Baffin Island that has unaltered sediments far back into earth’s history indicates current warming is unlike past warming caused by natural variability. Skeptics have ceased upon the temp record of a nearby weather station at Clyde, NW Territory as proof there has been no warming in that local, and the possibility that DDT spaying in the mid 20th Century may explain the disappearance of certain cold loving insects. Have they debunked the paper that easily? If not, why?

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023163513.htm

    Comment by JCH — 24 Oct 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  308. parallel,

    you may be interested in this post concerning the re-analysis data and humidity trends.
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/is-the-atmosphere-drying-up/

    Comment by Chris Colose — 24 Oct 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  309. JCH and Parallel,
    Those are excellent examples of why you must consider the evidence in aggregate rather than cherry-picking a single station or study that shows what you want.

    Considering all the evidence=science
    Cherry-picking=lying like a rug

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Oct 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  310. Interesting point from that paper, JCH:

    Yarrow Axford, a research associate at the University of Colorado, and the paper’s lead author, noted: “The 20th century is the only period during the past 200 millennia in which aquatic indicators reflect increased warming, despite the declining effect of slow changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis which, under natural conditions, would lead to climatic cooling.”

    That points to a major shift in global carbon biogeochemistry that may have already taken us back some 3.2 million years. If so, then the climate trajectory over the next thousand years would result in massive deglaciation and huge sea level rises as well as a fundamentally altered climate. In other words, by dumping huge quantities of fossil carbon into the actively circulating carbon pool, we’ve reset the clock and put an end to several millions of years of ice age cycles.

    That’s what geoengineering looks like – plenty of unexpected consequences.

    For some good news, the US Chamber of Commerce has switched positions:

    http://www.chamber-of-commerce.us/090118tjd_prosperity.html

    Climatologists tell us that if we don’t enact dramatic reductions in carbon emissions today, within 5 years we could begin facing the propagating feedback loops of runaway climate change. That would mean a disruption of food and water supplies worldwide, with the result of mass migrations, famines, and death on a scale never witnessed before.

    Needless to say, that would be bad for business.

    We at the Chamber have tried to keep climate science from interfering with business. But without a stable climate, there will be no business. We need business more than we need relentlessly higher returns.

    Some of the old guard are upset about this new direction, but that’s to be expected.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 24 Oct 2009 @ 1:52 PM


  311. JCH says:
    24 October 2009 at 12:10 PM
    New paper about a lake on Baffin Island that has unaltered sediments far back into earth’s history indicates current warming is unlike past warming caused by natural variability. Skeptics have ceased upon the temp record of a nearby weather station at Clyde, NW Territory as proof there has been no warming in that local, and the possibility that DDT spaying in the mid 20th Century may explain the disappearance of certain cold loving insects. Have they debunked the paper that easily? If not, why?

    Because they haven’t explained why DDT eliminated the cold adapted midges but not the warmer adapted midges!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 24 Oct 2009 @ 2:01 PM

  312. JCH,

    The implication that DDT caused the reduction in chronomids in the Baffin Island study appears to be incorrect.

    The chronomids that disappeared were specifically adapted to colder temperatures, there was no evidence of a general reduction in insects which is what you would expect if DDT were a factor. At least, that’s my reading of the report.

    WUWT than compared this study to one done further south,(Rolland, 2009) There did not appear to be any of the colder adapted insects as in the Axrod study. As pointed, the lake in the Rolland study is in a different climate zone which, interesting enough has not shown the same level of temperature increase as the rest of the arctic. Guess these guys didn’t get the hockey stick memo. Curiously DDT is not a factor here.

    The Baffin Island study does an estimate of water temperature, the comparison was made to August air temperatures. I don’t think that is a valid comparison as the water temperature would respond more to a yearly average than a single month.

    Another comparison was done to a study in the Swiss Alps, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to point out that industialized Europe is a far cry from the remoteness of Baffin Island.

    Comment by PHG — 24 Oct 2009 @ 2:29 PM

  313. The Funding of a Propaganda Machine

    The central idea:

    According to Ernest Hearst, Chip Berlet, and Jack Porter, two writers who helped uncover Scaife’s funding techniques were scholar Karen Rothmeyer and journalist David Warner, ‘who were the first to note that Scaife funded conservative projects in a very strategic manner to maximize the propaganda value of his dollars. Scaife accomplishes this by simultaneously funding several different projects at different groups on the same topic. According to Rothmeyer, the result is that in matters of defense and economic policy Scaife has helped to foster the illusion that there is a far greater diversity of views than actually exists.’

    RightWeb: Richard Mellon Scaife
    http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Scaife_Richard_Mellon

    Methodology: I took lists of organizations that had received $100,000 or more over a specified period from the Scaife Family Foundation in one case and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in the other case then looked those organizations up in ExxonSecrets.org. I then took each organization and selected “show all people” then “hide all people” for that organization. This had the effect of leaving only those people that are shared between organizations and therefore of highlighting the network. The result is a diagram showing all organizations involved in the disinformation campaign against climate science that are funded to the tune of $100,000 or more by the foundation and all of the people that belong to more than one organization in that list. The individuals listed are not necessarily involved in the disinformation campaign themselves, but they illustrate the existence of the network — in each case a subnetwork of a much larger network devoted to a broad set of economic and political goals.

    My results:

    Scaife Family Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1450

    The Center for Media Transparency lists 200 organizations that Scaife gives at least $100,000 to between 1985-2006. Looking at ExxonSecrets, 17 of these organizations are also organizations that Exxon gives money to for the purpose of funding disinformation regarding global warming. Of these 17 organizations, 66 people are listed as belonging to more than one organization.

    17 organizations, 66 multi-org people

    *

    The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1452

    Looked at organizations receiving $100,000 or greater from 1985 to 2005. Assumed Independent Institute and Independence Institute were the same. Assumed Mackinac Center and Mackinac Center for Public Policy were same

    25 organizations, 84 multi-org people

    Enjoy!

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Oct 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  314. PS

    Of the organizations being funded by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, 587 received $100,000 or more for the period from 1985-2005, but all but 25 of these were eliminated from the final list — that is, of those that are also listed in ExxonSecrets as part of the disinformation campaign against climate science.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Oct 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  315. @Ike (310). Are you sure that CoC link is a legitimate press release? The Yes Men did a faux CoC press release and even held a press conference claiming they were the CoC representatives. Be good news if this were a legitimate CoC item.

    Comment by Ken — 24 Oct 2009 @ 3:40 PM

  316. I wonder why people make such a fuss over climate change. For the price of one cup of coffee a day one can prevent the negative effects. Hell, I’ll pay that…

    Comment by Joe — 24 Oct 2009 @ 4:08 PM

  317. Aggregated Grants from the Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch, and Claude R. Lambe Foundations
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1453

    Assumed Citizens for a Sound Economy and CSE Educational Foundation (Exxon Secrets) is Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation (Media Transparency) are the same, assumed Earthwatch Institute (Exxon Secrets) and Earthwatch Expeditions (Media Transparency) are the same. Media Transparency listed 76 organizations that received $100,000 or more between the years of 1986 to 2004 from Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch and Claude R. Lambe Foundations. Of these 17 organizations were listed in the ExxonSecrets database, and 56 individuals in that database were listed as belonging to two or more of those organizations. The individuals are not necessarily involved in the disinformation campaign against climate science, but they do help to illustrate the existence of the network.

    17 organizations, 56 multi-organization individuals

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Oct 2009 @ 4:48 PM

  318. Castle Rock Foundation (operated by Coors family)
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1454

    This one is interesting. One of the goals of the Castle Rock Foundation is apparently the funding of the extremist religious right, namely reconstructionists and dominionists. The total number of organizations it funds to the tune of $100,000 or more from 1995 to 2006 is 68. Given their reputation, it should seem odd to say the least, but on that list are included two United Negro College Funds. One to the tune of $120,000, the other to the tune of $150,000. Of the 68 organizations the fund to the tune of over $100,000 or more for the years from 1995 to 2006, organizations are in the ExxonSecrets database. In that database, there are 55 people who belong to two or more of those organizations.

    17 organizations, 55 multi-organization individuals

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Oct 2009 @ 5:39 PM

  319. 310 is pointing to the spoof by the YesMen; details here:
    http://theyesmen.org/chamber

    The Chamber of Commerce response seems to have been basically “WTF? DMCA!”

    Perhaps because attempts to use DMCA to suppress political satire have consistently failed, the Chamber went fishing with dynamite, shutting down an upstream Internet note instead, shutting down some 400 customers. Amazing.
    http://theyesmen.org/chamberDMCA

    In related news, for those who have a small business, the Chamber has long claimed to be speaking for you in Washington — without your knowing or having any say in what they claimed to say on your behalf, like it or not.
    Your business is one of their “3 million” –

    Today’s top three Google hits, just to memorialize this moment for history:

    #1
    Jim Hoggan | US Chamber’s Long History of Killing Clean Energy Policy
    Oct 22, 2009 … the Chamber’s exaggerated dishonest membership claim is simple: they …
    http://www.desmogblog.com/us-chambers-long-history-killing-clean-energy-policy

    #2
    The US Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, … http://www.uschamber.com/

    #3
    Video: Chamber of Commerce has size issues
    … Chamber of Commerce … Tom J. Donohue found to have been woefully exaggerating his organization’s membership and influence. … (Olbermann, MSNBC, starting about 1:30
    http://vodpod.com/watch/2365833-video-chamber-of-commerce-has-size-issues

    The latter is Olbermann of MSNBC: CofC claimed — still claims as of this moment — that 3 million businesses are members; actual membership 1/1000th as many, about 300,000.

    This tactic seems familiar, somehow.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2009 @ 6:06 PM

  320. > YesMen

    Too good not to quote:

    “This isn’t the first time a Yes Men site has found itself targeted by a DMCA complaint brought by a large corporation. The Yes Men have in the past received DMCA notices from Exxon, Dow Chemical, DeBeers, and the New York Times. In each case, the the Yes Men (represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation) refused to comply, and prevailed. Even the George W. Bush campaign sent a complaint to try to interrupt service to GWBush.com, in 2000, resulting in extensive ridicule that culminated in Bush’s mind-boggling gaffe that ‘There ought to be limits to freedom.’”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Oct 2009 @ 6:20 PM

  321. The central problem is democracy–allowing people to vote and determine pubic policy decisions on which human survival depends. We take it as a given that in an open election between a NOVA special on galaxy formation and The Jerry Springer Show, the latter will ALWAYS win in a landslide. Yet we have retained these disastrous democratic institutions which reliably deliver the worst leaders, food, music, clothing, and entertainment. Why are we surprised that the brainless majority is finally leading humankind off a cliff? It was only a matter of time.

    Science can only save us if public input on scientific issues is completely removed from the equation.

    Comment by rykart — 24 Oct 2009 @ 7:03 PM

  322. Politics, Religion and Economics, Part I of II

    On various occasions people have brought up the “Environmental Stewardship Project,” an attempt to undermine the conclusions of climatology in public sphere by means of religion. At this point I believe it is possible to show how this part of a broader effort to impose political ideology upon the nation’s churches, one that is funded by the very same foundations that have been funding so much of the concerted attack upon the science of climatology.

    Please see:

    The political right-wing, operating in the guise of a gaggle of so-called “renewal groups,” particularly one named the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), has acquired the money and political will to target three mainline American denominations: The United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the Episcopal Church. The IRD was created and is sustained by money from right-wing foundations and has spent millions of dollars over 20 years attacking mainline denominations. The IRD’s conservative social-policy goals include increasing military spending and foreign interventions, opposing environmental protection efforts, and eliminating social welfare programs.

    In a document entitled “Reforming America’s Churches Project 2001-2004,” the IRD states that its aim is to change the “permanent governing structure” of mainline churches “so they can help renew the wider culture of our nation.” In other words, its goal extends beyond the spiritual and includes a political takeover financed by the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife, Adolph Coors, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee.

    JULY 10, 2003
    The Fighting Methodists
    – Andrew J. Weave
    http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/archive_2003/0710.shtml

    From a revealing internal document by the Institute on Religion and Democracy:

    Environmentalism: The National Religious Partnership for the Environment includes the U.S. Catholic Conference, the National Council of Churches, and liberal Jews and Evangelicals. Founded with help from Vice President Al Gore and sustained with money from the Pew Foundation, it aims to enlist America’s religious denominations in the environmental movement. The partnership especially focuses on the most dire predictions of global warning in order to justify increased taxation and heavy federal regulation. IRD has been nearly alone in challenging the partnership. But this year we joined a new coalition sponsored by the Acton Institute. Called the Environmental Stewardship Project, it joins Protestants, Catholics and Jews together to challenge the unsubstantiated and politicized claims of the green theology movement embodied by the partnership. IRD will focus during the next four years on discrediting mainline church lobby efforts to spout environmental extremism in defense of liberal legislation that relies on the Kyoto Accords and unproven apocalyptic suppositions.

    Reforming America’s Churches: A Project of the IRD, 2001-2004
    http://www.yuricareport.com/Strategies_Propaganda/IRD_InternDocReformingUSChurches.html

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Oct 2009 @ 8:19 PM

  323. Politics, Religion and Economics, Part II of II

    Given this strong stand against the science of climatology one would expect the Institute on Religion and Democracy to have received a fair amount of funding by the interested parties. The actual result?

    Donations to the Institute on Religion and Democracy
    Coors Castle Rock Foundation: $110,000 from 1995-2006
    Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $1,825,000 from 1985-2005
    Scaife: $150,000 from 1985-2006

    Now this may not seem like a lot. However, in the religious sphere these foundations would appear to likewise have a network. For example, there is the Institute for Religion in Public Life, formed by Richard John Neuhaus, and he is a key member of several other religious organizations intent upon ceasing control of America’s churches, including the Institute on Religion and Democracy:

    Since the late 1970s, Neuhaus has been a leading cultural warrior in the neocon camp. He once wrote: “Politics is chiefly a function of culture, at the heart of culture is morality, and at the heart of morality is religion” (National Review, May 2, 1994). Along with Michael Novak, Peter Berger, and Weigel, Neuhaus has been a key figure in spearheading the neoconservative initiative to seize ideological control of the culture wars against liberalism and secularism. Neuhaus serves on the boards of directors of three prominent neoconservative-aligned institutes: the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), the EPPC, and the Foundation for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprise. He is also a director of the right-wing World Youth Alliance, which promotes a “culture of life” at the United Nations among other activities. In a survey of national leadership, Time magazine named Neuhaus one of the “25 most influential evangelicals in America” (Time, February 7, 2005).

    Institute on Religion and Public Life
    last updated: February 25, 2007
    http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Institute_on_Religion_and_Public_Life

    He likewise advocates a “virtuous” role for corporations in public life:

    Neuhaus is an outspoken advocate of “democratic capitalism” in which corporations are seen as having a virtuous role in public life. Neuhaus is perhaps best known for his thesis that the secular “New Class” and big government have crowded religion out of “the public square” (see The Neoconservative Mind, p. 311). Since the late 1970s, Neuhaus has argued that Judeo-Christianity should be reasserted back into the public square….

    ibid.

    The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation donations to the Institute on Religion and Public Life for the period from 1985 to 2005: $5,537,500 from 1985-2005.

    Then there is the Acton Institute

    The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty (founded 1990) is a Classical Liberal think tank, part of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation network, which promotes laissez-faire economics and public policy within a Christian framework. “Together, empowered by faith in God and belief in human freedom, we truly can make a difference.”

    SourceWatch: The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Acton_Institute

    Scaife? $465,000 from 1985-2006. Bradley? $1727,000 from 1985-2005. Koch? $212,500 from 1986 to 2004.

    For more on the attempt to meld religion, politics and economics, you may want to visit:

    Dominionism
    and the Rise of Christian Imperialism
    By Sarah Leslie
    http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/sarah-leslie/dominionism.htm

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Oct 2009 @ 8:22 PM

  324. Regarding the UK Science Museum poll, and the moral scuples of your average WUWT commenter. Oh dear ,it’s pretty much as I suspected from a cursory reading of the reports of the count as reported on WUWT. The Science Museum site launch was on Oct 22nd. A day later Mr Watts predicted …

    Future presentation of results to the government: “The results show overwhelmingly that people agree with us. Hardly anyone chose COUNT ME OUT.

    But what has occurred? One day after the launch the count stood at 333 ‘Count me in’ to 234 ‘Count me out’, a ratio of 1:0.7 Right now, the count stands at 461 ‘Count Me In’, and 3034 ‘out’, about 1:6.5. This is so far outside of the domain of every other similar poll in the UK as to redefine the word ‘outlier’.

    Sadly, we do not need to look far for the root cause …
    I tried to count myself out. Gave them a false name “Whatta Lyingsackofsh**e” and a valid throwaway email.

    Mickey Mouse just counted himself out three times…

    I have a dozen quite legitimate e-mail addresses (personal and business) and I’ve just used each one to be “counted out.”

    As what goes for the poll on that uk site, anyone wanna bet the out votes are up by 1000 after a few minutes?

    Shortly after that last WUWT post, in the space of 12 minutes, the ‘count me outs’ jump from 485 to 1496 in the space of just 12 minutes. Heck, might be a glitch in the site sofware, but surely more likely the scripted addition of 1,000 ‘votes’ by the poster who boasted in advance of what he was about to do.

    Hint to all riggers of polls:

    (1) Do not push your rigged results beyond the realm of plausibility .

    (2) Do not boast about having voted a dozen times. This has the double whammy effect of exposing your personal ethical system as worthless, and invalidating the poll.

    (3) If you are about to stuff 1,000 votes into the ballot box, it is probably unwise to advertise this fact in a public place. See (2).

    Now I voted in this poll, Being just one person, I used a single identity, expecting that my opinion would count for the same as eveyone elses’s. It appears I am mistaken. If I may quote… Wow, just wow. Who would think we’d see this sort of language and lack of sound judgment …?

    Oh Dear.

    Comment by pjclarke — 24 Oct 2009 @ 8:32 PM

  325. Patrick 027 wrote in 284:

    From an economics perspective, one could consider the solar panels (or whatever conversion device is used) to be the “fuel”.

    Mark responded in 300

    Except the fuel doesn’t get consumed, so you can’t consider it fuel.

    More a catalyst.

    Quite right.

    However, I believe the way that Patrick may have been looking at things was that solar panels wear out, albeit over a rather long period of time. In this sense they might be comparable to radioactive fuel rods. The fuel gets spent, but it is still largely there — only broken down. From this perspective, “wearing out” or “decaying” might be analogous to being “used up,” and from a strictly economic perspective there might be very little difference indeed.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Oct 2009 @ 10:27 PM

  326. “Maybe he doesn’t refute Crichton, but Robinson truly gets it when it comes to global warming.”

    Of course he does and I liked his books, but many readers didn’t. It’s just that he used some unbelievable illustrations and portrayals in it and Crichton rules still from the grave. That needs to change. I am doing my part in that regard. I attended a climate change symposium at JPL today. Just awesome. Thanks Barton. It’s a good deal better now with your help and others. Hopefully it will sell. Book two is half done.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 25 Oct 2009 @ 12:02 AM

  327. CORRECTION

    In comment 313 I had stated of…

    Scaife Family Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1450

    … that there were 17 organizations that had received $100,000 or more from the Scaife Family Foundation between the years of 1985-2006 that were also listed in the Exxon Secrets database and were therefore involved in the disinformation campaign against climate science, and that of those organizations, 66 individuals listed in the Exxon Secrets database belong to more than one organization.
    However, just looking at…

    Sarah Scaife Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1455

    … for 1985 to 2005, relying upon just the figures from Media Transparency, I found…

    38 organizations that had received $100,000 or more and were part of the Exxon Secrets database, with 102 multi-organization individuals. In total, for the period from 1985-2005, the Sarah Scaife Foundation gave $261,512,035 to organizations that received at least $100,000 from the foundation for this period and which have been implicated in the campaign against climate science.

    In any case, it appears that I missed a significant amount of the funding — and the Scaife Foundations do not simply consist of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, so the amounts are bound to be more.

    Consequently the figure of $261,512,035 for Scaife funding should be regarded as conservative — and I may very well have overlooked funding with some of the other foundations.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Oct 2009 @ 2:32 AM

  328. CORRECTIONS

    I have already given a corrections involving the Scaife Foundations — the Sarah Scaife Foundation is larger than what I had given for the Scaife Family Foundation. The corrections for the non-Scaife foundations were smaller.

    The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1456

    27 organizations on the Exxon list have received $100,000 or more from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation from 1985-2005, with 84 individuals belonging to 2 or more of those organizations. The grand total given by the foundation to these 27 organizations for this period is $64,707,196.

    *

    Aggregated Grants from the Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch, and Claude R. Lambe Foundations
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1457

    20 organizations on the Exxon list for have received $100,000 or more from the Koch/Lambe foundations from 1986-2004. Total number of individuals belonging to 2 or more of these organizations in the Exxon Secrets DB is 73. Total given: $36,815,538.

    *

    Coors’ Castle Rock Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1458

    18 organizations on the Exxon list for having received $100,000 or more from the Castle Rock foundation from 1995-2006. 55 individuals on the Exxon list that belong to 2 or more of these organizations. Total given $7,068,760.

    *

    Calculating the total amount given by the foundations dealt with in this comment and that involving the Sarah Scaife Foundation, we have $370,103,529 given to organizations involved in the disinformation campaign against climate science. Well over a quarter of a billion dollars. Undoubtedly much of this money was spent on other things, but it is nevertheless indicative of the scale and coordination commanded by these foundations.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Oct 2009 @ 4:11 AM

  329. CORRECTION

    One last correction. The formula used in calculating the total given by the Sarah Scaife Foundation was incorrect. The amount it gave was roughly equal to the total amount given to all causes and organizations by the Sarah Scaife Foundation. For just those organizations of interest to us here we are looking at $101,205,000, not $261,512,035.

    Thus the total for all of the organizations I have included should be $209,796,494, not $370,103,529. The amount given by the Sarah Scaife Foundation to those organizations involved in the disinformation campaign is roughly equal to that given by the other (non-Scaife) foundations I analyzed combined.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Oct 2009 @ 4:58 AM

  330. The old consensus isn’t science bogus line is surfacing again; how’s this for a new twist? In a little battle I had at The Australian last week, one Greig, a staunch acolyte of the cult of carbon, accuses me of being in a minority of one in correcting his misrepresentation of Mojib Latif‘s recent comments on how we need better tools to model short-term trends. I find this amusing in view of the denialists’ claim that science is not composed out of consensus.

    Let’s contrast a few cases:
    1. thousands of scientists publish papers, passing a rigorous process of peer review that may sometimes allow serious errors to slip through. When they all get consistent results (barring a few cases shown to be in error), they agree the probability all are making a serious error is close to zero. Right wing bloggers and columnists denounce “consensus” as foreign to science.
    2. thousands of people of no known qualification sign a petition. Right wing bloggers announce that the number who signed the petition is proof that the science is bogus
    3. a couple of usually correct news sources make an error in interpreting a scientist’s remarks, and hundreds of bloggers who usually revile these same news sources suddenly cite them as unimpeachable authorities

    Spot a small inconsistency here?

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 25 Oct 2009 @ 5:55 AM

  331. Hi, a bit off thread, but just listened to BBC radio 4 – a piece by Clive James on scepticism.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm

    from about 7mins 40s to 9mins 40s on global warming. Unfortunately although he admits to knowing nothing about global warming, he seems to believe he is enough of an authority to conclude that there is no consensus, that the science is not settled and that there are only scientists either for, or against.

    Awful.

    Comment by canbanjo — 25 Oct 2009 @ 6:01 AM

  332. To all the motley and ignorant remmants of denylists out there..take a look at the 350 army! What does that tell you? that the general public all over the world are demanding from thier respective ‘leaders’ to take assertive and bold action to attempt to lessen the catastrophic impacts of anthropegenic climate change before it’s well and truly too late. To all the remaining denylist scum out there..watch your back! and let those who truly love the planet wrestle it’s fate out the grubby hands of the coal, oil and other affiliated industries..who left to there own selfish devices will surly destroy us all.
    Even if we stop polluting tomorrow it will still take 60+ years for the atmosphere to begin resoring itself..by that time the arctic will be largely ice free mor most of the year..will no thermanl regulator what is in store for us???

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 25 Oct 2009 @ 6:20 AM

  333. srsly? http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/science/earth/25threefifty.html?scp=1&sq=350&st=cse

    Please tell me this was out of context!

    A focus on 350 makes a lot of sense to me, because it is a real, measurable target.

    [Response: The quote wasn't out of context, but the point I was trying to make is that there is very little point in spending much time arguing about whether 350, 387, 450 or 280 ppm as targets when we are headed in completely the wrong direction. We don't know what the full consequences of 450 would be, and we don't know even what the long term consequences of the current levels are. So an aim for something less than today is a good long term goal. However, people should be aware that there is very little possibility that anyone will get a cast iron scientific case for any very specific number. But - and this is key - all of these targets are moot if emissions keep increasing. We need to turn the car around. - gavin]

    Comment by Gail — 25 Oct 2009 @ 9:17 AM

  334. May have posted this in the wrong section…sorry for the repost.

    Wonderful site. Just curious to hear from the experts here on their view of the 350 campaign. I’m not asking about the political ramifications but rather, an assessment of whether 350 PPM of C02 is widely considered among climate scientists to be the upper limit allowable to avert catastrophe or if any strong consensus exists today as to what that upper limit might be. The anti-350 crowd claim the goal is utterly unmeetable. If this is true, what is the ballpark extent of disaster we will face..or are there simply too many variables to venture a meaningful guess at this point?

    Comment by rykart — 25 Oct 2009 @ 9:43 AM

  335. Since there’s no way to achieve 350 ppm without turning the car around, I’m surprised you don’t endorse that goal. If there is any chance we can avert climaticide we desperately need a popular international movement for folks to rally in support of clean renewable energy, and demand leadership from our governments – and 350.org although perhaps not ideal, is the closest I’ve seen to that. Unless there’s something bigger going on that I don’t know about yet.

    [Response: I'm not arguing with anything you say here. My point was that *arguing* about exact targets is a waste of effort, not that rallying around the goal was. Sorry if that wasn't clear. -gavin]

    Civil disobedience Nov. 1?

    Ha ha, I was handing out leaflets yesterday before the matinee performance of Aida at Lincoln Center, and one guy handed it back to me and said, sorry, but I work for the Chamber of Commerce. Oh boy did you guys ever get punked! I said, and he laughed.

    Comment by Gail — 25 Oct 2009 @ 11:30 AM

  336. 350 – If you don’t have defined goal then you have nothing to strive for. Check it out: http://www.zazzle.com/350_now_tshirt-235693678115775281?gl=zipteedoo&group=womens&lifestyle=classic&rf=238778706144811487

    Comment by Paul — 25 Oct 2009 @ 12:00 PM

  337. “However, I believe the way that Patrick may have been looking at things was that solar panels wear out, albeit over a rather long period of time”

    However, the palladium catalyst converter in car exhausts needs recycling and the cat is definitely a catalyst. Not a fuel.

    It’s not a terrible way to look at it, but “fuel” carries far too heavy a loading in unquestioned assumptions to be used.

    Comment by Mark — 25 Oct 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  338. Gavin, could you maybe ask the NYT to publish a clarification, because the way they paraphrased your comments makes it sound like you think rallying around the goal is misguided:

    “Gavin A. Schmidt, a climate scientist who works with Dr. Hansen and manages a popular blog on climate science, realclimate.org, said those promoting 350 or debating the number might be missing the point.”

    as in, “promoting 350″

    I would be very sorry to see some climate deniers take your statement and use it to discredit the legitimacy of the concept.

    Comment by Gail — 25 Oct 2009 @ 12:49 PM

  339. Last post on this for a while.

    I looked at the aggregated grants may by the Scaife Foundations according to Media Transparency — and this was of course somewhat larger than those by the Sarah Scaife Foundation…

    Aggregated Grants of Scaife Foundations
    Includes: Scaife Family Foundation, Carthage Foundation, Allegheny Foundation and Sara Scaife Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1459

    For the period from 1985 to 2006…

    1. A Total of 41 organizations found in the Exxon Secrets database where each organization received at least $100,000.

    2. Number of individuals belonging to multiple organizations according to the database? Unknown as I am running up against the limits of my machine with the web-based interface.

    3. The total grants for all causes by Scaife Foundations for this period was $471,475,733 according to Media Transparency. Looking only at organizations that received $100,000 or more over this period that were in the Exxon Secrets database I have $121,418,540. As such, while only 41 of the 434 organizations that received total grant amounts of at least $100,000 were in the Exxon Secrets database, thus constituting only 9.45% of the 434 organizations, 27.75% of the grant money went to organizations that are in the Exxon Secrets database.
    *
    Now if someone wishes to duplicate the results…

    Media Transparency is down — but for a little advertisement on each page to the effect that Media Transparency 2.0 is coming. However this does not mean that the material from Media Transparency is entirely inaccessible.

    I entered into Google:

    mediatransparency.org scaife aggregate

    This brings up a number of web pages with links to Media Transparency. The first web page in my results was:

    Right Web | Profile | Scaife Foundations

    Searching the web page for the link to Media Transparency gave me:

    (20) Mediatransparency: Aggregated Scaife Grants
    http://www.mediatransparency.org/scaifeaggregate.php

    Clicking on that link gives you only, “Coming Soon: Media Transparency 2.0, A Project of the Media Matters Action Network.” However, taking that link and pasting it into the search at www archive dot org gives you multiple results. I picked those from web dot archive dot org followed by…

    /web/20080408140352/http://www.mediatransparency.org/scaifeaggregate.php

    … which means it is an image of that page as it appeared on 8 April 2008 at 2:03 PM and 52 seconds.

    At that point I copied the table that appears giving the grant recipients and amounts and pasted that into Excel. Then I entered ones in the column for each organization in the Exxon Secrets database, and the rest should be fairly straight forward.

    For non-aggregated foundation grants (e.g., the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation) you can perform a Google search for:

    http://www.mediatransparency.org/funderprofile.php?funderID Bradley

    … to narrow the results.

    One point: with the Exxon Secrets database, the search for multi-organization individuals requires that you “show all people” for a given organization (after bringing up all organizations), then wait until the interface stops refreshing (I wasn’t and therefore I ended up with truncated lists of people), then “hide all people” where the people who are left behind belong to more than one organization.
    *
    In any case, I don’t know which would be worse — whether these people actually believe in the sort of extremism that they are pushing with the resources they have (the war against climate science is only one part of it — see 322 and 323 above), or if they are doing this without regard for the personal consequences of those they affect — using religion, political ideology and extremist forms of their fusion as a means of control — and are so recklessly playing with the nation’s and the world’s future simply in the pursuit of profit. Not sure that it matters. But perhaps it is a little bit of both.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Oct 2009 @ 2:11 PM

  340. “truth”, what kind of scientist would you want to be treated with respect?

    You’re living in an upside down fantasy world, where every cop’s a criminal, and all the sinners saints… In the real world it’s the real scientists that are the target of ‘character assassination’, and sometimes worse, by clowns that wouldn’t be able to separate valid from invalid science if their lives depended on it.

    Grow up and return to the reality-based universe.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Oct 2009 @ 4:12 PM

  341. Re Timothy Chase, Mark:
    “In this sense they might be comparable to radioactive fuel rods.”

    That is a lot like what I was thinking; one can consider a solar panel to have some effective energy density (which can be quite large).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Oct 2009 @ 5:19 PM

  342. But – and this is key – all of these targets are moot if emissions keep increasing. We need to turn the car around. – gavin]

    No, we need to pull over, park the car and pour sand into the gas tank! Then continue the trip under human or possibly electric power generated in some sustainable and renewable manner.

    I took part in a 350 rally yesterday, on the beach in West Palm beach, organized by Reef Rescue. The focus was on protection of coral reefs and as the president of a Kayak scuba diving club in south Florida, it is an organization I have a deep (no pun intended) respect for. I have personally witnessed the degradation of our local reefs over many years of diving. While CO2 caused acidification of reef environments is but one mitigating factor in the overall decline of our tropical reefs, The vast majority of the problems have human causes. I won’t bore you here with the nasty details.

    Suffice it to say that I have very little hope that we as a society will do what is needed, I was struck by the fact that tha majority of the good people who showed up at the rally came by ICE powered automobiles. If the very people who purport to be concerned about AGW can’t find suitable alternatives for their transportation to a rally raising awareness about climate change, then what can we possibly expect of rest? That’s a rhetorical question of course, because one need only to go to the comments section of the article in today’s papers to see that most people consider the participants to be either communist terrorist against business interests or just plain nuts.

    So good luck to us all and best hopes for a new paradigm, I’m not holding my breath.

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 25 Oct 2009 @ 6:57 PM

  343. I’ve read Mark York’s WARM FRONT, which completely rebuts all the points Crichton made in STATE OF FEAR. Not only does Mark’s book explain climate science in a reader-friendly style, it has the hottest erotic scenes I’ve ever read in any upmarket or literary novel.

    Comment by Linda Dennis — 25 Oct 2009 @ 7:07 PM

  344. My blood pressure rises when I watch commercial tv and see the “energy citizens” ads sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute. I am Indiana. Is the rest of the country also being blanketed by these ads? Their premise is that government actions on climate will lead to higher energy prices and higher unemployment. They don’t say anything about the science or the possible risks of climate change. The only conclusion “now isn’t the time to raise energy costs. Sometimes they say that gasoline prices will be driven to $4.00/gal. I’m afraid that these slick ads featuring attractive young adults will have their effects. We can only hope that many Americans will realize that the American Petroleum Institute is not a good abd unbiased source of information on climate and environmenal policy.

    Comment by Bill D — 25 Oct 2009 @ 7:07 PM

  345. Re Juliette #15 of 20 Oct “Antarctic Ice website explaining status of Ice”
    This is a link to Australian Antarctic Division on Ice status.

    http://www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=36276

    Comment by John — 25 Oct 2009 @ 7:37 PM

  346. #344 Bill D

    I have not seen those ads here in Oregon. Maybe someone has put one of them on youtube?

    Living in Oregon, we have ballot measure initiatives. Oregon voters have had quite a few measures to vote on that were written and submitted by puppet non-profit organizations under the control of corporate special interest groups that are motivated by financial gain. These organizations like to run massive one-sided publicity campaigns to “sell” the proposed law to the voters as a “good thing”, targeting newspapers, radio, and TV 24 by 7.

    It has been heartening to me to watch several of these types of measures go down in flames. The opposition to these types of measures rarely have deep pockets. But they quite often focus on educating the public regarding where the money is coming from for these ads they are watching 24/7. And in several cases, that has been all that it took to convince the voters that it was a bad idea.

    Lets hope the public is getting the word regarding who is paying for those ads you see. We can help in small ways. Write a letter to your local paper!

    Pete

    Comment by Pete W — 25 Oct 2009 @ 11:18 PM

  347. #344 Bill D

    I visited the web site for “energy citizens”, and their list of corporate sponsors includes Coal, Gas, and Petroleum organizations. What a surprise!

    Pete

    Comment by Pete W — 25 Oct 2009 @ 11:26 PM

  348. “We need to turn the car around. – gavin”

    Actually, we need to ditch the car. Is anybody here willing to do that?

    [Response: It was a metaphorical car. -gavin]

    Comment by Jimmy Haigh — 26 Oct 2009 @ 12:00 AM

  349. Gavin in (#333),

    One can make a cast iron case for 280 ppm since that is where we started from and where we as a species and a civilization building set of creatures have most evolved. Unmaking our waste would put the issue to bed. It is at the higher levels where model uncertainties leave us partly in the dark and we remain unsure about what level is safe.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 Oct 2009 @ 12:05 AM

  350. I think global warming is hard to talk about in general. People on both sides of the debate are very passionate in their beliefs. To make matters worse, the topic is complex and poorly understood. People are often irrational when they are presented with such a topic. People formulate an opinion then they find evidence to support it. I’m surprised that the physiological community has not done studies on the topic of global warming in order to learn more about irrational human behavior.

    My personal thoughts on global warming are unique in a fashion. I think the global warming problem will eventually hit an extrema and decline with or without intervention. I think it’s quite obvious that the world has hit the extrema on oil production, and we will have a decline in production in the future. Coal is in much of the same shape. We will be seeing a decline in CO2 emissions with or without the aid of policy; thus, global warming will eventually self correct because we do not have enough supplies to push the models as high as predicted. As fossil fuel usage declines, renewable energy will be used to offset the difference. I think that fate is unavoidable no matter who wins public opinion.

    Your thoughts?

    Comment by EL — 26 Oct 2009 @ 6:13 AM

  351. Theo Hopkins #113:

    So what about climate scientists who accept AGW – and when interviewed on TV alongside a denialist, trying to get not one, but two denialists onto the program – and then try to get the two denialists to argue against each other … thus allowing a TV shot of climate scientist sipping water from his glass and observing the conflict among the opposition with a modest smirk?

    How about this for economy? I managed to get one of them to argue against himself. In December 2008, we were given to understand that sunspots give us hundreds of years of solid data proving the sun is the main influence on climate. Then October 2009 the same person tells us there is no reliable data on solar output. You should have seen the contortions his acolytes went through in follow-ups in The Australian to try to reconcile his internal contradictions. Naturally he shut up and was nowhere to be found …

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 26 Oct 2009 @ 6:44 AM

  352. I’ve been in a argument with a denier at who claims to be a scientist. What’s your take on his claim”

    “The one thing that sets scientists apart from the true lefties is that they are, by nature, skeptical. While they may be politically liberal, they are and have to be openminded. They cannot allow their political ideology to interfere with their view of the material universe they seek to understand. They want to see the evidence, understand the methodology by which it was obtained and then they want to test it again.

    Therefore, there can NEVER be consensus among true scientists. Only those who succumb to the lure of money can shed their skepticism and then they become technicians, i.e., they stop looking for the NEW and start just working with the OLD. They stop hypothesizing and just plod along doing cook-book science.

    I’m a scientist and I’ve lived a long time among both classes – scientists and technicians.

    True “warmers” are all technicians doing cook-book science trying to prove their their preconceived objectives rather than trying to really understand what’s really happening, ignoring the anomalies and concentrating on expected results from their work. Many who have realized that they were doing that started doing real science and then recanted their earlier warmer positions.”

    Comment by Dale — 26 Oct 2009 @ 6:55 AM

  353. “People on both sides of the debate are very passionate in their beliefs. ”

    However, EL, the denial of AGW are passionate about AGW being wrong. The AGW science is passionate about science.

    It’s hardly a 50-50 split here.

    Comment by Mark — 26 Oct 2009 @ 7:05 AM

  354. EL, to be sure “the global warming problem will eventually hit an extrema and decline.”

    But do we really care about millenial timescales? That’s what we are looking at for atmospheric recovery–see, for example, The Long Thaw.

    And I’m really not that crazy about CO2 “recovery” scenarios involving massive economic dislocation, serious degradation of the quality of life for many millions, loss of life, ablation of cherished cultural values, or even the collapse of civilization altogether. (Just to be clear, I’m not convinced that any of these are inevitable, but I do think all are possible. And the first part of the statement is true only because I’m qualifying the word “massive”–I don’t think there is any way around “significant” economic disruption.)

    You see, oil is not the biggest part of the problem–there’s this stuff called “coal.” There’s enough of it to supply current consumption for over a century; a proven total of more than 800 gigatons, with new discoveries still continuing. (A total which, with a specific consumption factor of ca. 1-1.5, would produce 800-1200 gigatons of CO2. I don’t have an exact figure, but I believe that this would push CO2 concentrations to something like 560 ppm.)

    And there’s considerable pressure to burn more of that coal.

    Believe it or not.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal#Environmental_effects

    You might like to play with this carbon calculator to look at possible scenarios.

    http://geodoc.uchicago.edu/Projects/kaya.html

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Oct 2009 @ 7:13 AM

  355. [Response: It was a metaphorical car. -gavin]

    Perhaps its time to ditch the metaphor as well ;-)

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 26 Oct 2009 @ 7:15 AM

  356. Oops–typed “consumption factor” when I meant “emission factor” in the preceding post.

    Here’s a quick & dirty link supporting the 560 ppm for 1000 gig of CO2 figure.

    http://www.scidev.net/en/opinions/how-to-cut-the-carbon-pie.html

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Oct 2009 @ 7:16 AM

  357. EL @350, in your thinking you are overlooking natural reservoirs of sequestered carbon large enough to on their own more than double the current atmospheric CO2 level, namely organic material currently frozen in permafrost and bogs, and methane clathrates within that permafrost and beneath the seabed.

    Humans don’t need to burn all existing reserves of fossil fuels, all we need to do is burn enough to increase temperature sufficiently to cause those natural reservoirs to thaw, which they already are.

    You also overlook the fact that we have not just increased atmospheric CO2 by ~38%, we have increased the amount of carbon in the active carbon cycle. Because within that cycle carbon is continuously exchanged between the biosphere, the ocean and the atmosphere, this means that atmospheric CO2 levels will remain elevated long after we stop burning fossil carbon fuels.

    Long as in hundreds, if not thousands of years, unless we can devise a practical means to draw down and permanently sequester carbon from the atmosphere and the active carbon cycle.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 26 Oct 2009 @ 7:22 AM

  358. EL,
    Ever hear of coal? Tar sands? Oil shale? Do you know that CO2 persists in the air for centuries? Maybe you might want to learn something about the issue before forming an opinion. Try the START HERE button upper right on this webpage–and feel free to ask sincere questions.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Oct 2009 @ 7:52 AM

  359. re: 348

    “Actually, we need to ditch the car. Is anybody here willing to do that?”

    Lots of people. I’m nearly 60 and use a bicycle for my daily commute. I eat far less meat than I used to. We’ve turned the thermostat far down in the winter, and use electric fans far more in the summer. I’m sure it’s insufficient, though. This isn’t an issue amenable to solution by private virtue

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 26 Oct 2009 @ 9:04 AM

  360. “Actually, we need to ditch the car. Is anybody here willing to do that?”

    Do we?

    1) Cars with non-polluting emissions
    2) Less use of a car

    BOTH are better than what we have now.

    What we need to do is better.

    Comment by Mark — 26 Oct 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  361. “Just to be clear, I’m not convinced that any of these are inevitable, but I do think all are possible. ”

    They ARE inevitable if we keep to BAU.

    Just like an economic collapse is inevitable if it is insisted that we maintain a consistently increasing growth of the economy.

    Comment by Mark — 26 Oct 2009 @ 9:25 AM

  362. “The one thing that sets scientists apart from the true lefties is that they are, by nature, skeptical.”

    A statement made to prove their point.

    By nature, science (NOT SCIENTISTS) are skeptical. And it is skeptical of skepticism too.

    “Therefore, there can NEVER be consensus among true scientists.”

    Citation needed.

    The scientific method relies on consensus. Special and general relativity DEMAND that there is a consensus: that the speed of light is constant for any observer in an inertial frame and that an observer in a non-inertial frame cannot tell whether the forces are due to gravity or acceleration.

    I.e. a consensus MUST be possible.

    “True “warmers” are all technicians doing cook-book science trying to prove their their preconceived objectives”

    And the previous two incorrect but presented as “self evident truths” are entirely made up to allow this unsupported statement to be said.

    That they don’t support it is irrelevant.

    Does a consensus of scientists supporting AGW mean AGW is wrong merely because there’s a consensus that this barnpot thinks is impossible? If so, where’s the causal link?

    I take it that because Physical Geography (a BSc) has a consensus that the earth is round the world MUST be flat?

    Comment by Mark — 26 Oct 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  363. Dale wrote:

    I’ve been in a argument with a denier at who claims to be a scientist. What’s your take on his claim,

    “The one thing that sets scientists apart from the true lefties is that they are, by nature, skeptical….

    “Therefore, there can NEVER be consensus among true scientists. Only those who succumb to the lure of money can shed their skepticism and then they become technicians, …

    You might ask him whether there is a consensus on the second law of thermodynamics, Planck radiation law, the accuracy of quantum mechanics, or that in accordance with their absorption spectra, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane are greenhouse gases. If there is, then there can certainly be such a thing as a consensus in science — certainly with respect to well-established facts, principles, and theories.

    And yes, a theory can be well-established — at least as an approximation, e.g., Newton’s gravitational theory, which according to the correspondence principle used to derive solutions to general relativity (e.g., the final constant that must be solved for in the Schwarzchild solution for a point mass with zero charge and zero angular momentum), must be equivilent to general relativity in weak gravitational fields. Correspondence principles are likewise used in the derivation of special relativity and quantum mechanics.

    For more on the necessity of the well-established in science and specifically a criticism of Karl Popper’s principle of falsifiability, please see:

    Do Scientific Theories Ever Receive Justification?
    A Critique of the Principle of Falsifiability
    http://axismundi.hostzi.com/0/006.php

    For more on the nature of scientific consensus, please see:

    On “Scientific Consensus”
    http://axismundi.hostzi.com/0/007.php

    For an extended critique of early 20th century empiricism — where this individual appears to be stuck, please see:

    A Question of Meaning
    http://axismundi.hostzi.com/0/024.php

    Incidentally, your “scientist” acquaintance is probably just a lying ideologue.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Oct 2009 @ 9:33 AM

  364. Second para, first sentence:
    You should have “chosen to focus :)

    [Response:Arghh. How come it took a week for someone to catch that? Fixed. Thanks! -mike]

    Comment by David Norwood — 26 Oct 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  365. Heck, modern metallurgy is poorly understood, but we still don’t have people running around saying that amalgams, alloys and doped structures are impossible because we don’t know how they work.

    And the work that IS done is done almost entirely from computer models, the empirical work being used to decide what to put in next.

    Where are all the skeptics decrying the dangerous use of unscientific alloys in modern aircraft?!?

    Comment by Mark — 26 Oct 2009 @ 10:57 AM

  366. “Oh woe, Oh woe, oh thrice woe … ”

    Well, actually, it’s more a severe annoyance, and perhaps something of a set back to those of us following the science, rather than a cause for genuine woe, but the Sunday Telegraph (U.K.) was at it again yesterday, publicising Christopher Booker, his new book and his views. They had a two page spread publicising the book: no link to this, I’m afraid, but I did pick up the following from this site:

    http://books.telegraph.co.uk/BerteShopWeb/viewProduct.do?ISBN=9781441110527

    … ” Focuses on the mother of all environmental scares: global warming. This book interweaves the science of global warming with that of its growing political consequences, showing how when the politicians are threatening to change our Western way of life beyond recognition, the scientific evidence behind the global warming theory is being challenged. ”

    ISBN: 9781441110527″

    Someone else having a go over the weekend – and whereas I expcept scepticism from Booker, I was surprised by this person’s talk – was Clive James, who basically was saying that much more scepticism was necessary on the topic of anthropogenic global climate change, and that more had to be heard of the counter arguments blah blah blah … you get the picture. The talk can be heard again on the Beeb’s ‘Listen Again’ service, viz.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00n9lm3/A_Point_of_View_23_10_2009/

    Not sure what to think, really; very annoyed with Booker and very disappointed with James; plus ca change, I suppose …

    Comment by Nick O. — 26 Oct 2009 @ 11:50 AM

  367. Chris Dudley (349) — I state that as about 300 ppm CO2e since there was some methane then as well and I don’t know its exact contribution. As for starting there, I strongly recommend reading W.F. Ruddiman’s hypothesis in his popular “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” to contemplate further the “starting” bit.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Oct 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  368. re:366

    “and very disappointed with James”

    I imagine on Rapa Nui that there were plenty of well-paid muckety-mucks asserting that the island needed more stone heads.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 26 Oct 2009 @ 1:08 PM

  369. Mark, I agree with much of what you said, but I would like to address a few points.

    Mark wrote in 362:

    The scientific method relies on consensus.

    The scientific method relies on consensus because in order to test/falsify a given theory in modern science one must almost invariably presuppose the truth of some more basic or well-established theory in order to test the more advanced theory. For example, one must presuppose a wave-like, corpuscular or quantum theory of light that says that locally light travels in a straight line if one is to test how it is “bent” by the gravitational field of the sun. This is an instance of Duhem’s Thesis proposed back in the 1890s and it is the reason why strictly speaking Karl Popper’s principle of falsiability is untenable.
    *
    Mark wrote in 362:

    Special and general relativity DEMAND that there is a consensus: that the speed of light is constant for any observer…

    Special relativity states that the speed of light is constant in all frames of reference. It states nothing regarding any sort of consensus, scientific or otherwise. It would have been true independently of any consensus prior to being proposed. It would still be true if no one had ever proposed it. Likewise, it was true after having been proposed prior to the formation of a consensus. However, if the photon had a small but negligible mass, the actual speed of light (even in a vacuum) would differ from one frame of reference to another. However, there would still be a speed that is constant (the speed at which massless particles travel — assuming such particles exist) in all frames of reference if the special theory of relativity is true. And this in itself is an instance of Duhem’s thesis insofar as we normally presuppose light is a massless particle in order to test special relativity.
    *
    Mark wrote in 362:

    for any observer in an inertial frame and that an observer in a non-inertial frame cannot tell whether the forces are due to gravity or acceleration.

    The same would apply to general relativity: its truth is independent of any consensus. Now I agree in part with your statement regarding the equivilence of acceleration and gravitational fields, but this equivilence is a weak equivilence. In the absence of additional forces, all objects will fall at the same rate, and in this sense there is a weak equivilence between a frame of reference that is accelerating and a stationary frame of reference in a gravitational field. However, this is only a weak equivilence insofar as all elements of the Riemann curvature tensor (essentially a four dimensional tensor formed from the metric tensor and the Christoffel symbols) will be zero only in the absence of a gravitational field and all will necessarily be zero in the absence of a gravitational field — in both inertial and non-inertial frames of reference.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:13 PM

  370. David (#367),

    Not too worried about the CO2e number, my point is that we don’t need to invoke climate models for one particular number so the uncertainty is really in “what is safe above 280?” not “what is safe?” There is an iron clad (cast iron?) case to be made that a safe number exists and that it is 280 ppm. I listened to Ruddiman give a talk about six years ago. I was not too persuaded at the time but perhaps I’ll look at the book. But, I don’t think the question of whether the Nile still floods is the real worry. A 450 ppm stabilization target now looks dangerous, not the agricultural activity of a much smaller number of humans than exist today. The scales are completely different.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:18 PM

  371. CORRECTION

    Where I state parenthetically:

    (essentially a four dimensional tensor formed from the metric tensor and the Christoffel symbols)

    … it should have read, “(essentially a four dimensional matrix…” as this was intended to communicate what a four dimensional tensor is in terms that are more familiar. People are typically familiar with what a matrix is, but tensors are a bit more esoteric.

    PS I am not a “scientist,” but I am somewhat familiar with special and general relativity.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Oct 2009 @ 2:23 PM

  372. Linda (#343) said: “Mark York’s WARM FRONT … not only … explain[s] climate science … it has the hottest erotic scenes I’ve ever read”

    Contrary to the so-called “consensus” touted by the liberal media, literary sex has not got hotter. What they’re not telling you is that the recent six-year trend did not top 1928-1934 (when they published sizzlers like “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and “Tropic of Cancer”). The models fail to explain the dull sex scenes in mid-20th century lit. Any new steaminess in the past century is just a natural recovery from the frigid writing of the Victorian Age, and anyway not nearly as ribald as in the Medieval Bawdy Period (“Decameron”). To get rid of the MBP they manufactured the naughtily named “hockey stick” suggesting readers only got it up in the past century, but I have thoroughly debunked these claims with a turnkey R script that graphs a dirty picture from any data — and disturbingly, in spite of our patient FOI requests, they suspiciously refuse to make all their fantasies and phone numbers public for us to audit. The recent observational record is unreliable and suffers from “bikini bias” as a shocking number of readers are not sited in proper libraries but take their books to beaches (painstakingly photo-documented by our volunteer surveyers at http://www.surferstations.org). And so on.

    :) Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Comment by CM — 26 Oct 2009 @ 3:52 PM

  373. Chris Dudley (370) — Methane concentrations are very much higher now than then. Sincee it seems most likely that methane levels can be substantially reduced so long as agriculture is practiced, I resort to using CO2e. I suppose around 300 ppm CO2e was what it was then. So to get there, it might well be necessary to reduce actual carbon dioxide concentrations to a substantially lower figure than 280 ppm.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Oct 2009 @ 5:10 PM

  374. Dale #352:

    My take on your friend’s claim is that it is a good idea to read widely about both philosophy and science, and historical accounts of the development of any number of theories we now accept as facts. All scientists I have met or worked with are people. Each and every one of them has to grapple with what to accept as correct and what to treat as incorrect, and what to treat as unkown. The ultimate skeptic has nothing left to work with, for by their standard everything is up for grabs all of the time. Scientists that are too skeptical spend too much time in an unfocussed haze of uncertainty to forge ahead.

    If you want to make progress on a scientific problem, some mixture of theory and evidence has to be taken as (provisionally) correct, in order to furnish a starting point. Now, over time it may become clear that something doesn’t mesh with what has been taken as correct, and then the search is on to figure out the what and why. After working through the details a scientist may decide to re-examine some of the evidence originally assumed to be correct (provisionally), and may even devise some independent lines of inquiry into the evidence (and/or theory) that seems incongruous.

    Science is the best method of inquiry we have, but it doesn’t reside in any one scientist. It is the cumulative effect of scientific communities working upon many independent and interdependent ideas that eventually settles on a web of stable knowledge. The robustness of science and its progress rely on the aggregate efforts.

    To say that there is no such thing as consensus in science is to take such a narrow and simplistic view of the enterprise as to reduce it to a cartoon model of what really happens.

    Perhaps your friend could read a modern philosophy book like “Defending Science – within reason: Between Scientism and Cynicism” by Susan Haack, read a book on the historical development of pertinent geological theories in “Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery” by John Imbrie and K.P. Imbrie; and then, think again about what being a scientist is really all about.

    Comment by Donald Oats — 26 Oct 2009 @ 5:29 PM

  375. Mark 365: You said “Where are all the skeptics decrying the dangerous use of unscientific alloys in modern aircraft?!?”

    You may want to use a different field other than metallurgy to make your point. As a materials scientist I agree that there are many parameters in metallurgy that need further research in order for a better understanding of how they work & contribute in different alloys. There are models in use and you are correct, they drive the direction of R&D in the quest for stronger/lighter/harder materials.

    However, a huge part of materials engineering is testing; the ASTM library is full of test procedures to determine property responses, and often these tests are specific to a particular metalworking technology (e.g. forging vs casting).

    The way new materials get on airplanes is predictable and successful results from very rigorous testing, not so much through their projected performance in software models.

    Comment by Ron Mexico — 26 Oct 2009 @ 8:31 PM

  376. Most amusingly adroit, CM!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Oct 2009 @ 8:42 PM

  377. Donald (374),

    My wife just asked me, “Why do you have that smirk?” I told her, “I’m reading something — its only a few paragraphs, but it is really quite beautifully said. I’m envious…” However, at this point I wouldn’t hold out much hope for his “friend.”

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Oct 2009 @ 8:58 PM

  378. 354 Kevin

    Coal reserves are estimated at 130 years at current production (http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/where-is-coal-found/); however, the calculation for the supplies does not factor in growth (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/pdf/ieoreftab_6.pdf). If we take the 2.5% number of expected increases in growth, our supplies does not last 130 years. The number looks more like 44 years. Obviously, we’ll reach peak production long before the 44 year number.

    If these estimates are accurate, do we have enough supplies to push global warming into the worse case? I think supplies may put a limit on the damage that can be done.

    Comment by EL — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:21 AM

  379. Dale #352: this “consensus isn’t science” line is garbage. In any well-established area of science, if thousands of scientists tend to converge on similar results from different directions, it is not unreasonable to declare “consensus”. In physics, we’ve had the concept of the correspondence principle since early in the 20th century: new theories should explain as much as the old, plus more – rather than contradict them. It’s very seldom that the scientific consensus is truly overturned, and certainly not by one paper or one data point. Einstein for example explained well-established anomalies in Newtonian physics, but his relativity collapses to Newtonian physics for most practical purposes. Newtonian physics is a classic example of scientific consensus. We all agree it’s a great theory because it fits everything we can observe (minus a few exceptions that are mostly hard to measure) pretty well. Yet no one has actually proved Newton’s theory is correct. Someone could come up with a counter-example tomorrow, exceedingly unlikely though that is. Anyone who demands proof before accepting AGW doesn’t understand applied science, and certainly should never cross a bridge or travel in a plane. You only get proofs in theoretical mathematical disciplines. A related bunch of misconceptions is around the notion that “real science has exact results”, but that’s bunk too. Even as precisely known a formula as Newton’s Law of Gravitation can’t be applied exactly in many real situations.

    While one refereed paper is not necessarily correct (we have had good examples on this site of egregious errors in peer review), many people using different data sets, different measurement strategies and different analyses are extremely likely to arrive at the same wrong answer unless they all subscribe to the same systematic bias. It is very rare that such a bias exists; you are well into the terrain of conspiracy theory when you allege such bias exists without evidence.

    On the other hand, two news outlets that are usually reviled by right wing bloggers make a mistake and interpret a major climate scientist as saying global warming is pausing for 20 years (he didn’t say that), and suddenly counting the number of people agreeing with this misinterpretation is a valid argument. Same with counting signatures on a petition. More along these lines in my comments on recent letters in The Australian.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:53 AM

  380. This is a very disappointing blog post, and I really wish RealClimate would be more sober in its perspective. You can’t smear every non-leftist think tank as a “front”. The Cato Institute in particular is a broadly arrayed libertarian think tank dealing with all sorts of issues from that perspective, climate being only one of them. It’s as though you’re unaware that reasonable and smart people can also be libertarian, or conservative, or whatever.

    I’m always disappointed by how snidely you talk about scientists getting money from industry sources, as though that refutes their science or should otherwise silence them. If you want to talk about conflicts of interest, please note the 800 pound primate in the room — government science. Not really the science per se, but the massive conflict of interest governments have in interpreting and disseminating scientific findings that impact government power. AGW is a sizeable window for governments to expand their power, which is the one thing governments are most motivated to do. I’d say this is a much more serious conflict than that of private industry.

    RealClimate is a good resource for climate science, but it’s obvious that you pair the science with leftist leanings. You jump the gun and blindly support any and all mitigation policies, with no cost-benefit analyses or consideration of trade-offs. I wish you would just focus on the science, and stop smearing Lindzen, non-leftists, and anyone who might draw different policy implications from the science.

    [Response: Oh please. Provide citations for any of your claims about our supposed 'blind support' for any and all mitigation policies? Or one scintilla of evidence for the supposed corruption of 'government science'? (Remember your opinion is not evidence). If we criticise people - and we certainly have criticised Lindzen, Monckton, etc. - we do it based on the invalidity of their scientific claims and this is not a 'smear'. If there is someone who agrees with the science but still thinks no action is warranted, we have yet to meet them - but that would be their prerogative. People who however base their opinions about science on what their preferred policy option is are (and deserve to be) criticised. - gavin]

    Comment by Jose Duarte — 27 Oct 2009 @ 2:53 AM

  381. “As a materials scientist I agree that there are many parameters in metallurgy that need further research in order for a better understanding of how they work & contribute in different alloys.”

    No, the example is perfect.

    There are many parameters that need further research in climate science too. But climate science gets all the “we don’t know nothing, so it’s all wrong”. Metallurgy doesn’t.

    If the symmetry were any more perfect, I feel I would cry.

    (note: when I was doing a careers talk metallurgy was put forward as a career path for me.).

    Comment by Mark — 27 Oct 2009 @ 4:17 AM

  382. I haven’t had time to go thro’ all of the posts in this thread so I apologise if anybody else has linked it, but …. the UK’s premier industry-paid, anti-AGW ‘journalist’ Christopher Booker has written another book against AGW.

    (his first book probably bombed so he’s desperate for income).

    However, last Sunday’s Telegraph published a piece by him advertising said book :-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6425269/The-real-climate-change-catastrophe.html

    I wrote a critical letter to the Telegraph about Booker’s claims but they haven’t published it.

    Draw your own conclusions.

    Comment by Bob Clipperton — 27 Oct 2009 @ 4:34 AM

  383. EL: global warming will eventually self correct

    BPL: Unfortunately, before that happens, human civilization will be destroyed.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 4:59 AM

  384. Dale,

    [edit] No actual scientist would reject the concept of scientific consensus, since that and peer review is how modern science is done. Only scientific illiterates with an axe to grind take that line.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 5:01 AM

  385. Ron Mexico,
    Climate models are also tested–rigorously–and they have amassed a formidable list of accomplishments. ASTM test methods are–hopefully, at least–based on science, and that means that underlying all those methods is a scientific theory.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Oct 2009 @ 5:04 AM

  386. Donald Oats says, “Science is the best method of inquiry we have, but it doesn’t reside in any one scientist. It is the cumulative effect of scientific communities working upon many independent and interdependent ideas that eventually settles on a web of stable knowledge. The robustness of science and its progress rely on the aggregate efforts.”

    Precisely! Merely because one does science does not mean one understands how the process works–any more than an ant understands its role in the colony.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Oct 2009 @ 5:10 AM

  387. Timothy Chase #363
    Thank you for your information. The person who claimed to be a scientist seems to find little fault in you message.

    Is there a consensus on the second law of thermodynamics, Planck radiation law , the accuracy of quantum mechanics, or that in accordance with their absorption spectra, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane are greenhouse gases. If there is, then there can certainly be such a thing as a consensus in science — certainly with respect to well-established facts, principles, and theories
    Posted by Stranger1548

    I stand corrected. There is concensus with regard to proven “Laws of Nature”. None the less, even these are subject to repeated testing.

    With is assertion that AGW “Technicians have a pre conceived idea I responded:
    Preconceived idea? That’s interesting. When I first read anything about AGW it was, if I remember correctly, a December 1988 issue of Time magazine. The article was quite long and it pointed out that only about 20% of scientists related to the field bought into it. That means the overwhelming body was Skeptical. Over the years little by little that number has grown so that today nearly all of the scientists whose research is related to climate science embrace the AGW theory. From my experience it’s those whose religion is unfettered capitalism that have preconceived ideas. The theory is so pure and true that anything that presents an inconvenient truth will not be considered. Please justify this absurd assertion with some reliable reference to recent data. Thenk you.
    If anybody else has a link for me I’d appreciate it.

    Comment by Dale — 27 Oct 2009 @ 6:57 AM

  388. Sorry, the last part may be a little confusing. His final statement to me was, “Please justify this absurd assertion with some reliable reference to recent data. Thank you.

    Comment by Dale — 27 Oct 2009 @ 7:00 AM

  389. EL, burning a ton of coal releases about 2 tons of CO2. With perhaps a trillion tons of global coal reserves, we could just about double CO2 from its current value–or roughly triple it from its pre-industrial value. This would probably trigger melting of polar regions, release of methane trapped in parmafrost and perhaps releae of methane in clathrates.

    What is more, you assume that human population would be sustainable at ~9 billion people without an amazingly advanced energy infrastructure. You might want to reconsider that.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Oct 2009 @ 7:55 AM

  390. Mark 381 & Ray 385,

    My comment was not so much about how accurate either metallurgical or climate models are; it was to point out that new materials, or even known materials processed in a different manner, are not approved for critical aerospace applications unless they pass whatever tests are required to provide designers confidence that they will withstand the fatigue/impact/loading/corrosion/thermal expansion etc requirements needed for a given component. No matter what the models say, if they do not get that proof from the testing of the fabricated materials, then those materials will not fly.

    Comment by Ron Mexico — 27 Oct 2009 @ 8:13 AM

  391. 384Barton Paul Levenson says:
    27 October 2009 at 5:01 AM
    Dale,

    [edit] No actual scientist would reject the concept of scientific consensus, since that and peer review is how modern science is done.

    From RealClimate:

    Just what is this Consensus anyway?

    Filed under: Climate Science FAQ— william @ 22 December 2004 –

    We’ve used the term “consensus” here a bit recently (see our earlier post on the subject), without ever really defining what we mean by it. In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – no science depends on it.

    The consensus, as RealClimate sees it, is related to policy and media. Or am I wrong in this assertion?

    The skeptic attitude to consensus usually starts with “there is no consensus”. That’s wrong, and they usually retreat from it to “but consensus science is meaningless”, and/or “consensus has nothing to do with science”. The latter is largely true but irrelevant. The existence of the consensus doesn’t do a lot to determine what science is done; it doesn’t prevent contrary lines being explored. But the consensus view does come into the tricky interface between science and policy, and science and the media.

    From here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/just-what-is-this-consensus-anyway/

    379Philip Machanick says:
    It’s very seldom that the scientific consensus is truly overturned, and certainly not by one paper or one data point.

    I refer you to Einstein:

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins100017.html

    Comment by Corey — 27 Oct 2009 @ 8:35 AM

  392. Often someone who is (correctly) arguing that science (correctly) uses consensus, contrasts science with mathematics, as in “You only get proofs in theoretical mathematical disciplines.” (No disrespect intended, Philip; your comment merely reminded me that I see this often.)

    But in fact, consensus is just as important in math, because you need human judgment of whether a purported proof is correct. Just as in science, you need judgment not only of whether the purported proof is correct given its assumptions, but also of whether the assumptions are correct and sufficiently broad.

    This whole topic reminds me of the classic The Fallacy of the Null-Hypothesis Significance Test, in that much hinges on the degree to which an individual scientist can think of reasons their conclusion might be wrong. More scientists are more likely to think of reasons that conclusion might be wrong.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:08 AM

  393. Corey,
    God you guys love to quote Einstein. The problem is that the denialists don’t do experiments and they certainly don’t publish. I would love it if they would start doing experiments designed to falsify climate change. It would mean they’d quit pretending science can be done on a blog.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:19 AM

  394. “no science depends on it.”

    Indeed. Reality does whatever it does whether we agree it does it or not.

    But repeatability requires that all observers see the same results from the same input. It’s one reason why ESP tests are not scientific in the main: they are not repeatable and when they are repeatable, the effect disappears.

    And when enough people repeat it, they all agree.

    And that, my friend, is consensus.

    After all, does anyone here think that if you drop an apple, it will fall UP?

    That is consensus.

    And just because you don’t think it exists doesn’t then mean an apple will fall up.

    Comment by Mark — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:20 AM

  395. Ron Mexico,
    What you are talking about is validation. What we are saying is that the models and conclusions of climate research are also validated. Any validation procedure presumes a model of what the important factors (e.g. for materials, aging, stress, environmental degradation…) and what factors can be left out (e.g. phase of the moon). Validation is always model driven.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:21 AM

  396. “I refer you to Einstein:

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.””

    So produce a single experiment that proves AGW science wrong.

    Plimer hasn’t managed it. Nor Spencer. Nor Pielke. Nor any of the score or more “big hitters” of the denialosphere.

    Occasionally they’ve noted something that could do with more rigour, but they then overplay it as “proof” that AGW is wrong.

    Rather like pointing out that 3.142 isn’t the value of pi therefore pi MUST be 3.0.

    Comment by Mark — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  397. Ron, you fail to notice that likewise new climate model science isn’t accepted into climate models until they’ve been proven to improve hindcasts where they are tested against the known history without training to repeat that history.

    Genuinely, you are not seeing how close the match is.

    It is pretty damn exact.

    And the point still stands: where are the skeptics when it comes to this dangerous non-science of metallurgy?

    PS I do believe that metallurgists do the right thing. Then again, so are the climate scientists. At least to the same degree as each other.

    Comment by Mark — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:24 AM

  398. 384
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    27 October 2009 at 5:01 AM

    “Dale,

    [edit] No actual scientist would reject the concept of scientific consensus, since that and peer review is how modern science is done. Only scientific illiterates with an axe to grind take that line.”

    BPL. There is a big difference between scientific consensus and a consensus of scientists. It is the latter that is the problem.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  399. “There is concensus with regard to proven “Laws of Nature”. None the less, even these are subject to repeated testing.”

    So consensus does exist.

    Now, please show that the CO2 effect isn’t under repeated testing?

    Oh. It is.

    Please, ask your friend: Where’s the beef?

    He’s manifacturing a problem to then point to the problem and say “this problem PROVES that AGW is wrong!”

    Horse –> Cart –>>>> travel

    Comment by Mark — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  400. “You only get proofs in theoretical mathematical disciplines.”

    And quite often the proof is only proof that you can’t HAVE proof.

    E.g. the halting problem.

    Comment by Mark — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:33 AM

  401. David (#273),

    I’m stuck, I guess, on your point. I don’t see methane as a hard problem. Amending agricultural practices and sealing landfills are obvious steps to deal with it.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 27 Oct 2009 @ 10:43 AM

  402. New evidence trounces claims of global warming deniers who say that the Earth’s temperatures are cooling. (This just came out October 27, 2009).

    This evidence adds to the mountains of data that demonstrates ever more conclusively that human activity is the essential cause for the spike in global termperatures since the Industrial Revolution began burning of fossil fuels on a mass-scale.

    “Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past 10 years”–either in data from the NOAA’s climate data center or data preferred by global warming deniers fromthe University of Alabama at Huntsville, reports Seth Borenstein, science and ecology reporter from the Associated Press:

    “Have you heard that the world is now cooling instead of warming? You may have seen some news reports on the Internet or heard about it from a provocative new book.

    “Only one problem: It’s not true, according to an analysis of the numbers done by several independent statisticians for The Associated Press.

    “The case that the Earth might be cooling partly stems from recent weather. Last year was cooler than previous years. It’s been a while since the super-hot years of 1998 and 2005. So is this a longer climate trend or just weather’s normal ups and downs?

    “In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

    “‘If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,’ said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.

    Climate change has been the center of public debate and controversy since the late 1990s when vested interests like Exxon-Mobil began to pour millions of dollars into global warming denial claims designed to cast doubt on the work of trained, legitimate climate scientists. The oil and coal industries would obviously suffer under any rules demanding decreases in fossil fuel use and production.

    Comment by ThinkLife — 27 Oct 2009 @ 10:48 AM

  403. Einstein also famously objected to quantum mechanics on the grounds that “God does not play dice with the Universe”, which is the kind of background knowledge you need to appreciate Star Trek’s physicist skit.

    However, the general theory of light and matter which underlies the greenhouse effect is a fundamentally quantum theory, meaning it is a probabilistic theory, one in which exact predictions cannot be made, although odds can be stated. That’s just a fundamental feature of modern science, and the fact that it’s not widely understood really points to serious problems in basic public education – much of the public still labors under a 19th century vision of physics, chemistry and biology – and other sectors are still back in the Medieval Era, as far as science and math go.

    This is also why arguments about “global cooling” are proferred with a straight face, despite being debunked time and again, for example by the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization:

    Using short-term climate variability to argue about global warming and its effects is scientifically inaccurate and a misinterpretation of the data and scientific knowledge.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/science/news/article.cfm?c_id=82&objectid=10571517

    Thus, if one looks at the entire temperature record, one sees a number of downward dips in the running 5-yr average since mid-century: ~1959-1965, 1982-1984, 1989-1994.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A.lrg.gif

    These are followed by much sharper climbs in temperature – look at the graph. You see a little dip down, followed by a big jump upwards. Now, if you add the functions y=x and y=sin x on a calculator (y=xsinx) or even y=(e^x)(sin x), you’ll get something that looks like that graph. This matches the predictions, in that we expect to see natural fluctuations superimposed on an increasing temperature trend… although it seems that the amplitude of some natural fluctuations will also increase, leading to more extreme weather events…. meaning that the climate system overall is becoming less predictable.

    One has to wonder, looking at the historical reliance on farmer’s almanacs, which are simply compilations of historical data. Such almanacs are today largely useless as guides for farmers, which is more evidence that the climate really has become more unstable, less predictable.

    However, the forcing effect of CO2 remains quite predictable. It’s a quantum mechanical calculation: how much radiation does the molecule, O=C=O, absorb and at what wavelengths, and how does this depend on variables like pressure and temperature?

    At one level, it’s just like putting on a blanket – you expect to warm up a bit. If you want to know exactly how much you warm up, you can ask some scientists for a better guess, and then they will plague you with questions: what kind of blanket? Alpaca wool or cotton? What’s the external temperature? If your body temperature is 98.6 F (37C) then you are shedding radiation with a peak wavelength around 9000 nm:

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/imgmod/bbrc4b.gif

    Depending on the physical characteristics of the blanket, some fraction of your emitted radiation will be absorbed by the blanket, which will then emit it back at you, and your skin registers this as a feeling of warmth, and your brain relaxes, having warded off hypothermia. On the other hand, if the blanket is to thick, the brain overheats and hyperthermia sets in.

    In order to get the best possible estimate of how much you will warm up, you need to go through the entire detailed scientific process – including the construction of a metal mannequin that can be held at a constant 37C for experiments, etc, etc.

    Now, we can talk about consensus among scientists – all scientists agree that putting on a blanket will warm you up, unless someone snuck a refrigerating coil inside it attached to an external power source.

    Likewise, climate scientists agree that by increasing the density of infrared-absorbing gases in the atmosphere, you end up warming the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces. That’s based on a hundred years of physics, and is scientifically incontrovertible. The ratio of atmospheric forcing to surface warming is also well understood and is reproduced by models.

    This has secondary effects on global vapor concentrations (and precipitation) as well as on the global circulation of the atmosphere and oceans. Here, there is less certainty about the effects of warming, although the evidence all points to more droughts and floods and heat waves and powerful storms. Without a doubt, the ice caps and mountain glaciers are also melting, again with minor regional variability due to water vapor changes. A more stagnant ocean circulation leading to persistent low-oxygen conditions is also possible.

    This has tertiary effects on ecosystems, including human agriculture – for example, the effect of turning a forest or a garden into a floodplain or a desert. Biomass levels and primary productivity plummet, and scrub desert replaces it. The same thing is happening in the oceans. In both cases, the climate problems are exacerbated by overharvesting – overfishing and deforestation.

    Maybe the real problem here is that the social evolution of homo sapiens hasn’t kept up with the technological evolution – that was the opinion of Hubbert, who predicted the eventual peak in production of U.S. and world crude oil reserves with fairly good accuracy back in the 1950s.

    It’s the apocalyptic view: we’ve unleashed powers we cannot control, and in so doing will end up destroying the very basis of human civilization, which is, it turns out, a healthy global ecosystem. If there was no such thing as renewable energy, that might be true, but happily there is.

    What we really need is a widespread recognition that a healthy economy relies on a healthy ecosystem to provide such essentials as air, water and food – something the 19th and 20th century economists seem to have completely forgotten, even those from the most prestigious academic institutions. They should all be asked to read The Princeton Guide to Ecology (Levin et al. 2009), for starters… particularly the sections on Ecological Economics:

    To put this point differently, the market outcome, or the outcome stemming from individual actions, regarding the harvesting of ecosystem services and the time paths of the stocks of natural capital (or natural resources) is different from an outcome (or a state) that is socially desirable.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 27 Oct 2009 @ 11:55 AM

  404. #352 Dale

    Tell your friend the scientist that he needs to read a dictionary. I find it odd when people claim to be scientists but then use words with confidence when they actually don’t know what those words mean…

    How unscientific of your fried the scientist.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consensus

    1 a : general agreement : unanimity b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned
    2 : group solidarity in sentiment and belief

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Oct 2009 @ 12:02 PM

  405. #380 Jose Duarte

    As a conservative I resent your naive, narrow-minded, in fact ridiculous interpretation of the manner in which mitigation issues are handled on this web site. In fact, I don’t care what brand of politic you personally claim. Based on that one post I claim that you are a liberal.

    Try being conservative with your words and skeptical of your opinions. Then actually read the posts on this site, the majority of the regulars here are quite conservative in their analysis of mitigation policies.

    Take the politics elsewhere. This is not about politics and your pathetic attempt to paint it that way clearly shows that you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Oct 2009 @ 12:04 PM

  406. Re: My mention of the need for multiple scientists to try to think of reasons for or against an hypothesis: Another classic article is Greenwald’s 1975 Consequences of Prejudice Against the Null Hypothesis.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  407. Anthropogenic Global Warming: Physics, Feedbacks and Evidence

    Part I: Physics

    Dale, when your acquaintance states:

    I stand corrected. There is concensus with regard to proven “Laws of Nature”. None the less, even these are subject to repeated testing.

    … I would remind him that in no small part this is precisely what the climate models are based upon: well established laws and relationships of physics.

    They do, however, differ from one another in terms of the physics which they model and the resolution with which they treate the physics which they incorporate — and given the complexity of the phenomena, particularly in terms of cloud feedbacks and the physics involved in aerosols, this is sufficient to result in differences in terms of the details of the projections. But the basics are the same. And the results? No recent, major general circulation model shows a climate sensitivity as low as 1.5 degrees per doubling — or as high as 4.5 degrees per doubling of carbon dioxide.

    Raising the level of carbon dioxide renders the atmosphere more opaque to thermal radiation. We can measure this opacity in the laboratories and have done so as far back as the 1800s. The opacity is the result of infrared radiation being absorbed by carbon dioxide as described by its absorption spectra, and the absorption spectra falls derivable (in close approximation) from the first principles of quantum mechanics. (The fact that there isn’t an exact match is due to collisions between molecules resulting in additional energy levels and/or the modifying of existing ones.)

    When energy is absorbed by carbon dioxide, rather than simply re-emitting the energy, that energy is generally lost in collisions to other molecules, typically oxygen and nitrogen. At 20 mb or above, over a timespan equal to the half-life of a state of excitation, a carbon dioxide molecule will undergo a million or more collisions. So the energy is generally lost to the surrounding atmosphere and absorbed by the gases, and the major atmsopheric constituents aren’t good emitters or absorbers of infrared radiation.

    This follows essentially from Kirchoff’s law — which largely follows from the second law of thermodynamics as it applies to systems which are in local thermodynamic equilibrium. Local thermodynamic equilibrium is where the Planck temperature of radiation is equal to the Maxwell temperature of matter. When these are equal, one can show that at any given wavelength, the emissivity is equal to the absorptivity. So as non-greenhouse gases are unable to radiate away the thermal energy the atmosphere heats up. However, given the collisions with greenhouse gas molecules (mostly water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane) the energy is eventually re-emitted, but roughly half is upwelling, half downwelling, where the downwelling radiation warms the earth’s surface.

    The long and the short of this is that when the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, it lowers the rate at which energy escapes to space. You can actually see it here:

    CO2 bands in Earth’s atmosphere
    http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=37190

    .. and here:

    Measuring Carbon Dioxide from Space with the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/story_archive/Measuring_CO2_from_Space/

    The latter of these shows how — at an altitude of roughly 5 miles — carbon dioxide is thicker where the winds carry it from the heavily populated West and East coasts of the United States as it begins to mix throughout the atmosphere.

    However, radiation from the sun is entering the climate system at the same rate, and as such the amount of thermal energy in the system must increase. This follows from the principle of the conservation of energy. Since the amount of thermal energy in the system increases the average temperature of the system increases. And as the temperature increases, in accordance Planck’s law, the rate at which the surface radiates energy increases, and it increases until the rate at which energy escapes the climate system is equal to the rate at which energy enters the climate system. When one goes through the math, a doubling of carbon dioxide by itself will result in the temperature rising by somewhere between 1.1-1.2°C — where the uncertainty is largely a function of the distribution of carbon dioxide in the atmospheric column.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  408. Anthropogenic Global Warming: Physics, Feedbacks and Evidence

    Part II: Feedbacks

    However, there are feedbacks. For example, as polar ice melts it exposes darker ocean and land which results in less shortwave radiation (light) being reflected directly into space and more being absorbed and converted into thermal energy. But more importantly, as the temperature of the climate system increases, this raises the partial pressure of water vapor in accordance with the clausius-clapeyron equation. The partial pressure of water vapor roughly doubles for each additional 10°C. However, there are other feedbacks.

    For example, clouds will have both an albedo effect and a greenhouse effect, where the higher albedo is a negative feedback that reduces the net extent of the warming and the cloud greenhouse effect increases the net extent of the warming. The exact balance depends upon the clouds. High altitude clouds will be colder, and as such they will tend to absorb more radiation than they emit — in accordance with Planck’s law. Lower level clouds are closer to the temperature of the thermal radiation, and as such they will tend to emit as much thermal radiation as they absorb — so it is the albedo effect that matters most.

    The net effect of all the feedbacks ulimately depends in part upon the distribution of the continents, and as such climate sensitivity (the number of degrees that the temperature rises per doubling of carbon dioxide) will depend upon this as well. Thus different paleoclimates have different climate sensitivities. However, over the past million years or so the climate sensitivity appears to have been roughly 2.6-3.0°C.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  409. Anthropogenic Global Warming: Physics, Feedbacks and Evidence

    Part III: Evidence

    But how do we know that it is our carbon dioxide that is raising the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? First, isotopic analysis shows that it is geologic in origin — fossil fuels. Second, levels of oxygen are decreasing as levels of carbon dioxide increase — at just the rate that we would expect given the combustion of fossil fuel. Likewise, we know that it can’t be coming from the oceans, for example, as the partial pressure of carbon dioxide is higher in the atmosphere than in ocean water.

    Likewise, warming due to increased solar radiation would tend to be strongest during the summer, weakest during the winter. This is because with the sun, the source of warming would be a function of the increased rate at which energy enters the system. With an enhanced greenhouse effect the source of warming would be a function of the decreased rate at which thermal energy escapes the climate system. Therefore the warming trend will be strongest during the wintertime. Likewise the warming trend due increased solar radiation will be strongest during the daytime. The warming trend due to an enhanced greenhouse effect will be strongest at night. In each case the signature warming has been consistent with an enhanced greenhouse effect.

    But furthermore, with increased solar radiation one should expect the stratosphere to warm as the troposphere warms. With an enhanced greenhouse effect one should expect the stratosphere to cool (due to the reduced rate at which thermal energy escapes the troposphere) as the troposphere warms. We have seen the latter.
    *
    Now Donald Oats states:

    It is the cumulative effect of scientific communities working upon many independent and interdependent ideas that eventually settles on a web of stable knowledge. The robustness of science and its progress rely on the aggregate efforts.

    Likewise, I have stated before:

    This forms the basis for the correspondence principle which you are no doubt aware of. As such, there is nothing invalid in the cummulative nature of climatology. Additionally, it is clearly falliblistic. We will make mistakes. But given the systemic nature of human knowledge and empirical science, we can expect to uncover our mistakes in time.

    There are degrees of justification, and where a given conclusion is justified by multiple independent lines of investigation, the justification that it receives is often far greater than the justification that it would receive from any one line of investigation considered in isolation…

    Here I have identified a fair number of lines of evidence which support the fact that global warming is taking place and that our carbon dioxide emissions are a large part of the cause. We have the principles of physics and the large body of empirical evidence which they so economically summarize. We have the paleoclimate evidence — which actually consists of numerous studies of different kinds of evidence. We have the signature effects which demonstrate that the warming is due to an enhanced greenhouse effect rather than an increase in solar radiation — or for that matter, reduced albedo which would result from reduced levels of reflective aerosols. There are others. And their cumulative weight is sufficient for every major scientific body to conclude that global warming is taking place, that it is largely due to an enhanced greenhouse effect, that this effect is due to our carbon emissions, and that it is dangerous.

    Anyway, we can look up some articles if he is interested in something specific. However, I would suggest exploring this website and…

    Spencer Weart’s “The Discovery of Global Warming”
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:01 PM

  410. # 393, Ray Ladbury: “…. The problem is that the denialists don’t do experiments and they certainly don’t publish. I would love it if they would start doing experiments designed to falsify climate change. …”

    Well said, Ray!!! I only wish we could have insisted that Booker (see my note in #366) and people like him submit their new books to peer review in the same way scientists generally have to submit articles to peer review. Jeepers, the agonies I go through trying to get facts right, and to ensure that everything is properly cited, and to be sure I have got all my calculations right, and my graphs properly labelled etc., and have used the right statistical tests etc., and that’s while making sure my argument makes sense in the first place, and while trying to be honest about counter examples that appear to conflict with my own work.

    I can’t myslef think of a single scientist who actually WANTS anthropogenic global warming to be true, or likes the idea of it, seeing as the consequences – even if we are lucky – don’t look at all appealing for humanity as a whole. I should be quite happy if the science were wrong – only too happy! – so we could all carry on regardless, and had nothing to fear or be in the least bit concerned about, so that human industrial expansion and technological advance could continue without limit and without the Earth ever failing to clear up our mess for us and provide us with ever more in the way of resources for all our wants and needs – clean air, fresh water, fertile soil, you name it. Trouble is, as they say in Yorkshire (where I do a lot of fieldwork), “you don’t get owt for nowt”. Whether ‘denialist’ is the right term for Booker and similar writers is perhaps beside the point, but I just do not understand why he thinks it’s okay for him to publish without scientific review, and that by contrast the rest of us are a lot of charlatans, verging on the boundaries of massive scientific fraud, because we have submitted our work to scientific review. Inverted snobbery, just plain lunatic, or what? And yet people will buy his book, and believe Clive James is really on to something, etc.

    Comment by Nick O. — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:09 PM

  411. CORRECTION to the above:

    And their cumulative weight is sufficient for every major scientific body to conclude that global warming is taking place, that it is largely due to an enhanced greenhouse effect, that this effect is due to our carbon emissions, and that it is dangerous.

    That should have been “… for every major scientific body that has seen fit to take a position to conclude…”

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  412. PS to 406

    Where I stated, “No recent, major general circulation model shows a climate sensitivity as low as 1.5 degrees per doubling — or as high as 4.5 degrees per doubling of carbon dioxide,” that is degrees Celsius, not degrees Fahrenheit.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:32 PM

  413. Dale, here are some articles with evidence of global warming that might help with your friend…

    Robert N. Harris and David S. Chapman (1997) Borehole Temperatures and a Baseline for 20th-Century Global Warming Estimates, Science, Vol. 275, pp. 1618-1621
    ftp://ftp.gfz-potsdam.de/pub/home/se/nina/Material-zur-Geothermie/Literatur/harris-science-1997.pdf

    Rowan T. Sutton, Buwen Dong, and Jonathan M. Gregory (2006) Land/sea warming ratio in response to climate change: IPCC AR4 model results and comparison with observations, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, L02701, pp. 1-5
    http://atmosdyn.yonsei.ac.kr/nrl/seminar/Sutton_etal_GRL2007.pdf

    S. Levitus, J. Antonov, and T. Boyer(2005) Warming of the world ocean, 1955–2003
    Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, L02604
    http://atmosdyn.yonsei.ac.kr/nrl/seminar/Levitus_etal_GRL2005.pdf

    Brian J. Soden et al. (4 Nov 2005) The Radiative Signature of Upper Tropospheric Moistening, Science, Vol 310, pp. 841-843
    http://www.gfy.ku.dk/~kaas/forc&feedb2008/Articles/Soden.pdf

    Gian-Reto Walther et al (28 Mar 2002) Ecological responses to recent climate change, Nature, Vol 416, pp 389-395
    http://eebweb.arizona.edu/courses/Ecol206/Walther%20et%20al%20Nature%202002.pdf

    Eric Rignot et al (FEBRUARY2008) Recent Antarctic ice mass loss from radar interferometry and regional climate modelling, Nature Geoscience Vol 1, pp. 106-110
    http://www.phys.uu.nl/~broeke/home_files/MB_pubs_pdf/2008_Rignot_NatGeo.pdf

    Michael Zemp et al. (2009) Six decades of glacier mass-balance observations: a review of the worldwide monitoring network, Annals of Glaciology 50, pp 101-111
    http://www.igsoc.org/annals/50/50/a50a018.pdf

    Hamish D. Pritchard et al (15 Oct 2009) Extensive dynamic thinning on the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, Nature;461(7266),971-5
    http://thingsbreak.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/extensive-dynamic-thinning-on-the-margins-of-the-greenland-and-antarctic-ice-sheets.pdf

    A. Cazenave (18 October 2008) Sea level budget over 2003–2008: A reevaluation from GRACE space gravimetry, satellite altimetry and Argo, Volume 65, Issues 1-2, Pages 83-88
    http://penoflight.com/climatebuzz/Docs/SeaLevelRise2008.pdf

    … and as I stated above:

    There are degrees of justification, and where a given conclusion is justified by multiple independent lines of investigation, the justification that it receives is often far greater than the justification that it would receive from any one line of investigation considered in isolation…

    However, this only scratches the surface of what is available.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Oct 2009 @ 2:57 PM

  414. Re 410 Nick O.

    “submit their new books to peer review”

    Amen to that. Even a decent editor would help. My wife is a scientific editor, and she catches a lot of that stuff before it gets to print – mislablled axes, incorrect captions, even problems with fairly basic stats. This kind of thing is hard even for trained scientists to kind 100% right, so it’s pretty galling when some amateur with an opinion can just rattle off a book that gets no scientific scrutiny before it gets published.

    We have an example of this in NZ. A journalist has published a book full of all the tired old denialist nonsense claiming that AGW is just a con. When I published my little toy to demonstrate that it is nonsense to talk of cooling trends, this journalist said I was just getting “garbage in, garbage out” because I was using GISTEMP and HadCRUT, rather than the satellite data. I asked why he thought the land records were not reliable, and he claimed that GISTEMP overestimates the temperature, because the GISTEMP temperature anomalies are above zero more of the time than HadCRUT! That’s right, he did not understand that the two series use different baselines. If he can’t even grasp something as basic as that, how likely is it that he has understood any of the science? And yet his book is still on sale… D’oh!

    Comment by CTG — 27 Oct 2009 @ 3:08 PM

  415. Corey (#391),

    Perhaps the apparent contradiction is a matter of different levels and contexts.

    There is such a thing as scientific consensus. On one level there is the well-established consensus on textbook theory that provides the basic conditions for doing further science. And there is the emerging consensus, which can be harder for outsiders to grasp — we are unusually lucky to have the IPCC to sum it up. It emerges from a growing published literature filtered through expert judgment. It’s not a show of hands: It’s a /qualified/ consensus — not every opinion counts equally towards it, and it’s largely implicit, not something that is determined and announced.

    When policy-making and media enter the picture, perhaps a different, simpler kind of consensus is instinctively looked for, one that is more like a head count of scientists saying aye or nay: a /census/, more than a consensus.

    A real scientific consensus (a huge and convergent body of /evidence/ pointing to man-made global warming as a serious threat) may thus get “communcated” to the public as the plebiscitary agreement of thousands of /scientists/ who agree on a platform of “settled science”. Which indeed is not how science works — or for that matter how the IPCC reports are written.

    Playing on this confusion, it should be added, the carbon lobby has countered with arguments like the Oregon Petition of 31,000 self-selected alleged scientists opposing the consensus. That kind of thing is not a scientific /consensus/, nor even a fair /census/ of scientists, but a category by itself: a /con census/ perhaps?

    Comment by CM — 27 Oct 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  416. Chris Dudley (401) — Methaneless rice production? Methaneless cattle? (I was once in India for a week. So-called sacred cattle, as gaunt as could be, everywhere, unattended.) Also methaneless lamas and alpacs, guanacos?

    Most of the people in the world don’t have landfills; see, for example, the two part “Road Trip Across Siberia” in issues last summer of The New Yorker.

    Perhaps out of ignorance, I view reducing methane as much harder than reducing CO2 to whatever level is found best.

    We seem to be in general agreement that we want a climate like that of the first two decades of the previous century, I think.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 3:29 PM

  417. David Benson, there are changes being done to the gut bacteria of ruminants to reduce the methane output of their digestion.

    And one rather amusing method of de-farting the cows by giving them incontinence pants…

    Comment by Mark — 27 Oct 2009 @ 3:43 PM

  418. PS — ask at your local bookstores and libraries for the _Climate_Coverup_ book, folks.

    Interesting — my closest bookstore (3-store-chain) replied that they can’t get it because their distributor can’t get it. I passed the word to the authors to push from their end.

    I also, perhaps coincidentally, got list mail from grammar guru Bryan Garner asking everyone to consider buying one of his books from Amazon — because he’s been told that his (or anyone’s) English writing/grammar/usage books are not going to be in local bookstores; the distributors say they won’t distribute them because they think nobody cares.

    Coincidence? Perhaps. Who owns the distributors?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Oct 2009 @ 3:51 PM

  419. CM wrote in 415:

    There is such a thing as scientific consensus. On one level there is the well-established consensus on textbook theory that provides the basic conditions for doing further science. And there is the emerging consensus, which can be harder for outsiders to grasp – we are unusually lucky to have the IPCC to sum it up. It emerges from a growing published literature filtered through expert judgment. It’s not a show of hands: It’s a /qualified/ consensus – not every opinion counts equally towards it, and it’s largely implicit, not something that is determined and announced.

    The way that I view it is that a consensus is something that is required by the division of cognitive labor that exists within science. In the final analysis, science is a unity because reality is a unity. But given the limits of human cognition we can’t approach the world that way. The discovery of the world must be done piecemeal. But the conclusions in one field will often be dependent upon conclusions that have been reached in another.

    Nevertheless, it is not possible for a given scientist to become an expert in all areas that his work depends upon, in the premises and the evidence for each and every principle that his work presupposes. As such, the work of an individual scientist relies upon the the existence of a consensus, that is, of conclusions in other fields supported by a wide body of evidence where this individual is able to take those conclusions for granted.

    Yet as there are degrees of justification, there are degrees to which a given conclusion may or may not be a part of the consensus within a given field. Furthermore, within the actual practice of science, what constitutes part of the consensus and what does not is largely tacit, and generally it is only when dealing with the rest of society that it becomes necessary to articulate what constitutes part of the developing scientific consensus and the degree to which it is a part of the consensus.

    Anyway, more on this view (which I see as being largely like your own) here:

    On “Scientific Consensus”
    http://axismundi.hostzi.com/0/007.php

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Oct 2009 @ 4:02 PM

  420. Mark (417) — Boutique stuff, won’t make a bit of difference to the vast majority of the world’s belching cattle.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 4:24 PM

  421. Hey CM. Funny stuff in #374! RE: 407: I saw that AIRS data at JPL Saturday. Awesome presentation. They gave us some cool holographic cards based on it.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 27 Oct 2009 @ 8:03 PM

  422. 389 Ray Ladbury

    I’m forming estimates based upon the projected demand of coal. I took the projections straight from the EPA web site, and used the numbers to calculate the lifetime of our supplies. If you doubt the EPA projections, you may find others. You can and should do the calculation yourself. Every source I have seen shows a 2 to 3 percent projected increase in coal demand per year. Although the number may sound very small to most people, it is extremely large. The “current production” calculations are made to give people a warm and fuzzy feeling that our coal supplies are just fine and dandy because signs are showing that we are nearing peak production. Peak production has a very important impact on the damage that can be done in terms of global warming. In other words, if we peak out in 10-15 years, we will be declining in coal usage in exponential decay afterwards.

    The calculation on coal supplies is not made upon population growth alone. We have reached peak production in world oil resources. Although most governments would rather blame speculators at the moment, oil production is going to decline never the less. If there was so much oil, we could pour it on the heads of speculators and wash the speculators out of the market. Apparently, governments are content to blame the ever increasing oil prices on the boogie-man for the time being. (I’m curious about the motivations behind this propaganda. Money from scarce supplies?) Anyway, the world must turn to electricity to power its transportation; thus, a projected increase in coal is nothing to laugh at. I would also like to point out that there has been a growth in coal production for a very long time.

    The human population is not sustainable at the 6 billion figure. I would shoot for about half or less than half of our current population for sustainability. Our resources are disappearing at an exponential rate. People are living in a fantasy land, and they think the world has infinite supplies. Economists believe that exponential growth can be maintained forever. I think there is going to be major changes in the modern world over the next one hundred years with forced adjustments to population. As supplies decline, the population will decline.

    Comment by EL — 27 Oct 2009 @ 8:06 PM

  423. EL, my estimated increase was based on burning known reserves in whatever time it takes us to do so. It would effectively double CO2 concentration above where it is now.

    So, just how do you plan to “shoot for about half or less than half of our current population…”. I hope you are not talking shooting in the literal sense. Attaining sustainability will require us to keep the environment as healthy and productive as possible. We need to aim for a soft landing rather than a crash.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Oct 2009 @ 8:27 PM

  424. Corey #391:

    I refer you to Einstein:

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins100017.html

    Well, quite. But that experiment has to be verified, repeatable and of sufficient weight to throw everything in doubt. My point is that doing one experiment cannot as a matter of practicality overturn a theory because you need to double-check your results. Almost all attempts at overturning a theory by an unusual result turn out to be in error. One of the chief flaws in denialist science is making a claim that fits very specific data, then walking away from that claim when either the data is shown to be flawed, or new data arrives that no longer fits. These are examples of “overturning experiments” that do not succeed in overturning a theory.

    If for example someone did an experiment that deviated from a prediction of general relativity, it would “prove Einstein wrong” — but no one would believe a single experiment. Others would have to do it, to verify the result was real. If you want a good example of how this works, look at the history of the Michelson-Morley experiment, which established the light invariance of light speed. Even Michelson and Morley didn’t believe their result, and it took many repetitions by themselves and others under a variety of conditions to convince everyone that Newtonian relativity was wrong in this case.

    So yes, one experiment can overthrow a theory technically. Practically, no. M-M overthrew Newton in one experiment, but only in practical terms after it was repeatedly checked.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 27 Oct 2009 @ 9:00 PM

  425. Since we had been discussing the nature of the motivation behind climate denialism and the possible roots of denialism in ideology, I thought that this in particular might be interest…

    … three names that seem so familiar:

    Steven Mosher to Speak Against Population Control at Heritage Foundation Book Event
    Population Research Institute, 06/05/08
    http://www.pop.org/20080608829/steven-mosher-to-speak-against-population-control-at-heritage-foundation-book-event

    Please see:

    This is a response to Steven Mosher’s #157…

    As I like to know who I am dealing with, I decided to do some digging.

    Within five minutes, I found that you are the president of Population Research Institute, a spinoff of Human Life International, a pro-life organization. You advocate population growth as you view any attempt at zero population growth as being contrary to your pro-life stand.

    Here is the evidence for you position as president of PRI:

    An Interview with Steven W. Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute
    By John Mallon
    http://www.pop.org/main.cfm?id=151&r1=10.00&r2=1.00&r3=0&r4=0&level=2&eid=678

    14 August 2007 at 12:48 PM
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/1934-and-all-that/comment-page-5/#comment-47661

    … and yes, this was precisely who I was thinking of when I wrote earlier in this thread:

    But for a lot of people it is about ideology. Many are conservatives or libertarians — people who were opposed to passing laws about where you could smoke and who are now opposed to regulating fossil fuel – even though they haven’t suddenly switched from owning tobacco companies to owning oil companies or from family-owned tobacco farms to independent oil fields. Chances are the vast majority of them never owned either one – or sold either tobacco or fossil fuel — unless it was while working for only a little more than minimum wage at a convenience store. Some are opposed to environmentalism, seeing it as the new communism – and they view the recognition of anthropogenic global warming as the back door to radical environmentalism. And many of those oppose environmentalism as they see it requiring widespread birth control.

    Some people are just so motivated that you know money has little or nothing to do with it. Oh, and yes, the Population Research Institute isn’t simply opposed to abortion but from what I am able to gather, all forms of birth control.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Oct 2009 @ 11:29 PM

  426. PS

    What got me to looking at the old post from 2007 again was the bit that I had quoted above in 409 of this thread:

    This forms the basis for the correspondence principle which you are no doubt aware of. As such, there is nothing invalid in the cummulative nature of climatology. Additionally, it is clearly falliblistic. We will make mistakes. But given the systemic nature of human knowledge and empirical science, we can expect to uncover our mistakes in time…. There are degrees of justification…

    The sentence, “This forms the basis for the correspondence principle which you are no doubt aware of.” The context was missing for that sentence, and so I decided to look again at the post that it was from to see what the context was. At that point I saw that it was the post where I had pegged Steve for who he was, and then I saw the reference to the Population Research Institute and the roots of its opposition to climatology in ideology. Then that got me to thinking back to the Heritage Foundation.

    Here at Real Climate we tend to think of it as an organization that is dedicated to the denial of climatology, but what is actually at the root of that organization is religious extremism. It was created with seed money from Richard Mellon Scaife — it was the first major think tank of the “new conservativism,” and Scaife was one of the major funders of the Religious Right. The Heritage Foundation has to at least some degree promoted Intelligent Design, and it promotes a cultural conservativism. And in all likelihood it played a major role in pushing the Religious Right to the forefront of politics.

    It seemed only natural that the Population Research Institute and the Heritage Foundation would hook up. So on a whim I performed a Google search:

    “population research institute” “heritage foundation”

    The top result was:

    Steven Mosher to Speak Against Population Control at Heritage Foundation Book Event

    … and I said to myself, “Self, that name sounds familiar.”

    * * *

    If you have two individuals where each has only three insights which neither shares with the other, each individual is able to make only three connections between any two points. However, if these two individuals come together, there exists the possibility of making fifteen different connections. Bring in a third person and the number goes up to twenty-eight, and a fourth brings it to sixty-six. And if instead of simple, directional two-term connections, one thinks in terms of paths between all the available points, with one individual there are six possibilities, but with four people the number of potential paths goes up to more than 479 million.

    A Conspiracy of Silence
    http://axismundi.hostzi.com/0/004.php

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Oct 2009 @ 12:58 AM

  427. David (420) what about engineering cow gut bacteria?

    Or did you want to ignore the solid answer so you could cherry pick the silly one?

    Comment by Mark — 28 Oct 2009 @ 4:07 AM

  428. Timothy (#419), I don’t think we disagree. You give a more considered account of “scientific consensus” than I offered. (Though I think a distinction can be usefully drawn in our context between [1] an effectively settled consensus, on conclusions that are taken for granted as premises for further work, and [2] a growing consensus in a field under active study, on more provisional conclusions that can be contingently taken as premises for further work.)

    You also phrased better the point I was trying to make regarding the usually tacit nature of the consensus and the social circumstances requiring it to be articulated. I’m still happy with the distinction between a scientific “consensus”, a “census” of scientists, and a denialist “con census”, though…

    Comment by CM — 28 Oct 2009 @ 4:36 AM

  429. Hank’s point about online book orders is well-taken. It would also apply to Greg Craven’s book, apparently.

    It’s also true of many “specialized” tomes–for instance, I use a British trumpet method book that my local distributors can never seem to find via the American publishing arm , but which I’ve consistently been able to buy quickly and easily online. So I doubt we need suspect a sinister conspiracy, unless Scaife has been investing in publishing.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Oct 2009 @ 7:45 AM

  430. Kevin and Tim,
    I find it most profitable to think about scientific consensus in terms of the concepts, methods and theories without which one cannot advance understanding in the field. In other words, there is consensus on the aspects that have indispensible explanatory and predictive power. In that sense, anthropogenic causation is not part of the scientific consensus, but is rather an unavoidable consequence of the consensus theory of Earth’s climate.

    I prefer this view because scientists rarely sit down and discuss what they believe. Instead, they ask “What concepts do I need to understand this?” I also believe that it places the challenge facing the denialist/dissenting community in perspective: If they are serious about overturning the science and not just shaping politics, what is demanded of them is nothing less than an alternative theory of Earth’s climate that has greater explanatory and predictive power than the current one.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Oct 2009 @ 8:56 AM

  431. Kevin McKinney wrote:

    So I doubt we need suspect a sinister conspiracy, unless Scaife has been investing in publishing.

    Oil, uranium and banking — if I remember correctly. But at this point I believe the family wealth is largely in the hands of his daughter — and at least on one fairly significant point she seems to have taken a softer stand. Maybe she is into publishing…

    Oh, but as for conspiracy theories…

    Sometimes there are actually conspiracies. A conspiracy theory is a problem only when you have no evidence for the conspiracy — and becomes especially problematic when it makes the participants out to be so powerful and so intelligent that the lack of evidence for a conspiracy is taken to be proof of its extent, depth and planning.

    In this case we have the names and addresses of organizations, we have external and some of the internal documentation — not that much different from what we had on the tobacco industry, the names of people, proof of money being exchanged… Heck, I mapped some of it out earlier in this thread — with references to Media Transparency — which itself has plenty of references to documentation of one form or another. And then there is a more or less coherent ideology that largely makes possible coordination without a centralized authority. And then…

    Oh dear… I hope I didn’t ruin a joke.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Oct 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  432. CM wrote in 428:

    Timothy (#419), I don’t think we disagree. You give a more considered account of “scientific consensus” than I offered. (Though I think a distinction can be usefully drawn in our context between [1] an effectively settled consensus, on conclusions that are taken for granted as premises for further work, and [2] a growing consensus in a field under active study, on more provisional conclusions that can be contingently taken as premises for further work.)

    I acknowledged there being different degrees of justification, and in a sense this suggests the continuem that exists between and effectively settled consensus and the growing consensus. But this doesn’t actually make the qualitative distinction between an “effectively settled” consensus and that which is still “growing” — and I believe that distinction is important. Particularly in terms of how an effectively settled consensus will be taught as something which is established and may more or less be taken for granted whereas a growing consensus may be more relevant in a political context. Something else to incorporate into the next revision of the essay.
    *
    CM wrote:

    You also phrased better the point I was trying to make regarding the usually tacit nature of the consensus and the social circumstances requiring it to be articulated.

    Tacit vs. articulated — if I am not mistaken, this sort of distinction is more common in dialectical, Continental European philosophy as opposed to the analytic, Anglo-American tradition. I believe Frederick A. Hayek makes the distinction, and I may have run across it in the work of Thomas Sowell — as a means of understanding the systemic causation that exists in a decentralized society in which there is a division of cognitive labor. We also make this sort of distiction in the context of learning — between knowing how to do something vs. being able to describe how it is done — such as riding a bicycle.

    But more recently (about fifteen years ago) I may have run across it in one or another online course being given by Chris Matthew Sciabarra. He is a libertarian political theorist who was taught under Bertell Olmann, a marxist political theorist — his mentor. Both are in the dialectical tradition. In fact Sciabarra who authored “Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical”) has also written a book “Dialectics and Liberty” in which he traces dialectics back to Aristotle.
    *
    CM wrote:

    I’m still happy with the distinction between a scientific “consensus”, a “census” of scientists, and a denialist “con census”, though…

    That definitely brought a smile to my face. Incidentally, I believe that humor makes us better thinkers. It teaches us to rapidly shift between different contexts and different perspectives — then see how the earlier and the later one are related. It’s very dialectical.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Oct 2009 @ 2:03 PM

  433. Tim:

    :-)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Oct 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  434. 423 Ray Says:

    “EL, my estimated increase was based on burning known reserves in whatever time it takes us to do so. It would effectively double CO2 concentration above where it is now.
    So, just how do you plan to “shoot for about half or less than half of our current population…”. I hope you are not talking shooting in the literal sense. Attaining sustainability will require us to keep the environment as healthy and productive as possible. We need to aim for a soft landing rather than a crash.”

    Although worries over global warming may seduce you to look at the problem from that angle, the method gives you an incorrect picture. Since you are so worried about the effect, you are missing an important implication inside the cause.

    The world is facing peak production on several vital world resources. As these resources begin to decline, modern society will deteriorate at a very rapid rate. Oil production is projected by several organizations to be fifty percent of current production by 2030. (food distribution problems?) Some geologists are also signaling that coal reserves are nearing peak production. The biologist are informing us that a gigantic number of species are going extinct. Ray, modern society is going to collapse from these things alone. At this point, you can now add global warming on top of the collapse.

    If you would like to explain to me how 6-7 billion people are going to survive without resources, I would love to hear it. There are going to be massive population adjustments in the future as we head into these declines. The population size is very linked with these resources. You can think of the problem as wolves and rabbits. When the wolf population becomes overpopulated, the rabbit population collapses. Without food, the wolf population collapses.

    Attaining sustainability has long since been thrown out the window. We could never convince economists that exponential growth is unsustainable, and people trust economists more then mathematicians or scientists. The worlds population is too high, and the world’s resources are too low in order to do much to softening the landing. We should have acted once we had a decent idea of the peaks instead of waiting until we are coming down off the peaks and saying, “oh shit.” The only good news I can see is that global warming will not be as bad as it would have been with a later peak. In a basic nutshell, society cannot hold together long enough for all the resources to be consumed. So I believe much will be able to recover although the recovery will take many decades. Trees, for example, should experience a very nice recovery in the future.

    Comment by EL — 29 Oct 2009 @ 11:53 PM

  435. My “enhanced” review of “Climate Cover-up” is now online at:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Climate-Cover-Up-A-Review

    It’s got the customary pretty pictures to keep it from looking too arid, so feel free to link it to those you know who appreciate multimedia more than print!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 Oct 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  436. “‘…plunging our economy off the cliff without any climate or environmental benefit at all.’

    A brave statement.

    PROVE IT.

    Show us where this has happened before, not any of your namby-pamby “models”, using REAL SCIENCE. EMPIRICAL science.”

    It’s not a brave statement, it’s just really, empirically, wrong. See
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1920/to:1945/mean:5/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1930/to:1935/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1935/to:1945/trend
    and http://econ161.berkeley.edu/TCEH/Image46.gif
    Of course, if we drove our economy off a cliff, and stopped producing CO2, it wouldn’t result in an immediate cooling, since there’s already a bunch of excess CO2 in the system to which the climate hasn’t yet equilibrated. but it would slow the rise in temperatures over decadal time scales.
    There are less painful ways to address global warming, but at this point, there aren’t any painless paths forward. What I have observed of human nature leads me to expect that the wealthy and powerful will minimize their pain at the expense of more pain and suffering of the poor and powerless. I doubt that attitudes have changed much among the Mellons, Scaifes, Coors, Bradleys, and other rich people since 1929 -

    “Secretary of the Treasury Mellon felt that government must keep its hands off and let the slump liquidate itself. Mr. Mellon had only one formula: ‘Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate’.He held that even panic was not altogether a bad thing. He said: ‘It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life.” http://econ161.berkeley.edu/TCEH/Slouch_Crash14.html

    Liquidate the Polar bears, liquidate the Bangladeshis, liquidate Larsen, Wilkins, Greenland, and glaciers worldwide so we can live a more (“high albedo”, Anglo-Saxon, Christian) moral life?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 31 Oct 2009 @ 2:46 PM

  437. If the theory is that any opposing view to man-made Global Warming is funded by certain industries, then why does it not follow that this web site and others are funded by Golman Sachs who stand to make billions of of Cap and Trade? If industry can buy information opposed to climate change, why can’t other industry buy information favorable to climate change?

    “Haven’t you heard, it’s a battle of words and most of them are lies!” Pink Floyd, “Us and Them” Dark Side of the Moon.

    Comment by Norman — 2 Nov 2009 @ 7:10 PM

  438. Norman (#437, 2 November 2009 @ 7:10 PM:

    Yours is an on-topic post. You are suggesting that the “Climate Cover-Up,” described in the book, is counterbalanced by the possibility that “Golman Sachs,” and other big time investors are funding and biasing climate science. The book provides a lot of connections between the pseudo skeptics and biased interest groups, and provides information for the reader to check for themselves.

    It may seem logical to you that, because you think that Cap and Trade is a sham (I don’t wish to argue this), the science that says there is a problem must also be biased. The question is– what evidence is there for your contention?

    In my experience, science is generally not driven by political or cultural ideals. I think you should consider that the science is true, but there are interest groups that are, by definition, biased regarding how to deal with the problem on both sides of the issue. This is, in fact, where the rubber meets the road.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 Nov 2009 @ 9:03 PM

  439. I don’t agree with the description that “the theory is that any opposing view to man-made Global Warming is funded by certain industries.”

    First, “any” implies that there is no “independent” opposing view, and I don’t think that that is claimed.

    Second, “theory” implies doubt, and there is no room for doubt regarding the activities of Exxon or the Chamber of Commerce in lobbying against CO2 mitigation, nor for ACCE or the Heartland Institute for propagandizing against the same. (And of course there are many other entities who’ve been involved–read the book.)

    These activities have been thoroughly demonstrated and documented, unlike your allegations about “Golman Sachs,” which seem–speculative. Perhaps brokerage houses could buy advocacy, as Exxon has done–but what do you find if you look at the time line?

    That is, when was the science set forth, compared with the proposals for mitigation, such as cap-and-trade? And just how farsighted does that make the brokerage industry in designing their propaganda campaign?

    Did their chicanery go all the way back to Plass, in the 50s? Callender, in the 30s? Arrhenius, at the turn of the twentieth century, or even Tydall, at the time of the American Civil War?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 Nov 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  440. I have to admit that this book is rather powerfully persuasive with regard to the disinformation campaign. As a lukewarmer with what I feel is an independently-acquired and rational degree of skepticism toward some of the more dire claims being made by the ant-AGW lobby, I feel at unease by the potential to be associated with this disinformation campaign when expressing these opinions. Hoggan clearly feels strongly, and has done some rather impressive detective work.

    Comment by Lulo — 3 Nov 2009 @ 10:39 AM

  441. Mr. Kevin McKinney

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    This website shows area of sea ice. It melts and freezes every year, about 10 million square kilometers in the artic.

    Look down at a lower graph labeled “Global Sea Ice Area 1979 – present”
    Almost a flatline for 30 years, slight anomaly showing more melting in the last few years but not real convincing. From that data I do not see a reason to believe we are heading for a disaterous climate change [edit -OT]

    Mental manipulation is an art form.

    [Response: Look at the Arctic numbers where the signal is much larger. Antartic numbers are much noisier and less is happening there (for various reasons). - gavin]

    Comment by Norman — 3 Nov 2009 @ 3:41 PM

  442. “This website shows area of sea ice. It melts and freezes every year, about 10 million square kilometers in the artic.”

    NSIDC also have a picture of the age of ice which is a fairly good predicator of thickness (in that any change in precipitation as snow is unlikely to make a consistent yearly change and therefore be visible as a pattern).

    And it’s all OT so rather than give Karst another reason to put up his irrelevant cut n paste job *again*, I’ll bugger off.

    Comment by Mark — 3 Nov 2009 @ 4:11 PM

  443. In other news:
    http://www.australasianscience.com.au/bi2009/310ASPrize.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Nov 2009 @ 4:24 PM

  444. Greetings Mr. Gavin,

    I guess you do not like the content of some of my posts. Is it possible for you to inform me on what type of information I am allowed to post on this website?

    [Response: It's easy. Don't insult people, be substantive and don't repost tired old talking points that have been discussed hundreds of times before (this goes for everyone). - gavin]

    Comment by Norman — 3 Nov 2009 @ 5:04 PM

  445. [edit]

    [Response: That's exactly what's wrong with your postings. People claiming vast conspiracies and scientific misconduct, based on changes in analyses that are clearly documented and justified in the literature, are not making substantive points - regardless of the length of their webpages. - gavin]

    Comment by Norman — 4 Nov 2009 @ 11:25 AM

  446. Norman (#445, 4 November 2009 @ 11:25 AM):

    I looked at your link and found a standard denialist site, but how do I know this? I found a large number of articles that did not cite any actual science, just other denialist sites for redrawn graphs and quotes, and other popular culture articles.

    For example, there is a piece on how Mars is warming that suggests that the sun must be responsible for warming of both Mars and Earth, but it did not cite any of the actual research on Mars. I already know that this suggestion is a fabrication (try a search for the word “Mars” on the RC site to see the science). In fact, warming on Mars is local, very recent, predicted by a modified climate model, and due to dust storms, not the sun.

    You can suggest that this is all just a matter of opinion, but it is not. Bloggers and talking heads do not create any science, and before you accept their opinions over the actual scientists that produced the information in question, you should at least find out what the scientists actually said.

    As a good skeptic, my baloney detector says that when someone tells me a falsehood (an actual lie in this context), then everything else they say is suspect and should be discounted.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 4 Nov 2009 @ 6:25 PM

  447. perfect site !!!!!!!! Perfect piece of work fellows !!!!!!!

    Comment by reviews — 4 Nov 2009 @ 11:29 PM

  448. Gavin, I thank you for the link to the United States surface temperatures. I am still digetsting this information and want to be sure I take it in before any comments.

    Here is a link with substance to curb Global Warming in a positive productive way. I hope the Climate Change Group will push as hard to develop this as they do other means of curbing Carbon Dioxide release.

    http://iecfusiontech.blogspot.com/2009/01/easy-low-cost-no-radiation-fusion.html

    Comment by Norman — 5 Nov 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  449. Gerry Beauregard #188: found out by accident that Tim Lambert did the homework on this:
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/1/the_australians_war_on_science_24.php

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 8 Nov 2009 @ 1:50 PM

  450. Oops. Replace /1/ by /11/.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 8 Nov 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  451. it did not take long for the Lindzen paper to jump from the skeptic blogs to the “letters to the editor” pages out here in suburbia

    “All models are based on incorrect data” theme

    it is only thanks to RC that i have any hope of replying to this rubbish

    Comment by john byatt — 8 Nov 2009 @ 5:24 PM

  452. This Lindzen paper?
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2009/11/roy-spencer-debunks-lindzen-and-choi.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Nov 2009 @ 7:27 PM

  453. yes, roys comments have been cherry picked for skeptic sites though

    Comment by john byatt — 8 Nov 2009 @ 8:05 PM

  454. [edit - Look up the phrase "off-topic"]

    Comment by Norman — 9 Nov 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  455. Re :#156 which asked

    Quick question…when you’re visualizing (intuitively) the interaction of outgoing IR energy with CO2 molecules, do you lean toward particle (photon) or wave (ray) simplification?

    Start by visualising the infra-red (IR) using a wave picture; strictly speaking an electromagnetic wave, but simplified still further by disregarding the magnetic field. We just have an electric field with an oscillating strength and a periodic reversal of direction. Next visualise the CO2 by using a particle picture (this is also a simplification) as shown in the lower animation here:

    http://science.widener.edu/svb/ftir/ir_co2.html

    The animations illustrate the effect of thermal motion. What the diagram omits to show you is that the C atom in the middle is electrically slightly positive because it has donated some of its electronic charge to the oxygens which have become a bit negative. In the asymmetric cases i.e. in all except the second animation, the centres of gravity of the negative and positive charges have become separated. The effect of a vibrating electric field (from the IR) is to drive the positive and negative charges in opposite directions , thus enhancing the motion. As a result the CO2 gains energy and the IR loses it. This picture is bit too “classical”; according to quantum theory the molecule’s energy can only change by making a quantum jump and the IR has to to pay the energy for this jump. So to account for this we have had to revert to the particle (photon) picture for the IR.

    This effect cannot happen for the symmetric stretch because there is no separation of the positive and negative charge. This also explains why oxygen O2 and nitrogen N2 are not greenhouse gases because they remain symmetrical when vibrating.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 19 Nov 2009 @ 6:46 PM

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